With the recent announcement of Ubuntu 11.04 shipping Unity instead of Gnome Shell by default, there has been a lot of backlash. I’m talking about all the knee-jerk reactions such as “I DON’T LIKE THE DIRECTION UBUNTU IS HEADED TIME TO SWITCH TO GENTOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!11”. It’s funny how people can react like this over an Ubuntu release that hasn’t even been released yet. Unity has been made the default interface on the netbook edition, but what needs to be understood is that it is kind of a “1.0 release” sort of thing. In the same way that the first release of KDE 4 was rough around the edges, Unity is rough around the edges. It is definitely not perfect. Even I have some complaints about it, but for the love of sanity, try it for more than ten seconds and make your decision based on actual experience and not nonsense. Also realize that the Unity that will ship with 11.04 will be much different from the current version. The developers are going to get a lot of feedback during this release cycle and will improve upon it.
Transitions can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable. We’ve been though this many times before. As I mentioned before, when KDE 4 was initially released there were many, many complaints. Now all I hear is how nice KDE 4 is. When PulseAudio was released it caused a lot of problems for people. Over time though it has greatly improved and I would even dare to say that it now works for most people most of the time. When Ubuntu first released Notify-OSD, there was a lot of outcry about that but died down after a while. Maybe because people become used to it or *gasp* prefer it to the old notification-daemon. Unity will follow in a similar fashion. Transitions can be bumpy but everything turns out OK in the end.
Some other things to consider:
- Gnome Shell will still be in the repositories and easily installable.
- Gnome 2.x will still be in the repositories.
- Unity is not replacing Gnome 3
Give Unity a chance before writing it off and don’t spread FUD.