Tried Unity, Unity 2D and GNOME3 today. Removed each after <0.5h of playing with them.
Unity? Lack of visible settings. Tried CCSM — chaotic attempt to keep all Compiz settings in one place done in a way to make user say “WTF?”. Managed to crash Unity panels (left, top) after clicking something. Started Gnome-tweak-tool — this one allows to set theme and decoration. Selected least ugly ones, no way to get rid of orange title bars. Did not manage to get rid of icons from desktop… Ok, maybe it has to be that way (sorry for big pictures):
Launcher always lists my permanently mounted partitions (playing with “keep in launcher” option did not changed anything).
Funny situation happens after pressing Super (aka Meta aka Windows) key — it should open window with all installed recently used, installed, suggested-to-install applications. But what if you did not notice it due to clicking on other window? Panels will switch to transparent:
The whole “let me show you list of apps” looked as strange idea for me — too many clicks required and lot of space wasted. ADW Launcher on 1024x600 screen presents applications list in much better style.
So I logged into Unity 2D — but here I got one box over all windows (I could click though it and it disappeared after re-login):
Clicked few times and decided to avoid — normal Unity had better look.
GNOME3? No comments — I have only FullHD monitor so will not waste screen space for panel which does not even give me usability of older one. Harder to run apps even then under Unity.
So I decided to stay with XFCE. It is not perfect as I have few “sorry, unable to find icon” applets shown (GNOME Bluetooth, NetworkManager, sound) but this bug is known and who knows… maybe will get fixed before release (was fixed before 11.04 and broken again after).
UPDATE: I run Ubuntu 11.10 ‘oneiric’ on all my systems which have some kind of display (other is router which runs 11.04 with 11.10 kernel). I never run stable release cause my systems migrate to next release at start of development cycle as this makes my work easier for me (with 10 years of using Debian ‘sid’ I am able to deal with upgrade problems). Trying other desktops from time to time, usually around Ubuntu beta phase when all features are frozen even if they do not fully work, was fun and allowed me to find new tools for my daily use. But each time I expect some way to configure a look & feel and this is where Unity fails for me.