I’m all for second chances. And third, and fouth. I decided yesterday to give Ubuntu 11.10 another chance. I uninstalled the open-terminal addon, and replaced it with a script doing the exact same thing. I also installed gnome-shell; Unity and I probably won’t ever be friends. The graphical style is too cartoony, and I have a strong dislike for the weak graphical representation of which applications are currently running (a small glowing triangle on the side just isn’t enough).
Gnome 3 is a bit friendlier. OK, so the “dock” thingy on the left suffers even more from inability to distinguish between running applications and favorites, but there are other mitigating factors:
- Extensions. I love extensions; they enable me, at least in theory, to build whatever UI I feel comfortable with. This is a Good Thing. Currently, I’ve added extensions to bring back the applications and places menus, adding a workspace switcher, a Removable Devices menu… The only thing I’m missing at the moment is a way to move the clock back to the right side of the top-bar, and a way to place the notification icons on the top bar as well.
- The Exposé-like task switching. I really, really like this one. Instead of Unity’s clumsy “lenses” system, I get a fast and simple search-based launcher as well as a good visual overview of both running applications and workspaces.
- The visual style. It feels like it was made for a grown-up, in sharp contrast to Unity’s childlike design. I’ve installed the tweaker so I could change the window borders to Ambiance (which I find more aesthetically pleasing than the default Adwaita), but the rest just… works.
There are still a lot of things I don’t like, such as the inability to see the currently running programs on a simple panel, but overall – I think I can live with this.