I used Unity as part of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition on my netbook and my experience was not the best. Perhaps this is entirely due to the fact that the performance was so awful. However, I admit that 11.04 and the arrival of Unity fills me with a frisson of dread.
I can understand the reasoning, Ubuntu want to deploy a consistent interface to a range of devices including the latest touchscreen buzz devices. Essentially, this is the problem. My mouse pointer is tiny and precise, my finger is blunt and stubby. So why would I want an interface designed to work as well on a touchpad and drive it with my mouse?
So how am I preparing myself for the imminent release of the Ocelot? I just finished installing Madbox on my main PC. I cannot pretend that Madbox is the long term future of my main desktop, however in the short term it will suffice. It's based on Ubuntu and it uses Openbox not Gnome. I've tried Linux Mint but, despite the many plaudits this Ubuntu re-spin has received, I didn't like it.
Madbox has as many issues as it has plus points. Openbox is partnered with the minimalist Adeskbar. To be perfectly honest I don't think that this dock is ready for prime time. It's another bar that won't lauch apps "in terminal", it doesn't handle a multi-monitor set up and it's a pig to configure. It looks pretty good though. The distro uses PCManFM and although this is perfectly functional file manager shoot me for finding it clunky and not as complete as Nautilus. I struggled to associate tar files with file-roller and finally resorted to opening .zip files and clicking Open! This is not how I like to work. To make matters worse I almost tore my hair out mapping network shares with fstab. I thought I had succeeded only to discover later that I only had read access.
My enthusiasm for Crunchbang on my netbook may now translate to the desktop and xfce might replace Gnome 2 rather than Unity. Next step...Debian?