A week before Ubuntu 11.04 will be released I thought it of interest to see where we currently stand regarding the new Gnome 3 shell and Unity desktops. To my amazement both new desktops had evolved much into the same direction. However both still showing me details that I don't like so much. As I've written earlier: it appears to me a sideways development instead of one in a forward direction. That is: for my desktop computer. Owners of laptops, netbooks and other mobiles might think otherwise. Both Gnome 3 as well as Unity look promising. Yet, I am inclined to favour Unity for leaving the user more options to tailor his/her desktop, whereas Gnome 3 offers a rather inflexible display (without Compiz) that comes pretty close to the preset, corny Apple OSX environment. It is still too early to decide, but my intuition tells me that Gnome 3 with Unity (instead of G3s) could have the future. Most importantly while I noticed that WINE -to run certain (professional) Windows programs, but also CrossOver- produced strangest results with the Gnome 3 shell. Photoshop worked, not without hassle, on Unity. However it failed to produce a stable or even visible main window with menu's on Gnome 3 shell. The fact that certain popular Windows programs don't function well, may become a decisive factor for the acceptance of both new desktops. It's a dangerous road taken by Canonical and Gnome. A wheel that is round, shouldn't be made 'more' round than it already was. In that respect I assume that both new desktops are more hardware inspired (touch-screens), than a logical development of a basically and widely accepted UI-concept. Neither new desktop gave me the impression to have matured enough still. If the majority of users dislike both, it could throw back Ubuntu and Gnome a year or more. The user is and remains the judge. The advantages of both new developments are decimal for the average Linux user. I agree, for Unity there are still 6 days to go... But I'll wait until 11.10 to see where we've arrived by then!
Here are my 2 screenshots of Photoshop in Gnome 3 with Wine and Unity with Wine resp.:
And by contrast my current Gnome-Mint-10 desktop. Note the subtle difference from Unity:
Should the in May to be released implementation of Gnome 3 in Mint 11 "Katya" not improve on the behaviour of Windows programs like Photoshop, I see no need to change my current Mint 10 and self-tailored desktop. The differences between my current desktop and Unity is very marginal already. Furthermore I absolutely and profoundly dislike the absence of wobbly (or 'shivering') windows in Gnome 3. The very old-style, rigid windows that are present now give me shivers instead! Not offering Compiz-like effects, more than (too often) zooming workspaces, appears to me a fundamental flaw in Gnome 3. Clever Canonical (the 'Ubuntu' producer) had a new Compiz interface developed for Unity. It seems to me basically impossible for Gnome 3 to re-implement that in their new release because of programming (language) differences. Hence I firmly believe that the combination of Gnome 3 + improved Unity could next year (2012) appear to be the new road to the future...