Hats off to Jamie's blog post about the Unity desktop, which will be Ubuntu's default desktop for their next release 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Here at last, in true Wittgensteinian style, is some nitty-gritty light on the subject. And it seems to support what I previously thought: that Unity as it stands is cramped, unconfigurable and slow, as well as unintuitive.
I know, these are early days. But it really does beg the question:
What does Unity bring to the table?
Using Jack Wallen's tutorial recommending the Cairo dock, I created my very own Unity desktop(screengrab above). Sure, it only took me 5 minutes to knock up but it's half way there already, and more to the point, it is highly configurable. This begs a further question, is there anything Unity can do that can't be copied in GNOME/KDE?
My homebrew version of the Unity desktop, using the Cairo dock & GNOME
I have heard detractors of the iPhone who have never even used one, as the pudding proof is in the consumption. However, I have tasted Unity and it left a rather frustrating and disappointing flavour in my mouth.
There is a Free Software beauty underlying all this welcome though risky experimentation: if I don't like Unity in 11.04, I can simply switch to Fedora 14, Kubuntu or one of any other Linux distributions. Poor old Windows users when Vista came out - all they had was XP!