Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical has announced Ubuntu's new Heads Up Display, catchily titled The Intenterface. I like the look of it a lot, as I said previously, the Sublime Text editor uses a form of it already. What is key is the very point that Shuttleworth make: "it’s there if you want it, supplementing the existing menu mechanism."
When I last tried Unity a year ago, the most frustrating aspect was that I couldn't customise the shell to make it work the way I wanted. I was stuck with vast icons cluttering up the left hand side of my monitor. Maybe Unity has changed since then but I don't have the hardware/time to find out!
Linux Mint Cinnamon, old skool minterface
This is a key reason why I have moved to Linux Mint: it is more configurable than Unity so I don't have to have a new way of working forced upon me. It looks like Ubuntu have taken heed, as Shuttleworth says in relation to the HUD: "If the HUD lands in 12.04 LTS, we hope you’ll find yourself using the menu less and less, and be glad to have it hidden when you are not using it."
Sure, have a Minimal Interface (or Minterface ;) to reveal as much content as possible, but allow the user to make the decision when to turn off the menu display.
If Ubuntu had taken this approach with Unity, maybe Linux Mint wouldn't have enjoyed such a large increase in usage.
(PS for early adopters who want to try out the HUD Intenterface, there's instructions over at OMG Ubuntu).