Most of you probably know that Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot has reached Beta status today. After intentionally skipping any reference to Natty Narwhal (I didn't want to sound negative or overly skeptical), I was curious to see if the dreamy cat brings major improvements. Unfortunately, it does not sound like that's the case.
I can't say I have thoroughly tested Ubuntu 11.10, but I have quickly checked through the main new features and I must say it does not cut it for me. It feels slow, looks ugly, is needlessly cumbersome at times and plain irrational when it comes to some of its design decisions. Sadly, some interesting features like the introduction of Light DM and Thunderbird fall short when compared to a difficult to explain rush to hide pretty basic controls and a more than obvious desire to copy Apple. In fact, it seems like Ubuntu became "Linux for Human Beings ...that love Apple products!".
Unity keeps being the main reason for me to stay away from Ubuntu, with global menus coming close second. Unlike GNOME Shell, which (like it or hate it and even acknowledging its flaws) does feel like an entire and well-thought paradigm shift, Unity still feels like a glorified menu... that crashes way too often. I know, it does things that classic GNOME menu could not do, but I have not seen anything that justifies the switch.
On a different note, yes, this is simply a Beta, but I remember when I tested Ubuntu 10.10 Beta, it was like previewing the final release version, 95% solid. This feels like pre-Alpha software at times.
Anyways, enough with the complaining, just wanted to say that I have seen enough of Unity to know that I don't want to see any more until I have to. In other words, I will stick to my trusty Maverick Meerkat until it runs out of support in October 2012, hoping that Unity is mature enough by then. If not, I am fairly confident that GNOME Shell and most certainly KDE will be perfect alternatives.
No Ubuntu reviews for a while, it seems!