I'm not a typical Ubuntu user and was one of the many people alienated by the new tablet/simplified interface when it came out.
However after seeing the Ubuntu phone in action and hearing about their viewpoint (which is always useful to understand where they're coming from) I decided to try this rolling release distro with the Unity interface. It started out well as it swiftly breezed through booting off the USB drive into the live distribution. The desktop environment was above my expectations in performance, especially using the open source video driver.
Even though the post is primarily for my bad experiences, there's a lot of good things which I think makes this OS excel in areas no other OS has.
The use of space is brilliant, as vertical space is the most expensive, it makes use of horizontal and makes vertical reusable. It puts all menus in the active window in the same area and maximised applications can cut off its window bar and lets you drag it in the same menu space. Brilliant.
It's aesthetically pleasing for the most past, although the background isn't nice to look at. But choosing one which fits the orange theme colour is quite a tricky one.
Software centre is really good, although it would be nice if the button which has install changes as it has no feedback that it's actually installing.
The file manager is nice, and it really shows off the beauty of the icons. However I can't seem to find in the preferences to display the full path instead, as I like to type in paths and view exactly where I am as well as copy it.
I'm kind of torn between whether the small scroll bars which expand is a good idea. It maximises space, but due to the way it's implemented, it's really easy to miss the bar and have to try and make it reappear, it can take a little while finding the area to make it display this.
When installing, I was asked whether to wipe over the old Mint KDE, as I wanted this I selected yes. Unaware it was going to delete my second partition with much of my data on it. I do have a backup of everything important, but I lost the latest version of my Linux notes & useful scripts. But nevertheless it was quite stressful to have this happen to me. This was the first time I've ever selected auto when installing, there was no mention of it removing my other partition.
After booting for the first time I noticed it wasn't quite as fast in certain areas when it came to the left pane. I decided to add the terminal shortcut there.. Empty spaces appeared and the terminal shortcut was nowhere to be seen. On my second attempt which added yet another un-clickable blank space I gave up. So I opened the program and then pinned it there which worked.
When exploring Ubuntu's web search integration I saw a video which sounded interesting, so I clicked it. It said my flash player was out of date, I'd done a full update which kind of made me wonder. It suggested I go to the adobe website to download it for my OS, typical Adobe didn't support Debian packages and opted for .rpm. They even had the nerve to say it's the last version available and will not be updating it for anything other than security. I check the software centre and it tells me I'm up to date, so it seemed I cannot get a newer flash player to run. There is Ubuntu extras (could have same version) and mediabuntu I suppose, but you'd expect it to just work.
In a mad panic of distro-shock I wanted to download some software to install, Firefox just wouldn't open. Instead it glowed with no result. Thankfully the icon was aesthetically pleasing so I could just look at it instead.
Previously I had installed synaptic-package manager to install some more software. I had closed the software center but it kept telling me it was locked by another package manager. This was the only program running.
In another mad panic to get a web browser to work I search for Opera, nothing was found. Fair enough as it's not considered free software. So I search for Chrome, nothing found either. So I settled for Chromium in the internet tab. Now, the thing about Chrome is it comes with it's own implementation of flash. But the thing about Chromium is, it does not. It seems there's a PPA to get it in there, but seriously.. It's a bit of a hassle. Opera installed fine, but Chrome had an unmet dependency.
Now I'm being all cool and flicking through the icons in the left pane, but it's un-intuitively and oddly selecting and scrolling where I don't want to. Such as clicking and dragging up and down won't select on the icons as I move my mouse to open like in Ubuntu phone, instead it just changes the position viewed. Also when moving your cursor off the icon, it collapses the icons at the bottom, strangely when hovering on the narrow area where it's collapsed it'll expand the flat icon.
Brightness bar is extremely bugged, only the KDE desktop from what I've seen has got this working right. Gnome needs to be kicked in the rear here, or Canonical to fix this. It jitters between brightness levels and can go from a notch from the second to lowers to the highest in a single jump.
Graphically the brightness and the search menu is quite hideous due to the extremely over the top blur, I think not having a blur at all, or a very subtle one would be much better.
These are my personal experiences in a brief time of 15 minutes coming across the desktop, I'm doing this in the hope that someone will address these user experience issues. It is a far better desktop environment than I was expecting I must admin.