I read SJVN’s review of Unity, the new UI on Ubuntu beta1 and thought I would try it. The installation in a virtual machine was quick and easy. The hardest part was getting the .iso. I had to use a torrent and find a way through my paranoid firewall… I could not connect to download the .iso by HTTP. Too popular I would guess. By torrent, the download was my fastest ever, 16 minutes. Thanks, world.
The Unity interface works for me. It is tidy and simple enough for any newbie to figure out. It is not as easily configured as GNOME normally is but about the same as XFCE4 which I often use.
Apart from some lag in my mouse, the installation and test run were very smooth. There is nothing very scary about Unity. X is still there underneath, giving me some comfort. I feel it lacks the configurability and features of GNOME, for example, but the UI is better designed for the newbie. There is far less clutter/choices up front. It is cleaner. It also looks like a good beta. I expect Ubuntu 11.04 to come in on time if not under budget.
Oops! My menu froze and my widgets at the top disappeared. It is a beta… Booting is incredibly fast, about 6s in my virtual machine. People will love that.