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It really looks like they took advices from designers working on press industry starting from late 90. Everything is so "clean" and full of space and the "sections" are clearly identified.
No doubt will be easier for the regular consumer target, the computer illiterate mass, to spend time "consuming" content or posting things on social networks from their tablets and touch computers, I guess.
For pros it is a waste of real state and I hope the pro version will not follow the same design guides.
As for people comparing it to gnome, I think the gnome developers forgot what is/are their public target: geeks. developers and system administrators. And they are a loud crowd the need/use lots of things concurrently on their desktop. Edited 2012-02-29 20:57 UTC
what is a waste of real estate? the start screen?