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Really, it's sad to see, after years of work, the major mainstream Linux distro is SO FLAWED. I tried, I tried a lot. Unity is terrible. But you can kind of mostly get used to it.
Until... Until it crashes on you. I know about 10 people who I converted to Linux or already used Ubuntu. Almost ALL OF THEM destroyed their installation when updating to the latest version. Personally, I installed 12.04 from scratch and Unity self-destroyed itself after a few updates.
This is terrible. This is pathetic. Linux is supposed to offer a stable alternative. Now, it's super heavy to use (dash, global menu, huge dock etc.).
WHY OH WHY didn't they just stick to a clean Debian testing with Gnome 3 ?
Frankly, with just a couple of extensions, you can have something super sexy, modern, fast, RELIABLE, that can be used like Gnome 2. For instance :
https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/327/axe-menu/ --> AXE menu to open files / start apps in a clean and efficient way
https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/105/panel-docklet/ --> Panel Docklet : old style taskbar, beautiful, that can also be configured in many ways, like a dock etc.
It's just 2 clicks away and Ubuntu could have supplied users with a stable & clean GNOME 3 with a couple of extensions.
Disclaimer : this is of course my subjective opinion, based on years of distros-testing. I kinda lost my faith in almost every Linux desktop / distro. Debian and Gnome 3 remains, for now. But I really don't know what to say to people who would like to use Linux : it used to be simple, I used to recommend Ubuntu. Now I know it's almost sure they'll have issues with it. Edited 2012-07-19 07:51 UTC
All anecdotal - so here's my anecdotal evidence I never used to upgrade but have a separate /home and install from fresh. My previous experiences upgrading have been bad. However, with 12.04 I couldn't be bothered and have upgraded one desktop and three laptops, with out a problem, my sons even has a Nvidia optimus and bumblebee worked after the upgrade I was surprised.
As for Unity I've not had it crash or degrade with updates. I like it it works for me. If you want a distro with Gnome three based on Debian testing I would suggest Debian testing or Mint either the Debian version or the Ubuntu based version.
Canonical is set upon building their own unique OS based on Unity - that might not be for everyone, so use another distro or Ubuntu respins. If you have the time and skill make your own, you can even base it on Ubuntu they provide all the source code.