Over the last week I’ve been playing around with Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) and Linux Mint 14 (Nadia). Although I can appreciate Linux Mint (it is indeed very elegant), I think I will be sticking with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for the time being.
My affection for the Unity interface that comes with Ubuntu 12.04 stems from the fact that I’ve been a heavy user of Mac OSX over the last year. Before that, I was using Ubuntu 9.04, but the UI was heavily modified and stripped down, as I was a heavy user of the Xmonad window manager.
Having that experience with Xmonad, which is essentially a high-productivity, tiling window manager; and later working with the MacBook Pro (Late 2011) OSX environment, I’ve come to appreciate how important it is to have a powerful desktop UI that also gets out of your way. The Unity interface follows that line of thinking, and is a real treat to work with once you start getting the hang of it.
There are some drawbacks to Unity, especially with regard to how applications are organized within the launcher, however I find that overall it will be a very rewarding environment to work in.
Luckily I have all my Vim and GNU Screen configuration files checked into version control, so it was easy enough for me to get GVim and all my other cross-platform apps up and running in my new desktop environment with minimal fuss.
The only real problems that I ran into with Ubuntu 12.04 were problems that were really hardware related. I’m running an ASUS S56CM Ultrabook, which has an oddly integrated Nvidia GT635M GPU. So for now, I need to run my graphics intensive (OpenGL) applications via Bumblebee v3.0, however once that was set up, everything worked fantastically!