Ubuntu is undoubtedly one of the most user-friendly GNU/Linux-based operating system. Yes, I agree that 'user-friendly' is a relative term. For a home user, who is not very well versed with technology, Ubuntu can be extremely easy to use and manage. However, Unity changed (?) something.
The lack of customization of the Unity shell has put people off. Even I, a long time Ubuntu user, am flirting with openSUSE/KDE along with Ubuntu. There is a clear line drawn between Unity users and Gnome 3 shell users. On our Facebook page 97% fans preferred Gnome 3 Shell over Unity. The reason is simple -- Gnome 3 Shell does offer quite a lot of customization and brings back the features users were used to. Thanks to the newly launched Gnome shell extension website, quite a lot of users are returning to Ubuntu.
This leads one to think what should Ubuntu do? Unity is undoubtedly an ambitious project which focuses on future -- especially on mobile devices and TVs. Ubuntu needed to do that in order to claim a pie in the new markets. But, it should not be done at the cost of current desktop users. These are the users who would prefer Ubuntu over other solutions but once you get a bitter taste in your mouth you won't want to run Ubuntu on your phone or TV. Simple.
The best solution is to create a derivative of Ubuntu, could be called 'Gubuntu', running Gnome 3 Shell by default -- just like Kubuntu runs KDE and Xubuntu runs XFCE. Gubuntu will encourage Gnome 3 shell developers and users to invest resources on Gubuntu and take it in the direction they want, without bloating the system with both Gnome 3 shell and Unity shell.
At the same time Unity developers will be able to work on Unity without worrying about upsetting the user-base. In the end the winner with be Ubuntu -- Whether U(nity)buntu or G(nome shell)ubuntu -- it's Ubuntu. I can see some 'discussion' is going on within the Ubuntu team.
Sebastien Bacher posted a call for contributors on a mailing list and I got some indication of Gubuntu there. He was calling for contributors -- package maintainers, hackers (on softwares or tools), documentation writers, bug triagers, tester, etc. to help the Ubuntu team.
What got my attention was "- the GNOME session, it would be really cool if a team stepped up to maintain a derivative iso with gnome-shell by default."
What it means is that there is a possibility of a derivative of Ubuntu which runs Gnome Shell instead of Unity. I think this is an exciting possibility. It will also wash the stain from Ubuntu's linen that their policy is 'my way of high way' with Unity (Mark has said that they won't change the location of Launcher bar). Creation of Gubuntu will in fact help the further 'adoption' of Ubuntu within the circle which doesn't like Unity.
If you are a Gnome Shell user or developer you can join the team and build the momentum for Gubuntu (Gnome Shell + Ubuntu). It will allow Unity developers to invest their time on polishing Unity without worrying about the unhappy users.
What do you say? Would you use Gubuntu? More than that, do you think there is a need for Gubuntu? Share your thoughts in comments below.