I have been a long time Ubuntu user, been using it since 2006. I loved it and have been installing it on user's PC's until version 11.04 came out with Unity. Before you get a wrong impression let me make it clear that I love to try new things as long as they don't come in between me and my work. [Also read: You Don't Have To Quit Ubuntu]
I started using Unity since its alpha days and am currently running Ubuntu 12.04 with HUD and KDE 4.8. The reason is simple -- I am curious and love trying new things. I am also running openSUSE with Gnome 3 to stay updated with the latest developments.
I am not certain if I will continue to use Ubuntu after 12.04 if they force HUD on me. Mark Shuttleworth has given clear indication that HUD will ultimately replace the menus. I don't know what he meant by that. When he introduced Unity he specifically said that this doesn't make much sense for bigger screens and now we are all using Unity and Global Menus. We have seen mass migration from Ubuntu to Linux Mint. Most of my associates have moved to Linux Mint and DistroWatch is an indicator of that migration. There is nothing I can do to stop them from migrating.
That said Unity, Global Menu and HUD have their own loyal users. These technologies also demonstrate that Canonical is trying something new with the Linux interface. I appreciate that and I think every serious/concerned Linux user will appreciate that. Jo-Erlend Schinstad wrote an excellent article that HUD is a great idea and I completely agree with him, but I may not want it on my computer. I use Ubuntu so that I can do my work with greater ease, if its getting in my way I would rather switch distro than waste my time in learning new tricks. Many dedicated Ubuntu advocates like me who have been advocating Ubuntu for ages may share the same opinion.
I think it is becoming increasingly important for Canonical to 'fix' this problem before it becomes gangrene. The question is how to maintain the balance?
My Solution: Create a Gnome Shell Derivative
Creating a dedicated Gnome Shell derivative of Ubuntu seems to be the only solution to satisfy users at either side of the fence:
1. Long time users who want to use Ubuntu to do their work without being bothered by new UI experiments and changes every six moths
2. Enthusiasts who want to try new UIs every week.
I suggest that Canonical may want to create a Gnome Shell derivative of Ubuntu which may be called Gubuntu. [There is already an initiative going on to create a Gnome Shell version of Ubuntu]. They can keep Ubuntu as the main version (Unity+Buntu = Ubuntu) where they can introduce all their experiments and UI changes.
On the other hand Gubuntu can stay in sync with Gnome 3 Shell development and offer users the standard GNU/Linux interface so that they don't feel challenged. It will help Ubuntu to a great extent. Just look at Gnome 3 Shell extensions. There are so many in so little time. Users will be able to benefit from the work done on Gnome Shell without alienating themselves and dependent on Ubuntu developers who are working hard to iron out the wrinkles in Unity.
On the other hand the enthusiasts and 'power-users' will be able to exploit the bleeding-edge features of Ubuntu and take Ubuntu to newer heights.
This way, while Ubuntu will retain (and bring back) old/loyal users and also attract new users who want ease of use and a familiar interface, it will also satisfy the enthusiasts.
What do you say?
[Editor's Note: We have updated the story as bad choice of words gave wrong impression about the good and honest intentions of the author. Apologies.]