@ Don Mitchell
You want an OS that is "novel and innovative", and you claim to work in the IT field? Where have you been hiding matey?
There was BE OS, the most multimedia friendly OS ever designed. There was NEXT STEP, one of the most original OSes ever developed, the decendent of which is now OS X on the Mac. There was Plan 9, designed for networked machines to operate in parallel. There was AmigaOS, possibly the best desktop environment ever designed for the home.
The list goes on and on...the world has not suffered from a lack of novel and innovative OSes. The sad fact is that the more innovative and novel the OS, the less the public acceptance of it - that even goes back to the days of Windows 1.0, the DOS community screamed bloody murder.
We, the public, have a terrible history of dissing and rejecting "novel and innovative". The IT community does not want to trust it or pay for it, and user's don't want to learn. The ONLY exception I have seen to that is, ironically, the Macintosh - I remember queues to get onto the Macs in my university busienss school comp lab, even with rows of empty PCs running DOS. Those non-IT majors really flocked to Excel instead of Lotus 1-2-3...
So how does a new OS come to market? Well, firstly it must have a history that IT can trust, with inbuilt security and application availability. It must be also be VERY low cost - IT budgets aren't getting any larger. And lastly, it must be something that users can accept easily - and that means looking and feeling like what they are familiar to.
Ironically, Ubuntu happens to fulfill those criteria better than anything else on the market right now. Linux is known secure and industrial strength, and the major IT applications support it - everything from massive database apps to personal productivity desktop applications. In terms of cost, it is mostly support training for the IT staff, and THAT is actually getting cheaper all the time as people grow up learning Linux. And lastly, what many see as copying Windows is Ubuntu actually just providing a nice, warm welcome to those switching.
That's not a bad strategy, and frankly Shuttleworth is admirable for getting a lot of it right. I CAN do low level work with a traditional Linix distro (used RH/CentOS a lot on servers), but frankly I have no desire to. I want an environment that is graphical and friendly as possible, so that I don't have to work as hard. I like the ability to still call up python and write a script, or even do some C development for some stuff...but day in, day out, I want it graphical.
And I await HH with baited breath...