RE @Neil Barnes 11:17
WRT window controls, it's only in Natty that the decision to move them to the left has actually made sense for me. I *love* that the top panel serves as the menu bar of maximised windows, and with the indicators on the right there's no way they could go on that side.
"- a dock that changes its contents, its size, and doesn't open in the same way it closed"
I have never experienced any of that, besides it's clearly a bug, so why complain like it's an intended feature?
"- a complete inability to see what tasks you have open on a desktop"
I don't really understand this... unity integrates both compiz's scale and expo plugins to show you exactly what's going on on the desktop, much better than any other desktop environment, and the unity launcher is there for minimized windows. IMHO unity is much *better* at showing you what tasks you have open than standard gnome, and at the very least it's no worse.
"- windows which disappear completely on minimisation"
?? Either they minimise to the launcher which is, well, exactly what you'd expect, or if you mean they really DO disappear then again, it's obviously a bug. In beta software. Shock horror.
"- icons on the dock which are used both to start an application and to return to it (there's a tiny triangle on some of the icons - I *think* it's to say that the application is already running but that's (a) almost invisible and (b) pointless - starting an application and returning to it are completely different tasks)"
I think this is fairly valid. What to do if you have one instance of a program open already but want to open another? Firefox solves this in its right-click menu with a "open new window" option which I think is a neat solution to a very minor problem. As for the triangles indicating open programs, I find them perfectly obvious. YMMV.
"- a lack of a structured menu (aka the start menu) for access to rarely used but important applications is downright stupid. I really really don't want to have to search for every application - particularly if I don't know its name."
Click the whacking great applications menu (or ubuntu button > more apps), Next to "installed" click "see x more results", narrow selection by category if needed.
"- multiple clicks to move between different desktops"
The expo plugin does require you to double click to select and move to a different desktop, maybe this should be configurable. Hardly a show-stopper though, and you CAN always just hit ctrl+alt+arrow.
"- menus disassociated from their parent windows. That's beyond stupid and always has been. Nuff said."
I agree, I would much rather see this: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/02/unity-mockup-menu-integrated-in-window.html . Still, there's plenty of time for things like that to be sorted.