Mark Shuttleworth is not, I repeat, IS NOT, a user experience expert or even a known aficionado. Instead of using his money and power to hire the best experts to decide (he does hire experts, but then he makes the decisions all by himself), he goes ahead with his own ideas, which have little to no foundation. This fact explains whimsical decisions like placing the window control buttons on the left and also why he couldn't explain the decision rationally (he still can't, by the way).I have to agree to some extent. I don't like the new Ubuntu notifications, the messaging menu, the new notification regime, buttons on the left, or the any-colour-you-like-as-long-as-it's-grey notification colour scheme. But most of all I don't like the changes coming in piecemeal with every new release.
This new idea comes out of nowhere again. Canonical hosts and sponsors Gnome hackfests where people like Seth Nickel attend explaining interesting and grounded ideas, then Mark mostly ignores them and goes back to his particular playground, i.e., the Ubuntu OS.
Sure, Ubuntu is owned by him, he can play with it as much as he likes. I just wanted to point out, in a website like this, that zealotry and blind following to this guy's whimsical ideas is NOT a good idea. He needs criticising -and some serious one- or Ubuntu will become the Apple of the Linux world.
By the time Mark Shuttleworth has finished changing the look of Gnome, he may well have come up with something much better than he started out with. (The OMG! Ubuntu blog has some hints at changes in line for Meercat.) However, Gnome itself is set for a big change around that time with Gnome 3 and the Gnome shell. (which Ubuntu may ignore: OMG! Ubuntu again.) Whichever rework of the Gnome design turns out to be more popular, I suspect long-term users of other distro's will find the radical change to the Gnome 3 shell easier than the bit-by-bit changes to Ubuntu.