I been testing Ubuntu 11.04 beta 2 with unity and gnome 3.0 live (fedora based), because I need to decide what will be installed on my MAIN workstation in future.
I have to say this is super hard to decide, specially because both shells have qualities and lacks (although I feel cheated with unity).
I like Gnome Shell because its polished nicely and works smoothly, its easy to adopt, but the changes are really radical. I miss the ability of desktop being a desktop, therefore putting computer shortcut and folders on it like you can in Unity or Gnome 2.x. Id say that, among with lack of minimize button (which wouldn't really work, I mean where would minimized windows dock?) are the main 2 lacks of gnome 3 shell. I think minimizing windows is crucial if you want to keep things tidy. I've never used workspaces before and I dont see them as alternative to being able to minimize things. I think gnome shell should have additional dock on bottom for minimized windows.
Now for unity, its really hard to adopt to and the whole shell needs ton of polishing, as its not smooth or easy at all. You can however minimize windows to the dock on the left, thats good, but like I said, Id much prefer a dedicated dock on botton of the screen for that, cuz that lack is too radical for now. I think windows 7 like dock would be really really awesome for minimized windows, as its easy to use and cool.
I think unity's application listing is rubbish, its not desktop like at all, gnome shell wins there A LOT. And I am not a big fan of windows menu being stripped out, but I don't think its bad either, Im 50-50 for/against on that.
I am happy that gnome shell supports dual-display smoothly, I don't know if that works with unity yet.
There are ton of things I could compare, but still I think its super hard to decide which is better...if any?
Also, I do think that Esc key would be easier for opening activities in shell than the dedicated (windows start) key, it would be, but I guess it cant be changed to that due to some applications nature?
Help me out guys. What do you think?
EDIT: I do think that when window is maximized in gnome shell, the title should be migrated into the top bar and X button pushed down into windows menu, so we would save space and get rid of ugly blank part of window on top, what do you think?