I will admit that I have dumped on the Unity desktop in the past, and most of the flak it has copped has been well deserved. I thought I would take a look at the latest features that the developers have put into the Unity desktop. I am looking at the Ubuntu 12.04 desktop with the latest updates. The first thing I wanted to look at is the ability to shrink the Unity sidebar allowing for more desktop space. And you may also choose whether to auto-hide the sidebar for even more desktop real estate, and the sensitivity can be adjusted as well, this makes the Unity desktop a little more like Gnome Shell. This provides even more customisation for the Unity desktop that badly needed it. If you could keep the Unity sidebar auto-hidden and install a proper dock like Docky or a similar utility, then the desktop could look just like a Macintosh OSX desktop. The Unity desktop interface with all of the latest updates is very fast indeed, I am using Firefox and vlc at the moment and everything is very slick and speedy. Sure this interface is just a copy of the Macintosh OSX desktop and it is very different to the Gnome 2.32.2 desktop that preceded it, but it is the future of the Ubuntu desktop whether we like it or not.
There is a monitor icon on the far right end of the Unity top panel, this when clicked will open a menu containing the system menu, this allows access to the System Settings menu, Displays, Startup Applications as well as the Lock Screen, Log Out, Suspend and Shut Down menus allowing quick access in a hurry. I just wish that this desktop had a quick window switching feature like the Gnome Shell desktop. If Unity uses the Compiz OpenGL acceleration backend, I am sure there is some way to set this up. Actually the Windows Key + s switches to the Compiz expo mode that displays all windows on all workspaces and then you double click on a window to zoom into that window and resume what action you were performing in that application. There is a list of the Unity keyboard shortcuts on this webpage. http://askubuntu.com/questions/28086/what-are-unitys-keyboard-and-mouse-shortcuts. I would prefer to be able to sweep the mouse up to one corner of the screen to enter expo mode and switch windows, but the keyboard shortcuts are better than nothing. I am not telling anyone that they should use the Ubuntu Unity desktop, I am just telling you about the new features that you might be interested in.