The unity shell and the top panel was always a design headache for those who behind the development. The design in its current form itself was criticized by many and was one of the reasons why many people hated unity. The daily builds of the unity 2D had a new iteration of the design apparently trying to solve some of the issues associated with the desktop shell. The new design now is now causing far more criticism than the current version.
The image above shows the Ubuntu 11.04 unity in its current incarnation. The current version have too many things going on the left hand top corner of the screen. There is the ubuntu button (BFB) with ubuntu logo, The global menu, the application title and the window controls (min,max,close buttons) for maximized applications are all crammed into that little space there.
There are too many issues pointed out by users. The window controls are out of place for maximized applications and is away from its normal position of the top-left corner. The menu is also away from the left-hand corner and do not even start after the ubuntu button. There is no indication that there is a menu out there at all. This looks and feels like a bug than a feature.
The above image shows the latest unity version that surfaced on the unity 2D daily build. This latest version tries to eliminate the issues by removing the ubuntu logo completely from the panel and replaced by a new ubuntu button at the top of the launcher. Now this has caused more criticisms. Websites like omgubuntu has comment sections filled with users criticizing and some supporting this new move. Users have pointed out many issues.
Apart from cluttering the already cluttered launcher, the issue now is that there is no ubuntu logo anywhere on the panel. The launcher is not visible all the time. This results in the logo being hidden most of the time. All operating systems including Mac and Windows have a logo used as an application starting point and is now universally recognized. This design breaks it. Another issue is that if there are many shortcuts on the launcher (most users will have), the logo will be lost in between those icons. Another issue raised is that the entire top panel space is wasted as seen from the image below.
Some users pointed out that when working with a maximized application (as in the above picture), the user has to move the mouse to the left side and ‘wait’ for the unity launcher to appear. The new position also causes the button to take more space on the launcher than it did in the panel. The new users also will have to be learned about the importance of one the many launcher icons. The worst part is even now the panel look cluttered with global menu, title, and window controls.
On the plus side, the launcher could be made movable to different locations of the screen. Other changes include a better dash with a blur and unity lenses moved to the dash itself away from the launcher.