When I wrote about DRM and how it is a big problem, I got a comment saying that the real problem is new user interfaces. I do not agree. They are problematic for now, that much is true; but only as far as the new users are concerned and only for so long.
This past months Linux communities have seen much hate toward new GUIs. Aesthetics aside; their newness together with their widespread use is a big problem, but they also brought a change, something we did not see before. Refreshing, even.
Let us start with the problem. They are new. For someone like me who knows the system well, this is not a problem but what about someone who has just met with Linux? I have some firsthand experience about that situation. As one of the admins of Turkey's most popular Linux forum, I spend almost all my time there solving new users' problems. But the thing is, almost all of the problems are KDE or Gnome related. Forum is mostly about Pardus and Pardus has a strong base system. But KDE, in its complexity, or Gnome, in its newness, are always creating problems. As Pardus is not used widely, it wasn't really a problem for the Linux community at large with its stable Gnome 2. But things are changed. Gnome 3 arrived, also rushing Unity to the front from the netbooks. As I have said before, KDE was already a problem for the new users who doesn't even now what Konsole is for; but now the other safe alternative is no longer there. Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint and all the other distributions new users usually use are no longer bundled with stable interfaces. Here you will probably say that KDE is stable and good, I agree to an extend; but it is only stable as long as you know what you are doing. User interfaces are the face of Linux, for new users they are Linux. A problem in them is a problem in Linux in their eyes. And this hurts Linux very much right now. Gnome 3 and Unity will became stable with time and this will pass but right now it is a big problem. KDE is not for the absolute newbie and all the other alternatives are either too complicated and not-newbie-friendly or as buggy as hell. When KDE becomes the sane alternative for the newbies, we must realize that there is a big problem somewhere.
But I can't believe that anyone in Linux community can say that Gnome 3's and Unity's newness is a problem for the Linux desktop. After all, Linux desktop grows with people who demand change, who demand newness. Even for a veteran user for whom user interfaces are mostly a choice of aesthetics, accessibility and sometimes integration of different parts; change should remain as something desired, something inherent in Linux philosophy. I very much hope that I am not wrong for assuming this.
If we talk about interfaces themselves; I can't speak much for Unity, not having used it. But Gnome 3 is great. It is prone to crashes, it needs css and js editing to look good and to act as dictated by the user, but it is something I've never thought of before. A new desktop metaphor that actually works, what could be wrong with that? You might say that it does not work well but as millions are using it (maybe a exaggeration) one must agree that it does, indeed, work. I am using it comfortably, as many other also do. It is free of distractions and works perfectly with docks if you prefer to use them. Goes very well with Avant Window Navigator, try it. It is very customizable, you can check my Gnome 3 setup here.
All in all; even if the new interfaces are problems right now, I would like to believe that they won't stay long as problems. And with their stability new options will be there for the new comers. New metaphors, something they cannot experience with other operating systems at large. No matter how you look at it, this is not a problem, only an opportunity that is slowly beginning to make itself known. To quote Firefly, "every problem is an opportunity in disguise".