I have a problem, and I admit it. Every time someone whines — and yes, I’m using the word “whine” deliberately — about the graphical design in Ubuntu, I tune them out.
Fact is, one of the first things people do when they install a system is to change the way it looks. Even if the default was a gift straight from heaven, one of us — probably me, actually — would immediately change it. And an ugly one — even one that’s ugly to you and me — gets changed even quicker. I can vouch for that personally.
Now if the opposite was true, if you couldn’t change it, then you’d have something to complain about. But so long as you can change the theme, the look, the style, the color … then I fail to see why the default matters at all.
Yes, I know: Pretty is a feature. Every time somebody gripes — and yes, I’m using the word “gripe” deliberately — another malcontent whips out “pretty is a feature” as if it were a magic incantation. As if that phrase was somehow undeniable proof that the current style is ugly.
News flash: No matter what the default is, someone’s not going to be happy. You could craft the nicest, most beautiful desktop (or mockup, although I fail to see the point), and I’ll be the first person to turn my nose up at it.
Pretty is a feature, but ugly is subjective. You can’t make the desktop that attracts hordes to Ubuntu because that same desktop is ugly to another distinct horde. And so we’re back to where we started: Someone else decides what’s beautiful, and you change it.
So why bother complaining? You’re going to change it anyway, no matter what it looks like. Somebody might like it, but someone else is going to hate it. I can guarantee that.