A long time windows user, I am totally new to linux/ ubuntu, and have just finished installing version 11.10 on my laptop side-by-side windows7. Although I have read about all the uses of linux and stuff, and I am an experienced web developer, I somehow feel that the UI is a big let down.
In version 11.10 - the only linux/ubuntu I have used so far - the 'task bar' over the left side seems too clunky. And something else that is irritating is the notifications that appear, for example when a new mail arrives, there is a semi transparent message displayed over the top right of the screen, and this thing is displayed for nearly 5 secs with no option to close it manually, as a result it blocks that much of the screen for couple of seconds. I went to see the screenshots of various other distros, and found openSuse to be slick and friendly though I have not used it.
Could you please let me know - a) for a newbie, not looking into too advanced features of linux, how openSuse fares with ubuntu - in terms of UI friendliness. b) should i tryout a previous version of ubuntu, say v10.. does v10 also have such issues? how does v10 compare with v11 over user friendliness?
As i said, i am new to linux, maybe there are features that let me change all these issues and customise as per my liking, but as of now i have no idea as to how to go about with it. Appreciate it if you could guide me to resources on that, if available.