Given just how long Ubuntu has been an absolute technical mess in the DE department I'm surprised none of the other major distros have caught up (unless someone wants to claim that Unity is an exceptional piece of UI design). I guess it could be argued that Mint has sorta risen but Mint with Cinammon is even more of a mess in that department.
Ubuntu is currently living on the popularity it achieved as a user-friendly distro back in the Gnome 2 days and the countless of halfarsed plans and promises it has made since. From my point of view I'd recommend Wheezy, SUSE and Fedora (in that order) to a new Linux user until Canonical get their act together.
Because the rest of the DEs out there are even worse than Unity.
Originally Posted by Kostas