Yes, I think Pottering severely lacks social skills, however, that dosn't make him wrong. Especially the part about GDM and ConsoleKit. I see Draxinger's point concerning ConsoleKit and Wayland, but without this revoke system call, there is little you can do about it. And then, recommending pam_console ... that's ridiculous.
My favourite quote: "There is a reason why people do this. And sometimes, it would be so helpful if you'd actually ask people [...]"
I think the statement "it's free" is rather about changing the source, not the price of the software. He's right about sending patches instead of complaining. I've seen many people - people who are able to code - complaining about stuff and taken things for given, but then, they don't send patches to change the things they criticize. You don't have to adapt to the software, you can also adapt the software.
Still, I am a bit worried about what is going on with Pottering/RedHat.
As I understand it they have come to the conclusion that "Linux is not Unix" and they seem to take that as a sign that they can go ahead an ignore the lessons learned from Unix.
I mean, if you just decide to ignore those lessons to make it easier for you self, or to make it easier to satisfy all your customers needs, without having something structurally better in mind, you could easily end up with remake of a static, non modular clone of Windows 98.
In my opinion quality, robustness and security is what matters most, and the motivation to be first to market and all that is not what made Unix/Linux a superior platform.
Of course, I'm on a bit of a stretch here. I'm not saying this is what is happening. Hopefully I'm wrong about this.
Well from the user's perspective, as an operating system, it is. I think it was meant as, no one needs to use Ubuntu unless they want to use Unity. Ubuntu may still be useful as a base for distros, but the end users don't necessarily need to worry about such things.
Sure, an uninformed person may not care about what runs under the surface of their desktop.
However, just like Debian before it, people who know better will understand the significance that Ubuntu plays beyond the default Unity setup.