Since updating to Ubuntu 11.10 I’ve been using the GNOME Shell environment on my primary dev workstation. Its dual-monitor behavior seems odd at first — the second screen is sort of like an “extra” workspace that doesn’t switch with your virtual desktops.
But I’m making it work for me by keeping common apps like chat & terminal on the second screen and using the first as a switchable virtual workspace, which tends to jump around between:
- Eclipse for Android development
- VirtualBox for testing things on Windows or IE
- Gimp for image editing
- whatever else
If Ubuntu’s Unity is driving you nuts with its funky hidden menu bar and stuff but you kinda like the magic ‘type something and it starts’, give GNOME Shell a try for a few days. You might actually like it!
apt-get install gnome-shell
then log out, and pick GNOME from the desktop options when logging back in.