First of all, I tend to be pretty liberal and embrace change. First impressions are often flat out wrong, and nothing bothers me more than people who won't even give something new a chance.
Second, I have heard very good things about Unity from people that I respect. That DOES mean a lot to me, and by no means have I written off Unity altogether. In fact, I recently installed Ubuntu (with Unity) on a Macbook Pro 6,2 and I'm really trying to get used to it.
That said, I can't help but feel as if there is a major shift going on here, in the world of popular Linux distributions. I don't remember exactly when Mint passed up Ubuntu on the page hit rankings on distrowatch, but it sure seems like the times they are a changin'.
So today I burned my first Mint DVD. Like any Linux user, I have drawers full of all sorts of old Linux cds. Some of those helped me get out of a mess in the past, and some opened the world to a new distribution. Some failed so miserably that I couldn't even get them to boot up, but that's a different topic.
I teach Computer Science at a progressive public high school, using mostly open source tools. I improvise a lot and spend most of my time working with students and writing code in Python, Java, Obj-C, LISP....