I took a pretty big risk with this title, as it makes it sound like I am against Ubuntu having any kind of attractive features whatsoever from a cosmetic perspective. In reality, I would love to see Ubuntu evolve into something more visually attractive, but I hardly see this as a focus at this point.
What I see as critical, is continued work in making sure each release avoids regressions like the plague. While going from 8.04 to 8.10 did pretty well, I still believe that there are indicators that future releases will behold a number of totally avoidable regressions that could have been avoided if more time had gone into making sure they were avoided at all costs. And yes, this means not releasing something as ready before its time.
To be fair, given a few months after a release is out, most of any regressions are soon ironed out, but those wide-eyed newbies who have no idea that this is part of a normal cycle are already long gone despite not having the entire Ubuntu picture, much less one that involves other distros. With any luck, the release of Ubuntu 9.04. will be a happy event as hopefully, the show stopping bugs that can turn people off with a given release, will be avoided. Remember, any Ubuntu release right out of the gate, is likely going to still have bugs big time. Stick with the working release for a few months, you’ll thank me later.