"Unity forces a cell phone UI on the desktop, and people hate it."
I'm probably a weirdo (actually I know I am), but I actually don't mind this release of Unity, and find that this version is significantly improved over the last one that shipped with Ubuntu Netbook Maverick Meerkat (10.10). The sidebar launcher automatically gets out of your way when you full-screen an app or drag a window to the side. It comes back when you mouse over the left side of your screen as needed. It's pretty easy to remove or add new icons (similar to how Windows 7 handles icons). It takes up a bit more space than I think it needs to, but for people who like big icons that's a plus. If you know the name of the app you want to launch, you can click the Ubuntu logo and type it into the search box, press enter, and it will launch (again similar to Windows 7).
I think the real problem people have with Unity is that they don't like change. What everyone needs to remember is that Ubuntu does not forbid you from downloading and installing your preferred window manager and customizing it to your taste. You can also download one of several flavors already configured with alternative popular window managers, and as pointed out elsewhere the default Gnome window manager can be selected during login and will remain the default until it is changed again. So think of Unity more as a default option. If you don't like it, you still have your power of choice, and there's still a lot of customization potential out there. At some point when I have free time to tinker I will likely set up FVWM with a neat custom retro layout. Until then I will be happy to continue using Unity.
Ubuntu is still LINUX. Anyone can set up their own distro, provided they have the time, resources and stamina to do so. That's what makes it so great.