It seams it is not only Windows 8 which is having problems with users disliking the desktop look and ease of use as both Ubuntu’s Unity and Gnome 3 have not been received well by the Linux world for very similar reasons to Windows 8 in the Windows world.
As in Windows 8 Linux users are finding Unity or Gnome 3 difficult to use and not intuitive on Desktops and Laptops in so much a front end consisting of Application Icons really only works on touch screen tablets and smart phones. They may look pretty but for serious users of computers it is totally impracticable and considering Linux is used by more serious users both Unity and Gnome 3 were not exactly a good idea.
But unlike Windows users Linux users have a choice of distributions so can use their feet to install other Linux’s which suit their needs and are doing so. But both Ubuntu and Gnome 3 are sticking to their guns rather than admit defeat not such smart move in the Linux world.
Ubuntu itself is not the most popular Linux among Linux users any more strangely Linux Mint popularity has increased mainly because it has a more traditional desktops favoured by large majority of Linux Users. The only reason Ubuntu is near the top of most downloaded because of it’s high profile with new users to Linux otherwise it would be nowhere near the top.
One thing from personal experience Ubuntu, and I suspect Gnome 3 desktops, suffer from one major flaw exactly like Windows 8 it is very resource heavy and slows the computer down!
In conclusion both Ubuntu’s Unity and Gnome 3, exactly like Windows 8, on computers are ill-conceived ideas on their creators part as such desktops are only appropriate for tablets/smart phones and not serious computers where the desktop detracts from the computers usability!