For those who are interested in where Ubuntu plans to go with its user
interface innovations: Mark Shuttleworth has posted a writeup on indicator
menus, which will provide persistent state information to users.
“We will place all indicators at the top right of the screen. We’ll
place them in a particular order, too, with the ‘most fundamental’
indicator, which controls the overall session, in the top right. The order
will not be random, but predictable between sessions and screen
sizes. There will be no GUI support for users to reorder the
indicators.” The current plan is to do (and ship) the work, then
try to get GNOME and KDE to accept it.