This may end up as an article, if I can find something interesting to write about. Basically, I've given up on Unity. I liked it for a while, and it did dual-head (with Nvidia binary blob) well enough for what I was doing. Now that I'm back at school, I can't deal with the blank white windows after changing focus. It was tolerable for a little while, when I could just resize the active window to redraw it. Now I need to be able to use multiple applications tiled across my screen, and if I use Compiz's plugin to resize a window to half of the screen, I end up with one normal and one blank white window. If I change focus to the white window, it is redrawn and usable, but the other window goes blank white as soon as focus is lost.
This makes it very difficult to do homework!
I would include a screenshot, but I don't care any more. I've switched to XFCE, and as soon as I enable Compiz to smooth it out a bit, I think I will have found my new environment.
(n days later)
I got compiz going, with the help of the fusion-icon package. There seems to be a few bugs, like losing window decorations when enabling or disabling some Compiz plugins; inconvenience is tempered by the fact that the fusion icon in my tray makes it easy to reload or switch the window manager. Every window spawned with its window decorations under my main panel. I enabled the "Enable Place Windows" plugin, and set the placement mode to centered. We'll see if that works well for me.
During normal use, I find XFCE to be a bit better than using Unity, although it took a nominal bit of tweaking to get it right.
One of the things I don't like is that the setting for sub-pixel hinting isn't applied consistently across all apps. I don't know if it's specifically an XFCE problem, or if it's something else.