Jon's comments got me to just install Gnome Shell and Natty (also OpenSusE 11.4) and to try it out for a couple of weeks. I persevered with it, discovered lots of things, and blogged about it on my website.
Thanks for your motivational message
I also installed Natty and Unity on another machine and am trying that out too. Just to see how it goes in real life.
Both new systems appear to be currently flawed in that they cannot handle more than one Graphics Card. I run 2GPU & 4 Mons here at work, so for the moment I am staying with Mint 11 as my working desktop in the office.
Hopefully the next iteration of both DEs will solve this problem.
regards Martin aka badwolf9