I like to work with maximized windows. Therefore, with the old button setup, the close-window-button was frighteningly close to the shut-down button in the upper right hand corner of the panel. Because of that, I have long moved my window controls to the left of the window. Given that, the change introduced now in the standard theme seems quite sensible to me :-)
Seriously though, I honestly don't understand the fuss this change has caused. This is Linux. Everything is open and tunable to your personal preferences. If you don't like purple, a new background is literally just three clicks away. If you want to shuffle around your window controls, even GNOME (which is usually criticised for being too inflexible) lets you do that. Granted, doing that while keeping the standard theme requires using gconf-editor. But you can always switch themes in a way discoverable even by the freshest noob.
Making this into a huge project governance issue seems quite over the top to me.