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back to article Ubuntu's Oneiric Ocelot: Nice, but necessary?

Oneiric Ocelot, or Ubuntu 11.10 as it is known, has been delivered and refines the core of the Unity environment Canonical built at the expense of GNOME. If you made the leap to Canonical's signature Unity Desktop when it arrived in Spring's Natty Narwhal edition of Ubuntu, version number 11.04, then October's update will be …

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Give me back my system menu

Seriously, why search for applications when with 3 clicks you can navigate a hierarchical menu of all the applications installed?

If the developers want to create a Dash feature, great, do that but keep the menu structure in place at the same time and give people the choice to use either.

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If you really need it, you can emulate a one level menu system, using lists inside each launcher item:

http://askubuntu.com/questions/35488/list-of-custom-launchers-quicklists-for-unity

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While I agree that it would be nice to have both ways of doing it, I can also already see all the people whining that "it is confusing", "it is redundant", "more than one way to do it is stupid", etc. etc. There's never pleasing everyone, of course, but some people go out of their way to whine about even the smallest things...

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Lists in Launcher Items

If its got to the point where people are having to do stupid hacks like that to work around the UI, maybe it's time to switch.

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Anonymous Coward

Unity is here and Canonical's stance is that you're either going to love it or leave it.

I left it and use Debian Squeeze instead.

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I left too. I could say I followed Linus to XFCE but actually I got there first. Or at least before he announced his preference to the world.

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Linux

I left it for Mint Debian.

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Left it too

Went to xubuntu version because my productivity dropped right if the scale, the unity top menu bar was the last straw. more than one window open and clicking on it I'd close the wrong application.the alt tab switcher was okay, expanding to show multiple windows from the same application, but that was possibly the only plus point. xfce with the scant dock is too mac like for me but at least I know what is running and can reach the menu without needing to jump through hoops. Oh nautilus appeared to be better too but you can't really compare that to not knowing with the unity bar, whether file > open is going to open an item in the application you want or some app hidden in the background that unity guesses is the proper window.

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FAIL

I left it too. I am using KDE now.

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Ubuntu 11.10 will leave you with a big mess...

I upgraded over the weekend and I ended up with horrible Unity, then installed gnome 3 fallback and then had to put so many tweaks in for gnome. After all of that I concluded that I didn't have the same functionality as before with gnome 2 ubuntu classic. Now I have a mess. I don't like gnome3 after really trying with it; its not that I don't want to change; I don't want a dumbed down desktop! Tonight will be restore of 11.04. Then I will be looking for a new distro.

What I can't really understand is why Canonical have forced people down this route. The Linux world is all about openess and giving people choice. I feel I have been given no choice, so its good bye to Ubuntu. I totally agree with Linus.

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Pint

Go for 10.04 LTS

Updates go through to 13.04 (for desktop)

That is my plan. I figure I get to keep Gnome2 for two more years which is two years for them to fix Gnome 3 and maybe make it usable.

In the meantime I will sit out all the turbulence and consider changing distro's at my leisure.

First off though, I'm considering moving my NAS/Server to FreeBSD 9 to get access to all that ZFS dedup goodness.

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Unhappy

But that's only 6 months away

and there is almost no bug fixing going on in that version, even though it is an LTS release. There's lots of unhappy LTS users in the Ubuntu forums, myself included.

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Anonymous Coward

...but that's only 6 months away!

Er, no it's not.

Support goes through to 2013 as the poster above noted. That's 18 months more.

12.04 LTS will come out in 6 months but you're under no obligation to upgrade.

True though there are some problems with 10.04 but having tried 11.04 I'm thinking actually they're nothing I can't live with for the sake of my sanity.

Will give 11.10 a go in a VM just to be fair but I can't see me upgrading, and I certainly won't be upgrading the dozen or so friends and family members I support who all think 10.04 is the shizzle and would really rather not have to learn it all over again.

If Unity doesn't improve substantially by 2013, they may all be getting Ubuntu + XFCE as their upgrade.

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I gave Unity a try...

... and honestly the worst I can say about it is that it is not intuitive... I could not figure out how I was supposed to work with it... however, before discarding it altogether I dediced to spend 10 minutes watching some Ubuntu how-to videos and quickly got back riding the horse...

The best I can say about it is that if you are working mostly on cli then it allows you to stay working on the keyboard and never touch the mouse (once you learn a bunch of keyboard shortcuts of course)... but when I'm browsing the web or playing games with my son on my lap then I can stay on the mouse and never use the keyboard... this ability to basically handle the entire desktop with either keyboard OR mouse (and not having to switch back and forward) is awesome

Yes, it is buggy (buggier than I expect Ubuntu stuff to be) so I am looking forward to this upgrade.

I have to say that after 6 months of using it I tend to believe that the attention span for most people is very minimal, it seems that those who did not get it on the first 5 minutes decided to hate it forever no questions asked... it is not bad once you understand the workflow and I think it will be awesome in the next couple of years as it gets developed

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My short attention span must be too long then because I gave it 3 weeks before ditching it.

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Stop

Hmmm

"it is not bad once you understand the workflow". Yes, but that's the point. The UI should get out of your way and let you do stuff. Not keep tripping you up in order to try and figure out how the programmers think you should work. You should be the master not the UI.

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The paragraph about support for 11.04 is interesting. It misses out the point that support for 10.04 (a long term release aka LTS) is for 3 years (i.e. until April 2004). Please see the URL below for a discussion on STS versus LTS:

http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/16981

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"... support for 10.04 (an LTS) is for 3 years (i.e. until April 2004)."

Typo fix: April 2010 + 3 years = April 2013, not April 2004.

Also, LTS support for 10.04 Server extends until April 2015.

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Unhappy

In the server release

there are a number of items that will not appear on the backports list for fixes from later releases. This includes all of the desktop items like Firefox, Evolution, and even Google stop producing fixes for Chrome once an LTS release goes out of support (as Hardy did earlier this year).

From my experience, once an LTS release has been out for a year or so, anything that is regarded as a bug rather than a security problem just will not get fixed.

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Give KDE a go

"If you hate Unity, but want to stick with Ubuntu you can of course use GNOME 3 instead."

Or KDE.

Oh, and before the inevitable KDE 4 bashers kick off, an awful lot has changed since the 4.0 fiasco. That was like, you know, 3 years ago now. Get over it and give it a go. KDE 4.6 is very nice. In fact, dare I say it, I find it much easier and more intuitive to use than OS X.

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Anonymous Coward

I did follow your advice, I did try KDE for a week or two about a month ago but I'm afraid I still couldn't love it. It still felt as clunky as it always has. Maybe my kit just didn't have the gusto to drive it. I don't want to be a stick in the mud, I want shiny stuff but GNOME 2.0 is still a practical, well designed and functional piece of software hence why I am sticking to 10.10 for the time being.

Designers need to remember that design is functionality, not just look'n'feel.

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Back to KDE

I went back to KDE after I switched to Gnome after the release of 4. It is definitely worth another look if you do not get on with Unity.

Interesting to note that it allows an almost traditional desktop setup. Maybe all the usability 'experts' went to bother the Gnome / Unity people.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

Never been a big Gnome lover, currently have the perfect desktop - OpenSuse 11.4, KDE 4.7, Compiz 0.8.8 (0.9.5 is bug ridden crap) and Glx dock.

KDE's widget (which work very well) orientated DT is great for customisation, take note MS your gadgets are laughable crash ridden rubbish.

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Anonymous Coward

something that might be useful one day.

Like a puffa jacket in hades.

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Anonymous Coward

tried it

I install Ubuntu 11.10 on one of my computers last night and it was a nightmare. The install went perfectly and everything worked great. The problems occured when I tried to add additional programs. First of all, the Ubuntu software center had very little of what i wanted. I use 10.04 lts on my server and everything is there. I did a search for Apache and found nothing. I did a search for open office and found nothing. I get around this by the sudo apt-get install trick. Annoying. Then I had trouble installing Debian packages. I tried to install Chrome, Google Earth, and several other packages, and got the message 'ether the package was corrupt or you do not have permission to install'. I went to Ubuntu's discussion group and was told to install Gdebi. Which I did and still got the same results. I tried a manual install and that too failed. I was too tired to continue and went to bed. I found many more irritating things. First of all, I tried to set up mulitple user accounts, and I was only given the choice of standard or administrator. In 10.04, I could choose the advanced settings and place a number of my own restrictions on users. I could not find Openssh in any form on their software repository. I settled for Putty which worked ok. I downloaded Etherape to use in my administrative account to monitor network traffic. In 10.04 I got 2 options. For this to work right, you have to have root privileges. The 11.10 did not have this option.

In short, I can get around every one of these problems with a little effort, but at 1 AM, I got tired of fighting the operating system instead of using it. Granted, there will be a learning curve to just find things. I still like having icons on the desktop showing everything I need to do.

Pluses beside the smooth install, everything worked great! All of the codecs, TTF fonts, flash were there when I first booted to Ubuntu. However; after fighting Slack for years, I am a little touchy about having to spend a lot of time just trying to get an os to work for me

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This will be interesting, I recently tried 11.04 and was highly unimpressed. I felt that it shouldn't have even been released. Not trying to insult, I'll keep trying, but it had problems doing even the simplest of things Windows does naturally. I installed on a USB drive and ran it from there, but I also had a folder on the drive used for storing documents. In windows, I could access the folder and do whatever, Ubuntu wouldn't even see the folder.

A few programs would not install, while some would.

The first thing I wanted to do was to install some A/V software. While there are a few, many simply stated it "wasn't needed" or "it's so secure". that is foolish, especially since I found several forums that had users testing the security of it and succeeding. It's not that I wanted to secure Ubuntu, I simply wanted something I could use to repair Windows machines, and a trusted virus scanner would have been nice.

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Unusual

To install/run from a USB HD, or where you using the demo CD or USB stick version, which would explain why stuff wouldn't install.

As to anti virus software - you can get some for Linux, but I've never tried it. But why would someone produce A/V software for Linux that was designed to scan windows specific drives? That doesn't make sense either.

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Linux

AVG, AVIRA, CLAMAV? What? none of these took your fancy? Or do you simply /*trust*/ Norton?

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Try reading. I installed it on a USB drive, and it wouldn't install ALL programs. my plan was to use it to repair broken Windows, and one of the tools required would be A/V. But some have dropped support for Ubuntu.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Antivirus

So, if I've got a broken windows PC, I'd like to boot from USB and repair it, whatever the problem may be. That includes have tools to diagnose the problem. Not much use if I can't install the tools or they are no longer supported.

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here's why

"But why would someone produce A/V software for Linux that was designed to scan windows specific drives? That doesn't make sense either."

Some of us have to support many, many, MANY WinBoxes.. Some of us have users on those WinBoxes who are not particularly sensible, but who for political reasons (they're senior management and sign our paychecks) have admin privs... and then go and do silly things which require fixing. Such as downloading malware. It's so much simpler to set up a thumb drive with Linux and A/V software that knows Windows file formats and malware and use that to kill malware than to use almost any Windows-based alternative, if only because the WinMalStuff can't run on a Linux system...

And there is a lot of Linux A/V which knows Windows. Clam, for just one extremely obvious example.

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FAIL

fluxbox

FUCK transparency (and rounded corners)

Happy fluxbox user

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Mmmmm Fluxbox...

I'm with you there, except I enable slight transparency on my unfocused windows, where my hardware can handle that sort of thing.

Keyboard shortcuts to do /everything/ - not just run programs, but maximize (horizontal, vertical, full screen,) shade (collapse to title bar like OS9,) half-screen maximize (Like you get in Win 7 by dragging to the edge of the screen,) toggle window dressing (title bar, window border,) and even one to ssh to my web development box and restart httpd.

And the best thing about Fluxbox is that I'll never get into the situation where I get forced to learn a new interface, which doesn't seem fun or productive or anything. Plus there's no temptation to collect a huge mess of icons on my desktop, since Fluxbox doesn't offer them (though you can get some 3rd party software to provide clutter if necessary.)

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Compare Ubundu with Window.

While comparing for windows newest version, It seems like this Ubuntu 11.10 have so much advanced features.

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"...more like something that might be useful one day."

Best piece of damning with faint praise I have seen for a while that.

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Funny, that. . .

. . .but I read it as praising with faint damns.

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Happy

Well I read...

..farting with faint bums

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Joke

What will be the next names?

Some modest proposals:

Peripatetic Panther

Querulous Quagga

Revolting Rhino

Sociopathic Salamander

Maybe I should not get into marketing

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Linux

P already decided

12.04 (an LTS release due next April as the version number suggests) will be codenamed Precise Pangolin.

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Bah

They missed the opportunity to call it <insert something beginning with 'P'> Penguin.

There are times when I'd like to have a Punishing Penguin on my desktop.

(Yes, I did go to a Catholic elementary school, and yes it was run by nuns. Why do you ask?)

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Coat

Priapic Penguin?

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Just as Canonical shouldn't have gotten into user interface design.

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Are you enjoying that new self-spanking machine from S&M Inc?

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Anonymous Coward

"If you hate Unity, but want to stick with Ubuntu you can of course use GNOME 3 instead."

or Mint, and eat your GNOME 2 cake too

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Linux

Odds are, Mint will be migrating...

... to the freshly-forked MDE (Mate Desktop Environment, a fork of the GNOME 2.3x branch):

-- -- github: Mate-Desktop-Environment:

-- -- -- -- https://github.com/Perberos/Mate-Desktop-Environment

Personally, though, what I would like to see is to use the GTK+3 framework and associated semantics (back-end process-to-process message passing, etc.) to create a GNOME 2.3x look-alike/work-alike. GTK+3 is a much more streamlined and modern development framework than GTK+2; I just don't like the way it's presented via Gnome Shell (or Unity, for that matter).

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LXDE

I use Mint 9 (with the LTS) and the LXDE desktop on most of my machines. I've got KDE on this one because LXDE didn't play nice with a dual-monitor set-up at the time I tried installing it.

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FAIL

No return to classic desktop?

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

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Didn't work for me

Package gnome-session-fallback is not available, but is referred to by another package.

This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source

Ho hum.

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Unity

Unity is a great UI on a netbook screen. Things like the global menu and maximize behaviour make best use of the limited space. BUT not everyone has a netbook and Unity sucks rocks on anything larger.

Global menus incur an annoying amount of mouse travel on large screens and you can't even see an app's menu unless the app is the active window and you mouse up to the top. It's just bad design.

Other annoyances would include:

Hover scrollbars. They are awful. You have to look back as far as Open Look WM to find a scroll bar user hostile as this monstrosity.

Unity is a space hog. What looks good on a small netbook screen looks ridiculous scaled up over 4x+ the area. For example click on the Unity button and the entire screen is eaten up to display 8 lousy icons.

Ubuntu store is EVERYWHERE. Click on the Ubuntu icon with the intent of running apps on your own machine and observe as half of the space is occupied suggesting apps on the store. Sorry Ubuntu but you're just being annoying. Put a store tab in the panel but leave the rest alone.

So sorry Unity you suck. The sad part is that some better defaults and some settings available from a simple configuration dialog could do wonders to make it somewhat pleasant to use. How hard is it to have checkboxes to disable global menus and those godawful scrollbars?

I still use Ubuntu but these days it's with GNOME Shell 3.2. Despite it's bad rap, GNOME shell is a remarkably usable interface. It too has some deficiencies and needs tweaking but generally speaking it's a far better thought out thing than Unity. By miles.

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Linux

Thumbs up and a +1 from me. Ubuntu unity looks like a Desktop for children on my 25" work monitor.

As for a classic session fallback for Gnome (that some posters have mentioned), I understand that it is just Unity emulating a classic Gnomey interface.

One rather annoying thing about the Unity interface, is the lack of the "Connect to Server ..." dialogue and the associated bookmarks you can create using it. These used to be in the 'Places' menu and I made extensive use of them in order to manage a range of linux servers. Whilst it is still possible to use sftp://user@server/home/user in the filebrowser, I was unable to find a way to (intuitively) create bookmarks for regular use. I did, however, find article showing a method of manually recreating the link to the Connect to server dialogue which I have not tried yet.

It will be interesting to see how unity develops, but I think many of us that use Ubuntu for computers other than the home PCs will be steering well clear until Unity is actually usable.

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Easy enough

Click Home Folder which is the first button and opens the file manager.

Connect to server... and Bookmarks will then be in the menu.

Agreed - might be nicer to have it available all the time - I'm sure a bit of RTFM would sort that out.

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