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back to article No pain, some gain: Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot examined

Ubuntu 11.10, just released as its first beta differs only slightly in its looks from its 11.04 predecessor – a fact that will be welcome news to penguins still reeling from that earlier version's grand re-boot. That earlier release shed GNOME 2.x, ignored GNOME 3.0 and set its brand-new Unity interface as the default. …

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Stop

Re: remember the ppa

Nice infestation of feral apostrophes.. M'a'y'b'e you could u's'e a few more'''.

Pedantry R'We.

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Flame

@AC

Get's over it.

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FAIL

I'm with linus

I loathe the unity interface - as someone else said, if I've gone to the trouble of buying a large hi-res monitor why should I convert it into phone-clone.

I tried lubuntu, which is clean and simple but I prefer the Xubuntu application set and I don't need the space-saving or low-hardware support of Lubuntu. Pity, because I quite liked the gnome 2.2 interface.

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*sigh*

Tried Unity and hated it. At the moment I'm using Linux Mint, and I'm keeping a very close eye on what desktop environment they decide to use in the future

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Wireless

Have they fixed the lack of wireless drivers?

Mistakenly upgraded the other half's laptop w/ 10.10 to find no wifi.

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Anonymous Coward

Try 11.04?

e.g. from a live CD - to see if the drivers you need are there. Or the 11.10 beta.

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fdsfdsfdsfasdfdsfdsa

Sorry, I meant

It had 10.10 on it working perfectly

11.04 suddenly could'nt find the wireless network adaptor.

It was like using Linux from 8 years ago, when setting up networking (especially 802.11) was an absolute pain in the donkey.

I'm sure there's some wacky way of using an ndiswrapper firing up a bash terminal. But we shouldn't have to do this on an upgrade!

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Unity is poor with multiple monitors

Unity has one window list for all of your monitors which is just confusing and obtuse for such multi mons. The 'Classic' GNOME interface is much nicer if you make a panel on each monitor with a window list. The one thing I do like about Unity is searching after tapping the windows key. I found Gnome Do though which pretty much replicates that in a more configurable manner.

I lost patience after the 3rd time the Unity menu failed to auto-hide itself, making it an exercise in precision mouse movement for me to retrieve the obscured windows.

Also why are they making Thunderbird 7 *BETA* the official mail client?

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@eclipsed

"Why are they making Thunderbird 7 *BETA* the official mail client?"

Well, my guess is that they are hoping that maybe, *just maybe*, that Mozilla Thunderbird 7 won't have gone from beta to EOL by the time Ubuntu 11.10 is released next month.

They probably should have gone with 9.0 alpha to ensure support through the end of the year, though.

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Coat

"you're either going to love it or leave it"

I'll get my coat then.

I'm primarily a windows user, happy in the Linux command shell but when it comes to Linux desktops it's generally been, "meh, whatever", but Ubuntu did seem to be blazing a path which had me more convinced. Now they seem to be following the Microsoft model with "my first computer" look and feel and ever more eye candy and change simply for the sake of it.

To facilitate mass Windows migration there needs to be an easy to install, little configuration necessary, option that immediately has punters other than kids and grannies saying, "that's not bad, I'm comfortable with that" and Unity just doesn't have it. Sure there are options and hacks, but frankly I can't be arsed; I want it on a plate or I'm not interested and I bet I'm not alone. I have Windows next to me which I'm familiar with so you need to give me good cause to change.

Firefox uptake soared when they stopped the nonsense that Microsoft IE got things wrong, what Firefox rendered was right even if different, finally sucked it up and did it "how users expect". Thunderbird looked and felt very much like OE, not something entirely different. There's a lesson to be learned there and Ubuntu seems to have lost its way unless it wants a niche, non-desktop market.

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Anonymous Coward

looks like they're making some weird decisions

unity is a bit of a joke - nice on a tablet I'm sure, but I prefer a "real" UI

the move to TB away from Evolution is also a pain... though the Exchange support in Evolution was sketchy there is none in TB (I don't want IMAP, I mean full support) so I'm stuck using OWA or switching to my Mac. In fact as being productive is more important than being a rebel I'm spending more time in my Win7 partition now and may just make the switch... it's not about the OS (as Apple has proven with iOS) - it's about the apps.

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Go

Evolution is still available

You just have to install it from repositories.

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Black Helicopters

Keep it simple

I can't be bothered with Gnome/Kde and other desktop managers that are just offering the windows paradigm. I dislike that paradigm and the bloat and loss of control that goes with it.

I use WindowMaker - based on Steve Jobs NexT interface. It mostly keeps out of your way, doesn't clutter your screen with icons that are hidden underneath your work and doesn't require state-of-the art hardware to run on. And there is no start button or menu bar or similar horrible ideas.

However it's quite unlike windows and will drive you to distraction if that is what you actually like.

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Linux

Am I missing the point ?

Been installing and using Ubuntu since Feisty, and never had any issues with any window managers, because I always install LTS server edition, and run it from the command line.

/Old Fart

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Coat

Two old farts ...

What you got against 80 column card readers? Can't write a decent driver eh?

Young people these days ... shhhheeeeesssshhh

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FAIL

I like my task bar

I used 11.04 for a while and then I realised what was wrong with it, NO TASK BAR. There is no way of easily using the mouse to switch between programs. The keyboard has to be used all the time. No use on my netbook and big screen TV

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Silver badge

What?

How about clicking on those nice buttons on the left hand side (by default). Seems to switch nicely between programs for me.....

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Coat

"change purely for the sake of change [rather] than anything a user might call useful"

Right there. That review phrase sums up the last few releases of Ubuntu for me.

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FAIL

It's almost as if

Microsoft had taken over Canonical ...

Does anyone recall a sketch (I think it was "Carrot Confidential") where they played a classic cheesey local-business ad (indian restaurant) you used to get at the flicks. The voiceover said "why not ruin your competitors business by advertising it here ?"

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It's almost as if

Microsoft had taken over Canonical ...

Right. Unity is Microsoft Bob for Linux. That explains a lot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Bob

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Stop

Ubuntu or not.

Having downloaded the beta this morning I encountered a problem with authentification. I've been using Fedora 15 for about two weeks now and I have found it better (Gnome 3 & Gnome Shell) just works. There is too much faffing about by the developers of Ubuntu with copying Apples look and feel.

I know that a beta isn't the finished product but Ubuntu for me has lost its way.

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not tried Unity yet....

I'm happy with 10.10, no need to upgrade it, I'll fire up something with 11.10 on it soon just to see if I like it before I decide which camp I'm going to be in...

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The Week of Fail. First Kindle, now this.

I'm primarily a Mac user these days, but I always keep an Ubuntu box going to keep me up to date for the people I help switch to Linux. But it looks like that's done. When people asked for my computer help I'd tell them I'll help. I'll help you buy a Mac or I'll help you switch to Linux.

The godawful Unity interface is not acceptable. Why are we being forced to use this horrid, anti-intuitive, and to use an abused phrase "Fisher Price" interface like Unity? If I wanted this kind of lack of choice forced on me I'd still be running Windows! "Ribbons anyone?"

I've always been a big booster for Ubuntu and I've used it to convert a lot of people "who won't buy a Mac" away from Windows, but its the end of that. Can someone please suggest a good Linux I can give to stupid people who are stubborn and used to Windows?

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Suggestions ?

OK .I think I qualify on both counts . PCLinuxOS - the kde one is standard, but it also comes in xfce lxde gnome and maybe others. Seems to just work out of the box , easy install from livecd and a great control panel, from memory I think it used to be based on Mandriva.

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Agreed

It seems strange that any of the distros based on Mandriva score high in the newbie friendly stakes but Mandriva itself is going in the same direction as Ubuntu. I can recommend either PCLinuxOS or Mageia. Mainly because they both use Diskdrake and Mandriva Control Centre. One other thing, PCLinuxOS uses apt. That makes installing applications a breeze. Personally I much prefer apt-get but new users might need Synaptic.

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Linux

@The Week of Fail. First Kindle, now this.

I've always been a big booster for Ubuntu and I've used it to convert a lot of people "who won't buy a Mac" away from Windows, but its the end of that. Can someone please suggest a good Linux I can give to stupid people who are stubborn and used to Windows?

I think LinuxMint is the best of the bunch to fit that bill.

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Happy

Thanks

I'll dump it onto Mini 3 and see how it gos!

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Linux

Mint Debian

Try it - you'll probably like it. I'm a convert!

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Unhappy

I'm sad

I really thought that Ubuntu was the distro that might finally cross over into the mainstream.

I've now completely changed my mind, and I will be looking for a new distro.

What's changed my mind? Not the radical change in user experience, not the continual churn of new applications for commonly used things like listening to music or watching video, and not Canonical ignoring their loyal user-base but going for the 'new' (although all of these things are annoyances).

It's actually the way Canonical has split the established user-base into "I don't like it" and "I think it's the bee's knees" camps over Unity. What they've done is effectively alienated a considerable part of the people who (like myself) were strong advocates for, and encouraged the use of Ubuntu to users of other OS's. Unfortunately, the most valuable advocates are probably the people with most experience of Linux and Ubuntu, and who are most likely to be the ones upset.

I don't actually mind there being another UI. I don't mind them switching default apps. What I do mind is the "do it our way or not at all" approach of removing the old way of doing things. I feel it's almost as if they are deliberately making a statement of disinterest in some of their most loyal users.

I have recently been unpleasantly reminded about how unresponsive Canonical can be. I know that they have limited resources, and also rely on knowledgeable community members, but I don't like how fast thing change in the normal release process, and how quickly problems are swept under the carpet. I keep to LTS releases, because making significant changes on a regular basis to my daily use machine is not of interest to me. I have been using Hardy since about 6 months after its release, and I was suddenly informed that Google were stopping builds of Chromium for 8.04, because it had moved out of support.

They were right. As a desktop release, Hardy dropped off of support (on desktop systems) in about May this year.

Why was I still using Hardy? Well, in Lucid (10.04), Canonical imposed KMS (although to be fair, it was part of the Kernel), and completely broke suspend and resume support for ATI Mobillity graphics adapters even though it worked flawlessly in 8.04, broke Composite Rendering support (for Compiz), and also crippled Xv performance for video playback. Despite several defects raised by users of Thinkpads and Dell laptops, the calls languished unresolved, and the last suggestions were to upgrade to 10.10, which is *NOT* an LTS release. I spent 10's of hours trying to work out why all of these things were broken, before deciding that I could not afford the time to understand enough about KMS to be able to do anything useful, and went back to Hardy.

I've now (mostly) switched to Lucid, but have had to disable KMS (which is a blunt fix) to allow suspend and resume to work, and also turn off Advanced Desktop Effects (which I used to catch peoples attention), and switched mplayer and Xine to use a raw X11 frame buffer for rendering video (I've not worked out how to do the same for GStreamer/Totem). If I can't get Composite Rendering working, there is basically no chance that I will be able to use Unity on my Thinkpad, even if I wanted to.

So, I will keep the Hardy partition until I've checked that there is no other gotcha's from Lucid, and will then look around at my options. Maybe I will use Xfce on Ubuntu, but it was nice, for a while, to be able to use a Linux distribution that just worked without too much fiddling.

Ho hum.

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FAIL

Usual style ahead of function

I've tried scores of linux and then ubuntu releases over the years and they always find some way to disappoint. Every installation manages to have some gotcha which makes me stick with windows. The 11.04 looked down its nose at the graphics hardware on three older boxen I tried it on. The one that Unity deigned to run on froze when I plugged in a projector. Fail.

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Happy

-1

Tried ubuntu in various guises but never really liked it (never too keen on gnome either actually).

My system is a cut-down debian squeeze with openbox for both session manager and window manager. It is the most configurable setup I've ever come across. Focus is always where I want it and window stacking is as I set it - with one notable exception Firefox will come to the top if you open a new tab via some other application :(

I can type, cut & paste, etc. in any window I chose without changing the stacking, and move/resize windows without changing their stacking either (unless I specifically want to).

The icing on the cake, to deal with rouge windows, a double click on the title bar centres the window, clears maximise if set, and makes the size 800x640.

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Anonymous Coward

@Will

That sounds like a really horrible setup. But if it works for you brilliant.

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Devil

Scopes and Lenses?

Dump the desktop metaphor. Dump any terminology that means anything to most of us. Introduce your own strange language and impose your strange design ideas. It's all getting rather cultish.

Never mind, there's plenty more Linux for us to choose from. Watch Ubuntu's share slip away...

[Still on 10.04 here]

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WTF?

That does it!

[quote]...searching for "Internet" to find applications that connect to the web...[/quote]

Is this for the utter, hopeless mentally retarded computer users ? Holly crap, even Microsoft treats their users with more respect than this!

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Go

Like Unity Hate Zeitgeist

"Zeitgeist is a service which logs the user’s activities and events (files

opened, websites visited, conversations held with other people, etc.) and

makes the relevant information available to other applications."

# Delete previous logging.

rm ~/.local/share/zeitgeist/activity.sqlite

zeitgeist-daemon --replace

# stop read or write

chmod -rw ~/.local/share/zeitgeist/activity.sqlite*

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Stop

OK so what do I run?

Deep, meaningful sigh. I feel like the Linux universe and I are drifting apart. It's not you, it's me.

I want a personal *NIX laptop system so I can

- run lots of terminal sessions

- have a pleasant, if old-school, development environment for casual programming (a little C, Java Perl etc)

- run Wireshark like the good lord intended

- use an X GUI that is somewhere between the balls-out lunacy of twm and motif and the childlike idiocy of Gnome and KDE. If you started twenty processes or ate a gig just to boot my GUI home screen, sorry, you just failed.

- use a reasonable package manager for those times when I just want something to work

I don't particularly want to ditch Linux, but the best contenders seem to be the BSDs. OpenBSD is super-lightweight for example. Is there a distro out there that meets all the above criteria?

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Bronze badge
Boffin

OS X is one possibility

As a long-term unix addict that spends all day every day in a terminal window, I find macs scratch that particular itch quite well. With the exception of package management (assuming you want open souce packages, not just programs in general), all of the things on your list work great on a stock mac, once you installed the developer tools off your OS disk.

In terms of packages, darwinports isn't perfect (they tend to lag behind current versions, sometimes ridiculously far), but it works for most things. And if they don't work, the old "sh configure;make install" method almost always works from a source tarball. I can't think of an open source package that I've not been able to install. Wireshark has a droll-bib installer for macs, so that's sorted for you.

Pick up a used mac mini and try it out, you'll like it if you like unix, and keeping it up-to-date couldn't be easier.

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Holmes

Not obvious

I've been ubuntuing for a while now (Dapper Drake was the first one I had a proper go with), but it does look like our journey together has come to an end. Still on 10.04, because I've not seen anything worth upgrading for since then.

While it's nice to see someone trying to improve on the desktop experience, why they're betting the farm on Unity beats me. The fact that I feel that I need someone to explain what the various bits of unity are for just highlights how badly designed it is - a desktop should just be obvious.

I'm not against change - Gnome 3 / Gnome Shell looks far more polished and sane. I'm quietly waiting for a couple of minor releases of that to smooth off the rough edges, and will then look at what's got that running on a Debian base.

And that's the wonderful thing about linux, if you don't like it, there's plenty of other options...

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Happy

No need to worry about Unity!

Open up a terminal, type:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-tweak-tool

Let it download, then reboot. At the login screen, click the little gear next to your login name and select "GNOME". Then it will log you in under the (imo) much better GNOME3. Good to have it in the repos now. If you're looking for GNOME2, then I think there is a repo somewhere...

(just for interest, here's my "getting started script"... the packages are off the top of my head, so just tweak them to work if they don't!

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install flashplayer-nonfree freemind gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-good pidgin gnome-shell gnome-tweak-tool xchat synaptic

that's what I used on my laptop last night, to get me going from a fresh install to ready to work. after I downloaded dropbox, that is...)

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Linux

It's only Wafer Thin

A Wafer Thin Mint Version without the nasty aftertaste of Unity!

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PBPBPBPBPBPBBBPBTTTTTTTT

I started Ubuntu with warty...

I stopped any thought of dIsUnity after 20 or so tries on 3 different computers. It is a piece of phone crap poorly executed with no redeeming value.

I have stayed with 10.10, and am hoping some one goes with a fork and makes it better.

For that crappy looking garbage all over the desk top....

PBPBPBPBPBPBBBPBTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!

None of the so called 'non-unity spin offs, are non-unity, which is a resource and cycle drag on the system. Warty was much cleaner and faster. Hell, Windows 7 is faster and cleaner... and only poorer security risk

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Linux Mint 11.04

Just like Ubuntu used to be but even better.

Gnome 2.3

Beautifully rendered UI.

Nice fonts.

Driver support.

Everything that used to be good about Ubuntu before they crapped all over their own product.

A promise to stick with Gnome 2.3.

Evolution not the 'out-ofthe-box' choice, but installable.

Synaptic still present.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Debian seems better aimed at end users these days...

...and I'm not talking about the 'fancy' GUI installer.

I gave up on Linux for my desktop some time ago and right now it only runs on several Internet servers. But that doesn't mean I'm not curious every once in a while; and for that I have MS Virtual PC. I know I can resort to stuff like a "free" VMWare client or a completely "free" VirtualBox (even though this one /is/ quite good) but I just cannot be bothered since Virtual PC does what I need.

So I tried Ubuntu but it simply won't boot. That is; it won't boot in X. It runs, sorta, and it seems to respond to lots of stuff. But all it leaves me is a blank screen (ofcourse CLI is no problem). CentOS is worse; that segfaults on me and continues in a reboot cycle.

Debian, to my utter surprise, is the only one so far which runs easily straight from within Virtual PC. And not merely a CLI installer; the 'fancy' GUI installer runs without any hassle what so ever. No drivers, no tweaking; just select the option and go.

I know you can't please 'm all, and I also know its hard to try and resolve any possible scenario out there. But considering how Ubuntu is targeted at the end user I must say to be surprised to find out that it won't run on Virtual PC what so ever, whereas its bigger brother does.

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Flame

what's the big deal anyway?

just install whatever WM you feel comfortable with and stop whining.

i use enlightenment e16, have been for the last so many years and cannot imagine working without it.

anyone who whines is just a sore windows/mac luser who still doesn't "get it". linux is all about choice and freedom to choose.

and if freedom to choose is too much for you to handle, just go back to being told what you can and cannot do.

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Anonymous Coward

@zanto

"and if freedom to choose is too much for you to handle, just go back to being told what you can and cannot do."

Was that supposed to be sarcastic? From the rest of your post I think not, but it should be.

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@AC

i was just pointing out that linux doesn't force you to use any particular interface. i've rarely used either gnome or kde or xfce. i have the *freedom* to choose and customize my desktop, even though i am just an average user.

i've used and continue to use enlightenment because it remains in my opinion, the fastest, most lightweight and configurable and also the most functional and least obtrusive WM period. in the past i've used redhat, mandrake, debian (both vanilla and knoppix), fedora and now ubuntu. and i've always used enlightenment. even if it wasn't part of the install cd/dvd it was just a few clicks/keystrokes away once your installation was complete.

so i really do not understand why the gnashing of teeth about unity replacing gnome. just go to the package manager and select which wm you want to use. as i've mentioned earlier, you can CHOOSE to use what you want to use.

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Meh

@zanto

I won't disagree about choice, but choice is not what is needed to get non-technical users to use Linux, and lots of non-technical users are what is needed to get the application and content providers to take note of Linux as a viable desktop.

Making it so you have to install non-standard applications in order to make it usable is not going to get you the critical mass of users, and will keep Linux in the hobbyist and technical space with no hope of going mainstream.

Canonical appear to have bet the farm on the new interface, hoping that the non-technical user will see the bling and want it, but quite frankly, unless they get a manufacturer to make it a pre-installed alternative to Windows, users will never see it to want it, and Microsoft will never allow one of their large OEMs to also offer Linux without applying their anti-competitive practices.

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Silver badge

UI design is dead

Looking at all the available desktop UI's out there the only conclusion that makes sense is that no-one now exists who has the right to call themselves a UI designer.

Not MS

Not Apple

Not *nix

All of them seem to have forgotten that ease of use and a minimal learning curve are the be all and end all.

Minimise buttons that are hidden?

FFS what's wrong with these people.

I truly think that the lunatics have taken over the asylum on all the OSes.

People want PC's and OSes that just work. They are tools not an end in themselves.

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Totally agree

What I think we are seeing here is something like "justifying your existence" or in this case job.

Having thought about the changes in the UI that have been introduced lately, i.e KDE 4 Gnome 3 and Unity, I think that they have basically run out of things to do with the, shall we say, conventional desktops and are frantically searching about for new ideas that will allow them to do "neat things". Unfortunately for them, they seem to failed to grasp what the user really needs, something that launches applications and allow maintenance of the users' system but basically gets out of the way. As they say in cricket "if you don't notice the wicket keeper, then he's doing his job."

I think that Xerox PARC got it right all those years ago, after all if you were to design a hammer from scratch I would put money on it looking like a hammer when you finished. They're just designing solutions looking for a problem.

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FAIL

Could have had a side menu for years but no-one did

Windows has always allowed its taskbar to be dragged to any edge of the screen, but I've never seen anyone move it from the bottom edge - so it's a solution looking for a problem.

Ubuntu will be the "Smartphone OS for PCs" for masses, anyone else more demanding will look elsewhere.

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