back to article Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Ubuntu's Unity interface is gone, which means there's one less desktop to choose from in Linux-land. And while dozens remain to choose from, Unity was one of the most polished out there. Many will miss its detail and design. One of the desktops that is nearly as well polished, and therefore worth Unity fans considering, is the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worth more than zero...except for me.

    Not going to lie....im a freeloader....as in I loaded this for $0

    I completely support their approach on pricing.

    People will pay 0 if offered and then justify it to themselves.

    But those same people will say its worth more than 0, but they are the special case that paid 0.

    Is the Lenovo yoga issue fixed? the touch pad and wireless?

    The wireless is the biggest pain as the yoga has no wired ports.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Worth more than zero...except for me.

      "Is the Lenovo yoga issue fixed? the touch pad and wireless?

      The wireless is the biggest pain as the yoga has no wired ports."

      That's an Ubuntu issue, maybe even a Debian issue.

      1. dmacleo

        Re: Worth more than zero...except for me.

        fwiw I have an older dell 1765 laptop and debian and ubuntu both do not work (wifi) after install (lucky I also have cat5 slot) yet linux mint always does.

        never really dug into it to see why, did some cursory looking, but always found it odd.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    Whole heartedly disagree with the findings of this article, although I fully accept everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I've used Elementary OS for the last 18 months, and I can say that in my testing (heavy, heavy testing - actually it's been my daily driver) that Elementary starts off lovely. It's pretty, does work sort of well, but over time it becomes buggy. Crashes all the time. Slingshot dies when it starts up leading to unresponsive toolbar on the desktop. It just slows down to a crawl, and I don't believe the Elementary developers do what the writer suggests by releasing something then ironing out the bugs. If anything, in my experience, an update is released and the performance/experience worsens.

    Be in no doubt that Elementary is very much an Ubuntu derived OS, with it's only claim to Debian being that Ubuntu is sort of derived from Debian.

    I will also point out that the way the Elementary team went about demanding money for their OS, designing the website in such a way where it looks/feels like you must contribute money, grates on me. How much of the money that is donated to Elementary finds it's way back to the coffers of the developers of Debian for example? Why should I part with hard earned cash for an OS that, quite frankly, isn't as reliable as the grandfather that it's loosely based on?

    There are other solutions to Ubuntu and the dismissal of Unity, but Elementary isn't one of them.

  3. Richard 22

    Wrong time to request payment

    Requiring (or even implying that it is required) payment at the point of download will put a lot of people off who are just curious. Even if they realise they can select 0, the approach is likely to grate. It seems more sensible to provide people with an easy donation mechanism once they start using the software - if they use it a lot and are happy with it, they may well donate, and may well donate more than once. Linux Mint follows this sort of philosophy and it seems to work fairly well for them.

  4. Dave 126 Silver badge

    I might start using a Linux distribution again - I haven't had need to use Photoshop or Solidworks for a while, and my HDD made a horrible scrunchy squeeky noise a few days back (I thought for a moment that a flesh and blood mouse was behind my laptop). Restoring my Win 7 image or installing a Linux distribution are about the same amount of faff.

    It's time I played with Blender, and to get to grips with a different slicing application for my long-neglected 3D printer (Slic3r was misbehaving on some STL files).

    Tempted to buy a new laptop, but the same money would buy a cheap and cheerful laser cutter from China.

    No urgency though, it's summertime!

    1. vmalep

      Backup your data!!! Because the noise produced by your HDD has nothing to do with the OS and your are more likely to experience a driver failure any times soon...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dave 126

      "Restoring my Win 7 image or installing a Linux distribution are about the same amount of faff."

      You are kidding right?

      Unless you are running WSUS locally installing Windows is always far slower in my experience than a full Linux install, that is before you go getting software, or latest drivers.

      OK 10 might seem to be installed pretty quickly but you probably find you can't restart the same evening in under an hour, or the next day it restarts three times before you can get to your mail.

      Anyway thanks for the chuckle.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        @Powernumpty

        That's not even taking in to account the ridiculously slow speed of windows update downloads. I installed Windows 7 for a friend the other day, it took over 3 hours to format, install OS and install updates - a good hour of that was downloading 600MB of updates, and that's with gigabit fibre internet.

        I suppose you don't get what you pay for...

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: @Powernumpty

          Don't worry, the HDD noise is definitely a hardware issue - the technical term is 'totally fucked' - and I never thought it was an OS issue. It's just that the event caused me to consider what I actually use the laptop for these days!

          I don't think I'll ever get on with The Gimp, but in the 3D realm, especially with respect to 3D physical output, there would appear to be done damned handy FOSS tools.

          Oh, I wouldn't reinstall Windows from scratch - I'd just restore the system image from external storage - about a twenty minute job by the time I've burnt a recovery CD to boot from.

          Right oh, time for the pub!

      2. dmacleo

        even with wsus installing win7 x64 sp1 still has about 300 updates to do and system needs multiple reboots before finished.

        run mix of win7, win10, mint 18.2 here, win clients on server 2012r2 with essentials role installed domain (with full wsus) so restore pretty simple. boot to network 30-45 minutes later system running.

        but fresh installs...win7 takes long time even with on premise wsus

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      For Linux, I recommend buying a used laptop through a reseller like Arrow Value Recovery. The ones with warranty offered on them are recent and not bashed up. The price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of a new.

      And most are business models so they are robust, have docking stations, stuff one usually pay quite a large sum for.

      The lapdog Being 2-3 years old even Debian will usually work out of the tin. Instead of wiping the windows it comes with, I replace the hard drive with a new SSD. My Lenovo's with core i5 will boot in about 5 seconds on an SSD. Very pleasing.

  5. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Stop

    Unity lives on a Yunit

    As with many things in the FOSS world, Unity has been forked as "Yunit":

    https://yunit.io/

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Unity lives on a Yunit

      in the spirit of the open source world, it's been taken over by those who still want it. good enough.

      now if Micro-shaft would only allow the forking of Windows 7...

      1. Anonymous IV
        FAIL

        Re: Unity lives on a Yunit

        > now if Micro-shaft would only allow the forking of Windows 7...

        Good heavens, NO! That would move vague consistency towards entropy, defined as "lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder."

  6. Doctor_Wibble
    Facepalm

    "An"? I had no idea!

    Saying 'an Ubuntu Unity close cousin' instead of 'a Ubuntu Unity close cousin' tells me something I should probably have known (or did and forgot again), specifically that 'Ubuntu' is pronounced 'oobuntu' and not 'yoobuntu'.

    Now I feel thick. More than usual anyway.

    Probably my fault, maybe I should have read the footnote on their website. At least back in the olden days you had Linus telling you how to properly pronounce "Linux" when you set up the sound card. Unless that was just Red Hat, which I'm now starting to doubt as to whether it was pronounced the way you would expect. "reed hut"? "rude hot"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "An"? I had no idea!

      Best pronunciation guide was from Donald Knuth in the TeX book explaining how pronounce TeX (its a hard 'ch' sound at the end as in "tech").... with the final comment that "when you say it correctly to your computer, the terminal may become slightly moist."

    2. g00se
      Linux

      Re: "An"? I had no idea!

      Unless that was just Red Hat, which I'm now starting to doubt as to whether it was pronounced the way you would expect. "reed hut"? "rude hot"?

      It's pronounced 'bread head'

      1. Doctor_Wibble
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "An"? I had no idea!

        > It's pronounced 'bread head'

        On the basis of numerous (many uncharitable) potential meanings beyond simply humourous sounds*, I shall simply state that this was the manager's choice and was therefore either a brilliant selection or my feeble excuse for only obeying orders...

        .

        * Because many will defend their favourite from the slightest slight with a great passion and I know some distros get flak for directions they took later. Unfortunately it's often hard to see where the flak was aimed so we end up with wishy-washy 50-50 responses like this one!

        1. frank ly Silver badge

          Re: "An"? I had no idea!

          I pronounce MATE as 'ma-chay' just to annoy everyone or make them worry that they've been saying it wrong.

          1. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: "An"? I had no idea!

            "I pronounce MATE as 'ma-chay' just to annoy everyone or make them worry that they've been saying it wrong."

            A certain podcast host pronounces it "ma-tay", and it's the single reason for me not donating anything to him.

            Say it properly if you're going to say it at all!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "An"? I had no idea!

            YES! I knew my investment in rubber gum shields for prouncing things correctly would pay off.

            Gercha gum shields, one for fifty pence five for a paaaahnd. Larvely jabbly, owoight lav wanna gum shield?

            Gercha gum shields! Tawk awl pwoppa loik. Five for a paaaahnd.

          3. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: "An"? I had no idea!

            "I pronounce MATE as 'ma-chay' just to annoy everyone or make them worry that they've been saying it wrong."

            just don't pronounce 'SQL' as 'sequel'

    3. Uffish

      Re: "An"? I had no idea!

      U buntu if you want to, it's a free country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "An"? I had no idea!

        Its pronaaanced...

        Oo ban ooo if you're a cockney wanker.

        So oo ban oo if yer won oo. Oight.

    4. Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan
      Headmaster

      Re: "An"? I had no idea!

      "Red Hat" is pronounced "reddit". That's why their website is "reddit.com". It's all written in javascript ( silent "script", it is pronounced "java" ) and HTML ( pronounced "hotmail" )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "An"? I had no idea!

        I use SOLR a lot at work. In our UK office, a decision seemed to have been made that this is pronounced "Sol. R" - like the latin name for the sun, followed by a big R. After meeting some of my US colleagues and a few SOLR consultants, apparently the "correct" pronunciation is "Sew Lar".

        And I'm not even northern, I say grARSE and not grASS (although grAF has stuck over grAAAARF thanks to one persistent geography teacher).

    5. Santa from Exeter
      Happy

      Re: "An"? I had no idea!

      According to a certain IBM gentleman, RHEL was pronounced R-Hell.

      He soon stopped when i started taking about I-Bum

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "that given a chance to get something for free we users would never pay for it"

    Yes, that's why most people use Linux, and whine about "proprietary" software in an attempt to get even more software without paying for it - while developers like to sell it because not everybody likes to live only of thin air. While many FOSS advocates would like to be paid handsomely just to get off the bed in the morning, preferably using someone else taxes. The "freedom" for many is just a finger to hide the greed.

    It happened mostly when getting wharez software became more difficult because of better copy protection, and getting online updates could give away the use of pirated software...

  8. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Fewer

    That is all.

  9. Sam Adams the Dog

    Omygod! You actually like the Mac OS Finder?

    I've been mainly a Mac user since (true confessions) 1985. I've simultaneously had Windows at home and at work, and for many years my main desktop at work was CentOS. More recently I was able to switch to Mac OS there, too (though I'm retired now).

    To me, the single worst feature of the Mac has been the Finder. Why can't we just have a hierarchical display of files in the column, as on Windows? OK, a list of favorites would be a cute enhancement, but as as the only option? No effin' way!

    My opinion only, but then again whose else could it be, right? Besides, IOAD™ ("I'm Only A Dog), so what do I know?

    -SATD.

    1. To Mars in Man Bras!
      Headmaster

      Re: Omygod! You actually like the Mac OS Finder?

      >Why can't we just have a hierarchical display of files in the column, as on Windows?

      You mean like 'List View' which is also present in OSX Finder, since forever?

      I'm no great fan of Finder [I use the more beefed-up 'Path Finder' on OSX] but one thing it does get right is Column View where the rightmost column provides a preview of the file content, and the built-in Quicklook allows you to tap the spacebar to bring up a larger preview window.

      I still don't understand why no Linux desktop has this built in as standard. Having to actually open a file to see what's in it is so bloody primitive!

  10. schmerg

    Try it out on gentoo

    layman -a elementary

    emerge -av pantheon

    ... ah, seems it expects to run on top of systemd.... maybe I'll give it a miss...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arch

    If unity users are ready to experience a new distro, I'd recommend giving Arch a spin. If Arch is too complicated for them, try the easier derivative Manjaro. Or if they are up for a real challenge and want to experience truly free GNU/Linux, try out the Arch derivative Parabola, my personal favorite. No proprietary software bits at all, including the kernel and the drivers.

    I find that a couple weeks with a pure, constantly updated rolling release distro is highly addictive for Linux folks. One of the huge hassles of distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc is having to reinstall the whole thing every six months to a year to stay up to date.

  12. ploppy

    Open source users *are* freetards

    "Maybe it's just me, but I find this UI irrationally irritating, because it implies that given a button that says "free" I would never choose to pay. To me that's depressing in its assumption of the worst in humanity – that given a chance to get something for free we users would never pay for it."

    Well as the author of a very popular open source file system I fully concur with that attitude. People and companies just won't pay and will bend over backwards not to pay,

    I have not received anything for the open source I wrote for the last 8 years. Nothing unless you count possibly 3 or 4 donations of less than $25 in 8 years.

    This is for a file system you will almost definitely have in a product and/or use indirectly when you use internet services (as it is used as a container file system in cloud).

    That's millions of installations. Bitter? You bet. I stopped developing it in 2014.

    Only recently I got approached by a major silicon valley internet company (revenue in billions of dollars) who wanted some advice. As usual they expressed "astonishment" when I refused to give it for nothing.

    You're all freetards.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Open source users *are* freetards

      This is why I hate Linux. Everything is expected to be free and so most apps are garbage that somebody occasionally maintains when bored. When an app asks for money, it's one of these donation buttons that pops up before a trial run and without any promises of support. Maybe it's a suspicious PayPal link that can't be verified in any way. It's not the right way to do it.

      Desktop Linux can never be a success until commercial software is socially accepted. Android became a success because it has both free and commercial software coexisting side-by-side. There's money to be made by building good Android apps with support. (yes, I buy them)

    2. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: Open source users *are* freetards

      Maybe there should be a Freetard Foundation, benefiting authors of free software. Freetards could donate or even leave money in their Wills. By then it's too late to complain, pointless to hold back. There can be no update, so far as Freetard X is concerned. The foundation would take care of different pay-in methods, tax receipts (if appropriate), apportioning. The money could go either to specified authors (these would probably not earn a charitable donation receipt) or to a generalized fund based on need. Bigger complication is the multiple jurisdictions. And of course you'd need careful rules so that Google, Amazon, MS, Apple etc couldn't start claiming funds. Some authors are adamant that they should not be paid and that too needs to be accommodated.

      There may be a need for such an overarching foundation even at more organized levels. For example, people all over the world are interested in helping the Internet Archive (especially after they fix the bug where pages are hidden due to a post hoc robots.txt that has a completely different purpose), but they are a charitable donation only in the USA.

      None of this will help the poster, but oh well.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >which very obviously apes OS X's Finder (one of the better file browsers out there in my view)

    I was taking this article seriously until I read that. Then I fell about laughing on the floor and had to be brought oxygen and smelling salts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ...one of the better file browsers

      Yep, because I only ever browse files to rename them! WTaF!? Is that about, return or double click "renames"??

      I've recently been given a Crapbook Pro as I've started work in a SW house and "that's all devs want" Well, they're probably OK for editing text files once you have Atom installed, but for actual work, OSX is utter shite. Even Libre Office doesn't work right. And no delete key FFS!

      Sorry, off topic

      /rant

      PS

      OSX is getting blitzed this weekend and Linux installed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...one of the better file browsers

        "OSX is getting blitzed this weekend and Linux installed."

        You'll still have a crippled keyboard. Might as well sneak in a Thinkpad or similar. When folks ask you "what kind of Macbook is that?", tell them its an experimental new laptop that Apple has asked you to beta-test.

        1. itzman

          Re: ...one of the better file browsers

          years ago

          " why not write it in C"?

          " you cant write C on an apple II"

          "why not?"

          "there are no '{}'s on the keyboard...

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge

          Re: ...one of the better file browsers

          tell them its an experimental new laptop that Apple has asked you to beta-test.

          Ohhh, come on, thinkpads look nothing like polished MacBooks. Like bringing a Lada to a Range Rover gathering ....

          PS: I might buy a MacBook when they sell them without soldered RAM/SSD.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...one of the better file browsers

        Fn + backspace works as delete on a Mac

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...one of the better file browsers

        "And no delete key FFS!"

        On Macs, fn + delete is the del key. Like fn + arrows are page up/down, home and end. Works like that in Linux too. Doesn't worry me at all, and I use both OS X and Linux (various flavours) daily.

  14. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Facepalm

    >Yep, because I only ever browse files to rename them! WTaF!? Is that about, return or double click "renames"??

    * Double click on the icon launches the app

    * Doubleclick on the filename beside the icon edits filename

    * Select icon and hit RETURN also edits filename

    But don't let the fact you don't know how it works stop you complaining about it being broken!

  15. fredesmite

    Fedora or die

    Ubuntu is a horrible distro

  16. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    I don't know about Elementary being similar to Unity, I think it looks more like Gnome 3.0. Last time I tried to use it I ran into driver issues with the installer and it wouldn't work regardless of how hard I tried. Maybe I'll give it another shot. A new user-focused Linux distro is generally a good idea.

    1. Paper

      I too ran into driver and software installation issues and quickly switched back to gnome shell Ubuntu.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KDE

    or maybe LXDE.

    Yer all wankers.

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