back to article Natty Narwhal with Unity: Worst Ubuntu beta ever

Last year, Mark Shuttleworth christened Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal", saying the disto would be stylish and create a good, lasting first impression. While its debut in beta form is smart looking and definitely chases the fashion in operating-system design it's also the single worst beta release of Ubuntu I've ever tested. …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    What goes around, comes around

    Over the past few years the press has been 'Ubuntu this... Ubuntu that....".

    Perhaps their bubble has burst and Unity is one step too far.

    I am sure that the other community distros will welcome with open arms any disaffected Ubuntu users come the release of 11.04.

    Either that or return to your natural home, Debian.

    The grenade is for the Ubuntu can do no wrong fanbois.

  2. Chika
    Linux

    Narwhals, narwhals, swimming in the ocean...

    "Ubuntu has always offered a bit more polish to its interfaces than other Linux distros, which is perhaps part of the reason this beta feels so woefully inferior to its predecessors. Unity has potential, but it's tough to escape the feeling that it just isn't ready yet."

    I think this paragraph sums up this article. You could read the first bit as "Ubuntu takes care of its front end better than other distros" or "Ubuntu is more tarted up than other distros" so means very little and the second part would seem to underline the fact that this is a beta release and, as most folk should be aware, a beta often contains flaws of this nature no matter who is doing the code work.

    In other words, and forgive this cynical openSUSE user's opinion here, we shouldn't read too much into this until we at least reach the release candidates. I'm not Umbongo's biggest fan but I'd at least like them to get a fair go before we harpoon the narwhal.

    Now I just have to get Weebl's "Narwhal" song out of my head!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Repeat ad nauseum

    "Hopefully Canonical will sort out the various bugs before the final release, but even if they do, missing features may well make Ubuntu [INSERT_CURRENT_VERSION] a release best waited out"

    I love it how these guys are still acting like there's no competition. As long as they can depend on a rabid fanbase of long-haired freetards, Linux is never going to go anywhere.

    1. Sam Liddicott

      rather rabid too

      that was rather a rabid post, if you don't mind me saying so

    2. Tom Wood

      Or

      "Hopefully [COMPANY] will sort out the various bugs before the final release, but even if they do, missing features may well make [PRODUCT] [INSERT_CURRENT_VERSION] a release best waited out"

      Anyone remember Windows ME? Or Vista?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      "rabid fanbase of long-haired freetards"

      Well I know 7 people using Ubuntu, including me, none of us have long hair and none of us use Ubuntu exclusively, using combinations of OSX and Windows. We work in various IT areas from Windows based front-end web development to back room unix system admin.

      You need to slip off the blinkers and realise that life is not all as black'n'white as you seem to think, there are a hell of a lot of fuzzy grey areas!

    4. Rex Alfie Lee
      Linux

      You are a dik...

      Firstly, linux runs on far more hardware than any other OS. It runs on most super comps or mainframes as well as small hardware not to mention Android enough is just a version of Linux. So what is your point, dik-boy?

    5. Rex Alfie Lee
      Grenade

      No ideals, no integrity...

      The fact that software advocates have some integrity & belief in what they do only goes to show what a small-minded cretin you are. If you an understanding of the reasons they do what they do & you still didn't respect them then you are a fool as well. The software you buy today is made much cheaper because of them & the choices available. Don't be an arse-hole...

      1. Crofty616
        WTF?

        "So what is your point, dik-boy?"

        Wow....you know...ah why bother : /

        1. LaeMing Silver badge
          FAIL

          dik-boy

          Because the greatest inuslt any male can receive is being called out on his posession of a penis?

    6. Michael 28
      Happy

      Unity was on netbook remix 10.10, if i remember correctly..

      ... and works ok on my aspire one fine.. not too keen on it. Still ,it works !

      Don't quite understand this post...competition for what? Market share? Hearts and minds?...

      and as for the "rabid fanbase of long-haired freetards" .. last time I looked at the financials, this demographic wasn't the one with the personal hygiene issues.

  4. Pawel 1
    FAIL

    Give it another try

    Problem is it runs gnome settings converter at a few boots after install which eats all the ram for some stupid reason and causes the kernel to kill random processes (which it displays as "crash"). It is actually a single, but rather critical bug you're seeing. Boot it, leave it for half an hour (and re-login if you a message that it crashed. )

    1. Anton Ivanov
      Grenade

      Seconded

      However this means that yet another lesson of the KDE 3->4 trainwreck has not been learned.

      KDE3->4 settings converter was similarly a total disaster (on par with KDE4 itself).

      In any case, it looks like for people who want their desktop to work and no eye candy the choice is now between xfce4 and xfce4. Long live the variety and differences between the all-mighty proper desktop environments (all of them equally unusable).

      1. Rex Alfie Lee
        FAIL

        Have you tried it recently?

        I think not our you wouldn't speak with such a commanding understanding of something you know nothing about...

  5. Mark McC
    Linux

    I don't think I'll ever like Unity

    I remember spending an afternoon with a Win 7 beta tinkering with all the cool things the new taskbar allowed me to do, and consistently being surprised as I discovered more and more nifty features.

    Having spent the same amount of time with Unity it's a case of running into more and more things I expect to work that simply don't or aren't there at all.

    First thing was trying to move it to the bottom of my main monitor. I have 2 monitors with the right-most one being my primary, so by default Unity sits in the middle(!) of my screens. The solution? There isn't one, it's impossible to move it!

    Now maybe I'm just silly for having my primary monitor on the right and should move it to the left. Oh, except I used to have it that way but Ubuntu's bizarro notifications system (you know, the one that 4 releases later still doesn't allow you to click on a notification) then popped up all it's messages half-way off the very top right corner of my second monitor, prompting the change.

    I hope to see some improvements in Unity but given the recent lack of improvement to every other hastily introduced element in the last 2-3 iterations I doubt it. Official policy seems to be to introduce a badly thought through element in each new release, then abandon any work on improving it in favour of adding another new half-baked UI element.

    1. ricegf2

      It's a feature

      @Mark: "Ubuntu's bizarro notifications system (you know, the one that 4 releases later still doesn't allow you to click on a notification)"

      It's different than Windows, but not a bug as you imply.

      One thing that always bothers me with Windows is that, as I'm typing and working away, notifications pop up and grab focus. This results in two problems - the first Enter I hit clears the notification (which I may not have even seen), and focus then returns to the system rather than the app I was using. Since I touch type, I can lose quite a lot of text before realizing that Windows has removed focus from the app of interest due to a notification.

      Ubuntu's system solves my problem, and so I prefer it's approach.

      YMMV, but you shouldn't assume that Windows == Right, or that one approach is best for all users. Use cases in the real world just aren't that tidy and distinct among a large user base.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: It's a feature

        "Since I touch type, I can lose quite a lot of text before realizing that Windows has removed focus..."

        Doesn't sound like touch-typing if you're looking at your fingers instead of the screen.

        1. Chris Pollard
          FAIL

          Please enter a title

          If he can touch type then he doesn't need to look at the screen or keyboard does he.

  6. irw
    Thumb Up

    Quote of the month?

    "GNOME-like bar at the top of the desktop, which looks like a GNOME bar, quacks like a GNOME bar, but is definitely not a GNOME bar."

    1. Sam Liddicott

      The Gnome Bar

      Tasty chocolate covered gnomes

      1. Ian McNee
        Coat

        Mmm...yummy Gnome Bars!

        And even better dipped in open sauce :-p~

        <apologies>

      2. Chika
        Coffee/keyboard

        With nuts?

        And a creamy filling too?

        Mmmmm!

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues
          Joke

          Must refrain... Must... stay... calm...

          I´ll make it. I´ll make it....

          mwahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! Epic fail for me: didn´t make it.

          Too many jokes, too many jokes.

          You owe me a new keyboard, mouse and chair. :D

  7. Slow Joe Crow
    Linux

    This is why I use Xubuntu

    I have never liked Gnome (mostly due to Nautilus) and while I used KDE for years, the change from 3.5 to 4 lost me when I couldn't do some of the things I used to do and the rest became harder. XFCE was a revelation, fast light, and a file manager (Thunar) that didn't irritate me. SO now I use Xubuntu on one box and Fedora with XFCE on the other box ad grit my teeth when I have to use Gnome. I also found the pseudo OS X look of Ubuntu 10.10 annoying, but a theme change in Gnome or switching XFCE banishes it.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Seconded

      Same here. After 9 years with KDE I similarly went the xfce4 route and I will never look back.

    2. vic 4
      Happy

      Why not all three on one machine?

      Why not have gnome, kde and xfce on one machine/one installation and simply choose which one you want for your session when you login?

      1. gerryg

        @vic 4

        which is extraordinarily easy to do if you use openSUSE, and you can have FVWM too

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up

      XFCE ftw

      Honestly, I started running this on resource limited machines a while back and have not looked back since.

      Of course, I have to say, gnome and KDE do not please me much, and there's always a terminal open no matter what I run so take from that what you will.

  8. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Yea but

    I installed it yesterday and I have to agree it's rough around the edges.

    On the plus side the graphics are as fast as hell and I don't have a brilliant card in this laptop.

    Just for this reason I may stick with it when the release becomes stable.

  9. keithpeter
    Go

    linux = lego

    Remember everyone that Linux = Lego. You don't have to use default Ubuntu and you can go for minimal with a basic desktop manager like dwm or ice or fluxbox or openbox. ICE reminds me of windows 2000 of which I have fond memories (as a supported end user). S*it off a shovel fast and customisable key bindings.

    More important to me than Unity shenanigans and Ive Envy is continued kernel support for older hardware (apm &c)

    1. frymaster

      not wrong but...

      you're not wrong, but the default experience is still critically important. All new users, and I suspect even a very large proportion of existing users who upgrade, will judge ubuntu on what it chooses to present to them, and why shouldn't they?

      This doesn't affect me so much since my main experience of ubuntu is via ssh terminal ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: You don't have to use default Ubuntu

      I suspect a lot of the people Ubuntu is trying to win over - won't know or understand this, so if the default is bad they will revert to previous version/move on

    3. Random Handle

      @Keith

      >Remember everyone that Linux = Lego. You don't have to use default Ubuntu and you can go for minimal with a basic desktop manager like dwm or ice or fluxbox or openbox

      You could make the same argument with Windows, but the % of folk who replace the bundled Explorer shell with stuff like SharpEnviro is fractional - its worth the effort, but definitely a niche thing. Most people stick with minimal customisation of whatever ships.

  10. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down

    lots of talk but

    No-one has explained how Unity integrates with GDM. On nearly every linux system I've used you can install alternative desktops and switch between them at the login screen. No-one in any review has told me whether Unity works like that, or whether Gnome, KDE, etc. become mysteriously unavailable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They have told you!

      Or maybe you just missed the stuff I happened not to miss.

      You can log into a "Ubuntu Classic" session --- Gnome.

      (Or so they tell me: it's what I get anyway as all this Unity stuff doesn't seem to work at all in my VirtualBox VM)

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        ta

        so why all the apocalyptic panicking?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Possibly because...

          You can do this now, but they plan to leave gnome out altogether very soon.

          Still not apocalyptic, I grant you, as it will be installable --- but there will be a lot of people who will will see a quick few clicks in the package manager as "having to write 200 lines of code before I can even use the thing, which is why Linux is not ready for blah blah blah"

          But it will be a hassle, especially for those who have put a lot of work into crafting their desktop the way *they* want it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Unity

    6 months to develop it was no where near long enough. I know, it was in the netbook version first, but it was a dog on that.

    What they should have done is have unity at RC quality by 11.04. They could have released it parallel to the last version to serve gnome 2.x. and tested and improved it for the whole 6 months and present it as "new" for 11.10 with very few other changes. But canonical have always had a shoot first ask questions later approach.

    What is a real shame is all those things we've been promised in ubuntu that have never happened. Things like power management, which if done properly could have made Ubuntu a really good choice on notebooks. Also a new theme. Something about a linux distro being purple is just stupid. (let's be honest, 99% of the users are 20-40 males, purple not being the most heterosexual colour..)

    Seems it's becoming time to look at derivatives of the derivative. Ubuntu was great, but unity is just sloppy.

    1. Havin_it
      WTF?

      lolWHUT?

      Purple is GHEY? Who's going to break this to Prince? Rather you than me!

      I'm mystified by your colour-sexuality thesis, but just to run with it for a minute, what then is the sexual orientation of the old brown livery?

      1. Walking Turtle
        Linux

        Snookie & the Rainbow

        ..."what then is the sexual orientation of the old brown livery?"

        .

        Or for that matter the KDE3.x "Pumpkin" theme?

        .

        YMMV of course. But for my own time=money the ol' 'Keramik' theme with a twist of Pumpkin color-scheme is The Thing. The app-window elements' coloration falls somewhat near the middle of the visible spectrum (thus no eyestrain at all) and the additional Keramik Window Control 'Decorations' (especially the 'Keep Below/Above" and "Windowshade" buttons really help the day along.

        .

        Fact: In actual small-model field tests, KDE3.5.10(final) proves the most *stable* and easily transitioned-to desktop suite of them all thus far. Prior Redmond-users seem to adapt somewhat instinctively to their most-familiar forms and functions on the New-made Linux Box right away. The comments of "Gee, I always *WISHED* my computer would do this - and now it does!" that subsequently emerge are very sweet to the ear too.

        .

        In comparison to which, all other desktop-suite baubles 'n' notions be mere Experimental Eye Candy and Proof of Concept - at least on full-size desktop boxen (this year).

      2. Peter Kay

        Purple=bi

        Google 'bisexual flag'

        homosexual=pink

        heterosexual=blue

        bisexual=purple

        Brown is simply for people without taste, or possibly those with leanings scatological..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          Do women count?

          Dude, lots of Hetero women like Pink. Where do they figure in your scheme?

          1. CollyWolly

            Lots of women

            "Dude, lots of Hetero women like Pink. Where do they figure in your scheme?"

            Lots of women don't use Linux either.

      3. Sadie
        Coat

        Somerset College of Art and Technology

        That of the 2 girls with one cup?

    2. Rex Alfie Lee
      FAIL

      Anonymous coward speaks for everyone...

      What do you know about that allows you to make the judgements you make? As far as I can tell you've made the whole lot up & know little. I'm not your 20 to 40 range but I fit the rest of your ideal 99%-ile & straight but I love the purple & another asked what sexuality does brown represent? Effluent perhaps? If not brown then what?

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      It's not that it's purple that bugs me...

      ...it's the blotches of other colours that make me want to reach for a screen degausser, until I remember that that has not been a problem for 20 years on CRT screens, and has never been a problem on flat-panel monitors.

      And at least on the login screen, it is not obvious how to change it.

      Yes, I've done it now, so I don't need anyone to tell me, but it should not be difficult on an OS aimed at ordinary users.

  12. Number6

    Yuk

    I looked at that screenshot and my immediate reaction was "yuk". I don't think I'll be using that desktop for some time.

  13. kissingthecarpet
    Thumb Down

    This is depressing

    I hope none of this rubs off on Debian's rep - this Ubuntu version sounds like the Anti-Debian.

  14. The Envoy
    Unhappy

    Yikes!

    And I was looking forward to this release. That is, until I'd read this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Can Ubuntu ever be taken seriously?

      ... while each release continues to be stricken with a silly name? Nutty Narwhal, indeed!

      1. A J Stiles
        Stop

        Did your mother never tell you?

        Resorting to personal insults (including questioning personal hygiene, sexuality or parenthood) means you have lost the argument.

      2. Rex Alfie Lee
        Joke

        Natty Narwhal, a silly name?

        But your name is Anonymous Coward? Who are you to comment?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I foresee a drop in Ubuntu takeup

    "...choose "Keep in Launcher." Yes, it's not that hard, but it's also three steps more complicated than every other OS on the market."

    And when your desired app doesn't feature a "Keep in Launcher" option, how many more steps does it take?

    Ubuntu had a large (relative to other distros) appeal to the uninitiated as it would generally install and be useable just by going for all the default options. The change to (dis)Unity may be easy enough to undo for those with a little bit of knowhow, the rest may well migrate to Mint or something similar that gives them what they want out of the box.

    1. Rob Beard
      Unhappy

      I've already migrated

      I've already migrated. I've been an Ubuntu user since the first release and always recommended it. The window control changes in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS annoyed me, but I stuck with it and got used to them but this... well it's just a step too far for me now.

      I'm now running Linux Mint. I didn't like the changes from Gnome at first but I've got used to it and now I recommend Linux Mint instead (either the Gnome edition for higher spec machines or the LXDE edition for lower spec machines, or saying that even reasonable spec machines, was really quick running off a USB stick on a laptop with a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 1GB Ram, quicker even than Linux Mint Gnome edition on my usual laptop with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and 4GB Ram).

      It's a shame really, I just wished they would have left it as is, or made another version for Unity.

      Oh well... back to Linux Mint I guess (and maybe eventually Debian).

      Rob

      1. Dimitri
        Thumb Up

        And there's other debian derivatives too

        Don't forget that there's a new version of Mint that's based on Debian rather than ubuntu...

        I think its possible the mint folks are hedging their bets in case Ubuntu jumps the shark... in any case the point is, there's other Debian derivatives with nice user friendly UIs out there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      re: I foresee a drop in Ubuntu takeup

      Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will be supported for another couple of years yet, anyone who wants the "traditional" front end and no messing about can use that until they get Unity sorted. No big deal.

    3. elderlybloke
      Pint

      A Drop ?

      Mr Anon 1 April 22.42 GMT,

      Detractors keep up this verse on each release, but Ubuntu keeps on getting more popular.

      Now about 60% of Linux uses on on Ubuntu.

      Be Happy, don't worry.

      1. Vic

        60%?

        > Now about 60% of Linux uses on on Ubuntu.

        Where did you get that statistic?

        Most of the server farms I see don't use Ubuntu...

        Vic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: Most of the server farms I see don't use Ubuntu...

          As this is an article/discussion about the popularity of the Ubuntu desktop I think it's a fair assumption that he's talking about desktop users, not servers.

  16. copsewood
    Linux

    Plenty of options

    I've used Unity on Ubuntu Netbook remix for 6 months. It's been better than Gnome desktop there, due to less memory and CPU speed than on your typical desktop, though I'm really not sure about this being ready for prime time on the desktop.

    Which still leaves 3 options:

    a. apt-get install unbuntu-desktop

    b. choose classic at the login screen

    c. stay with the 10.04 LTS release until the 12.04 LTS comes out and more of the Unity bugs have been shaken out.

  17. Patrick O'Reilly

    Thanks

    Looks like I'll be finally giving KDE4 a whirl.

    1. Chika
      Linux

      KDE4

      Well, you won't have too much trouble. KDE4.6 as it is, at least as far as I've tried it so far on openSUSE 11.4, is a big improvement over what has gone before and isn't quite the resource hog it once was. I suspect that Kumbongo's version will be pretty similar minus the SUSE bits plus its own tarting up.

      Personally, I'm still not totally sold on it and still have KDE3.5.10 on call (yes, openSUSE 11.4 can still have it if you are prepared to do the work to load it up!)

  18. K. Adams
    Boffin

    The world's going mobile...

    Ubuntu designed Unity with today's man-machine interface/interactivity changes in mind. The goal behind Unity is to design an environment that is at home on larger touch-based devices like tablets, but still works well on full-fledged workstations. I like the ideas behind Unity, but I agree with the author that it's not ready for general use (yet), and it needs some added flexibility.

    The GNOME organisation, on the other hand, just doesn't seem to get it. It seems like GNOME.org is changing things (especially with regard to its migration to Gnome Shell) for the sake of changing things, and is tired of doing things a certain way because "everyone else does it that way."

    In a post on the Linux Mint forums:

    -- -- http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=38536&start=0

    I expounded on why GNOME.org is doing what it's doing, and included this excerpt from Lucas Rocha's blog:

    -- -- http://blogs.gnome.org/lucasr/2008/06/15/notes-on-the-future-of-gnome-problems-and-questions/

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- EXCERPT BEGINS -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    Position is about where we place GNOME in the innovation ecosystem. So far, the relationship between GNOME and distributors is so that we release our official modules (organized inside the desktop, platform, admin, devtools and bindings suites) and distributors adapt and package those modules to integrate in their systems. Normally, they also add a bunch of modules that were (fully or partially) developed with GNOME platform but are not officially part of GNOME suites. Then, when everything is integrated and stable, distributors release their products with GNOME. This model has two interesting aspects.

    The first one is: GNOME is invisible to users. From end-users perspective, they are using Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Foresight, Debian, Gentoo, (add-your-favorite-distro-here) on their personal computers, not GNOME. (Note that I’m not talking about geeky users but about real end-users who don’t know much about technology). This is (and will be) even stronger on consumer products using GNOME platform such as internet tablets, cell phones, PDAs, etc. To verify that, just pretend you’re just an end-user and have a look at the websites of most of desktop distros: they talk about desktop but rarely mention GNOME. (Note that I’m not making any judgements about this here. I’m trying to just bring the fact to the table).

    The second aspect is that distributors redefine the user experience. Most of distributors change in some way the default GNOME desktop to fit and integrate nicely with their products. openSUSE has a completely different panel layout and use gnome-main-menu. Most of distros use Firefox instead of Epiphany. Latest releases of the major desktop distros ship with Compiz by default instead of Metacity. Also, they integrate desktop modules that are not directly provided by GNOME: Pidgin for instant messaging, Rhythmbox or Banshee for music management, F-Spot or GThumb for photo management, Beagle or Tracker for desktop search, and the long list continues.

    So, based on those aspects, what can we say? First: even with our current development process where we release suites of official modules to distributors, it’s not clear inside GNOME whether we are “user experience definers” or “component providers for custom user experiences”.

    ... ... ... (paragraphs excluded for some brevity) ... ... ...

    This makes us stay in a unclear position: we kind of define the experience – but only on certain topics (this has a lot to do with the lack of a defined audience and our development process). That brings me the following questions:

    1. Should GNOME be a “user experience definer” or “component provider”? Do we need to choose?

    2. Does the GNOME decisions about the official modules really matter? If so, at what level?

    My answers to those questions are:

    1. We should be component providers – but in a special way. In my opinion, we should platformize the user experience in a way that our modules can be easily reused in different contexts or products. In practice, this means: providing highly configurable and pluggable core components; ... refreshed toolkit which embeds sexy UI elements and interactions; and more. In order to properly be component providers, we would need to provide a super-powerful platform though. ...

    2. Yes, our module decisions matter. But they only *really* matter if they are related either to platform or to the “core” desktop components (panel, session, nautilus, keyring, settings daemon, capplets, etc).

    So, in reality, the ecosystem around GNOME is demanding a lot of flexibility in the platform and desktop – specially from stakeholders producing mobile devices and other custom user experiences based on GNOME.

    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- EXCERPT ENDS -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    GNOME.org seems to be of the opinion that the whole desktop paradigm is broken, that people are still single-taskers (Gnome Shell makes you jump through a few hoops to open more than one discreet instance of the same application), that smart tags and behind-the-scenes indexing should essentially completely replace hierarchical application/document organisation, and that second, third, etc. monitors are superfluous (Gnome Shell is at present almost completely unusable on multi-monitor rigs).

    IMHO, the only advantage to GNOME.org's current slate of work is that they've gone a long way toward cleaning up GTK/GTK+ and making things more consistent at the application/component library level with GNOME 3.x. (It should be noted that GNOME 3.x does not equate to Gnome Shell. GNOME 3.x is a framework; Gnome Shell is a desktop environment/manager.)

    Unity is an interesting thing "to play with," and has some neat brainstorming behind it, but still needs a lot of work. So until it has a few major revisions under its belt, I'll stick with good ol' GNOME 2.x, with its "legacy" desktop paradigm that, for all intents and purposes, pretty much works the way I want it to, without getting in the way...

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      No such beast.

      > The goal behind Unity is to design an environment

      > that is at home on larger touch-based devices like

      > tablets, but still works well on full-fledged workstations.

      Except this is a fundementally stupid idea. They are radically different means to interact with the system. The idea that you should enforce some sort of "foolish consistency" is a completely alien and un-unix approach. If you want to be trendy and develop a new interface for the shiny new tablets then knock yourself out. Just don't try to overlay this on top of a radically different form factor.

      I don't want a UI for a 10 inch tablet on my 30 inch monitor.

      Might be a good idea to figure out something to do with those tablets that you can plug into your PC that they sell at the local electronics store though or how to exploit these tablets as alternate input devices.

      Turning my desktop into Canonical's take on the iPad is not cool.

      If anything, this seems like a flashback to Windows 3.1.

    2. AdamWill
      Stop

      Whut?

      "that people are still single-taskers (Gnome Shell makes you jump through a few hoops to open more than one discreet instance of the same application)"

      Your evidence doesn't match your accusation. Opening multiple instances of a single application is not the normal 'multitasking' case, after all. This behaviour is made less accessible in GNOME 3 because it's unusual, rarely necessary, and often accidentally invoked, not because of anything to do with multitasking. The idea is that, for most applications, one instance is enough, and you can manage multiple documents / images / whatever from within the application.

      "that smart tags and behind-the-scenes indexing should essentially completely replace hierarchical application/document organisation"

      You provide precisely no data to support this accusation, and it's especially baffling considering that GNOME 3 doesn't *have* any smart tags or behind-the-scenes indexing.

      "and that second, third, etc. monitors are superfluous (Gnome Shell is at present almost completely unusable on multi-monitor rigs)"

      You might want to try the *actual* latest version, and revise that opinion; the multi-monitor support was heavily revised this week.

      1. Vic

        Multiple instances...

        [Of opening multiple instances of an application]

        > it's unusual, rarely necessary, and often accidentally invoked

        Really?

        How many browser windows are you currently runnig? How many terminals?

        Vic.

        1. AdamWill
          Stop

          One of each

          See topic. Each one has a shit ton of *tabs*, though.

          (Also, see the bit about how that can be managed from within the app itself? All web browser and terminal apps I've ever seen have a 'New Window' entry in the File menu. Which does what you actually want - a new window owned by the same process, saving resources - than what you don't really want - a new process, wasting twice the memory.)

          1. Vic

            I can't work like that.

            > One of each

            That's no good to me. I want data onscreen, not hidden every time I change my context slightly.

            I currently have 17 Firefox windows open over 4 workspaces. On this machine...

            > Each one has a shit ton of *tabs*, though.

            As do mine.

            > All web browser and terminal apps I've ever seen have a 'New Window' entry in the File menu.

            That's fine. I still want a new window when I select one, though.

            > Which does what you actually want

            I can select "new window" from inside Firefox, or I can press the Firefox button. Both do the same thing. Both do exactly what I want.

            But in the event that an application doesn't do it the way I really want - yes, if I've selected another instance, I bloody well want it to create one. My computers are here to do my bidding, not try to tell me what I actually wanted.

            Vic.

  19. Johnny Canuck
    Linux

    This is not a title

    For those of you not ready for Unity, just wait a bit longer for the next Linux Mint! Really, Mint rocks!

  20. cd
    Linux

    Pinguy

    I've been installing Pinguy instead. Based on Mint OS, so has Flash, etc. already installed. Works very well, novices are mostly getting it when they apporach it for the first time. I'm not totally sold on universal menus, but for some it works. We need a "BOFH does Ubuntu" story on the Reg soon.

  21. Dylan McCall

    Out of date…

    “...choose "Keep in Launcher." Yes, it's not that hard, but it's also three steps more complicated than every other OS on the market.”

    I think that sums up what is wrong with your article. You claim to be reviewing the beta, but this issue has been fixed for a good while now. Please understand that Unity is _continually_ being improved; if something bit you two weeks ago and you are writing a review now, check if it's still there, because there's a good chance it isn't :)

    In addition, your screenshot is not of the Unity that is being shipped in the beta. (I don't feel like checking, but I think that's an earlier Unity 2d…). It highlights a rather charming issue with ellipses that has since been resolved.

    This isn't to say I think Ubuntu does no wrong, (and there are definitely many aspects of Unity that make me shudder), but it would be much more useful for everyone if your article was factually accurate.

  22. Christopher E. Stith
    WTF?

    Cangratulations on duplicating PM.

    It's nice to see Ubuntu almost has OS/2's presentation manager only 20 years later. I must wonder, though, with all those billions if it would've just been faster and cheaper to buy eComStation and actually have all of OS/2 to open source. Oh, or maybe if the dock's the big feature someone should give the folks making WindowMaker and GNUStep a ring.

  23. Tom 38 Silver badge

    I'll stick with GNOME thanks

    At least on my desktop and laptop. I've used GNOME for a long time now, I know where things go, its fast, it doesn't make me use 3D nonsense for 'productivity'.

    Basically all I want from a desktop is a way to launch apps, have multiple desktops, and then stay the fuck out of my way.

    But then I don't even run a desktop RSS reader, for those kind of users who want to be distracted away from youtube every time some one posts a tweet, maybe this is perfect.

  24. Uwe Dippel
    Thumb Down

    As a long-term Unity user, I need to agree

    It doesn't work on netbook, actually.

    I have lots of trouble with it. The described 'keep in launcher' is all fine, it is only three steps. But it is a known fact, that if you install anything else, and you put it in the classical menu, you can't run it, because it won't how in Searches, and if you manage to run it, it will just *not* show that option to keep it in the launcher. That's a fact, and also a bug report.

    If this isn't solved by release, Ubuntu is a goner.

  25. Uwe Dippel
    Thumb Up

    One more to go

    While I think that the unity experience is an overall s***ty one for me so far, I need to add that Unity has enormous potential. Try it, at least, with an open mind, and tell me, why it shouldn't work on any size of screen (Android anyone?), and with keyboard (only), mouse, graphic tablet or just touchscreen. That's what its potential is. It might be light-years ahead in being agnostic to the method of it being accessed. Though I am currently a KDE-user, and love a number of things on KDE, I don't seem the b*****d Germans getting it. I filed some RFEs to operate the desktop without the traditional right-click-left-click s**t, and was promptly shot down. It doesn't even operate properly with a graphic tablet.

    I might add that I'm a German myself, and would have wished KDE more success, and more potential.

  26. joekr
    FAIL

    One word..terrrible

    I love linux and it's my primary OS. Been using Mint for over a year now and it's been great. I was somewhat intrigued about the beta and decided to give it a shot last night. Unity is a disaster. Even for a beta. Navigation and usability are horrible, the inability to move the main menu bar sucks for righties (lefties win this battle) and while I COMPLETELY understand it's a beta, my i5, 6Gb ram, intel SSD and intel HD video card are pretty freaking standard, it was crashalicious constantly. Never mind the fact that finding apps/settings is like nothing I've ever witnessed in Windows, OS X or linux..painful.

    Reformatted back to Mint and am once again a satisfied linux user.. Canonical need to get it's sh!t together asap. In it's present form, it's a big steaming pile of crap.

  27. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    KDE 3 is alive and K←Ticking

    KDE 4 delayed my upgrade to squeeze until I found http://www.trinitydesktop.org/

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spectacular home goal.

    To sum up:

    Screw our users.

    Screw the Community.

    Screw software standards.

    We threw rocks at Microsoft for the Office 2007 ribbon and now we're going to do something worse.

    Canonical seem to have been infected with the same rabid management madness that is generally abroad these days - take a good service that is known, understood and loved and change it out of all recognition for no other reason than because you can. Then you sneer at your customers that complain, post mocking remarks about those who point out the shortcomings and refuse point blank to address anyone's objections with anything other than condescending patronage.

  29. John Young 1
    Happy

    URL? 10.04?

    Oops on the URL front... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/01/ubuntu1004_beta_review/

    Shouldn't that be http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/01/ubuntu1104_beta_review/ ?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You freetards are pathetic

    Harden up princesses!

    Old hands since days before GUI's can handle any new paradigm but you pack of princesses are so bitchy and stuck in your ways you are more like old farts!

    I'm running this right now and apart from a nextstep and amiga blend with apple spotlight launch alternative deja vu its nothing too far out there to me.

  31. Liam Thom
    Stop

    Freetard retard.

    Didn't like Unity so went back to Gnome...

    ... with no clock and no entry signs for battery, Bluetooth and Wi-fi. And no icon to log out so I can go back to Unity.

    Must not install beta versions. Must not install beta versions. etc.

    1. Andus McCoatover
      Paris Hilton

      Pimp! ;-)

      As a tip from a recent poster, I gave Pinguy a shot.

      Nice, but it's a pimped-up Mint, which is a pimped-up Ubuntu, which is a pimped-up Debian. How much pimping to get to MINIX?*

      Pimp my disty!!

      "Big fleas have little fleas, on their backs to bite 'em. Little fleas have litler fleas, and so ad infinitum."

      Nah, I hated Gnome on RH 7,3 - the "Standard to Salute" - which some buggers still swear by..or at.

      Kinda like it now.

      *Don't want a "joke" icon, but a tongue-in-cheek would be usef....ah...

    2. J 3
      Linux

      @One more to go

      "why it shouldn't work on any size of screen"

      It doesn't for my netbook, in my opinion. I installed the netbook remix of 10.10, which is based on Unity. Hated it, specially the fact that the side bar steals quite a bit of space, which is at a premium on a 10 inch screen.

      The thing is, as I said in another post yesterday, that ** scrolling sideways is much worse than scrolling up and down! **

      Webpages with tables that would fit nicely in the old netbook remix (which I thought was great, and very quick to use, not being in your way) now require scrolling left and right. Extremely annoying.

    3. x4zYYvb3
      Thumb Down

      If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

      "Canonical seem to have been infected with the same rabid management madness that is generally abroad these days - take a good service that is known, understood and loved and change it out of all recognition for no other reason than because you can. Then you sneer at your customers that complain, post mocking remarks about those who point out the shortcomings and refuse point blank to address anyone's objections with anything other than condescending patronage."

      cf

      Google instant preview - You can't turn this 'feature' off (needs Adblock plus to kill it)

      Tabbed interface in Thunderbird 3 - you can't revert to the 2.xx non-tabbed UI if you don't like a tabbed email client.

      The truly awful new UI in Skype 5 for mac - you can't turn it off, and there's no classic mode (thankfully v2.8 still works).

      As you point out, now Canonical have added themselves to the list of companies eager to shoot themselves in the foot with 'bold new UX paradigms'.

    4. Chika
      Paris Hilton

      A bit harsh, don't you think?

      I'll agree to an extent that some folk are a bit set in their ways when it comes to GUI use but I've known of some CLI fans that wouldn't touch a GUI with a ten foot Slovak.

      "Does it do what you want it to do when you want it to do it" is the question that everyone is asking here and if the answer is "no", then they have the right to at least say something.

      And does Paris do what you want when you want to do it? I'll leave the answer to that question for someone else to answer! :)

      1. DryBones
        Headmaster

        Errrr....

        > Google instant preview - You can't turn this 'feature' off (needs Adblock plus to kill it)

        I think you'll find that if you click the magnifier or just generally in the area of that entry that hasn't got text on it, the preview buggers off.

        > Tabbed interface in Thunderbird 3 - you can't revert to the 2.xx non-tabbed UI if you don't like a tabbed email client.

        Options, Advanced, Reading & Display, change "Open Messages in:" to something besides "A new tab".

        > The truly awful new UI in Skype 5 for mac - you can't turn it off, and there's no classic mode (thankfully v2.8 still works).

        Don't use it, so I guess you got me there. :)

      2. Sarev

        Don't get me started on the Skype UI

        > The truly awful new UI in Skype 5 for mac - you can't turn it off, and there's no classic mode (thankfully v2.8 still works).

        I think v 2.x of Skype is the last version that was only marginally awful. Everything since then has been a giant leap downwards. Who on Earth does their UI development? How do they get through their annual performance review? Is this some sort of perverse policy decision?

    5. K. Adams
      Boffin

      "... cheaper to buy eComStation and actually have all of OS/2 to open source."

      Unfortunately, that will never happen.

      First of all, Serenity Systems (the purveyors of eComStation) does not "own" OS/2. They were granted a license by IBM to take OS/2, update some of its technology so that it works on more modern hardware, and repackage it for sale.

      Secondly, one must keep in mind that OS/2's source code isn't owned by just IBM. OS/2 was initially co-developed by IBM and Microsoft, and both companies have bilateral agreements regarding the ownership and disposition of the OS/2 codebase. One might be able to convince IBM to release both Presentation Manager and Workplace Shell to the F/LOSS (Free/Libre` Open-Source Software) community, but Microsoft would never allow it.

      Historical note: Until fairly recently (Windows XP?), Microsoft included a library called "OS2.DLL" with each operating system edition based on the Windows NT kernel. This allowed shops that migrated from OS/2 to Windows to run console-mode/text-based programs written for OS/2 on Windows without modification. (Applications which required a GUI were not supported.) Rumors are that this was done at the behest of various banks, who had a lot of ATMs that ran on OS/2. Many banks were looking for an alternative to IBM because of licensing and support costs, and since most ATMs in the early-to-mid 90's had monochrome, text-only screens, basic support through a WinNT compatibility layer was a viable option.

      1. Peter Kay

        MS Mail was a big driver

        Prior to Exchange Microsoft did not have a particularly viable mail product. Microsoft Mail was mostly client driven (using files on a file server, rather than being a client/server mail system).

        However, to do various routing options required OS/2, hence the subsystem. There was also a version of OS/2 1.x PM available for NT as an add on, but I've never seen it in use.

        I probably should point out that despite being a huge fan of OS/2 historically, it really wouldn't have lasted much longer if history hadn't been quite the same, without a substantial amount of re-engineering.

        Microsoft should have no hold on the WPS code, and the SOM object model it depends upon. PM has some differences to both Win* and X that jar; the co-ordinate origin is at the bottom left of the viewspace, for instance.

        Anyway, even when OS/2 wasn't doing too badly and Stardock released Object Desktop, they had problems despite the assistance of ex WPS developers. It'd be wiser to build on an existing system.

    6. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Unhappy

      I'm glad I wasn't the only one!

      I thought it was a it too flaky, even for a beta. It stayed up for around 5 mins before dying slow horrible deaths. I tried to use it for about an hour and dropped back to 10.04. I can't use 10.10 as the network drivers for my net card are so damn flaky, 10.04 was the last known good one for me. If this version goes ahead, I think this is one upgrade I will sit out and wait until 12.04 next year.

  32. Mage Silver badge
    Linux

    2001

    Even on XP (2001) you can make the Task Bar very like an OS X or Win7 dock and put it on any edge on any of the connected screens.

    Unity is maybe designed for small touch screens. Are they falling into the same trap as MS with "Windows" in reverse? One major damaging feature of Win CE (the actually not bad OS underlying Windows Mobile and Phone) was MS insistence it should be like Desktop User interface. The Zune created the first decent MS GUI for small finger operated devices. Trolltech with Qtopia years before had realised this and created a phone edition that didn't have minuscule menus only workable with stylus.

    I think you need 3 or 4 OS, or variations of OS

    http://www.techtir.ie/node/1003696

  33. sshproxy
    FAIL

    KDE 3.x to KDE 4.x

    'Ubuntu's drive to bring something radical and new may end up creating another KDE 4 situation - the initial release was clearly not ready for prime time, but now that KDE has matured few would opt to go back to KDE 3.x.'

    Really?

    I would!

    KDE 3.x was bliss to use, easy interface, almost perfect.

    KDE users departed KDE 4.x after KDE 3.x was dropped in large numbers and still show little signs of having returned.

    More seriously, I dropped Mandrake over their 2 disc installation problems around 2003 sometime, switched to Suse then had to drop Suse sometime around 10.0 because of the inability to do something simple like install software - another case of changing something that worked perfectly well and replacing it with something 'new'. Finally I switched to Ubuntu in 2008 after sticking with an older version of Suse for as long as possible. Now it sounds like Ubuntu have dropped the ball like Mandrake and then Suse.

    Having finally got used to Gnome, now it is being dropped by Ubuntu.

    Still I least I have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed which is good for 3 years of support I believe, which puts off the decision for 2 more years...

  34. Baphomet
    Linux

    Don't Panic!

    "How about another basic function like adding a new application to the dock? You might assume you could simply drag an app icon from your application menu into the dock"

    Um, you can? Find in in the menu, or on your desktop, drag it onto the dock. Couldn't be easier?!

    "There's also the familiar looking GNOME-like bar at the top of the desktop, which looks like a GNOME bar, quacks like a GNOME bar, but is definitely not a GNOME bar."

    No, the panel is not gnome-panel. Apps can be whitelisted to work in the notification area without an indicator, but the idea is to move to a more consistent desktop where apps use the indicator tools available to them. Other distros don't have to follow, of course, in fact IMHO this is better for users: a little competition is a good thing.

    "Another step backward in this release is the more intensive graphics requirements. Much of what's good in Unity comes from OpenGL, which doesn't work with every graphics card and chipset."

    I think nowadays there aren't many computers that *can't* handle compiz, but as you say for those that can't there is Unity 2D, so I don't see the complaint?

    You certainly seem to be experiencing your fair share of bugs (far more than me, I might add. Compiz crashes every so often but other than that Natty has been running like a dream since alpha 3), but this IS beta software and as you said, they will be ironed out?!

    "Ubuntu has always offered a bit more polish to its interfaces than other Linux distros"

    Um... IMHO the brown wasn't all that polished. Ubuntu has only got its act together in the last few releases, but IMHO the work they're doing on Unity is really pushing desktop development forward. It isn't perfect yet, this behaviour for instance I find particularly annoying: https://bugs.launchpad.net/unity/+bug/734946

    All in all, I'm not sure the contents of this post justify its headline.

  35. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Few would opt to go back to KDE 3.x?

    "Ubuntu's drive to bring something radical and new may end up creating another KDE 4 situation - the initial release was clearly not ready for prime time, but now that KDE has matured few would opt to go back to KDE 3.x."

    Of course they wouldn't. (Almost) No-one is maintaining it.

    That's why it is so sad when something you like is replaced by a "fresh" approach. Whoever has decided to throw out the bathwater clearly has the clout to make the decision stick and so you just know there won't be a reversal to, say, pre-ribbon Office or XP-like Windows. You either suck it up or you look for an alternative.

    In Ubuntu's case, you can guess that Shuttleworth didn't get to be a zillionaire by beating about the bush, so you should have started looking for an alternative distro about six months ago when he told you what he was going to do. You're not short of choices. Other's in this thread have already mentioned Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Debian. I doubt any of these would be as big a change as Unity.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Stuck With KDE4

    I've never really warmed to GNOME and have always been a KDE fan, when KDE4 came along many woes were experienced but it has now evolved into a really good desktop, at least on SUSE.

    Yes it will be a bumpy road with Unity but I can certainly see the reasons as to why they are going in that direction, sometimes you do have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " today's man-machine interface/interactivity changes"

    "Ubuntu designed Unity with today's man-machine interface/interactivity changes in mind"

    Er, like more keyboard shortcuts?

    Don't understand, but then I never understood why Suse hadn't taken over the world either.

  38. MarkOne
    FAIL

    Meh...

    Linux is dead on the desktop, so who cares?

    1. K. Adams
      Badgers

      "Er, like more keyboard shortcuts?"

      No, like touch/multitouch, accelerometer input/motion detection, proximity detection, etc.

      Mice and keyboards aren't the only game in town anymore.

      Canonical/Ubuntu gets this. GNOME.org doesn't.

    2. Andus McCoatover
      Linux

      Agree.

      If you believe Apple, the desktop's dead, too.

      (Sadly, you cut a nerve. My Tux Droid sits silent, forlorn and dead on my desktop, 'cos I can't find the SW since Kysoh went bust. Sob. He looks like the icon, but less happy...)

    3. doperative
      Linux

      Ubuntu is most alive on the Desktop

      > Linux is dead on the desktop, so who cares?, MarkOne

      That's why this Lubuntu runs faster on the same hardware than Windows ..

    4. Chika
      Linux

      Re: Few would opt to go back to KDE3.x?

      "Of course they wouldn't. (Almost) No-one is maintaining it."

      Hmm... wonder where all my updates keep coming from, then?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nice to know

        That throwing my machine around will be a valid and useful (possibly even required) means of user interaction. It weighs 20kg.

        Thank you.

      2. Bilgepipe
        FAIL

        Fail

        >>> Mice and keyboards aren't the only game in town anymore.

        They are on my laptop. What use is this shiny new UX paradigm without a touch device?

        Unity is a massive, massive fail on anything other than a touchscreen device.

    5. henrydddd
      Thumb Down

      Linux is dead on the desktop, so who cares?

      Not on my desktops.

    6. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Stop

      Sure, every graphics card can run compiz

      Unless you run 'nv', or an unsupported 'radeon' card.

      Or if you have a 'weak' graphics card, like an intel 810.

      Or even if you have more modern intel graphics, like a GMA 950, or a discrete, but cheap as fuck nvidia, like a 7200 GS, and have the temerity to run multiple screens.

      Even if you do have a nice beefy graphics card, there are significant downsides to 3D desktop rendering, principally that upon doing something that requires your beefy 3D card, like switching workspace, will make its fan scream along, and chuck out way more heat.

      I can't be the only one who prefers a 2D desktop precisely for its simplicity. A desktop is just a nice way of having lots of terminals open anyway.

    7. Vic

      Some of us change hardware only when necessary...

      > I think nowadays there aren't many computers that *can't* handle compiz

      I have quite a few that don't. They're powerful enough to do the tasks I throw at them - why would I want to discard[1] working machines just to get some dodgy effects I don't want?

      Vic.

      [1] I have numerous laptops in this condition, so "change the graphics card" isn't really an option...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm running a beta because I LIKE bleeding edge.

    I just installed the beta because, I love bleeding edge, can cope with bugs, and am willing to file bug reports. And so far, I'm very happy with it because its new, its fresh, its exciting. Yes, there are probably some rough edges that I'm going to run into, but if I couldn't handle them I would have stuck to the LTS.

    Without putting new software out there for people to make comments on and file bug reports against, how is it going to mature?

  40. melt
    Stop

    gnome-screensaver

    Hooray! Perhaps now we'll be able to configure each screensaver's options again.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Running Unity on Lenovo x201T works nicely

    I installed Ubuntu 11.04 beta on my Lenovo X201T laptop and I really like the new desktop layout of Unity. Unity is very clean and simple and everything I need is there within a click or two - or now more like a keyboard shortcut. I was very surprised to find how keyboard friendly Unity is and am needing the mouse a lot less than before, which makes me more productive.

    All the hardware works on the machine from my initial tests and the touch-screen display is great to use with myPaint, Gimp and Inkscape.

    There were a few niggles with compiz with the beta, but an apt-get upgrade to pick up the latest weekly updates for Unity fixed those niggles and it has been very stable since. Perhaps they should have waited an extra day to release the beta, but then this is the beta and the idea its to help find all the bugs remaining !!

    I have not found any problems to speak of and will keep using the beta as my main laptop from now on.

    I am a little disappointed in this review as its seem a little opinionated and there are a number of inaccuracies in the review. The Unity launcher does allow you do drag application icons from the dash to the launcher without running the application. Also in the software centre you have the option to add the package you are installing to the launcher.

    Thank you.

  42. Martin Kirk
    WTF?

    Hate the universal menu

    I have never like the Apple idea of attaching the application menu to the top of the screen. If you are working with multiple windows on a large screen, it is very irritating to have to keep moving the focus out of the window to use the menu.

  43. technomole

    It's growing on me

    I've been seeing a lot of discussion on Unity and Gnome shell for that matter, I've been running 11.04 with Unity since the second alpha, yes there have been issues, but for the most part it's been fine, I'm still undecided whether I'll keep Unity in favour of my usual global menu and awn (or cairo dock)

    I can't say I've run into some of the issues other have, I am able to drag an icon from applications to the launcher.

    For the most part I like Unity, and to some extent Gnome shell, I haven't recently tried Gnome shell, mainly because I'm too lazy to install it.

    You don't have to use it though, you can easily disable it from the compiz settings manager, you can also select various options at log in.

    Basically my point is that you don't have to use it if it isn't for you, I for one like 11.04 (even with Unity) my only issue at present is a driver for my graphics tablet apart from that even running the alpha's has been pretty smooth.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Apple silliness

      Yes. The idea that the top of the screen represents an easy target is just stupid.

      What the Apple approach does is require you to first touch your application window and then to touch the top of the screen. If you just go for the top of the screen, you stand a good chance of opening THE WRONG APP MENU.

      ANY WHERE in your app's window is a much better place to access context relevant controls. The target got be the whole window (right click anyone) or just the conventional title/menu bar.

      Either way, you probably have to touch it anyways.

      ...it's like people at Canonical are buying into all of the Apple hype without actually bothering to use it first.

  44. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    Two biggest UI failures on Unity

    1) Menus belong *with* the window that owns them and to which they relate; not at the top of the window irrespective of how many windows may be open. Stupid stupid stupid, and I don't care if Mac still do it that way.

    2) When I shrink a window, I expect it to shrink, not disappear who knows where - it must be somewhere but it's not obvious where it might be. A mechanism which uses the same button/icon/whatever on the dock both to start and to restore to size is broken; these are two different functions.

    (2a - window size controls are on the wrong side)

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last time I tried Unity...

    (which was Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Remix), you couldn't even attach to a network share - because Places > Connect to Server was missing. Or if there was another way, I certainly couldn't find it.

    Have they fixed that yet?

    (The solution was to turn off Unity, and go back to standard desktop)

  46. Efros

    Pity they set it up as default

    Perhaps for the final release they should consider leaving it as an alternative desktop until the wrinkles have been somewhat ironed out. Apart from Unity, which isn't my cup of tea, I know that the bootup even on a USB flash drive is pretty fast, although there are still driver issues with my wireless card from the get go, in the past a plugged in supported USB wifi dongle allowed connection and download of a suitable driver but not this time but then it is a beta. I'll leave this one until the final release appears plus perhaps a couple of months before I dip my toes in.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    And this is important?

    I never fail to me amazed at how users of "fashionable" platforms get obsessed by UIs, whether it be Windows, Mac or Linux. As if the colour of a minimise button compares to stability, security, or any of the other things that the actual _operating_system_ is responsible for as opposed to a layer of eye candy slapped on top of it.

    Does a fancy UI really make any difference to usability or productivity, apart from slowing things of more substance to a crawl? As noted elsewhere in this thread, it isn't even something that can't be changed easily enough.

  48. Richard 33
    Flame

    "Worst"?

    You might want to save up adjectives like "worst" until you've had a chance to review the GNOME 3 distros coming out soon ...

  49. Martin Maloney
    Coat

    Well, somebody had to say it

    Regarding Shuttleworth's go-it-alone approach to a radical Linux GUI:

    Gnome man is an island.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meh

    People who dont like bleeding edge should stick with LTS's. That s what they are here for. Also, people who don't like progress should stick with Windows.

  51. trydk
    FAIL

    Global menus

    Confession: I have not actually worked with Natty Narwhal but I have had some experience with OS X (and earlier versions of MacOS).

    If "global menus" means the silly idea that Apple has carried over from the early versions of MacOS, i.e. that the menus are always at the top of the screen, no matter the size and position of the application window, it is a very bad idea for mouse users (and probably for finger-poking fondlers too).

    If I have a small window at the bottom of my 24 inch screen, I do not want to move the mouse all the way to the top of the screen to get to the menu, only to have to move it all the way back down again to do something in the window.

    Admittedly, I do prefer to use keyboard shortcuts whenever I can, but often find that Linux (in most of its adaptations) does not support some keyboard shortcuts or they are counterintuitive or not consistent across applications or conflict in certain circumstances. And well, sometimes you have to use the mouse, no matter what.

    If I can easily configure the menus to behave in the good old way, I do not mind too much, but if it is set in stone, I must object.

    It is interesting to see the development from my first graphical Linux/Unix experiences on SunOS with a very simple window manager (xwm, I think it was) to KDE (which I gave up due to losing menu itmes and not being able to restore them easily) to Gnome (which I gave up as I needed too much real estate on my netbook and because it was starting to get bloated) and now Unity, which I may have to give up if Ubuntu keeps making silly UI decisions.

    Argh!

  52. AdamWill
    FAIL

    April Fools alert

    "Unity is a radical departure, but no less so than GNOME 3.0, which has wisely been pushed back until later this year."

    Erm, no it hasn't. That was an April Fool.

  53. Andrew Wigglesworth
    FAIL

    It *is* Gnome

    Well, an epic fail on the part of almost every poster and the writer of the article.

    Unity is *not* a replacement for Gnome. Unity runs on Gnome. It is a shell that Canonical have developed because they don't like the Gnome shell. Want the Gnome shell? Use that instead.

    This should be rather embarrassing for a "tech website", but sadly seems par for the course.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Canonical ...

    ... from all we've read and experienced in alpha's and beta's, delay this as the default desktop for Natty, please!

    I've been an Ubuntu fan for years, the reason being, it's always been a sensible desktop (aside from the poo brown theme of earlier releases), with it's roots in one of the best loved distros of them all - debian.

    Don't go and spoil that by having Unity as default in Natty - keep it as optional, get more user feedback, engage the community even more and keep developing it until it's ready.

    We really won't mind, honest. In fact, we'd be over the moon if you delayed it - the Linux community doesn't want another KDE 4 debacle!

    What we *do* want is a desktop which competes with MacOS and WIndows 7 - that's going to take some doing and a *massive* amount more developer hours to get right.

    *Don't throw the baby out with the bath water* guys - slowly slowly.

  55. Madhi19

    My Ubuntu rule of thumb is to skip at least one release.

    I love Maverick anyway if this mess is not sorted out by October I might move to KDE but right now it not the time for panic.

  56. TheOldFellow
    Thumb Down

    You can stuff Unity, Mark.

    Title says it all. If you install 11.04 and change everything so it's like 10.10, then it's OK, but why bother? I'm used to Groan now, and I'll stick with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      bravo, sir!

      You injected lightheartedness into a linux discussion which makes water-cooler chat at Fukushima seem chipper. Flawless.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fitts' law...

      "1) Menus belong *with* the window that owns them and to which they relate; not at the top of the window irrespective of how many windows may be open. Stupid stupid stupid, and I don't care if Mac still do it that way."

      Fitts' Law begs to differ. The only real issue with the Mac style fixed menu is if you use multiple monitors, which is partially mitigated by having context sensitive menus accessed by a 'right click' (yes Macs have had this facility for years--certainly since OS 8). For most users it's a case of tom-AY-to/tom-AH-to.

      I totally concur with your second point. Well, '2a' is another case of tom-AY-to/tom-AH-to. Perhaps punctuate with YMMV?

      1. CollyWolly
        Stop

        Fitts law is a bit outdated I would say

        Fitts law must have been concieved in a time when screen resolutions were a lot lower and people likely didn't multitask with anywhere near as many windows as today.

        It doesn't mention the difference between a small mouse push that can be done with the wrist, or having to lift the mouse off the table, and do a second push- more likely when you need to go right to the top of a large high res monitor. It is also relevant only to the time to find the menu, not to get back to the original window.

        I personally find the Appla Mac style universal menus annoying to use.

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      It *is not* GNOME

      GNOME is an entire stack of UI components, libraries and a window manager. To be frank, most distros don't run GNOME, they run some GNOME components, and usually use the really-not-GNOME compiz wm.

      It's not GNOME if it's not running metacity.

      Oh, and since you seem to delight in pedantry, it is 'GNOME', not 'Gnome' - it is an acronym (the GNU Object Model Environment), not a proper noun.

      1. Andrew Wigglesworth

        How to make a post and miss the point, eh?

        Oh, and sorry but you're wrong. I don't delight in your pedantry.

  57. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Should make choice clearer

    "Posted Saturday 2nd April 2011 11:19 GMT

    Linux

    > The goal behind Unity is to design an environment

    > that is at home on larger touch-based devices like

    > tablets, but still works well on full-fledged workstations.

    Except this is a fundementally stupid idea. They are radically different means to interact with the system. The idea that you should enforce some sort of "foolish consistency" is a completely alien and un-unix approach."

    Agreed. And it does allow this, since they still have Unity and Gnome preinstalled (plus of course packages). What they should do is make this choice clearer, perhaps even ask at install time if the user would prefer the Unity interface (suggested for netbooks) or Gnome. Unless Unity gets a lot better than it is now.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't Look Good To Me

    But it won't work in my VM, so I can't find our for sure.

    However, my "personal" desktop is based on W2000, and has slowly evolved from there, through XP to Ubuntu. Ubuntu 10.04, where I joined ship, allows me that same look and feel, but with much more flexibility and functionality of bars ("panels").

    I'm vaguely aware that there are all sorts of themes, launchers, docks and all sorts available. Sometimes I stop in a techie blog to admire one --- but that doesn't mean I want to work with it. A minimalist desktop, with ten or twelve icons; my most-used programs available on the bottom panel; the rest started from the main menu (customised, of course, to remove the never-used and slightly change the grouping) is how I like to work. I can stop to admire a 3D gizmo in the shop: that does not mean I want to find that someone has installed it in my house when I get home. I don't think I will ever want to use Unity.

    There are interface changes that completely changed the way I work. Tabbed browsing is probably the biggest example of that. If I didn't know I wanted it before it arrived, I knew it instantly, once I got it. I don't see that happening with Unity. Virtual machine permitting, I will take a look, though.

    The global menu is the daftest thing --- unless you only use one application at a time, maximised (like a lot of novice Windows users do?). It isn't even a configuration option. However, it can be, simply, uninstalled.

    No Fail or Coat icon. 11.04 can still be made the way someone who is happy with 10.04 wants it to work. Not that I'm in any hurry to upgrade, but I'll be keeping my eye on that virtual machine.

  59. ponder
    FAIL

    April Fool

    I guess you fell for it.

    https://mail.gnome.org/archives/devel-announce-list/2011-April/msg00003.html

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Does Natty Narwhal come with the long-promised Ubuntu Monospace font?

    No? Well, what are they doing - making it?

  61. redthor

    Volume control

    "or example you can simply hover your mouse over the volume indicator and use the scrollwheel to adjust the volume without ever actually clicking anything"

    Umm, I'm an xfce4 user - that's how we've always done the volume control?

  62. Adrian Esdaile
    Linux

    Dis-Unity

    Unity was forced on Netbook users of Ubuntu last year.

    I hated it. Worst. Interface. Ever.

    I switched to Debian pure, with a bit of customizing to make it pretty; it wasn't hard, and I learned a bit about how to put together a Debian system from scratch, and do a bit of interface customization. It is also a very slim system, leaving 2.4GB of my little original Asus EEEPC 701 SSD free.

    I'm happy with that, I haven't looked at Ubuntu since.

  63. Patrick 8
    Thumb Up

    The more I run Unity the more I like it

    a lot more than Gnome!

    Faster - Yes

    Fresher - Yes

    Is it spastically difficult to run an application which shows up in the Launcher ala Mac OS X Dock and then right click it and say Keep in Launcher? - No

    All you armchair freetards that don't install and run Unity and give it a good fair go can go piss off. You are on my permaban-filter as being ignored as idiots that spout your own opinion as if its the gospel without even trying anything. You don't bring anything to the table on this discussion.

    EOL

    1. James Hughes 1

      I've tried it.

      Unfortunately, using Chrome as the browser I got a lock up that required a power cycle to fix (YES, a power cycle on a linux box - tried everything - all input to the machine died). Might be Chrome, might be Unity. I don't know.

      I am, admittedly, using Meerkat, with Unity installed (although I think it's up to date - synaptic seems to think so), so maybe not the latest and greatest. However, I did find it quite difficult to work with straight away - lots of things I tried to do didn't seem to be very obvious. It could just be getting used to it, but with the multitude of erratic behaviours I have so far encountered, I can't get it to work long enough to make a decent assessment. (I am on a relatively recent machine that runs Meerkat fine with Compiz )

      My humble suggestions to Canonical is that it doesn't seem ready yet - and it really does need to be pretty bullet proof if they want to see it become popular. I'd wait until the next release cycle. hurrying it now will cause more harm than good.

      I am an Ubuntu fan btw. Unity will, I think, be good, but it isn't there yet.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Lame trolls abusing bad jargon.

      > All you armchair freetards that don't

      > install and run Unity and give it a

      > good fair go can go piss off.

      This "freetard" has several Macs in his stable.

      So when I say that I despise clueless idiots that try to mindlessly follow Apple's lead, I'm not only just talking about the ill suited follower that I have direct experience with but the original inspiration.

      Being willing to try new things is kind of how we became Linux users in the first place.

      Trying to claim otherwise is just delusional.

      Some of us are even willing to blow a few quid on trying something new.

      Ubuntu was not my first distribution and will likely not be my last.

  64. stuhacking
    Linux

    Wait... Linux is actually a bit patchy?

    Stop the presses!

    Ubuntu has raised peoples' expectation of Linux as a user friendly desktop offering. Of course, up until now Ubuntu has been a fairly standard Gnome + openoffice built on Debian platform. Nothing terribly risky and everything nicely matured.

    Now the public are getting a first look at the true face of Linux... Unstable packages still in development, Hunting for those tricky configuration options, helper programs that aren't bundled with the associated package, dependencies on specific versions of volatile libraries.

    Perhaps this should be left as an unstable track until it's ready for prime time..,

  65. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Alert

    I'm not sure it's a complaint of 'a bit patchy'

    it's more that most of the people who've actually tried it find it doesn't work for them. Ignoring details of configuration - for example, it's easy to move the window controls to the right (well, unless you full-screen a window, when they go to the left until you shrink it again) most of the issues I have with it are of usability...

    - a dock that changes its contents, its size, and doesn't open in the same way it closed

    - a complete inability to see what tasks you have open on a desktop

    - windows which disappear completely on minimisation (see above)

    - icons on the dock which are used both to start an application and to return to it (there's a tiny triangle on some of the icons - I *think* it's to say that the application is already running but that's (a) almost invisible and (b) pointless - starting an application and returning to it are completely different tasks)

    - a lack of a structured menu (aka the start menu) for access to rarely used but important applications is downright stupid. I really really don't want to have to search for every application - particularly if I don't know its name.

    - menus disassociated from their parent windows. That's beyond stupid and always has been. Nuff said.

    - multiple clicks to move between different desktops

    It's a shame. It really does look gorgeous, it's fast, and it's slick. But the usability is so aimed at touchpads that it's almost a joke on a desktop/laptop. I'm upset because I want this to work; I've been impressed with Ubuntu for years - since KDE3 and a bit, as it happens. I wonder if we're doomed to wander through life swapping to the least unpleasant alternative? (And before I get flamed, yes, I know there's an option to use the Gnome desktop. That's not the point...)

    1. Baphomet
      Thumb Down

      RE @Neil Barnes 11:17

      WRT window controls, it's only in Natty that the decision to move them to the left has actually made sense for me. I *love* that the top panel serves as the menu bar of maximised windows, and with the indicators on the right there's no way they could go on that side.

      "- a dock that changes its contents, its size, and doesn't open in the same way it closed"

      I have never experienced any of that, besides it's clearly a bug, so why complain like it's an intended feature?

      "- a complete inability to see what tasks you have open on a desktop"

      I don't really understand this... unity integrates both compiz's scale and expo plugins to show you exactly what's going on on the desktop, much better than any other desktop environment, and the unity launcher is there for minimized windows. IMHO unity is much *better* at showing you what tasks you have open than standard gnome, and at the very least it's no worse.

      "- windows which disappear completely on minimisation"

      ?? Either they minimise to the launcher which is, well, exactly what you'd expect, or if you mean they really DO disappear then again, it's obviously a bug. In beta software. Shock horror.

      "- icons on the dock which are used both to start an application and to return to it (there's a tiny triangle on some of the icons - I *think* it's to say that the application is already running but that's (a) almost invisible and (b) pointless - starting an application and returning to it are completely different tasks)"

      I think this is fairly valid. What to do if you have one instance of a program open already but want to open another? Firefox solves this in its right-click menu with a "open new window" option which I think is a neat solution to a very minor problem. As for the triangles indicating open programs, I find them perfectly obvious. YMMV.

      "- a lack of a structured menu (aka the start menu) for access to rarely used but important applications is downright stupid. I really really don't want to have to search for every application - particularly if I don't know its name."

      Click the whacking great applications menu (or ubuntu button > more apps), Next to "installed" click "see x more results", narrow selection by category if needed.

      "- multiple clicks to move between different desktops"

      The expo plugin does require you to double click to select and move to a different desktop, maybe this should be configurable. Hardly a show-stopper though, and you CAN always just hit ctrl+alt+arrow.

      "- menus disassociated from their parent windows. That's beyond stupid and always has been. Nuff said."

      I agree, I would much rather see this: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/02/unity-mockup-menu-integrated-in-window.html . Still, there's plenty of time for things like that to be sorted.

  66. dz-015

    Haven't been able to try it

    I tried running it in VMWare on my Mac and it wouldn't boot. I tried upgrading to it from 10.10 on my Linux laptop and it then refused to boot. Great.

    Given up now.

  67. FreeTard

    meh2

    Don't particularly like ubuntu,

    I'm a fedora with LXDE man, only annoying thing about it is no power-management jobby for laptops. Forced to use gnome-power-management.... but it is certainly lighter and snappier than ll the rest I've tried so far. May give this unity jobby a go, all the same.

  68. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Grenade

    I think we all have to agree...

    ...to disagree.

    Here are my cards. I've used Unity on the 10.10 netbook release, and IMHO it sucks big time. I've not tried 11.04 (yet) and admit that there is a good chance that it will work better but I don't normally run Betas, as I have enough to do in my life without having to fight bugs that other people take it upon themselves to find.

    I am in "the desk top is there to control as many windows as I need" camp, and as a result, Unity is completely against the way I work.

    But, and this is a big but, I am not a typical modern non-technical user. I work everyday with people who maximise whatever they are doing on their 22" 16x9 screen, work with tabbed terminal sessions in Konsole rather than multiple windows, and generally do one thing at a time. These are either OSX and iPad generation, or (bizarrely) people who have come from the green-screen single session terminal age and who have never felt comfortable in a windowed environment.

    Having seen both of the above struggle to switch from one application to another, I believe that my multiple windows spread in a consistent manner across several desktops is better. But that's my opinion. I believe that I work faster than them, but again, that's my opinion.

    I think that it's fair to say that Unity works well for those people who work in the way that Unity works, and it does not work for those who don't. By hey! This is a big world, and not everyone is the same.

    I think it is necessary to explore new interfaces, as I am sure that I would not necessarily want Gnome or KDE as they are now on a touch-screen device. But having also been an Android user for around 6 months now, I'm not sure I would be happy with that on a tablet either, at least not on one that is more powerful than my netbook.

    So I am happy that there is a new interface being tried, and even that it is the default (as long as they get the bugs out and make the alternative easy to choose). I just don't want to be forced to use it without jumping through hoops of fire if it doesn't suit me, and I would be grateful if others accepted that this is a perfectly valid viewpoint.

  69. ML2MST
    Pint

    Kubuntu "Natty" Beta1 with KDE SC 4.6.1.

    Me thinks the review is a bit hars. It's the first Beta and my experience with Ubuntu is that the final releases are usually quite stable.

    I couldn't get Unity to work up until now, so I gave Kubuntu "Natty" Beta1 a spin. It includes KDE SC 4.6.1 which is less resource hogging than its predecessors.

    I'm looking forward to Kubuntu 11.04 ;-)

  70. Martijn Otto
    Alert

    Anybody remember pulseaudio

    Which everybody complained about when it became the default in 8.04?

    Now, it just works, and it works well and it's quite convenient.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah...

      it only took 2 and a half years to resolve the issues... : /

      PulseAudio is one thing, but we're talking about the UI and ultimately the UX which is far less fudgeable.

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Who says it works

      A lot of the Pulseaudio problems at 8.04 were a result of the defaults changing for PA between 7.10 and 8.04, leading to people who had upgraded from earlier versions being left with an unworkable configuration. However, I do have an outstanding problem with Pulseaudio on my T30 thinkpad that has been documented, but never fixed.

      It would appear that after suspend/resume, the re-sampling rate changes by about 5%. This results in the pitch of the audio changing, raising it by just less than a semi-tone. As it is playing the sound faster, it also leads to gaps of around 1/10 sec. every 2 seconds in the audio with gstreamer based programs when there is insufficient data to play. I have not found anybody who has been able to permanently fix this, and it is marked as unlikely to be fixed in the 8.04 defect database. I have a local workaround for 8.04, but I've not done the work to do the same on 10.04 (the whole suspend/resume system has been knackered by the introduction of KMS).

      It's still there in 10.04, and this, along with a problem with older ATI graphics cards not being re-configured (again by KMS) correctly after suspend/resume (new defect in 10.04 - it's to do with the way KMS and udev tread on each other's toes during a resume), which has left me running 8.04 on my main laptop.

      And before anybody says I should get a more modern laptop, my T30 works just swell - why should I change!

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @ "You freetards are pathetic"

    What the fuck is wrong with you trolls?

    Don't you realize that some Ubuntu users actually contribute money to Ubuntu?

    Just because someone's using "free" software doesn't mean that they haven't paid their fair share. Thus they have a RIGHT to complain if they feel that Ubuntu has or is going to pull the rug out from under them with some new unwanted un-asked-for garbage.

    UBUNTU ACCEPTS $$ CONTRIBUTIONS. Last I checked, the *lowest* amount they'd accept, was $25. So it's not like a $1 donation or something.

    Suppose you spend a couple hundred bucks on a Microsoft OS, which might last you a few years, or you could contribute say $50/year to Ubuntu for a few years and there's the same couple hundred bucks.

    PAYING CUSTOMERS, folks.

    Same as with any other "free" software that accepts $$ contributions.

    If Ubuntu wants to unload crap on the public, then maybe Ubuntu should *stop* accepting $$ contributions, that way no one would have any right to complain when Ubuntu changes something for the worse.

  72. Ceiling Cat
    Badgers

    It might have been said before.....

    But moving to a UI that is touch-centric, on a platform (desktop PCs) which is dominated by non-touch hardware, is a decision whose motivators are confusing at best.

    I know HP have made some attempts to bring Touch to the desktop, but TBH most of these touch-based "PCs" are little more than WinTel versions of the iMAC (all the PC innards are built into the LCD/TouchScreen casing). I can't recall seeing a flood of rivals hitting the shelves, trying to compete for HP's share of the touch-centric desktop market, either. Mostly because this market really does not exist.

    Hopefully Canonical manage to pull their heads out of their bottoms and realize that, outside of the laptop/netbook/fondleslab market, Unity really isn't wanted or needed. What's wanted and needed is something that works, and for all it's quirks, Gnome does indeed seem to "work" on all my Ubuntu-based machines (2x store-bought pre-builts, 3x Frankenboxen).

    Disunity?

    1. Ceiling Cat

      Correction . . .

      As per :

      http://www.nextag.com/Desktops--zzall-in-one+touch+screen+computersz300413zB6z5---html

      Sony, Acer, Dell, and HP all produce Touch-centric desktops, but not a single one seems to be boasting about massive uptake. Also, quite a few of the touch systems mentioned on that page are Point-of-Sale systems, and thusly should be excluded from the desktop debate.

      The specs of these machines also fit into the "NetTop" category - not true desktops, more a "convenience" box than a high-powered PC with touch capabilities.

      Is this really the market segment Canonical are aiming for? Seems pretty limited, if you ask me.

  73. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Agree

      Well, I may not agree with your radical language ideas, nor have I ever had the pleasure of using a PA-RISC but I completely agree with the gist of what you're saying.

      I prefer to run XFCE in a very minimalistic setting (dare I say it aesthetic setting as well?) but I naturally include enough support for firefox and other common apps. The file manager is mainly there for me to drag and drop stuff when I cbf using bash, but yeah, there's always a terminal open for the tons of other things that I can't do with a desktop file manager.

      Caveat: I don't run ubuntu. Will give unity a try at some stage if I ever do get the free time, I should try to be open minded... but you know the way, once you're used to working one way, there's a bit of a disincentive to start doing it some other way (perceived waste of time tec). I generally like the simplest solution possible that works.

  74. emnaki

    Unity is the right direction

    Ubuntu just can't stick with Gnome if their aim is to beat Windows or Macs. The Gnome interface is just too ugly. In the UI department Windows 7 has really stepped it up and macs have always been nice. Just google for beautiful desktops and you will see. I provide a link to some examples: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/40-great-computer-desktop-mods/. Its no surprise that the readers of Reg value functionality over aesthetics but that is not what the majority of computer users feel.

    Also about the bugs, I trust they will get it right by the next iteration and there is no faster way of ironing out all the problems than to release it into the wild. Don't like Unity's current state? Then just stick with 10.10 for the time being, I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised once Canonical finishes making their improvements. Just have faith, they have don't well so far, right?

    And for those who prefer minimalistic interfaces and rock solid systems, I think it is time you reconsidered your Linux distribution. Mr Shuttleworth has made it no secret what his aim is and the general trend of Ubuntu will be focused on getting mass appeal through making the system more attractive and easier to use at the expense of power users.

  75. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Install experience under VirtualBox

    I had an "update-manger -d" update from 10.10 in a VM. Still using Ubuntu's somewhat mutated gnome, so it worked OK. Just did a fresh install from the Beta CD. Result?

    Blank desktop (just the screen background). At least for now, I assume there's no detection that the card is not OpenGL capable (I didnt turn on the options to forward 3D stuff through to the physical card that VirtualBox has), so no menu bars etc. whatsoever pop up (just the right-click menu on the screen background), and no automated offer to go to a less demanding desktop (ala the offer to turn off desktop effects on older Ubuntu distros that defaulted to them being on.)

  76. Shannon Jacobs
    Unhappy

    Gave up on Ubuntu about a year ago

    I've been using Ubuntu for about 5 years, but I've pretty much given up on it since it peaked and started sliding downhill a few years back. Still running it as the primary OS on two of my machines at home, but both of them are fading and I have no plans to run Ubuntu on any of my newer machines. (That's with reference to dedicated partitions running from GRUB. I do have some non-production OSes (including Ubuntu) running on VMware Player in some newer machines.)

    I had very high hopes for Ubuntu as a serious alternative to Microsoft's garbage. Even Microsoft understands the need for competition--at least enough to try to fake it. However, Microsoft's low quality software is NOT the reason Ubuntu is failing. The problem is the economic model. Microsoft's economic model works.

    My conclusion is that the big-donor charity model used by Ubuntu has failed yet again. Here is a suggested alternative:

    http://eco-epistemology.blogspot.com/2009/11/economics-of-small-donors-reverse.html

  77. E 2

    Comment

    The best thing about KDE, Gnome, Win95 UI and to a degree Mock OS 10 is that one can make all the G/D toolbars hide themselves.

    Pixels cost money, I know how to use a UI, I do not need great big toolbars full of great big icons or lists (but mostly empty space) looming about my monitor, wasting space.

  78. Leona A
    Paris Hilton

    Glad that I'll

    not have to worry about this till 12.04, the joys of sticking to LTS releases :) Hopefully it'll be all sorted and settled down by then. Its always like this though, look at all the panic over Compiz and other enhancements that had users up in arms, it'll all come out in the wash, Calm Down, Calm Down.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Whoa, subeditor had too much coffee?

    Not a comment on the article, but rather on the Reg's striking front page headline

    "Latest Umbongo: utter filth"

    1. 10bottlesofbleach
      Happy

      Latest Umbongo: utter filth

      Pure class and worthy of "Headline of the Day" award.

      Poetic.

  80. Jeremy 8
    Pirate

    Meanwhile...

    Kubuntu 11.04 is shaping up very nicely.

  81. El
    Joke

    Natty Narwhale already?!?

    Did I miss the Masturbating Monkey release???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      No.............

      That was re-named to Wanking Wallaby.

  82. This post has been deleted by its author

This topic is closed for new posts.

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