back to article Sticky Tahr-fy pudding: Ubuntu 14.04 slickest Linux desktop ever

The final beta release of Ubuntu 14.04, due in April, is here. Code-named Trusty Tahr, 14.04 will be a Long Term Support release, meaning Canonical will support what you get in April for five years. The idea is it's a solid foundation for long-term development and planning by Canonical and users, particularly partners and …

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  1. 1Rafayal

    Head to head

    any chance of The Register doing a series of articles that compare and contrast Windows against a Linux?

    I think a lot of commentards here have an idea of what they like and dislike about the two OS's, however I think there are a good amount of people who simply not used a Linux before..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Head to head

      Windows wins. It is by far and a way the most stable and usable OS. Unlike Linux, Windows will run all your current software. The migration cost (and continuing support cost) of a Linux migration are eye-watering. And then there is the massive re-training all your users will need, and you'll have to explain command line to them - you can't avoid that with Linux.

      1. Simon Ward
        FAIL

        Re: Head to head

        Is that you, Satya?

        To borrow from Wikipedia, [citation needed]

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Head to head

        What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?

        1. Conor Turton

          Re: Head to head

          "What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?"

          A lot less than Windows to Linux as you're not going to have to change all your applications.

          1. Anonymous Bullard

            Re: Head to head

            What applications? browsers are cross-platform

            1. dogged

              Re: Head to head

              Except for IE; no linux browser will currently run ActiveX components (and quite rightly so). Although idiots who wrote in-house applications using ActiveX and IE are sadly not rare and those applications are now causing everyone a whole lot of grief.

              And not everything runs in a browser. That hideous spreadsheet your accounts department uses for reporting with the 28MB of VBA macros in it.... not gonna run, even with WINE.

              You know and I know it should never have been created but it was and it is and it's mission-critical now...

              Or the untold billions of in-house developments using VB or .NET Winforms or WPF that mono will simply never support.

              Migration can be a great a policy but it can also be a terrifyingly expensive and time-consuming policy.

              1. I Am Spartacus
                Megaphone

                Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

                Dogged makes the point that the 28Mb spreadhseet with VBA macros aint gonna run on Linux. Well, I have news for you - it can and does run under OpenOffice, and it was 3,000 MB. However, it was developed under Office 2003 using WinXP.

                It failed spectacularly on Office 2010 using Windows 7, and had to be rewritten.

                So, there you are - reality check says it is easier to upgrade to OpenOffice and Ubuntu than it is to Office 2010 and Windows 7. And it is also cheaper, as in FREE !

                1. dogged

                  Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

                  > Dogged makes the point that the 28Mb spreadhseet with VBA macros aint gonna run on Linux. Well, I have news for you - it can and does run under OpenOffice, and it was 3,000 MB. However, it was developed under Office 2003 using WinXP.

                  That's interesting. The (actually real) spreadsheet I was referring to has any number of MSGraph COM objects in it and crashes explosively under WINE and the VBA doesn't work at all under OpenOffice.

                  So, some will, some won't. But most of the homebrew line-of-business Windows applications absolutely won't run so my point stands.

                  1. tom dial Silver badge

                    Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

                    It is an unfortunate truth that in some organizations there are a great many of these applications hiding in dark corners that were developed without IT department assistance (or documentation), were seen as useful by functional managers, some to the extent of becoming "mission critical", and ultimately abandoned by their developers/maintainers due to promotion, reassignment, or retirement. Following a major reorganization and recognition that Windows XP was sundowned, my previous employer identified more than 500 of these "microapps", with a lot of overlapping function and not a few errors.

                2. aliterate

                  Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

                  Similarly, I've had a number of occasions when I've helped someone with an old Word / Excel document that couldn't be opened in or was messed up by a new version of MS Office... by opening it in Open/Libre Office and saving it in the current version of MS Office.

                3. Not That Andrew

                  @I Am Spartacus Re: Head to head - Windoze upgrade

                  When your spredsheet is 3000Mb, surely you should be porting it over to a database, instead of faffing about wit OpenOffice and Office 2010?

              2. A J Stiles

                Re: Head to head

                These are things you take into account at the time when you're migrating. What you probably need to do is take a step back and look at the bigger picture. And more importantly, concentrate on ends as opposed to means.

                A spreadsheet with loads of macros in it is -- in all probability -- a horrendous bodge, never mind how many people are trying to do things that way.

                Whatever is in the spreadsheet probably really belongs in a database; which naturally belongs on a centralised server in the office. And then you can replace all your convoluted macros with a few simple scripts in Perl, Python or your favourite language. Instead of e-mailing a huge spreadsheet around everyone and it quickly getting out of sync with reality, why not display it in a web browser, straight from the database server?

                1. dogged

                  @A J Stiles

                  I absolutely agree with you.

                  The problem is, this is owned by the Accounts department who see that a) what they have now works b) replacing it would cost money in developer time and analysis and c) they (as the Accounts department) would be paying.

                  The odds on sneaking any improvement past the beancounters are infinitesimal.

                  1. aliterate

                    Re: @A J Stiles

                    >The odds on sneaking any improvement past the beancounters are infinitesimal.

                    True. In a way.

                    But isn't an important definition of 'important', important to the users?

                    (Rather than to the techies who might have different goals / wishes / criteria which might not coincide with, and shouldn't necessarily / always override those of the users).

              3. tom dial Silver badge

                Re: Head to head

                I always thought of ActiveX as a vulnerability to be avoided wherever and whenever possible.

              4. Edward Groenendaal

                Re: Head to head

                I tried migrating my old companies 40 XP desktops to Ubuntu using LTSP fat clients. It actually went rather well. I had to put a finance computer back onto Windows due to a spreadsheet, Libra Office couldn't cope, and also interfacing with government systems that insist on Windows.

                However, everyone else was happy. All apps were there, all company ones are web apps.

                The approach I took was to initially use a windows skin on a plain desktop. So that it looked identical to XP.

                Then with 12.04, I went Unity. They handled it fine.

                At no point has anyone needed the command line, and being LTSP it is trivial to manage.

                Cheers Ed.

            2. chekri

              Re: Head to head

              Yes they are - and name a sizable corporation that only uses browsers.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Head to head

                Yes they are - and name a sizable corporation that only uses browsers.

                The company I work for (global, presence in every country you can name, the "Microsoft" of our industry), stipulates that every user interface that we make is web-based (where feasible - there are edge cases).

              2. aliterate

                Re: Head to head

                >Yes they are - and name a sizable corporation that only uses browsers.

                Name a sizable corporation that only uses *any* particular <type of application | software>.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Head to head

                The UK MOD is trying to, as rapidly as possible, shift as many of its staff (Military and Civil Servants) into the G-Cloud - PCs will become, effectively, dumb terminals, all documents accessed via the browser, no local copies held by the machine. The plan is that eventually - even if you find a 'misplaced' Gov't laptop all you find is just enough password protected OS to make it boot into a password protected browser log on.

                I work in the Sim side and the plan to virtualise many of our simulations is gaining traction.

                Lots of MOD machines still run XP and while the roll-out of Win7 is going on a pace (at least it's faster than the NHS), the MOD has also been tasked to pay considerable attention to Open Source and Open Standards and if that pressure continues there might not be a jump to Win8/9/10 if a light Linux client will do the job...

                1. tom dial Silver badge

                  Re: Head to head

                  The US DoD (at least theoretically) does not allow computers with unsupported operating systems to be attached to any network. I retired from there a couple of years ago and don't know how things are going now, but at the end of 2011 there appeared to e reason for concern.

              4. Edward Groenendaal

                Re: Head to head

                Cisco Systems.

          2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: Head to head

            "A lot less than Windows to Linux as you're not going to have to change all your applications."

            My main applications are IDEs, compilers, text editors (code plus LaTeX), MatLab and Mathematica (apart from the browser). All of them available in Linux. The odd MS-Office document I get opens well enough in LibreOffice. In our department people use Windows (7), Mac OS-X and Linux (Ubuntu) roughly equally. I myself have used all three. Despite my earlier struggles with windows versions, I quite like Win 7. For most of my work I prefer Linux.

            Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Head to head

              Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

              I've been using Windows since, er, DOS. When I moved to Linux, the year before last, all of my Windows software was either cross-platform, or there were viable alternatives (some better, some not). And I'm a .NET developer (glad to be shot of Visual Studio!).

              The OS is just another interchangeable tool. It's becoming more and more irrelevant, and even Microsoft have known that for a while (Office on iPad, no new major controls since XP, WinForms (and WPF) in maintenance mode).

              Unfortunately, their customers do not believe it yet.

              1. dogged

                Re: Head to head

                > And I'm a .NET developer (glad to be shot of Visual Studio!).

                What are you using instead?

                (Personally, I quite like VS, post VS2010 which was crashy and irritating).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Head to head

                  What are you using instead?

                  MonoDevelop for C#, WebStorm for front-end.

                  (Personally, I quite like VS, post VS2010 which was crashy and irritating).

                  I used to love VS. VS2012 encouraged me to look elsewhere.

                  1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

                    Re: Head to head

                    I used to love VS. VS2012 encouraged me to look elsewhere.

                    I'm mostly a Java developer, but I've been using VS 2010 for the past six months. I can't believe it. It has fewer features than Eclipse and IntelliJ had 10 years ago. It seems you have to buy some kind of add-on to do anything but the most rudimentary refactoring.

                    What do all these year suffixes signify? The only IDE I can imagine that's more primitive than VS 2010 is the Visual Studio 6 I used in the last century.

                    1. Anonymous Bullard

                      Re: Head to head

                      What do all these year suffixes signify?

                      So it's obvious how old your version is

                2. Dave 126 Silver badge

                  Re: Head to head

                  >Just goes to show: OS wars are SO last century

                  Yep.

                  Ultimately, an OS by itself is of little use to anybody. For most people the OS is just that thing that lets them run the software that they use. Increasingly, the software that most people use is either available for most platforms, or can run in a browser. However, there will be many who use software that isn't available for some OSs, and the whole idea of OS 'choice' is for them meaningless. Its a chicken and egg situation - why bother developing your $0000 software for a platform that currently has very little market share, if your customers can easily afford a Windows licence?

                  Things are changing, but it is a long road.

                  Some people are having a bit of headache migrating from XP to newer versions of Windows (so may as well investigate Linux) - lots of custom worksheets plugged into an old accounts package, for example. In another workplace I know, where most staff are just entering data, the switch to Linux was pretty straightforward and cost-effective- a no-brainer.

                  1. aliterate

                    Re: Head to head

                    >Ultimately, an OS by itself is of little use to anybody.

                    A bit like an application, a lump of hardware, a mains power supply, a road, a car, a ...

                    Funny how many things need other things to be of use.

          3. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: Head to head

            >> "What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?"

            >

            > A lot less than Windows to Linux as you're not going to have to change all your applications.

            Nope. The migration from XP to Win8 will also create a lot of application level churn and might even cause MORE disruption than a migration to Linux.

            That's Microsoft's dirty little secret.

          4. W. Anderson

            idiotic and ignorant comment from Microsoft shills.

            This commenter "Connor..." and 'Anonymous Coward' above him/her are particularly ignorant and obviously stupid about any Windows XP to Linux migration efforts, since every "real world" migration done so far by several countries and municipalities in Europe and South America, as well as detailed evaluations of such migrations by Merrill Lynch division of Chase Band have shown significantly less costs on the XP-linux than XP-Wint/8 migration.

            When one of these doodfus people mention "your applications", they are usually referring to Microsoft Office specifically. Since LibreOffice, OpenOfice and other suites have proven more than capable and compatible for these afore mentioned migrations - about 90% to non-Office and 9% MS Office retained, there is no loss of productivity or performance. Likewise, Merrill Lynch performed a study which showed that average MS Office business user had very little migration issues - time and/or effort in learning LibreOffice to very productive degree - about 15 minutes, with proper instruction.

            Many commenters on the Register, ZDNet and other media who have shown strong and illogical Microsoft bias are unfortunately the majority of ill-informed, technologically simple minded and backward thinking individuals to comment in any media.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Head to head

          "What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?"

          What migration? Do you really think people will stop using Windows XP after April 8th?

          It's all FUD! To make money, to sell new computers, to make the richest bloke on the planet even richer!

          If people want to keep using XP let them. Don't push, force or lure these folk into new stuff. Some of these users are too old and can't cope with so much change or don't give a fuck about computers and therefore only use them for mundane tasks. Windows XP is still fine for those people so why bother? As long as they have a decent browser (like Mozilla Firefox 27.x.x), upto-date java (Java 7v 51) and flashplayer (v12) and uptodate antivirus-software (03/2014) what's all the fuzz about! The people who are really into computers have already moved on to Windows 8.x, Ubuntu 12 or 13, or whatever.

          Stop parroting all those bloody scare-mongers, for god's sake!

        3. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Head to head

          > What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?

          It's the costs associated with lots of hardware being thrown against the nearest wall as end users rebel in frustration.

        4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Head to head

          > What's the migration cost of moving from XP to Windows 8?

          Considering there's a lot of machines that ran XP but can't run Win8. a *LOT* of cash. Moving to Win8 will require ALL new hardware in those cases.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Head to head @AC

        I see the Redmond reputation management squad are on day release.

      4. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III

        Re: Head to head

        I've been using OS's since DOS - especially all the Windows variants. When I sat down at a Win8 desktop I had to retrain myself on how to do the most basic of functions - so I thought bollocks, why on earth should I have to 'learn' how to use this POS OS.

        So I have given Win8 and it's maker the middle finger. Nice knowing you. Clueless morons.

        1. tabman
          Flame

          Re: Head to head

          3 days ago Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III wrote: When I sat down at a Win8 desktop I had to retrain myself on how to do the most basic of functions

          I call total utter bo**cks. Did you not understand that pressing Win key +D gets you to the desktop?

          Maybe you didn't know that there were freely available low cost (£5) or free start menu replacements available from pretty much day one?

          Maybe you're just a lonely troll?

          Who knows.

      5. Chemist
        Linux

        Re: Head to head

        "Windows will run all your current software"

        It won't run any of mine unless you mean Windows versions of Firefox, Opera, GoogleEarth, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and The Gimp, VLC, Skype - mind that's quite a lot really, about 25% of the programs I use.

        I'm only missing (snigger) IE, Office

        1. ragnar

          Re: Head to head

          I've been running Office 2013 successfully in CrossOver Office. Surprisingly easy - more or less a one click and watch the installer do all the hard work.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Head to head

            Nice. But legal?

            Any dlls brought across from a windows installation?

        2. Oninoshiko
          WTF?

          Re: Head to head

          It won't run any of mine unless you mean Windows versions of Firefox, Opera, GoogleEarth, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and The Gimp, VLC, Skype - mind that's quite a lot really, about 25% of the programs I use.

          So, it will will run all your current software then?

          1. Chemist

            Re: Head to head

            "So, it will will run all your current software then?"

            Just to clarify : Linux runs all the software I currently use. I don't have a Windows computer - indeed only 1 of my 7 computers has ever had Windows installed. My latest laptop (4-core i7/8GB) was bought new recently free of an OS

            About 25% of the programs I use ( those listed) are also available for Windows. This is a kind of a tortuous way of saying that if the programs listed are the ones you mostly use then you could be running them under Linux rather than WIndows

      6. Amorous Cowherder
        Facepalm

        Re: Head to head

        Don't you have a bridge to skulk under somewhere?

      7. A J Stiles

        Re: Head to head

        You keep parrotting the argument that "you have to use the command line", which has all the hallmarks of superstition about it; as though somehow there was something wrong with that.

        Seriously, what is so bad about the command line?

        For me, the command line is simply a way of issuing a precise command straight to the computer, in a way that does not depend on the user's personal configuration options. In answering a question asked by a user, I can write "Open a terminal window and paste in the following:" and be confident that it will Just Work.

        If I had to describe the process of clicking through various icons and menus, it probably would break if the user had altered their configuration from the default as shipped. It would also take a lot longer to describe the process.

        Why do you think there is a difference between entering a quick textual command without making any pretence of understanding it, and making a long series of mouse clicks without making any pretence of understanding it?

        1. tfewster Silver badge

          re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

          What, use the command line, like in Windows? Where most support conversations go "Click Start, type <command> and press enter?" e.g. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/i-cant-start-the-microsoft-security-essentials-service

          Shame Windows doesn't have command-line editing to allow you to fix typos. Or leave a window open to check what you might have done wrong, let alone show you the error message. Simply repeat the entire process, correctly this time.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

            Shame Windows doesn't have command-line editing to allow you to fix typos.

            What version of Windows are you using? Even DOS had command-line editing.

            1. aliterate

              Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

              >>Shame Windows doesn't have command-line editing to allow you to fix typos.

              >What version of Windows are you using? Even DOS had command-line editing.

              Even DOS? Or only DOS?

              Isn't the only part of 'Windows' that lets you use the command line, essentially, DOS (in a window).

              Nothing wrong with that, of course.

          2. Alan Esworthy
            WTF?

            Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

            Now that's a surprising thing to read. What should be done, of course, is "Click Start, type cmd, then press enter". When the command window opens type <command>.

            Then you have an editable command line and a window that stays open. Did you not know that?

            1. Lars Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

              Yes, only it's a damned useless and stripped down command line compared to what you get in any *nix.

              1. tabman

                Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

                Lars Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

                Yes, only it's a damned useless and stripped down command line compared to what you get in any *nix

                uh... Powershell?

          3. Dan Crichton

            Re: re: command line (@ A J Stiles)

            Whenever I'm doing Windows support and need a user to run a command line, I get them to use Start > Run and type cmd <enter>. That provides everything you included in your misguided "Windows doesn't have ..." reply.

            Linux has it's uses (I've been running my VPS hosted system on Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS for years, and also have a bunch of FreeBSD systems where I work to look after, including "dumb" terminal replacements), but for general desktop use I still prefer Windows 7; XP was the dogs doobries for many years, but Windows 7 blows it away - and I still get to maintain old VB6 code using Visual Studio 6 without any problems (just have to disable desktop composition so aero is off when running VS or else drag-and-drop form design results in painfully slow redraws).

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Head to head

          "Seriously, what is so bad about the command line?"

          Nothing, people who know how to us it will always (if available) use it when it's faster more reliable and especially if you can make or reuse a script. People who can use the command line have no problems using a GUI when appropriate.

          People who do not know, probably work only with Windows, and their opinion regarding the command line is totally worthless, like having strong opinions regarding a language you don't speak.

          So, in other words, the bad about the command line is that people who know nothing about it tend to express their worthless opinion about it. Omitting (then) the command line was one of the worst mistakes Microsoft ever made. They had the *nix world on their knees but they blew it and I still feel both surprised and damned happy about it. People working within MS then wrote about it and explained that the stupidity was due to the big boys considering the command line old fashion. Ha haa haaa. Still I feel like a traitor when writing about it. Keep sleeping MS. Good night.

      8. i1ya

        Re: Head to head

        Sorry for feeding such an obvious troll as dear "Windows wins" AC, but I can't resist myself (it's also Friday). I have considered myself a long-time Windows power-user. When I have switched to Linux, it was very counter-productive: "un-intuitive" and "non-usable interface" (as windows-user-friendly Gnome 2!) really pissed me off for a long time. Since then I have spent about 6 years using Linux as my primary OS. And now I feel exactly the same feeling when I have to "fix" or install something on my wife's or relatives' windows-based PC: it seems to me counter-productive and counter-intuitive (just because my preferences have changed after all these years, so it's almost exclusively a matter of taste).

        Another issue less known to many civilised el Reg readers is that in my third-world post-USSR country almost no one buys Windows when it doesn't ship with a new PC. Most people just download and install non-updated, backdoor-supplied, warez version of Win XP or Win 7, and sooner or later their computers are just a nodes in a botnet. (No, personally I just don't do that, I always insist that Windows must be 'genuine' to get all security patches, since I cannot support a computer full of security holes). So free-as-freedom Linux is MUCH MUCH better. secure and easier to maintain than a free-as-beer pirated Windows, believe me :)

      9. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Head to head

        Any post like this under an AC banner will be either treated as a troll, or ignored.

        Why can't you post under a recognisable pseudonym? Your comments will be much better regarded!

      10. Fatman Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Head to head

        And then there is the massive re-training all your users will need, and you'll have to explain command line to them - you can't avoid that with Linux.

        Is that you, Loverock Davidson???

        1. bean520

          Re: Head to head

          oh Jesus, did Loverock Davidson just lower the average IQ of El Reg readers 40 points by jumping ship from ZDNet?

      11. Roo

        Re: Head to head

        "It is by far and a way the most stable and usable OS. Unlike Linux, Windows will run all your current software."

        That is simply not true, Windows fails to run any of my OpenBSD or Linux binaries...

      12. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: Head to head

        Is that you JDX?

      13. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Head to head

        Windows in it's current form has long time Windows users wanting to use something ELSE.

        Oddly enough, it's precisely because of the same kind of nonsense that Ubuntu is pushing here.

        Metro and Unity are birds of a feather.

      14. gotes

        Re: Head to head

        Two posts in and we're already on to a "mine's better than yours" argument. Sigh.

      15. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Head to head

        Windows wins. It is by far and a way the most stable and usable OS.

        Oh, maybe I should just try telling the XP machine I've been restoring to the state of usefulness for the past 8 hours that...naughty windows XP install, don't you realise you're more stable and usable than the Debian install on the same disk?

        If you want to quibble that 'oh that's XP', last thing Friday, before leaving work I discovered one of our 64bit Win7 CAD machines is fecked..the fun starts when anything tries to do any sort of 3d rendering..and this machine hasn't been exactly hammered over the past couple of months (and yes, it's a Win7 issue..several other packages have the same issue, the graphics adapter works fine under Debian on the same box and on another win7 machine..that's as much as I had time to try on Friday)

        Unlike Linux, Windows will run all your current software.

        No it wont, I've code which only runs under Linux, various BSDs and Solaris. Maybe at a push I could use cygwin to get it to run on a Windows box..oh, wait, you weren't talking about me, a specific 'you', but one of these mythical generic 'you''s I keep hearing about..

        Granted, there are a number of specialist applications I run on windows machines, but on a daily basis all the 'grunt work' of word/document processing, email and browsing gets done on a Linux box, and, for most use cases in my organisation, a very basic stripped down Linux desktop would suffice for 94% of the computer users requirements (and would save us major security headaches - I've jokingly muttered 'kiosk mode' a couple of times at 'Them' in the past,)

        The migration cost (and continuing support cost) of a Linux migration are eye-watering.

        Support.

        Pre migration: at least two visits per desk a week to sort out issues reported per desk.

        Post migration: maybe once a month (though the record so far is OS X, just over half a year there)

        Previous job, for similar sized user bases.

        Linux/Unix Support Personnel: 4

        Windows Support Personnel: 12

        (and the Linux/Unix support also covered Windows support as well)

        And I'm not even going to get into the OS and software licensing costs..

        And then there is the massive re-training all your users will need,

        Here's the mouse, here's the keyboard, here's Chrome, here's Libreoffice, here's the printers, here's your bloody card games, here's minesweeper..

        Because, in most cases I've ever come across, that's all they'll need (and the ones who do need more than these basics, usually have the nous to actually pick things up rapidly)

        and you'll have to explain command line to them - you can't avoid that with Linux.

        Oh, wait, I need to drink some coffee so that I can snort it all over the keyboard...bear with me...glug glug glug...snort....

        Linux, having to explain command line to users? that's precious...

        I've had people using Linux boxes for over a decade who've never either had or felt the need to use a shell, hell, even when they had only basic terminal access well over a decade ago, they were presented with a frigging menu when they logged in..and escape to shell wasn't an option, yet they were using Linux systems daily without any obvious signs of command prompt withdrawl..

        where the hell do you lot get this stuff from?

      16. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Head to head

        any chance of The Register doing a series of articles that compare and contrast Windows against a Linux?

        No. all the Windows users are too busy at their real jobs to participate.

        Meanwhile during the test all the Linux users will be playing with their home-made free hobby software while crying "WHAAAA!!!! WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE USE LINUX??? WHAAAAAAA!!!"

        "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE USE LINUX????? WHAAAA!!! I DON'T KNOW WHAT EXCHANGE DOES BUT USE LINUX ANYWAY!!! WHAAAAAAAA!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Head to head @AC

          "Meanwhile during the test all the Linux users will be playing with their home-made free hobby software ..."

          Getting ahead of yourself there!

          Firstly, I agree the "Linux users will be playing with their home-made free hobby software" however, I doubt they will be doing this "during the test" - Why? because from the evidence of the El Reg comments they won't be able to agree on a specific Linux distribution let alone the extra's needed to bring the typical Linux distro up to the same functional level (remember Lindows/Linspire?)..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Head to head @AC

            " Why? because from the evidence of the El Reg comments they won't be able to agree on a specific Linux distribution let alone the extra's needed to bring the typical Linux distro up to the same functional level (remember Lindows/Linspire?).."

            As the Scots might say " You're a (caber) toss*r"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Head to head

      No contest is it?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

      1.48% of the people cannot surely be wrong? That's half the number of people using Vista, but I won't let that massive unvote of confidence get in the way of the unswerving sense of moral and intellectual superiority I feel every time me and the 12 other users crank up our home-made free hobby software.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Head to head

        >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

        Get malaria/bilharzia - a billion users can't be wrong.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

      Probably the smoothest troll ever seen on these forums. Can't believe how many people have bitten so quickly. Nice one :)

      1. 1Rafayal

        Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

        I am genuinely interested to see what would happen.

        I think there has been a slight case of fervent Linux fanboism on the Register for a while now. So, I want to see a head to head comparison that compares both Windows & Linux on the desktop as well as servers.

        1. Chemist

          Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

          "I think there has been a slight case of fervent Linux fanboism on the Register for a while now."

          Interesting that you see it that way. I see many posters ( or is it just one or two ACs) proclaiming that Windows is far superior whilst still seeming to need to rabidly attack Linux with the same old tired untruths. You know the sort of thing ... need to use the command line to install, need to compile the kernel, doesn't support X,Y or Z, is unstable.Only poor people, basement dwellers and people with BO problems use Linux. It all sounds desperate. I wouldn't use Windows myself but I hardly ever attack it

          Now it may be only 1-2% of installed desktops but judging by the range of comments/contributors on The Register a much larger percentage of the people here use or support Linux - scientists/academics/engineers and programmers. Maybe we should have a poll about OSs.

          (And maybe a poll about the excessive use of AC which makes following a thread and making sense of who you are replying to rather difficult)

          1. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

            "Maybe we should have a poll about OSs."

            Agreed. It would be especially interesting, too, to see what is happening with private use in the Munich, Germany metropolitan area since the local government has been using LiMux for business.

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

            " Interesting that you see it that way. I see many posters ( or is it just one or two ACs) proclaiming that Windows is far superior whilst still seeming to need to rabidly attack Linux with the same old tired untruths."

            As a unix user and developer for over 20 years, and a FreeBSD user/developer for 15, I actually have to agree with the 1Rafayal.

            Yes, you have the windows trolls but the Linux fanbois are far more prevailent.

            Even as part of the open source / free software / unix-not-windows culture, I've regularly been severely voted down for making valid points perceived as being negative against Linux.

            And surely you can't have failed to see the enormous upvotes posts get for praising Linux - even those offering no actual substance?

            Unfortunately the Slashdot-style 'cult-of-gnu' is alive and kicking on the Reg.

            1. Chemist

              Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

              " Linux fanbois are far more prevailent"

              I agree, but some WIndows 'fans' are far more pernicious

        2. aliterate

          Re: Head to head @1Rafayal

          >I think there has been a slight case of fervent Linux fanboism on the Register for a while now.

          Maybe.

          Or maybe Reg readers tend to be smarter than the average bear, on average?

    4. BlueGreen

      Re: Head to head

      > any chance of The Register doing a series of articles that compare and contrast Windows against a Linux?

      > however I think there are a good amount of people who simply not used a Linux before..

      An article on VirtualBox, leading to how to install linux in a VM, would be both short and far more effective. IMO. And I'm never wrong. Except when I choose to be. Which I sometimes do.

    5. Defiant

      Re: Head to head

      What do you think it tells people when they keep seeing Linux users go on and on about Windows

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Chemist

        Re: Head to head

        "What do you think it tells people when they keep seeing Linux users go on and on about Windows"

        You mean like this tosh ?

        "Windows wins. It is by far and a way the most stable and usable OS. Unlike Linux, Windows will run all your current software."

        This on a thread about Linux

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sadly

    Looks like Kernel 3.14 isn't going to make it in to 14.04 LTS

    See here:

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTY0NTc

  3. Stuart 22

    A small part of a bigger story ...

    Worth a reminder that the same day we also get 14.04 *ubuntu (where *=letter of choice).

    Which, by definition, is more attractive to users who have issues with Unity.

  4. Pete 2

    A slice off the top

    > saved on vertical screen real estate

    Sadly that's only a token gesture.

    The real problem is the application windows - and the design of the applications themselves. While they still insist on the "old fashioned" format of titles, options and menus taking up space at the top of the app, having the desktop saving a few pixels won't make a whole lot of difference.

    As an example, take the system I'm typing this on. A 23 inch screen that sports a paltry 11¼" in the vertical direction.Of which Firefox gobbles 1¾" - leaving 9¼ - or 235mm for those of us in the modern era - (after the bottom margin is accounted for) of usable, content-filled space. - That's nearly 20% of my precious screen height taken up with stuff which is only there because FF was designed when 4:3 CRTs where all there was.

    Now I appreciate that LCD screens only (cheaply) come in sizes and form-factors that are meant for video replay - and that I could, possibly, turn the monitor through 90°, or get a second one. However, the principle still applies: that application design has not kept up with screen layouts and could do with a thorough overhaul to get it into the 21st century.

    Oh, and BTW. Trusty Tahr is an anagram of Ruthy Tarts (or Tarty Ruths, but I don't think any Ruths would be too impressed), which is much easier to say.

    1. Craigness

      Re: A slice off the top

      If you're really bothered about it, press f11.

      Firefox on Ubuntu doesn't have such a problem because the menu is in the panel, so it uses only a smidge more vertical space than Chrome. But the panel does take up space and can't be moved, and Chrome doesn't use it. On my Windows laptop (where dock and panel are effectively the same thing) I put the "dock" on the left side and have the full height of the screen for Chrome, which has only tabs and the address bar above the content.

      I can't imagine going full screen on a 23 inch monitor. I've only got 21 inches and find full screen overwhelming.

      1. Pete 2

        Re: A slice off the top

        > press f11.

        The problem with fullscreen mode is that then I lose access all the other open stuff on my (should have mentioned: Linux Mint) workspace - and changing workspaces then means coming out of FS mode. All because the application designers need to stop, take a step or two back from their immediate applications, and think.

        Linux had a small window (groan) of opportunity to get ahead of the game when Windows8 was released escaped. A radical new design, based on users and usability might just have made a difference.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: A slice off the top

          Those who don't know Linux might be surprised to know that there are many different choices for desktop GUIs. You can even install half a dozen on the same machine, and switch between them when you log in.

          If Microsoft had done the same with Windows 8 (option to choose Windows 7 AND XP classic interfaces) they'd have received plaudits instead of brickbats.

          1. DaddyHoggy

            Re: A slice off the top

            Classic Shell is your friend: http://www.classicshell.net/

            Have installed this on my daughter's (relatively) cheap i3 Win8.1 laptop - and it works a treat.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Full screen windows

          In one part of the world I know, they look at you with eyes of [redacted] if you dare resize the multitude of full screen windows they have open on their 27in Screens running Windows 7. Everything is opened full screen and that is it. I really have no idea why they do this and when I ask them they just look blankly back at me. I guess that is the way they were taught. IMHO, it kinda defeats the purpose ofwindows does it not?

        3. jgarbo
          Linux

          Re: A slice off the top

          > press f11

          I don't follow. Even when I press f11 for Full screen I can find open apps on that workspace with Alt+Tab, and can cycle through my other (five) workspaces with Ctl+Alt+Right/Left. Or do you mean s/t different.? Using Wheezy 7.01 + XFCE.

      2. SineWave242

        Re: A slice off the top

        21" is quite formidable. I don't think you should worry about it. At all. :)

    2. frank ly

      Re: A slice off the top

      You can always press F11 to go full screen in Firefox, then cursor to the top and right click the revealed bar to exit full screen.

      I know what you mean though, which is why I love to use my 8 year old Acer laptop with 15" 4:3 matte screen (running Linux Mint).

    3. Saul Dobney

      Re: A slice off the top

      That'll be because screen resolutions have got worse (ie from 1920x1200 to 1920x1080 or worse, a lot worse...). Means I've delayed upgrading my currently laptop in the hope that someone in the PC world sees the light, and I might even switch to Linux to stick with the decent screen resolution I have now.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: A slice off the top

        @Saul, re 1920 x 1200

        Good luck, and if you do find a laptop that sports that resolution, kindly report back here. Thankyou!

        Various theories regarding the disappearance of 16:10 laptop screens that I have heard (I'm not commenting on plausibility):

        1. Panel makers are used making to 16:9 television sets

        2. Laptop makers think that people only use them for watching movies, or using spreadsheets with lots of columns and few rows.

        3. Laptops are increasingly being sold on battery life. A 16:9 laptop screen of a given diagonal dimension is smaller than a 16:10 screen, which is in turn smaller than a 4:3 screen. Smaller screens use less power.

        4. laptops are often sold on cost. For the same reasons above, a 16:9 15" screen is cheaper than a 16:10 15" screen.

        None of these theorised reasons benefit the end user. From an ergonomic standpoint, the centre of a widescreen monitor is lower than that of a taller screen, so is worse for the posture of the user.

        There is a laptop maker that doesn't try to compete purely on numbers... but they don't start cheap, and may not make the hardware configuration that one requires. You know who I'm talking about. For all their perceived faults, I'm glad they exist. When my Core 2 1920 x 1200 Dell eventually dies, I will give them serious thought.

        1. DaddyHoggy

          Re: A slice off the top

          I've currently got a Dell XPS M1730 that is really on its last legs (before the 3yr warranty ran out it had had 2 new mobos, 3 'new' dual SLI 9800M boards, 'new' Blu-Ray drive, 3 new PSUs and a new screen.

          And that screen is 1920x1200 and I will miss it when it goes (the screen, not the laptop) - having already moved to a really lovely Novatech gaming rig - but only with a 1920x1080 screen (and I already miss the real-estate).

          However, if you like Dell and want a hi-res screen - look at the XPS 15 with a QHD screen (3200x1800): http://www.dell.com/uk/p/xps-15-9530/pd?oc=cnx9502&model_id=xps-15-9530

    4. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: A slice off the top

      > Of which Firefox gobbles 1¾" -

      Try "Side Tabs" add-on.

      It save vertical space and the side space can be adjusted.

    5. uncredited

      Re: A slice off the top

      Pete 2 said:

      "However, the principle still applies: that application design has not kept up with screen layouts and could do with a thorough overhaul to get it into the 21st century."

      Maybe going back to the 90s web design and move the menus to a column down the left? No vertical space needed!

  5. Paul Westerman
    Thumb Up

    Other anagrams

    Arty Truths

    A Rash Try, Tut

    Tart Shy Rut

    1. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Other anagrams

      Just a few syllables short of a Haiku!

  6. JDX Gold badge

    Amazing

    Menus AND resizeable windows. OMG, it's like Windows XP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      Funny you should say that, DOS was a lot like CP/M

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      "it's like Windows XP"

      Just not being hacked to buggery every week or so.

    3. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Amazing

      OMG, it's actually like Windows 95.

      So Ubuntu is *less* than two decades behind. Kudos to Canonical!

      1. Manu T

        Re: Amazing

        No, it's actually like RISC OS 3.

        Well done, canonical!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      That's one up over Metro!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      Not quite sure why the "reviewer" had to point out such things as menus and resizable windows. Maybe Ubuntu has only just got them? but then it's never been the most advanced linux distro out there ...

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Amazing

        > Not quite sure why the "reviewer" had to point out such things as menus and resizable windows.

        Because Unity was an abomination which had the same touch-centric, hide-everything-and-force-user-to-use-search approach to GUI as Windows 8.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Amazing

          Canonical giveth and Canonical taketh away...

          They built their own window decorator plugin for Compiz (Unity is after all just a Compiz plugin,) so that they could get GTK3 theme support and these new menu features. Unfortunately this means the ability to shift the minimize / maximize / close buttons from the top left corner to the top right is no longer available.

          Not really a problem for me since I don't use Unity but I did notice it when I was tinkering in a VM the other day.

  7. Grifter

    Meh

    To be fair, I merely skimmed the article. The excited mentions of clicking windows, dragging windows, and resizing windows really put me off reading the entire thing.

    Thank fuck for tiling/tabbed window managers, well I suppose to be correct, thank Tuomo Valkonen for coming up with it, even though he's batshit crazy. Still using ion2 bitches!

  8. Natalie Gritpants

    Top bars are bollox

    Fitts law is OK when it comes to being easy to whiz to the file menu, but it doesn't address the larger distance who have to go to get the pointer back to where it started after you have done the file/thing menu pick.

    Sidebars are much better for saving vertical space. WIndows 7 and KDE do the rather well, mate is OK ish, xfce and gnome were rubbish last time I checked.

    Window resizing - meh, been in most X window managers for over twenty years.

  9. Caspian Prince

    Have they fixed the irritatingly shit window resizing borders?

    Every time I've tried to use Ubuntu, I've been thwarted by the unnecessarily fiddly window edges which make it strangely incredibly difficult to resize windows.

    Well, until recently anyway, when fortunately the Unity interface put me off going any further before I even bothered trying to resize any windows.

    1. handle

      Re: Have they fixed the irritatingly shit window resizing borders?

      That was fixed even in 12.04 a long time ago.

      1. Michael Thibault

        Re: Have they fixed the irritatingly shit window resizing borders?

        Fixed?! Why did they re-break it, then?

        The sub-1-pixel 'border' you have to hit with the cursor/pointer to resize windows is plainly sadistic. It's jaw-dropping to still see the pointer icon flicking back and forth between the arrow and the window-border-drag icon. Who could object to the addition of yet-another-control squirreled away in a yet-another-tab in the Settings couched in yet-more-obscure-terminology to allow for a user-adjustable width to that window control the user might occasionally need--or, horrors, want--to drag to a slightly different position?

        There's likely enough compute power to spare on even paunchy hardware to allow for anticipatory, gravity-welling controls like window edges--such that a pointer in motion tends to be attracted to the targets along the flight path, perhaps with a user-settable 'stickiness' ('gravitas'?).

        Anyway, the window borders thing remains a major annoyance.

    2. jgarbo

      Re: Have they fixed the irritatingly shit window resizing borders?

      >unnecessarily fiddly window edges...

      Just pick a different window border style or modify existing, no?

  10. No Quarter

    For the new TT version of Ubuntu, can we please use the official pronunciation: "Titty".

    If you need to differentiate it from the Audi Titty, you can use "Tittybuntu".

  11. pirithous

    Ubuntu Includes Spyware

    Ubuntu contains spyware by default, and I refuse to use any such distro. Plus, I hate Unity, Mir is completely idiotic when everyone else is moving to Wayland, and I don't like the Gnome desktop environment which Unity is based on.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP8CNp-vksc

    1. A J Stiles

      Re: Ubuntu Includes Spyware

      So, use something else then!

      1. pirithous

        Re: Ubuntu Includes Spyware

        Is that the response you're going to leave on the video of Richard Stallman -- a response designed to achieve absolutely nothing? Spyware in open source software is egregious, and the only reason people put up with it is because they're ignorant.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ubuntu Includes Spyware

          Fuck Stallman. He is increasingly irrelevant and blatantly lives in a bubble.

          1. pirithous

            Re: Ubuntu Includes Spyware

            If it weren't for him, proprietary software would have overtaken the world more than it already has. You are ignorant, ungrateful, a complete idiot, and I bet your fickle anonymous ass wouldn't say that right to his face

  12. paul 97

    [rant]Putin bots all over the guardian and now MS Shills all over this article. Sigh. [/rant]

    Hardly any comments about the article itself. Well Im looking forwards to the small tweaks mentioned and will probably be upgrading a couple of weeks after launch.

  13. AngryCTO

    AngryCTO

    It is funny that the author gets excited about windows' contents shown while dragging/resizing, that was in Win95, right?

    As to the horror of Unity, never again. It is a massive waste of productivity:

    1. The icons are missing text. Imagine a GUI where all buttons would have icons, but no labels. That is what Unity is. Some of us read text faster than icons. They are complementary in fact.

    2. The hidden scrollbar, puah. Everytime time I need to drag-scroll I waste a few secs trying to activate the scroll.

    3. The forced grouping of similar running apps under the same icon. God forbid that you are running several Wine apps, they would all be grouped under the same icon.

    4. The Dash. It would be unusable if not for the search box.

    5. Almost zero lack of configurability of the Unity panel.

    6. The entire concept is so '90s. When will we see a HTML based desktop, extensible to no end like Firefox is?

    I reckon it is retarded to force users to do things your way. An OS should have a few knobs to allow people to revert to the old way of doing things, especially since these tweaks are trivial. After running Mint I chose KDE on OpenSuse, because KDE on Ubuntu is too unstable. Although KDE seems to have TOO many options.

    1. Pookietoo
      Linux

      Re: knobs to allow people to revert to the old way of doing things

      That would be the button on the login screen, that lets you select which desktop environment you want to run.

    2. Fibbles

      Re: AngryCTO

      Ah, KDE...

      The 'use every paint in the paintbox' approach to UI design.

  14. Vociferous

    So is it still "search for everything"?

    Because that the interface was based on using search to find anything was what really turned me off Ubuntu. If it's not, I'll fire up a virtual machine and give it a spin to see if it now holds a candle to Mint.

    1. Pookietoo
      Linux

      Re: So is it still "search for everything"?

      Install ClassicMenu Indicator to restore the old-style menus.

  15. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Stop fiddling with my interface!

    Is there some replicable research to show that window buttons are easier to use at the top-left than at the top-right? That users rarely click the minimize button?

    Is there anything more than developer whim or the craving to be different to back up the disruptive changes to the UI that every new release of every OS introduces?

    I've had to install about five different distros* in the past few weeks. I'm not exactly new to computer use, but in some cases (Unity, for example), I've been utterly paralysed. Even KDE comes up with some kind of container on the desktop containing a legend along the lines of "This frame is empty". Yes, I can see that, but what's if for, and how am I supposed to rectify its emptiness?

    Imagine if the UI for machines was subject to such arbitrary changes. Some cars with steering than goes left when you turn right, some with tillers, some without a brake pedal?

    *This isn't an anti-Linux diatribe. Mint, for example, seems perfectly usable. No wonder it's so popular.

    1. Pookietoo
      Linux

      Re: Stop fiddling with my interface!

      The thing about Linux is that you don't need to keep whatever interface the distro uses as default. I'm used to having window buttons on the left when using Ubuntu, and on the right with other distros and Windows, just as I got used to using my thumb with some trackballs and my fingers with others - it's really not a huge effort, although it might take a few days until you do it without thinking about it. If you hate having the buttons on the left you can switch them back to the right anyway. As for the car metaphor, some have the steering wheel on the left, some on the right - the first time I used a LHD car on the RHS of the road, when I'd only ever driven RHD on the LHS, I just got in it and drove, it really didn't seem strange at all.

  16. algol60forever

    Upgrading XP to 8 - that'll be a new computer, then.

    This is the reason I've moved my hardware over to Linux. I can't upgrade XP, even if I wanted to, since 8 will not install - despite having business-class machines with 64bit processors and plenty of ram. Linux has proven incredibly stable, responsive and easy to manage. My laptop now boots in 45sec and shuts down in 15sec (Xubuntu). I suspect the majority of users are put off by the plethora of distributions and don't realise how simple the installation and migration (to other distributions) has become.

  17. Awil Onmearse

    LTS

    Nothing about the 14.04 server features? I should think most users sticking with LTS versions are running it on servers. Cloudinit fixed so it can create default users? A version of SSH that can use LDAP auth without a patch? etc etc.

    1. keithpeter
      Coat

      Re: LTS

      @Awil Onmearse

      I suspect most people running servers will wait until the release, and then evaluate 14.04 against the applications they run and then plan an upgrade if needed. 12.04 gets support until April 2017 so they have time for a measured approach.

      Besides, its fun to moan about the desktop interface, even though most of us spend about 2% of our time outside applications.

      Getting my coat on now...

    2. Vociferous

      Re: LTS

      > Nothing about the 14.04 server features? I should think most users sticking with LTS versions are running it on servers.

      This article is about the desktop version of Ubuntu, if you're running a server you're going to run the server version. But yeah an article about what's new in Ubuntu Server would be welcome.

  18. Manu T

    with regards to menus

    Funny guys on El Reg.

    When an linux-distro assembled by a rich and wealthy bloke gets something new it's all big fanfare. Suddenly they use big words like "more in line Fitt's Law".The funny thing is that some of the things shown here have more in common with British invented RISC OS, which was literally AGES ahead of its time.

    Have these El Reg guys EVER used RISC OS at all? THAT menu system is compliant with Fitt's Law this is just a linux-distro mimicking OSX with different colours. Bleh! :-(

    1. Andy Parker 1

      Re: with regards to menus

      RE Risc OS - You took the words right off my keyboard :-)

    2. databasejay

      Re: with regards to menus

      I actually like Ubuntu,and unlike the Mac machines in the house, it doesn't cost me anything. I'm sticking with it for my personal machines. From time to time, I try something else, like Mint recently, also good. I didn't need a long adaptation, or any training, to use the Ubuntu's desktop. Just my take...

  19. Andy Parker 1

    "Previously the windows would show a yellow box indicating its size as you dragged, but it didn't re-draw itself in real time."

    Risc OS 3 achieved this feat in 1991. Have I misread today's date?

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Devil

      Ubuntu Metro

      >> "Previously the windows would show a yellow box indicating its size as you dragged, but it didn't re-draw itself in real time."

      >

      > Risc OS 3 achieved this feat in 1991. Have I misread today's date?

      In case you haven't been paying attention lately, Ubuntu has been deploy a "less is more" approach to the GUI. The things that Unity can't/won't do cannot be generalized to Linux interfaces in general.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Ubuntu Metro

        Quite. I had wondered how long it would be before someone noticed.

        Though even the otherwise excellent Cinnamon still has the ridiculous 1-pixel wide landing areas for size grabs - it does display the contents of the window while resizing, but only if you can actually grab the corner to resize it!

        (Pointed out by someone else upthread, I think.)

        And I *like* CInnamon. I'm not sure that Unity offers me anything that matches *my* workflow that's better than Cinnamon, but YMMV.

  20. keithpeter
    Windows

    Ear trumpet needs a clean

    "Wait, Canonical actually listened to us?"

    Well, sort of. Menus on window bar makes sense for large monitors so well done for that. The shrinkable side bar and Super-and-hold make a lot of sense on a widescreen laptop, so an effort mark for that. Very responsive indeed on a Thinkpad X200s from the Live ISO, very nice, gold star, I'll keep this USB stick with 14.04 on to demo to people. New MESA libraries apparently (I read that on t'interwebs so it must be true).

    But, the menus still hide themselves when you take the mouse away from the menu bar. And the ALT- keyboard mnemonics don't work more than one level deep (Try ALT-F-S in Firefox and you get the History menu instead of a Save dialogue). In LibreOffice, I use ALT-I-O-F about 10 or 15 times per typing hour, so that is a bit of a problem!

    I try each version of Unity because I actually quite liked it back in 12.04. I'll try Gnome Ubuntu when some brave soul makes a Gnome 3.12 ppa.

  21. databasejay

    6 years of Ubuntu on laptops

    I belive the marketplace will slowly increase for Linux and Mac, over time, Hey. My workplace is a giant windows network. It's ok; I can deal with it. For my personal use, nothing but Ubuntu for years and I'm satisfied. If I download a new image, for a friend's or relative's machine, I kick in a few bucks, happy to do it.

    1. keithpeter
      Childcatcher

      No command line - Re: 6 years of Ubuntu on laptops

      For what its worth, I'm posting this from an Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 installation on an old Core Duo 2 Thinkpad X200s with Intel chipset.

      Good: All works. I installed the whole thing along with a shedload of software and all the codecs/flashplayer/MS Web fonts (restricted-packages in Ubuntu-speak) using GUI tools exclusively. Looks shiny. Plays videos and MP3s. Does youtube and all Web sites. Took an hour plus 45min download time for the extra software (thanks Openreach).

      Not so good: Ubuntu Software Centre a bit clunky with lots of time out errors, could just be our shonky ADSL over copper broadband. So used USC to install Synaptic - which worked ace.

      Own goal department: live ISO is just under 1gig, comes with LibreOffice. Running off the stick or a fresh install results in no spell-check on LibreOffice. Surely there could be space for a few megabytes of dictionary packages and a conditional installation depending on the language chosen during install?

      Think of the children: My teenager students switch between GUIs many times a day (windows 7 at College, various tablet OSes and phones at home, a few Mac OS and one Chromebook). May try handing this laptop out and challenging a couple to connect to college guest wifi load a browser and log into Moodle to do a quiz. They like puzzles.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the point exactly?

    I don't really see the point of real-time window resizing. Let's say that I have El Reg open in a tab, like in the video, and resize the window. Is my life really better if I see a rendered view of the page while my mouse button is held down, as opposed to seeing it when I release? It's the kind of perf-sapping gewgaw I always turn off, even in Windows. Not to be a nutty purist (use TWM!) but a wireframe of the eventual size works very well.

    Secondly, it doesn't seem like rocket science to have a firstboot wizard that runs and walks you through basic GUI customization, maybe even with some presets like "Make it like Mac OS" or "Make it look like Windows" to speed users through. A series of questions that asked things like "where do you like the app menu bar?" and then updates the GNOME config and asks you to log in again would be an easy and cheap solution to all the wars over X vs Y vs Z.

    1. DanceMan

      Re: What's the point exactly?

      firstboot wizard

      +1

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: What's the point exactly?

        @DanceMan

        There is a First Boot process on RHEL7 beta. You have to agree to licence (Red Hat!) then do the kdump memory allocation step, then you get to desktop login and a Gnome Shell welcome page pops up with animations of the main parts of the GS interface. Quite nice.

        Only problem is that RHEL itself logs into Classic by default (!).

    2. Robert Sneddon

      Re: What's the point exactly?

      I resize windows by click-and-drag and release when the window looks right, for example when editing images. A wireframe won't show me the final view when I release the mouse whereas a render-during-resize will. I'd have to resize several times to get the window "right" with only a wireframe to go by.

      As for "perf-sapping" I've not noticed any spike in CPU usage or even the graphics card breathing heavily when I manipulate windows on screen. Does this actually happen under Linux? I'm running Windows.

      1. Chemist

        Re: What's the point exactly?

        " Does this actually happen under Linux? I'm running Windows."

        Hard to compare with such a large range of hardware/desktops/GPUs

        On this laptop 4-core i7 running OpenSUSE 13.1/KDE (but just the Intel graphics with some hardware support ) resizing this Firefox window gives a smooth view of the contents and the CPU kicks from <1% > ~15% but very briefly unless you jiggle the window size rapidly back and forth .

        Running a 1080p/50 H264 video using vlc takes ~5% and jiggling that window around rapidly the cpu again runs to 15%.

        Running 4 simultaneous 1080p/50 videos using vlc take ~15% BTW

  23. tempemeaty
    Thumb Up

    Encouraging

    Good article. It sounds like progress has begun with Ubuntu. It's unfortunate that two main OS's such as Win 8 and Ubuntu have taken a slide to the past dumping much of the modern features evolved out of user necessities that have not gone away. Perhaps one of those two OSs is now making a steady climb back to the future-now.

  24. Truth4u

    urrrm hello?

    Since Microsoft don't seem to be using the Windows 7 interface anymore why don't ubuntu just rip that off? Then everyone would be like hey whats that version of windows that's not windows but looks more like windows than windows? I'll use that!

    1. keithpeter

      Re: urrrm hello?

      @Truth4u

      Have a look at Xubuntu 14.04 with the whiskermenu enabled. Just unlock the top panel and drag it down to the bottom then lock it again, and then make a custom keyboard shortcut to the menu bound to the Windows key.

      Not far off....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I liked XP a lot but Windows 7 was user-unfriendly in comparison. Windows 8 is much worse. Linux Mint does everything I want at home EXCEPT drive my film scanner, for which (damn) I still need an XP partition (no network, no security risk). Mint is marginally slower than XP and in particular seems to drive the graphics card very hard (Torvalds accepts that Linux is becoming bloated) but it has required far fewer rebuilds than even XP SP3 - when you have kids using a computer, it tends to get corrupted quite frequently with all the incorrect shutdowns.

    The next Mint LTS shouldn't be long coming, and that will be on my next laptop.

    If you play games, you're stuck with Windows. I accept that.

  26. Stretch

    Recompiling your kernel required...

    ...nuff said.

    Maybe Steam will make Linux relevant to those of us who spend big piles of money on decent hardware and don't want to have to recompile their kernel or some shit when upgrading it. Until all games are made cross-platform and the OS becomes user friendly I'll stick with Windows.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Recompiling your kernel required...

      "and don't want to have to recompile their kernel "

      Let me repeat for the terminally stupid - NO NEED FOR MANY YEARS TO COMPILE A LINUX KERNEL

  27. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    You know, what the world of IT really, really needs is for every OS to be based on the same, 40-year-old, UNIX design.

    Because that's clearly the answer to every technical problem from yesterday, through today, and forever into the future. UNIX is perfect. All hail f*cking UNIX.

    One thing Microsoft has managed to achieve – beyond all reasonable expectations – is to maintain a viable alternative to that ancient UNIX design. Granted, they often mess up the GUI design – Windows 1-3.0, anyone? Windows ME? Windows Vista? – but then, Canonical and GNOME don't exactly have an unblemished record in this field either. Even Apple make mistakes: their old "Dashboard Widgets" technology hasn't exactly taken the world by storm, for example.

    Furthermore, WIMP GUIs are designed for new users. There is no excuse for claiming to be a professional or expert in IT and not knowing the keyboard shortcuts. Those shortcuts have NOT changed in Windows 8; it literally took me five minutes to learn the changes, and even then, Windows 8 has added new shortcuts, not taken away the old ones. Hell, it even comes with a tutorial. If you still can't work out that the Desktop mode is basically that from Windows 7 with flatter icons and better performance, the problem is with you, not the OS.

    If there's one thing nobody working in technology should ever be afraid of, it's change.

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