back to article Post Unity 8 Ubuntu shock? Relax, Linux has been here before

If the recent news that Canonical is killing its Unity 8 desktop/phone interface and Mir display server caught you off guard, it’s only because you haven't been paying attention to the ups and down of the Linux world. Unity 8 and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth's vision of convergence did not find a market in time for it …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    Unity usage?

    0bv Unity was default on the base Ubuntu distro for quite a while, so would have reasonable usage from those who leave a system as default.

    Like many people, I have some Ubuntu based systems, but its ages since I actually installed a "standard Ubuntu" - I mainly use Lubuntu (as its a small disk footprint, plus undemanding on resources so a good way to allow geriatric hardware (with (compared to today) small disk, little RAM & weedy CPU) to be useful for a few years longer)

    I'm hoping someone has some stats on what proportion of Ubuntu users (across all distro flavours) actively use Unity - would be interested to see what percentage of users are affected. Desktop changes often irritate people if they have got used used to desktop Y and so learning different things on desktop Z is an unwanted choren

    1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

      Re: Unity usage?

      Unity never felt quite finished, the configuration options were never there, for one. You couldn't make the launcher autohide, so you were stuck with it forever and even if you set it up to use menus on the top it didn't work in every app and even in ones were it did you quite often ended up with a big wasted space between the application interface and menu, even when maximized. I know these are small things, but the small things are what kept me from using Unity. Unity was designed to be a my way or the highway interface and I just didn't agree with the designers on everything. It even forced me to try KDE, which is ok, but not for me.

      I've been running Ubuntu GNOME for the last few years anyway, so nothing has changed for me.

      1. Palpy

        Re: Unity usage? Me --

        -- for one. At least some of the time.

        I do auto-hide the Unity dock, though I use the lens pretty regularly. I have a fixed Mac-style dock for common applications, and a standard hierarchical menu for the rest. So one can arrange things to suit oneself, to a degree.

        That said, I'm not a Unity fanboi by any stretch. Can get along well enough with almost anything, except Win 8, I suppose. To my mind, most of the common desktop GUIs are reasonably ergonomic, each with their own trade-offs. Necessarily so.

        Good move for Ubuntu, IMHO. Comes a time to stop inventing new wheels, and work on making the plethora of wheels Linux already has roll more smoothly.

      2. thames

        Re: Unity usage?

        @Jonathan 27 - "Unity never felt quite finished, the configuration options were never there, for one. You couldn't make the launcher autohide"

        The Unity launcher was auto-hide right from the beginning. They then added an option to make it not auto-hide, because so many people didn't like auto-hide. They then made not auto-hide the default but left the option for it in place for those who still wanted it.

        If you want auto-hide, then in 16.04 (it's probably the same in previous versions), click on "System Settings", then "Appearance", then "Behaviour". The first option is "Auto-hide the launcher". Set this to "on". When you've set it to "on", then the controls which adjust the auto-hide sensitivity are enabled and you can adjust several different factors relating to how and when the launcher appears.

        I don't like auto-hide and don't use it, but despite that even I knew where that setting was.

        The auto-hide option by the way is right above the options which control where the menus are displayed, so you would have had to go right past it when you changed the menu location options (which you said you did).

        This criticism was typical of 99% of complaints that I've seen with respect to Unity. They've been written by people who don't use it and know little about it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wanted one...

    but to refocus on what it's [sic] user [sic] actually want rather than its own vision of the future of computing.

    I would happily have bought an true Ubuntu phone or tablet if I could. That is, something I could do "apt-get install <foo>" on when on the move, and use with a Bluetooth keyboard and HDMI display when I got home.

    However they never even reached the marketplace in significant numbers. The few that did were sold out immediately.

    Mind you, it's not entirely clear if they were true Ubuntu or something completely different - like Windows Phone and Windows RT which were not Windows at all. If so, it was obviously a waste of time.

    It's no accident that Microsoft's one success in the tablet space - Surface - is the one which runs real Windows.

    1. thames

      Re: I wanted one...

      Android has dominated the mobile phone market so thoroughly that there was probably very little chance of a third party finding a market niche. Blackberry got squeezed out, Microsoft failed after pouring money into it. Other third party vendors have made no headway.

      I think that Shuttleworth faced the facts and pulled the plug when it became obvious that he wasn't going to succeed where Blackberry and Microsoft failed.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The difference between Canonical of the past and the Canonical that appears to be going forward is that now the bottom line matters.

    I disagree, the bottomline has always mattered. What is different is that Canonical took a punt at something it thought was a good idea, but eventually had to conclude that it was not at which point it changed course. That's not a bad thing, even though they arrived at that conclusion a lot later than their target audience :).

    As for (Open)SuSE, what attracted me to that distro from day one was that it didn't make a hard desktop choice - it supported all the main ones, users could experiment.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Devil

      > [SuSE] ... didn't make a hard desktop choice

      Right until some fuckers convinced management that Gnome should be the default. I am totally confused why the name "Ximian" comes to my mind when writing this.

      This and the Mono crap made me change distro.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Suse

        I was Suse user right up until the Novell re-focus.

        Suse as a desktop Linux sucked for several versions after that. Most of the care and attention went out the window, sound or graphics implementations were shoddy - I switched to Mandrake.

        With the focus shift away from desktops toward mobile form factors I do feel Linux has lost something in the abandonment of Unity 8.

        But then there is always Plasma.

      2. PyLETS

        Change the distro ?

        Given the modularity of different Linux desktop flavours and different Linux distros, this particular choice no longer needs to be conflated. I thought the underlying package management systems had pretty much fixed that problem years ago. You choose a distribution for its package management style and the package repositories and their management nowadays - not the desktop flavour.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      the difference between Canonical of the past and now

      seems to me that the last part of the article got this one right: A change in focus from what THEY want to what the USERS want.

      1. Fatman Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: A change in focus from what THEY want to what the USERS want.

        Excellent point!!

        Now will someone take a 'cluebat' to the developers at Mozilla, WRT Firefox????

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: the difference between Canonical of the past and now

        A change in focus from what THEY want to what the USERS want.

        Gnome 3 and "what users want" NOT in the same paragraph, please.

  4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    "It's highly likely Canonical will more or less abandon its desktop product to the community"

    That needs some unpicking. It seems unlikely to me that Ubuntu can persist without providing desktop applications - they may not be distinctively different from other Linux flavours, but isn't the desktop presence what Ubuntu is for? Who chooses Ubuntu for servers only?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Ubuntu desktop distribution

      Well much depends on whether Canonical want to compete or work with the community. I suggest a real rationalisation would be for Canonical to effectively end game it's 'proprietary' desktop, maintain the

      relevant repositories and to back one of the variants as the preferred mainstream business/enterprise desktop; an obvious candidate would be the Mint distribution with the Cinnamon desktop.

      Naturally, this level of standardisation would permit Canonical to develop desktop management tools that better reflect the tools available for enterprise deployments of MS Windows and thus make Canonical Linux a more attractive enterprise desktop.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        I suggest a real rationalisation would be for Canonical to effectively end game it's 'proprietary' desktop, maintain the relevant repositories and to back one of the variants as the preferred mainstream business/enterprise desktop.

        That's sort-of what's happened. Canonical have discontinued development on Unity 8 and will be using Gnome as the default desktop on Ubuntu in future. The Unity 8 sources are all being made available on github so development can be carried forward by the community if there is demand.

        ... an obvious candidate would be the Mint distribution with the Cinnamon desktop.

        I wouldn't call that obvious. Gnome (whatever you or I may think of it) is much more mainstream than Cinnamon ... and why would Canonical use a Mint release rather than one of their own?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: ... an obvious candidate would be the Mint distribution with the Cinnamon desktop.

          I wouldn't call that obvious. Gnome (whatever you or I may think of it) is much more mainstream than Cinnamon ... and why would Canonical use a Mint release rather than one of their own?

          The questions I asked myself was the extent to which Canonical would maintain it's own (independent) desktop development capability (and distro) and the extent to which they would engage with the 'community'. I thus picked on Mint because it is a well regarded Ubuntu derivative, maintained by an active (non-Canonical) community. Cinnanon because it is the default desktop and is regarded as being good for those familiar with Windows - which given enterprises will in the main be migrating from Windows may well tick a box in it's favour.

          The key point is that we are probably at a point where a further cull or rationalisation of major Linux distributions is desirable, hence Canonical may gain greater success if they embrace a 'community' distro, that uses Ubuntu, than trying to compete against the community.

          However, I take your point, I'm not being 'religious' about any specific distro, just using Mint as an example.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "I suggest a real rationalisation would be for Canonical to effectively end game it's 'proprietary' desktop, ... to back one of the variants as the preferred mainstream business/enterprise desktop; an obvious candidate would be the Mint distribution with the Cinnamon desktop."

        But Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu. If Ubuntu were to discontinue development of the desktop to replace it as a derivative of Mint then they'd be going round in circles.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          But Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu. If Ubuntu were to discontinue development of the desktop to replace it as a derivative of Mint then they'd be going round in circles.

          I suggest many regard 'Unity' as Canonical's 'proprietary' desktop. By dropping it's 'proprietary' desktop development and selecting Mint [for want of a concrete example to keep the discussion focused], it becomes possible for Canonical to undertake developments that are directly helpful to this distribution and thus become part of the Mint community. Additionally, it means Mint gains some credible(?) corporate backing, a necessary precursor for many enterprises.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I suggest many regard 'Unity' as Canonical's 'proprietary' desktop. By dropping it's 'proprietary' desktop development and selecting Mint [for want of a concrete example to keep the discussion focused], it becomes possible for Canonical to undertake developments that are directly helpful to this distribution and thus become part of the Mint community

            You're mixing layers.

            When Canonical dropped Unity, it could have selected *Cinnamon* as the replacement. That would basically have made Mint obsolete.

            But with Mint out of business, Canonical could find itself lumbered with much of the maintenance of Cinnamon going forward.

            Hence their decision to take the most mainstream desktop which has a life of its own, for better or worse, and leave the other desktop variations to the community.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              @AC Hence their decision to take the most mainstream desktop which has a life of its own, for better or worse, and leave the other desktop variations to the community.

              From the way you describe it, it would seem that Canonical are going back to their roots, namely, take 'standard' Linux components (ie. OS, applications, utilities etc.) and integrate them into a solid and supported desktop distribution.

            2. ROC

              Mint is more than Ubuntu with a DE

              I don't think Mint would be "obsoleted" all that readily. Along with supporting a number of DE's on top of their derivations of Ubuntu, such as Cinnamon, Mate (my choice since it most closely resembles the Gnome 2 that I, and my wife, got used to about 10 years ago, which lured me to Mint when Unity became the mainstay for Ubuntu), and some others I forget (XFCE, KDE?) , they provide the multimedia decryption and proprietary codecs that mainstream distros shy away from to avoid business exposure to DRM legalities. Also, Mint provides a "pure" Debian spin that lets them avoid total dependence on Ubuntu.

              I had been really hoping the Ubuntu Phone would get somewhere as an alternative to proprietary, insecure Android, but could not get going with it as long as the Unity DE and Nexus hardware were the only viable, supported options.

    2. Zakhar

      Exactly!

      What Ubuntu did to the community is prove that Linux is not "so hard to install". Remember the old moto: Ubuntu means I failed to install Debian.

      From here you have a lot of people enjoying it, and when they start working for enterprises they know it works.

      That was the scheme Gates used in the last millennium. So if they abandon the desktop distro, they might loose their momentum, and at the end become irrelevant since RHEL is much more present in big companies than any other distro.

    3. Joel 1

      Well...

      ...we do - Ubuntu works well for our development pipeline - same OS installed and controlled via puppet on Vagrant builds on developer laptops, Dev, UAT, and Live on VMs and hardware. HPE has Ubuntu as a supported OS on physical kit (and not Debian), and Canonical push very frequent updates to their official Vagrant boxes. Works very nicely in the pipeline.

      As to the desktop flavour? What's that for again?

    4. thames

      @Robert Carnegie - "It seems unlikely to me that Ubuntu can persist without providing desktop applications - they may not be distinctively different from other Linux flavours, but isn't the desktop presence what Ubuntu is for?"

      Ubuntu got its space in the Linux server market by offering a good desktop version. Originally, it was just a Debian base with stock Gnome 2 with some polish and a Ubuntu theme. I expect they will go back to that model, but with Gnome 3 (the Debian base hasn't changed). They will continue the desktop because getting developers to use their desktop is a good introduction to getting them to use their server products.

      Red Hat made a massive mistake when they stopped offering free access to their desktop and pointed people at Fedora (free of charge but, not the same as RHEL and with a very short life cycle). That was the opening in the market that Ubuntu jumped into and helped them get their associated server distro established.

      The desktop version of the distro is just the server version with a GUI added and some different default packages. It won't take a lot of resources to take stock Gnome 3 (which Shuttleworth said they will use) and add that to the base Ubuntu distro. The community versions using the alternative desktops already do that (including an already existing Gnome 3 version). Much of the work flow is automated through Launchpad.

      A number of existing and former Canonical employees have said that if you took out the mobile oriented projects which Unity is intended to support, then Canonical is profitable. The mobile efforts took a disproportionate amount of effort, and with no obvious path to success past the dominance of Android.

      I expect Ubuntu to focus on servers, cloud, and IoT (server and embedded), with a well polished desktop being offered as a way of attracting and keeping a community of developers who want to use a very polished and well supported Ubuntu desktop to develop their software. If people develop their software on Ubuntu, then the newest and most up to date versions will run on Ubuntu with little effort on the part of the distro maintainers. It's more effective than an advertising campaign, and much cheaper.

      1. AdamWill

        Massive mistake? Rly?

        "Red Hat made a massive mistake when they stopped offering free access to their desktop and pointed people at Fedora (free of charge but, not the same as RHEL and with a very short life cycle). That was the opening in the market that Ubuntu jumped into and helped them get their associated server distro established."

        Hmm, let's see. I can't quite get back to 2003, but Red Hat's market cap in 2005 was $2.76bn; it's now $15.58bn. Revenue in 2005 was $196m; in 2015 it was $1.79bn (FY2016 should be north of $2bn).

        What a terrible mistake! We'll just be over here, crying all the way to the bank. (I work for RH).

        1. ROC

          Re: Massive mistake? Rly?

          Yeah, I have been happy with the way my IRA account investment in RH at $6 per share back in 2001/2 has been doing (about $88 the last few days - wish I had bought a lot more back then...).

          However, I think the "mistake" was in losing mindshare with desktop users to some degree, although CentOS and Scientific Linux have maintained accessibility for such users. I know when my RHL 9 became unsupported, I started checking out others as a "distro hopper", and got onboard with that newfangled Ubuntu Warty Warthog, then went to Mint when Gnome 2 was dropped by Ubuntu.

          The times, they are ALWAYS a-changin (to paraphrase Bob Dylan).

    5. JulieM Silver badge

      Anyone with hardware too new for Debian to support it, I suppose .....

  5. Bob Hoskins
    Trollface

    Linux sucks

    The problem with Linux is that it isn't very good. Windows is much better and actually works. It doesn't matter how many distros you put out, at its core it's a load of old balls not worth bothering. I'd rather run RISC OS on my desktop than Linux.

    1. Cirdan
      Trollface

      Re: Linux sucks

      I'm with you, Bob.

      I've been using that old rat's nest since 2006, and, darn it, if I can't have Unity 8, I might as well go all in with with MS.

      Years of simple installs and uptime of months, no in-my-face upgrade nags, and updates that don't have to be blocked have left me feeling neglected; it's as if Linux Mint just doesn't care enough to even try to bother me anymore!

      So I'll see about jumping ship to MS, but first I need to get some work done... Grrr... Mint's still chugging along... Guess I'll use it for the moment...

      ... Cirdan...

    2. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Linux sucks

      "The problem with Linux is that it isn't very good. Windows is much better and actually works."

      Really? Let's look at this fact then: 99% of the world's supercomputers run on Linux, 1% on Unix and 0% on Windows and that statistic alone speaks volumes about Linux's capability and reliability.

      Furthermore, Red Hat and Suse make good money out of commercialising Linux and Canonical will now be following that model too (although I strongly suspect that they will still be catering for desktop users too).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux sucks

      The problem with Linux is that it isn't very good. Windows is much better and actually works.

      Look, we have standards here. If you want to troll, do it right. This is pathetic, my teenager would do a better job when drunk.

      Try again. A bit more bile, get personal, use caps lock - you know, just pretend you're an MCSE..

      :)

      1. Bob Hoskins

        Re: Linux sucks

        So noted.

    4. Polardog

      Re: Linux sucks

      Fedora just works for me, BC windows 10 just spies on me.

    5. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Linux sucks

      True maybe in 1999.

      Not true for the last 10 years.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Linux sucks

      "The problem with Linux is that it isn't very good. Windows is much better and actually works."

      I see you don't use Linux. Remember that those of us who do somehow seem to end up as Windows support for friends and family so unlike you we have a basis for making a comparison.

      "it's a load of old balls"

      Indeed. And it's you who's talking it.

    7. Fatman Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Linux sucks

      Hey Bob,

      In a past life, were you known as Loverock Davidson???????

  6. TiddlyPom

    Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

    Linux Mint is polished enough (I would argue more polished than the dogs breakfast of Windows 10) to be both a home and enterprise desktop - and I use it both at home and at work. I can understand Ubuntu wanting to go with GNOME desktop as that is an easy path to Weyland and getting rid of legacy stuff but IMHO Cinnamon (and MATE for that matter) are just so much better - at least in the more polished form that Linux Mint present them. I do not think for one minute that Linux Mint is without problems (as are all operating systems) but a polished Cinnamon desktop running on top of Weyland would be a great thing.

    Unlike many others I did quite like Unity 7 and am sad that Mark Shuttleworth's dream of Linux desktop convergence did not materialize but pragmatism and listening to the community (more) are a better path forward. Current GNOME is a bit clunky for me but just maybe Canonical can polish it a bit more that it becomes a (more) usable desktop. My future is with Linux Mint (especially as they are moving over to LightDM which I always did after an install) but there are plenty of choices. The end of one desktop manager is not a big thing. We have many others.

    1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

      Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

      I think you're going to have to come to grips with the fact that the vast majority of the world disagrees with you and thinks Windows 10 is more polished than Linux Mint. Regardless of your reasoning, you'd have to agree that public opinion is against you.

      1. nijam

        Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

        > ... the vast majority of the world disagrees with you and thinks Windows 10 is more polished than Linux Mint

        Would that be because they've tried both and then made a well-informed decision, I wonder? Or because they're too dim to realise that there's an alternative to having GWX perform unwanted surgery on their computers?

      2. Uffish

        Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

        @ Jonathan 27 - Polished? I have to disagree. Successful yes, even better (for carefully crafted values of better) but 'polished' - it's not what Microsoft was all about..

    2. Reddish

      Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

      We all know that Linux is about options. Nevertheless, I am not confortable with the loss of the image that Unity has built towards the general users through the years. With this I mean that it has a differentiation factor that is easily identifiable with the use of Linux and Ubuntu in particular. If I walk by a coffee shop and see people using laptops, I could tell if someone is using Ubuntu by the neat line of icons on the left of the screen, or if I spot an article in a magazine about autonomous vehicles ans see a pictiure with that familiar screen, or a POS in a store.

      Besides, as it was mentioned in a comment, many basic computer users, will be affected and will have to adjust to a non-familiar desktop.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

      "I can understand Ubuntu wanting to go with GNOME desktop as that is an easy path to Weyland and getting rid of legacy stuff"

      yeah, about that...

      I'd rather see "legacy stuff" patched and streamlined, than to be forced to "up"grade to someone ELSE's "vision" (read: drug-induced hallucination) of the future of computing.

      I have an equally LOUD NO for Wayland as I do for systemd.

      In short, when you have "legacy stuff" that people WANT (read: 'X server', 'system V'), why would it get ELIMINATED? Because, some dim-bulb clueless MILLENIAL "engineer" *FEELS* ??? (it's OUR turn now! change EVERYTHING!)

      yeah, yeah, "grampa" wants his desktop computer running the SAME way it was in the early noughties, just running on a faster computer, with security patches and streamlined algorithms, and without all that "crap" in the way ('crap' referring to things like Unity , Gnome 3, hamburger menus, fat-finger friendliness...). There's a lot more of US than there are millenials, too. One word: Devuan. I imagine they'll NOT have Wayland, either.

      Anyway, GOOD JOB CANONICAL for abandoning Unity [those who want it, it's open source, start a foundation to maintain it]. And also GOOD JOB for making Ubu work with "all of those flavors".

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

        Kinda surprised by Wayland hate-- it seems like a good thing, the main thing that might worry me someday is if it assumes the presence and benevolence of systemd. For that matter, X is way more like systemd than Wayland is, it just grew for a lot longer, in its own way-- and that's why Wayland is even a thing. They (freedesktop.org) aren't dragging us all away from something really ordinary or maintainable like sysvinit, not in this case. X is a proper mess. NB: I might as well say "this one time i read this one thing and it made sense to me because of reasons"; however I do accept responsibility for choosing my teachers. And I hope.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

          Kinda surprised by Wayland hate-- it seems like a good thing, the main thing that might worry me someday is if it assumes the presence and benevolence of systemd.

          No, the main problem is it assumes the user is *local* to the display. This is back to the old Windows ways of administering systems: sit next to the console, or use a KVM or IP-KVM to throw back an image of the local display.

          Maybe it would reasonable for games - except that even games players now expect to be able to access graphics remotely (think: Steam, PS4 Remote Play etc)

          1. AdamWill

            Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

            It doesn't "assume" that. It just doesn't think the display server is the appropriate place to implement remoting. As the above commenter said, isn't the fashionable complaint about systemd that it wants to do everything? But X wanting to do everything is good and yet Wayland - which does less - is still somehow analogous to systemd? Hmm.

      2. AdamWill

        Re: Losing Unity 7/8 is not the end of the world!

        You realize the people developing Wayland are almost all the same people who've been maintaining X for the last decade or so, right? And they want to build Wayland because X's design is only getting more and more impractical for how graphics hardware and graphical applications are built these days?

  7. herman Silver badge

    I never understood why not to simply use Debian. Ubuntu didn't add anything useful.

    Oh well, I mostly use BSD and Fedora so the Ubuntu blues doesn't really affect me.

    1. thames

      Ubuntu started out as just Debian with:

      a) more polish,

      b) a regular and predictable upgrade schedule,

      c) more up to date packages and features without running a bleeding edge version,

      d) the option of commercial support by the same organisation that released it.

      It looks like they're going back to their roots. The nice thing about using a Debian based distro is that you can jump ship to another Debian based distro, or even directly to Debian itself, without changing the underpinnings.

      There is only one major Linux distro that isn't joined at the hip to a commercial interest, and that's Debian. The majority of Linux distros are Debian derivatives (including Ubuntu). Stick to Debian or a Debian derivative for your desktop and you will always have fairly painless options to switch to if you decide you don't like the direction your current distro is headed in.

      1. Ramazan

        @thames

        "c) more up to date packages and features without running a bleeding edge version,"

        It's quite common among Debian users to run /testing or /unstable versions. In the past it used to break X11 vs nvidia drivers or xinput/event or whatever, so you'd get no X at startup 2 or 3 times per year. I'm too old for this kind of fun so I switched to /stable 5 years ago and never missed those "up to date packages and features" ever since.

  8. IGnatius T Foobar
    Linux

    Linux desktops are where the technology is born.

    Linux desktops may not be a money maker but that's where most of the Linux technology is "born" -- it comes out of the community of people running Linux desktops. Starve the desktop and you starve Linux in general.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Community?

    > f there's one thing Ubuntu daddy Mark Shuttleworth and his company Canonical understand, it's community.

    Somewhat amazingly, you sound like you're serious.

    Ubuntu's focus has been on making the user experience as simple as possible, and that's + people looking for an alternative to Windows/OSX is what has driven the Ubuntu adoption.

    For "Community", Canonical has repeatedly and as often as possible fucked over upstream projects whenever Canonical feels it would be of even potential benefit to themselves. And that's not even counting doing user hostile things like selling people's search information by default (now changed, thankfully).

    "Community" is one thing Canonical really don't do well.

  10. dmacleo

    in an odd way this all makes me think of the kubuntu kersnaffle from 2015

  11. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Excuse me!

    I am shocked and appalled that there have been 20+ comments without a single moan about System D. And honestly, the pro-Windows trolls have been very poor.

    I remember when the Reg commentards had standards!

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Excuse me!

      "20+ comments without a single moan about System D"

      I just added something. you should be happy now.

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Excuse me!

      And honestly, the pro-Windows trolls have been very poor.

      They all dumped Win8/8.1/10 and are using Linux Mint, now.

  12. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    Kde. Fedora. Slack Gentoo FBSD

    Depends on what I'm doing with it.

    Slackware

    if you want simple, elegant, functional.

    I'm Fedora as a base and KDE for a desktop unless CPU constrains it - then blackbox.

    Unity felt too much like win8 alpha 1

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Linux users kill Linux

    I figured I'd finally try Ubuntu as a daily driver rather than just for work or side projects. Every time I search for specialized software, there's a list of only free software. Commercial software, even if it exists, seems to be shunned by much of the Linux community. This alone is why Linux always does poorly. There's no money in it except for rare enterprise support deals. How many teams of coders dream of spending 60 hours a week for two years creating the next killer app that generates exactly zero income?

    While OSS takes care of some routine duties, I'd like to buy a few really high quality apps. Don't hate the commercial software.

    1. Palpy

      Re: Linux users kill Linux -- because no applications.

      Kevin, you've a point. No Linux-native version of Photoshop.

      But's t'isn't the users to blame, nor the FOSS developers. Commercial software is (almost always) a proprietary codebase. The company who owns it could port it to Linux, but no one else can. And if Adobe doesn't want to spend dev dollars coding a version for a market consisting of 2% of desktops... well, who can blame them? And it their choice.

      Nothing to do with the users.

      Bit of a catch-22, really: many people can't use Linux because the must-have commercial software isn't there; and corporations won't make software for Linux because not enough people use it.

      Best OS advice I've read was on the Ubuntu forum: "Look, if you need or want Windows, just run Windows. Run what works for you."

  14. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Holmes

    How many teams of coders dream of spending 60 hours a week for almost three decades creating the killer Linux kernel feats that generate exactly zero income?

    Many. There are commercial Linux apps, thing is, the Free apps are often better ... more devs, more testers ....

    1. Ropewash

      In many cases yes, in others...

      Not so much.

      Blender has grown so far from the 2.4 days that when upgrading to the 2.6 & 2.7 versions I was amazed at how intuitive and easy to use it has become. I now use it as a primary meshing tool on both my windows and linux installs.

      GIMP... Not so much. Though I do use it for a couple of file formats it has plugin support for, it's not my primary software. Especially not on the Surface where it's menu driven interface fails hard for me and my big, fat fingers. So for content creation that's a 50-50 split free vs commercial.

      As for operating systems I have one dedicated windows machine, one dedicated linux machine and my gaming rig has both installed as the tie-breaker. I try to buy and run any games I want on Steam-linux to show a little support, but realistically most of my gaming is still on the Win7 install. So that probably tips things to 45-55 in favour of the commercial OS given approximately equal usage time for each machine.

      Free software is definitely a much bigger part of my life than it was 18 years ago (my first Linux install... Redhat5.2 bought at a big-box store on a whim), but it can't cover all the bases. So commercial software on a free base would be the next best thing.

      I've been saying that for all of those 18 years though and it still hasn't happened.

  15. Paul Chambers

    Unity, never really there.

    I didn't like unity. Like others have said it never really felt finished, it was a resource hog, threw me errors, didn't look great, and was awkward to use. It's had some resource thrown at it, and frankly it's not good enough for what it is, and how long we've been waiting for it to work.

    Look at ubuntu budgie, it's in its first incarnation, and though with less ambitious scope already feels like it hangs together better, and has a better look and feel.

    Failing that, any desktop that runs plank will do.

    There are lots of perfectly fine desktops, without having to reinvent the wheel with corners. Most people who moan about the desktop and prefer windows, actually mean themes. The linux community could do itself a favour by putting together some slick, well designed themes, and worry less about the actual desktop machinery.

    Seriously. Nicely theme anything, whether it be cinnamon, MATE, budgie, , kde, gnome or whatever, and market it properly, and it will do as well as a reworking of the desktop idiom...just make it look nice, and have understandable system tools.

  16. ckdizz

    "Since the news that Unity 8 was being abandoned and staff reshuffled or cut Canonical did happen rather abruptly it is worth asking: What now?"

    You're right. "What now?" was exactly what I asked when I saw this grammatical kernel panic.

  17. IGnatius T Foobar
    Linux

    KDE looks like a desktop

    I just installed the latest Ku-buntu and am really enjoying it. While the Unity/GNOME/Mac/Windows crowd are trying as hard as they can to build desktops that work like phones or tablets, venerable old KDE seems content to keep having a desktop that works like a desktop. KDE had gone off the too-much-chrome deep end for a while, but they now seem to have dialed it back to a usable level. And it's usable now. I plugged in disks that were formatted with NTFS or UDF and the file manager just appeared on the desktop, no fuss, no muss. I dropped the laptop into my dock (which it shares with a 'doze machine) and it immediately detected my second monitor, hardwired network connection, etc. and "just worked."

    Linux may be a minority player on the traditional desktop but it's not because of any problems with it. It just never got the momentum, kind of like no one (even Microsoft!) can seem to penetrate the Android/iOS mobile hegemony. But I've even made peace with that, because Linux has utterly *dominated* everywhere else. Enjoy!

  18. quequotion

    Since when does Shuttleworth understand 'community'?

    >If there's one thing Ubuntu daddy Mark Shuttleworth and his company Canonical understand, it's community

    Minimize Application's Windows upon clicking its Launcher Icon, reported in 2011 and known to affect 522 people, finally given partial, unsupported implementation after 400 comments:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/canonical-design/+bug/733349

    notifyOSD ignores the expire timeout parameter, known to affect 177 people, reported in 2009 and WONTFIX with 270 comments because Shuttleworth considers his annoying design better than the freedesktop specification:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/hundredpapercuts/+bug/390508

    Movement of Unity launcher, requested by 288 people, first requested in 2010 and WONTFIX after 352 comments although this was one of the most frequently and hotly debated Ayatana design decisions:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/unity/+bug/668415

    Improve Unity Global Menu, requested by 768 people, first requested in 2012 and never quite materialized after 310 comments, was one of the important selling points for unity early on: the MacOS style global menu; in the end it seems like the old-fashioned program menu will be deprecated anyway:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity-control-center/+bug/682788

    So happy bugs like these are irrelevant now. Rest in peace, Unity.

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