back to article Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

Canonical has released Ubuntu 18.04, Bionic Beaver, as this one is nicknamed. The Beaver is a long-term support (LTS) release, which means it'll be supported until 2023. For those who only upgrade from LTS to LTS releases, this will be a major update, one you may not like. Ubuntu 18.04 will be your first without the Unity …

  1. K Silver badge

    On the face of it

    Is there really any difference? Admittedly, I'm a Kubuntu fan, but if you stood a screenshot from 14.04, 16.04, 16.04 and 18.04.. they all look the same!

    1. Joe Werner
      Flame

      Re: On the face of it

      Yeah, what's new - besides Unity / Gnome / Wayland / Xorg? I'm actually using Mint on one machine (secondary, for now), and Lubuntu (thus: LXDE) on the "main" one, Unity sucked (i.e. behaved not as I wanted) last time I tried, so I stuck with something light-weight (used to use wmaker... but that's a different story).

      Rant: (and recently some upgrade was quirky and shot Xorg on the Ubuntu LTS, and thanks to the mess that is the system I will not name, the quagmire of buggy non-services that want to rule all, I had a hard time getting things run again - repeated reboots and "apt-get install -f" and other incantations while cursing the "software" writers name and his spawn until the seventh generation finally helped)

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Trollface

        Re: On the face of it

        It's funny as a non-Penguiny person. I've not read as much about Linux of late, so was amused to see a review talking about people being sad to see the back of Unity.

        Which is about the first pleasant thing I've read about it. Given all I remember is reading stuff from years ago from people saying I'm dumping Ubuntu and heading for Mint.

        So when do I expect the article mourning the loss of systemd?

        1. ROC

          Re: On the face of it

          Look for articles about the UpRise of Devuan

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: On the face of it

          So when do I expect the article mourning the loss of systemd?

          Sometime between the time the Sun expands into a red supergiant and the heat-death of the universe. And any articles that you do see will undoubtedly be from Redhat employees.. (or one in particular).

          The rest of us will be cheering. In a restrained, muted linux-nerd way of course.

          (Mind you, knowing the 'personalities' involved, whatever they come up with to replace systemd will probably be even worse. In a "you complained about Windows 8 so we've produced Windows 10 for you!" sort of way..

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: Death of SystemD

            May well come about the time Ubuntu gets to the "Zany Zuck" release.

            By that time, a lot of people (none here I might add) will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

            Such is life.

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Death of SystemD

              May well come about the time Ubuntu gets to the "Zany Zuck" release.

              I'll wait until the "Pulsating Pussy" release to take it for a ride

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Death of SystemD

                Pullulating Pudenda is the established phrase.

          2. Oh Homer
            Black Helicopters

            Race to the bottom

            My first experience of Linux was Red Hat something-or-other, "Manhattan" I think, which was Gnome 2. I was easily impressed, coming from an Ultrix on DEC background, so it's hard to say how objectively good it really was, but it got the job done. Anyway, I quickly got used to it.

            Years later, along came the abomination of Gnome 3. I hated it. It seemed to be in a permanent alpha state, and the paradigms had shifted all the way into an alternate universe, ruled by an insular "Do-ocracy" that viewed the actual users as "the peanut gallery". To this day I still have no idea what they're trying to accomplish, but whatever it is it's ugly and dysfunctional.

            What I didn't notice at the time, because I wasn't really paying much attention, was the link between Gnome, Red Hat, freedesktop.org and the Poettering cabal, featuring mostly the same people with the same mysterious agenda. The assassination of the usr partition, the binary-blobification of syslog, the monolithic consolidation of init into something comparable to a separate OS in its own right (including its own DNS resolver, apparently), all symptomatic of this hostile takeover, seemingly coordinated between ostensibly separate groups but which was in fact just one, almost like a patent troll operating many shell companies.

            For that reason alone, I will never use Gnome. Not so much because I simply don't like it as a DE, but more because there's a wider agenda there that I find quite sinister, and which is certainly in conflict with every engineering principle I hold dear. It's also an agenda with a violently anti-choice mentality, which should set alarm bells ringing.

            1. Tansdale

              Re: Race to the bottom

              My first Linux installation was a Slackware distro, running on my 386 PC. It was fun trying to get it to see my Soundblaster sound card, and configuring it for my Cirrus Logic local-bus graphics card! I think I had to rebuild the core a few times to include other drivers etc that were not in the default build, but I learnt so much from it.

              Them was the days!

            2. John Sanders
              Mushroom

              Re: Race to the bottom

              >> all symptomatic of this hostile takeover, seemingly coordinated between ostensibly separate

              >> groups but which was in fact just one, almost like a patent troll operating many shell companies.

              Yet strangely all of it perfectly GPL compliant.

              For fuck sake people.

              1. Oh Homer
                Headmaster

                Re: "Yet strangely all of it perfectly GPL compliant"

                GPL licensed software is not somehow immune to circular dependencies, whether accidental or injected deliberately to exclude alternatives (a la the supposedly "modular" components of systemd). It's also not immune to the sort of propaganda campaigns designed to stigmatise and marginalise detractors of this hostile takeover, forcing them to either resign or capitulate, exponentially spreading adoption of something that, in the absence of such an orchestrated campaign, would otherwise have been rejected en mass.

                The tactics employed by the Poettering cabal remind me a lot of the Holocaust: invent some fictional problem, then blame a scapegoat as justification for a "final solution", in order to replace something perfectly good with something perfectly vile.

        3. thames

          Re: On the face of it

          @I ain't Spartacus - "It's funny as a non-Penguiny person. I've not read as much about Linux of late, so was amused to see a review talking about people being sad to see the back of Unity."

          The sort of person who is motivated enough to write a comment on an IT oriented web forum is generally not the typical user. There are loads of Unity users out there who are just using their PCs to get work done. Fans of the less commonly used desktops or distros seem to feel they need to slag off the major ones rather than promote what is actually good about their own. KDE versus Gnome flame wars for example go back to near the beginning of modern Linux desktop distros.

          I ain't Spartacus said: "So when do I expect the article mourning the loss of systemd?"

          Based on how these things tend to go, I expect we'll see that in about 10 years.

        4. bobajob12

          Re: On the face of it

          (Darn it, I know I shouldn't respond to the troll, but hell, it's Friday and I'm on El Reg so my productivity is shot anyway...)

          systemd may end up as a highly controversial project that was doomed by forces outside of it's control. Specifically, in a universe that is heading full-tilt towards containers, and their special-needs requirements on a zombie-reaping PID 1 inside themselves, systemd might well be boxed out and relegated to nothing more than a container starter, with all the fun stuff happening inside the container...suing something small and lightweight, like s6. Wouldn't that be ironic.

        5. Mike Tubby

          Re: On the face of it [loss of systemd ?]

          Sorry, did you say "So when do we expect the article rejoicing at the loss of systemd?" ;-) Suggest you head over to the Devuan Project:

          https://devuan.org/

          Mike

        6. Zakhar

          Re: On the face of it

          That is because most people ranting about Unity are stuck with their habit and not patient enough to look at what is better.

          A good clue of this non sense rant is that those people give no objective reason. They are only subjective : "It's bad, I go elsewhere"... Admittedly taste is indeed subjective, and the beauty of Linux desktop is that you have a lot of choice.

          Let's be objective, I tried 18.04 live for a few minutes, there is an essential feature I couldn't replicate from Unity that I find essential: application menu in the top bar.

          Objectively, whoever decided screen must have a ratio of 16/9 made "vertical space" a scarce resource, and going back to a desktop where the "vertical space" is eaten by:

          - top panel

          - title bar

          - menu bar

          ... is a big big regression for me.

          No doubt I will find somewhere a Gnome Extension that fixes it, and true for the rest Canonical has done a decent job at providing a close user experience of all the bonuses we had with Unity.

          I'm also short of the "workspace selector" icon for the dock that was a click away in Unity, but no doubt it is somewhere also...

          So you are very right, look at "objective" features complaints, and you'll see Unity haters never give you any clue.

          1. ROC

            Re: On the face of it

            You are missing the point that "habit" is more efficient for those of us settled into it. We don't have to waste time/thought on task-distracting mechanics of how to perform basic mouse and screen management for the sake of the latest "efficiency" fad. Frequent UI change is anathema to people who want to focus on what they are doing without wasting time and effort on the how, once they have found that which "just works".

            If you can start off with something so wonderfully efficient, or change over to it, more power to you (literally!), but for me, if ain't broke, don't "fix" it.

            To each their own.

    2. Turbo Beholder
      Meh

      Re: On the face of it

      The difference is that Unity from the start was not designed as a coherent environment to be useful and even convenient, but rather as a widget collection to look well on screenshots and induce warm feelz in the fans of certain other OS. (e.g.: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1745415&page=2#15)

      Admittedly, I'm a Xubuntu fan… from the day Unity thing was dropped on us, give or take a few hours.

      1. Spender

        Re: On the face of it

        More or less my exact sentiments. A twenty minute interaction with Unity left me cold. I've tried all of the Ubuntu "flavours" including Mint, but xubuntu is where I stuck. XFCE is minimal and sweet.

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: On the face of it

          XFCE is minimal and sweet.

          Yes! I have been using it for years after finding that both KDE and GNOME left the path of sanity, making counter-productive UI changes while increasing bloat to unbelieveable levels. XFCE evolves in a predictable way (basically, not much), and does not try to fix what is not broken,

      2. ROC

        Re: On the face of it

        Whichever release started the Unity default is when I opted out for Mint, and its Gnome 2 choice, then Mate. I do not care for UI change when what I am used to is not broken (for me....). Although I did just recently find a "fix" for one nagging UI issue, the total lack of window borders that I can actually "grab" easily with a mouse/trackpoint for resizing. It seems the Crux window style (and a few others) actually has a discernible border (maybe only 2 pixels? I did love Windows up through XP with its almost infinitely resizable borders).

        As long as Mint keeps Mate, and does not eff up any other way, I will not change again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: On the face of it

          Train up the muscle memory that alt-leftclick will drag a window (from anywhere within its area) and alt-rightclick will resize (from anywhere within its area). So so so so so so so so much easier. I hate it when I go back to using Windows.

          1. ROC

            Re: On the face of it

            Thanks, just tried that for resizing, and don't like it. It is much less intuitive to my 20 years of Windows muscle memory, and would seem a bit dicey if I happen to have the mouse cursor in a spot that might respond to mouse clicks for other actions if I don't get my hands coordinating their timing (happens to me...) vs just single-handed click/drag with the borders. Anyway, the Crux setting works fine for my long-term preference - too bad UI docs are not so ubiquitous for Linux DE's as for Windows.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Overloading mouse buttons

            There's a lot of applications where Alt + Click and drag does something.

            That's one of the two most common 3D navigation paradigms.

            As an application developer, I do not want the windowing system to eat any mouse shortcuts that happen inside my client area.

            Resizing functions need to be kept to the decorations provided by the windowing system, bevause that way I don't need to know what they are to support them on all platforms.

          3. John Sanders
            Windows

            Re: On the face of it

            The alt+right mouse is cool if you know it, and aren't mum, dad, grandpa or grandma.

            No reason to have 1 pixel window borders on the default theme, no reason.

        2. Dave559 Bronze badge

          Re: Grabbable window borders

          I am completely in agreement about the importance of grabbable window borders! Sadly these seem to fallen out of “fashion” (yawn) in most current window themes, which is both annoying and a real backwards step for usability and accessibility.

          Similarly, there are sadly also very few current window themes where those window borders change colour on all sides of the window (not only the title bar), making it extremely easy to tell which window currently has the focus as you move the pointer around (because “focus follows mouse” is of course what the wise men and women of old handed down to us, and the lack of it on MacOS, and, especially, Windows, is unspeakably frustrating!).

          1. ROC

            Re: Grabbable window borders

            Right on. Back in the pre-Win 7 days on Windows, I always set the borders for active windows to bright red, and that outlined the entire window nicely. However, "focus following mouse" is not what I started with, coming from Window and OS/2 graphical UI's (maybe they had that option, but it was not default?), so I have never could get used to that jumpy window effect as I "jittered" around the screen with the mouse - sort of like a booby trap effect (for this booby at least).

        3. John Sanders

          Re: On the face of it

          The window borders 1 or 2 pixels wide are the most annoying thing I have ever encountered, it is one of the easiest things to fix ever yet 7 years down the road they keep doing the same.

          I know about using alt+right mouse to scale a window, but Grandma and Grandpa want to aim with the mouse and won't use a keyboard short-cut.

          It is the only shame I can find in Xubuntu and it is shocking no one has ever thought on that.

      3. John Sanders
        Pint

        Re: On the face of it

        >> Admittedly, I'm a Xubuntu fan…

        My man!

        >> from the day Unity thing was dropped on us, give or take a few hours.

        I would add Gnome3 to the mix of undesirable DEs

        Mate or XFCE all the way. Mate is now a better Gnome than Gnome ever was, Mate does seem to succeed in an area where Gnome3 fails consistently, and this is bug fixing.

    3. thames

      Re: On the face of it

      @K - Even the version numbers on your middle two examples are indistinguishable.

      The reason that Ubuntu bailed out on Gnome 3 in the early days is that it had a very unstable UI that was not ready for prime time and the Gnome developers were no longer supporting Gnome 2. Quite a few people in those days thought that the Gnome project had committed collective suicide and would soon be an ex-parrot.

      From that came Unity. It addressed the major usability problems with Gnome 2 (dock moved to the left and reduced use of vertical window space to work with modern display proportions, bigger dock icons, integrate the dock with workspaces, etc.) while keeping the keyboard short cuts and underlying assumptions as similar to Gnome 2 as possible.

      After that the user facing stuff remained more or less the same with changes mostly just polishing what they had. The latter though did include a good deal of major work on the underlying bits and pieces to account for major changes in common PC hardware and driver support. The biggest example of the latter is the work they did for compositing desktops when the third parties Ubuntu had been depending on dropped work on their own support for older hardware.

      And all that suited most Ubuntu users quite nicely. The Unity desktop worked and was based on sound ideas so why change it? Ubuntu started out as just a much more polished and more up to date version of Debian Gnome 2 and was very popular as that.

      Several other currently popular desktops got their start in a similar way. Now however that the Gnome 3 developers have cut back on the crack smoking and have stopped changing how their desktop works every other release and have quite frankly copied some of the better parts of Unity, the reasons for continuing with Unity have to a large extent gone away and Ubuntu can go back to its roots of being a better (and with commercial support available) version of Debian.

      Some of the major criticisms that I have of Gnome 3 at this time are the support for keyboard short cuts are not as good as with Unity (this is the biggest complaint I have), the dock is not as well integrated with workspaces or application indicators, and the non-traditional workspace concepts (such as variable number of workspaces and only linear navigation between them). I made very little use of Unity's HUD, so it's loss doesn't bother me much.

      Most of the complaints about "Ubuntu" on forums such as this one seem to come from people who are using third party derivatives with non-Unity desktops (I'll avoid mentioning any in particular to avoid flame wars). These non-Unity desktops are put out by community members rather than Canonical, and simply don't have the resources to put the same degree of polish into them that full time distro maintainers do. I've tried some of them and salute the volunteers who work on them for their effort, but I'm more interested in using my PC than in experimenting with desktops. As a result I will be using Gnome 3 after the upgrade notification comes in.

      Existing users of Ubuntu will get the upgrade notification in July when Ubuntu 18.04.1 comes out rather than on release day. This is the same policy as was used with 16.04.

      1. czarnajama

        Re: On the face of it

        I switched to MATE shortly after Unity replaced Gnome as the default. It's stable and configurable ... and in a few days I'll be upgrading from 14.04 to 18.04. MATE has really served me well.

    4. bobajob12

      Re: On the face of it

      As a refugee from the earthly delights represented by the last three releases of Windows, this is a Good Thing in my book. It works, it looks the same, someone's done some refinements under the hood, I can get on with actually being productive!

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: On the face of it

      "they all look the same!"

      Apparently, that's what Canonical wants to see. And using 'Gnome shell' rather than 'Unity' probably cuts back on the level of effort they need to expend to get it.

      As long as Ubu continues to support Mate I'll be able to use it. Then again, I'm installing Devuan into a VM at the moment...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: On the face of it

        using 'Gnome shell' rather than 'Unity' probably cuts back on the level of effort they need to expend to get it.

        It's not exactly 'vanilla' Gnome. That was the stated expectation when Unity 8, convergence et all was abandoned, that Ubuntu were going to go with vanilla gnome.

        Then...a change here a change there, some to lessen the crossover for users now used to Unity, others, basically to polyfilla in some of Gnomes rough bits.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: On the face of it

      Running 12.04 here, CLI only and no reason to upgrade, security patches still seem to arrive regularly

  2. Tom Melly

    A Curious 'curious'?

    "Curiously, if you upgrade you'll be asked to opt in rather than out."

    Perhaps it's just me, but that doesn't seem curious at all - it's completely logical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Curious 'curious'?

      It's opt out when installing, but opt in when upgrading. What manner of logic are you applying that does not find that contradictory?

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: AC

        If you're upgrading it defaults to keeping the same data collection settings you already have - none.

        That's logical.

        A new fresh install could be a new user entirely so it makes sense Canonical would want some info to know what causes them issues and which doesn't.

      2. ragnar

        Re: A Curious 'curious'?

        Changing the behaviour on upgrade by default would be breaking the 'contract' the user already had when they installed the first time; that no data would be collected.

        For new users, it's a new agreement, so they can pick their preferred option.

        1. jamesbooker

          Re: A Curious 'curious'?

          Exactly it's a perfectly logical thing.

          Furthermore, the author seems to assume that ALL upgrading users will be asked to opt-in, when it's probably more likely (without confirmation from Ubuntu it's hard to tell without installing and testing) that it asked HIM to opt-in because he has previously opted out (based on the tone of that section of the article it seems Scott would likely have done so) - a user who previously opted in may be asked to 're-opt' in using the new version, as a confirmation of sorts - in fact this is likely since Canonical's privacy statement is likely to have changed in the time span between releases also.

  3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Stop

    More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

    "the technical GNOME term is client-side decoration, which merges the title and menu bars into a single mess of icons, titles and, well, just about anything the app wants to throw up there. I find them difficult to use in nearly every way – harder to click menus, harder to drag windows and generally a giant usability fail, but they are here and there is no getting rid of them."

    When software authors pull the "we know better, so no configuration for you" stunt, users get angry!

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

      I think Gnome solved that by ceasing to listen. (If I'm being fair, I've avoided them for the past few years, so maybe they've... hang on, think a pig has just crashed into the window...)

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

        I've honestly never really understood the appeal of Gnome (or Unity) at all. But, (Ubuntu aside, as they sortof break this), that's the beauty of having the DE being distinct from the OS -- you have a choice of desktop environments.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

          "I've honestly never really understood the appeal of Gnome (or Unity) at all"

          In the 'gnome 2' days it was a pretty good desktop, a bit lighter weight than KDE (or that was my impression of it), with plenty of compatibility if you wanted to run KDE applications. It tried to do things that irritate me [I don't need auto-mount, it gets in my way, and I don't need a network manager or power manager] but I could always shut those things off. And the panel design (back then) was pretty nice, VERY flexible, configurable the way you want it. "Mac-like" menu at the top, or "windows-like" menu at the bottom. Whatever you wanted. And in gnome 2 you can position icons wherever you want on the panel.

          Gnome 3 broke a LOT of what was good in gnome 2, particularly with icon spacing on the panel. In gnome 2 (and now, mate), I can cram 30 or 40 shortcut icons onto the panel for the things I typical.ly use. In gnome 3 you're lucky if you can do HALF of those, and you have to use triple-bucky keystrokes to alter them (instead of a simple right-click).

          So when you say 'gnome' I assume you mean what it's de-evolved into, rather than what it was when it gained its popularity.

          Well, at least you're not FORCED into 2D FLATSO with Gnome 3, at any rate...

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

            Well, I'll be honest here, I haven't seriously tried Gnome after 2. Gnome 2 wasn't my speed, but perhaps I failed to understand it sufficiently. I could never get it to behave in a way that made me happy.

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Gnome 2 refugees

            Come over to Mate for a trip down memory lane

            https://mate-desktop.org/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

      The GNOME guys lost the plot years ago. It's not surprising to hear that GNOME is still useless. They think they're doing great work, but given they seem to not listen to anyone else I can't see how their delusions can be dispelled, not whilst RedHat are calling the shots on so many aspects of Linux these days.

    3. Nano nano

      Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

      That happened earlier when Terminal in 16.04 removed the menu and cmd-line options to rename the terminal window.

    4. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

      "the technical GNOME term is client-side decoration, which merges the title and menu bars into a single mess of icons, titles and, well, just about anything the app wants to throw up there.

      I believe that's the reason that Mint is undertaking the X-apps project (not a reference to X11 or Xorg). GNOMEified applications get de-GNOMEd and restored to the proper File, Edit, View... menubar that is still the best option available for mouse and keyboard PC users (in other words, nearly all of us).

      It seems that in time the devs responsible for any software project ultimately decide to go in some strange direction that looks like suicide from those of us who are watching. Firefox, Ubuntu, GNOME, Windows... it happens to all of them in time, but the worst that generally happens in the free software community is having to deal with yet another fork. With closed software, you can beg, harass, bargain, threaten to leave, editorialize, write a petition... and when all of that fails (as it does), you can either fall into line or try something else.

      When Windows went that way with 10, I got friendly with Linux Mint, and while it does have issues of its own, they pale in comparison to the rolling disaster that is Windows 10. If ever there was an OS that deserved to be taken behind the shed and disposed of, it's Windows 10.

    5. ben kendim

      Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

      "When software authors pull the "we know better, so no configuration for you" stunt, users get angry!"

      Well said! After 5 years, I still have not forgiven Mathworks for going from the perfectly functional menu interface in Matlab to the Microsoft inspired 'ribbon' abomination.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: More evidence that the Gnome crowd have the Win10 problem:

        When a new version of Ubuntu was rolled out at work, I spent some time checking out different desktop options, because KDE which I was used to (not a HUGE fan of, just used to it from long experience in SUSE) wasn't made available any more by our sysadmins. I fiddled around a while and ended up using XFCE, which does the things I need efficiently on a pretty ancient desktop machine. It is so "invisible" that I actually had to look up which one I had chosen just now. I like desktop environments you don't really notice are there. Being able to chose the tools that best fit into your way of working is a big plus in Linux. Most of my colleagues use GNOME, and seem happy with that. Each to his own.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    MATE fix

    The MATE flavour (spin?) has MATE 1.20 which has now fixed the minor panel cosmetic problem that was present in the 1.16 and 1.18 versions, if that's of interest to anyone.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: MATE fix

      /me checks - looks like FreeBSD's ports system snapshot has 1.20 on it (thanks for mentioning that). The 2018Q2 snapshot has 1.18 though...

  5. msknight Silver badge

    I returned to Mint

    I attempted Gnome, and still have Ubuntu on one machine for the latest graphics drivers. However, on the main machine I attempted Mate for a few months before I had to go back to Mint. I wanted to try and stick with mate, because Mint's packages and libraries are a bit behind... but in the end I reverted to Mint once more and endured the library/package problems.

    I honestly believe that in a few years, we'll see Gnome revert.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: I returned to Mint

      From Mate???

      Maybe you are talking Ubuntu Mate, but for many, Mate is mostly synonymous with the Mint distro.

      Reading your post, I couldn't help thinking....'poor bugger's got concussion'

      1. msknight Silver badge

        Re: I returned to Mint

        Yes, I did mean Ubuntu Mate. Concussion.... no... suffering from the siren call of the pub... maybe....

  6. Kerfufflinator
    Windows

    My favorite distro name since Feisty Fawn. Can the next one be Contemptuous Cephalopod? Also nice to see GNOME taking the front seat again. I haven't used Ubuntu since 10.04 (or was it 12.04? been a while) iirc but now the chat is about folk smoothly transitioning from Unity to GNOME? I remember when it was the other way around and made a lot of people seethe. Far be it from me saying it's anything more than nostalgia, but perhaps time to try Ubuntu again? Or maybe Lubuntu?

    And Wayland was default for 17.10?? Boy, I'm really out of the loop.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      My favorite distro name since Feisty Fawn. Can the next one be Contemptuous Cephalopod?

      Perhaps 19.04 could be "Dangerous Dalek"?

      I'll have absolutely zero trouble transitioning from Unity to Gnome, since I use either Cinnamon or Mate as my desktops (depending on the capabilities of the system). It's about as much of a concern to me as MS once again changing the UI in MSAwful (being as I use LibreOffice). And Firefox can futz with their current screw up as much as they want, I use Waterfox.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        @jelabarre59

        Perhaps 19.04 could be "Dangerous Dalek"?

        This may be of some interest to you...

        "How the Daleks were created"

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p065bngt

  7. Tridac

    You want lightweight ?. FreeBSD + Slim + Mate. Takes around an hour to install and configure everything. ZFS, jails, no systemd, no bloatware Gnome 3 etc...

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Actually, this will be the first LTS with ZFS support, which is why I have been waiting for it as I'm running a non-LTS version with ZFS. I think it even supports ZFS boot, not sure. I run it with LXC on top, basically jails. Very nice. Systemd sucks balls of course, no argument there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually, this will be the first LTS with ZFS support

        Yay, its caught up with FreeBSD 8....

  8. Alistair Silver badge

    I bailed in the first paragraph.

    It is friday, and I am a canuck.

    But Bionic Beaver? Really? in the tech world you KNOW what will be done with that mnemonic morass of innuendo.

    On the other front you can Gnome on all you want, as much as I play em in WOW you can pry my KDE from my cold dead gnomish fingers.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: I bailed in the first paragraph.

      But Bionic Beaver? Really? in the tech world you KNOW what will be done with that mnemonic morass of innuendo.

      Could have been worse, could have been Bountiful Beaver. I expect 18.10 could have interesting combinations with "Clam". But as for "Bionic Beaver", & expect Adam&Eve could have an interesting bundling deal.

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: I bailed in the first paragraph.

      I just assumed bionic beaver was a Canuck thing.

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Is it Ubuntu release time of year? Again?

    I used to follow it avidly, lost interest February last year, if there's no convergeance ambition, it's just another distro......another Gnome based distro at that.........

  10. wolfetone Silver badge
    Trollface

    I remember the arguments that raged when Ubuntu went with Unity after ditching Gnome. How Gnome was crap (which in fairness it was to begin with), how Unity would be way better and we'd all be using Unity instead of Gnome.

    How's that humble pie tasting guys?!!?

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      ...How Gnome was crap (which in fairness it was to begin with)...

      you mean:

      "...How Gnome IS crap (which in fairness it IS to begin with)..."

      Fixed that for ya.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        I think you need to take your snide little untrue remarks and take them to where Unity doesn't shine.

  11. Paper

    Good riddance!

    Unity was an abomination. They didn't want you to be able to rearrange anything, insisted that the logo be mandatory, etc. I was simply enraged by a Linux distribution telling me how to use it.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Good riddance!

      Unity was an abomination. They didn't want you to be able to rearrange anything, insisted that the logo be mandatory, etc. I was simply enraged by a Linux distribution telling me how to use it.

      Funnily enough....

      Gnome is an abomination. They'd prefer you not to be able to rearrange anything,

      .....is just as true....as it was when Unity launched, due to probably very minor differences of opinion at the time, with where Gnome was headed.

      1. Paper

        Re: Good riddance!

        Touché!

  12. TVU Silver badge

    Actually, Canonical have done their best to try to make the move from Unity to Gnome 3 as smooth as possible so that there's a Unity-like dock, "how to" documentation plus a couple of user consultations.

  13. Czrly

    Does Wifi Work?

    Personally, I can live with just about any Linux desktop skin if the damned WiFi would just work without requiring a reconnect after the first WPA group re-key. (Damn the Atheros ATH10K firmware all to hell and back!) I'll give this new Ubuntu a whirl and see if Linux 4.15 and (presumably) newer firmware actually fix stuff for me.

    (For the record, I managed to set up a stable system with this silly Gigabyte motherboard of mine exactly once, using Linux Mint with a tonne of hacks and some custom firmware. Unfortunately, I then updated my BIOS (Intel ME security patches, I recall.) and that trashed my Windows 10 (dual-boot) activation and the only way to re-activate Windows ended up being a reinstall. Reinstalling Windows screwed the UEFI configuration and, in a moment of craziness, I decided to reinstall Linux rather than try to fix the UEFI boot. Never again have I enjoyed trouble-free WiFi.)

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: Does Wifi Work?

      Yeah, well, WiFi devices are so cheap - if I have a problem with one I replace the WiFi adaptor rather than suffer with the damned thing for years and years.

      1. Grandpa Tom

        Re: Does Wifi Work?

        Not always as easy as you might think..

        I wanted to upgrade my laptop WiFi but found that Lenovo {bless their heart} decided to whitelist such components. You change the WiFi board and the BIOS will not run.

        I finally found a newer WiFi that would pass the crazy Lenovo white list requirement.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Does Wifi Work?

          You could try something 'external' for your laptop. Yeah it sort of defeats te purpose but sometimes USUALLY the laptop makers don't give a rat's ass about "linux compatibility" and you end up with something that ONLY works in Winders.

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Does Wifi Work?

          I wanted to upgrade my laptop WiFi but found that Lenovo {bless their heart} decided to whitelist such components

          Lenovo and HP were both known for that, and it's the main reason that both of those manufacturers were on my "avoid" list for so long. I have an old HP single core laptop that tried pulling that crap with me when I switched out its Broadcom Mini PCI (not PCIE) card, and I was able to find the whitelist in the BIOS image with a hex editor, so I replaced the old PCI ID with the one of the new card, but some firmware images are encrypted now, as I hear, so I don't know how feasible this is anymore.

          At least I learned (just about a week ago now as I write this) that HP quit whitelisting in 2014 or so, so any laptop they make that was designed later than that should be okay. The ones that were already in the pipeline when HP made the decision may still have the whitelist.

      2. hutchism

        Re: Does Wifi Work?

        Who down voted this. For anyone thats struggled with bad wifi firmware on Linux

        , this is the most painless thing to do! (even if you do have to run a patched BIOS: I'm looking at you Lenovo!!)

  14. herman Silver badge

    Cool, now SSH with X forwarding will work again on Ubuntu. Why they crippled their system so badly years ago is just beyond me.

    1. thames

      They had one non-LTS version, 17.10, which used Wayland. Other than that, every official mainstream version of Ubuntu right from the beginning used X.

  15. Dr_N Silver badge

    Beaver.

    Fnar.

  16. mmccul

    GUI is minor

    The GUI changes may look big, but they're really a minor thing compared to the systemdos conversion that is rapidly approaching completion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GUI is minor

      You mean SYSTEMD? Yeah, that piece of crap that relies on XML based DBUS for interprocess communication. In retrospect even COM and its DCOM was better designed than DBUS.

      I want a Linux distro without SYSTEMD!! I want my init system back. And M$ and other spying sponsors should keep their SYSTEMD where their ASS is. It's such a pitty that RedHat and Ubuntu take the bribe to include this SYSTEMD shit. Even Debian went down that crap road. So only the fork "Devuan", Gentoo and Slackware are free and have the traditional init system:

      Linux distros without systemd: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Linux_distributions_without_systemd

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: GUI is minor

        What's wrong with systemd? I'm new to the game and, and a cursory comparison of both reveals that systemd seems to be a new take on initd.

        Do you mind telling me what exactly is wrong with systemd, preferably w/ a Windows history comparison to explain?

        Edit: You can always build your own distro (think Linux from Scratch and SUSE Studio). After all, Linux is as modular as, erm, clothes?

        1. Grikath Silver badge

          Re: GUI is minor @ Waseem

          OK.. I'll bite...

          If you are indeed capable of your edit ( which is *in essence* true.. ) you would not need to ask the preceding question.

          As for a comprehensive comparison... You'll just have to slog through years of flamewars, in which every bit and byte of code has been rehashed, replayed, been through witch trials...etc.. on your own. We're not going to write your term paper for you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: GUI is minor

          Do you mind telling me what exactly is wrong with systemd, preferably w/ a Windows history comparison to explain?

          It's less to do with systemd than with the we-know-best attitude of the developers. Mr. Lennart Poettering comes across as all-around problematic and unlikeable. More's the pity.

          In truth, systemd is too complex (there is that gonzo "imma gonna reconfigure your system like a nanovirus and you better like it" attitude). It takes on more and more functions that should be separate and distinct in a Unix-y systems (in particular, it has eaten xinetd, has an NTP client inside and seems to take on DNS resolution too, now?). It also relies on elements on compiled code, which is just Bad Design, it's not Lua would a drag to use. Last but not least, as it has full support of RedHat, this smells like RedHat wanting to worm its way into... everything.

          Small mercies, it is rather well documented. If you got a few days to spare...

          Still, people pining for the init system are a few beers short of a sixpack. Those messy, buggy, frankly retarded bash script horror show based on barely articulated lore on how things should be done was bletcherous beyond imagination. You just need to compare a multi-page startup/shutdown script for Tomcat or MySQL with a 10-liner declarative configuration needed by systemd to see some advantages in systemd.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: GUI is minor

        Yeah, that piece of crap that relies on XML based DBUS for interprocess communication. In retrospect even COM and its DCOM was better designed than DBUS.

        Yeah, what? Excuse me, but XML-based IPC based on a bus architecture is exactly thing you are looking for a flexible. make-it-up-as-you-go system.

        1. onefang Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: GUI is minor

          Text based horrors like XML are designed to make life easier for the programmer trying to debug stuff, but bloats things out massively for the 99.9999% of the time that programmers are not trying to debug stuff. These horrors should all die in a fire, a really big one.

  17. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Even in GNOME there are plenty of features that simply don't work – often by design – under Wayland. For example, screen sharing...

    There's been the problem with Wayland; too much pushing the "uberness" factor, and not enough thought (if ANY) into how a system actually gets used. Functionality always needs to take priority over window-dressing (and the Gnome folks need to understand that lesson as much, if not more than the Wayland folks).

  18. iron Silver badge

    Ooops they violated GDPR

    "You'll have to opt out if you don't want to help the project gain some data about its users."

    GDPR requires consent to be opt-in. Less than a month to go and you screwed it Cannonical, well done.

    1. thames

      Re: Ooops they violated GDPR

      Canonical are a UK company. I suspect they have heard of GDPR and know what data is personally identifiable and what isn't amongst the data they actually intend to store.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unity was great, GNOME 3 sucks

    Unity was great (12 LTS, 14 LTS), GNOME 3 sucks. Ubuntu 18 LTS has all the bad elements from GNOME 3 geared for touch mobile devices - wtf!! I hate the missing menu bar, the abortion that GNOME 3 Texteditor turned out. Everything wrong is GNOME 3. Ubuntu Mate / GNOME 2 was so great. Ubuntu 10/12/14 LTS was great with its Unity. We can thank it to Micro-shaft for their EEE to destroy Linux deskto, by sponsoring Ubuntu-company, RedHat and lobbying for systemd, that evil piece of shit.

    So the future seems to be Debian with Mate desktop (GNOME 2) and without systemd: https://devuan.org

    1. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: Unity was great, GNOME 3 sucks

      Gnome 3 and its mobile phone interface needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot. In the kneecaps.

      No right-click. No middle-click. WTF? Maybe there's some chord I can play on the keyboard whilst clicking my name in Morse code on the left button of the mouse (the only one that seems to do anything) to achieve the same effect. I couldn't be arsed trying to find out, because there were more horrors waiting to ambush me as I tried to find out how to do anything useful at all (and failed). Installed Cinnamon (better, but with some of the same failings) and then Mate (much, much better, although still not quite as good as Gnome 2).

      Oh yeah, after we've kneecapped Gnome 3 we need to do the same with its developers, then chop their hands off, to prevent them from fucking up anything else.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet ...

    I first installed Ubuntu in 2006 ... I was VERY impressed when my penguinhead brother came up one Christmas, popped a 6.10 LiveCD into my Windows box, and within 5 minutes had a bloody impressive desktop GUI up which had found my network card, and connected to the internet seamlessly.

    Wow ! I thought. Seems we're pretty much there with Linux as a desktop contender (I was more aware of the server capabilities at that point).

    (Checks calendar)

    So now, in 2018 - 12 years on WTF happened ? And why does nobody (or nobody that wants to go on record) see that the biggest single "killer app" that would make Linux desktops a much more viable reality is something to replace Outlook - an enterprise level email and calendar program ? Because if you can't replace Outlook, you'll never get as far as Word, Excel and PowerPoint no matter how good LibreOffice is (and it's quite good).

    I'm currently rocking Mint, but Thunderbird + Lightening are nowhere near as good as they should be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet ...

      You mean actually give people what they want ?

      try Evolution. it's the best so far.

    2. bobajob12

      Re: And yet ...

      Amen x 100. You'll prise Outlook out of my cold, dead hands. Even web O365, while vastly improved over OWA, still is only a weak replacement.

    3. Rainer

      Re: And yet ...

      Outlook is horrible.

      Especially the web-version. It just shows a handful of emails and if you switch it back to some "show me more emails" mode, it's barely usable.

      But hey, I guess you can auto-filter your mails into different folders (where you will never look at them).

    4. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: And yet ...

      >> "So now, in 2018 - 12 years on WTF happened ?"

      For me, it's still a case of irritating niggles that do hold a number of Linux distros back. I run Ubuntu 16.04 on my NUC (Windows 7 on most my other machines), and immediately noticed rubbish scrolling speed from my scroll mouse after installing it. Nothing in settings to change it, and Googling around reveals various piles of editing config files and the like to fix this.

      Then, I upgraded to 17.10 (I originally had the normal 17.04 distro on before switching to LTS last year). Nice big bug in it because if you use your machine with a KVM and effectively disconnect the monitor via your KVM, the user session crashes completely, all programs are terminated and you are kicked back to the login screen. Searching around revealed no solutions (and lots of people with the issue), hence my move to the 16.04 LTS branch instead.

      Then finally there's the issues with VirtualBox. The version packaged by Ubuntu is ancient and no longer supported by Oracle, and is also incompatible with the Meltdown/SPECTRE patches Canonical released a few months back. Downloading the one direct from Oracle won't work with a lot of existing guests I had set up, so again lots of messing around in a command prompt editing apt repositories to try and get a more recent and working version onto my system. I managed it in the end, but it was a lot more of a pain than it should have been.

      I do generally like Ubuntu a fair bit, and 16.04 is currently working well on my NUC once I'd ironed out the issues above. However as a mainly Windows user, even more professional and well-supported distros do continue to have some silly rough edges.

  21. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    First Growth Beaver Conditioning.

    As a man that gets excited about the occasional release, what we want to see is rock solid timing, lasting performance and the properties of quietly going about your business. #longtermsupport

  22. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    First Growth Beaver Conditioning.

    As a man that gets excited about the occasional release, what we want to see is rock solid timing, lasting performance and the properties of quietly going about your business. #longtermsupport #bedazzle

  23. keithpeter
    Coat

    light-theme

    OK, so I'm booted off the live image. I have a dark theme with dark grey menus &c. I prefer light themes. The live image reports ubuntu-light-themes installed. How do I get to change the desktop theme?

    Used to by right click and select Radience &c.

    Mine's the one with the Slackware DVD in the pocket.

    1. keithpeter

      Re: light-theme

      OK sorted - despite the fact that the light themes are installed from the iso you have to install tweak-tool to be able to select the theme (rolleyes)

      Works nice on the X220 with SSD. But apparently you can't get rid of the title bar of the window when window maximised (1366x768 laptop - this would be handy but no extensions available)

  24. John Crisp

    Just say

    Gno

  25. Notas Badoff

    Upgrade, but not right now?

    Did I miss a reference in article or comments to this strange note:

    Upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or 17.10

    Upgrades from 17.10 will not be enabled until a few days after 18.04's release. Upgrades from 16.04 LTS will not be enabled until a few days after the 18.04.1 release expected in late July.

    There are no offline upgrade options for Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Upgrade, but not right now?

      This is normal for Ubuntu. Its been like this since at least 10.02.

      For the first few months, you need to install from scratch if you want the new release. I guess this is because when installing from scratch, it is easier to know the eventual state of the system, whereas upgrading starts from an unknown state, so more testing is required to make sure that they get all of the dependencies right.

      This is doubly so from a 2 year old LTS release rather than the previous non-LTS release.

      I'm wondering what my best upgrade path is form 14.04 (I am still not convinced by systemd, and I'm actually using Gnome Fallback). I think I will have to go trough 16.04 before 18.04. Still, at least a year of support left for 14.04.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade, but not right now?

        For the first few months, you need to install from scratch if you want the new release. I guess this is because when installing from scratch, it is easier to know the eventual state of the system, whereas upgrading starts from an unknown state, so more testing is required to make sure that they get all of the dependencies right.

        Just to try it out, I did an in-place upgrade on a Mint 18.3 system that I was going to be doing a fresh install on anyway (Mint already has their beta 19.0 repos available, so pointed the Mint repo to the new one as well). Didn't work very well, couldn't get the user's desktop to load at all (would drop right back to the login screen). Tried some hacking to get it to work again, no luck. Not a big deal, since I wanted to freshen the system up (getting rid of the remnants of packages/services I had tested on it then removed).

        1. Tansdale

          Re: Upgrade, but not right now?

          I upgraded to 18.04 a couple of days ago. I noticed a couple of errors about packages that couldn't be installed, but it proceeded to the end anyway, at which point it said that the installation had failed, and it would be rolled-back. In fact it didn't roll-back, and after a manual reboot 18.04 seems to be running just fine!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Upgrade, but not right now?

        "I am still not convinced by systemd"

        Me neither. Why is every distro jumping on this bandwaggon? Who is lobbying for it? Why? systemd is a very stupid move, I will resist using any distro version that ships with it.

      3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade, but not right now?

        10.02?

        What was I thinking when I posted this?

        10.04 (Lucid Lynx).

    2. thames

      Re: Upgrade, but not right now?

      @Notas Badoff: This is not a new policy, they did this with the 14.04 to 16.04 upgrade as well. Existing LTS users don't get upgraded until the first point release comes out (18.04.1). The point releases bundle up accumulated security and bug fixes so that new installations don't have to download them all again.

      Normally by that time bug and security fixes related to a new release seeing first widespread use should be down to a trickle. This in turn means that LTS users will see fewer update notifications. If you are an LTS user, you probably care more about not having as many updates than you do about having to wait a few months before getting the next LTS. Non-LTS users on the other hand probably do want the latest stuff ASAP.

      When the release does go out to existing LTS users, it won't go out to all of them at once, Instead it will be trickled out to smaller numbers of users at a time over the course of a week or so. Thus even after the LTS upgrade cycle begins, some of those users will be waiting for a while.

      If you are an LTS user but really can't wait, then you can force an upgrade now if you know what you are doing (there is a package you need to install which automates the Debian command line process to make it easier).

  26. Rainer

    Thanks but no, thanks

    I'm using OpenSuse Leap 42.3 with LXDE.

    Works really, really well and stable, most likely because the upstream is SLES.

    Not always the latest and greatest (well, that's debatable anyway) but I just really want to get stuff done.

    1. eionmac

      Re: Thanks but no, thanks

      Using OpenSUSE Leap 42.3 with XFCE. Very stable. Menu bars where I want and even a dock or docks where I want. Used on 2012 Dell and 2015 Dell, USB Dual Boot with Windows 10. Very pleased as a day to day system. However I install Ubuntu LTS on learner's machines as they have hard copy (Magazine format book) to read offline.

  27. Chris 15
    FAIL

    nice but one issue (for me)

    I have one machine that is rocking along just fine with 14.04 still- and I am going to need to update it to 18.04 before end of support next year, but this machine runs on an A10 and amd graphics card using the proprietary driver because I'm quite happy with the relatively large (for the gpu thats installed) performance boost running the driver in dual graphics mode.

    The newer driver stack STILL does not support any kind of crossfire type mode including dual graphics mode. This hence means that the update will equate to lower graphics performance that one of my sons benefits from as he uses this machine for penguin flavoured gaming.

    Due to 'advances' there is no way of getting round this and there is STILL no movement that I can see towards this being resolved :/

  28. Lorribot

    Change is Good...but beware the feedback

    If you want rile some users just change the interface.

    Linux with its many flavours of interface supposedly has this covered but even then these interfaces are changed for the better/worse. and if your favourite flavour of Linux decides to switch allegiences it is bound to start a riot.

    Windows fell down this rabbit hole with Vista and again with Windows 8 and continues to this day with subtle changes and general moving of stuff around in Windows 10.

    Constant tinkering with the user interface will lead to user disatisfaction. ser want all the nice new whizzy stuff but woe be tide anyone who actually changes something.

  29. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    1. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: Nice Beaver!

      I'm only disappointed it took so long for someone to post a link to that clip .....

  30. TheGreatCabbage

    It's a pity people don't mention Kubuntu much. Personally, I've never found a desktop environment to beat Plasma 5, and I think a lot of potential Linux users are turned away when they take a look at Ubuntu with Unity or Gnome.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      KDE explained in one post (And I'm actually using KDE.)

      I've just upgraded to Kubuntu 14.10 with KDE 4.12.95. For about the last 12 hours, baloo-file has been using up 100% of a CPU core.

      Is this just initial indexing? It's been going for a bit longer than I expected.

      Thinking that I might speed it up, I attempted to migrate nepomuk data across. However, after running `nepomukbaloomigrator` I was told `Data already migrated. Quitting` (and then it crashed).

  31. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

    New Linux poweruser here ...

    I'm really new into Linux (but by no means a noob). Can somebody point me at a Brief History of Time of systemd? Don't really understand what the bickering is all about.

    1. thames

      Re: New Linux poweruser here ...

      I started trying to write a short summary of all the different issues, but realised there's really no way to cover even a fraction of them.

      The short answer is that the basic idea is good, as it is more or less a clone of the init systems used by Solaris and Apple.

      However, the implementation was sadly lacking, mainly because of what the Systemd developers were like. The Systemd developers didn't know how much they didn't know about all the obscure edge cases which exist in server applications, and wouldn't listen to the people who did know. When they made mistakes, they blamed other projects for having "bad" software, because well, Systemd is perfect so obviously the problem couldn't be there.

      They also insisted that everyone else had to rewrite their own software to work "properly" with Systemd (mainly to do with network socket initiation on start up). The fact that this then made server applications incompatible with BSD and others without a lot of if-defs didn't go over well with the maintainers who were affected or with BSD people (the Systemd developers had no interest in working with the latter on these issues).

      Debian had to ditch their project for a BSD based Debian distro version because they didn't have the resources to support two init systems (and all the resulting Debian specific init scripts) and the Systemd developers as mentioned above had no interest in working with the BSD people on this.

      And since we are talking about Ubuntu in this story, I should also mention that the Systemd developers screamed much abuse at Ubuntu for not volunteering to be the guinea pig for the first commercial distro release of Systemd (no other commercial distro was using it at the time either). Ubuntu was bad, bad, bad, they insisted. The fact that Red Hat wasn't shipping it either at the time seemed to go right over the heads of the Systemd developers, the leaders of whom just happened to be Red Hat employees.

      As for why Systemd got adopted by most distros is simple. It was backed by Red Hat and they have enough muscle in the Linux market to push through things they want. The same is true for Gnome 3 by the way.

      If you are using a desktop distro that uses Systemd, or you are using bog standard server applications (e.g. LAMP, mail, SSH, standard database, etc.) then all of this probably doesn't make much difference. Your distro will have figured out the problems and fixed them. The distro that I'm using on my desktop to write this adopted Systemd a few years ago, and I didn't really notice any difference other than boot up taking longer (Systemd has the slowest boot times of any init system that I've measured).

      If you are administering a complex server system, especially if you are using proprietary software that isn't packaged properly, then you have to deal with all the Systemd issues yourself instead of just hacking on an init script or installing a third party logging system. A lot of the complaints about it come from people who have to deal with this aspect of it.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. -tim
        Coat

        Re: New Linux poweruser here ...

        In the early days of unix there was a script called /etc/rc.init that started everything else. init's job at that time was run rc.init or a shell and clean up after programs that ended. Then run levels (single user/admin mode) were introduced by AT&T after the AT&T/BSD/AT&T split/fork that created System V. IBM's AIX included an early concept of having a program doing smarter things that the early init and scripts and that was considered heresy by the greybeards. The init system in Solaris 10 also caused a great deal of strife and caused a number of people to abandon it or stick with Sol 8/9 (which are still supported as containers under 11.3).

        Systemd was intended to fix the init problems of the laptop while the old init.d (/etc/rc2.d and /etc/rc3.d) were much better for dealing with older larger servers which would hardly ever reboot and didn't have their hardware disappearing and new stuff reappearing all the time. Most of the major critics of early systemd (and Solaris svcs) were sysadms who just ran servers. The system V init (like solaris) for the sun comparable laptops made by tadpole was an absolute nightmare as it needed to make use of run-levels a,b and c to deal with going in and out of power saving or sleep modes and it didn't have to cope with usb devices showing up. The dependency tree of a modern init system is exceptionally complex and there is current research in the field. The SysV inittab had names for the purpose of a makefile like dependency tree but wasn't properly used showing this problem goes back to at least 1983.

        What I expect will happen is that one of the BSD groups will figure out how to do more modern init system correctly for the range of hardware between tablets and servers, have their init work with the existing rc.d/init.d/svcs/systemd config files. Then systemd will get relegated to something like the contract manager under solaris and in time disappear.

    2. grizewald

      Re: New Linux poweruser here ...

      If you can't search for information, critically evaluate what you find and come to your own conclusions, you are lacking essential skills, not just for this industry, but for your life in general.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: New Linux poweruser here ...

        "If you can't search for information, critically evaluate what you find and come to your own conclusions, you are lacking essential skills, not just for this industry, but for your life in general."

        That's true, but missing the point and I feel dropping a bit much on the original question. The original question surrounded opinion. I'm sure they could have looked up what systemd is or how it works. They seemingly didn't have to ask that. They could have looked up the very many discussions about systemd and started to read all ten thousand pages about it, but that would lead to a morass of random junk that wouldn't answer the question "Why do some people dislike systemd so much?". Here's what they would find:

        1. People discussing implementation details of systemd that have changed and are no longer problematic

        2. people discussing the theory behind systemd and why they like or dislike it

        3. people talking about the systemd/bsd interaction without easily understanding whether these people are fairly representing either side

        4. people getting way too far into the weeds of how to write systemd scripts

        5. people discussing parts of the systemd source code that dramatically impairs understanding without reading the whole source

        6. people discussing the problems they had migrating to systemd, without making it clear whether the problem was on systemd, on previous developers of code, or on sysadmins who weren't familiar with how Linux administration should work

        This is all the stuff I found when doing a quick search. So why is it so bad that the comment said "There are a lot of people here who dislike systemd rather intensely, and I don't know why they do so. Why don't I just ask them?".

        If you can't accept finding knowledgeable people to give you information and opinion, critically evaluate what they say, and come to your own conclusions, you are also lacking essential skills.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu, Gnome, systemd......

    ......what about a fairly ordinary user who just wants things to be easy to accomplish. Say:

    - email (Chrome or Thunderbird)

    - browsing (Chrome)

    - writing (LibreOffice)

    - simple databases (Harbour)

    - some small programming projects (Python, C/gcc)

    ...with a UI that has NO ugly UI theory behind it.

    Well....All these have been fine:

    - Red Hat from RH5.2 to RH9

    - Fedora/Gnome2 from Fedora 5 to Fedora15

    - Fedora16/XFCE to the present Fedora27/XFCE

    My conclusion: find a Linux distribution that you like and stick with it! As you can see from the above, RedHat and Fedora, Gnome2 and XFCE have been perfect for me for nearly twenty years. Pity about the upheaval caused by the unbelievably ugly Gnome3.

  33. A-nonCoward
    Go

    Unity gone? good. Might come back to Ubuntu

    was tired to jump hoops to get the "classic" look during the Unity nonsense era, went Fedora, I'm generally happy, might get the desktop running again (which I haven't turned on at least a year, the four screens make for a good place to drop my coat)

  34. kneedragon

    I didn't use the Unity version and I don't miss it. The Mate version has continued to improve, and the latest one does seem to be very good indeed. My base install is Mint + Mate and has been for nearly ten years. It is very comforting to know that if Mint dipped below the even horizon, Ubuntu is such a capable replacement. I upgraded a Debian 9 to 10 the other day, and that's a surprisingly tidy & capable system too...

  35. Martijn Otto

    "the loss of Unity"

    I wouldn't exactly call that a loss!

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