Posts Tagged unity

The Windows 95 paradox

Unknown to most (sarcasm), I am an avid Linux user. I know a great many other Linux users. As Linux users I feel we have a certain free spirit that comes with using our free OS. But I am finding a disturbing paradigm in regard to the response to the Gnome 3/Unity desktop environments that have surfaced recently. The number one rant I have read about online has been about how hard the new interfaces are to use. People want their program button with its flyout menus back.

Now I realize that many of the reviews were knee jerk reactions to the new interfaces. I had much the same reaction, when I upgraded to Natty. I couldn’t figure out how to use it, and I just wanted my familiar interface back. But wait, at some point inmy life, the familiar had to have been unfamiliar. When was that.. lets see, when was a little button in the bottom left corner of the screen for accessing programs and settings introduced… oh yes, Windows 95!! People want their Windows 95 like desktops back! For gods sake, that OS has been setting the desktop top standard for the past 16 years. This is almost the EXACT same reaction I get from people when I try to introduce LibreOffice to people that are used to MS Office.

Them: “This sucks, I can’t find anything.”
Me: “But what about the functionality, how does it compare to Office?”
Them: “Oh that, its fine, I just can’t find anything”
Me: “What options are you having trouble finding precisely?”
Them: “I have found everything I was looking for, it just sucks that I had to look for them.”

The problem isn’t the interface, you can teach old dogs new tricks. Its the fact that people don’t like new things. But wait, what about when MS changed the Office menu bar to the ribbon? Well, people were forced to use it, so they bitched, then got over it. And started to realize, maybe it isn’t so bad after all, they just needed to retrain their brains a little. You never know, you might find that your better with the new interface.

I for one love the Unity interface. There are quirks that annoy me, but what doesn’t have annoying quirks? Usage note with Unity; people love to complain about how hard it is to launch programs. If you have ever used Launchy, or Gnome Do, then this will be easy. Hit the super key, type in the first couple letters of the program you want, hit tab when it shows up, then hit enter, your done. I can launch a program in under a second, try that with a fly out menu and a mouse. Learn the keyboard short cuts, or stop complaining about using your mouse so much.

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Ubunutu 11.04 initial impressions

So I intstalled Natty over the weekend, I am usually able to hold off for a total of 24 hours after a new release comes out before I really want to upgrade something.

Well I have been using Natty for 24 hours with the new Unity desktop and all. Well I can officially weigh in on Unity now. and the word is…meh.. Yeah, talk about anti-climactic. I switched back to Gnome classic after about 4 hours with Unity because it was just taking too long to do things in my mind. It was driving me crazy. Its not a bad design, not at all, but its such a divergence from what I am used to using that there was A LOT of overhead where I was just staring at the screen trying to figure out how to do something. Rather than provide an exhaustive list of things I wasn’t able to do let me just point out a couple.

Custom launchers. Yeah, in web development, the browser version matters. So I had to manually install FF3 in /opt and point to a special profile that I have all tuned for testing websites. Natty uses FF4, which not a lot of people are using yet. So I am flummoxed trying to figure out how to create a custom launcher for FF3 that is installed in a non-standard place.

Notification applets. They just don’t work in Unity. There are some that they custom build to work in Unity, but the standard Gnome applets and icons in the notification area don’t work, at all. You can’t click them and they are replicated when you have two screens. They just don’t seem very well thought out. There seems to be a lot of ‘not invented here’ syndrome going on.

I thought about trying Gnome 3 but I hear it totally breaks Unity. So I will probably hold off until a bit later, I will probably try Unity again at a later time. I needed to actually get some work done. 😉

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Ubuntu 11.04 is almost here

In light of the fact that Natty is almost ready for release, I have added the countdown timer to the side panel. I will, as tradition demands, forget about it until many months after the release has happened and the image become some odd amalgamation of Ubuntu advertising and proselytization, either that or a broken image. Either way, I usually remember to take the image down before the next scheduled Ubuntu release. Usually..

With 11.04 moving to use both Wayland AND Unity this is setting up to be one of the biggest releases Ubuntu has ever seen. The move away from X.org is a monumental thing in itself, but then also replacing one of the mainstay Linux (Gnome,KDE,etc.) desktop environments with Unity is nothing less than playing software chicken. Either Ubuntu is going stay the course and the community will flinch and Unity/Weyland will become a standard, or Ubuntu will flinch and will have to backtrack with X.org and Gnome, or a worst-case scenario, neither flinch and we end up with a smoldering pile of rubbish on both ends.

(note: yes, I know Unity is built on Gnome, and works similar to Gnome3, but it isn’t Gnome3, so my statement stands)

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