Good grief Bling

Story: … for human beingsTotal Replies: 18
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Mar 06, 2012
7:50 PM EDT
That was a defensive tirade and a half. Why can't Shuttleworth accept that a very large number of the Ubuntu user base loathe Unity? Are they all wrong? Of course they aren't. Instead of circling the wagon efforts like this Shuttleworth would be advised to try to figure out why the new user interface has created such a negative reaction. The basic structural contradiction of Ubuntu is becoming evident. Pouring in money and sitting at the top of a pyramid while proclaiming Ubuntu is a community starts to look phony after a while unless the top of the pyramid listens to the community. Clearly in the case of Unity they have not

Mar 07, 2012
2:44 AM EDT
The thing is that we wouldn't know if it really is a "very large number of the Ubuntu user base" or just a small minority that is very, very vocal. The people who love Unity (and thay *do* exist) are not as visible.

Mar 07, 2012
3:22 AM EDT
Quoting:The people who love Unity (and thay *do* exist) are not as visible.

Not from what I can tell on the Shuttleworth blog. In fact my post, which is not complimentary, has been flagged as possible spam, and my yet not be posted.

Mar 07, 2012
7:42 AM EDT
Maybe a large number of people are using Unity on Ubuntu. Doesn't mean they are particularly enamoured with it or even think it is a good or must have interface.

Just last week I was talking to a colleague who had installed Ubuntu (Precise Pangolin) himself, because Windows XP was giving him and his family grief. He just searched Google and settled for Ubuntu based on the amount of hits. I asked him what he thought of Unity (after explaining what that was). He said he and his family could use it, but that it had some annoying things and wasn't completely logical. He didn't care one way or the other if Ubuntu came with Unity or not. (I know. I know. Anecdotal.)

Maybe many people are just using the new Unity Ubuntu because they are familiar with the Ubuntu distro and don't want to take the trouble to find something else. Or they found it as a Windows refugee and went for it because it was the most popular according to Google. Maybe the pricing of zero $ combined with a lot of residual coverage from the "sweetheart" years is the big factor. Unity doesn't seem to be the selling point.

I haven't seen much glowing reviews of Unity outside of the Ubuntu fansites (OMGUbuntu and such). Worse than that, most Ubuntu articles on the mainstay Linux sites as LinuxToday, LXer, etc. these days go without comments. The people who care enough to comment on mainstream Linux news are silent on Ubuntu. Not to mention Gnome 3 (Shell).

Oh well, I can't really be bothered anymore by the ruckus in the GTK world. I've given in and just switched to KDE 4.7. Despite the early PR snafu of the KDE dev team, they have produced a solid, usable, traditional desktop. I just need to brush up on my knowledge of 7 years of KDE developments :-)

Mar 07, 2012
10:25 AM EDT
Quoting:Maybe a large number of people are using Unity on Ubuntu. Doesn't mean they are particularly enamoured with it or even think it is a good or must have interface.

There is nothing wrong with having an interface like Unity or Gnome 3 Shell, what canonical/Ubuntu did wrong is all together abandoning the classic Desktop interface. I am not sure why they did that, it could be lack of resource. That can't be because, in spite its limited resources, KDE not only is able to maintain two interfaces (Desktop & Netbook), but also venturing on to develop a third new interface for hand held devices (Plasma Active).

In fairness, Canonical is a commercial entity and its main objective is to create revenue while supporting FOSS in the process. Nothing wrong with that and I believe that many are very appreciative for its contributions.


Mar 07, 2012
10:29 AM EDT
When I've written negative reviews of a given release of a distro I've seen lots of wagon circling from the fans, some of whom want to boil me in oil or find some other way of disposing of me. OTOH, generally the developers and project leads are respectful and take the criticism as constructive. They roll up their sleeves and work on the problem. This is the very first time I've seen the head of a Linux distro doing the wagon circling. From my perspective this does not reflect well on Mr. Shuttleworth.

Mar 07, 2012
12:16 PM EDT
@Fettoosh: It's simple why they abandoned the classical desktop interface. It's because their lead developers believe that they are right, that their ideas about what a UI should look like are the "One True UI", and that everyone needs to just accept that and bow down to them and their holy vision. Of course, both the Gnome and Unity devs have somewhat different ideas of what the One True UI are, so they're in a bit of a Holy War about it.

@caitlyn: You've insulted Mark's "baby", it's like calling a woman's baby ugly. Also, see above: from what I've read, Mark himself is the lead developer of Unity (again, it's his baby, his brainchild, he's not just a regular manager taking someone else's idea and running with it), and he's absolutely sure that his little project is the One True UI, and that anyone who disagrees is a blasphemer and heretic.

Mar 07, 2012
12:57 PM EDT
Quoting:It's because their lead developers believe that they are right,...

In FOSS, there is no right and wrong, there are choices, many of them.

Shuttleworth believes the future of personal computing is tablets with touch screens. I just heard on the news that the IPAD lone already sold 55 millions world wide. The way hand held devices are developing he might be betting on a winning strategy if he is not too late. I guess we won't know for sure now but, time will tell. It is his money after all and he is free to waste it if he wants to. The problem is, Ubuntu has been the most popular Distro and going flop is not a good thing for FOSS.


Mar 07, 2012
1:27 PM EDT
@Fettoosh: The problem I see with his strategy is: where are the Ubuntu tablets? I don't see any. A touchscreen UI is a hindrance on a desktop PC; there might be some kind of logic if he was trying to push the same UI on both tablets and desktops, but where's the tablets running Unity? There aren't any. However, there are tablets from KDE ("Spark") that you can buy right now. And interestingly, these tablets, while running the same KDE as that used on desktops, has a very different UI.

It seems to me like Mark is trying to ape Microsoft (interestingly, both have the same initials: MS). MS has completely revamped Windows 8 to have a touch-screen optimized UI for tablets, and desktop users will just be stuck with it whether they like it or not (though they at least get to use a fallback mode if they prefer the old Win7 desktop UI, but with the Start button removed). But MS at least actually has tablets in the works, and when Win8 is released there'll be matching tablets to go with it.

Mar 07, 2012
1:51 PM EDT

I think it more likely that Mark is aping Apple as is Microsoft with Windows 8. Both actions are counter-productive in my mind. Mark has spent a lot of money on Canonical and I bet he needs it to turn a profit in the medium term. Thus he has put Jane Silber (a hardass) into the CEO slot and is throwing a lot of things at the wall. Ballmer is also throwing a lot of things at the wall. Both seem in awe of Apple's success. I think Mark would be better off forgetting about Apple and thinking about who his userbase is a bit more carefully.

Just like RedHat did back in 2003.

Mar 07, 2012
3:43 PM EDT
@montezuma: I disagree: Apple has different UIs on their iPhone/iPad and on MacOSX. They have made a few moves at converging them, but they're still rather different. This is very different from MS which is trying to have the same UI on both devices with Win8 (though at the moment they're still different if you look at WinPhone7 and Win7). It seems like Apple is the one being most conservative here. Yes, both MS and MS are in awe of Apple's success, but they're not parroting it very well, since Apple isn't the one trying to force a single touchscreen-friendly UI on all its devices. I can't tell if MarkS or MicroS (one the Gnome devs) was the first one to come up with this silly idea.

Mar 07, 2012
5:55 PM EDT
Yes they definitely filtered out my comments, which were to the point that people I know prefer KDE and XFCE to Unity, and as soon as they discover there is a choice make the choice not to use Unity. It seems that only the mildest non supportive comments are tolerated

Mar 07, 2012
5:58 PM EDT
@ta: Doesn't surprise me. When you have a little Napoleon at the helm of something, free speech is usually the first thing to go, so they can make it look like everyone agrees with them.

Mar 07, 2012
7:38 PM EDT
All right, this question is for Unity-knowledgeable peeps. I have 11.10 on a PC and I am completely baffled. Am I missing some sekkrit goodness?

Can't modify the dock, so if you never ever use LibreOffice you can't replace the icons with something you do use.

Can't make a favorites menu so you can find your most-used apps quickly, but must always wade slowly through the useless and weird system menu.

Can't resize windows, which is especially fun when you need to read something.

Are you sure this isn't a giant prank?


Mar 07, 2012
8:06 PM EDT

The Ubu fanbois will say you need to master keyboard shortcuts HOWEVER

Here is the solution which worked like a charm on my 11.10

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:merlwiz79/cinnamon-ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install cinnamon cinnamon-session cinnamon-settings


Mar 07, 2012
9:02 PM EDT
here's what I posted in response to Mark Shuttleworth's blog.

Quoting:I'm an engineer, I'm also a musician. From both points of view Unity stinks.

I also install Linux for Gramdmas (and Grandads). Given the choice they will consistently opt for something other than Unity, some have even persevered, but eventually have requested that I fix their desktop. Now that GNOME 2 is no longer a choice, they opt for either KDE or XFCE.

The other member of the band I play in, who uses Linux just upgraded his desktop to Kubuntu, rather than continue to use Unity, after I showed him KDE. His comment; "that's a much nicer, better looking, and easier to use desktop you can show to windows users". When I asked him what easier means he said better laid out, sensible.

HUD is just plain silly. Using a search engine to select a menu option is confusing to everyone I've shown it to. "and then I have to scroll though all those search results" was one printable comment.

But I guess neither they nor I "get it", which means we are wrong, I suppose.

Mar 07, 2012
9:04 PM EDT
LOL montezuma. At least it's not apt-get buyamac. I'll give it a whirl.

Mar 08, 2012
3:23 AM EDT
Unity is bad, but not THAT bad. You can resize windows, although it can be hard to hit the lower corners. You can also add and remove icons in the dock (right-click on icon to remove it or to make it stick, more or less the same as in Windows 7).

Mar 08, 2012
3:40 AM EDT

You can indeed remove Libreoffice apps from the dock and replace 'em with whatever you want (start app, right-click its icon on the dock and "keep in launcher"). Dock can become your "favorites menu". And resizing windows? That's done like in any other UI. Not a Unity fan myself... KDE lover here, but just sayin'. It's not THAT restrictive. It does suck in other ways though :=}

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