back to article Ubuntu's Oneiric Ocelot: Nice, but necessary?

Oneiric Ocelot, or Ubuntu 11.10 as it is known, has been delivered and refines the core of the Unity environment Canonical built at the expense of GNOME. If you made the leap to Canonical's signature Unity Desktop when it arrived in Spring's Natty Narwhal edition of Ubuntu, version number 11.04, then October's update will be …


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  1. CaptainHook
    Thumb Down

    Give me back my system menu

    Seriously, why search for applications when with 3 clicks you can navigate a hierarchical menu of all the applications installed?

    If the developers want to create a Dash feature, great, do that but keep the menu structure in place at the same time and give people the choice to use either.

    1. Nuno

      If you really need it, you can emulate a one level menu system, using lists inside each launcher item:

      1. CaptainHook

        Lists in Launcher Items

        If its got to the point where people are having to do stupid hacks like that to work around the UI, maybe it's time to switch.

    2. J 3

      While I agree that it would be nice to have both ways of doing it, I can also already see all the people whining that "it is confusing", "it is redundant", "more than one way to do it is stupid", etc. etc. There's never pleasing everyone, of course, but some people go out of their way to whine about even the smallest things...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unity is here and Canonical's stance is that you're either going to love it or leave it.

    I left it and use Debian Squeeze instead.

    1. Len Goddard
      Thumb Down

      I left too. I could say I followed Linus to XFCE but actually I got there first. Or at least before he announced his preference to the world.

      1. spicysomtam
        Thumb Down

        Ubuntu 11.10 will leave you with a big mess...

        I upgraded over the weekend and I ended up with horrible Unity, then installed gnome 3 fallback and then had to put so many tweaks in for gnome. After all of that I concluded that I didn't have the same functionality as before with gnome 2 ubuntu classic. Now I have a mess. I don't like gnome3 after really trying with it; its not that I don't want to change; I don't want a dumbed down desktop! Tonight will be restore of 11.04. Then I will be looking for a new distro.

        What I can't really understand is why Canonical have forced people down this route. The Linux world is all about openess and giving people choice. I feel I have been given no choice, so its good bye to Ubuntu. I totally agree with Linus.

        1. Goat Jam

          Go for 10.04 LTS

          Updates go through to 13.04 (for desktop)

          That is my plan. I figure I get to keep Gnome2 for two more years which is two years for them to fix Gnome 3 and maybe make it usable.

          In the meantime I will sit out all the turbulence and consider changing distro's at my leisure.

          First off though, I'm considering moving my NAS/Server to FreeBSD 9 to get access to all that ZFS dedup goodness.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            But that's only 6 months away

            and there is almost no bug fixing going on in that version, even though it is an LTS release. There's lots of unhappy LTS users in the Ubuntu forums, myself included.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              ...but that's only 6 months away!

              Er, no it's not.

              Support goes through to 2013 as the poster above noted. That's 18 months more.

              12.04 LTS will come out in 6 months but you're under no obligation to upgrade.

              True though there are some problems with 10.04 but having tried 11.04 I'm thinking actually they're nothing I can't live with for the sake of my sanity.

              Will give 11.10 a go in a VM just to be fair but I can't see me upgrading, and I certainly won't be upgrading the dozen or so friends and family members I support who all think 10.04 is the shizzle and would really rather not have to learn it all over again.

              If Unity doesn't improve substantially by 2013, they may all be getting Ubuntu + XFCE as their upgrade.

    2. Big-nosed Pengie

      I left it for Mint Debian.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Left it too

      Went to xubuntu version because my productivity dropped right if the scale, the unity top menu bar was the last straw. more than one window open and clicking on it I'd close the wrong application.the alt tab switcher was okay, expanding to show multiple windows from the same application, but that was possibly the only plus point. xfce with the scant dock is too mac like for me but at least I know what is running and can reach the menu without needing to jump through hoops. Oh nautilus appeared to be better too but you can't really compare that to not knowing with the unity bar, whether file > open is going to open an item in the application you want or some app hidden in the background that unity guesses is the proper window.

    4. karolbe

      I left it too. I am using KDE now.

  3. exanime

    I gave Unity a try...

    ... and honestly the worst I can say about it is that it is not intuitive... I could not figure out how I was supposed to work with it... however, before discarding it altogether I dediced to spend 10 minutes watching some Ubuntu how-to videos and quickly got back riding the horse...

    The best I can say about it is that if you are working mostly on cli then it allows you to stay working on the keyboard and never touch the mouse (once you learn a bunch of keyboard shortcuts of course)... but when I'm browsing the web or playing games with my son on my lap then I can stay on the mouse and never use the keyboard... this ability to basically handle the entire desktop with either keyboard OR mouse (and not having to switch back and forward) is awesome

    Yes, it is buggy (buggier than I expect Ubuntu stuff to be) so I am looking forward to this upgrade.

    I have to say that after 6 months of using it I tend to believe that the attention span for most people is very minimal, it seems that those who did not get it on the first 5 minutes decided to hate it forever no questions asked... it is not bad once you understand the workflow and I think it will be awesome in the next couple of years as it gets developed

    1. Martin 47

      My short attention span must be too long then because I gave it 3 weeks before ditching it.

    2. nematoad Silver badge


      "it is not bad once you understand the workflow". Yes, but that's the point. The UI should get out of your way and let you do stuff. Not keep tripping you up in order to try and figure out how the programmers think you should work. You should be the master not the UI.

  4. John Rose

    The paragraph about support for 11.04 is interesting. It misses out the point that support for 10.04 (a long term release aka LTS) is for 3 years (i.e. until April 2004). Please see the URL below for a discussion on STS versus LTS:

    1. K. Adams

      "... support for 10.04 (an LTS) is for 3 years (i.e. until April 2004)."

      Typo fix: April 2010 + 3 years = April 2013, not April 2004.

      Also, LTS support for 10.04 Server extends until April 2015.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        In the server release

        there are a number of items that will not appear on the backports list for fixes from later releases. This includes all of the desktop items like Firefox, Evolution, and even Google stop producing fixes for Chrome once an LTS release goes out of support (as Hardy did earlier this year).

        From my experience, once an LTS release has been out for a year or so, anything that is regarded as a bug rather than a security problem just will not get fixed.

  5. Neill Mitchell

    Give KDE a go

    "If you hate Unity, but want to stick with Ubuntu you can of course use GNOME 3 instead."

    Or KDE.

    Oh, and before the inevitable KDE 4 bashers kick off, an awful lot has changed since the 4.0 fiasco. That was like, you know, 3 years ago now. Get over it and give it a go. KDE 4.6 is very nice. In fact, dare I say it, I find it much easier and more intuitive to use than OS X.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I did follow your advice, I did try KDE for a week or two about a month ago but I'm afraid I still couldn't love it. It still felt as clunky as it always has. Maybe my kit just didn't have the gusto to drive it. I don't want to be a stick in the mud, I want shiny stuff but GNOME 2.0 is still a practical, well designed and functional piece of software hence why I am sticking to 10.10 for the time being.

      Designers need to remember that design is functionality, not just look'n'feel.

    2. neil 15

      Back to KDE

      I went back to KDE after I switched to Gnome after the release of 4. It is definitely worth another look if you do not get on with Unity.

      Interesting to note that it allows an almost traditional desktop setup. Maybe all the usability 'experts' went to bother the Gnome / Unity people.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Never been a big Gnome lover, currently have the perfect desktop - OpenSuse 11.4, KDE 4.7, Compiz 0.8.8 (0.9.5 is bug ridden crap) and Glx dock.

      KDE's widget (which work very well) orientated DT is great for customisation, take note MS your gadgets are laughable crash ridden rubbish.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    something that might be useful one day.

    Like a puffa jacket in hades.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      tried it

      I install Ubuntu 11.10 on one of my computers last night and it was a nightmare. The install went perfectly and everything worked great. The problems occured when I tried to add additional programs. First of all, the Ubuntu software center had very little of what i wanted. I use 10.04 lts on my server and everything is there. I did a search for Apache and found nothing. I did a search for open office and found nothing. I get around this by the sudo apt-get install trick. Annoying. Then I had trouble installing Debian packages. I tried to install Chrome, Google Earth, and several other packages, and got the message 'ether the package was corrupt or you do not have permission to install'. I went to Ubuntu's discussion group and was told to install Gdebi. Which I did and still got the same results. I tried a manual install and that too failed. I was too tired to continue and went to bed. I found many more irritating things. First of all, I tried to set up mulitple user accounts, and I was only given the choice of standard or administrator. In 10.04, I could choose the advanced settings and place a number of my own restrictions on users. I could not find Openssh in any form on their software repository. I settled for Putty which worked ok. I downloaded Etherape to use in my administrative account to monitor network traffic. In 10.04 I got 2 options. For this to work right, you have to have root privileges. The 11.10 did not have this option.

      In short, I can get around every one of these problems with a little effort, but at 1 AM, I got tired of fighting the operating system instead of using it. Granted, there will be a learning curve to just find things. I still like having icons on the desktop showing everything I need to do.

      Pluses beside the smooth install, everything worked great! All of the codecs, TTF fonts, flash were there when I first booted to Ubuntu. However; after fighting Slack for years, I am a little touchy about having to spend a lot of time just trying to get an os to work for me

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This will be interesting, I recently tried 11.04 and was highly unimpressed. I felt that it shouldn't have even been released. Not trying to insult, I'll keep trying, but it had problems doing even the simplest of things Windows does naturally. I installed on a USB drive and ran it from there, but I also had a folder on the drive used for storing documents. In windows, I could access the folder and do whatever, Ubuntu wouldn't even see the folder.

    A few programs would not install, while some would.

    The first thing I wanted to do was to install some A/V software. While there are a few, many simply stated it "wasn't needed" or "it's so secure". that is foolish, especially since I found several forums that had users testing the security of it and succeeding. It's not that I wanted to secure Ubuntu, I simply wanted something I could use to repair Windows machines, and a trusted virus scanner would have been nice.

    1. James Hughes 1


      To install/run from a USB HD, or where you using the demo CD or USB stick version, which would explain why stuff wouldn't install.

      As to anti virus software - you can get some for Linux, but I've never tried it. But why would someone produce A/V software for Linux that was designed to scan windows specific drives? That doesn't make sense either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Try reading. I installed it on a USB drive, and it wouldn't install ALL programs. my plan was to use it to repair broken Windows, and one of the tools required would be A/V. But some have dropped support for Ubuntu.

        So, if I've got a broken windows PC, I'd like to boot from USB and repair it, whatever the problem may be. That includes have tools to diagnose the problem. Not much use if I can't install the tools or they are no longer supported.

      2. James O'Shea

        here's why

        "But why would someone produce A/V software for Linux that was designed to scan windows specific drives? That doesn't make sense either."

        Some of us have to support many, many, MANY WinBoxes.. Some of us have users on those WinBoxes who are not particularly sensible, but who for political reasons (they're senior management and sign our paychecks) have admin privs... and then go and do silly things which require fixing. Such as downloading malware. It's so much simpler to set up a thumb drive with Linux and A/V software that knows Windows file formats and malware and use that to kill malware than to use almost any Windows-based alternative, if only because the WinMalStuff can't run on a Linux system...

        And there is a lot of Linux A/V which knows Windows. Clam, for just one extremely obvious example.

    2. Miek

      AVG, AVIRA, CLAMAV? What? none of these took your fancy? Or do you simply /*trust*/ Norton?

  8. Smartypantz


    FUCK transparency (and rounded corners)

    Happy fluxbox user

    1. Nexox Enigma

      Mmmmm Fluxbox...

      I'm with you there, except I enable slight transparency on my unfocused windows, where my hardware can handle that sort of thing.

      Keyboard shortcuts to do /everything/ - not just run programs, but maximize (horizontal, vertical, full screen,) shade (collapse to title bar like OS9,) half-screen maximize (Like you get in Win 7 by dragging to the edge of the screen,) toggle window dressing (title bar, window border,) and even one to ssh to my web development box and restart httpd.

      And the best thing about Fluxbox is that I'll never get into the situation where I get forced to learn a new interface, which doesn't seem fun or productive or anything. Plus there's no temptation to collect a huge mess of icons on my desktop, since Fluxbox doesn't offer them (though you can get some 3rd party software to provide clutter if necessary.)

  9. SEO in eGrove Systems

    Compare Ubundu with Window.

    While comparing for windows newest version, It seems like this Ubuntu 11.10 have so much advanced features.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    "...more like something that might be useful one day."

    Best piece of damning with faint praise I have seen for a while that.

    1. Nun of Thee Above

      Funny, that. . .

      . . .but I read it as praising with faint damns.

      1. John Sanders

        Well I read...

        ..farting with faint bums

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    What will be the next names?

    Some modest proposals:

    Peripatetic Panther

    Querulous Quagga

    Revolting Rhino

    Sociopathic Salamander

    Maybe I should not get into marketing

    1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

      P already decided

      12.04 (an LTS release due next April as the version number suggests) will be codenamed Precise Pangolin.

      1. James O'Shea


        They missed the opportunity to call it <insert something beginning with 'P'> Penguin.

        There are times when I'd like to have a Punishing Penguin on my desktop.

        (Yes, I did go to a Catholic elementary school, and yes it was run by nuns. Why do you ask?)

        1. Ian Bush

          Priapic Penguin?

        2. GuildenNL

          Are you enjoying that new self-spanking machine from S&M Inc?

    2. GuildenNL

      Just as Canonical shouldn't have gotten into user interface design.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If you hate Unity, but want to stick with Ubuntu you can of course use GNOME 3 instead."

    or Mint, and eat your GNOME 2 cake too

    1. K. Adams

      Odds are, Mint will be migrating...

      ... to the freshly-forked MDE (Mate Desktop Environment, a fork of the GNOME 2.3x branch):

      -- -- github: Mate-Desktop-Environment:

      -- -- -- --

      Personally, though, what I would like to see is to use the GTK+3 framework and associated semantics (back-end process-to-process message passing, etc.) to create a GNOME 2.3x look-alike/work-alike. GTK+3 is a much more streamlined and modern development framework than GTK+2; I just don't like the way it's presented via Gnome Shell (or Unity, for that matter).

      1. Number6


        I use Mint 9 (with the LTS) and the LXDE desktop on most of my machines. I've got KDE on this one because LXDE didn't play nice with a dual-monitor set-up at the time I tried installing it.

  13. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    No return to classic desktop?

    sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't work for me

      Package gnome-session-fallback is not available, but is referred to by another package.

      This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source

      Ho hum.

  14. DrXym


    Unity is a great UI on a netbook screen. Things like the global menu and maximize behaviour make best use of the limited space. BUT not everyone has a netbook and Unity sucks rocks on anything larger.

    Global menus incur an annoying amount of mouse travel on large screens and you can't even see an app's menu unless the app is the active window and you mouse up to the top. It's just bad design.

    Other annoyances would include:

    Hover scrollbars. They are awful. You have to look back as far as Open Look WM to find a scroll bar user hostile as this monstrosity.

    Unity is a space hog. What looks good on a small netbook screen looks ridiculous scaled up over 4x+ the area. For example click on the Unity button and the entire screen is eaten up to display 8 lousy icons.

    Ubuntu store is EVERYWHERE. Click on the Ubuntu icon with the intent of running apps on your own machine and observe as half of the space is occupied suggesting apps on the store. Sorry Ubuntu but you're just being annoying. Put a store tab in the panel but leave the rest alone.

    So sorry Unity you suck. The sad part is that some better defaults and some settings available from a simple configuration dialog could do wonders to make it somewhat pleasant to use. How hard is it to have checkboxes to disable global menus and those godawful scrollbars?

    I still use Ubuntu but these days it's with GNOME Shell 3.2. Despite it's bad rap, GNOME shell is a remarkably usable interface. It too has some deficiencies and needs tweaking but generally speaking it's a far better thought out thing than Unity. By miles.

    1. Miek

      Thumbs up and a +1 from me. Ubuntu unity looks like a Desktop for children on my 25" work monitor.

      As for a classic session fallback for Gnome (that some posters have mentioned), I understand that it is just Unity emulating a classic Gnomey interface.

      One rather annoying thing about the Unity interface, is the lack of the "Connect to Server ..." dialogue and the associated bookmarks you can create using it. These used to be in the 'Places' menu and I made extensive use of them in order to manage a range of linux servers. Whilst it is still possible to use sftp://user@server/home/user in the filebrowser, I was unable to find a way to (intuitively) create bookmarks for regular use. I did, however, find article showing a method of manually recreating the link to the Connect to server dialogue which I have not tried yet.

      It will be interesting to see how unity develops, but I think many of us that use Ubuntu for computers other than the home PCs will be steering well clear until Unity is actually usable.

      1. Kevin Bailey

        Easy enough

        Click Home Folder which is the first button and opens the file manager.

        Connect to server... and Bookmarks will then be in the menu.

        Agreed - might be nicer to have it available all the time - I'm sure a bit of RTFM would sort that out.

  15. Tim Walker

    This had better save me from "Ubuntu Cracked Compositor"...

    All I can say is: if OO fixes the atrocious bugs in whatever Natty used to composite the desktop, which caused the desktop to "scramble" for ten seconds at a time, every time I did something daft like... oooh, I dunno, open a drop-down list in a dialogue box...

    ...then I'll upgrade our Natty-running PC as fast as our length-of-wet-string broadband can pull it down. In fact, I think I'll do it anyway - honestly, almost anything the Canonical crew did here, would be an improvement on Natty for me.

    If that's not a "hostage-to-fortune" sentence, I don't know what is...

    1. James Hughes 1

      That's a graphics card/driver issue, not Ubuntu.

      1. Tim Walker

        I stand corrected...

        Now downloading the upgrade files - will be interesting to see if the machine in question (a Foxconn NT-330i "nettop") will perform any better with The Ocelot. With regard to the display, I find it hard to imagine how it could be worse... (yup, I'm REALLY laying down a challenge to the universe there ;-) )

      2. DrXym

        Bad drivers and fault finding

        "That's a graphics card/driver issue, not Ubuntu."

        Well Ubuntu put the dist together so arguably it is their fault to some extent. For example the open source ATI / AMD Radeon turn the display to mush for a few seconds during startup, and occasionally when the desktop is getting going. It just looks ugly.

      3. Adrian Challinor

        Have they fixed the nVidia issue

        Tried NN and reverted back because the support for high end nVidia cards and the fact that the drivers and modules had incompatible builds. Until they fix this, I won;t be updating!

    2. Anon1234567890

      Hmmm...never had that bg and I have been using OO and now LO on Ubuntu as main desktop since 10.04. Still do not have this error on 11.04 or 11.10 now.

      Do a clean install and do not modify any default configurations?

  16. Tim Walker

    Upvote for the sentiment (if not the Anglo-Saxon) ;-)

    My Eee 701SD is running Arch Linux with Fluxbox, and I've never been happier with a Linux distro. If it weren't for the rest of my family wanting to use our Ubuntu PC, I'd have swapped it for Arch by now - the Ocelot had better be good, to erase the memories of Naff Narwhal...

    1. Tim Walker

      This was supposed to be a reply to the "fluxbox" post earlier - must've hit the wrong button (grumble grumble)...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Onanistic Ocelot surely...

    ...coat... the one that smells of cat.

    1. Iain Griffiths

      I've already named it ...

      I've been calling them even more silly names ever since I installed it last year.

      Lurid Limpet

      Molested Marmoset

      Nauseous Newt

      and now its Obese Otter

      Next one I'll probably be calling Pervy Pigeon

  18. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Sigh :(

    Once upon a time (8.10 to be precise) I tried Ubuntu and liked it, it was Linux that was easy to set up and use, and most things worked fairly intuitively. Friends & family used to XP would have no problems I thought, and indeed they did not.

    And what happened?

    They spent a lot of time dicking around with the GUI for no real benefit, while failing to fix packages that were important, such a Nagios (still broken for 10.04 LTS on daylight saving change, a YEAR after it was reported and was already fixed by the developers), Rhythmbox (stopped syncing to MusicBrainz even though the changes were known about and discussed since 2 YEARS ago), automounter broken with NIS due to unpredictable start-up sequence with Plymouth, etc.

    Is the world so full of short attention-span people that an ever-changing desktop (and thus demanding help/training to all non-geek users) is more important than making the damned thing work?

    Why do Unity? Indeed, why did they waste time on GNOME 3? No one is shipping a tablet with Ubuntu on it, and realistically no one will (Andriod is the choice for all who are not Apple or MS fans).

    In my view it has simply pissed off a lot of users and serves to illustrate at least one reason why it never will be the year of the Linux desktop. Work put in to stuff that is simply visual fluff, and not in to making things 'just work'.

    1. Miek

      They probably should have kept Ubuntu Netbook Remix separate and left it there.

      1. Mark 65

        Yep, trying to do an Android all device system has just screwed it for everybody.

    2. Adrian Challinor


      Paul has said it well.

  19. Jason Terando

    The Point?

    I don't necessarily *hate* Unity, but I don't see what its purpose is in the marketplace. A touch-friendly shell doesn't make your applications automatically touch-friendly. And if your applications aren't touch-friendly, then you don't have a touch-friendly platform.

    If Canonical is trying to position themselves as an alternative to Android for tablets, I'm not sure how they succeed with the same applications having GUIs that are awkward to use on desktops, and doubly-so on a tablet form-factor.

    A couple of things they can do to get me on board:

    1) Get rid of the stupid scroll line in Dash. If you don't aim your mouse and click exactly within the few pixels they give you, you either don't get a scroll or the Dash window appears altogether. Either use "normal" scroll bars or use the thumb scroll.

    2) I like how Gnome brings up its launcher by moving the mouse to the top left without having to click. Not sure if Unity has something similar, but it would be cool. Again, too much concern for the tablet crowd.

    3) Allow me to set up different program bars for different workspaces. If I'm in my first workspace, I could set up my bar with "everyday" stuff - browser, email, etc. Second workspace, development tools and shortcuts to my project folders. Third workspace, office productivity applications. Etc. Etc. ad Nauseum. You can still bring up Dash from any workspace and get to any program you want.

    I like that Canonical is trying something different. I even like that Microsoft is trying different stuff (albeit the green metro screen looks like vomit). But you gotta show love to your entrenched base or else they don't stay entrenched.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Touch screen?

      There's an interesting point here, if the dock is supposed to be touch screen friendly then why when it hides does it need the mouse to go to the left hand side of the screen and stay there when a window/ application is maximised? (and I couldn't find a way to turn off that behaviour). Touch screens don't have mice, so there's no pointer to bring the panel back which seems like a large usability issue.

  20. Robert E A Harvey

    Nothing wrong with trying something new

    I applaud Canonical for trying something new. And, if it is not to your liking there are loads of alternatives, unlike certain other OS suppliers.

    That said, I'm not too convinced yet, and find the idea of searching by programme name faintly laughable in an environment where silly names seem de rigeur!

    But lets not stick in the mud, eh? This is an industry that started with teletypes.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Funnily enough

      A TTY33 would still work fine if you found one with an RS232 interface, (current-loop support is probably a bit esoteric for Linux, but no doubt someone supports a driver and hardware somewhere).

      Shame you can't say the same for Gnome 2.3.

  21. James Hughes 1


    Lots of people with problems on 11.04, but I've never had any problems with it or that version of Unity - rough edges yes, but no bugs and no odd slowdowns or screen issues.

    I quite like it....

  22. Oczhlan

    i love my meerkat

    i don't see the urgency to upgrade later let alone sooner. call me dumb, but i still can't make use of that blooming scrollbar..

  23. andy39
    Thumb Up

    What's the problem?

    I have never had any problems with Unity. It works and is stable unlike another operating system I could mention.

  24. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Well, that was a depressing review.

    Nothing I have read here has convinced me to give ocelot a try, after the fiasco that was the first Unity attempt.

    It's something that's really peeved me about Linux for years: as soon as something is working half-way well, there's this terrible urge to pee into it and stir it all around. It's as if it's illegal or immoral somehow to take the time out to do the job properly.

    It seems to me that it's fundamental that a user interface should *not* get in the way of the user, but it seems that Unity is designed to offer me things I don't want in ways different from those I'm used to, requiring more clicks or non-intuitive operations (the disappearing scroll bars are a classic example).

    I don't want much. I just want to let my applications use - but share - the desktops, without getting obscured by pointless and irritating video effects; without being offered opportunities to download; without having to learn a new metaphor.

    Let's keep the clever effects for CSI, and let us get on with some work, huh?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it...

    Ok, ok, so most of us have tried and pretty much hated Unity ... and this is where I just don't get the whole concept...

    So, Unity is obviously going to be *improved* over time, great, it definitely needs it, but...

    Why release it as a default desktop in a state guaranteed to cause massive frustration and rejection?

    From this pretty decent review, quote: "and more like something that might be useful one day."

    See, that's it in a nutshell!

    The default Ubuntu desktop *prior* to Unity was already useful! It worked!

    Gnome 2x was a mature, stable and downright *usable* desktop solution.

    So, what are we users to Ubuntu? Alpha testers?

    This massive paradigm shift, which changes the workflow methodology of the standard desktop a great deal, is to all intents and purposes, an experiment.

    It's an all or nothing approach - there's no slow change, it's just a sudden leap - and now the process of trying to make it more usable begins.

    That's so arse-about-face, it's staggering. Where's the slow change process? You know, introduce a realistic, long-term shift? You simply *have* to take this approach with users, you cannot just throw everything out and start again. Microsoft get it, Apple get it, evidentally, Canonical don't have a bloody clue. Then again, with a user base so small it pales into insignificance, perhaps they figured it didn't matter. Well, it does. The small user base of the default Ubuntu distribution have now fragmented - to distributions with default desktops that actually *work* in a familiar way!

    But hey, perhaps one day, Unity will actually *unify* Linux desktop users across the board, but I'll be damned if I'm going along for the ride, I've got work to do, I don't want to be mucking about with half realised, incomplete solutions!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "But hey, perhaps one day, Unity will actually *unify* Linux desktop users across the board"

      You have to get with the doublespeak: Unity actually divides the free desktop space further (not that there's anything wrong with a bit of competition, though), and Harmony is the Canonical-sponsored way of upsetting Free Software contributors across the board by telling them that they should sign over their work to a corporation for potential relicensing or, more accurately, subsequent "proprietising".

  26. Alan Firminger

    I left W for U 10.04 , delightful.

    I gave 10.10 a miss.

    I took 11.04 , awful. The Admin drop down has gone so I have to learn the Linux commands, Firefox is cut back with no tab history drop down and the launcher strip down the side is dreadful with dancing ikons that all look the same. Location is more important than appearance, suppose at breakfast you pick up the marmalade and everything shifts round one place.

    I think emigration is the only option.

  27. Neill Mitchell

    One thing El Reg fails to mention...

    With all the fuss about the desktop you failed to mention that the kernel is version 3.0.

    What a great milestone :)

  28. spegru
    Thumb Up

    Take a look

    at !

    Very smooth looking and what a great website intro to the thing!

    1. Not That Andrew

      The point of what everyone has being saying here is that you shouldn't need a tutorial to figure out how to launch an application. The desktop should just get of of your way!

      And no-one give a damn about how slick your tutorial is.

  29. MeJ

    It's a dog. Upgrade from 11.04 broke my desktop, the dual core is stuck at maximum rpm, installing fall-back did not put things back the way I wanted, tried the new Kubuntu but that is still crack-headed, downloading Mint DE.

  30. John Sanders

    The first thing unity does wrong...

    Is that it moves things from place to place, a big no-no in interface design.

    I will stop here.

    I'm on debian & mint-debian, not looking back, I encourage everybody to check mint debian, it is debian for the masses.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That and "too big, too massive".

    Projects starting out very cool; I used to love KDE and really like Gnome. KDE was more 'end user' like whereas Gnome was more business like (heck; Sun didn't 'adopt' Gnome on Solaris for no reason).

    But today I like neither of them. I've been using XFCE4 way before it became 'hip' (I used it because at that time it most closely resembled Sun's CDE desktop manager) and IMVHO even that has become way bloated (in comparison with what it was).

    I think a lot of those projects are growing too big. People get into it not because of what the project stands for but because they can say "I'm working on that cool project". I don't blame them, but I do blame the people calling the shots here. Many projects which have a large share of followers (KDE, Gnome) seem to be totally focused these days into turning the project into something its not. Take for example KDE and its sudden "double-sized" start menu as if were Vista or Win7. Total bullsh*t if you ask me; its KDE not fscking Windows.

    THAT is the main problem IMO; in the beginning KDE closely resembled Windows and people started to grow a liking to it. But at that very point its no longer "a desktop manager resembling Windows". No, then and there it became "KDE". Same applies to Gnome, only reason I'm focusing on KDE is because I've experienced this head on.

    Instead of seeing stuff for what it is (your project has now become a milestone; people like it for what it is) these dumbos (very personal opinion) /continue/ to try and turn the product into something its not and never will be. That is IMO the main problem here. Same issue of Mozilla trying to turn Firefox into some Chrome spinoff. I really liked Firefox 3, I tried 4 and ditched at 5 because it was turning into something I didn't want to use in the first place; the main reason I stuck with Firefox at that time.

    If I want to use Windows 7 I'll frickin' use Windows 7 (its what I'm doing right now). But if I think of a Linux desktop manager I no more think of something "Windows alike" or maybe "OS X" alike. I liked it for what it was. BUT.. no more...

    When it comes to desktop managers I fell back to my very first love; WindowMaker. It gets as bloated as you want it to be (by actually adding extras yourself; the core is still very slim) and better yet: all my old themes which I created back then still WORK (8 years old; I kept them onto a CDR which surprisingly enough is still accessible).

    As sad as it is but at this point I cannot help but laugh. It took Linux hardly as much time as Microsoft yet when it comes to GUI's its now falling into the same mudhole.

  32. Relgoshan


    My face met the keyboard so hard, it now looks like a spreadsheet.

    They DO NOT need to make everything look like a touchy-feely fondleslab interface.

  33. tardigrade
    Thumb Down

    I hate badmouthing Linux, but when it comes to the last two ubuntu releases it's inevitable.

    Unity in 11.10 still has absolutely no idea what to do with two monitors. That in itself is a complete joke. Why such a massive regression from 10.10?

    I'm experiencing more bugs and a slower load time in 11.10 and so I added Gnome shell which is an improvement but still a badly thought out DE experiment albeit slightly faster. Started fiddling with system files to get the icons smaller and then added extra add on software to configure settings that should be available in system settings anyway. So I tried the Gnome classic fallback, which is an utter bastardisation of what was the great gnome2 desktop.

    Suddenly thought what am I doing?! Why am I wasting time with this crap when 10.04 and 10.10 are both far superior DE's.

    I never thought I would actually get to the point where I would give up with ubuntu, I always though that in the end they would figure it out and change things after 11.04 struck an iceberg, but no. 11.10 just moves the deckchairs around a bit. So I'm off to either Mint or Debian squeeze. Or you know what, I might just bite the bullet and shell out for an iMac.

  34. Anon1234567890
    Paris Hilton

    I like Unity

    No, truly, I do. I do not rummage through apps and whatnot, but actually use the desktop. I have dual monitors and 4 desktops.

    Unity is clean, kind of funky...and non-intrusive. It is not a presence in my daily use, ie. I do not care. Nothing truly meaningful has changed when it comes to interaction with the PC so I do not really understand why the angst, except if it fails to work/render correctly on some systems, or if it makes some systems lag.

    I did not notice Unity lag even on an ancient Athlon XP3000+ desktop that was running 11.04.


  35. Outcast

    Upgrade or downgrade ?

    I upgraded last night and was surprised that it completed the upgrade without glitches. So.. on reboot I was expecting Unity and that's what I got. I've been using Gnome 2 "Classic" mode but as this is the "chosen path" I figured I might as well give it a fair suck of the sauce bottle.

    So, after reboot what did I find ?

    No graphic drivers activated. Not a biggy but on activation.... Where's the restart option in the cog (me menu ?) .. Seriously, there's only Shutdown.

    Next... I nipped round corner T'shop for some Doritos and when I got back I discovered the screen locked, s'funny, I had that set to 45 mins. Oh well... I'll have to reset it again... except.... Where is it ? It was in screensavers but that's gone... I used that "Dash" effort to search... I clicked around clicking on likely candidates.. Nope.. I give in ... Give me a clue !!

    I'll give this a month and if still not happy I'm gonna change over to Peppermint.

  36. SlyWeezle

    Tried to use Unity with 11.04 for a few days and couldn't handle it.

    I use Ubuntu on my work PC with two 24inch monitors and just trying to get work done juggling between these two was a nightmare.

    I don't want to be searching for file names or program names as the main way of opening things that I don't want to make a shortcut to.

    I use the desktop regularly to place things in and for easy access. Why deny me this space that my monitors provide to lock me into a laptop friendly interface?

    I've since changed to Debian Squeeze and am loving it.

    A shame really as Ubuntu was the distie that got me off Windows forever and down the path of linux enlightenment.

    Thanks for showing me the way Canonical, but the path ahead has no room for you now...

  37. Reg T.


    The only good thing about Unity and Ubuntu is that they apparently haven't had the time to screw up KDE,

    When synaptic disappears altogether, then you know what real crap is. The Muon Package manager in KDE is crap reminiscent of the openSUSE days when they discarded Yast and gave all the faithful the Zipper - the equivalent of "the finger".

    Of course, Ubuntu is now Windows - and less - thus the IPO can't be too far in the future.

    There are yet a few Linux distributions remaining. But, Windowizing and Jobsian eye-candy - as in crap - rules. Smoke and mirrors.

    As everyone knows, security is always increased by offering only binaries in a package manager that offers the user only a moronic icon without details of the contents.

  38. Frank Russo

    Author is confused

    Either the author is confused, or is inadvertently confusing readers.

    Unity replaces "Gnome Shell". It does not replace "Gnome". Unity does a good job of providing access to the five apps that we typically run. Unity does a bad job at pretty much everything else. The only other exception is that it allows you to use Compiz, which GShell currently does not.

    So Ubuntu users have the choice of a really-bad 2003-esque desktop shell, or a really bad 2009-esque desktop shell. There's really not a lot of other options. KDE has big issues with PIM currently, and is off the table. Perhaps we should give Bodhi a test-drive and see if Enlightenment provides a viable contemporary desktop shell.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just upgraded

    My computer told me a distribution upgrade was available for my Kubuntuised Ubuntu.

    Waiting until Friday, did some cleaning up, backed up the essentials.

    Dist upgrade, rebooted, logged in, logged back out again when I saw it was Unity, logged back out and then back into my KDE desktop. I haven't tried Unity. I think I'll wait for maturity before I bother trying it.

  40. Rustybucket
    Thumb Up

    Hello from Xubuntu 11.10

    The 3.0 kernel is a lot faster, it's had some cosmetic improvements and the "greybird-compat" WM theme means that the titlebar no longer has to be colossal. It picked up all my 11.04 settings and media pretty seamlessly and everything ran just as I like it.

    So overall a big win.

    That said, however, the new look Ubuntu Software Centre absolutely blows goats.

  41. Wile E. Veteran

    Thumbs down on 11.10

    I run Xubuntu 11.04 which uses XFCE for a desktop. Yesterday the Upgrade Manager offered to upgrade my system to 11.10. I thought, "What the heck and accepted the upgrade." Thank God it told me what it was going to do before it started the actual upgrade. It was intending to remove several things I rely on frequently, though not necessarily on a daily basis. Further, it was going to foist a lot of Gnome 3 stuff on me even though I use XFCE. I quickly clicked on the "Don't Upgrade" button and adjusted the Upgrade Manager to never offer a distribution upgrade to me again. Have to do that on my other computer too, but I haven't used it for a while so it could use some security and functional updates, but no distribution upgrade!

    If Canonical keeps up this shit I'm going to say good bye to Linux and go back to one of the BSD's. Which are stable, just as fast on MY hardware and an offshoot of the One True Unix rather than being a work-alike.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Which distro is the best for XFce if Xubuntu is not??

      Contrary to what lots of folks have said, I don't find Unity so bad... it needs some maturing, what do you expect it's quite new and on a netbook it's functional. It's just Canonical has made a fatal mistake in their branding and they should have never touched their main distro. Unity belongs in something called Netbuntu or Smartbuntu, whereas Ubuntu should offer full Gnome 2.x and 3 implementations. They can rebrand it to Gbuntu. Now, I like the fact that besides Unity, Ubuntu is great, and 11.10 with a new kernel, their software manager that I like and that great community and so on... it's not something to dismiss just like that in my opinion just because of a DE. Whether it's MS with W8 or Canonical and others, they've all lost their freakin minds with their tablet/phone centric vision of the OS. This mindf... has now plagued Ubuntu. A real shame.

      So I decided to give Linux Mint 11 a try. It's quite sweet and I love what they've done with gnome 2.x and that launch menu and that panel right after you install with a link to "install multimedia codecs" plus they install VLC by default, LibreOffice etc. (at last some people who seem to think like me a bit). It's all pretty clean and all, except I wish the app menu would be a bit more snappy on my netbook and I find their software manager pretty slow... so I installed XFce.. ok. Now XFce is the way I want to go now. It's final - I'm not coming back to Gnome/KDE ever - I don't want bells and whistles... I want something fast and clean and cute. So I was hoping Xubuntu was the way to go but after what you describe, I don't understand why they would push Gnome 3 stuff on that distro if it's all about XFce... they've lost their mind. Xubuntu can save Ubuntu and Canonical and retain their user base with ONE SIMPLE INSTALL OPTION : PURE XFCE WITH NO GNOME 2 or 3/KDE COMPONENT WHATSOEVER. Pretty please do it folks. If you don't, I believe there is a place for a new distro now which is Debian based + Ubuntu compatible + pure XFce.

      What is the distro that's the closest to that now if Xubuntu is not? Anyone has any advice for me... I'm not power user... I just want something easy to install and use and lightning fast with XFce and the closest thing to Debian/Ubuntu which gives me right away my additional proprietary broadcam wifi driver without any playing around, and with Grub that respects my W7 install. Is it to take mint and remove all the gnome stuff, or is it to take Xubuntu 11.10 and remove all the gnome stuff? Is there something cleaner, built from the ground up with XFce in mind and easy for me? And by the way is there any performance diff between XFce on mint 11 or on Xubuntu 11.10?

      1. Not That Andrew

        About the only distro that will give you XFCE without GNOME out the box is Slackware and it's derivatives like Salix. Source-based distro's (Gentoo et al) (and I think rollling release (Arch et al)) can also be fairly easily configured to exclude unwanted dependencies.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Pure XFce...

    I found this

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Xubuntu for me now...

      Just d/l and installed Xubuntu and made sure none of those things spelled out the the purexfce page were installed and none of them were and I'll stick with that and see...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Also... Bodhi Linux... wow!!

        I also decided to reserve 5gb of my drive to install Bodhi next to Win7 and Xubuntu... and wow, how snappy that one is!!! And Enlightenment is an old pal of yonder!!! It's really lightning fast and offers tons of eye candy for pennies...

        I take note of the fact that it's based on Ubuntu, just like Mint. It goes to show how Ubuntu is great, despite what people can say about Unity...

  43. Dave Bell

    I use Ubuntu 10.04 on my netbook. It's the LTS version so it should be good for another 18 months, and the Netbook option is a good interface for the limited screen space.

    10.10 wasn't so good. Is it even worth trying 11.10 on that sort of limited platform?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's more to updates than desktop environments - kernel 3 for instance - but why change if you like what you have and it's stable and all? I installed Xubuntu 11.10 on my netbook... Samsung N120 Atom 1st gen + 1gb ram and I just like it. I don't do much on my computer aside from browsing, watching xvid movies, playing a bit of music and light word processing. I just realized that XFce is what I want... I'm just tired of KDE and Gnome and Unity and their masquarade... I don't care for "mature" DE i.e. old-fashioned like so many ppl here - maybe if I had a box with a graphics card worth the price of my netbook I'd want some more candy but I ask myself why? I want a snappy up to date little linux and now I have it.

  44. agricola

    In answer to your question, which just happens to be the article's title--

    No. But then again, neither is it "nice", nor was 11.04 "nice" or "necessary".

    But thanks for asking.

  45. Raife Edwards

    I have to wonder...

    Did Microsoft infiltrate Canonical, specifically to obliterate desktop Linux? Or, was it merely a coincidence that, in the middle of Microsoft's current three-fold attack on Linux (IP legal-assaults, Linux-organization infiltration and corruption, and bogus hardware/security competition lock-out)... that Ubuntu (the number one desktop Linux distro) just happened to adopt a wildly unpopular, disaster, of a desktop-UI ("Unity")... which just happens to ape (badly) Microsoft's newly-announced "Windows-8" tablet-interface paradigm.

    And also, on a personal note, why did Canonical decide to abandon "Evolution" as the default e-mail client in Ubuntu (switching to "Thunderbird")? My, personal experience is that "Evolution" (aside from not mimicking "Outlook"... which I don't mind at all)... has proven itself to be vastly superior (to "Thunderbird") for all my needs.

    1. admiraljkb

      Uhhh, Metro would be copied from Unity, not the other way around...

      Ummm, fair enough point, since MS has totally been pissing people off with their recent UI debacles over the last 5 years.

      HOWEVER, Unity started back in 2009, and outside of usability tweaks, is still the same basic interface. Of course it is still designed around a Netbook, which is why it doesn't scale to a desktop very well. Sooo what does this mean?

      Metro is badly aped from Unity, which begs the question of who's UI team infiltrated who on this one. Net result is the same though... Also having used both Metro and Unity on the desktop, Unity is by far the superior UI for usability on the desktop when compared to Metro, which isn't really usable at all in it's current revision for the desktop. With that said, Unity is inferior to KDE, XFCE, LXDE, Win7, and WinXP UI's on the desktop. :)

      1. Raife Edwards

        Thanks for the information... and thoughtful consideration.

        Actually, I am uncertain as to when, exactly, Microsoft decided to change their focus to the "Metro"-style interface for their dominant "desktop client" (Its been several years). What I was pointing out was that Ubuntu has really, apparently, blundered (almost beyond belief) on this one. I, personally, just found the timing of announcements, and releases, of this new (and almost universally despised, unwanted, and potentially-destructive) "tablet" interface "paradigm" (for the desktop) to be really strange. Microsoft intends to use "Metro" to cement "Cloud" based, client-computing, and a "uniform" (Microsoft) "ecosystem" across multiple devices... in many areas that Linux is a serious-player. So, this decision by "Ubuntu" (Ubuntu, basically, shooting itself in the foot... AND... seemingly, lending validation to Microsoft's design/market decisions regarding changing the most fundamental characteristics of the desktop-UI) just seemed a little too -convenient- (for nearly all of Microsoft's goals... ubiquitous market-dominance, un-assailable consumer lock-in, eviscerating competition, etc.).

        And, of course... we'll probably never know, who "aped" whom... but, I have been following Microsoft's latest, disingenuous, involvement in various "Open-Source" (and "Intellectual Property") endeavors closely, and the results (of Microsoft's involvement) are simply far too beneficial to Microsoft (and, effectively, very destructive the choice and competition that "open-source" represents). The long-term detrimental effects (to open-source, and consumers) of these Microsoft-actions, just keep surfacing. And, many (who are in the know) -do- seem to think that they [Microsoft] are very-clearly up to their standard... very well established... EMBRACE, EXTEND, EXTINGUISH... tactics, on numerous fronts.

        And, while I do understand that there are alternatives to Ubuntu (and Unity)... Ubuntu was considered by many (including Microsoft) to be the greatest long-term "threat" to MS-Windows dominance. However, now that the "standard" Ubuntu installation is going to be such an unwanted debacle (for most consumers, and Ubuntu users)... and, provide little... I can't help but wonder... again... who would most want Ubuntu so, utterly, devastated... by such incredibly-poor, and self-destructive, decisions..?

        1. Not That Andrew

          I think the REAL problem is the current crop of UI designers They and the prats who trained them need to be forced to use Unity on a Multi-monitor setup until they recant their heresy. Those who refuse to recant shall be burned alive in public as a warning to others of their ilk .

          1. lpopman

            titular thingy

            Now, now. There's no need to make light of a serious episode in our history.

            Unity is an abomination and should be treated as such.

    2. Robert Sneddon

      M$ Infiltrators

      I have this vision of a team of camouflage-wearing crack MCPs breaking into suffering Linux users homes in the dead of night, installing Win7 on their terminally-broken Ubuntu machines and then disappearing into the darkness leaving behind functional computers and a card reading "Windows, it just works" propped up on the keyboard.

  46. John Rose
    Thumb Down

    Why leave 10.04?

    I'm really at a loss to understand why people left 10.04. It was obvious that bringing in Unity was a huge change and therefore extremely risky for users. Please tell me what the non-esoteric advantages of Unity based Ubuntu is over 10.04.

  47. admiraljkb

    Too much focus on the default Ubuntu distro

    The current press reports on Unity are annoying me a bit. They fail to take into account that Unity is just one of many front end UI's for Ubuntu. Yes it may be Shuttleworth's favourite, but if you like Ubuntu, but hate Unity, you do realize there is Kubuntu (KDE), Xubuntu (XFCE), and Lubuntu (LXDE)? All of which are pretty nice in the 11.04 and 11.10 versions. This is one big difference between Linux and MS and Apple. If you don't like the user interface, you have the freedom to switch it without going to a different underlying OS. I switched to Kubuntu for everything but my wife's netbook. And on a netbook, Unity really excels.

    Package to install if you are currently on Ubuntu's Unity and hate it?

    1) kubuntu-desktop

    2) xubuntu-desktop

    3) lubuntu-desktop

    If doing fresh installs get ISO's from:




    If you have the space, install all three and see which one you like better. That's easier/faster than trying to install several distro's for further experimentations. (unless you're trying to switch distros as well, and then more power to you. That's why there are so many choices out there.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OK, will do!

      I'll just set aside my paid employment and spend a couple of weeks fscking around with a bramble-patch of different Linuxi until I find a usable one that works with ALL of my hardware without having to write my own drivers or invent my own UI from scratch. My boss won't mind!

      Reality: If I want Linux I use Mint Debian, but I still have to fsck around with video drivers, sound drivers, wifi drivers ad nauseum; at this point I go back to my Win 7 partition and get some work done.

      For fscks sake, OSX Snow Leopard works better on my PC and is less hassle to install than most Linuxi...

    2. GuildenNL

      The fervor defending an intuitive and productive interface for the default distro, is from those who wish to convert as many people as possible to Linux and by default, via Ubuntu.

      Given the nattering nabobs of nuttiness in the UK have ruined Ubuntu's reputation by forcing the abomination called Unity on new users, everyone is giving Canonical the middle finger send off as we move to distros not tainted by their feces infested fingers.

      Yes, all of us seasoned Linux fans know that there are other desktops and how to get them. Yet we're very dismayed that Canonical took their lead position and flushed it down the loo.

  48. Microphage

    Ocelot built at the expense of GNOME

    > Oneiric Ocelot, or Ubuntu 11.10 as it is known, has been delivered and refines the core of the Unity environment Canonical built at the expense of GNOME ..

    Then why not install GNOME and make it your default desktop?

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Somewhat disappointed of the linux crowd...

    I've always been a Windows user - and that means NOT a power user. For the longest time I used XP. I recently ugraded to Win7 ultimate... I like it a lot. I run it on my 2+ years old netbook and it runs well. Since I have PCs, I've always been attracted to Linux... yet it was always such a nightmare for my config a decade ago, with my ATA standalone adapter, the need to recompile the kernel to install an Nvidia driver, and playing with X and editing files for screen res and DE and all. I had tried RedHat, Mandrake, Slackware, Debian (ouch) and all back in the days. Plus I can never get used to command line stuff, I'll never really understand where my stuff is i.e. the directory structure and all lolll. A few years ago I tried Ubuntu. I was so thankful. It was clean, all my stuff was working on the first install... Ubuntu made it happen for me. I still can't use grep. But it's so easy to install software from synaptic, the menus update themselves automatically (it wasn't like that a decade ago), and you can try different DE... Now I thought linux users were so proficient.

    Then I come here and all you can hear is people whining about Unity. As if linux was Windows and you couldn't change the DE and all the decorations and make it exactly as you wish. I mean linux is just a kernel right? I'm pretty sure that even someone who knows which repo to use can install 11.10 and turn it into a Gnome 2.x box and all. I mean if Linux mint can do it. As if nobody had ever heard of sudo apt-get purge lollll. Even the psychocats link I posted will take a Ubuntu stock and turn it into Xubuntu in a manner of minutes and gone will be Unity. Even a windows user like myself can make it happen. Or I even thought of using the Alternate CD iso and modyfing it to build my distro from the ground up layer by layer just like when I installed Debian a decade ago but I had too much bad memories of XFree86 and finally I trust Ubuntu to deliver a nice "base" from which I can add my software and all. I even added Fortune to my terminal just like mint does lollll. Ok, no great feat there but that goes to show that even someone like me can start an editor in root mode and copy-paste a file and add something to bashrc.

    So ok I rant too. What I think is that linux "powerusers" of today are a bunch of lazy asses. They want their little desktop exactly as they wish supplied by the distro maker. Most likely they all use an Iphone or the latest Android and they forgot how to use synaptic or apt to make it happen. It goes to show that Ubuntu has succeeded in delivering Linux to the masses because those are not the powerusers of yonder that I was used to talking to on IRC, and at that rate I'm more of a poweruser than they are. They whine as much as Windows users.

    The truth is that Ubuntu and Canonical have done an "amazing" job. They've taken the best of Debian and made it easy to use and fun, they have taste, and a great community. It's going to take much more than Unity to undo this. I can't believe that when I install Ubuntu or Xubuntu that the only thing updated is Unity, and it seems to me that all the packages have higher version numbers and that 11.10 brings kernel 3.0 so I want that and I'll stick to XFce. But Ubuntu is still synonym of quality and accessibility and out of the box get go. Most likely the real hardcore crowd is using FreeBSD because Ubuntu was too easy to set up!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, you can down vote me all you want but you're a bunch of lame'o's!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you sound lost, you sure you're not an apple user ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nah, well I have 10.5 on one machine...

        OSX is what I like the best from Apple... I find it's really a great OS, thanks in no small part to the Regents of Berkeley. I use 10.5 on an old Emac 700mhz and it's great. Some time ago I had installed OSX 10.4 I think on my netbook... it worked. I just found it was heating a bit too much and the trackpad hack was less than stellar so I let go of that. Nah, I'm using Bodhi today, and I'll be matching it against Xubuntu for the months to come... Back in the days I really liked Enlightenment and WindowMaker but never got around to configuring them by editing text files... now I see Bodhi have done a real great job with E. I've never seen such a visually strong distro be so fast... it has to be seen to be believed really... like Gimp in less than 6 secs and such.

        Make no mistake, I'm not lost at all, friend, and I dare post with a real nick.

  50. eJ2095


    Thought i would take a lookat unbunto ran off memstick and crap they have basterdised it!

    I want menu back!!

    not too fussed though as it doesnt like my sis 671 chipset anyways......

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu 11.10 sucks donkey balls. On the office machine upgrading from a working 11.04 resulted in a frozen Unity desktop where nothing works, no keyboard, no mouse. And helpfully, fallback to failsafe graphics has been removed. How sweet. I'm supposed to keep hammering on this and checking forums for clues as to what to fix. Or screw you, Unity.

    On the home machine a working 11.04 install upgrade had a kernel panic about 3/4 the way through the install, bricking the machine. I guess I'm going to have to hammer on this one too, trying to sort out wtf I'm supposed to do with this now.

    Two different machines, one a Core i7 980X, the other a Quad core Intel 2.83GHz and Ubuntu crapped itself and screwed itself into a little useless ball on both of them.

    Congratulations Ubuntu. With quality work like this you should rule the market in no time.

    I usually recommend Ubuntu to people. Now I will only do that after ascertaining they are masochists looking for pain.

    1. JohnMurray


      I had the same problem....

      I did a cdrom install after the live install crapped itself.

      No problems with that.

  52. vordan

    New Vista

    Will Ocelot be Ubuntu's Vista?

    1. JohnMurray

      Since it is still a beta issue I doubt it.

      Looking forward to the ability to reduce unity to much smaller size, or maybe keep the cairo dock....dunno, i like them both but cairo is better at the moment.

      After the near tragedy installing it live I finally have it running ok, even the usual problem of the usb 3g modem looking like an add-on cdrom has been sorted out....I quite like it...although it is a power hog at the moment with battery life down by 10 minutes, and the cooling fan is on a lot longer now...

    2. James Hughes 1


      Ocelot works, which is a major difference!

      Downloaded (slowly) at weekend, upgrade worked fine, rebooted, New Unity an definite improvement, still rough edges, but looks fine and works. New kernel seems pretty nippy. All my hardware worked fine, including wireless.

      Vista on the other hand, still sucks the donkey. Win7 seems OK.

  53. JohnMurray


    Don't like Unity launcher ?

    Install Cairo Dock.

    Start compiz, un-tick unity launcher.

    I note however that ubuntu continues the great tradition of having to sort-out the mess that mobile broadband adaptors have.....finding where they stick the files so you can get them working again...and again....

  54. Chuunen Baka
    Thumb Down

    Battery Life

    I'm not upgrading my laptops unless they fix the greatly reduced battery life in 11.x.

  55. Kyoraki

    Huh. I don't know if 'Mother knows best' canonical have just messed up my compiz settings or something stupid, but I'm just not getting any of that 'Extra performance' stuff people are raving about. Hopefully just some teething problems with my hardware that'll be fixed in good time.

  56. Peter Mc Aulay

    Change for change's sake

    All Linux desktops used to look like they were cobbled together by hackers and engineers with little regard to user interface design. Ubuntu lately looks the same, only they put the marketing people in charge, again with little regard to user interface design. At least they're consistent.

    Canonical continue to fail to see the point of a desktop, which is to run applications, so you can get things done. Users don't really give a shit about kernel versions, Gnome variants or licencing holy wars. They just want a machine that works. Linux keeps approaching that point, only to go off on a different tangent - No! This is not how stable production software is produced. People need to know when to leave well alone.

    That said, I run Ubuntu with Unity on my 13" netbook and it works well (this is probably because the only apps I use are Firefox, LibreOffice and Terminal). On my other machines, which run different things for different tasks, I almost certainly would not.

    Luckily, if your Linux distro succumbs to feature rot, you can just pick another, and never look back :)

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freudian slip

    Am I the only one who keeps accidentaly-on-purpose calling it Onanic Ocelot?

  58. Fatty Eglon

    Progress in retrograde!!?

    To be frank 11.04 was a dogs breakfast. I anticipated 11.10 being something I could actually use without graphical glitches and general all round sluggish performance. Sadly 11.10 seems even more locked down when it comes to customisation. I can't even add new themes as there's no themes manager as such, just the poxy choice of a handful of themes. Of course I know I can put them in manually, but hey I'm lazy!! We still want some customisation Mr Suttleworth!! I feel they are just trying to appeal to the masses and heading in the direction of hand holding other OS's

    Then a program I used in wine failed to start. Saying that the 3.0 kernel seems to be breezy. I'm going to fiddle a bit more and see how things go. I may just go back to 10.10 on all my boxes and manually add the required ppa's. Compiz seemed so much smoother on 10.10, progress in retrograde!!

    1. JohnMurray


      a load of themes with cairo dock....which has now replaced the unity launcher [at least on the laptop]

  59. Whitefort

    Dumbed-down Linux for dumbed-down people.

    I admit it. I've been a total Ubuntu fanboy, and I've been using Ubuntu since Dapper Drake. Some of the versions sucked, but I stuck with them through thick and thin.

    But this dumbed-down, workflow-roadblock, style-over-substance POS called unity is really the deal-breaker. As a stopgap, I'm on Mint Linux, and I'll either be staying there or (more likely) moving to Arch.

    For me, a quote from another website sums it up nicely: "Unity makes my PC look like a Fisher-Price toy (and about as useful)"

    1. Gert Selkobi

      Same as Whitefort

      I've been a Ubuntu user and almost an evangelist for sever years now. However, 10.04 LTS is the last Ubunto I've kept. I still have it on the laptop, but my main desktop machine is now on Linux Mint. The Unity farce has put me right off and even 10.04 didn't run right on my Corei5, nVidia fx430 combo. I'm even willing to sacrifice the excellent apt and dip into Fedora 16 when it gets released next month.

      I'm not at all keen on the way Canonical is going and feel that they are undoing a lot of their great work in bringing Linux to the massess.

  60. Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty

    Great on eee-pc

    We all know that they're after the consumer market and not us bit-fiddlers.

    I left Ubuntu for debian after installing 11.04 but have stuck this release on the missus' eee-pc.

    Works great on that but just can't get on with it as my main beast.

    Interesting how apps are intended to be packaged in the same way as on the mac as I heard recently. Just off to brush up on the python ( oooer missus ) and work on the glade skills.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Our Star Apps"

    The screenshot says it all. Software centre is for the shopper, not for the computer user.

    Ubuntu has a future of crazy-toy interfaces and teen magazine image.

    I'm still there, using Classic Gnome 2 on 11.04, and still enjoying tweaking it --- but its days are numbered.

  62. Anonymous Coward


    Can't help but laugh at the big fuss and "linux users" who change distro to change the desktop environment instead of just doing the following to end up with a nice XFce without all the bells and whistles and then add your apps selectively, or just edit the commands to keep LibreOffice or whatever:

    sudo apt-get remove adium-theme-ubuntu apg appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt at-spi2-core bamfdaemon banshee banshee-extension-soundmenu banshee-extension-ubuntuonemusicstore baobab binfmt-support bluez-gstreamer branding-ubuntu brasero brasero-cdrkit brasero-common checkbox checkbox-gtk cli-common compiz compiz-core compiz-gnome compiz-plugins-default compiz-plugins-main-default compizconfig-backend-gconf deja-dup duplicity dvd+rw-tools empathy empathy-common eog evolution-data-server evolution-data-server-common example-content gbrainy gedit gedit-common geoclue geoclue-ubuntu-geoip ginn gir1.2-atspi-2.0 gir1.2-gnomebluetooth-1.0 gir1.2-gtksource-3.0 gir1.2-indicate-0.6 gir1.2-peas-1.0 gir1.2-totem-1.0 gir1.2-totem-plparser-1.0 gir1.2-wnck-3.0 gnome-bluetooth gnome-control-center gnome-control-center-data gnome-desktop3-data gnome-disk-utility gnome-font-viewer gnome-icon-theme-symbolic gnome-media gnome-nettool gnome-online-accounts gnome-orca gnome-power-manager gnome-screensaver gnome-screenshot gnome-search-tool gnome-session gnome-session-bin gnome-session-canberra gnome-session-common gnome-settings-daemon gnome-system-log gnome-system-monitor gnome-terminal gnome-terminal-data gnome-user-share gnome-utils-common growisofs gstreamer0.10-gconf gvfs-backends gwibber gwibber-service gwibber-service-facebook gwibber-service-identica gwibber-service-twitter hwdata ibus-gtk3 indicator-appmenu indicator-datetime indicator-power indicator-session intel-gpu-tools libappindicator0.1-cil libarchive1 libatk-adaptor libatspi2.0-0 libaudio2 libbamf0 libbamf3-0 libboost-serialization1.46.1 libbrasero-media3-1 libcamel-1.2-29 libcanberra-pulse libcdio-cdda0 libcdio-paranoia0 libcdio10 libcompizconfig0 libdbus-glib1.0-cil libdbus1.0-cil libdbusmenu-qt2 libdconf-dbus-1-0 libdconf-qt0 libdconf0 libdecoration0 libebackend-1.2-1 libebook1.2-12 libecal1.2-10 libedata-book-1.2-11 libedata-cal-1.2-13 libedataserver1.2-15 libedataserverui-3.0-1 libexempi3 libfolks-telepathy25 libfolks25 libgail-3-common libgail-common libgconf2.0-cil libgdata-common libgdata1.7-cil libgdata13 libgdiplus libgdu-gtk0 libgeoclue0 libgexiv2-0 libgif4 libgkeyfile1.0-cil libglew1.5 libglewmx1.5 libglib2.0-bin libglib2.0-cil libglib2.0-data libgmime-2.4-2 libgmime2.4-cil libgnome-control-center1 libgnome-desktop-3-2 libgnome-media-profiles-3.0-0 libgnome-menu2 libgnome2-common libgnomekbd-common libgnomekbd7 libgoa-1.0-0 libgpgme11 libgpod-common libgpod4 libgtk-sharp-beans-cil libgtk2.0-cil libgtkmm-3.0-1 libgtksourceview-3.0-0 libgtksourceview-3.0-common libgtkspell3-0 libgudev1.0-cil libgweather-3-0 libgweather-common libgwibber-gtk2 libgwibber2 libhyphen0 libidl0 liblaunchpad-integration1.0-cil liblircclient0 liblouis-data liblouis2 libmetacity-private0 libmhash2 libmission-control-plugins0 libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil libmono-addins0.2-cil libmono-cairo4.0-cil libmono-corlib4.0-cil libmono-csharp4.0-cil libmono-i18n-west4.0-cil libmono-i18n4.0-cil libmono-posix4.0-cil libmono-security4.0-cil libmono-sharpzip4.84-cil libmono-system-configuration4.0-cil libmono-system-core4.0-cil libmono-system-drawing4.0-cil libmono-system-security4.0-cil libmono-system-xml4.0-cil libmono-system4.0-cil libmono-zeroconf1.0-cil libmtp-common libmtp-runtime libmtp9 libmysqlclient16 libmythes-1.2-0 libneon27-gnutls libnotify0.4-cil libnux-1.0-0 libnux-1.0-common liboauth0 liborbit2 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 libpeas-1.0-0 libpeas-common libprotobuf7 libprotoc7 libpth20 libqt4-dbus libqt4-declarative libqt4-network libqt4-opengl libqt4-script libqt4-sql libqt4-sql-mysql libqt4-svg libqt4-xml libqt4-xmlpatterns libqtbamf1 libqtcore4 libqtdee2 libqtgconf1 libqtgui4 libquvi0 libraptor2-0 librasqal3 librdf0 libreoffice-base-core libreoffice-calc libreoffice-common libreoffice-core libreoffice-draw libreoffice-emailmerge libreoffice-gnome libreoffice-gtk libreoffice-help-en-us libreoffice-impress libreoffice-math libreoffice-style-human libreoffice-writer librest-0.7-0 librsync1 libsdl1.2debian libsdl1.2debian-pulseaudio libstlport4.6ldbl libsyncdaemon-1.0-1 libtaglib2.0-cil libtelepathy-farsight0 libtelepathy-logger2 libtextcat-data libtextcat0 libtotem-plparser17 libtotem0 libubuntuone-1.0-1 libubuntuone1.0-cil libunique-3.0-0 libunity-2d-private0 libunity-core-4.0-4 libunity-misc4 libwmf0.2-7-gtk libwnck-3-0 libwnck-3-common libyajl1 libzeitgeist-1.0-1 light-themes media-player-info metacity metacity-common mono-4.0-gac mono-gac mono-runtime mousetweaks mysql-common nautilus nautilus-sendto nautilus-sendto-empathy nautilus-share notify-osd notify-osd-icons nux-tools obexd-client overlay-scrollbar plymouth-theme-ubuntu-logo protobuf-compiler pulseaudio-module-bluetooth pulseaudio-module-gconf python-brlapi python-configglue python-dateutil python-egenix-mxdatetime python-egenix-mxtools python-farsight python-indicate python-libproxy python-louis python-papyon python-protobuf python-pyatspi2 python-pyinotify python-speechd python-support python-telepathy python-twisted-names python-ubuntuone-client python-ubuntuone-control-panel python-ubuntuone-storageprotocol python-uno python-wnck qdbus qt-at-spi seahorse shotwell sni-qt ssh-askpass-gnome telepathy-butterfly telepathy-gabble telepathy-haze telepathy-idle telepathy-indicator telepathy-logger telepathy-mission-control-5 telepathy-salut thunderbird-gnome-support tomboy totem totem-common totem-mozilla totem-plugins ubuntu-artwork ubuntu-desktop ubuntu-docs ubuntu-mono ubuntu-sounds ubuntu-system-service ubuntu-wallpapers ubuntuone-client ubuntuone-client-gnome ubuntuone-control-panel ubuntuone-control-panel-gtk ubuntuone-couch ubuntuone-installer unity unity-2d unity-2d-launcher unity-2d-panel unity-2d-places unity-2d-spread unity-asset-pool unity-common unity-lens-applications unity-lens-files unity-lens-music unity-scope-musicstores unity-services uno-libs3 ure vino whois wodim xdiagnose xfonts-mathml zeitgeist zeitgeist-datahub zeitgeist-extension-fts && sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

    Even worst are the Linux "review sites" who tell you to try a distro because of such or such desktop environment whereas everything they suggest is after all based on Ubuntu, like Mint.

    Judging by how hard it seems for people here to change from one DE to another, I can't help but wonder how in turn those same people build their rig. I'm not surprised that so many people have hardware issues...

    I guess Ubuntu still expects you to be able to use apt. Maybe it's time for all you wannabes to take a look at Linux for Dummies for a little reminder. I'm sure most of you secretly thrive on IOS and Android but just want to show off your cool linux desktop to friends. The problem is not with Ubuntu Unity's. They're right on target for most of you!

    1. Phil the Geek


      The OP's command will brick your system unless you have the necessary repositories enabled.

      The joy of Ubuntu was it worked superbly straight out of the box. Now you have to dick about endlessly to get to a productive desktop - which is an unproductive activity.

      And why do Unity's icons remind me of Microsoft Money circa 1995?

      I'll stick with my trusty Meerkat until it's no longer supported (please Canonical, change 10.10 to LTS). Maybe Ubuntu will have re-connected with reality by then, if not I'll select the strongest alternative - Mint, Squeeze or Arch I suppose.

  63. Christian Berger

    You don't use Ubuntu for unity

    You use Ubuntu since it's a Debian with more and newer packages, not because of the latest questionable bloat-gui thingy.

  64. spicysomtam

    Change desktop

    Can't you just do 'apt-get install kubuntu-desktop' ? On change to lubuntu, xubuntu, etc?

  65. kneedragon
    Thumb Down

    gnome classic-fallback.

    With 11.04, I took an instant dislike to Unity and changed back to classic at the first reboot.

    With 11.10 that wasn't possible. So for the first hour I tried to get used to it and live with it. I spent the next hour tearing my hair out and trying to fix and adjust even basic things. No go.Unity is HOPELESS!! Two minutes on google - read some solutions, installed gnome 3 added a classic-fallback desktop. That's still a slightly backward step, because some of the functionality that I liked on gnome 2.x is gone in 3, but at least it looks like and feels like my desktop.

    What a pain the ... I'm just about ready to go to a plain vanilla Debian / Gnome install. The advantages of using Ubuntu over some other distribution are pretty much gone.

  66. Outcast


    Try formatting a USB stick (don't use the cli). I just want to know if anyone else goes through the palaver I went through to do that simple task.

    It was right click icon and select format.. Bingo, Job done. (Not anymore)

    Oh and I discovered where the reboot option is....

    Select Logout, then click on the power button (top right of screen) then select Shutdown.. THEN you get a choice of reboot, Shutdown or Cancel !

    I am slowly beginning to fettle 11:10 to something I may be able to put up with but why go around the block just to cross the street ?

  67. df

    Huge and obvious tactical and strategic error

    Nothing wrong with Shuttlesworth getting the idea of some new interface which will be the cats pajama's.

    HUGE MISTAKE to alienate most/many of his most valuable asset- his previously happy users and advocates- by removing the interface they would need to get the system to do what they wanted without needless additional trouble. He is forcing his users onto a system which has more than its share of bugs, problems.

    All Shuttleworth had to do was make Ubuntu continue to run with a gnome shell as an option. If his new pet interface was so great, then users would change over to it on their own.

    I really curious how or if Ubuntu recovers from this. Let me offer a simple suggestion- See above.

  68. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Maybe you should disclose your methodology and any interest...

      It's quite easy to come here and talk about your pseudo-scientific "study" about productivity - and make an account just to do that. I think what your result show most likely is that your test group encompasses mostly idiots and people with extremely limited potential for adapting.

      Furthermore, someone looking for an hour to find LibreWriter as the icon sits just there on the left of the screen must be on drugs to say the least. Maybe your study confirms theories put forth in movies such as "Idiocracy" i.e. the dumbing down has nothing to do with Ubuntu, rather it has to do with humans in the Western world in general.

      In the business world, there is such a thing as "training", and you would never deploy a desktop to unsuspecting users like you did. They would at least get to see to get a feel. It takes a few minutes or let's say a day to be generous, for someone to get a feel of the interface, and someone losing 60% productivity after 3 weeks using such a simple interface deserves to get fired no more no less - adapting to changes is critical in the private sector. As for Mac users, their opinion is irrelevant to the real world.

      I think you should just disclose that you're a gnome... lover. I couldn't care less about Unity, but it's a young interface and it takes away nothing from the foundation of what Ubuntu is about. I don't think you're a seasoned linux user. Most likely another funky decoration-lover. When the retro-gnome 2.x craze dust settles down, and people will have no choice to move on to 3.x, I think we'll see that gnome is a pretty small and bland world after all!

      And please don't say they couldn't find how to reboot the rig. We've all heard that one before from other "seasoned" linux users.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think it's time for some real review/analysis of the Gnome desktop. People are so eager to attack Unity but they rely on their trust for Gnome 2.x. That might be something to hold on to for "niche" Debian users, but it's a world in evolution, and they don't talk much about Gnome 3. Yet the article on the latest Opensuse spells it out quite clearly: Gnome 3.x won't allow for strong differentiation between the distros... which doesn't mean that it's not a good environment.

    It's time for "seasoned" linux users to come back to their senses. If you want to discuss desktop environments and window managers, then let's do it. This has nothing to do with distros.

  70. axmukher

    Oneiric ocelot isn't for me ...

    Oneiric was a shock. I reformatted my disk and went back to Natty. Then, during one of the updates I found Natty Classic has also been revised and now I have to use Natty Classic with no effects. I think the overall direction in which this is going is to get rid of the Synaptic package manager and slowly convert all downloads to the Ubuntu Software Centre from where the downloads can be controlled, and then later introduce more and more paid downloads. Typical Microsoft business model.

  71. axmukher
    Thumb Down

    This is Microsoft induced development. Either it is being sabotaged or it is being converted to a Microsoft business model. I am going to get used to Fedora just in case this distro is hijacked by the M$ corporation. The removal of synaptic package manager and pushing into prominence the Ubuntu Software Center as if it is some shopping mall is ominous. Ubuntu should now break up into many new distros to confuse the giant peddler as to which is the real Ubuntu.

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