back to article Ubuntu 12.04 LTS: Like it or not, this Linux grows on you

Ubuntu 12.04, the fourth major Long Term Support (LTS) release for Ubuntu, is serious stuff. LTS editions of Ubuntu are delivered every two years and have extended support from Canonical. They also set the look of the coming years' releases. And this LTS, codenamed Precise Pangolin, has had its support extended from three to …


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  1. Tom Chiverton 1

    All well and good, but sadly they've broken hibernate support for everyone because a few people have issues for a short time: :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yep, that is one good candidate for the WTF moment of the decade, with a second close contestant the removal of ctrl-alt-backspace from X because some tard^wuser might hit it "by mistake". The worst of disabling hibernate is that they not only disabled it for ubuntu, but also for all the derivatives - making Kubuntu users think it was a bug in the interface and not just a idiot setting in an obscure configuration file.

      1. Miek

        Thankfully, Ctrl-Alt-Backspace is still enabled in Mint. Just think, $MS never had to disable their three-fingered-salute for fear of a user hitting it by mistake. Resisting the urge to make a windows crashing quip.

        1. Anonymous Coward 15

          If you want a *real* three-finger salute in Linux

          Try Alt+SysRq+B.

          1. Miek

            Re: If you want a *real* three-finger salute in Linux

            Nice try, I'm not pressing that at this moment in time, but worth knowing.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: If you want a *real* three-finger salute in Linux

              From the wiki: "Immediately reboot the system, without unmounting or syncing filesystems"

              Other commands:

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          There's two mouse clicks after the Windows 3 finger salute before you reach the point of no return which is plenty of opportunity for someone to realise they have made a mistake.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          To be fair

          To be fair, under later versions of Windows, the results of a ctrl-alt-del are not irreversable - just dismiss the dialog and carry on.

          The results of ctrl-alt-backspace on your desktop session are very irreversable.

          1. Christian Berger

            Re: To be fair

            Yes, Crtl+Alt+Delete doesn't mean "reboot" anymore, but instead, "go into a special 'secure' environment to not have any keyloggers". It's actually a shame they didn't use it for more things, like accessing the control panel. I guess the problem is that since setting on Windows are such a mess (every application needs to place it's own applet in the control panel) you could execute keyloggers in that environment.

            1. Miek

              Re: To be fair

              My original point was really about how likely it was that a user would accidentally perform a three-fingered-salute rather than the effect of that command.

    2. Anomalous Cowturd

      The real reason people don't like Unity is, you can't...

      Just say no!

      At install time, an option for Gnome 2/3, or Unity, or LXDE, KDE, XFCE, or your WM of choice.

      All on a DVD sized ISO Torrent.

      Not a lot to ask, is it?

      Go on. You know you want to....

      1. mhenriday

        Another alternative, which I have found useful,

        is to install the Cinnamon PPA (sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable) immediately after booting Precise, reboot, and choose Cinnamon from the inlogging alternatives. Lovely desktop environment for active users - and if one flips the panel to the top, it even looks like GNOME2 !...


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real reason people don't like Unity is, you can't...

        apt-get remove unity

        apt-get install gnome

        that's actually quicker than finding/clicking a checkbox on a screen you've not seen before.

        the real reason people don't like unity is it treats you like an executive, dumbs everything down and hides it where you can't "accidentally" use it when what most established users want is to get on with their work.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real reason people don't like Unity is, you can't...

        and by work I mean trolling el Reg's forums.

    3. Piloti

      @Tom Chiverton 1

      I maybe one of those "idiots" you refer to, to be honest.

      I have been using Ubuntu for about three years now, as a user, not a developer. Sometimes use the command line, but mostly not.

      The truth is, I have no clue what "hibernate support" actually is, so for me this is not an issue. I am not saying it is not an "issue", however, it may be only for "power users".

      I use Ubuntu / Linux for a few reasons : it is free of charge, it does everything I need it to do in an OS, and a lot more besides, it is rock solid stable, I have never had driver issues*, I feel /good/ about using open source [ok, so this is a little knobby I know.....] and, when the need takes me [and it has a few times] I can swap 'O/S' [I have used Fedora and Mandriva in the last few years but tend to come back to Ubuntu.].

      I think what Canonical /may/ trying to do is to take the "mystery" or "difficulty" out of "everyday computing" and this for me is no bad thing, becuase, if you don't like it, there are options to move to another distobution. This for me is a great thing becuase the world of Linux should and does cater for everybody.

      You may be right that "hibernate support" is a good thing and should not go and if that is the case, then you have options : move to another distro, don't migrate to 1204 LTS [it is not compulsory] or write your own. Personally, I am happy with Ubuntu right now, but if it did change to a point where I did not like it anymore, then I would either scrub my drive and re-install an earlier version and not take the upadte [except the package updates] or move to anotehr distro': this is the wonderful thing about Linux.

      * the only drive issues I have is with my camera, when connected directly. Ubuntu is not able to "see" the device. So, I just whip out the SD card and shove it directly in the card reader.


    4. elderlybloke

      Well Bugger Me

      If hibernate is gone then so am I.

      Tried Mint and it didn't have hibernate available so I buggered off from there too.

      Looks like I will have to keep using the Apple imac I got recently because of problem with Ubuntu machine. Ultimately turned out to be a Hardware issue but by then I had decided to get something that worked.( No email for 3 months-imagine that.)

  2. Greg J Preece

    "Ubuntu's menu of the future"?

    You mean that autocompleter they swiped straight out of KDE (right before they dropped support for KDE)?

  3. Miek
    Thumb Down

    "THIS LINUX GROWS ON YOU" -- Yeah, like an unwanted fungus!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes it really is quite terrible you can't purchase a computer without it and are forced to use it. Give us a choice damn it!


  4. batfastad

    The thing that puts me off is the heavy integration of programs/websites with the OS. Especially all the social networking guff. Give me a base shell then I will choose what to install/enable from there. So for the time being I'm with Fedora / LXDE / Gnome.

    1. Goat Jam

      Amen to that brother.

      I am currently forcing myself to use Unity and/or Gnome Shell now in an effort to ensure that my current opinion* of these user interfaces is justified.

      So far nothing has happened to change my opinion.

      Case in point. On the weekend I wanted to briefly play an MP3 to test some USB headphones.

      So, I clicked on one, rhythmbox opens up and it began playing. Great!

      Close rhythmbox.

      MP3 is still playing.

      Check the stupid unity bar and there is no rhythmbox on there so it doesn't appear to be running.

      Load rhythmbox again and poke around. Can't see any other way of closing it.

      Close it again.

      MP3 still playing.


      Eventually found my way to right clicking the speaker control.

      Sure enough, the only way to stop the MP3 player is to hit the pause button in there.

      What a monumentally stupid design decision.

      * One word review of Unity : Shitty

      One word review of Gnome Shell: Shittier

      1. Piloti

        @Goat Jam

        ... I have to say, I rather like that feature. I use Banshee, rather than Rhythmbox, and very rarly actually open Banshee, just use the speaker control to stop/ start / pause and fiddle with the volume.

        The other option you have is to actually stop / pause the track from playing before you close Rhythmbox. Always found this safer, as there is less channce of corrupting the file you are playing as well......

        1. Irongut

          Re: @Goat Jam

          If your mp3 player can corrupt the file it's playing then you really need a new mp3 player.

          Or more likely problem is between keyboard and screen.

          1. Goat Jam

            Re: @Goat Jam

            "If your mp3 player can corrupt the file it's playing then you really need a new mp3 player"


            Who said anything about corrupting an MP3 file?

            Were you dropped on your head as a child?

        2. Goat Jam

          Re: @Goat Jam

          "I have to say, I rather like that feature"

          That's nice.

          On the other hand I think abstracting stuff to this degree (and it is endemic in the two UI's under discussion) is ridiculous and causes unnecessary time wastage. If I am playing an MP3 in application A then I am entitled to expect that when I close application A that the function it was performing will cease.

          To expect otherwise is simply insane.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Shame, really

    It's a shame they didn't continue with the HUD in any meaningful way. I mean, typing 'uns' to get to 'unsharpen' is great and all, but how about 'uns' tab '25' enter to get it to unsharpen by 25 percent?

    Also, a global command key entered by pressing the windows key would allow for something like:

    open vmware ip_address issue command 1 redirect output to ip_address send results to

    That, coupled with a nice GUI and a try-before result would be a very useful addition.

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: Shame, really

      Oh look you've just re-invented the text terminal. And pipes.

      1. Audrey S. Thackeray

        Re: Shame, really

        At least you didn't say Powershell.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I agree

        It's a compromise. Power users know all the commands anyway and basic users would use a mouse-this lets novices hunt for the commands they want in a text-based way. I really like it, but they could have made so much more of it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I agree

          As soon as I 12.04 was released, I installed it. I went to the software center and put on gnome shell. I use gnome classic on my main account and unity on another account. I like both. The trouble with many people is that the desk top is not all that important. I don't have a desktop on Ubuntu server,

          In the early days of Linux, xserver was only an option. to all of you guys who object to whatever Ubuntu does, get rid of Ubuntu and get Windows 8. I feel that you will be much happier.

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Shame, really

      I wish I could upvote this a million.

      I tried to put the same comment on Shuttleworth's blog page when the HUD article was posted but it was falling over.

    3. John 62

      Re: Shame, really

      reminds me of the X Files episodes where Mulder would look over the shoulder of an FBI image analysis bod who would clack away at the keyboard, without using a mouse, while Mulder told him where to enhance.

  6. Doug Glass

    Grows on you?

    So does a toenail fungus, ringworm and Scabies. Ok, Scabies grows IN you.

    1. Miek

      Re: Grows on you?

      Looks like I'm collecting the down-votes for you further up the thread !

  7. handle

    Hope they've fixed some of the Unity bugs...

    ...such as:

    - leaving scrollbar handles stranded on the screen

    - random X-lockups (could be X I guess)

    - "system menu" icon (top right) being invisible, instead relying on you to select the next menu then move right

    - gedit having to be started twice for it to do anything

    - impossibility of using focus-follows-mouse

    1. Luke McCarthy

      Re: Hope they've fixed some of the Unity bugs...

      Nah, it's Unity causing the lock-ups. The software I'm developing causes unity to lock up all the time, but I've no idea why.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you know...

    its curious, that both This and Win 8 are getting slatted by some for their UI changes, i wonder what history will tell us of these events further down the line.

    Change has to happen, otherwise progress will not happen, the debate is what is progress.

    In my mind all progress or change is ultimately good, the concept of moving from horse to car must have seemed alien back in the day and back then it was the most uncomfortable, time consuming awkward way of travel there was, however it was new, and now when we look back at them we see it as the beginning of something great.

    Coming back to the UI, these are different, they arent popular in some circles, but they do get the mind thinking, they do push creativity, sooner or later a new UI will be the norm and this will be the begining of that change, you could jump up and down about this an win 8 being crap or you could get envolved and be apart of the solution rather than be apart of the problem, and in my mind the problem is no change at all, stagnation is always bad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you know...

      Frankly I think these UI changes were made just so some developer could pad his resume. I doubt any user asked for this.

      However, if you data from surveys showing that the world was clamoring for the HUD I'll stand corrected.

      1. Miek

        Re: you know...

        I gave you a thumbs up, but, I think the original work stemmed from the netbook remix version of Ubuntu, which was brilliant for small screens. Then some idiot thought it would be a great idea to replace a perfectly working desktop that had been evolving smoothly over a period of several years with a desktop environment suited to small screen. Cue histeria.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge

          Re: you know...


          "Then some idiot thought it would be a great idea to replace a perfectly working desktop that had been evolving smoothly over a period of several years with a desktop environment suited to small screen. "

          Yup, the Gnome Shell people have some pretty strange documentation as to their reasons for the changes as well, really quite patronising. I wonder if they have ever met your local end-user screen jockey, you know, the ones who hack up huge spreadsheets and have all the keyboard shortcuts memorised.

          Unity was Shuttleworth's response to taking a look at the early Gnome Shell GUI remember.

          Strange how GS has begun to look a little more like.... unity

        2. Two Posts

          Re: you know...

          The even sadder part about it is, as a netbook user, I still can't get on with the Unity interface, three revisions in and it is nowhere near as easy to use as the Remix spin.

          Oh well one more year of 10.04 support before I have to decide what to do.

          Probably take a tablet and see how things look the following morning.

        3. Goat Jam

          Re: you know...

          "I think the original work stemmed from the netbook remix version of Ubuntu, which was brilliant for small screens. Then some idiot thought it would be a great idea to replace a perfectly working desktop"

          I think you'll find that when Shuttleworth saw the pending train wreck that is Gnome 3 Shell coming he panicked and decided to promote Unity so that he could maintain some control over the UI.

          The fact that Unity is completely ill suited to a full sized multi-monitor environment was glossed over because "the desktop is dead man, all the cool kids are going mobile!" (in their opinion)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Balls. I'm all for new ideas, but not if they come paired with "Hey, we've thrown the stuff you're used to away" - nobody seems to be bothered with fallback.

      If you REALLY deal with end users you notice that they tend to be conservative - for them it just has to work, and once they have learned the magical combination of buttons and commands that convinces the computer to do what they want and deliver the expected result they're happy. They are really not waiting for either a coder (Ubuntu) or marketing oink (Windows) to throw all that effort away, forcing them to learn something new again.

      UIs have to pass two major tests: they must be so simple that a 6 year old can grasp how it works, and have sufficient fallback that a pensioner can slowly migrate from one to the other. f you get both those right it's suitable for business, otherwise it's just a productivity hit until everyone gets up to speed yet again.

      You don't need "fancy" in business, you need stuff that works, is stable and doesn't waste resources on crap that has nothing to do with the work at hand. And once you have it, it would be nice to retain it, not change it every time the weather changes. Some people don't need computers for play - they have a job to do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Glitz matters

        "You don't need "fancy" in business, you need stuff that works, is stable and doesn't waste resources on crap that has nothing to do with the work at hand."

        I agree with this but only part way. Canonical clearly felt they needed something that matched the gloss of Win Vista/7 with their 3D elements, translucency etc so they could sell it as a well-designed, finished product. And they've done this well: if you go to their website the first thing they show you is how the GUI works and what it does. Linux Mint and RHEL's websites talk about performance, security and how to buy/download, Ubuntu doesn't take any knowledge of Linux for granted.

        (though I actually like Unity...)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Glitz matters

          What you and others seem to have missed is exactly what the UI is for.

          It's not to be in your face showing off a dev's wonderful talents, that was or maybe still is for something like the demos that used to appear for the Amiga or Atari ST.

          The UI is the place where you can launch the programs you want to get stuff done. Ideally it should be invisible and most definitely not keep tripping you up as you try to use the computer for it's real purpose. If the UI was the be-all-and-end-all why bother with applications at all?

      2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


        "Balls. I'm all for new ideas, but not if they come paired with "Hey, we've thrown the stuff you're used to away" - nobody seems to be bothered with fallback."

        Yep this is what i ***HATED*** in Ubuntu 11.10 (I'm still running 11.04 and am GLAD I ran 11.10 in a VM first.) Running 12.04 (in a VM), they have fixed this.

        This is far from ideal but:

        install gnome-session-fallback (sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback in a terminal..) The package manager in Ubuntu 12.04 gives you no way to force it to reload package list, or to indiicate when it's completed, so if you use it, it'll fail to find gnome-session-fallback at first but eventually it randomly will.

        Then logout, and log in to "Gnome Classic" (if you want the compiz-style drop shadows and etc.) or "Gnome Classic (No Effects)" if you don't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you know...

      i never said it was any good, althought i will say that for metro, but my point is, it doesnt matter if its any good or not, the mere fact that they are willing to try and develop the UI is progress and will ultimately end up good for us all, whether its bad or not isnt the point, what is learned from this UI and any other development will help the future.

      If you think that Current the current gen UI is the pinnacle of all UIs then you are deluded

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: you know...

        So change is bad folks, the whole concept of trial and error is just plain wrong, because Linux (apart from this bit of it) is the pinnacle of perfection, I presume that if I were to roll the clock forward 10 years you'd all still be using the same UI because heavens forbid that something (for better or worse) should challenge that view.

        That's complete and utter nonsense, their trying something new, you don't like it? fine but they are trying something new and the more folk do that the more likely we all end up with something better in the end.

        Its actually quite amusing, id just assumed that it was Anti-anythingToDoWithMicrosoft folk who put on blinkers but apparently not, Linux has its own group Anti followers too, course perhaps they are the same folk.

        you Do realise that Ultimately this could be good for Linux? not necessarily what it is now, but ideas and revisions inspired or improved upon from this could well be the better future, totally binning this isn't going to help anyone, and good for them for trying it out in the first place, least they have some balls (all be it perhaps misguided) to try and make a difference and improve things.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: you know...

      "sooner or later a new UI will be the norm and this will be the begining of that change"

      So you're suggesting that if we come back in 20 years time, HUD might have been replaced by something that isn't an abomination? Hmm, interesting theory. I should still be around then. I'll bear it in mind.

      Meantime, I'll let some other sucker do the alpha testing for these HCI paradigm shifts.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you know...

      If you really don't like Unity, just go to the software center and install gnome shell. It will give you a few choices. Which is more than I can say for Windows 8, IBTW, I am posting from a 12.04 machine and love it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: you know...

        I did install the Gnome shell. Still didn't like it so trashed the whole thing.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I might give it another chance but after the 11.04 debacle I jumped ship to Linux Mint. Mint is just like Ubuntu 10.x used be, extremely stable and perfect as my main desktop machine at work for DB and systems admin tasks.

  10. loopy lou

    High praise indeed!

    "As someone who started off disliking Unity I'll admit I've come around. Somewhat."

    I can't say I have, and I've really tried. It still causes more expletives even than Vista did. If they are going to foist this on LTS users, I'd expect it to be getting a more enthusistic reception than that.

    But what really bothers me is the lack of attention to the classic mode in Gnome3. This should be a workable alternative to unity, but there are too many rough issues with the default version - scrollbars overlapping resize contrils, window borders where you have to be within one pixel to operate them. Silly stuff that should never have got out of the door like that.

  11. squilookle
    Thumb Up

    I have come around to Unity. I can see there is a plan and they are working toward it with each release.

    I have been using this since Beta1 and I think it is a great release. It has been painless, even in Beta and is generally very pleasant to use,

    1. Tom Wood

      Maybe there is a plan and they are "working towards it each release".

      Back in the real world, some of us want an OS we can use day in, day out without too many problems. Ubuntu pre-Unity was great. Since Unity it's been much less great. Maybe they do have a grand plan and it'll be wonderful eventually but why should we endure so much pain in the meantime? Using an OS shouldn't feel like you're driving through miles of 40mph contraflows on a motorway while they do maintenance work.

      1. squilookle

        If you upgrade your free OS every 6 months you're going to hit the maintenance work... Without the maintenance work, the software is never going to progress and is going to get left behind.

        10.04 is still great and supported for another year. KDE, XFCE and others are available. Debian Stable is also suitable if you don't want your OS to change.

        If the changes in Ubuntu cause you that much pain back in the real world, you're on the wrong upgrade strategy/DE/distribution. You have plenty of choice.

      2. keithpeter Silver badge

        @Tom Wood

        "Back in the real world, some of us want an OS we can use day in, day out without too many problems."

        Gnome 2 is dead (alas) so the choice running on top of Ubuntu 12.04 base is Unity/Gnome-Shell OR something like Xubuntu/xfce OR one of the *boxes (fluxbox, openbox, blackbox) OR something wacky like Xmonad.

        The other choice is to change distribution and stick with Gnome 2: CentOS/Scientific Linux/PUIAS have long term support on their 6.x releases.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Gnome2 isn't dead, there's a fork called MATE.

          Regardless, Linux != any particular window manager. Any WM can be put on any distro. For starters, see here.

          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: @Tom

            Odd, I use Unity every day, dev work, browsing, email, video, photos. No problems at all. So, for me, it DOES do everything I need and does it well.

  12. llewton

    yes, yes, that's all very well

    .. but i tried playing an mp3 file. it wouldn't play, something called "codecs" was missing.

    *and* it wouldn't tell me what to do to make it play.

    i don't care about freedom, software freedom, and i'm not computer or otherwise savvy. i just want things to work and not cost anything, so they told me ubuntu's for me.

    but how do i make my mp3 files play?

    it was lady gaga, btw. my favorite musician.

    1. Miek

      Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

      install ubuntu-restricted-extras . There, fixed that for you.

      BTW, I suspect a troll.

      1. DryBones

        Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

        Well, outside of a troll and the surprising possibility of someone that hasn't used computers for long enough to start learning the general rules that UI designers follow to start finding the answers, trying Linux for the first time comes to mind.

        Which reminds me, I need to find and update my Linux test-drive so I can kick the tires more. Tyres? Anyway.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Miek

          Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

          It was the Lady Gaga reference that got my troll senses tingling

          1. llewton

            Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

            "It was the Lady Gaga reference that got my troll senses tingling"

            pity. i meant to tingle your sense of humor senses. seeing how canonical recently bragged about that pop culture abomination "running ubuntu", like it's something to be proud of.

            sorry for the confusion. i was just role playing as "new user", not trolling.

            1. andreas koch

              @ llewton:

              ...and you have made a very valid point with that, I think!

        3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @DryBones Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

          The problem with mp3, the DVD formats and many, many other restricted formats is that they are, well, restricted.

          The very nature of Free Software, whether you are talking about free-as-the-air or free beer, is that it is either free of restrictions or free of charge. This means that the distro suppliers won't (in the case of as-the-air) or can't (as in beer because they can't afford it) put the support for restricted formats by default.

          Blame the people who foist the restricted formats onto us all for this problem, not the distro suppliers.

          Of course, earlier releases of Ubuntu often would tell you exactly what you had to do so that you could make the personal decision to break the licensing conditions or patents on the codecs that the distro supplier cannot make without opening themselves up to being dragged through the courts.

          It was not that long ago that Canonical were being slated by the '-as-the-air' community for paying for licences for H.264 just so they could include it for people like you.

          I know that this does not help you, but that is the nature of the world we live in. Would you pay for a version of Ubuntu or any other distro (so that the supplier could pay the license fees) that included all the codecs you need?

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: @DryBones yes, yes, that's all very well

            Huh. DryBones deleted their post! Oh well, just as relevant to the OP of the "yes, yes, that's all very well" thread.

            1. Miek

              Re: @DryBones yes, yes, that's all very well

              No I deleted my post as I wanted to replace 'trolley' with 'troll'.

          2. Dr_Barnowl

            Re: @DryBones yes, yes, that's all very well

            Canonical used to sell codec packs in their online shop for those people that felt they needed indemnity, but they no longer seem to stock them. I guess a lawyer may have felt that they represented some kind of admission of guilt for distributing codecs freely as well.

            The Free set of ubuntu-restricted-extras is now the top item if you search in the software centre for "codec", and a bit further down if you search for "mp3". I couldn't find a for-pay codec pack in the software centre.

      2. llewton

        Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

        not a troll. simply "a new user scenario".

        and, no, mate, you can't fix that for me like that. when i tried playing that file yesterday you weren't there with your helpful advice. and the system just gave me the error dialogue, no hint about installing any "extras", or how to install them. now, if i were, for example, a long-time debian user, i would've known exactly what to do. but ubuntu is no longer for linux users - it's for the 200 million new users who don't care about linux, who don't know what linux is, who don't like to tinker with their computers, who don't know they should google for answers every time, and who just want things to work, right? or wrong?

        which really begs the question: who is ubuntu for nowadays? it's too restricted for linux users, it doesn't work ootb for the masses. it's become a disoriented, dysfunctional project, imo.

        1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

          Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

          @llewton, re... some files not playing "out of the box". Sorry, but have you tried this in Windows? It'll fail to play almost any video, then offer to find and download codecs (nice), then say there's no codec available (not nice.) Then you have to start googling for a solution (just like you would with Ubuntu.) Any OS I've ever used is imperfect at best out of the box, that's just how it is with computers being a general-purpose device and all.

    2. Phil W

      Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

      Not sure if troll...or incompetent user....

      If installed correctly this would never be a problem, there's a rather easy tick box during the installation that says do you want to install these third party codecs for playing music. Tick it during install and hey presto you can play all your music and videos.

      1. llewton

        Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

        @Phil W

        fair point about install-time solution to codec problems. however, as a new user, installing ubuntu right away was the last thing on my timid mind. i just ran it off a usb, to test it and see if it's for me. and i couldn't play my music. heck, i went to hell and back figuring out how to find and launch a music player.

        1. eulampios

          mplayer comes with most the codecs

          Does Windows XP/7/8 or even 9 play all videos, audio files out of the box.

          I see that all the time with my friends' PCs: it can't play many mpeg4 formats, flac, (not sure about ogg). It wont play damaged or partial files either. It won't tell you what the problems, while totem used to point to codecs download. mplayer can play everything out of the box.

          You can also make Linux live usb to be with persistent filesystem, which means you can actually update software on the stick and you can install the codecs. I doubt it would be the case with the invented yet again win8 on a usb flash

    3. keithpeter Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

      Same as any legally distributed Linux OS.

      Its because of patents/licencing of the mp3 format and other 'proprietary' formats in the US.

      Some of the 'hobbyist' distros just ignore that but Canonical is big enough to get sued.

    4. Goat Jam

      Re: yes, yes, that's all very well

      "but i tried playing an mp3 file. it wouldn't play"

      "it was lady gaga, btw. my favorite musician."

      sudo apt-get remove crap-music-filter


      sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

      That should fix it for you.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, thanks

    Buck ugly and naff. I'm happy with Windowmaker and Gentoo although I use Ubuntu in work (with the old interface).

    This is a bit like Microsoft's ribbon - it may or may not be better but whatever it is it's a marginal issue compared with the pointlessness of learning a new system. Change needs to be justified, not just a whim of a bunch of idiots.

    1. Miek

      Re: No, thanks

      My comparison would be the Windows 8 Metro fandangle rather than the ribbon interface, it has rather divided the Win Community, steam and froth spewing forth.

  14. bailey86

    After really trying with Unity and Gnome 3...

    ...I'm going to be installing Xubuntu and using the XFCE desktop.

    Someone else's comment about the OS getting too closely integrated with the applications rings very true.

    1. Aldous

      Re: After really trying with Unity and Gnome 3...

      xubuntu is lovely i use it on all my non gaming Pc's and can be tweaked to play nice with laptops (actually get a longer battery life on an x60 with xubuntu then winxp).

      come on gabe give me native steam (most of my steam collection is old/low graphics games any how like hearts of iron) and i will make the full jump

    2. Fibbles
      Thumb Up

      Re: After really trying with Unity and Gnome 3...

      I've been running xubuntu on my main desktop since unity first reared it's ugly head. I've also got it running on a couple of old athlon xp and athlon 64 machines, it runs faster than xp ever did on that hardware.

      1. andreas koch

        Re: After really trying with Unity and Gnome 3...

        I'd almost agree that xfce is the bee's knees. After you replace the abysmal (in my opinion) Thunar* with something useable.

        *come on, a filemanager that can't search for a file itself?

    3. bailey86
      Thumb Up

      Re: After really trying with Unity and Gnome 3...

      Blimey - what a relief.

      I've just installed 64 bit Xubuntu 12.04 on to an HP Elitebook and it looks and feels brilliant!

      Clean, nice design, proper bar at the top, nice pop-up launcher at the bottom.

      And FAST! Click open, click switch, click close.

      So - thanks to the XFCE guys us Gnome 2 users have somewhere to go.

      More importantly, we're looking to fix up PC's for Joe Average users as part of a charity drive - and they will be able to use Xubuntu. If we were to give them Unity I think it would have caused confusion.

      Thanks again to the XFCE guys.

      And did I mention that it is FAST!

  15. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I'll give it a go

    I will put this on a partition of my laptop, and boot into it occasionally to see how it is doing. If I can cope with Unity (although from current experience, I won't), I will switch over.

    But the problems I had with Lucid stopped me from switching permanently from Hardy until they pulled support from the desktop release of Hardy. Even now, there are significant things that don't work on Lucid, despite defects being open in the Ubuntu fault tracking system.

    I have Unity as the presentation layer on a netbook running 10.10, and also on a desktop running 11.10. Later releases may work better than earlier ones, but that does not alter the fact that I believe that it is less suited than Gnome 2 for people who work with multiple overlapping windows on several desktops. I can see it working well for the Mac OSX generation (single application occupying the whole screen most of the time), but that's not me. That way of working is just alien to the way I have worked since twm on X.10 or SunView. I want drop down menus attached to the window I am working on, not up at the top of the screen.

    As for HUD, I've not played with it. It may be helpful, but it sounds to me like it will tie applications into the Window Manager in ways that will be detrimental to application portability, which can never be a good thing.

    1. Dr_Barnowl

      Re: I'll give it a go

      It shouldn't affect application portability - there's just some hooks into the standard menu toolkit libraries that allow them to sit at the top of the screen instead of the window, and allows the HUD to access the menu.

      Alas, the converse isn't true - not every application works properly with the HUD and global menu, as noted in the article (although for LibreOffice, just install the lo-menubar package), but that can improve without forcing people to patch their applications.

    2. Criminny Rickets

      Re: I'll give it a go

      "but that does not alter the fact that I believe that it is less suited than Gnome 2 for people who work with multiple overlapping windows on several desktops. I can see it working well for the Mac OSX generation (single application occupying the whole screen most of the time), but that's not me."

      Replace Gnome 2 with Windows 7, and this sounds just like what I have been reading in the Windows 8 threads.

  16. The Original Ash

    What else is Ubuntu for...

    ... except notifying the public that there is a new Mint release on the way?

    Mint + MATE > Ubuntu + Unity.

  17. Krydahl

    Dual Monitor Support

    has always been lousy in gnome compared to xfce and kde. Don't suppose they've given that any attention this time round have they? If not I'll stick on xfce.

  18. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Less useful than it appears

    > support extended from three to five years by Canonical.

    The "support" only covers the O/S - not the applications. So while you can get bug fixes and security patches (and maybe some O/S enhancements, too), your applications will remain frozen in time.

    During the three or five years that this release will be supported, almost every piece of accompanying application software will get updated (or die off). However, there's no guarantee, or even hint that it will be possible to install those upgraded apps onto 12.04 due to library incompatibilities, pre-requisites or the like. To get all that stuff to work, you'll still need to move to a newer Ubuntu - one that does supply the when all that's downloadable for Ubuntu 12.04 is v3.98, even though there's ostensibly still support for the release. Operating systems are only useful if they can run apps. When the apps move ahead of an O/S, it becomes obsolete, no matter how much or little support it's provider gives it.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Less useful than it appears

      @Pete 2

      "The "support" only covers the O/S - not the applications. So while you can get bug fixes and security patches (and maybe some O/S enhancements, too), your applications will remain frozen in time."

      Good point this and one that needs explaining, but remember the 'point releases'? 10.04.4 had updated apps from 10.04.0 and I suppose the same will happen for 12.04.

      I think Firefox is on the 'stable release channel' so it auto-upgrades.

  19. RoboJ1M

    Haters gonna hate

  20. Dr_Barnowl

    LibreOffice HUD support

    FYI, there's an extension for LibreOffice that integrates it with the global menu, and thus into the HUD.

    sudo apt-get install lo-menubar

    It's not marked as "supported by the distribution".. heaven knows why, you'd think the combination of their flagship new feature and the default applications they shortcut in the launcher would be a total no-brainer.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: LibreOffice HUD support

      lo-menubar is a bit buggy, which is why it was not included in the default install - the gory details are on launchpad as a series of bug reports.

      I use it on the netbook along with HUD - bloody marvelous and I hope they get lo-menu fixed properly for 12.04.1 in June

  21. keithpeter Silver badge

    That upgrade over the weekend...

    Imagine you are an end user in a large organisation that runs Ubuntu LTS on their staff PCs. You vaguely remember hearing about an upgrade, but the Friday night session in the pub has rendered the details fuzzy. You come back to work on Monday morning and your desktop has been upgraded from 10.04 to 12.04.

    Print at A2 or A1 and stick it on the dishwasher in the kitchin area....

    1. Miek

      Re: That upgrade over the weekend...

      "You come back to work on Monday morning and your desktop has been upgraded from 10.04 to 12.04"


  22. IGnatius T Foobar

    bye bye ubuntu

    I speak for the entire Linux community when I say Ubuntu is a piece of garbage that nobody wants. Anyone who disagrees with this sentiment is being paid by Canonical.

    We want our computers to work like computers, not like overgrown smartphones. End of discussion.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: Anyone who disagrees with this ...

      is apparently incapable of making a few simple configuration changes that make new Ubuntu behave pretty much like old Ubuntu.

      1. Criminny Rickets

        Re: Anyone who disagrees with this ...

        As a newbie to Linux, you're right. I don't know Linux well enough to make those few "simple configuration changes" as you put it. After installing 12.04 and not liking Unity, I knew enough to go into the package manager and install Gnome Shell. Even with that, I couldn't figure out how to configure it so that my application menu was in the lower left, and yes I did look.

        I come from a Windows background so am used to the Start, Applications, what have you, in the lower left. Yes, I can get used to it being in the upper left, but I would prefer not to. There is also the fact that others use my computer, and I want to try and keep it as close to the same as they are used to as possible. I can't seem to do that with Ubuntu.

        I did look at Xubuntu, but it felt too much like using a Mac, with the applications in a bar at the bottom of the screen.

        1. DvorakUser

          Re: Anyone who disagrees with this ...

          Instead of trying Xubuntu for a Windows-like experience, I would recommend Kubuntu. The UI is surprisingly similar to Vista/7, and should make the transition a bit easier from Windows.

          That's not to say that this is the 'perfect' solution, but I suspect you'll be far more at home wiht KDE 4.x, coming straight from Windows, than you will with Unity, Gnome Shell, XFCE, or many of the other available UIs.

          Aside from Kubuntu, however, you may find Lubuntu to be to your liking as well, though the UI harks back to Win9x.

          1. Criminny Rickets

            Re: Anyone who disagrees with this ...

            Thanks DvorakUser, I will give it a go.

    2. James Hughes 1

      Re: bye bye ubuntu


      No, you don't speak for the whole Linux community, especially me. And no, I'm not paid by Canonical. So basically your whole post is complete bollocks.

  23. DrXym

    Still suffers the same problems

    12.04 is far more polished than previous editions but it's still stuck with the same deficiencies which made me hate the last couple of issues.

    Biggest issue is that it seems designed for a netbook sized screens and some of this behaviour makes little sense on a large display. For example:

    1. Global menus are annoying in a large screen. The amount of mouse travel required to use them becomes a chore especially since I'm less likely to have maximized windows in a larger screen. I may even have two browser windows open tiled side by side and it is not immediately obvious which window the menu applies to without inspecting the subtle window active hints. At the very least it should be a simple user configurable option. Maybe netbooks benefit from the additional vertical space, larger devices don't.

    2. Popup scrollbars with elevator style functionality are equally annoying, popping up inadvertently when they're not required and making it less convenient to scroll when you do require them. Again it should be a user configurable option.

    3. Unity's launcher is stuck to the left of the screen with extremely limited control on how it renders itself. It needs the options to dock it to the left, bottom or right and to scale the icons. If you don't auto hide this bar it also makes maximized windows look weird since the global bar is left justified but the app is to the right of the bar.

    4. The UI as a whole is still very space wasteful. The UI seems determined to scale itself up rather than showing more information that a larger screen would allow. . So I look for apps and it shows me 6 poxy icons and says "80 more results". Why can't it show me those 80 results, in scrolling panel for example? Or at least show me 16, or 24 results. This is terrible behaviour. I have a large screen for a reason and it's not so the UI can show me the same number of icons only bigger.

    Aside from all this the Unity UI is infested with recommendations to install apps from the Ubuntu software centre. In the previous example where it says 80 more results, nearly half the of the screen of the screen is wasted recommending I install "Help Hannah's Horse" and other crap from the store. FFS, if I wanted to install "Help Hannah's Horse" I would run the software centre. All that space that could have been showing me stuff I have on my PC is wasted showing me stuff I don't. These recommendations should be removed or moved off into its own tab where I can safely ignore it.

    It is a very polished experience but it's a deeply flawed one. I realise Ubuntu have aspirations for small devices but they cannot ignore the fact that many people have big devices. If they do then they'll start to leave for dists which take better care of them.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Still suffers the same problems


      "I realise Ubuntu have aspirations for small devices but they cannot ignore the fact that many people have big devices. If they do then they'll start to leave for dists which take better care of them."

      Which distributions have you in mind?

      Debian: wheezy has GS.

      Fedora/OpenSuse: Gnome shell, so similar territory with even less GUI based customisation

      RHEL/CentOS/SciLinux/PUIAS: Version 6.x has support for legacy Gnome but this is a dead end. RHEL 7 will I assume use Gnome Shell, Red Hat fund many Gnome project staff

      Mint: They are supporting a lot (MATE/Cinnamon) and they depend on Debian/Ubuntu for package repositories hence GS eventually.

      1. mangobrain

        Re: Still suffers the same problems

        GNOME Shell != Unity.

        No wonky scrollbars, global menus, dashboard, HUD or related software recommendations here, matey. (Yes, I am aware that the GNOME folks have their own global menu-esque intentions, and am hoping it doesn't cock up something which is otherwise reasonably sensible and usable.)

        1. keithpeter Silver badge

          @mangobrain Re: Still suffers the same problems

          "GNOME Shell != Unity.

          No wonky scrollbars, global menus, dashboard, HUD or related software recommendations here, matey. (Yes, I am aware that the GNOME folks have their own global menu-esque intentions, and am hoping it doesn't cock up something which is otherwise reasonably sensible and usable.)"

          Red Hat have asked for customer input about RHEL7.

          Can you imaging being the GNOME developer who presents the Gnome Shell to the massed IT managers of Red Hat corporate desktop users? You know, the blue shirt/Lenovo/Stock Intsall types?

          I suspect there may be some mid-course corrections.

          PS: Debian Wheezy is quite nice, currently default install is GS 3.2 ish but 3.4 may land before the freeze date.

      2. DrXym

        Re: Still suffers the same problems

        GNOME 3 is far more suitable for large screens than Unity. It shares a few of the same sins but not global menus and hidey scrollbars which are the worst issues by far. It is also extensible so if you don't like the default behaviour you can modify or augment it. There are already a variety of bars and widgets to supplement the vanilla experience.

        So yes Fedora would be a good alternative. Or if you want Ubuntu without Unity then Mint. Mint uses the aforementioned extensions in GNOME 3 to give it a GNOME 2 style experience.

      3. bailey86

        Re: Still suffers the same problems

        If you don't want GS or Unity then follow Linus (and I suspect quite a few techies) to Xubuntu.

    2. bailey86

      Re: Still suffers the same problems

      That's about the best summation of my own problems with Unity that I've read.

  24. david 12 Silver badge

    Windows 8

    MS has already lost two of my users. From XP they've switched to Apples rather than Win7.

    Since Win7 is different anyway, with the odd broken bit here or there (old printer drivers, old usb drivers, broken backup, new menus), they figured they might as well go to Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8

      Sorry, but I don't consider security enhancements that force drivers to not tie themselves into the kernel to be "broken bits" just because the hardware manufacturers couldn't be bothered to implement new drivers for their extant hardware set.

      That wasn't Microsoft's fault, that was the hardware manufacturers being cheap and/or greedy.

      As to broken backup, in what regards? The image based backup in Windows Backup on Win 7 Pro works quite a charm.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8


      Those two users were obviously twonks. The latest Mac OS is such a horrible resource hog, you soon hit disk if you have more than 2 big apps open.

      Compared with W7, it is HORRIBLE as an operating system to get work done in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 8


        LibreOffice (doc with images loaded)

        VNC (watching Fringe by way of a break)




        Firefox (yes, I use two browsers, sometimes even Opera as well)



        In use: 2.7GB

        Free: 1.3GB

        Total: 4GB


        In use: 184MB (i.e. nothing to speak of)

        Total: 521MB

        Just started a copy of Linux Mint in Virtualbox, and I still have 770MB left - not near swapping yet. The CPU is 87% idle while VLC is playing. Don't see the resource hogging myself, but please don't let hard facts disturb your prejudices..

        FYI, there are actually complete private banks switching to OSX. MS can bleat all it wants that OSX is not secure (which indeed it isn't, it needs a virus checker too) but there's a notable difference by several factors of the number of threats out there for Windows and for OSX, and patching doesn't need to be done as frequent as with Windows - a weekly check tends to suffice. Once you have everyone changed over, however, you will also have a massive increase in productivity because the stuff just works.

        On the plus side, Windows 7 is actually getting better re. security compared to earlier versions, so well done. It only took them, what? Two decades?

        Personally, I switched to OSX because I needed something that was stable enough for daily use without needing a permanent Internet connection to keep up with the eternal patching, but not so fiddly that I had to go and dive into textiles to get things working. When you start looking what you actually get for your money, Macs are not that badly priced (iOS devices are IMHO too expensive), and software prices are OK too.

  25. Leona A

    Change for change sake

    Well as if updated the OS isn't difficult enough, they have to throw in a totally new GUI.

    There is no way I can sell this to my partner, if I install that on our desktop she'll flip her lid, its taken 3.5 years to get this technophobe to use a computer to start with, if I go changing the user interface I will have to start all over again, and I don't like it much either.

    I've been using Ubuntu since 6.06 (yes the late release one), where Nothing really worked that well, I was using the 64bit version which you had 'fun' getting 32bit apps to work in, so I'm not new to Linux and I don't mind a bit of hacking around.

    But I feel this is a step to far, and to force it on their users to terrible, fine give us a choice, leave Gnome in and let us 'the users' decided what we want to do.

    What is the point of HUD If You Don't Know What The Option Is Your Looking For, how can you search for it? Stupid idea. At least if I am flicking through menus I can be reminded of what I'm looking for.

    I guess I was hoping they would leave this rubbish out of 12.04 but no :( I have always used their LTS releases so I don't have to go through the update pain too often, now though, as well as having to go through the update pain, I will have to find a new distro, its seems a choice between Xubuntu or Mint.

    Or as I'm increasing tempted to do, is not bother to update at all, I've got another year to figure something out.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: Change for change sake

      You could try this:

      Looks OK on my system, although I've not done much with it yet.

      1. N3lson

        Re: Change for change sake

        Completely agree with the "Change for change sake" sentiment.

        Removing the old-style menus is an idiotic move, especially considering how easily it can be re-added:

        Mind you, installing it will cost you a whopping 37kb.

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Change for change sake

      @Leona A

      "Or as I'm increasing tempted to do, is not bother to update at all, I've got another year to figure something out."

      That is why there is always an 'overlap' of about a year between the LTS releases. 12.04.1 will be smoother than 12.04.0 (just like 10.04.1 was, and by 10.04.2 it was velvet, at least on my hardware).

      Have a look at installing Gnome Shell on 12.04. You get a session called Gnome Classic, actually two sessions, one has effects (i.e. compiz, wobbly windows) and the other has no effects (metacity is the window manager). The partner could log into a Gnome Classic session and see the familiar panels, layout &c.

      You need to press the Alt key when right clicking over the panels to add launchers/change settings.

  26. Ben 50

    I think the HUD would be nice, if you could talk to it...

    If you could just say "Search. Unsharpen. 3" e.g. to search for unsharpen and then pick the third result... or "Search. Unsharpen. 3. Apply 25%". That would be fun, perhaps even useful. Of course, it'd be even quicker with a combination of voice search, and eye tracking to select the appropriate result.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    I've started evaluating 12.4

    and I immediately ran into several WTF moments right from the start:

    On an already working and configured Ubuntu 11.4 system, running the "upgrade" option from the install CD

    1) Informed me that it would wipe all my system wide settings!?!

    2) Asked me to set up the time zone (which was already set)

    3) Asked me to set up my user account (which was already set up. Indeed, under NIS, no less).

    4) Formatted some file system (which one I don't know as the formatting message went by too quickly, so it wasn't / or /home - maybe /boot?)

    5) Died immediately thereafter, telling me only that "something" went wrong and that it was dropping me to a desktop to work it out myself (with no option of "and here's the log messages as to what went wrong").

    So far, not impressive.

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: I've started evaluating 12.4

      You don't need the new CD, you can upgrade with APT the same way you get updates. Try something like this (in a VM first if you don't trust me):

      sudo -E -s

      cd /etc/apt

      mv sources.list sources.list.d/natty.list

      sed 's/natty/precise/' < sources.list.d/natty.list > sources.list

      apt-get update

      apt-get dist-upgrade

      apt-get autoremove

      apt-get clean

      rm sources.list.d/natty.list

      apt-get update

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've started evaluating 12.4

        Sad to say, but I may just have to do it that way - I *wanted* to save bandwidth by downloading the CD via Bittorrent, and using that, but there seems to be no way to keep the CD installer from flat-out deleting whatever directories it feels it has the right to (e.g. /etc, /lib, and any other "system" directory, nevermind that I set things up the way I wanted them because damn it is is MY MACHINE).

        This is the really silly thing - I can understand "dummy mode" for most people, I can even understand the installer foretelling grave misfortune if I don't let it lobotomise my machine as it sees fit, but damn it I do NOT want my system directories DESTROYED WILLY-NILLY just because they are too damn lazy to get their installer correct.

        And I don't understand why Canonical doesn't make 4.6G and 9.2G DVD images available via Bittorrent, to save more downloading from their servers. Let me have as close to a full image, with all the .deb's I can get, on ONE transfer, and save their servers from being hammered.

  28. Snar

    Maybe I'm being a tad unfair, but Ubuntu seems to have always had issues with standard wireless hardware . I've installed 12.04 on my personal laptop and the Centrino 1000 -N don't work properly and so I've had to switch the router to b/g mode.

    I'm happy enough to faff about and now have it working, but if the idea is to get Ubuntu into the mass market, it has to pretty much work straight out of the box with PC's that are based on standard chipsets.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I read this article hoping that Ubuntu would be rescued from unity. but not. its even worse now.

    If the linux gods want to do someting, perhpas they could make a useful wysiwig web app editor and or graphics tool set that does not make users cry out in pain.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    I see we still haven't learnt

    The point that UI designers miss is that there is no single UI that will keep all users happy, or even the same user happy (doing different tasks). There cannot be - so stop trying.

    What we really need are per-user UI choices to be selectable at login time. Imagine that on the login screen was a chooser that let you pick your UI style between, say, "tiles", "windows", "lite" and "shell". I might pick/default to tiles for the friendly Win8-style/metro l&f, but if I wanted to spend an hour doing image work in gimp I would pick windows for a traditional windows/fvwm sort of interface.

    I understand it's sort of heretical these days to suggest machines having multiple window managers, because we've taken the direction of gnome, kde etc taking over your life, but it has a lot of merit.

    Finally, in case anyone says "can't be done", this used to be available on UNIX machines running (shudder) the Common Desktop Environment. CDE was such an ugly beast that pretty much my first click when arriving at a login screen was to make sure that my session was set to OpenWindows. Ahh, that's better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I see we still haven't learnt

      <Gnome_developer mode="on">

      "What we really need are per-user UI choices to be selectable at login time."

      BLASPHEMER! HERETIC! UNBELIEVER! Do you not know The One True Way Of User Interface Design What Was In A Book I Read! That The One True Path shall be followed by all users! The Gods Of Interface Design hath Decreed that user preferences are The Tool Of The Evil One and shall not be permitted! All user must have the same, holy One True User Experience! So It Has Been Written, So It Shall Be Done!


      (of course, it is perfectly fine to bury user choices twelve levels deep in the Registry, err, I mean Gconf.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I see we still haven't learnt

      Switching desktop environments for different users works fine on OpenSuse, and it remembers desktop choice on a per user basis. There's a long list of different choices available - KDE, Gnome, WM, Enlightenment, LWM, etc., etc.

  31. dkjkkjddd
    Thumb Up

    mainframe testing software

    Mainframe applications are at the heart of the IT environments of major corporate and government organizations. They are critical assets that need constant monitoring and regular updating. Today, most applications require enhancements, code fixes and maintenance on a regular basis. This makes the automation of regression testing a necessity.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hoe much did they pay you ?

    How much did they pay you to write this dross, I like ubuntu, it works, reliable etc, but the UI is from another galaxy, no business user is going to put up with this.

    I need multiple open windows on a given desktop window, I have a LARGE screen for exactly that reason, having to remember EVERY menu's command? and type it in ? come on, gui's are supposed to be useful, G -> Graphical , g ^= TEXT.

    I'll keep Ubuntu, with XFCE , now that's an interface to be useful.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Say what you want about M$

    But all of their stuff since Vista 64 has been rock solid.

    You'd never see a crash reporting app crash in windows.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Say what you want about M$

      I note from the downvotes that some people have a problem with recognising sarcasm :)

  34. Tim Brown 1

    I was prepared to give it a go but...

    ... I'm right-handed, I like things that I use frequently with the mouse to be on the right side of my screen. It's my choice that's the way I work.

    So I thought I'd move the launcher bar to the righthand side of the screen. No biggie surely?

    Three hours, and several fruitless Google searches later, all I'd found was the statement from Ubuntu that they weren't letting people move the launcher bar because it was part of their 'design philosophy' for it to be on the left.

    It was at that point that I gave up, deleted Ubuntu from my machine and installed Linux Mint.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: I was prepared to give it a go but...

      Where have I heard that before:Your desktop. Their design philosophy.

      Ah yes. Microsoft have the same arrogant attitude.

  35. Christian Berger

    The reason why I don't like Unity

    Unity was designed for people running a single application in (nearly) full screen mode (or maximized or whatever). This may be great for 800x480 netbooks, but it doesn't work on my 3840x1080 desktop.

    1. Wibble

      It's a LOW res screen

      1080 high IS LOW RESOLUTION. It may be wide - I assume you're running two monitors - but high it ain't.

  36. Wibble

    Where's the programs?

    After reading this I thought I'd download it and spark it up in a VM on my Mac, just to see what you're all going on about. Fine; installed, updated, ran Firefox so connectivity's great.

    But now I want to run some other programs. How? I can't see any "Programs" or "Applications" folder on the screen... It's like that damn Windows 8 - what's the bloody point of hiding all the sodding programs?

    Let me start gently, then work up my experience as I get to know it better. I expect these user interfaces to be better than this. I want to be able to switch my NON-TECHNICAL family away from the scourge of Microsoft; they couldn't give a damn about the OS and I want something more reliable than Windows.

    What a pain.

  37. A J Stiles

    Quick Question ..... ?

    I'm already running 11.10 on my laptop, because I wanted to get it up and running as quickly as possible. Is it possible to upgrade by

    $ sudo sed -i 's/oneiric/precise/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

    $ sudo ( apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade )

    or is Ubuntu not that similar to Debian ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quick Question ..... ?

      Simpler - "sudo do-release-upgrade"

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Bring on the Alternative Interfaces

    Let there be choice and freedom all round. HUD looks well worth playing with


    Even Microsoft, having developed a really well-thought-out desktop and menu system that almost defined intuitive had the good grace to let us choose to keep it through several subsequent versions. That, to me, seems to be the bottom line.

    So, as soon as I have some disk space (1Tb awaiting a warranty claim :( ) I'll be trying out 12.04 --- but I'll be aiming to make it look, work and feel like 10.04, complete with Compiz and the tweaks that I use every day, whether it takes Mate, Cinnamon, or even moving to Mint.

  39. Matthew Collier
    Thumb Up

    Kubuntu 12.04 here...

    ...on an old Core2 Duo T5250 (2 x 1.5 GHz CPU) with 2GB of RAM. It absolutely flies, and KDE4 (at 4.8), finally seems ready for prime time! (finally KDE 3.5.9 can be put to bed). I haven't found anything that doesn't work yet (all hardware out of the box and initial install, all working fine on this Acer 5920 lappy).

    I tried Unity but I really didn't like it, and have stuck with Ubuntu 10.04 on the kids pc, and may go either Cinamon, or Mint when the time comes for that one. Kubuntu will now be the default desktop for this house (once again), now they sorted out the unholy mess that earliy KDE 4 was.

    Anyone not liking their Ubuntu options, really should give Kubuntu a try! :)


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kubuntu 12.04 here...

      Kubuntu here too - but I still got hit by the imbecile decision to disable hibernate in an obscure config file. Time to look at openSuse, or pure Debian, I guess.

  40. Dare to Think
    IT Angle

    Don't understand what beef you guys have with Unity or HUD

    Does it really matter if there is this bar appearing or disappearing at the left? What matters is that there IS some UI development. What is far more important are things, like: no add-on-marketing-bloatware, cool shell scripting, strong file attributes (security, anyone?), a choice of filesystem formats, free encryption, and other industry standard tools and toys (pdf print, pdf manipulation, DNS, NTP, NFS, SSH, rsync...), which are so easy to set up and mostly free, tons of online support and geek pages which outnumber the ones for RHEL/CentOS....

    What could also be mentioned is the increasing number of applications for Ubuntu Desktop that are now taking the innovation crown and yet are mostly free. One example is Calligra Suite, by all means this still has a long way to go and is not as polished as LibreOffice, but from a technology perspective breathtaking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just one little question..

      "What matters is that there IS some UI development"

      Why exactly?

      From what I've seen so far, people get used to a certain way of working, and are perfectly happy to be left with that approach - if you want change you will get at best away with incremental changes (such as enabling menu shortcuts and let them learn those for functions often used).

      I have been through KDE 3 -> 4, and GNOME 2 -> 3. Both changes sucked seven ways to Sunday because there was NO, repeat, NO way to transport skills or working methods forward, and no change to roll back for users who didn't like the change - it was simply rammed down their throat. Microsoft spends an absolute fortune convincing people that any new UI is "better" (most of us know it for the BS it is), and such a budget doesn't exist for Open Source, nor the lock in.

      Ergo, every change rammed down people's throat (without, I may add, even the smallest sliver of user consultation) risks alienating people who already had to be gently coaxed out of the Microsoft camp. So where do they go? Depending on budget they either run back to Microsoft, or go to Apple. Well done.

      Linux may be innovative, but those UI changes will be the death of it yet. As long as you piss off or frighten Joe and Sally End User, Linux will not get any traction. Every time it becomes interesting, raw stupidity like this kills the build up.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    back to the future

    Reming me what was the point of the mouse again? Oh yes, to avoid learning command by heart and then typing them. Keyboard shortcuts are all good when you become an advanced user, but when you start you want to see what is there. Guess how? VIA A MENU!

    > Instead of mousing to the Filters menu, then selecting Sharpen, and then selecting Unsharp Mask, you can simply hit the alt key and type "uns" and the top hit is Unsharp Mask.

    How fantastic! Does Control-KB and Control-KK start allow me to mark text too?


  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good enough

    The keyboard functions and annoying static side bar notwithstanding, Ubuntu is more than ready for enterprise use. Really any OS that can open a browser, run a productivity suite and has some e-mail client does everything 99% of the users need. Ubuntu is more secure than Window and equally if not more stable. Wrap it into some useable stack with VDI, access and provisioning, productivity, and e-mail, like IBM's Smart Client, and it should be ready to give MS a run for their money. How do people still justify the use of Windows? You have two OSs that will do what you need more or less equally well. One costs 10-20% the cost of the other all told.

  43. Keith Smith 1
    IT Angle

    Has anyone ever heard of squeeze? Or sid?

    I find it rather amusing. Ubuntu is just a layered addon to a sid snapshot. Ubuntu "Server" is a joke. I've finally managed to retire most of the 10.04 server boxes I inherited and replace them with squeeze. If you want a stable system run vanilla Debian and put the packages on you like. You will get the added benefit of sysvinit among other normalcies. If you want to bleed on the edge with all the snivel. Well 12.04 baby.

  44. Glen Turner 666

    Not suited to businesses which use Exchange for e-mail

    It's not suitable for business for the simple reason that it can't connect to Exchange. The later (ie, working) versions of exchange-ews don't work as the version of the GNOME software in this Ubuntu is too old and Canonical didn't put any effort into backporting evolution-ews to their older version of GNOME.

    It says a lot about about the half-arsedry which is Canonical that they'd ship an operating system aimed at business users without a decent connector to Exchange.

  45. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Lol. Sorry but this is funny. We have people slagging of Windows 8 - well yeah. Fair enough considering what's being reviewed here and the fact that Metro stinks. But the really funny bit (to me) is the way people are also slagging/off supporting nearly half a dozen different variants of Linux and/or their shells.

    Sure choice is good..but really. Do we see the same kind of infighting about different Windows flavours in reviews about Windows? No. We see plenty of complaints but the most you'll get is three camps:XP lovers, Win 7 accepters and Win 8 haters.

    Divide et impera. No wonder that even when it screws up Microsoft still stays on top.

  46. John Fielder

    What's the fuss

    want classic gnome - log off and choose it from the options

    want gnome 3 - install it from the software centre.

    frankly, on my netbook, i quite like Unity, one tap access to the few programs I use the most. Not so struck on a desktop, but there are the alternatives.

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