back to article Locally Integrated Menus back on Vivid Vervet’s menu

Ubuntu 15.04, Vivid Vervet, just might be one of the biggest Ubuntu releases in several years. It might be more remarkable, though, for what you don’t see. The beta is now here, ahead of this month’s scheduled release. Anyone paying any amount of attention to the Linux world over the past couple of years has likely at least …

  1. John Sanders

    I can not wait

    A) For people making posts about how terrible systemd is because a detail that only affects them is buggy and systemd is the worse thing ever.

    B) The majority of the people who criticised systemd without having even seen it realizing that systemd is not only not going to eat their babies, but also it is quite a few steps forward.

    How do you check your logs on a systemd system:

    less /var/log/<whatever>

    How do you mount stuff:

    vim /etc/fstab

    How do you... you get it,

    Starting and stopping things is perhaps the biggest change for most people, instead of:

    /etc/init.d/<service> restart

    you do:

    systemctl restart <service>

    Some of the things systemd does are a dramatic improvement over sysv, like tracking processes IE:

    systemctl status firewalld

    firewalld.service - firewalld - dynamic firewall daemon

    Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/firewalld.service; enabled)

    Active: active (running) since Wed 2015-04-01 14:15:22 BST; 7s ago

    Main PID: 3463 (firewalld)

    CGroup: /system.slice/firewalld.service

    +-3463 /usr/bin/python -Es /usr/sbin/firewalld --nofork --nopid

    Apr 01 14:15:22 systemd[1]: Starting firewalld - dynamic firewall daemon...

    Apr 01 14:15:22 systemd[1]: Started firewalld - dynamic firewall daemon.

    1. Geoff May

      Re: I can not wait

      Please tell me the last 2 lines were copy/paste.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: I can not wait

      "less /var/log/<whatever>"

      What kind of masochist uses less to look at a log file? Especially when grep and tail are right there...

      1. Ocular Sinister

        Re: I can not wait

        What kind of masochist uses grep and tail to look at a systemd log file when journalctl is right there...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can not wait

      "How do you check your logs on a systemd system:

      less /var/log/<whatever>"

      When did 'less' gain the power to parse systemd's binary logs?

  2. Crazy Operations Guy


    Because Linux needs to be more like Windows.

    The problem with systemd is that it goes against the Unix philosophy of "Everything just does one thing, it does it right and it does it fast". But everything else in Linux seems to be moving away from that model as well, so no use fighting it. Which is also, in my opinion, why a lot of Linux distributions now soak up more resources than Vista...

    1. phil dude

      Re: Systemd

      That is so spectacularly wrong, I just have to correct you.

      Systemd combined with BTRFS is to permit Linux to run concurrent versions of packaged software, by isolating the entire process chain from the boot process to the user interface (console or GUI).

      The UNIX philosophy like so many old bits of "wisdom" needs to move with the times. The proliferation of so many variants of Linux has required a method to have the packaging become consistent, and the move away from using the filesystem for process control (That is why SYSV is being deprecated IMHO - not to piss of everyone who likes editing text files, but to prevent the need to access the filesystem which is yet another security problem with random shell scripts). Any experts can jump in and correct me, but this is my understanding on the current mechanism.

      And as for "Which is also, in my opinion, why a lot of Linux distributions now soak up more resources than Vista...", you are having a laugh? Please specify which system and version of software this occurred on so we can understand how you arrived at this opinion?

      I must say, if you have not read LP's blog it is far less likely to put your back up than seeing him talk.

      But he is no fool...and the distros don't think so either.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Systemd

        > But he is no fool...and the distros don't think so either.

        He might not be a fool and I have read a lot of what he has to say on the subject but to understand the objections, you have to ask the question "How easy is it to replace systemd with something else?"

        The answer to that question *should* be fairly straightforward. If the answer is "not very" then this is a big problem.

        Free software has advanced and evolved at a rip-roaring pace over the lat 5-10 years. At least one of the reasons for this is that no single person controls a large part of the Linux ecosystem. Each traditional part of the GNU/Linux ecosystem is replaceable by other versions of that component and in this way, parts can be replaced with better implementations. If you don't like this cron, use a different one...or use something else that performs that function in an entirely different manner. Choosing to use a different cron does not affect the rest of the system in such a pervasive manner. The change would not be entirely painless, but the influence is limited.

        systemd and the accompanying infrastructure is very pervasive and is controlled by one person. For such an important piece of infrastructure, this is a terrible state of affairs. You could argue that the kernel is in the same situation but again, in theory, the kernel could replaced by something else that was plug compatible and the largely GNU infrastructure atop would still work.

        I won't argue that there aren't some awful aspects to the state of the Linux infrastructure. Printing is still a dog's breakfast for example. And a good replacement for SYSV init would be fairly welcome. But as the uselessd project has shown, systemd can achieve its aim but with a less pervasive influence over the rest of the system.

        1. phil dude
          Thumb Up

          Re: Systemd

          I must say I agree with the "dependence on central technology", makes me nervous too.

          BUT this is like winning the battle and losing the war. We (Linux FOSS heads) need to see greater adoption to prevent the avalanche of commercial interests (e.g. M$) that want to keep the population paying everytime they touch a computer.

          Linux needed this, and as productive as LP is, he set about implementing it. I would argue however, that the "drop in replacement" ideal is shrinking because Ubuntu is making more and more stuff that only works with their libraries. Systemd + BTRFS fixes this (allegedly, but I'm patient).

          If there is an alternative, we would all like to hear it!!!!

          I am on my 3rd systemd system, and I must confess it threw me initially too.

          But arbitrary shell scripts and filesystem links, are unfortunately probably not the much as *I* find them comforting!!!!


      2. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: Systemd

        "you are having a laugh?"

        I wish I was. I had an old box at work that was originally used with Vista Enterprise / Office 2007 (Company-standard Dell Optiplex GX 620). Had a Dual-core chip in it (Early generation Core 2 Duo), a Gigabyte of RAM, a 120 GB disk, and an Intel GMA-950 for video. When I had Word, Excel, Outlook and Firefox with a few tabs, I'd see a usage of about 325-350 MB RAM and average 10-20% CPU usage. Fairly smooth overall.

        Late November I pulled the machine out from under my desk and slapped Ubuntu 14.4-LTS on with FIrefox, OpenOffice and Thunderbird. I was seeing about 25-30% CPU and between 375-400 MB of memory usage and the graphics looked like I was watching it through SSTV. Switching out KDE for XFCE dropped those number to about 18-22% CPU and 300-325 MB of RAM usage, frame rate went up to something close to normal.

        I eventually decided to just slap OpenBSD on it with XFCE, LibreOffice, and SeaMonkey. The CPU reports and average of about 4-5% and around 100-150 MB of RAM used. And the framerate is much improved.

        1. thames

          Re: Systemd

          @Crazy Operations Guy - "I wish I was. I had an old box at work that was originally used with Vista Enterprise / Office 2007 (Company-standard Dell Optiplex GX 620)."

          I suspect the CPU usage issue was a graphics driver issue. The newest versions of Unit and Gnome (as well as I think KDE) use hardware accelerated compositing, but they emulate this in software using the CPU if the graphics system doesn't support it. XFCE just doesn't do composiiting. Ubuntu has an XFCE version that probably would have worked quite well.

          It's a trade-off, since on newer hardware it's much faster and more efficient to hand off the work to the graphics system, and even the very cheapest modern graphics chips (even the AMD APUs) support this. If you have one of the few low end older GPUs which don't, then the work gets thrown back on the CPU. However, even a very cheap $50 modern video card would be more than adequate for even the most demanding desktop (I'm not counting games though).

          People using Windows went through this issue a few versions back when Microsoft also introduced hardware accelerated compositing. A lot of those people though just ended up throwing out their PC and buying a new one when the upgrade didn't work.

          As for RAM usage, that's very difficult to compare between operating systems unless you are really intimately familiar with how each one uses and reports on RAM. Buffers are held and re-used by various systems and applications but may be released on demand. Getting repeatable results when one of the applications is a web browser is particularly difficult, because of the way they tend to buffer and cache complex pages after they have been processed.

      3. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: Systemd

        The UNIX philosophy like so many old bits of "wisdom" needs to move with the times.

        Welp! I've heard *that* before. Well, that's me off the fence. You're screwed. I'm moving out of blast range. Have fun!

        When I got my first slackware, I dismanted it and rebuilt the boot/init/etc system. Then I made it run several parallel and incompatible libc and associated library subsystems at a time. Then several different X servers at the same time. Then other 'monoculture' daemons in parallel. What's the chances systemd would complicate matters if I tried that again? How free would I be, to Explore...

        All I know about systemd is it DoSed the linux kernel by hijacking the kernel debug switch for its own uses, then told the kernel maintainer to go **** themselves when asked to, you know, perhaps use their own switch instead. Now, since a computer program is simply the crystallisation of an author's thoughts and strategies, this attitude does not bode well in the thing that's meant to have your back.

        The only other thing I know about systemd is that a friend's system coughed up a lung, and on restart systemd refused to bring up the system as it concluded the system was unviable. It was wrong. The root filesystem was mounted, chrooted, systemd was disempowered, init.d regained power, and on restart the system started...

  3. keithpeter Silver badge


    Hello All

    Vervet Unity Question: If you start LibreOffice Writer, and then click in the new document window and then type in the shortcut Alt + IOF, does the LibreOffice formula editor appear?

    The way that the global menu code introduced by Canonical in Unity broke keyboard shortcuts is the reason I stopped using Unity based desktops after 12.04. No other reason. I suspect that menu calls are still hijacked by Canonical's global menu and that, therefore, keyboard shortcuts will still be broken. I would be absolutely delighted to be proved wrong on that.

    1. Rob Carriere

      Re: Menus

      It does exactly that in my 14.04, so I see no reason why it shouldn't work in 15.04. So prepare to be delighted, I guess.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Menus

        ""It does exactly that in my 14.04..."

        @Rob Carriere

        Just downloaded the 14.04.2 live iso, and, no, alas, it does not. I'll do the bug report thing so we are all clear what I'm on about...

        Steps to reproduce: Load LibreOffice Writer, click in the new document window, press and hold the Alt key while pressing the I then the O then the F keys then release the Alt key

        What I see on Unity in 14.04.2: The Insert menu opens when the I key is pressed, but then when pressing the O key, the Insert menu closes and the Format menu is opened, and when finally pressing the F key, the Format menu is closed and the File menu is opened.

        Expected behaviour (what I see in Gnome 3 and other full-fat DEs): The Insert menu opens when the I is pressed, then the Object submenu of the Insert menu opens when the O key is pressed, and then finally the Formula option in the Object menu is selected when I press the F key. A mathematical formula object is inserted into the document and the menus close, irrespective of either releasing the Alt key or keeping the Alt key depressed.

        Summary: in Unity at present, you can get the top level menus up using the Alt-Key shortcuts, but not submenus. Typing in more than one letter after the Alt key is pressed simply changes the menu selected instead of bringing up a submenu. The ability to invoke commands in submenus by typing Alt-<chord> has been lost.

        Does this look like what you see under Unity?

        If you see the expected behaviour then what settings are you using to get that behaviour?

        1. thames

          Re: Menus

          @keithpeter - I'm using Ubuntu Unity 14.04, and it works fine.

          "Steps to reproduce: Load LibreOffice Writer, click in the new document window, press and hold the Alt key while pressing the I then the O then the F keys then release the Alt key"

          Try releasing the Alt key after pressing the "I" but before pressing the "O". You will notice that the underscore showing the top level key options will disappear when you let go of the Alt key. Holding the Alt key down lets you select a different top level menu option without having to cancel the operation and starting over. Once you let go of the Alt key point you can then select options within the selected drop-down menu by pressing additional keys on their own.

          It's not "broken". This method is a lot more keyboard friendly if you're not entirely sure where the option you want is located. It lets you poke around in the menus to find something without having to use the mouse.

          1. keithpeter Silver badge

            Re: Menus

            So to invoke a command contained on a submenu, I do this...

            Press Alt-I, release Alt, press O then press F to issue the command.

            I shall try it, and thanks for taking the time to point it all out. I could not see any documentation at all of this change to shortcut operations.

            I'm not convinced that this is actually a 'feature' as the Alt-IOF shortcut shows each stage of the menus opening on Gnome and almost all other DEs on any OS.

            1. keithpeter Silver badge

              Re: Menus

              @thames and all

              Yup works as explained.

              You have to press Alt-I pretty sharpish - if Unity thinks you just pressed Alt then you get the HUD (reasonable as it says that on the keyboard shortcut screen that comes up when you start a live session).

              I shall install Ubuntu 14.04.2 on the 1366/768 Dell laptop where Unity makes a lot of sense with its left hand launcher. I'm still dubious about this 'feature' of having to release the Alt key, I suspect it is more of a side effect of the global menu's need to hijack magic keys.

              Happy bank holiday and pints to all.

  4. getHandle

    The idiot who came up with the global menu bar should be shot

    Or at least spoken to very patronisingly.

    1. Rob Carriere

      Re: The idiot who came up with the global menu bar should be shot

      That would be someone at Xerox Palo Alto, circa 1975, I think.

      In Unity, meanwhile, a simple option turns this off if you don't like it.

      1. Teiwaz

        Re: The idiot who came up with the global menu bar should be shot

        The Global menu is fine if you have a small screen, always run your applications in fullscreen or use click to focus or a combo leaning toward all three.

        I never had issue until I ran unity on a larger screen for a while using sloppy focus (which I prefer). Then I switched to local menus, it was either that or switch to click to focus.

        Neither is right or superior, just different, and react well or badly depending on different situations.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The idiot who came up with the global menu bar should be shot

          Yeah coz everyone running fullscreen desktops does at least one of those things, right? Not

          1. Teiwaz

            Re: The idiot who came up with the global menu bar should be shot

            'fullscreen' desktops?

            I assume you mean large screen desktops (and not a desktop where all applications are fullscreen).

            I was commenting on my working situations in which Global menus worked for me, and which they become a little annoying under certain circumstances (mostly that the application I was attempting to operate the menu of lost focus by the time my pointer reached the menu at the top of the screen, on the occasions i actually use the mouse/touchpad as opposed to the HUD or alt + keys.

            Fullscreen application = no gap, no problem

            Click focus = no (lack of) focus issues due to sloppy or focus follows mouse (or variants thereof)

            Small screen = usually run in fullscreen, but if not, less travel distance, less (lack of) focus issue on sloppy focus or other applications for the pointer to move through on the way (I generally keep certain applications on specific workspaces).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The idiot who came up with the global menu bar should be shot

        Shouldn't have been turned on in the first place

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu Beta?


    Ubuntu betas tend to be so stable they lull you into thinking they're release quality software, but they aren't.

    Don't you mean 'both Beta and Full releases are likely to be very unstable'?

    I'll stick with that other beacon of Linux Stability, Fedora.

  6. SecretSonOfHG

    systemd compatible with init scripts

    First it says "It even supports SysV and LSB init scripts and can work as a drop-in replacement for sysvinit" then it says "Unless you're a sysadmin with a ton of scripts that don't work with systemd"

    There is a contradiction: either systemd is compatible or it is not. Hint: it is not. I can document at least one major daemon whose init script had to change due to systemd placing restrictions that sysvinit did not have.

    Not saying that systemd is good or bad, but at least from a marketing perspective they are not telling the truth.

    1. phil dude

      Re: systemd compatible with init scripts

      Yeah, I think you hit spot on the problem. Opensuse for example had a pretty nice interface to SysV using systemd, but if you installed a redhat package it broke...

      I think this is what the distros are trying to fix....

      Let's not forget also that there are different versions of systemd!!!!!

      I am running "215-10"...????


    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: systemd compatible with init scripts

      "from a marketing perspective they are not telling the truth"

      Marketing not telling the truth? Standard operating procedure!

  7. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Local menus new?

    Maybe I misunderstand, but the review seems to say that local menus are new in 15.04. I have had local menus in 14.04 for some time now. ISTR I had to change a setting to get them, but it was no big deal.

    The trouble is that Unity menus don't actually work as well as traditional menus. Possibly because of the auto-hide feature, it's sometimes necessary to click a menu item more than once to invoke it. Even Windows 3.0 had menus that worked as expected.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: Local menus new?

      That the menus are local by default is the 'new' change in 15.04. Previously the default was the 'global' orientation.

      I'm still waiting on an update to 15.04 so I can't test menu responsiveness, but I'll be happy if key invocation works on the local menus, they work on the global.

    2. Teiwaz

      Re: Local menus new? - Update on upgrade to 15.04.

      Just finished updating to 15.04.

      The local menus are very responsive so far (I'd noticed that the local menus lacked responsiveness when clicked on previous releases also so I'm glad to see they've been tweaked to behave as expected).

      No problems on alt key initiation either from what I've seen so far


    As I mentioned before, I've been using SystemD under 14.10, under the misconception that it was 14.10 that switched to SystemD. Since I did a very weird update method (change all instances of trusty to utopic in all repos and then do a big dist-upgrade instead), I thought that upstart didn't get upgraded and so I manually replaced upstart with SystemD. There's a few kinks, but I heard that those have been fixed in Vivid, so fingers crossed.

    My only beef with SystemD is the still that one issue that if I do a base-only system install and then add X, a desktop environment and a desktop manager later, it wouldn't autolaunch the DM unless I go deep into the system and remove a file, and then put a symlink in it's place (I think the file was called or something along the lines). Why the package manager didn't change the file when a DM and X was installed is beyond me, nor why there isn't a utility to do it for me.

  9. nijam Silver badge

    I expect (it is likely that) systemd will (eventually) work (more-or-less) as it is intended to, whereas the SysV 'init' files have already evolved to a working state.

    The problem with systemd is that there are crucial conceptual defects in its architecture, and the motivation for the project is to fix flaws that I don't believe really affect anybody, and could be fixed equally well with a little thought in the 'init' based system. Systemd flaws start with petty irritations such as the completely unnecessary use of non-text log files (which at least gives evidence that its designers had no interest in Linux or any other Unix-based OS) right through to entangling it in library code that has no apparent relation to process management.

    The fact that systemd may eventually handle some boot-up or some hardware component "better" is a weak justification for the misguided design.

  10. OldMarine

    A Red Hat user before you could get it in a box.

    Yes I know it does not come in a box now. I have used all the Fedora with systemd. There was a time long ago when you did one thing very well and very fast. A good admin knew the parts and the tools. They were simple and easy to trouble shoot. Many times cat, grep, sed and vi was just about all you needed other than the reporting tools likes netstat, ifconfig and ps. Throw in a little Perl the sky was the limit.

    What did we gain for the lost of easy to config, easy to maintain, easy to change. Don't let me leave out low overhead on the system.

  11. yossarianuk

    Kubuntu 15.04 (Plasma 5.x) is far better

    Currently running Kubuntu 15.04 for both home and work systems.

    Plasma 5.x is really nice, faster than KDE4.x (kwin memory reduced by 1/3), looks nice and has most of the features/addons from the kde 4.x - it is however currently missing the weather plasmoid.

    KDE unlike Gnome 3.x and Unity is an actual 'Desktop', not some mutant tablet/desktop excuse - one you can actually work with,

    After a few days using plasma 5 I would not want to go back to Kde 4.x,

    I am dual booting my work laptop with Windows 8.1 - Plasma 5.x is by far faster, more elegant and more useful than Windows 8.1 - nearly every task can be done faster in Kubuntu.

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