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Ubuntu Linux

Preview of Ubuntu's Unity Interface 382

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.
itwbennett writes "In late October we learned that starting with the next release (11.04), Ubuntu would use Unity instead of GNOME as its default desktop interface. Now we know a bit more about what that will (and won't) mean for users. The move to Unity doesn't mean that Ubuntu is abandoning GNOME. It also doesn't mean that users will be forced to use Unity; they'll still be able to revert to the old GNOME interface. What it does mean, mainly, is that users will be presented with a simple interface — probably too simple for nuts and bolts types. The more 'radical shift' will be switching Ubuntu's base graphics system from the X Window System to Wayland. There users can expect that it will take some time before things are in working order. 'In other words,' says Steven Vaughan-Nichols who reviewed Unity for ITworld, 'Wayland will be an option, and one that only people who don't mind having their desktops blow up on a regular basis should fool with, in Ubuntu 11.04. By Ubuntu 11.10, it will be workable, and come the spring release two years from now, Ubuntu 12.04, we should, if all goes well, see a stable Wayland-based Unity desktop.'"
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Preview of Ubuntu's Unity Interface

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  • No screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:44PM (#34419822)

    Text is useless. I want screenshots!

  • by iONiUM (530420) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:47PM (#34419870) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry, how is this possibly a "preview" when there is not one screen shot? One link goes to an older /. article, the other goes to an all text article.

    Can you please stop naming things that don't have photos like they do have photos?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://ubuntudevelopers.blip.tv/file/4245457/

    • by c (8461)

      > I'm sorry, how is this possibly a "preview"
      > when there is not one screen shot?

      I'm still fuzzy on how you can call it a preview when it's been in a standard distro for a good month or so. I've been using it daily for a while, and aside from the lack of auto-hide I'm not seeing much to complain about...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by noidentity (188756)
      It's a preview, as in, what happens before you get to view it.
  • They make big sweeping changes to a new technology that is not well tested or even finished, ala PulseAudio. It's for this reason it's always felt buggy to me. I honestly don't get the global appeal, Fedora is cutting edge and stable and just as easy to use, while something like Madrive is stable and easy to use. I guess the free CD promo really paid off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem with PulseAudio is not that it wasn't finished or well tested, the problem is the implementation sucks (ie. bad programmers wrote it).

      I have never understood why they didn't just go back to OSS. OSS has made extensive improvements in the latest versions and can do everything ALSA/PulseAudio/whatever can do plus a lot more. On top of that everything works with OSS because it's the original Linux sound API.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        The problem with PulseAudio is not that it wasn't finished or well tested, the problem is the implementation sucks (ie. bad programmers wrote it).

        I can see why you didn't log in to post that.

        Pulseaudio works fine in Ubuntu if you follow the Pulseaudio PerfectSetup guide. What I find particularly confusing is why the Ubuntu maintainers didn't seem to be capable of doing this. It's gotten closer to PerfectSetup since they started using Pulseaudio but it's still not there.

        On top of that everything works with OSS because it's the original Linux sound API.

        Unless, of course, it's been developed since ALSA gained dominance, in which case the OSS support might be poor or nonexistent.

        Please log in so modding you down can become meaningful.

    • Ubuntu has stability problems?
    • Fedora and Ubuntu appeal to two completely different crowds.

      Ubuntu is for those who want everything to work, even if not perfectly. They include proprietary drivers strait off their install discs for the purpose of making all hardware within your computer work on first boot. Ubuntu and Debian take a lot of pride in Apt as well, as a way to reduce the pain of dependency tracking for your normal users who just want to get Cinelerra or other useful linux apps that are rarely ever included running.

      Fedora
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      They make big sweeping changes to a new technology that is not well tested or even finished, ala PulseAudio.

      To be fair, new technology rarely gets well tested or even finished if no-one is using it.

      Pulseaudio has been a disaster though. Every new Ubuntu release seems to fix some sound problems and introduce others (e.g. going from 9.10 to 10.04 stopped the button sounds working in xbmc on my HTPC).

    • Me too... I think they need a staged release cycle. The development versions are to fluid for most people to actually use, so testing really begins on release. Then they find all the missing features people use, and the stability issues with pulse audio and id games, and so on... Been on the rollercoster since Breezy. I think they went bi-polar after Gutsy.
  • probably too simple for nuts and bolts types.

    If it has text-based configuration files and access to a command line, that's good enough for tinkering.

    • Yeah I don't like the idea of oversimplification, but so far I haven't seen a GUI so simple that it really gets in my way (not counting the anachronistic single-tasking behavior in iOS...a single-tasking GUI didn't bother me in PalmOS, but I expect proper multitasking in any modern OS...the hardware is MUCH more powerful now).

  • ...shifting to brand new, undeveloped technology will produce a product that isn't entirely stable on the first release, but it should get more stable with time?

    What would I do without such genius insight? Instead of generalizations, how about you dig into the meat of how it will affect users day to day in the normal workflow of them using their computers?

  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joeflies (529536) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @12:54PM (#34420010)

    They are duplicating the KDE 4.0 roll out plan?? *ducks*

  • Interface? Bueller? Anyone?
  • by Jason Quinn (1281884) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:07PM (#34420230)
    Ubuntu was working towards a so-called "10 second" boot. What happened to that? They give up? *MAYBE*, if I'm in a generous mood, they quickened boot by 30'ish percent during their efforts. But it still takes like 40'ish second or more until a usable desktop. That's a long way off from their stated goal. People seem to have forgotten about this.
    • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:52PM (#34420952) Journal

      My laptop (Asus P50IJ-X2 w/ WD Scorpio 7200RPM HDD running Lucid 64bit) goes from POST completion to login screen in about 11 seconds, and then once I log in it takes about 4 seconds for a fully loaded desktop.

      When it was running Karmic it took close to 30 seconds to get to the login window.

      To compare to Win7's boot time: My gaming desktop (custom PC...12GB RAM @1Ghz, i7 940 @ 2.9Ghz, 2x 10krpm WD Velociraptors in RAID0 running Win7 Ultimate 64bit) goes from POST completion to login in about 10 seconds, and then takes about 3 seconds to get to a fully loaded desktop.

      So Lucid is not only fast, but if you consider the difference in specs, it looks like it boots faster than Win7.

    • by AndGodSed (968378) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:54PM (#34420970) Homepage Journal

      Well that is rather hardware specific. On a laptop with an SSD harddrive and core i7 quad PLUS 8gig RAM (A very expensive sony 13" one we bought for the boss) we came close.

      On my house PC with a 7200RPM disk I get 15seconds for 10.04 up to the login screen, on my laptop with a 5400RPM hdd I get about 25secs for 10.10

      What I do notice with every Ubuntu install where Win7 is Dual booted is that there is often not much to choose between the two in the beginning, but that during their lifetimes Win7 tends to take longer and Ubuntu tends to stay close to fresh install speeds.

  • So far every quasi-mainstream article about "the future of Ubuntu" has been far off base and simply leads to people who know nothing debating with people who know little. I'll wait for Ubuntu/Canonical to announce things thanks.
    • With such gems in TFA as

      By focusing on Unity (on Wayland or X) for Ubuntu, Canonical has essentially forked its own Linux distribution.

      you arent missing much (what does that even mean???? They cant "fork" their own distro...).

  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:09PM (#34420280)

    Best of luck. Promoting Linux on the desktop is good, but I'm tired of broken packages pushed out as stable (latest kate in Ubuntu locks up on file open) and I highly value graphical network transparency. It's back to Debian for me.

    • by Burz (138833)

      I hate having to wait 6+ months (or 2 years if you stick with LTS) to get app upgrades, so I switched to OS X for my laptop years ago. Still use Linux on servers though.

      As for network transparency, Wayland is supposed to have that... it just won't be the antiquated kind of of networking that X11 does: Slow on the Internet without a clumsy add-on like NX, and no ability for more than one user to view a window at the same time without using VNC which is also antiquated and often too slow.

      • Re:Goodbye Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

        by knarf (34928) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @05:42PM (#34424430) Homepage

        I hate having to wait 6+ months (or 2 years if you stick with LTS) to get app upgrades, so I switched to OS X for my laptop years ago.

        You seriously changed from free software to payware, from the open space of Ubuntu to the walled garden of Apple, from getting updates every 6 months to having to buy updates every so many years, from having full control over your machine and software to being beholden to Apple's CEO's every whim?

        Amazing... just... amazing.

        May I suggest renting a computer after that Apple machine has bitten the dust? That way you have even less control over your machine while you pay even more. It must sound like data heaven to you.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Have fun. We'll see you again pretty soon when Debian (and virtually all the other distros) switch to Wayland a year or two after Ubuntu rolls it out.

      • Have fun. We'll see you again pretty soon when Debian (and virtually all the other distros) switch to Wayland a year or two after Ubuntu rolls it out.

        Debian will switch when Wayland is stable and has network transparency that is more than hand waving.

  • by fpgaprogrammer (1086859) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:11PM (#34420294) Homepage

    The Unity namespace is already occupied by http://www.unity3d.com/ [unity3d.com] a great game engine for iOS and android and support multitouch and so on. Canonical is just going to make it a PITA for one or both sets of developers searching for "unity opengl" "unity GUI" "unity multitouch" "unity android."

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:17PM (#34420408) Journal

    Are there any Wayland native apps yet? Without those, all you have is a pretty interface and nothing to do with it. Sure, you can provide backwards compatibility by running an X server on top of Wayland, but then what was the point of dumping X.org?

    The X11R6 protocol has been around for a long time, because it's good at what it does. By dumping the X protocol along with the X.org server they're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:44PM (#34420834)

      Apps usually don't talk directly to X11. The GUI toolkit does. If Ubuntu can get QT and GTK+ ported to Wayland (which has already been underway for a while) then most apps are merely a recompile (plus some minor tweaking) away from being native Wayland apps. Kinda like how many GTK+ or QT apps have fully functional windows versions because those toolkits were ported to Windows.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @01:52PM (#34420950) Homepage

      Are there any Wayland native apps yet?

      There doesn't need to be. Just provide an X server on top of the Wayland graphics engine, and continue to use your old X apps. This allows for an easy transition to Wayland for those apps that would benefit from it.

      Furthermore, if you implement said support down at the toolkit level (ie, Gtk and Qt), the apps needn't even realize they're running over Wayland.

    • by joh (27088)

      By dumping the X protocol along with the X.org server they're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      Since this baby is still a baby after more than 20 years and somehow won't grow up this might be a good idea after all.

      See, I have nothing against X Window. But Ubuntu just *has* to target some market and this is either a market in which the ability to have an application display a window on a remote display is somehow important or another market with different priorities. And I assume the former market is so small compared to the latter that throwing that grey-haired baby out finally might be a good move.

  • by gmueckl (950314) on Thursday December 02, 2010 @03:17PM (#34422180)

    How will Wayland ever be able to run decently on nVidia cards? Nouveau is not a real option yet (it's not yet decent enough for anything beyond accelerating desktop compositing) and nVidia doesn't plan to support EGL on Linux. So how will Ubuntu fix that? I'm really curious about that.

    And how does Wayland plan to implement Clipboard and Drag and Drop functionality? Haven't seen that anywhere in the tiny amount of code that Wayland currently is.

    Replacing X is not a bad goal, but getting there is hard. Just writing some code that defers the hard part about graphics to a driver and omits all the rest doesn't cut it. Let's just wait and see where this thing goes.

    • You seem to have the wrong idea about Wayland. It's not meant to do any of that, but to provide a slim connector between the hardware and the applications.

      Putting all that stuff in one giant library is what led to X and it's persistence in the first place, nobody wants to repeat those mistakes.

      Drag and Drop / Clipboard are more sent to helper programs, UI toolkits, D-Bus, etc. That way it's much easier to maintain and improve.

      That's what the UNIX philosophy was all about form the beginning, one tool should

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