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Tom's Hardware Dissects Ubuntu 11.4's Interface and Performance 272

Posted by timothy
from the hey-it-takes-a-while-for-all-the-screenshots dept.
An anonymous reader links to an exhaustive look at the latest Ubuntu, running at Tom's Hardware. "The new Unity interface is broken down into its individual elements and explained ad nauseam. Overall the article is objectively balanced, the author does a good job of pointing out specific design flaws and shortcomings instead of complaining about how Unity doesn't work for him specifically. The walkthrough of the uTouch gesture language is exciting (wish I had multi-touch), though a full listing of keyboard and mouse shortcuts come in handy, too. Towards the end of the article there are benchmarks between Lucid, Natty with Unity, and Natty with the Classic interface. The performance of the Unity interface isn't bad at all, but that kernel power issue does rear its ugly head."
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Tom's Hardware Dissects Ubuntu 11.4's Interface and Performance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @01:01AM (#36415730)

    from the summary: "The new Unity interface is broken"

    • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @01:23AM (#36415786) Homepage

      Yes, but which is it: "just gotta fix this and that" broken, or "this thing is a complete mess" broken?

      I'll take the latter, as my impression of Unity was pretty much the worst possible; absolutely nothing works as a regular user would expect. It's like they went out of their way to make things as cryptic and unfamiliar as possible. It's nearly unusable. Oh, and Gnome 3? It sucks too. Both are like a goddamn cell phone interface crammed into the desktop -- seems to be a trend now. Well, fuck this shit: it simply does not work!

      • by jojoba_oil (1071932) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @02:36AM (#36415972)

        I'll take the latter, as my impression of Unity was pretty much the worst possible; absolutely nothing works as a regular user would expect. It's like they went out of their way to make things as cryptic and unfamiliar as possible. It's nearly unusable.

        I think that's what happens when you aim to mimic the Mac's UI conventions: ensure absolutely nothing works as a reasonable user would expect. Unity was an awful mess in 10.10's Netbook edition, and I haven't bothered trying 11.04.

        Who ever thought it was a good idea to move the menu bar outside of the window which it controls and relates to? With Unity's approach, there will be one menu up top (maybe) and one menu inside the window (maybe) depending on how much work was put into the software to make it compatible with Unity's API. What problem is solved by this new mac-style menu bar?

        It also seems like hiding the menu bar altogether is a growing trend (eg Firefox 4, Unity's menu); because I want computer unsavvy people to have to look harder to find the functionality they want. Sure, I can understand hiding some UI element if the space is absolutely necessary for something else; but in the case of Unity (from videos I've seen on 11.04), it seems like the menu bar is hidden just to hide it. It reminds me of Windows's Aero theme, where they make window borders translucent and gigantic just because they can. Does it help user experience? Does it solve a problem?

        </rant>

        • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:42AM (#36416098) Homepage

          Well, I'm a long time Mac fan, and I'd say the problem is not that they aped the Mac, but they did it in a "cargo cult" way: they aped it without understanding why it works, consequently making it NOT work.

          They put the menu bar on top, good; then they make the menus hide -- d'oh. The advantage of that single bar on the top is that it's easier to target what you want to click, but they make it so you can't target without the intermediate step of putting the cursor on the damn thing. What's the point, then?

          They add a Dock-like launcher, okay; they put it to the side rather than the bottom -- d'oh. They make it auto-hide -- d'oh again, nobody likes that. They make the apps stack in a weird pseudo-3D way -- and d'oh yet again. Cherry on top of the shit-flavored cake: they give you no easy way to customize that. And then you decide that migrating to a different system must be easier than getting used to this madness.

          • I always put Dock on the side on my Macs, and taskbar on the side in Win7. It's the only sane way considering that there's more horizontal space to waste.

            • Unless you can train yourself to deal with autohide - I wasn't able to until I started using my laptop regularly, and now everything except my HTPC uses it.
          • by manicb (1633645)

            Mac user here that always pins the dock to the left-hand side *and* sets it to auto-hide. You may be a "long time mac fan", but that doesn't mean you speak for all of us.

            I've been playing with Natty and the hidden menus are very pleasant when you aren't using them and infuriating when you want them, so I'll agree on this one. Rather hoping they'll drop it. Is there a preference somewhere?

          • by cynyr (703126)

            click? who clicks on things? IMO well designed apps should have keyboard shortcuts for everything useful.

          • They put the menu bar on top, good; then they make the menus hide -- d'oh. The advantage of that single bar on the top is that it's easier to target what you want to click, but they make it so you can't target without the intermediate step of putting the cursor on the damn thing. What's the point, then?

            Maybe they're imitating the Amiga Workbench, which had a common menu also that was hidden (you pressed the right mouse button to show it which was infuriating with a wonky mouse.)

          • by mspohr (589790)
            They seem to have improved the menubar on top over the Mac by putting the menubar on the same screen as the program. This is much better than the Mac where the menubar always appears on the primary screen even when the program window is on a secondary screen... this drives me crazy...

            I've explored various add-on programs and kludgy fixes for my Mac to get the menubar to at least be on the same screen but no joy. I'm still not sure I even like the menubar at the top of the screen. It can be a long confu

            • They seem to have improved the menubar on top over the Mac by putting the menubar on the same screen as the program. This is much better than the Mac where the menubar always appears on the primary screen even when the program window is on a secondary screen... this drives me crazy...

              I've explored various add-on programs and kludgy fixes for my Mac to get the menubar to at least be on the same screen but no joy.

              That would conflict with the way MacOS works, since it does not follow the "window=program" convention that is found in other systems. Apps can be running yet not have any window open, or have multiple windows in a single instance (in fact, apps can not have more than one instance). So, if you have multiple monitors, the same app can have windows in different monitors. And a window can be partly in two different monitors. Which monitor should get the menu bar? Should each monitor have one? Should it move ar

              • by mspohr (589790)
                I believe the window/program which "has focus" puts its menu at the top of the primary screen. I would like the menu to be at least close to the window. It's stupid to put it on primary screen when the window is on the secondary screen. If the Mac programmers are confused about where to put it, they could put it on both screens. However, I really never found any problem with having the menubar attached to the window itself where I could always find it easily without having to move the mouse to the top o
        • What turned me off many years ago when I was introduced to Linux was very similar to what you state about Unity. At the time they were trying to mimic XP down to the start bar type menu and such. Yet most of it didn't work like it looked like. As in, if your going to mimic the look you have to mimic the behavior. If I right click and it doesn't do what you have copied would have, or worse nothing at all, then your doing it wrong.

          Needless to say it got off on the wrong foot so that every little niggling diff

        • First of all, menu bars were originally designed to be universal not per-app (Apple invented pull-down menus as part of the original Lisa/Mac GUI). The idea is that it's a quicker action to shove the mouse (or finger on trackpad) to the top of the screen and click, than to have to park the mouse over a menu somewhere arbitrary on the screen and click - fixed menus put them into muscle memory rather than having to look and act. It's actually been formally tested with tools to measure the time it takes user
          • by cynyr (703126)

            again with the idea that people should be using the mouse. try that slide to the top of the screen with sloppy focus and autoraise on some time and let me know how it works out for you.

            Keybindings(preferable sensible defaults but can be changed by the user) get used a lot by me for most things. heck even office now lets me script things and assign keys to them with the "quick access toolbar".

            I bet i can do things faster in autocad with the keyboard and the cmdline than the people that grab stuff from the me

          • by dfghjk (711126)

            Yeah, it was tested on tiny screens decades ago by Apple people justifying Apple's design. No reason to believe it applies to fingers, trackpads, and large hi-res displays today. Jobs dispensed with it while at NeXT.

            It's the Apple design that makes mandatory vertical screen space disappear in favor of a menu bar that conforms to the antiquated "Fitt's Law" concept.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          It reminds me of Windows's Aero theme, where they make window borders translucent and gigantic just because they can. Does it help user experience? Does it solve a problem?

          Er, yeah, it solves the rather obvious problem from earlier versions of the OS that the often used window control buttons were too small and required fairly precise mouse movement to hit. I'm not sure where you got gigantic borders from because they are actually very slightly smaller than the XP Luna ones.

          I used to care about every pixel because I grew up with 640x256 AmigaOS displays. Even when I got a graphics card and moved up to 1280x1024 I held on to that notion, and even when I switched to Windows XP

      • by DrXym (126579)

        Yes, but which is it: "just gotta fix this and that" broken, or "this thing is a complete mess" broken?

        I'll take the latter, as my impression of Unity was pretty much the worst possible; absolutely nothing works as a regular user would expect. It's like they went out of their way to make things as cryptic and unfamiliar as possible. It's nearly unusable. Oh, and Gnome 3? It sucks too. Both are like a goddamn cell phone interface crammed into the desktop -- seems to be a trend now. Well, fuck this shit: it simply does not work!

        My impression of Unity is it's broken but not fundamentally. The Ubuntu dropdown panel needs to be rewritten from scratch, the thing needs prefs to control its position and hide behaviour, it needs more taskbar style apps and that fucking global menu needs to be configurable for people who are not running on netbooks. After that it's just a desktop with a dock. GNOME 3.0 looks a lot slicker but it's not hard to find issues with it too. Both need work.

      • by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:57AM (#36416142)

        The classic complaint of unfamiliarity comes with every single interface change. I heard it with Windows 95, Windows XP, definitely heard it with Windows Vista, and Windows 7. I heard it to a lesser extent with various major versions of Gnome, and KDE. I heard it about the iPhone, I heard it about the Android.

        One of two things will happen. Either in 5 years everyone will love it, or in 5 years it will be a forgotten bad past in UI design. Either way right now it's just another case of a very sarcastic, "Unfamiliar? Really? Say it aint so!!!!"

        I'm actually banking on the latter given the moves to interfaces such as in Honeycomb, both Gnome and Unity, and from the Windows 8 preview. I hate to break it to you but I think the start menu / window system may be going the way of the console in general purpose computing.

        • by cynyr (703126)

          really not much has changed with the windows UI since windows 95... The colors did, and most recently the shape of the start button, and that you have to click an extra time to get the "old" menu up.

        • by tepples (727027)

          I hate to break it to you but I think the start menu / window system may be going the way of the console in general purpose computing.

          By "console", do you mean optimized for games, able to fall back to standard definition video, and cryptographically locked down?

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Problem is touch does not work well on computers. Constantly reaching up to touch the screen is an obvious ergonomic problem, as is having the screen flat on a desk and looking down at it. Touch interfaces have to be simplified and buttons made larger because stubby fingers are imprecise, but if we are going to stick with a mouse/touchpad on desktops then there is no need.

          All touch applications are by necessity simplified because having the vast array of features their desktop counterparts do when limited t

      • by INT_QRK (1043164)
        Concur that nothing works as expected. I see what they're doing. I get it. I don't like it. For right now, this is no problem, because I just login using Ubuntu Classic, which is Gnome. I'm sorry to say that if Canonical doesn't fix unity before the next release, I'll just choose to go another distro, and say "So long Ubuntu, and thanks for all the fish!"
      • And yet people seem to like the Windows 8 demos. I think they're all bloody awful.

        Even worse, some people are convinced that this new interface is the only interface anything should have. That Windows is dead, OS X is dead, GNU/Linux is dead, and now it's just a matter of Android vs iOS.

        Do these people not have to create anything on their computers? That's the only conceivable reason I can fathom for thinking the keyboard and mouse are going away.

      • by wrook (134116)

        Yes, but which is it: "just gotta fix this and that" broken, or "this thing is a complete mess" broken?

        I have been using it for the past month. It is definitely broken. Technically, it's not a complete mess. It *could* be fixed. The question is if they want to fix it. Here are my problems with it:

        The absolute biggest problem is that focus follows mouse and sloppy focus are not supported. The biggest issue is that the menu is at the top, so when you move the mouse to get to the menu and cross over another window, you change to the menu in the other application. There are a few other minor issues as wel

  • Polish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @01:02AM (#36415732)
    I still think they released it way too soon. I would never point a new user at 11.04 due to its stability, regardless of its usability. I really expected to see some of the problems fixed by this point too, but the patches seem to be just starting to trickle in. I'm hoping they don't yank out the 'Classic' Gnome interface on 11.10 as planned.
    • Re:Polish (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UBfusion (1303959) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @01:12AM (#36415764)

      When you have a pre-defined 6-month release cycle, exact deadlines and dozens of bugs pending, any new release is "released too soon".

      With every new release new bugs are introduced, the old ones are given less priority and the user experience remains about the same. I hate to tell this, but the situation is the same with every piece of software and hardware (laptops and mobile phone models, anyone?) and reminds me of the saying "technology is something that does not work yet".

      • With every new release new bugs are introduced, the old ones are given less priority and the user experience remains about the same.

        no, there are more bugs in the new version. so the user experience actually degrades. also, i haven't seen this happen anywhere else.

      • Exactly. That is why I'd tell every Ubuntu dev to stop work and read these articles and other related ones.
        http://www.43folders.com/2006/10/17/robert-peake-part-one [43folders.com]
        GTD (Getting Things/To Done) is really important. I don't think Canonical understand this at all.
        They should stop all new features and then just put their 6month sprint into bug fixing and producing CLEAN CODE (another Agile dev mantra)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Mr. Mikey (17567)

      I've been using 11.04 with Unity since it became available... and it has become my favorite UI.

      I've had zero stability problems, and have found it to be one of the most usable interfaces I've ever had... and I've been using Debian or Debian variants since '98.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I like Unity and I have run into a fairly serious problem. Any window which is opened fullscreen can never be made not-fullscreen. If it was opened non-fullscreen and then made fullscreen it works fine. Hopefully this bug will be resolved in relatively short order... especially since it's a goddamn regression. I'm tired of those, and I'd say they're the #1 problem with Ubuntu in general.

    • by gaelfx (1111115)

      I don't think they have plans for dropping Gnome altogether just yet, if you check on the roadmap for Oneiric Ocelot, you'll see that they have Gnome 3 in the current alpha: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/OneiricOcelot/TechnicalOverview/Alpha1 [ubuntu.com]
      Now, I'm not saying that won't change, but I do think that the current plan is to keep it available.

  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @02:13AM (#36415912)
    It would have been better released as a netbook or tablet only DM option.
  • I actually didn't find unity to be as horrible as other people were making it out to be. Two things I would fix: 1) Turn off the autohide of the left panel. I hated this so much for the first couple of days until I found some settings to turn it off. 2) The universal (c.f. Macintosh) menu bar at the top also autohides the menu until I mouse over it. I still haven't figured out how to fix that.
  • Imagine a car (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @02:36AM (#36415970) Journal

    Yes a car anology, on slashdot, I am that original!

    Imagine a car, they replace the brake with a handle on the dashboard. The gas pedal is a set of buttons, one for each 10km/h speed range on the dashboard. To drive you always need your foot on a pedal on the floor. Sound silly? Trains are like that. It works perfectly well. So would you want this arrangement in your car?

    The steering wheel you say? The need for the steering wheel in your car would make the train controls unusable?

    EX-FUCKING-ACTLY.

    That is the entire problem with both Unity and Gnome 3. ALL the controls in your car are not just there because of how they would be best implemented but because they have to work together with the other controls. And that can create some interesting designs. Take the UPS trucks. Where is your stick shift? Why is it not in the same place in cars like that? Because it would get in the way of the driver crossing the center to get out on the other side of the car. Most busses got an entiry set of control on the left hand side of the driver because they can because the door is not there. But this means the driver has to get out through the counter area for the passengers. British double deckers did not have the driver interact with the passengers, and he was in his own cabin, excitting through his own door, making it impossible to put controls like the handbrake in there. Function dictates design.

    Changing the interface we are all familiar with can be done, if there is a need but you got to be careful you don't upset all the other needs.

    What are my needs in a desktop? To manipulate windows, to arrange them to according to my need to look BETWEEN them. I am a developer, a common need there is to have one window to read data from, another to put data into and a third to test the effect. Normally you do this by having a sufficiently large screen and arranging at least two of them side by side and maybe the third with a shade effect or overlap. Alt-tab in fullscreen mode is often not functional especially if there are other windows active. These windows can typically be quickly accessed from a bar at the bottom or top where all windows have a link side by side.

    So, what does Unity and Gnome3 and Windows 7 do? HIDE things behind multiple clicks.

    Unity and Gnome3 especially seem aimed at smaller screens operating in full screen for applications. That is great for an author who writes uninterrupted in the same writer. It works when you are watching movies and only have a file browser open in full screen and then launch a single player from that. It is possibly great for the casual user.

    But for me? I have a very large screen area, switching the pointer to the top every single time I want to do something, that is NOT efficient. If I have multiple windows over of the same app, I have that for a reason, I do NOT want them treated as one. I do NOT want to click more then is absolutely necessary to get things done.

    Unity and Gnome3 feel like they were optimized for a very specific use case, tablets and other small screen setups, that just ain't the norm for PC's especially PC's that are running Linux. And they changed EVERYTHING. Nothing works anymore as it did before. All the apps in your task bar? Gone, especially in unity. Customization? Gone. Stability? Gone!

    It is like they took your old reliable volvo car interface and replaced it with a new one that you hate with the build quality of a trabant painted in an exciting mix of puss and shit.

    Unity and Gnome3 should have been kept as an option for a long time until the kinks had been ironed out, a very clear and fun to watch tutorial had been out to show EVERY single current use case redone in the new style and until it absolutely worked smoothly, stable AND without taking loads of functions away.

    Instead Gnome and Ubuntu tried to emulate MS by pulling a Vista. They redesigned things people didn't want redesigned, and removed functionality and replaced it with instability.

    Do not WANT.

    I tried it,

    • I have been involved with a few user interface development projects over the years. One trend I have noticed is that the product is often influenced by the development tools being used by the developers. One product looked exactly like microsoft visual c++, it had the same panes performing functions analogous to the functions in the development tool. I think these recent UI environments are heavily influenced by IDE software development tools. When working with an IDE the environment decides what informati

    • by mabinogi (74033)

      Unity and Gnome3 especially seem aimed at smaller screens operating in full screen for applications

      The worst thing is that if you actually try it on a small screen, it becomes clear that the developers have never actually used a computer with a resolution lower than 1680x1050. That screen hogging side panel hurts your brain when it starts collapsing and you find yourself having to chase icons around.

      For small screens the old Ubuntu Netbook launcher was perfect - I even use it on a desktop (1366x768 - so still fairly low res), and it was touch friendly too. I don't know why they abandoned it so quickly

    • by w0mprat (1317953)

      Unity and Gnome3 especially seem aimed at smaller screens operating in full screen for applications

      Blame tablets for the new fangled obsession with going back to full screen apps, which has seen much needed progress in windowed multitasking take a step backwards. In fact lets just blame dumbed down tablets, and one incumbent tablet monopoly, by setting computing progress back into reverse by over simplifying user input and forcing the user back to one task at a time.

      This is fine for idle content consumption, which seems to be the unfortunate future of mainstream computing. But I can't help feeling thi

      • Blame tablets for the new fangled obsession with going back to full screen apps, which has seen much needed progress in windowed multitasking take a step backwards. In fact lets just blame dumbed down tablets, and one incumbent tablet monopoly, by setting computing progress back into reverse by over simplifying user input and forcing the user back to one task at a time.

        To be fair there was a trend on Mac, unrelated to netbooks, towards "distraction free" programs (mostly writing tools) that presented a full-screen no-frills view to the user. I've also found that, for me, the full-screen thing actually works sometimes which surprised me. I'm on OSX Lion right now and I really like the fullscreen terminal for example, just one swipe of the mouse and I switch between my desktop and a fullscreen terminal. I can totally see how this would be a boon on smaller screens too, like

    • Disclaimer, I use Gnome shell and since your criticism is about both, I think this is relevant.
      1. Computer shell is NOT like car controls. Mistakes are not deadly. I could easily make analogy with mobile phones or any other consumer device and it becomes quite apparent, that people can adapt to new stuff (maybe not all developers, but progress by funerals is fine by me).
      2. Meta key is your friend. Use it and there is no need to move the mouse all the way.
      3. So, you claim they ruined it all, and should just

    • Gnome 3 was developed for good keyboard shortcuts so you don't have to mouse everything. Tapping the window key is a lot easier than dragging your mouse to the corner. You also now have alt-tab and alt-~ to play with. But you have to get over your fear of the keyboard.

      The odd thing that I have noticed is that the people who complain the most about clicks seem to have the greatest fear of the keyboard. :-/

      • Tapping a key is actually much slower when you're not actually touching the keyboard already, hardly an unusual scenario for most users and much of the time. And even when you're already working with the keyboard, yanking the cursor to the top right corner, an infinitely sized area, is a minimal effort and not much more involved than hitting a key. (However, you do lose your previous cursor position, which is a bigger issue, I'd argue; though not so much if you're switching windows anyway.)

    • by lennier (44736)

      painted in an exciting mix of puss

      Tortiseshell or tabby?

  • by Trogre (513942) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:11AM (#36416188) Homepage

    "The new Unity interface is broken..."

    Well they're off to a good start. Honestly why anyone would want to use such an interface on anything larger than a netbook is beyond me.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      "The new Unity interface is broken..."

      Well they're off to a good start. Honestly why anyone would want to use such an interface on anything larger than a netbook is beyond me.

      Ha, you think that's stupid - have you seen the Windows 8 UI? Talk about being inspired by the GOP's doubling down on stupid. *whew*

      Hopefully the Win 8 screenshots we've seen are ONLY for netbooks/tablets.

  • by Loopy (41728) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:17AM (#36416204) Journal

    The UI has everything hidden behind searches or submenus or whatever to free up screen real estate on smaller screens. On my dual-26" monitor setup, I don't want buried and simple. I want the 10-15 main apps/scripts I use on the front page and the start menu to show me all the admin/config options in a standard menu the way I've had it everywhere else.

    Maybe I'm getting old and fuddy-duddy but I found this interface a clunky and unusable attempt to look like a mix of Windows 7, iOS, Android and Mac OSX. The search box in Windows 7's start menu still shows me all the control panel/admin task items just like the start menu. The Unity search box could not find my network config, my updater app or a bunch of other apps I'd been happily using before switching.

    I'll be honest and say I read no documentation or tutorials on how to use Unity but I can't remember the last time I had to read a book on how to use a flippin' menu system.

  • Broken By Design. (Score:5, Informative)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:24AM (#36416214)
    Any developer of an operating system, regardless of proprietary or open licence, would do well to pay attention to what power users do to tweak the OS immediately after installing, and what tools developers create to make it easy to tweak. Consider the nice little app Ubuntu Tweak - it's a worry when a third party add-on gives superior fast access to common things you need to fix, it demonstrates how broken-by-design the original OS is.

    Interesting, Linux Mint, Pinguy and other Ubuntu derived have not embraced Unity, and as always their versions of 11.04 fix quite a list of broken things.

    Microsoft paid a lot of attention with Windows 7, after Vista. A lot of the defaults, such as services, were similar to what power users would do to tweak some speed out of Vista.

    Canoncial are you listening?
  • by dutchd00d (823703) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:34AM (#36416252) Homepage

    I recently decided to put Ubuntu 11.04 on a spare machine, just to see what all the fuss was about. I hated it, for the same reasons that others have given above. It seemed to be different for the sake of being different. The clincher was when I tried to open a second text terminal. It wouldn't let me, presumably because I already had that application open, and why on earth would I need two of them?

    So then, just for kicks, I decided to install the latest Debian. When the desktop came up it felt like coming home. In fact, I was a little shocked to see how much it looked like the Ubuntu I was used to. There was a Debian logo in the upper left corner instead of an Ubuntu one, but that seemed to be the only difference. The same applications, the same themes, the same everything. I never realised how little Ubuntu added to its Debian base.

    So I've made up my mind. The next big reinstall is going to be Debian instead of Ubuntu. Best of luck to Ubuntu with its Unity, its Wayland, its Ubuntu Software Center and its Ubuntu One, but as far as I'm concerned it's time for something else.

    • by Artemis3 (85734)

      Even if you do this, you have to make sure you switch to XFCE, because sooner or later, Debian will have gnome3, and unless you love the new gnome shell, you won't like it. This is the same for the people switching to Linux Mint and others.

      The reason i would prefer an Ubuntu based distro is the PPA system. I'll wait for Debian to implemented this officially, then ppl could just install Stable and have current versions of specific apps.

      It is very easy to install Ubuntu minimal (command line) and then add the

  • Yeah, I'm seeing this. Running 11.04 with classic interface on a Dell Mini 9. I thought the battery was finally dying of old age - no, it's terrible power consumption.

    Is there anything that can be done about this? Old kernel version?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The funny thing is that I just put natty on a Dell Vostro 1500 with a C2D and it runs quieter, cooler, and longer now than it did running XP... On the other hand, I got a GPU overheat warning yesterday evening for the first time (at 140) and cleaned my vents to see it come down to 120... So partly dust, but my vents have been that dusty before.

      • I've spent the past five or so years being delighted at how much better Ubuntu has consistently done than XP doing the same jobs (Firefox with a zillion tabs/windows open, and a music player) on the same hardware. This is most disconcerting.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I actually think the problem is exacerbated by Unity because I'm not seeing it where I'm not using Unity. Meanwhile natty is noticeably more responsive than maverick on my Phenom II X3 720 desktop with GT 240 and 8GB... and old, old disks. I can just barely hit 30MB/sec sustained real-world.

          Amusingly, on this machine not only does natty boot faster than XP (in spite of XP's generally superior boot optimization... XP actually reorders disk blocks to improve boot speed) but it actually reboots faster, which i

  • I know opinion is exceptionally polarised on this subject, but my personal favourite was always the global menu bar.

    However, there are many reasons why it was never properly implemented on Linux desktop systems and it was available for years in KDE, but hardly ever used by anyone. Why?

    1. It can not be used in conjunction with focus-follows-mouse, a favourite of some UNIX oldies. These are, however, becoming relatively fewer as Linux desktop usage has spread among people that have never seen a system using f

  • When copying from a hard drive to another location on the same disk, the new Ubuntu is a few seconds slower than the previous LTS, both with Unity and using the old GNOME 2 shell of Ubuntu Classic. Ubuntu 11.04 Classic finishes a fraction of a second before Unity.

    Desktop users don't care about +/- a few percent in file copy speed. What they should have tested was: does the desktop grind to a slow, unusable halt when copying files? I know 10.10 did, and also Windows to some extent, but not as bad. This wou

  • I wasn't aware of any Ubuntu 11.4 being released... is it an improvement on 11.04?

  • battery life! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by perryizgr8 (1370173) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @09:03AM (#36416878)

    wtf is this, ubuntu?
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ubuntu-11.04-natty-narwhal,2943-13.html [tomshardware.com]
    2 hours lost?!!?
    how can anyone write code that causes such a huge battery life reduction?

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @11:26AM (#36417532) Homepage

    Serious question about the global menu bar: Did they find a way to make it work with focus-follows-mouse? That's one thing I really miss on my Mac. I hate click-to-focus, and I've tried the various add-ons to enable focus-follows-mouse. But on a Mac, the global menu bar makes it completely impractical. To get to the menu bar you have to move the mouse outside the window. If you pause over another window on your way to the menu, the other window gets focus and the menu changes. Has Canonical found a way around this, or did they just omit focus-follows-mouse as an option?

    The other thing I didn't see in the article was any mention of multi-monitor support. Does Unity have it? If so, how does it play with the global menu and the launcher? Are they only on the primary display, or are they replicated on each one?

  • by R3 (15929) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @12:01PM (#36417862) Homepage

    After seeing the latest "innovations" both Unity and Gnome 3 brought to the table, I made a switch to Arch Linux with OpenBox, permanently.

    IMHO both Unity and Gnome 3 are doing a great disservice to Linux

    "Optimized for tablets..." What tablets? Where are the Linux tablets? All I see is out there are iPads and Androids, with Microsoft joining the fray with Windows 8 soon.

    What will probably end up happening is what we've already seen with Linux on desktops: Ubuntu and possibly some other tablet-optimized distro will try to sign up a hardware vendor (say, Dell, since they seem to be somewhat friendly to the idea)....and fail, due to the market realities (aka. other OS vendors with deep pockets and deeper market penetration will eat their lunch)

    Then they will try to position themselves as an alternative OS on somebody else's tablet (be it Android or Win8), with minuscule uptake (hobbyists and enthusiasts) - mostly because they will have too many rough edges being not fully optimized to run on proprietary hardware.

    In the meantime the majority of Linux laptop/desktop users will struggle with the tablet-optimized UI ....or switch to something more usable, maybe even go back to Windows.

    • I switched back to windows 7. I tried to use the new guis. I just couldnt use it. I cant even reboot after an update! Seriously i have to manually use the unix shutdown command? How can I get my mom to run this? This is not a whiny user who hates change. This is someone who sees very critical flaws. I cant get any work done so I went back to windows.

      Its a sad day when a unix user switches to windows for reliability and functionalty. I am not a troll but speak the truth

  • by Gunfighter (1944) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @12:51PM (#36418270) Homepage

    ... were easily solved with four little words:

    "Ubuntu Classic (No Effects)"

    I don't need eye candy. Perhaps I should give Xubuntu a look?

    • Yes, because in the next version (11.10) this will be gone.
      Once in XFCE, make sure you disable compositing in the window manager settings if it gives you problems.

  • Anyone else with NoScript or similar notice how many damn ad servers Tom's Hardware tries to pull stuff from?
  • At least get the goddam title right. It isn't Ubuntu 11.4, timothy, it's 11.04 . The referenced article does have it right.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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