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Ubuntu 12.04 To Include Head-Up Display Menus 449

Posted by timothy
from the shaking-things-up dept.
For the first few years of its existence, it would have been fair to say that Canonical was essentially polishing, packaging and publishing Debian Linux (and Gnome) to create the base Ubuntu desktop, to great acclaim. For the past few years, though, the company has pushed new looks and new applications (cf. Unity and Ubuntu TV), and refused to stick with prettifying existing interfaces. Now, Barence writes with this excerpt from PC Pro: "Ubuntu is set to replace the 30-year-old computer menu system with a 'Head-Up Display' that allows users to simply type or speak menu commands. Instead of hunting through drop-down menus to find application commands, Ubuntu's Head-Up Display lets users type what they want to do into a search box. The system suggests possible commands as the user begins typing – entering 'Rad' would bring up the Radial blur command in the GIMP art package, for example. HUD also uses fuzzy matching and learns from past searches to ensure the correct commands are offered to users. Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth told PC Pro the HUD will make it easier for people to learn new software packages, and migrate from Windows to Linux software without having to relearn menus. The HUD will first appear in Ubuntu 12.04."
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Ubuntu 12.04 To Include Head-Up Display Menus

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  • Too fast ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:36AM (#38804663) Homepage

    I'd rather have them make Unity usable first. We'll see if they are able to do it and we may decide to move forward from that point.

    • Re:Too fast ! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdotNO@SPAMjawtheshark.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:40AM (#38804737) Homepage Journal
      Indeed, there is something wrong with everyone ditching mature products... So now Unity is "ok". I found that after adapting myself to it, it works. Not as great as Gnome2 did, but I can live with it as a default desktop. However, they're going to change even more. I wrote about this mindset a while ago. [slashdot.org]. For the TL;DR crowd: Mature software is not seen as something "good" but as "something to be replaced". It's a sad time we live in.
      • Re:Too fast ! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Pieroxy (222434) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:45AM (#38804857) Homepage

        You claim to be able use Unity, so I have to ask: Did they fix the multi-workspace issue where the bar showing all your running apps show them all, not just the apps running in the current workspace? Because there's little point in having multiple workspaces if the bar showing programs doesn't make any difference between them..

        That's one of my biggest grudges against Unity.

        • Well, one thing you do if you adapt yourself is dropping stuff that doesn't work. I stopped using virtual desktops, just like I stopped using maximized windows. I just tested, and when I do switch to another virtual desktop and all running applications are indeed still show in the "Dock".

          I agree, it's braindead. Do note that I said (in the linked journal) that I did change a lot of my habits. Moving to Unity was akin to when I moved from Windows to Mac OS X in 2001. I was so horribly frustrated, that I

          • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:50AM (#38805907) Journal

            Hmm, I think I disagree a little.

            Per your other rants, it's not my duty on *my computer* to "change paradigms" at the whim of pseudo-bored software companies. When they want to fiddle with stuff, I am likely to try to put it back. I put back the classic menus in Excel, I put back the classic flywheel Start menu, etc. Bonus - my plugin gives me the original menus in Excel rather than the horrible new ones. It proves that the code was hidden, not dropped.

            I am a fan of low-tek plugins / widgets for stuff like that. So if some feature has a dumb bug in it, maybe try to code a little utility that fixes it! (Or commission someone else to do it.)

            Case in point - Windows 7. I like that it has 8 more years of back end middleware so that some more stuff "just works", but I was grumpy with all the little bumps, so I hunted around all the settings and disabled most of the candy. (You know, it's like cotton candy from a fair, it looks all swirly but there's nothing there.)

            However, yes, there are limits, if the company totally overhauls the UI, and strips out the original feature code, rather than hiding it, then you might as well use a whole other distro / UI / platform/ etc.

      • Re:Too fast ! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by david.given (6740) <dg@NOsPaM.cowlark.com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:39AM (#38805719) Homepage Journal

        My father's been using Ubuntu for years, and really likes it; he prefers it to Windows. As he's not a Linux geek and installing Linux in such a way as to reliably not wreck anything else on the system is still not foolproof, I've been managing the system for him.

        I've been holding off on upgrading him since Unity came out; he's running the last LTS from before that. But that's getting a bit long in the tooth, so when the recent version came out I showed him Unity and Gnome 3. He loathes them both, calling them childish --- he particularly dislikes the huge, unlabelled icons. Eventually we found the (highly non-intuitive) way to shrink the Unity dock bar icons and he says he can live with it, but he really just wants the old Ubuntu back. Gnome 3 he thought was unspeakable. No task bar, no minimise, and above all he dislikes having the dock on a different screen. (He wasn't keen on the Unity launcher screen, either.)

        But this is the really telling thing: I tried him out on various systems, to see which one he liked best. His favourite? Haiku.

      • Re:Too fast ! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theguyfromsaturn (802938) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:58AM (#38806065)

        I actually like Gnome 3 better than Gnome 2. I bitched about it at first. But it improved my productivity. Sometimes we only resist change because we are used to something. True, change for change's sake is not necessarily good. But sometimes you have to experiment with new things. Otherwise, you can't find a better way of doing what you always did before. The old way of doing things is often based on the limitations of the time. It's good that we keep distros and desktop environments that apply the old ways. But it doesn't mean that the new way may not be better.

        And sometimes the new way is not all that new. It seems to me that the new heads up display is very much like what I usually do anyways... Alt-F2 and call my fav. command. That was true to call an application why can it not be true about a menu command? Sometimes the menu command is easy to figure out, but where it is being kept is hard. And lots of time is wasted in finding it.

        It's actually an old interface if you think about it. The first version of AutoCAD I knew (for DOS) had this command line that you could use in conjunction with the mouse. It increased productivity back then enormously for not forcing you to constantly wave the mouse back and forth between the menu and where it needs to be. Once you memorize the commands it just works. And guess what? AutoCAD still has that function. Since the 1980s. It's probably what has kept it as the top CAD solution (at least in civil engineering it is) despite its price tag. The command line is awesome. Now, Ubuntu proposes in essence to carry on that power (no quite, I'm sure you can't just cut and paste a string of commands from the clipboard thus making a spreadsheet a preferred interface of mine to AutoCAD) to pretty much every application. I think it is awesome. I think it is not new, and about time that it was done. Watch out AutoDesk. AutoCAD may end up having some competition through no fault of their own (the competitors, I mean).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by enemorales (1172133)
      "... and migrate from Windows to Linux software without having to relearn menus" I do like typing the name (or part of the name) of an application to run it, but still I'm really not sure about this one. Menus, at least, are a lot more standarized in term of names (for the most common tasks: copy, pase, search, undo...) than applications names. I'm a long time linux user, for example, but I have not idea how is called the presentation application in open-office (or libre-office). Will I have to type "prese
      • For really common tasks such as copy/paste/search/undo, keyboard shortcuts are better. Even some fairly clueless users know how to use those.

        I think the OO presentation software is called "Impress". Anyone writing a description and tagging this software to use with a Gnome DO/Windows 7/"HUD" style search box would likely tag it with words such as "presentation" and "powerpoint".

      • by andydread (758754)
        I dunno but if i can pop open the dash and type email file.txt user@host.tld and other things like that I would use it alot.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      IMHO Unity sucks, so I ditched it and went for gnome3 which is also a bit of a regression from Gnome2 but not so bad.

      So yes, menus for the win.

      This new interface sounds like keyboard-shortcuts-on-steroids. Nothing wrong with keyboard shortcuts, just that they're harder to learn than menus. This is promoted as "not having to relearn menus" - well true, but you have to learn so much more! For example how to find a function you don't know the exact name of? Or how to find what functions are available that may

      • Re:Too fast ! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by scottbomb (1290580) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:11AM (#38805269) Journal

        Xubuntu. XFCE to the rescue.

      • If you don't know about the existence of the command line terminal you likely don't need it anyway.

        Unless you heard about a program that you want to install, and you don't want to wait a minute for Ubuntu Software Center to quit spinning its throbber. (I timed it on my Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 running Ubuntu 11.10.) It's so much faster to open a terminal and sudo apt-get install audacity or whatever.

      • by oakgrove (845019)

        how do you know the command to start a web browser?

        Er, you start typing "web bro..." in the search box and Chrome/Firefox/Opera/Elinks/Konqueror all just start appearing. Have you used Linux in the last 5 years?

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      This might make Unity usable. After all, its main problem is that it causes too much clicking around. Like OS X, just a lot worse, half-baked and with solutions that simply don't work with many important apps. This seems like something in the direction of Quicksilver [qsapp.com], a shell that made OS X ridiculously keyboard efficient.

      • by oakgrove (845019)
        The more I think about this the more brilliant it seems. It's the logical evolution of the omni-present search box seen in all modern desktops. Why should the instant search be limited to documents, programs, settings, etc. when it can also display results from the menu of the currently focused program. Quite often I'll fire up some little used program and have to go hunting through the menus for something I know is there but can't recall exactly where it is. This sounds like a solution to that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by wisnoskij (1206448)

      You cannot polish a turd.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:36AM (#38804683)

    I've been doing this for years... so much, in fact, that I have no idea where most menu entries are on my Windows and Linux boxes, and I'm sure many don't even have menu entries. My wife can't navigate my desktops.

    I hit "F2" and type commands on Gnome/Linux, and hit "r" all the time. It makes me look like a hacker and is really intimidating to inexperienced users watching me.

    Expecting the user to know which command they want - especially in Linux where most program names have nothing to do with their functionality - just seems like a very strong turn in the opposite direction that Ubuntu has been taking.

    • by Flammon (4726) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:03AM (#38805151) Homepage Journal

      You didn't read the article, did you?

      Watch the video and then let me know how you've been doing this for years on Windows and Linux because I'm really curious now.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=w_WW-DHqR3c [youtube.com]

      • by Stratoukos (1446161) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:12AM (#38805287)

        I've been doing something similar on OS X.

        Every application's Help menu item has a textbox that filters all menu items. You can also reach this textbox through a shortcut (cmd+shift+?).

        So, for example, if I'm editing a document and I want to make some text superscript, Instead of hunting through its menus, I just hit cmd+shift+?, type 'sup' and hit enter.

        • I've been doing something similar on OS X.

          Every application's Help menu item has a textbox that filters all menu items. You can also reach this textbox through a shortcut (cmd+shift+?).

          So, for example, if I'm editing a document and I want to make some text superscript, Instead of hunting through its menus, I just hit cmd+shift+?, type 'sup' and hit enter.

          Oh god, does this mean Apple have a patent on it?

      • The video reminds me of something that I can already do in OS X.

        Nothing wrong with HUD, except that HUD usually refers to displaying information not a search function; So I was expecting something else.

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      How is this interesting? You are completely missing the point. Consider this: you are using k3b (cd burner) for the first time as a Linux newb. You will know it is the cd burner because the search box for the desktop brings it up when you start typing "cd bur...". When it opens up, you want to burn an iso so you start hunting through the menus for iso mode. But, wait, why hunt when you can just type "iso" in the same handy dandy little search box that you used to bring up the cd burner in the first pla
  • LTS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CheShACat (999169) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:38AM (#38804701) Homepage Journal
    Isn't 12.04 supposed to be the next LTS release? Seems like they've gone far wayward from their original goals if they're introducing such huge new projects into what's supposed to be a stable, reliable release that enterprises can trust. It would be a better idea to introduce it in 12.10, surely?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by deathguppie (768263)

      Actually seems like the opposite situation to me. If you are introducing such a far reaching goal you probably want as much time to work on it as possible and an LTS would give you that time.

      The thing that really astounds me here is the fact that the feature is application specific. That means that every application will have this feature implemented downstream, at Canonical. That seams like an awfully large piece of beef jerky to bite off right there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you are introducing such a far reaching goal you probably want as much time to work on it as possible

        You clearly don't understand the LTS release cycle in the slightest.

        • Mod parent up. LTS is for software that is already stable. It's not for proof of concept stuff or first releases. This seems like both to me.

          • Re:LTS? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:37AM (#38805675) Homepage Journal

            LTS has never been for software that's already stable. Traditionally LTS releases are the most buggy versions upon launch. No system administrator jumps from one LTS to another without waiting a few months for Canonical to get the kinks out.

            When people talk about "stability" with LTS releases they're talking about it being unchanging, not being free of bugs. Because it's unchanging Canonical usually makes sure LTS releases come with the latest greatest of everything, because three years down the line it's still going to be stuck with that version of everything - with bug fixes of course.

            It sounds counter intuitive, but it wouldn't make sense for something you need to support for three to five years to come with software that's "tried and tested" - because that'd mean a distribution that's obsolete long before its support period is up.

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        Actually seems like the opposite situation to me. If you are introducing such a far reaching goal you probably want as much time to work on it as possible and an LTS would give you that time.

        Yeah, by making the users into betatesters for this 'new tech'. The whole point of the LTS releases was to provide the users with solid working applications, not 3 meters in front of the sharp edge features.

        Looks like Ubuntu has finally become Windows...

    • what's supposed to be a stable, reliable release

      Yeah I hope gnome 3 will still be available as an alternative

  • Emacs... (Score:5, Informative)

    by WeirdAlchemy (2530168) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:38AM (#38804705)
    has had this for decades. M-x allows you to enter a command by name, with tab completion.
  • Innovation is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:39AM (#38804717)

    Replacing the 30 year old GUI with the 40 year old CLI*.

    (*plus autocomplete, yay)

    • by vlm (69642)

      Replacing the 30 year old GUI with the 40 year old CLI*.

      (*plus autocomplete, yay)

      Everything in IT is relentlessly cyclical. In 20 years we'll be scrapping the new CLIs for GUIs, again.

      To some extent the "information bandwidth" and/or productivity of GUIs has dropped so low, that trying something like a CLI can only be an improvement.

      Also CLIs are a LOT older than 40 years. That barely takes you back to the early 70s.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Replacing the 30 year old GUI with the 40 year old CLI*.

      (*plus autocomplete, yay)

      Alt+F2 already does auto-complete. In LXDE, it even gives you a nice dropdown after the first few letters, so if you're not sure and want to browse things that are "like" a command, you can.

      Remember - Canonical was one of Shuttleworths' venture capital schemes. He thought that he could launch a new linux distro, market the heck out of it, and get his 30x payday.

      Too bad that none of his hoped-for buyers are interested.

      • Remember - Canonical was one of Shuttleworths' venture capital schemes. He thought that he could launch a new linux distro, market the heck out of it, and get his 30x payday.

        There's nothing to remember because it's just not true. If Canonical were a VC scheme, he would have fled a long time ago and not continuing to support and expand the company.

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          It's called throwing good money after bad. His (well-known large ego) won't let him admit that the goofed, repeatedly.

          It's the same reason that he keeps focusing on marketing props instead of adding real value, and why Canonical doesn't really even have much in the way of software expertise (they couldn't get Android to run properly in 3 years, while a small company does it in a couple of months? [theglobeandmail.com]

          It also explains why they concentrate on the UI - its the easiest thing to change. Same as Ubuntu TV was ju

  • The concept... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by christianT (604736) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:39AM (#38804725)

    ...sounds good. That is almost the way I work now on windows or linux. On windows I more often than not hit (windows) + R to get the run box and then type the name of the .exe I want to run. On Ubuntu, it is (alt) + (f2) and type a command. I for one hope our Ubuntu overlords pull this off.

    • by chrb (1083577)

      Yeah, it's an interesting idea. If it works well, it means people are going to be using the mouse less - instead of click to open a menu, then move to open submenu, and repeating until you get to the action you want - you are just going to be hitting some keyboard hot key and typing "edge fil" and then selecting from the drop down options. It might even be useful for accessibility. OTOH, it is not what people are used to, and there are going to be people complaining. But it is only a default desktop, and pe

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:39AM (#38804729)

    Now Mark Shuttleworth is well on his way to being the next Steve Jobs, for good or for bad.

    And I've gone back to Debian, which is a huge relief after the crushing disappointments that were the last few version of Ubuntu.

    In a year or two I expect Ubuntu to be as "open source" as IOS...

  • LTS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AikonMGB (1013995) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:40AM (#38804747) Homepage
    Why are we introducing a dramatically new interface feature for a long-term support (LTS) release?
  • Lenovo is selling a 55" Android Ice Cream Sandwich TV [slashdot.org]

    Why would anyone want to partner with Canonical, who abandoned their attempt to make an "Android Execution Environment" a couple of years ago because they couldn't make it work, when they can get the real deal?

  • Awesome! Er, but, I can already do that with kubuntu. And every other version of Linux. And even with Windows -- my notebook has text to speech, and if you want to type DOS commands you can open a DOS window.

    Steampunk retro!

    • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:16AM (#38805327)

      I can already do that with kubuntu

      So if you are using GIMP in Kubuntu, you can just type "Undo His..." in the desktop's search box and the menu entry for Undo History will come to the forefront? I just tried it for shits and giggles and it don't work. This is very smart on Canonical's part but don't let the Ubuntu-hate grind to a halt on my account.

  • by tyl (520631) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:41AM (#38804775) Homepage

    "For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive - you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme."

    s/radios/linux/g ; s/listening to/running/

    Nearly there. Time to start spinning in your grave, Mr. Adams.

    Philip

  • Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:41AM (#38804779) Homepage

    I have to say it... While there have been a lot of issues with Unity and Ubuntu in general I love the fact that Ubuntu dares to try and do genuine innovation.

    Let's face it: It's easy to bash something that "sucks", but it requires a lot more courage to risk braking stuff and trying to find genuinely new approaches to existing problems.

    • Re:Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ledow (319597) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:55AM (#38804983) Homepage

      Courage: Yes.

      Sense: No.

      Lots of things take courage, including throwing yourself off a building. It doesn't mean it's a good idea.

      My first thought was actually:

      "For fuck's sake. No another attempted 'paradigm' shift on how my users are supposed to run the only program they use and print a document from it."

      Seriously, innovation is all well and good. But can someone please innovate around getting a system that increase productivity by NOT requiring retraining. Every "new" way to do things costs money and customers. Whereas a lot of people would pay a lot of money for a system that operates pretty much like Windows 95 did, but without the bugs and other horrendous ideas it had like Active Desktop.

      Where is the "Productive Desktop Distro"?

      • a lot of people would pay a lot of money for a system that operates pretty much like Windows 95 did

        If you want Xubuntu, you know where to find it.

        -- A happy Ubuntu user who was disappointed by Unity but pleased by sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

    • Re:Innovation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:57AM (#38805039)
      Agreed. It's fashionable to decry any new UI ideas as stupid. And indeed many UI redesigns are a step backwards, or purely aesthetic, or confusing, ... I'm not a fan of Unity, for instance. But we have to be at least somewhat open to new UI ideas, or computer interaction will never move forward.

      This particular idea seems really good to me. In fact it's something I've been wanting for a long time. There have been small pushes in this direction (e.g. the Ubiquity add-on for Firefox [mozillalabs.com] would let you type commands (like "map XXX" or "email page to XXX") and get immediately useful results), but for it to really work, from a user perspective, it has to be available in every application so that it's worth the cost to learn the new style.

      Being able to search the menu structure is really powerful, especially for applications with loads of commands (photo editors, word processors, etc.). I've lost count of the amount of time I've wasted searching through menus for a command that I use infrequently. I know it exists, I've used it before... but does it count as a "Filter" or an "Adjustment" or an "Edit"? Why can't I just search for it? Moreover, I shouldn't have to train myself to remember where it was put. Once you get used to typing commands, it can be extremely fast to do so, becoming almost as fast as a keyboard shortcut. (Obviously this will be more the case in applications where your hands are already on the keyboard, like word processors; it could be slow in applications like photo-editing where your hand is usually on the mouse...)

      The ability to rapidly invoke commands via the keyboard is something that I would think most slashdotters would love: it adds back in some of the power of the commandline. It also inherently streamlines across applications (you should be able to just type "Save" or "Preferences" in any application and get the expected behavior, regardless of where they put the menu item. If they're smart, they'll kind synonyms, so that "Options" and "Preferences" map to each other...)

      While I am excited about all this, they do need to leave, in my opinion, the usual menu bar accessible and visible. The reason is simple: during the initial learning phase of an application, you don't even know what's possible. You need some way to explore the available commands, see what the app can do, and experiment. Only once you're somewhat familiar with the application does it make sense to quickly invoke commands with the keyboard.
    • by EXTomar (78739)

      I agree. As a matter of UI, I never understood the appeal of the Windows centric layout:

      - If "Start" button doesn't behave like a button.
      - If "Start" is a menu, its position docked at the bottom-left is unusual because that usually contains settings for control but "Start" doesn't control anything about the desktop.
      - As a menu "Start" is clumsy where navigation of more than two levels in another system that menu would be a target for redesign.
      - If "Start" is a file explorer, then the interface is inconsist

  • Wasted money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rev0lt (1950662) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:43AM (#38804809)
    So the big menu improvement is... a text console! The idea itself is not new (AutoCad and several games use the same principle), but what I find hilarious is that apparently, is targeted for beginners - the same kind of users that usually don't know the name of the option/command/whatever they want to select. In most cases, advanced users don't use the menubar that often, because of... keyboard shortcuts - yes, using the keyboard to select actions from the menu! I guess that improvement will be announced on a next version...
    • by robmv (855035)

      Exactly, this is being targeted to beginners, the same users that are afraid to use the keyboard for commands, the same users that do nothing without a mouse. What is worse, the menu is hidden by default so people has no way to learn that keyboard shortcuts exists, so instead of learning about Ctrl+V they will need to write "Paste"+Enter

    • That's right. When I learn a new program, I don't know what command I'm looking for. I haven't yet memorized all the commands, and I want to look at all the menu commands to find the one I vaguely remember. Or to find the one I didn't know about. Most computer users are like that.

      After I've learned the commands, I use the keyboard shortcuts. I don't use the menus much, but they're there when I need them.

      What's the alternative? Am I supposed to read the manual and put post-it notes on my monitor? Do I watch

    • by Hatta (162192)

      So the big menu improvement is... a text console!

      As well it should be. People use words to communicate. The ideal interface is going to be verbal.

  • Obligitory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:51AM (#38804931) Homepage

    "Oh for fuck's sake, where are the preferences?"

    *ping*

    "Oh, there they are."

  • It's NOT Quicksilver (Score:5, Informative)

    by RichardDeVries (961583) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:52AM (#38804939) Journal

    There are a lot of comments saying that this is copying the Run command in Windows or Quicksilver for the Mac. It's not. These don't get you to commands within applications, As Shuttleworth says: “It’s all hooked in below the application level.”

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But Quicksilver does that, too, with the User Interface Access Plugin! http://gigaom.com/apple/quicksilver-does-menus-too/

    • From the sound of it, this is more like Blender's menus, but hooked into every application: You can navigate the menu as you always have, or you can also type the name of the command, instead. If you don't know where in a large menu structure it is, but you remember (part of) the name, that may be faster, especially for software where your fingers are already on the keyboard (e.g. text editor, word processor, spread sheet, etc.) Probably not so useful for GIMP or Audacity.

      But so long as the existing navigat

  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:53AM (#38804951)
    I think that anyone who is so intellectually impoverished that they cannot or will not relearn menus really ought not be using a computer, and certainly should not be permitted the privilege of being on the Internet, where they constitute an active, operational menace to everyone else.

    As a side note, it should be interesting to study the privacy and security implications of this approach. A careful read of the Ubuntu mailing lists (all of which I'm on) reveals that -- so far -- nobody has put up their hand and pointed out that this "helpful" approach has as one obvious side effect the construction of a resource that's enormously useful to attackers.
    • by drx (123393)

      Good user name!

    • by udoschuermann (158146) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:43AM (#38805791) Homepage

      I think that anyone who is so intellectually impoverished that they cannot or will not relearn menus really ought not be using a computer

      I beg to differ: Computers are tools, and when these tools do the job we need them to do, and in a way that satisfies/pleases us, then turning the world upside down is not just counter productive, but unnecessary, and will meet with push back or even rejection. Change for the sake of change seems to be the rage these days, perhaps because "different" is often mistaken as a synonym for "improvement."

      A real improvement would either be so obviously better that everybody will realize it at first sight, even if it's dramatically different; or it would offer the improvement above and beyond the existing functionality without throwing existing users for a loop.

      I would hope that the typed menus under discussion are of the latter type, not the former.

    • anyone who is so intellectually impoverished that they cannot or will not relearn menus really ought not be using a computer

      Your use of the word "intellectual" is new to me. I had not previously seen it defined in terms of rote memorization.

      Nearly twenty years ago I recall Linux supporters making the same arguments for the CLI and against the GUI. They wanted to preserve "privilege" for the elect. Not so different from Hollywood.

      Nice username.

  • Not sure if I like this. If I am new to an app and don't even know the name of a command/action how do I find out what it is, how do I navigate a list of commands/actions to find out ?
  • by drx (123393) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:59AM (#38805067) Homepage

    OS X Lion has a similar feature, you can search the menu of any application by typing the command in a menu search box. The menu still stays on the screen though. It is actually quite useful, because if a menu item is in a obnoxious place, it becomes more easy to find.

  • I know I'd be completely lost without LaunchBar on OS X:

    http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html [obdev.at]

    I initially thought that entering keyboard commands to run a program was completely opposite what a GUI was supposed to offer, but being a command-line driven guy (hey, I'm getting old!), it was amazingly intuitive, not to mention blazingly fast. I rarely use the toolbar to start programs any more, let alone navigate through the Applications folder.

    Definitely recommended for all you OS X folks out there

  • Within 2 weeks most of the people trying to use this will be choking on their own vomit.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:02AM (#38805135) Homepage

    GNU-Linux started as a command based OS, various GUIs were attempted, and now we're back to typing in what we want to do.

  • KDE has had a search function like this for years. It is great, however... you have to know what you are looking for. Take a simple example of opening a console. We know it is called a console or terminal, or rxvt, or xterm, etc.. however a new user may not think of a term window, they may think "I need a command window" however, typing command windows does not display terminals.

    Ill admit that this example can be handled with a lot of research using users who have never used linux before and asking them to

  • While I know some people love search boxes on everything, I personally use them as a last resort. Inevitably it takes me more times and more interfacing (mouse or key clicks) to accomplish the exact same thing that a well written menu can do.

    The argument that they present for why the HUD is great is exactly the reason why it is a poor replacement for menus. Menus are more than triggers for functions. They tell the story of what the software can do. For example, I use a lot of different graphics programs. So

  • I wish Ubuntu (and the rest of the Linux GUI world) would quit trying to re-invent everything with the user interface, and put some long-term polish on something that already works. Gnome 2 had finally become pretty darned usable when--oops!--you can't use Gnome 2 anymore! You have to use Gnome 3 (where half your stuff doesn't work, doesn't appear in a menu, or is generally very counter-intuitive to access and use in any case), or Unity (which is no better about all that, but also has all of about 1 year

  • Because whoever is really is doing a terrible job. Inflicting global menus on every one, hiding the menu actions, hiding scroll bars are terrible usability decisions. One can see how they might reduce space consumption on a netbook where apps are likely to be maximized but they are absolutely terrible on larger displays.

    And now they want to fuck around with menus in an even more radical way. I'd warrant that most people have NO IDEA what most menu items are called, and even if they did then it's still eas

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Knuckles (8964)

      If you could chill the Ubuntu hate for a second, you could see that this not replace the visible menu tree, but adds an additional option.

  • good riddance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:45AM (#38805811) Homepage Journal

    Reading stuff like that is making me happy I left the Linux-on-the-desktop world years ago.

    Where is the research showing that menus are bad and the studies proving this new system is better? Everything else is just geeks doing mental masturbation. Unless you have a seizable number of actual user tests, you are a fucking idiot to put a massive change in user interface into production.

    Experiments are cool, and needed to move forward. Don't get me wrong. And as someone who is in love with Quicksilver, this is absolutely an interesting approach.

    But you are still a fucking idiot if you confuse "interesting idea" with "ready for production just because we've finished the code".

    Don't test UI ideas on your users. As long as you do that, Linux will never be ready for the desktop, because non-geek users hate that.

  • by faedle (114018) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @12:07PM (#38807179) Homepage Journal

    This is getting to be a pet peeve.

    I have to support visually impaired users, and users who don't like a lot of change. I've had more than one person who saw the upgrade message in 10.04 and upgraded to 11.(whatever) and managed to not only completely hose all of the "assistive technology" stuff we set up for them, but to add fuel to the fire they couldn't even navigate around the desktop enough to get onto the "log me in to your computer" page.

    Even Microsoft hasn't foisted this many major UI changes on their end-users. KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF.

  • by fish_in_the_c (577259) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:14PM (#38809107)

    Sorta sounds like some people like the old ways. Isn't the point of icons in a list in case i don't remember the name of what I'm looking for.
    So this is a GUI based command line with command line completion ... or in what way is it different ( as i have not seen it yet) .

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