Friday, September 2, 2011

Ubuntu, see you in October 2012

Most of you probably know that Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot has reached Beta status today. After intentionally skipping any reference to Natty Narwhal (I didn't want to sound negative or overly skeptical), I was curious to see if the dreamy cat brings major improvements. Unfortunately, it does not sound like that's the case.

I can't say I have thoroughly tested Ubuntu 11.10, but I have quickly checked through the main new features and I must say it does not cut it for me. It feels slow, looks ugly, is needlessly cumbersome at times and plain irrational when it comes to some of its design decisions.  Sadly, some interesting features like the introduction of Light DM and Thunderbird fall short when compared to a difficult to explain rush to hide pretty basic controls and a more than obvious desire to copy Apple.  In fact, it seems like Ubuntu became "Linux for Human Beings ...that love Apple products!".

Unity keeps being the main reason for me to stay away from Ubuntu, with global menus coming close second.  Unlike GNOME Shell, which (like it or hate it and even acknowledging its flaws) does feel like an entire and well-thought paradigm shift, Unity still feels like a glorified menu... that crashes way too often.  I know, it does things that classic GNOME menu could not do, but I have not seen anything that justifies the switch.

On a different note, yes, this is simply a Beta, but I remember when I tested Ubuntu 10.10 Beta, it was like previewing the final release version, 95% solid.  This feels like pre-Alpha software at times.

Anyways, enough with the complaining, just wanted to say that I have seen enough of Unity to know that I don't want to see any more until I have to.  In other words, I will stick to my trusty Maverick Meerkat until it runs out of support in October 2012, hoping that Unity is mature enough by then.  If not, I am fairly confident that GNOME Shell and most certainly KDE will be perfect alternatives.

No Ubuntu reviews for a while, it seems!

28 comments:

  1. I am even not trying the new Ubuntu stuff anymore, lost completeley interest on it. :)

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  2. I certainly agree with your concerns with Unity. It's a real step backward in terms of clarity and ease of use, especially for technical users. While I plan to install and test 11.10, I will be staying with 10.04 until its end-of-life.

    Btw, Chromebooks are cool.

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  3. Unity feels slow, because it IS slow.

    For those wanting to stick with LTS release, check out Bodhi Linux. Not only do we use a sane desktop (E17) we backport software to the 10.04 release base so you keep a stable system with current software still.

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  4. Thanks all for your comments!

    @JeffHoogland: That idea of backporting current apps is very cool!!

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  5. Nice article. I don't like mac but let's face it, it does look good (just the look thou), so is not a new thing that others OS try to implement some aesthetic details on them.
    About unity I don't like it either, in fact I abandoned KDE and gnome a long time ago, fortunately we have e17, or for those more conservative, Xfce. Just try another desktop environment and you'll se ubuntu is not the only way.

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  6. not sure what gnome 3 or unity gets me over ubuntu classic. I understand why unity was needed. KDE and GNOME screwed up.

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  7. As others have said, Unity is not the best idea to come out of Ubuntu. Just the same I have yet to grow accustomed to GNOME 3. I understand they want to make things easier for an average user, but with garbage like Unity and GNOME 3, it's as if they're just forgetting the technical users altogether.

    I'm eventually going to install KDE on my laptop. It's the only other desktop system I'm proficient in (not including all of the lower-scale window managers I've used), and IMO, KDE4 is definitely closer to KDE3 than GNOME3 is to GNOME2. I may check out Enlightenment as it seems like a viable alternative, but I'm going to be honest with you all, I'm swayed by aesthetics despite being a technological user, but I do want practicality with my aesthetics.

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  8. In case someone doesn't want Unity, Ubuntu can run on classic Gnome2, just select Ubuntu classic during boot process and enjoy the best Linux distro out there period/

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  9. 10.10 till October 2012, is looking a better alternative for me too.

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  10. @Arup: That's not exactly true, specially come Ubuntu 11.10 and up. Now that they have moved to GNOME3, all you can do is switch to fallback mode on GNOME3 or use Unity 2D, none of which is even close to Classic GNOME.

    If one wants to get the best of Ubuntu through Classic GNOME, it's better done through either Mint 11 or Zorin 5. However, I am afraid those two will be forced to migrate to GNOME 3 come October this year.

    Anyways, I used to think Ubuntu was the best as well, and I still very much respect the huge amount they add to the community, but hey, fortunately there are other options if one does not want to go the Unity way.

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  11. Like Bodhi, we also backport at Fuduntu. Plus, for the time being we are sticking to GNOME 2 because it works. :D

    Firefox 6, Thunderbird 6, Kernel 3.0.3, Chromium 12 etc shiny and new (in testing) at Fuduntu. :D

    http://www.fuduntu.org

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  12. @Fewt: Good move.

    Seems backporting will be a good thing lateley to stay on the Gnome 2 side. :)

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  13. It's good to know I'm not the only person still clinging to Ubuntu 10.10. Maybe the switch to Unity will pay off in the long run as it improves, but right now going to Unity is like switching from KDE 3.x to 4.0 - painful.

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  14. That's sad to hear. Ubuntu was my first... *sigh* I use PCLinuxOS and I'm very satisfied with it. But I want to test other distros and I'm wondering which one to install next.

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  15. @Lupi, there are plenty of high quality options. Both Bodhi and Fuduntu, which have been discussed by their very own developers in this thread, are great alternatives. Fedora, Mandriva, Zorin, MoonOS, Mint, Pardus... The list goes on and on!

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  16. Canonical seems to think that Ubuntu's user base being comparatively small, and its uses rather more casual than enterprise, it can get away with shipping obviously unfinished products. It is clearly releasing beta grade software in finished releases to obtain the biggest possible testing and bug reporting audience. This is going to sound harsh, but it is somewhat of a cheap tactic. Were Ubuntu a more widespread OS with more dependent users, the potential backlash would have been damaging to Canonical.

    But it's an open source world, the Ubuntu world, so maybe we can all be beta testers, even if we didn't chose it. It's sad, however, that some software developers still don't appreciate the value of shipping truly polished and solid final products. Apple knows that, and Microsoft to a lesser degree.

    My proposal, and wish, to Canonical, is to take the Ubuntu community more seriously, as if it is selling a product to a mass market. We are an open source and DIY community, it's true, but this also means we can easily switch OS's, just as Chema posted.

    As for me, I'll be sticking to Mint 10 GNOME until 2012, at which point I'll check back on the progress in Linux DEs and experiment with them again.

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  17. "Were Ubuntu a more widespread OS with more dependent users, the potential backlash would have been damaging to Canonical."

    I don't know, as much as I dislike Unity, this strategy seemed to have worked alright for Windows with Vista!

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  18. Did you try Xubuntu? It's a great and very fast system.

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  19. F..... ubuntu FOREVERRRRRRRRR

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  20. Maverick Meerkat runs out of support in April 2012

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  21. By the way ubuntu 11.10 looks so nasty like a bubble gum desktop wow, im getting scared dont know what to do even had in mind windows.too much weed and beer going on with ubuntu guys.

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  22. This looks like a dead thread but....you do know you can easily change the look of Unity so it looks like 10.10 right?.

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  23. I am sorry, I have no idea about Unity... dislike it too much to investigate! ;-)

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  24. Used Unity in 11.04...for a hour..long enough
    to realize I had made a SEROUS mistake. Like
    many folks I use Ubuntu at work (in my case
    11.04 with the "classic" desktop). I have done
    a LOT of free advertising for the Ubuntu folks
    in past ( 6.10...where have the years gone 8-])
    so seeing the desktop broken like this is very
    depressing. No...we use a mouse and not keyboard
    shortcuts...that is actually a LOSS of functionality.

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  25. Unity in two words: Epic Fail

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  26. I saw it the other way; Epic Fail in one word: Unity

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  27. As a former windows user unity is pretty good bait to switch...but after using it for a while I switch to mint..

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  28. Linux Mint Maya (13) Rocks. Based on last Ubuntu, they realized how to preserved the desktop, and made a second desktop option aswell. You should try it out. "Mate" is a good desktop.

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