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Posted on May 3rd, 2011 by Barry Collins

Ubuntu Unity: the great divider

Unity home

As you will have noticed if you’ve read our review of Ubuntu 11.04, the Linux distro has a dramatic new look. And despite bearing the name “Unity”, Ubuntu 11.04’s default user interface appears to have divided Ubuntu fans.

Even some of the most die-hard Ubuntu advocates amongst the PC Pro readership have expressed their disgust at the interface, which was first introduced in the now defunct Netbook Edition last year.

So what’s sparking the revolt?

The moving Launcher

Unity desktop

Unity dumps the traditional taskbar at the foot of the screen for a new icon-based Launcher that’s locked to the left-hand side of the screen by default.

As we state in our review:

“It’s a controversial change, but we reckon it’s an improvement. The Launcher at the side of the screen is far more inviting than Gnome’s niggly menus, and it makes better use of a widescreen display. The way the icons work – click to launch, right-click for options – will come naturally to anyone familiar with Windows 7 or OS X.”

Not everyone agrees, however. When I canvassed views on why people disliked Unity on Twitter, the splendidly named @explodingwalrus said “Unity only really makes sense on tiny tablet or netbook screens, it just doesn’t work on a large dual-head setup.”

However, the chief complaint on the various Ubuntu forums appears to be the way the Launcher disappears, until you fling your cursor over to the left-hand side of the screen. That half-second or so that it takes for the Launcher to reappear can be a real frustration when you want to quickly shift between open applications. (Although, as with Windows, you can use the Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut to flick between apps).

There is a way to stop that launcher from moving, using the Compizconfig settings manager (thanks to @blaserUK for the tip-off). You can install this either by searching for the app in the Ubuntu One Software Centre (which failed to install for me) or by typing the following command into the terminal:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Moving icons

A minor issue for people used to shuffling their taskbar icons into their preferred position in Windows 7 is the seeming inability to drag Launcher icons into a new position. If you click on the Home Folder at the top, for example, and attempt to drag down, the whole chain of icons move.

This is because the Unity Launcher behaves in a slightly different fashion to Windows 7. To move an icon to a new position in Unity, you have to drag the icon to the right and then slot it into your new preferred position.

Moving icons

Invisible scrollbars

The change generating the most anger is the new scrollbars. Instead of having a pervasive scrollbar on the right-hand edge of application windows, they now only appear when you move the cursor to the right-hand side – mirroring the default behaviour of the Launcher.


It’s fair to say this hasn’t met with universal approval.

“Moving from cautious optimism back to fear and loathing with the latest Ubuntu Unity. What the hell is up with the scrollbar?” tweeted the clearly irritable @squeekyhoho.

“Ubuntu is doing a great job throwing away years of UI experience. Unity is awful, and these new overlay scrollbars are impossible,” agreed @outzider.

I too find the hiding scrollbars irritating, largely because it makes the more difficult to click on, needlessly wasting more of my time. It’s also applied erratically – in some apps the scrollbar is hidden, in others it remains in place. Worse still, I can’t find any option to make the scrollbars stay put – even Compizconfig doesn’t seem to come to the rescue on this occasion. If you find a way, let me know on comments below.

Graphical glitches

The strictures of Ubuntu’s six-month release schedule certainly appear to have harmed Ubuntu 11.04. When we met with Ubuntu shortly before the release date, the company’s PR chief admitted that the developers were still firefighting bugs in Unity. Judging by the comments flying about on forums and Twitter, they didn’t manage to quash them all.

Every time I resume a Ubuntu 11.04 from standby on my laptop, the launcher is replaced with a texture similar to the on-screen fuzz you used to get in the days when they switched the television off overnight. It disappears when I first mouse-over the launcher, but it’s irritating.

There are more serious glitches:

“Graphics performance is shocking as well. Had to switch to Ubuntu Classic desktop without effects,” wrote @larryni.

Can’t say I’m happy with #Ubuntu upgrade on my desktop. Reboot got stuck due to Unity graphics (fixed by turning it off), mic won’t work…” added @reuvenim.

None of us in the office have noticed any graphical performance issues, per se, although the Nvidia drivers now refuse to remember my native resolution, and I’m having real difficulties getting my dual-screen set-up to run properly. Hopefully a graphics driver update is on its way.


Despite the issues I and others have witnessed, I’d stick by the verdict we arrived at in our original review. Unity is a big change – and that will always upset some members of a loyal userbase – but features such as the new-look Launcher, the instant search menu and the option to snap windows to the sides of the screen all make Ubuntu a much more usable operating system. And for all of the comments quoted above, there are as many – if not more – people expressing their delight at the new Ubuntu.

Let’s just hope Ubuntu can fix the glitches, and isn’t too stubborn to give users the option to tweak settings such as the sliding launcher and the invisible scrollbars in future releases.

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83 Responses to “ Ubuntu Unity: the great divider ”

  1. Steve Adey Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    “sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager”

    And that’s why Linux will never become mainstream!!!

  2. Jonathan Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I think for the basic user its a nice upgrade but for those looking for a bit more power the tools you need are a couple too many steps away.

    As it stands those are the users most likely to use the OS and therefore my first experiences are not that positive when I want to go beyond the absolute basics.

    If it brings more users to linux then great but it does not enable me to bring the things I want to the fore easily enough.

  3. Dan Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    To remove Scrollbar overlay…
    sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar
    sudo su
    echo “export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0″ > /etc/X11/Xsession.d/80overlayscrollbars


  4. mr_chips Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I can see what they were trying with Unity but have to admit to very quickly switching back to Gnome and trusty lucid lynx as well. It may not be as pretty but it is far quicker to get things done in and easier to customise to my liking. Lucid Lynx is also far more stable on my machines.

  5. mr_chips Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    at least you have a choice of interface and can switch between unity and gnome on 11.04 without reinstalling everything if you wish too.

  6. 3vi1 Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    @Steve_Adey: You know you can install CCSM from the nice, graphical software center too, right?

    I really can’t believe anyone is too upset over Unity. I’ve been a die-hard KDE fan for years, and this is the first time I’ve been able to stomach the Ubuntu desktop ever.

    Sure – It’s not perfect, it’s undercooked, there are bugs, and it was thrown out to the general public too early. But, the same thing happened with KDE4.0, and it caused it to get a lot of developer attention – which turned it into a *great* desktop. The same thing will now happen to Unity.

    If you’re griping about Unity, you have too many choices and should probably go back to Windows or OSX. Or just choose the classic desktop from the login screen already.

  7. A Nonymous Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Well you can opt out very easily, just select the Ubuntu Classic desktop. It’s not a big deal and it is an option when you log in.

  8. Nick Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I just switched to Gnome 3 instead.

  9. Rahul Shekhar Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    For all those facing problems read these tweaks and fixes for Unity, including a method on how to revert to old style scrollbars

  10. Aaron Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    The problem is not the interface design. The problem is that Ubuntu with Unity enabled, even with all the correct drivers installed, is just not fast enough. It’s so unresponsive that at times it becomes frustrating. Windows 7 (with all its graphical enhancements enabled) is blisteringly fast on my laptop and yet Ubuntu lags and lags at even the most basic of commands. Apps launch slower (Chromium in W7: 1s, Chromium in Ubuntu: 4s)and menus open slower too.

  11. Furtive Glancer Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Looks like I’ll be using Xbuntu on my laptops for another 6 – 12 months.

  12. Matthew Caron Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    They miss the biggest thing – the fact that the window’s menus are now in the top panel breaks focus follows mouse. If you’re pointed in some window, and want its menu, and in going there you go over another window, you get the second window’s menu, not the first.

  13. iivvoo Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:58 pm

  14. Gilbert Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I tried it, and I like it. What is strange, is Unity is not exactly as Gnome 3. I tried first the Gnome 3 interface, and it was fast, and nice. Worked nice. The version they are pushing in the last Ubuntu has been modified and it’s not very nice. For example : the scrollbars. They should be there so we know “where” we are in a document in proportion (or judge the size of a web page by how it moves up and becomes smaller…). Also, I still don’t know where the control panel with preferences is gone. It was easy to find in Gnome 3, in Ubuntu I have to type the letters to find them.

    The default Gnome 3 Desktop with this interface feels far better than what the Unity team has done with it.

    I always loved change. When people used Windows 95 or 98 I was already loading Red Hat and using Gnome and checking KDE. Change is good. Makes us discover new things, makes us remember that embracing change is not becoming old of brain.

    I think they should have just used the Gnome 3 design as such. It was well done. They made it far less friendly.

  15. NixFixr Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Here, let me fix that for you – “And that’s why mainstream idiots will will never be able to use Linux!!!”

  16. Tim Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    That is a bit unfair as Steve had a valid point. You may want Linux to be for enthusiasts only, but many others would like it to enter the mainstream. Including user friendly ways of adjusting settings should detract from the rest of the user interface.

  17. David Gerard Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    THAWTELESS, Star City, Monday (NNGadget) — Canonical, Inc. has announced the release of Ubuntu 11.04, “Venereal Vista,” based on the Unity Vista desktop, which only 5 out of 11 first-time users managed to crash in final testing two weeks ago.

    Ubuntu Desktop BacksidesUnity is Canonical’s response to the GNOME 3 shell, which uses 1 gigabyte of RAM and four processor cores to exquisitely render a single button in the centre of the screen in beautifully anti-aliased text; when pressed, GNOME tells the user to switch off the computer and do something useful with their life, such as showering.

    “This was just not up to the user expectations of Canonical’s vision of the desktop,” said Mark Shuttleworth, from his castle high on a crag in West London. “So we added a ‘minimise’ button too.”

    Design is at the centre of Shuttleworth’s roadmap for Unity. “I woke up one day and thought, ‘Gosh, I’d really like to make using my universal general-purpose computer that I can do ANYTHING with feel like I’m using a locked-down three-year-old half-smart phone through the clunky mechanism some l33t h@xx0r used to jailbreak it, I can’t think of a better user experience.’ We’re not quite there yet, but this gets Unity a lot of the way.”

    Shuttleworth foresees an exciting future for Linux for the general Internet user. “It’ll be a whole world of Linux devices, which millions of people will use all the time, everywhere! Of course, at the moment those are called ‘phones’ and run Android.”

    Blog post:

  18. Fred Tucker Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I love watching Ubuntu zealots do the Jersey Shore fist pump over a computer OS. Let me clue you in on something…using a package manager to install a linux application is about as “mainstream idiot” as clicking on setup.exe. Were you little linux kids around when applications did not come precompiled and there was no Ubuntu? You can e-chestthump when you actually accomplish something original.

  19. Dave Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I still want Panel put back into Gnome3.

  20. anon Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 8:38 pm


    Unity is not a changed gnome3. Canonical did their own thing instead based on gnome2+compiz.

  21. Sean Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I like it! That’s one of the things I like so very much about Linux is the ability to try something totally different.

  22. darkduck Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Yes, Unity is a big divider actually. Already noticed it in the comments to my review of Ubuntu 11.04

  23. Dudley Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I was scared at first but made a list of the things that bothered me and went about finding a way to fix it. First, Compizconfig helped fixed a lot of issues. Others were solved with setting values in Xsession.d. I also found a great post on how to tweak the Unity menu to add sub-menus on right-click. All pain-points were gone after a couple hours of experimenting with tweaks. I now spend far more time on the Ubuntu boot. I love it.

  24. BAReFOOt Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    @Steve Adey:
    > “sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager”
    > And that’s why Linux will never become mainstream!!!

    That’s like saying: “And that’s why the ignorant backwards retards will never love you!!!”

    Why would we care about being accepted by those too dumb to make even a educated guess about how to judge it? And what kind of spine-less and ball-less pubescent loser cares about how others judge him? What are you? 13?

    CLI > GUI. If you actually ever had *used* a computer in your life, instead of just playing with an appliance, you’d have no doubt about that!

  25. Tony Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I really like the Unity Interface. I started using Ubuntu with Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), and switched from Xandros and Red Hat. I understand that it’s difficult to change, but I noticed that when I switch to Linux in 1995 that my children had no problems with the change in the GUI. It’s us adults that seem more close minded and not willing to try something new. However, I’m looking forward to the next Ubuntu release! Cheers!!!

  26. David Staples Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I think Steve Adey had a valid point. I use Ubuntu 10 on my laptop and like it a lot, but there’s a reason netbooks started out mostly Linux based and then rapidly became almost 100% Windows based. It’s the same reason Linux has only a 1.49% share of the desktop market.

  27. TaffyDownUnder Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I can understand why people don’t like the switch to Unity, it is a big change. I wasn’t too pleased initialy, but after reading a few tutorials and playing with it I don’t mind it and some things I like better than gnome. Still not keen on the window menu appearing in the screen title bar, but maybe this will finally get me to memorise some menu short-cuts ;-) .

  28. Owen Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 1:37 am

    @Steve Adey, I have no opinion on whether linux will become mainstream, I have my doubts I would be any better off if it did, but having the option of using a command line to install a utility rather post a complicated set of instructions is a negative?

    Since typing a command scares some people so much, here’s the instructions using the GUI:
    Click on Applications, choose Ubuntu Software Centre, search for “compiz”, Click on “Advanced Desktop Effects Settings” Click Install.

    Of course you may be right that this would put off some mac and windows users, considering they don’t have the option of adjusting the behaviour of their OS to anything near this degree, how intimidating.

  29. Jean-Luc Picard Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 2:36 am

    You fix the Nvidia res issue by saving the configuration to your xorg.conf file; there’s a button right there on the resolution screen that’ll do it.

  30. Alex Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 3:09 am

    How to hide (or completely remove) overlay scrollbars:

    - hide:

    - remove:

    sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0

  31. kevin Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I thought I was going to hate Unity, but it quickly won me over. The lack of configuration options is frustrating, but Unity is very young and I’m sure they will fix it in 11.10.

  32. Alex Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Unity is terrible in a few key areas – perhaps worst for those who’ve used X the longest, and less irritating for more recent comers from other environments.

    1) Unity’s mouse tracking, at least in some configs, is terrible: the mouse and keyboard events are frequently directed to separate windows, forcing one to move the mouse out and back into a window to correct the focus.

    2) The Unity team has so far been unable to get default X mouse tracking to work in general – if you want the events to just simply go into the window the mouse is in, or to the root, you’re mostly out of luck. No available setting produces true default X behavior.

    3) The top-bar menu problem where one can’t get to the menu bar without passing over another app and switching the top-menu context only underlines how much classic, non-click window activation is ignored in Unity.

    4) In my instance, the top menus come up in black on a dark Ubuntu brown. Not ideal, although it might be a side effect of my own default. However, no mouse click produces a customization menu on that upper bar, which is near criminal. :-)

    5) The lack of a way to view the keymappings in Compiz from more of a gestalt perspective instead of fractured across each individual category is eternally frustrating (although at least Hyper shows up in the UI – mostly).

    6) Graphics performance, especially moving windows, is quite poor, worse than what I remember of Compiz in earlier iterations. Windows sometimes are only partly drawn until moved.

    7) Windows steal focus – especially new windows, regardless of settings.
    8) New windows frequently are created *underneath* all other windows. Especially annoying when it’s a dialogue box and the main app appears locked up. “Smart placement” doesn’t fix this, even for windows creeling for attention.

    However, there’s still a lot to like. *I* like the transparent scrollbars, although I think the window menu stealing is going too far to save screen space. I love the fact that the software system tells you – in the graphic UI – about software one could install as well as the usual list of installed apps (clicking on the top left buttons in the main UI). It’s particularly interesting that some pay-for apps (World of Goo, etc) appear.

    Anyway, just some random thoughts. :-)

  33. chad Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Arch Linux and XFCE4. Problem solved.

  34. Jed Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Steve Adey…Two words…Android; WebOS

  35. nick Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I absolutely hate it, from performance to stability.

    And what’s up with the fugly icons??

  36. the old rang Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Unity was released about 2 years too early, and for cell phones, not desk tops.

    1) The ones fortunate enough to have minimal to not problems all lauded the kyooootsies and gee-gaws and most had no idea what to do…

    2) the other camp of ‘lovers’ were the ones trying to cram it out the door before it slammed in their faces (call it propaganda)

    3) There were middle of the roaders that could take it or leave it…

    The forums I went to, had the real reason, that you dodged mentioning adequately…

    the system was a crapshoot to load. MANY drivers were missing. I counted at least 10 Make/Models people could not get to load…

    Missing drivers included nVidia, AMD 64 Bit software like ‘Flash’ (32 bit Flash runs lousy on 64 Bit computers)

    I was popping with the downloads peaking at 12-14 kbs (small letters) (I am now back at 10,10 and sometimes I peak on downloads at 1.4GBs(Capital letters))

    It took 8 hours to make it quasi serviceable. In desperation I ultimately uninstalled Unity (I was in Ubuntu Classic)

    The system speeded up tremendously

    That was done, Saturday… After that, I did updates, restarts, at least 4 times… Monday morning…

    Canonical sent an update down that locked my systems…

    1 hour later I was up, tweaked and running 10.10, including full format of 1 TByte drive to make sure nothing of that POS was left…

    I am looking for a better and more reasonable distro. I have not found one, but, I can stay with this for a while.

    The excuses for why they dumped it on their users went along the lines ‘Well, People expect releases to be full of bugs’

    I left Microsoft for a similar excuse, except they call them features.

  37. Ubuntu Lover Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Yes, the new interface is slowing down work. I had to revert to the classic gnome without effects. The dynamic scroll bar is actually OK.

    The unity interface is not necessary, because the same functionality can be achieved in gnome with 4 clicks. Just click on the menu bars for properties and set the auto hide as on. It will give you the same full screen as in Unity.

  38. James Bruce Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I have been using Linux as a desktop for over 10 years now. I used to go through the pain of getting the desktops to work under Debian 9 years ago. This is what I see:

    1. Desktops are controlled by geeks. Yes I am a geek, but I don’t develop Window Managers. The other geeks do; and in the end, they don’t give a crap what you think. If they did, they would have asked the “entire” community first.

    2. We push and push and push to have an easier desktop experience. Something has to give. And that something is usually the “control” you want over your desktop.

    In the end, we can’t have it both ways. What is beautiful about the Linux Community is that there are usually options. We may not always like every option, but at least we have it.

    In my case, I went back to Ubuntu Classic. Unity is not ready for me. It was built for my Grandmother. I like my “drawers” with my 100+ applications arranged the way I want them arranged. I like my panel apps. I like my workplace switcher. And I like my multimonitor setup and hate the “top bar” that showed up on my other monitors after the upgrade. Most of all, I like the real estate that is Mine, not Unity’s.

    Unfortunately, this “forcing” of Unity on Ubuntu user’s is not the way to get it accepted. Hey developers, it is about options. I like that you created it, but don’t stick it in my face on the upgrade. The last application that did that to me was called Internet Explorer (and we know how that came out). You are only as good as the number of user’s you please.

  39. mike Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Unity is a horrible, badly executed mac-rip. If I want a mac-interface, I will buy a mac.

  40. Steve Adey Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Two words – Mobile Phone

  41. Steve Adey Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 4:26 pm


    “Why would we care about being accepted by those too dumb to make even a educated guess about how to judge it?”

    It’s not about you being accepted, it’s about Linux. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Linux via numerous distros have been trying to crack the mainstream for years, ever since I can remember.

    As David Staples said, they tried to crack the ‘new’ netbook market when it started.

  42. K A Moore Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Thumbs up for Unity from me. Although early days I believe it enhances productivity.

  43. RR Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Seems like reinventing the wheel (again) to me, I’ll wait until support for 10.10 ends.

    @Steve Adey:
    If Linux not being mainstream (whatever that means) makes you happy, then why not just shut up and be happy?

  44. Christopher Osborne Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Unity takes some getting used to for sure. I’ve been using it for 3 days now, and like it more and more all the time.

    I do think that its a really clever move for Ubuntu. I was watching something on the Beeb just the other day predicting that the future of computing will be an iphone like device which will have 2 modes – a full pc screen and a phone mode sort of like the iphone. Isn’t this a perfect road map for Ubuntu?

  45. Matt L. Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I have several issues not addesses.

    First, I really want a real taskbar that I can control, and not limited to the whims of the programmers. I like my shortcuts and my notification area. Those are rendered impossible with Unity layout. I keep things like Miro there so I can quickly pause it and when I need it.

    I like my Window list and like to see if I have multiple versions of the same program open.

    I like setting my own menu layout, so I can exactly what I want when I want it. I don’t want to type the program name to find it. That’s counterintuitive.

    I’ve loved Gnome for the control, and I want that, and those have nothing to do with the above issues mentioned.

  46. Chris Gonnerman Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I uninstalled Unity and Compiz, which in turn uninstalled “ubuntu-desktop”, then manually removed the xsession entries for Unity. Sounded scary, but I tried it. End result, everything works fine in classic GNOME mode.

    Unity has some growing up to do before I choose to live with it.

  47. blueleader01 Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    @Steve Adey…i’m with you re your first comment and last comment. I’ve used Windows for so long but have installed many Linux distros in an attempt to try something else as i love variety and hoped that it could offer me something else in terms of enjoyable computing experience. I currently have 11.04 dual booted with XP on my netbook. In order for me to make more use of it though i need it to operate in a familiar way to how i am used to and those “sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager” scenarios leave me cold. For me using the PC has always been about “getting things done” without too much fuss but like the majority of people i’m not really interested in starting all over again learning to use a new OS.Life’s too short. Building on what i already know is fine and i do make use of my Ubuntu install and enjoy it in a limited way. As for those “fan boys” BAReFOOt and NixFixr i just don’t get their attitude to those who at least try to make a go of it. I like some things more than others too but not to the exclusion of all else like those two clearly do. Windows, at a level most of the population understand, does stuff we want to do relatively easily and if Linux could get close it would be a welcome alternative. To most people Windows is like a family car that’s easy to drive if a little limited and sometimes slow and unreliable. Whereas Linux currently is more like a learning to drive an F1’s too complicated for it’s own good and most people can’t be bothered.

  48. the old rang Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    to Steve Adey #41…

    The ‘Obama Reason’ for this so called ‘Unity’ was to make it easy for casual windows users… I read that so many times I thought this whole thing was about that kind of weak stream media, for a while….

    8+ hours to get one upgrade to work (losing most settings, programs and what have you)

    Starting off with so many drivers NOT in the system while putting out braggadocio press releases how that got on piece of ATI stuff to work at the last minute?

    For those that the load went ‘ok’… great.

    I heard dozens of statements to the contrary. Not Noobs (windows users and people working on the release), but people like you with 10 years or so using Ubuntu, and many more using Computers.

    The Exact business model Canonical is following is unfathomable…

    Cell Phones (no)
    Net Books (yes, no, yes, no yes, uhm… maybe.. not)
    Tablets (yes, no, yes, no yes, uhm… maybe.. not)
    Laptops (they can use the used to be tablet, and net-book now Desktop Windows casual user thingie)
    Desktops (suck it)
    Long time users… see Desktops… twice

  49. isileth Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I’ve been using Ubuntu since breezy and while I used to prefer it to Windows, with the arrival of Windows 7 I changed my mind.
    W7 is faster and customizable, something that Unity is not.
    My idea is that since I am the user, I want to arrange the things the way I like them, not the way the programmers did and not being able to change them.
    The result is that now I have a wonderful and fast system based on W7 and Ubuntu in a virtual machine, where it works way better than in my “real” machine.

  50. KevPartner Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    The very idea that a single interface could be used across all devices (specifically touchscreen/non-touchscreen) is Microsoftian in its stupidity.

  51. Steven Shearing Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Linux won’t become main stream ever, well not until it sorts out a few things first.

    1) Command line, everything should be installable with out a command line, sometimes you have no choice but to download your program as a .tar.gz then you are forced to use command line.Its the year 2011 when you can pick up a phone etc and need no manual in-order to use it, command line needs to remain hidden for the casual user not the geeks and their toys.

    2) Software is very much slacking in Linux, trying to find alternative for a program can be like a needle in a haystack.
    For example after effects alternative’s are Kino, LiVES and these are not even close compared to industry standards.

    3) Games there is many PC gamers out there, yet put these players on a Linux and your soon find out there is no games like call of duty etc.

    4) Hardware does not work well on Linux, in fact soon as i installed and pop in my software i found out it does not work, if they do work many features are missing. For example plug in a trust tablet and you have to use a driver that does not even include the tablets shortcut button, so sure i can use my pen but that’s it.

    On the other side Linux is really powerful and fast, it could kick windows and mac’s butt only if the developers would stop fight over distributions and started working on its real problems.

    Now take a look at Mac a few years ago there was no software or easy install methods, but go into a shop today and your find games,software and hardware that is mac compatible.

    And before users state use wine, well sure that helps but there is still lots of software that does not work in it such as gears of war or Maya(Linux version has died).
    Wine also runs with many bugs like at parts of software it shows the wrong language or black screens etc.
    And new users would not even know to to set up wine so its no excuse.

    Linux needs to get their act in gear if they want to shoot to the top.

  52. Steven Shearing Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Oh one last thing window users have a much easier time switching to mac then a Linux, look at me its been about 1 month and all my software has a Mac version with no hardware problems ether. Only 2 of my software had no Mac versions but the alternative’s are better quality so that’s great news.

    If mac ever decided to release for PCs then it would blow windows away, Linux should take a long hard look at mac and compare to that.

  53. TechnoNick Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I can’t stand it. I mean I want to like it, but there is so much to hate. I can’t move the Icon bar? Wtf is this, Windows? And the awesome search for programs, hey that’s great, but it remembers all of my history and there is no way to configure it to not remember (or a privacy viewing function) so it’s basically useless. And not to mention that none of the applications have a mouse over description. Deja dup, what the hell is that? I don’t know, I have to do a google search. It would be great if it told me information about when it was installed.

    I want something new. Gnome is a bit outdated and starting to feel a lot like XFCE, or blackbox. Sure I like simplicity, but I also want something a little glitzy and Unity brings that. That said, it needed another dev cycle. It needs features. And don’t get me started on the nightmare of getting my nVidia 7400 to even work. Sure it’s a little old, but I had to install the 173 driver by hand just to get it work….. Jockey is stupid and unhelpful.

    Finally, the whole usability studies by Ubuntu were a complete joke. Yes I understand that 12 people are all that are needed for usability, but seriously, not one of those people have ever used Gnome, KDE, or anything accept Windows. Come on Canonical. Ubuntu to has been around for a while. Most of the users that will be users are already attempting to use Linux, short of some major change in the OS ecosystem. That is unlikely given the economy and what have you. But still the usability didn’t have one person who used anything short of Windows.


  54. Josh Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    > However, the chief complaint on the various Ubuntu forums appears to be the way the Launcher disappears, until you fling your cursor over to the left-hand side of the screen. That half-second or so that it takes for the Launcher to reappear can be a real frustration when you want to quickly shift between open applications.

    It appears instantly if you fling your mouse to the top-left corner. You can also hold SUPER and press a number key to switch to to a specific window.

    I don’t see a problem with the delay; it prevents me from bringing the launcher back accidentally when I’m just trying to click something on the left-hand side of a window.

  55. Jasz42 Says:
    May 6th, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Reminds me of JP – ‘It’s a Unix system, I know this……’ 1.48% of the market can keep this. I’m afraid that I enjoy being in the majority of Microsoftians. the very first ‘computer’ I owned was a Texas Ti994a(when all my mates had Spectrums), I first used the ‘internet’, BBS really, when DEmon were about the only service provider in the UK. I have a fair few hours under my belt and I really do like ‘point and click’. Stev Adey – you are absolutely spot on with your mainstream comment. It would appear that these Linux ladyfanboys just hate to be reminded about how user unfriendly their non-microsoft OS of choice is. Get over yourselves nIXfIXR and barEfooT. I am an iL350 BH and will come round and pwn you if you don’t stfu.

  56. Chhatoi Pritam Baral Says:
    May 6th, 2011 at 5:56 am

    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

    sounds scary (notice the very first comment?), but is actually the very last Option.

    There’s Synaptic Package Manager, and Ubuntu Software Center, which is the best option. Mind it, it’s not Ubunto One Software Center, it’s just Ubuntu Software Center. You are confusing it with Ubuntu One, which is TOTALLY different.

    And I can guarantee you that if apt-get works, Ubuntu Software Center also does, it’s a frontend to it after all…

  57. 6tricky9 Says:
    May 8th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    @Steven Shearing:”Linux needs to get their act in gear if they want to shoot to the top.”
    Some people just don’t get it; “Linux” is just a kernel. There is no large corporation involved like Microsoft or Apple, and that’s the beauty of it. GNU/Linux is free and it’s open. Make of it what you wish.

  58. John Crisp Says:
    May 11th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    “I’m afraid that I enjoy being in the majority of Microsoftians”

    Excellent, and please stay their with your mindless comments and threats.

    “I first used the ‘internet’, BBS really, when DEmon were about the only service provider in the UK”

    Blimey – a net kiddy. Where did it go wrong for you then ? Upset cos you were late to the party ?

    So if you don’t like the CLI install as @owen says and do it the Windows way….
    Click on Applications, choose Ubuntu Software Centre, search for “compiz”, Click on “Advanced Desktop Effects Settings” Click Install.

    Personally, as I almost always have a Terminal open for the work I’m doing, the CLI is much quicker and easier :
    “sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager”

    Is that SO difficult ?

    But I understand it is not for all. Nice thing is that I have a choice.

    Personally I’m sticking with Lucid for the foreseeable future – I want stability. Be interesting to see how much things have calmed down for the next LTS around 12.04

  59. alizard Says:
    May 12th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    If you don’t like unity, try installing the KDE window manager using the software installation method of your choice, or switch to Kubuntu… for more information, .

    I’ve been too busy on a major project to take the time to upgrade to Natty, but when I do, my desktop should look precisely as it does now.

  60. Jeff Says:
    May 15th, 2011 at 4:01 am

    I really don’t understand all this command-line fear by all the WIMP lovers. (WIMP = Window/Icon/Menu/Pointer)

    It’s a command line, you type a command, the computer either executed the command, or tells you you’ve skrewed the pooch by returning “command not found”

    Of course, if you go back far enough, that would have been


    though technically that wasn’t a command line…

    If you like the warm GUI feeling, great, wallow in the GUI. But most Ubuntu/Linux users know that “apt-get install foo-package” means “Install package ‘foo-package’ by your preferred/most expedient method” which embodies something Windoze lusers will never understand: Choice.

  61. arch linux user Says:
    May 16th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager could be sudo apt-get install ccsm

  62. Ex ubuntu User Says:
    May 18th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    The next release of Ubuntu should be called “Dead Duck”.

    I can’t even be bothered typing a rant about how awful “Unity” is. Fisher Price computing for numbskulls.

  63. Kwasi Ansahene Says:
    May 19th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Some of you don’t realize how far linux has come through the decade.And those conservative stance is never good for change and improvement.

  64. Bill Allen Says:
    June 11th, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Yes, I am going to harsh on Ubuntu 11.04 also. Even once you have turned off Unity and returned to a classic Gnome desktop, all is not back to “normal”. Ubuntu 11.04 introduces a really stupid feature know as the “overlay” scrollbar. Basically, it is a scrollbar tab that replaces the traditional scrollbar found on a windowed item. It hides when not in use and pops back up into view when the mouse is moved into its area at the edge of the window. HOW STUPID! Who really wants to be playing hide and seek with windowing elements on their screen? Even worse, this “feature” is found by default in all the Ubuntu derivatives also based on 11.04 such as Xubuntu and Linux Mint. I would encourage the providers of derivatives to NOT accept every new feature that might be foisted upon us by the Ubuntu developers. Fortunately, there is a way to turn the overlay scrollbar off and return to a normal scrollbar.

    Go to a terminal.

    sudo to get administrative privs

    paste the following into the command line and hit enter (then reboot for the change to take effect)

    echo “export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0″ > /etc/X11/Xsession.d/80overlayscrollbars

  65. Bertybassett Says:
    July 4th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Hi folks,
    I had enough of maintaining my parents windows box without something or another going wrong or paying for something. So i looked into linux, i had tried a simplymepis build ages ago and didnt like it. Anyway, i though i need to see what its like first, so i installe dit on my laptop. Installed fine no problems. Everything works out of the box, so i installed on my oter laptop and that had a slight issue with wifi which was correctly with the install of a slighty older driver. But to date have a few glitches but no show stoppers. I was used to windows way (previous amiga user) and found unity different initially, but got used to it and actually like it. So i bought a dell optiplex gx620 for theparents installe dit on that no problems. Introduced it to the parents. No problems, they have taken to it lilke ducks to water. They have firefox, shotwell for photos, a scaaning program, there printer works, emsene for im and skype. all works. They occassionally use librewriter. They found it slightly different. But so far so good. I could honestluy say it

  66. Matt Says:
    July 7th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    To completely delete the godawful overlay scrollbars you can do this:

    sudo apt-get remove liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0 overlay-scrollbar

    And they will be gone FOREVER!!!!

  67. Eddie Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    The rest of the digital planet is going touch screen. Untidy {sic} has a toolbar which hides and a predominance on usability via keyboard shortcuts and quick searches. Is this the geeks trying to reclaim their world?

    My expensive all-in-one touchscreen device is a joke on unity, and an absolute heavenly pleasure on netbook remix.

    This is Canonical’s Edsel.

  68. les Says:
    August 3rd, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I only read the word once “UGLY” in reference to the icons. Sure they are, as is the rest of unity. Then what would I know? I have AWN installed and I’d prefer it despite the performance hit, because it does not offend me every I time I look at it.

    Hey! Why don’t we all go back to Windoze for Workgroups? Sorry, Win 7 has beat me to it!

    Go on beat the crap out of me.

  69. Alton Moore Says:
    November 4th, 2011 at 5:34 am

    I hate Unity too, especially the Apple-like features. I will probably go back to Slackware, or some other distro which actually works. The list of problems with 11.10 is so long that I can’t be bothered to type it here, sheesh.

  70. Harshen Says:
    November 9th, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Ubuntu Genome Remix

  71. Marcus Says:
    November 9th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    At each time this seems more like Mac OS X. No new ideas from Ubuntu.

  72. Marco Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I don’t especially like Unity, but I’m open to it. But what I hate is that I had a good working system and lost that after the upgrade; the performance is very bad and where has my main-menu with my applications gone to?

  73. xulsolar Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Unity has to many bugs. I will go back to 10.10 version, it was much better.

  74. floibler Says:
    December 2nd, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I didn’t want to hate unity, but in the end it just hides too much. Its a bit awkward finding out what you have installed etc.
    I now use Debian squeeze

  75. elias Says:
    December 8th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I don’t understand what the fuss is all about, but I do like unity, I always dreamed of a UI that makes best use of your screen and unity does that. It has minor glitches which will be solved eventually. It simply is very great for netbooks, those using desktops can install some extensions to make the panel appear at the bottom. Come on, embrace new ideas!

  76. Videos Cristianos Says:
    February 12th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Vista failed why no UNity??

  77. Mike_tn Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I find it ignorant of Ubuntu to not include the simple GUIs of basic system tools with the new Live CD. You have to install them all. Yes the terminal is always there to customize things but that’s beside the point. They don’t mind taking boatloads of disc space for the LibreOffice program. If you have to have that monster, how about offering some disc download variety like a Live DVD download with more desktop options on it? And those humongous Firefox and Thunderbird icons! It all echos the horrible Windows 8 Metro UI force feeding the touchscreen on us and not doing that very well either. There are no rules, Ubunutu can do as it pleases, offer one CD download choice with an interface catering to the lowest common denominator user but I would not bother with Linux if all there was Ubunutu Unity.

  78. Mike_tn Says:
    April 9th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    On second thought, that was a little harsh of me. I’ll give it a try. Boy is it a big change though.

  79. Zia Says:
    June 21st, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I find Unity much better on Ubuntu 12.04, but if you need an interface like Gnome Panels or Windows XP, then you need the Xfce interface.

    How to steps:

    1 – install xfce4 and xfce4-goodies packages.
    2 – at Ubuntu logon screen, select the Xfce session.
    3 – you will have a Windows XP like interface with all the apps from a standard Ubuntu install and no doubles.

    It works like on Windows 8 where you can choose the Metro interface or the Classic Windows XP interface.

  80. David Says:
    August 16th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I’m an infrequent user. I used to love it, but since v 11 Unity I can’t find a darn thing (simple stuff like gpart etc.), so have gone back to an older version. Looking to find a different Linux flavour.

  81. paco Says:
    May 1st, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    switch to kubuntu and all problems are gone, kde runs well

  82. Max Says:
    July 16th, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Its interesting that all these people say they like Unity when no-one Iv ever actually spoken to can say the same!
    As a disabled user who needs a Wacom tablet I am locked out of the useless thing anyway, since the sidebar, or whatever you call it, wont open since I cant push the cursor past the edge of the screen.
    Iv moved to Mint 13, where I will stay for as long as the interface remains usable by normal humans, and unless something drastic happens in Ubuntu Id say that its days are numbered now.
    Its the ignorance of locking us into this dire interface that rankles the most – if I wanted to be locked into stupid eye candy Id buy a Mac.
    Sure I can install another desktop manager, but why should I have to do so, and why should I have to jump through a series of loops just to get a modicum of usability from the default interface?
    Badly thought out, and no amount of ‘we love it’ fan boys will be able to change the fact that its a dramatic step off a cliff of ignorance and stupidity and towards a Windows/Mac mentality of the developers know best so shut up.
    Pathetic in the extreme.

  83. Gene Finley Says:
    October 1st, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Unity sucks. Why doesn’t Ubuntu allow for choice in desktops? Then there is no peoblem. The idiots can have thier way and we can use Gnome. Why make us suffer through getting rid of unity? It will kill ubuntu since we are the users….


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