Linux

10 things I don't like about Ubuntu 10.04

The latest version of Ubuntu may be one of the best operating systems out there. But Jack Wallen took a hard look at the OS and sure enough, he found a few areas for improvement.

I have to confess, this was one of the most challenging 10 Things articles I have ever written for TechRepublic. Finding 10 things I don't like about Ubuntu 10.04 wasn't easy. And "like" is, after all, such a relative term. But as we all know, no operating system is perfect. So after much thinking, I did come up with 10 things I don't like about one of the best operating systems on the market. Do you think you will agree? Let's find out.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: The new themes

I'm going to start with one of the aspects of Ubuntu 10.04 that I really didn't like from the very get-go. The new themes, in my opinion, do nothing more than set back the look of Ubuntu a few years. Now, I realize this is coming on the heels of the release of GNOME 3 (which will really turn heads -- it's all I use now). But the default themes were not a good choice. This is also coming on the heels of the rumors of the possible inclusion of RGB support in the GTK widgets, which would have enabled real transparency in all widget sets. This did not happen (and is still not happening). My concern is that most new users will install 10.04 and have trouble getting beyond the default themes.

2: The lack of Samba

I will preface this by saying that yes, you can install Samba easily with the help of the Ubuntu Software Center. But one of the big selling points of Ubuntu (and GNOME 2.3) is the ease in file sharing. By simply right-clicking a folder, you can select Share to share that folder with other Linux users or Windows users on your network. However, other pieces must be installed first. Why not install them by default? I realize they are trying to keep the default boot times down to around 10 seconds -- but at the expense of easy file sharing? Bad call.

3: No Gimp!

Really? The GIMP has been the standard-bearer for Linux graphics for years. It's ALWAYS been there. And finding a replacement that is as powerful and as easy to use is just not going to happen. I know, like Samba, it's easy to install. But one of the big selling points of Linux is that, upon installation, you have everything you need to work. Not so without The GIMP! Put it back.

4: New init system

My dislike of this aspect stems from years of typing /etc/init.d/networking restart (or any other command that lies inside /etc/init.d/). Now we all switch gears and use the service network restart command. Oh sure, it's easier. And dumping the old init system is going to shave ample time off of the system startup. But us old fogies have fingers with too much memory to stop typing /etc/init.d/insert_daemon_here restart.

5: No PayPal for Ubuntu Music Store

When I first started using the Ubuntu Music Store, I was thrilled that it accepted PayPal. Well thanks to a bit of a glitch in the system, PayPal had to be removed -- and it has yet to come back. Since its removal, I have stopped purchasing music from the Ubuntu One Music store. (I'm not a fan of using credit cards in such a fashion.) I was told by one of the developers that PayPal would be coming back to the store. That was more than two weeks ago. Nothing yet. Once PayPal returns, so will I.

6: Nouveau drivers

I was quite excited to hear that the replacement for the proprietary NVidia drivers would make it to 10.04. I was sadly disappointed by their performance. In fact, the Nouveau drivers are so outperformed by their proprietary brothers, I have opted to go back until Nouveau finds a bit more maturation.

7: New logo

I have an Ubuntu tattoo on my right shoulder. AND it's the old logo. Now Ubuntu has a new logo and like the new themes, I'm not a fan. Yes, I realize this is picking at nits (see my introduction), but a logo is a brand, and branding is, unfortunately, important. So while many of you will scoff at this point, it has validity. It's like the Microsoft Windows logo. You know it. You see it everywhere. It's professional and it's recognizable. Ubuntu needs to go back to the old logo and stick with it. Maybe a black-and-white version would be classy.

8: Gwibber problems

Gwibber has caused so many problems on my system, I stopped using it. At least for now. I post a lot to Twitter (mostly articles I write -- follow me, jlwallen). But as of now, Gwibber either sucks up your resources or constantly pops up when a new message is posted to Facebook -- and that is incessant!

9: No Google Chrome love

I realize it's not open source. I realize that Google is often thought of as the next Microsoft. But let's face it: There isn't a faster browser out their than Google Chrome on Linux. It's Beast Mode (as the kids do say). One of these days, a Linux distribution is going to include it by default and people are really going to see what speed is. Ubuntu would be a good choice for this.

10: Still no welcome screen

This is one of those points I'm going to constantly be beating home to the Ubuntu powers-that-be. Ubuntu claims to be the Linux distribution for the new user, yet there is still no welcome screen. When you first boot up Windows, you're greeted by a window that asks (basically) if you have any questions. It tells you where to go if you need help. Linux REALLY needs this. And how difficult would it be? Not difficult at all. So all of you reading this -- pass the word on as often as you can that Ubuntu needs a welcome screen. Besides, you can always uncheck the box that says Display At Login.

What else?

Whew... I didn't think I was going to make it. Seriously, though -- Ubuntu is slick. It's clean, polished, stable, and about as user-friendly as any operating system on the planet. But that doesn't mean it's perfect. What about you? Have you found nits to pick with Ubuntu? Or do you have SERIOUS problems with an aspect? Share your opinions with your fellow TechRepublic readers.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

45 comments
gtbzdell
gtbzdell

Then go with Linux Mint. I find it takes what Ubuntu has done and improves upon. And Linux Mint KDE runs rings around Kubuntu.

jessegrob
jessegrob

As for the welcome screen (and some other benefits), you should really try OpenSUSE... I had both and think that OpenSUSE is by far the more user friendly desktop Linux OS. And it includes all the things you expect from Linux right out of the box. In fact I was so pleased with it that it quickly became my favorite flavor and I recommend it to everyone. I have 2 headless servers running OpenSUSE as well as 1 desktop and 2 VM's. Visit us at http://www.iservicesinc.net

shaddowdragon
shaddowdragon

None of my Webservers work anymore save for my demo laptop. Is this just me. The super speed is not enough if you get there and its broken. have to reboot twice to have all my sound working as well as getting the four drives to mount properly. Its almost as if the race to get to the desktop leaves some noticeable services behind. This problem is consistent from each cold start.

lastchip
lastchip

but Linux Mint covers a few of them. Certainly point one; it's gorgeous. Point two, no SAMBA; oh yes it has! No GIMP, yes, it's got that too. Yep, and I just checked /etc/init.d and it works just fine. Not sure what drivers it's using, as they've nicked xorg.conf; damn! Point seven; as point one. It's got Gwibber by default, but as I don't use it, I can't comment on its stability. Sorry, no Chrome by default, but it does have a Welcome screen. As I said elsewhere, it's Ubuntu done properly.

scarpari
scarpari

Big problems in 10.04 with wireless (and big-name vendors, like d-link). Never had any compatibility issues in 9. I fear Windows but might not have a choice.

narea92
narea92

1) Non inclusion of Proprietary drivers and programs like Skype, Adobe reader and Flash player. Their ubiquitous use make a must of them, even if we find them undesirable. 2) DVD movie drivers very hard to install.

ben_j_dover
ben_j_dover

At the moment my 10.04 machine sits idle. It is idle because no matter how I tried I could not get a clean install of Lucid. Let me rephrase - I could not get an install that did not trash previous installation setup. All dual boot options were wiped out - GRUB2 is supposed to be easier to use --- not for this one. Install 10.04 beside 9.10 yields a 10.04 installation only. Phaw! This is not the way to "win the hearts and minds" of everyday computer users. There are numerous bug reports delineating the problems with Lucid - as near as I can tell, the ones causing the greatest grief have yet to be resolved. In short - if you are using 9.10 and are happy with it - do not attempt to upgrade to 10.04. You will regret it if you have built a system that performs the way you like it.

eckarfr
eckarfr

dual monitor setup is a bigggg hassel.in 9.04 it played out of the box. with 10.04 nno way. i've been trying to get it to work for 3months now!!!

pcassistance_org
pcassistance_org

But i wish it was stable on my computer. I have an ASUS G50vt-x5 (tri-booting Win7, OS X, and Ubuntu) and every once in a while, the system will just completely freeze up forcing me to hold down the power button to restart it. It happens usually when I'm installing updates or something, but it's still not fun. I really like the system a lot though, when it does run, it runs very well and all my drivers seem to work well.

jlkotson
jlkotson

If you try to install or run any of your old games on Wine with the new security settings in Lucid... you get an error message saying you are not allowed to run any executable files on this computer. There are links to the web where you are again told the same thing AND that you should never have any reason to run these files. Well EXCUSE ME!!! That's why I left Windows in the first place... "updates" that broke my old software and then wanting me to pay again for "upgraded" software that I already owned.

les.shepard
les.shepard

I just have two words for you, Jack, Ultimate Edition.

Jeff7181
Jeff7181

I don't like the battery life. I get about 3-4 hours out of my laptop with Ubuntu 10.04. I get 5-6 with Windows 7.

mattgriffin
mattgriffin

Hi Jack, We re-enabled PayPal in the Ubuntu One Music Store for all regions late last week. Enjoy! -Matt

slashdotcomma
slashdotcomma

For me it was the movement of the minimize, maximize, and close buttons. Needing to type -, run gconf-editor, under apps->metacity-general and changing the button layout order to "menu:minimize,maximize,close" is absolutely unnecessary. Couldn't find any other graphical way to change the button placement :(. (Grub2 with the new /etc/default/grub file isn't much better either).

Jaqui
Jaqui

http://dev.chromium.org/developers/how-tos/get-the-code the get the source page for Google Chrome. it's open source. they even added tarballs after I sent them a comment: Repository checkouts are not the same as a tarball. and by requiring git to get the sources you are in violation of the "FREELY AVAILABLE" requirement in the license, git doesn't run on all operating systems. Not to forget, use of anything other than a basic browser to obtain the sources is adding a barrier to getting them, again not freely available then. :D

mcswan454
mcswan454

Jack, I'm going to let this one go to someone else in the community. I'm STILL ereling from the last time I started a discussion. But yeah, I agree with you. M. (And I promise to straighten out the pic of me. I look as if I'm suffering "spagettification" upon nearing a Black Hole).

serpentsnare
serpentsnare

but I wouldn't use Ubuntu for a server anyway. Their focus is desktop. Use Debian or an RHEL clone instead.

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

Still works just fine in Ubuntu 10.04. You just have a choice now -- but not for everything! (And you get a polite notice if you do it "the traditional way".)

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

Won't happen -- they won't violate licensing restrictions and distribute them. However, if that's what you want, you can always install Mint or any other distro that has no such reservations and puts them in. (Funny how they all seem to be based outside the U.S....) I don't care: I always add about 200 MB of downloaded goodies & customizations to a fresh install anyway -- more than what can ever fit on the distro CD. Make a script to automate this, and you get what you want -- after one more type-in.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I would expect at least XPDF to be installed by default. You can't open any PDF files with the Ubuntu default install? Unless there is embedded certificates (I hear scientific documents include them), what feature are you not getting through the non-Adobe PDF readers?

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

I've installed Lucid "clean", added it to a notebook that had only Windows 7, added it to a dual-boot (Win-Ubuntu) machine, added it to a machine with just an older Ubuntu distro, and today I just finished adding it to a machine with Vista and Ubuntu 8.04. No problems in any of these cases... All OS's were present & bootable afterwards. The problem I have had? I tried an "in situ" upgrade from 9.10 to 10.04... and it trashed my system! Another friend had the same problem upgrading a netbook with UNR. THAT'S what I don't like about 10.04. So I'm back to my old modus operandi: Keep the old install, and upgrade with a clean install in a second partition. Dual-boot until the newer version is stable (enough). Share a single /home partition between them. And it always seems a good idea to wait 1-2 months after a new release to get started with it. I.e., after the first several rounds of bug fixes have passed under the bridge. (Waiting two more months of "gamma testing" does no harm.)

eckarfr
eckarfr

dual monitor setup is a great big hassel. it just don't work. looked at every post for 3months and still no gratification. still trying. maybe someone knows how to fix it. intel 915 mobile graphics adapter intel915gm etc.

Fluxdragon
Fluxdragon

Sounds like bad RAM or bad spots on HD, before you say, windows runs fine, be aware that windows often will run fine with some bad ram until one day, one app, will touch that magic G-spot bad memory register and POW crash to BSOD :D Just a thought, memtest86, and HDAT2 are your best bets for deep scanning ram/hd. I had a bad stick for 6 months before I scanned and noticed, only ONE game would crash, it just happend to use that spot, everything else ran perfectly 24/7, but that one game crashed OCCASIONALLY. One stick of RAM lit up red 10 seconds into the scan..

jsolarski
jsolarski

I love my Ubuntu but, for the past 2 releases i have had major issues...... but ill just stick to 10.04 1) USB did not work after upgrading from 9.10 - tried 3 different fixes with no success 2) pulse audio kept crashing, and would not let me play any kind of sound or format- 3) upgrading broke compiz completely, and would not let me switch back to metacity. 4) those themes suck, and the button placement should have an easier way to set them. In the end I had to format and reinstall the entire system back to 9.04 and all works well now.......I am waiting till 10.10 comes out before upgrading back up

Jaqui
Jaqui

GRUB = GNU's Really Useless Bootloader you know. and it's a common failing for GNOME and GNOME apps to make configuration changes harder than they need to be. comes from duplicating Macos look I think. You know, the completely obscure methods Macos uses to accomplish normal tasks that should be readily available. ;) edit to add: just checked in the bloated, unusable KDE4 the newest PCLinuxOS has, the K Control center, appearance, window you can position all window buttons to suit yourself. even the non usable KDE4 has it a simple task. open the control center, expand the appearance menu on the left, pick the window item and then the buttons tab in the right panel.

temposuender
temposuender

Linux (while Ubuntu is probably one of the best for home desktops) must hurry to arrive to the present time. I really must say that some of the 10 points are harsh and not really true or an issue. If you are missing apps then install them. I don't miss GIMP and Samba simply cause I don't use them. Why shall other who don't use it mess around with apps they don't need. after each fresh install I anyway remove tons of unused apps from Ubuntu. But what I miss more is a "modern" FS support. ext4 in combination with LVM (on multi disk systems) is a beast, and I hate it. Coming from the Sun world I adore ZFS. Its fast, easy and scalable. Where is something similar like this in Linux. Where are the smart developers who brought Linux to where it is. There is only one real future filesystem which is btrfs. But even since its in the Kernel already, there is no distribution at all supporting it. (except of Meego which is crap and I refuse to count it into anything). Surely especially for Net- or Notebooks Ubuntu and all its dependant distributions (jolicloud, Easypeasy, etc ...) might be the OS of choice if it would be be optimized for them, and in Times of increasing use of SSD disks for fast Desktops/ Servers or alternative small SSDs for Netbooks, ext(x) is surely a candidate for the junkyard and anything else than a future fs.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With Mandriva you can visit the easyurpmi website for your PLF repositories. Debian has non-free and the multimedia repositories. I thought Canonical's products had similar. Granted, in the US.. DMCA and other irrational abuses of law against "the people". Same thing with encryption research; everybody had to leave the US to continue real research after the gov lost it's mind over PGP.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I had two good sticks of ram and a good motherboard but combine the two and you get grief. Popped a different brand of ram on the board and the system ran rock solid after that.

Rod_V
Rod_V

I'm pretty new linux and the reason I decided to use it was because of Ubuntu's beautiful job. I have a dual boot option on my laptop now with Windows 7 and Ubuntu, and I'm having trouble when I try to login to Ubuntu...it keeps saying my password is wrong. After a few attempts it my work. When using Windows 7 I never have this problem so... it couldn't be the laptop itself (of course I tested the keyboard). It is really weird, after restart the computer it may take the password on first attempt (if I'm lucky). Other than that everything works fine (I had to install a new firmware for my wi-fi button to work). I'll try to upgrade it to the latest version and see if this fix the issue.

Sepius
Sepius

KDE was/still is easy to customise ... yeah and I hated the button layout in default Ubuntu as well, and using 10.04 to convert my better half was not a good choice, 9.xx was better. My KDE issue was the crashes (as mentioned) in KDE4 which prompted the move from Mandriva to Ubuntu and I have not looked back (much). Oh and the dropping of Konquorer as the main file manager. Nautilus is close ... but not quite.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As came up in a ZFS vs BTRFS discussion. ZFS has had extensive testing already. BTRFS is new, buggy and generally too young. While applications can be pushed out and debugged after, a filesystem has to be solid. It has to have years of testing before it can be called ready for production. Few people are crazy enough to trust there stored data to a beta filesystem and fewer are crazy enough to base a distribution on a beta filesystem. (Is Meego using btrfs by default? Why wouldn't it use something specifically designed for flash storage?)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

So they've gone the same router as Debian proper with the mutlimedia-debian repository.

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

Canonical has Medibuntu.org for those needs. There's even a community page that tells you how to add their repository and package signing key, so that you can install from Synaptic (apt-get) and receive automatic updates along with everything else. It, um, "fills in the cracks" to make Ubuntu whole. Non-US Ubuntu derivatives cut to the chase and just include it out of the box.

Rod_V
Rod_V

I don't think it is a keyboard issue, it looks like a bug on Ubuntu's authentication system.

jedipenguin
jedipenguin

I've set up 10.0.4 on an HP ML15 G6 server, and for both log in and sudo I often have to enter the password several times; only in the system, not for websites, etc., where it works as expected. The keyboard is a ps/2, not a USB one--can that possibly be a problem? Sometimes it goes in first try, but I'd guess 80 % of the time it takes 3 to 10 times-3 to 5 most common.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Based on my completely unscientific research: 2006/06/07 first public alpha 2006/11/27 included into KDE playground 2006/12/22 last replease for KDE3, continue KDE4 2007/02/17 included into kdebase (KDE4?) 2010/01/26 latest entry KDE SC 4.4 http://dolphin.kde.org/news.html 2005/July Vista beta release (Longhorn renamed) 2006/02/22 Vista deemed feature complete 2006/11/08 Vista manufacturer release 2007/01/30 Vista retail release http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista Hadn't had reason to compare before though not a scientific comparison here either.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Vista file explorer feels a lot like Dolphin. :D (I couldn't resist)

Slayer_
Slayer_

Feels a lot like Vista just less smoothed edges.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The file manager and integration of viewers was one thing I liked about KDE4. At the time, the background widgets where of little use compared to Conky and over all, it could be relied on to decide my machine was not powerful enough and reduce it's own graphics settings. But Dolphin was rather nice compared to Konqueror+plugins.

temposuender
temposuender

its at the moment not as strong as zfs ... but it has already compression, ssd optimization, snapshots, ... and a few other features that work fine ... Of course there is a big further development need. But since btrfs is primarary build by someone from Oracle, and Oracle now owns ZFS, maybe it gets canned and Larry realises that zfs on linux will be the overburner. Probably 30 minutes Later he realizes, there wont be a big monetizing on zfs linux, and he will kill the project again, add it to the SUN mass, cann that all and complain that the industry is not yet ready for modern "highly overpriced products. "RIP SUN" Sorry run OT.... check this ... those articels are interesting .. http://storagemojo.com/2009/05/20/btrfs-vs-zfs-omg/ http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7308

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I have only the OSNews discussion on a recent article to base my knowledge of btrfs on. If it does all that ZFS does (or matures to include all same functions) I'd like to see it as a default for distributions. I'm currently on ext3 inside LVM so it's not like I'm pushing any envelopes.

temposuender
temposuender

I'm crazy enough to use btrfs on my home PC system and it works like a charm. No data loss no outage (Of course the real important data is stored on a NAS). At present I use Ubuntu with an added btrfs /export/home. Meego does have native btrfs for root which is nice and was the primary reason to install it on my netbook. But then the rest of meego is just poor. I personally consider it as stable enough for home use (of course not enterprise approved) and would like to see it as a rootfs for Ubunto or any other debian derivate.

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