Open Source

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.


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

Editor's Picks