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GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu Unity: Which desktop wins?

The war is almost on: GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu Unity. Both have been available long enough to draw the conclusion as to which will rise above and find success. Jack Wallen offers up his take on the battle.

Both GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity are looming on the horizon. Both of these desktop replacements will incite a lot of reactions from users -- some good, some bad.But when it all boils down, one of these two takes on the desktop will rise above the other. Which one? I'm going to compare the two and offer up a conclusion on the future of both GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity.

At first glance

I want to first examine how the user is going to feel upon first glance. Let's imagine the user has no previous knowledge of either desktop. How will they react? If you look at the two desktops, side by side (see Figures A and B), you might well draw the same conclusion I draw: Ubuntu Unity, at first glance, will be much more accessible to new users. Why? The new user is not going to immediately know to hover their mouse in the upper left corner or click the Activities button to open up the launcher menu. In Unity, the launchers are right there on the desktop, waiting to be clicked and used.

Figure A

Figure B

Ubuntu Unity desktop

Figure B

Figure B

Gnome desktop

Each of the desktops you see in the images are default (minus the addition of The GIMP for quality screenshots.) The lack of an obvious means to launch applications in GNOME Shell will trip up new users.

The Unity advantage pretty much ends there.

Dig a little deeper

Once you get beyond the surface, a few glaring issues start popping up for Ubuntu Unity. I will highlight the most glaring.

Connect to server

One of the most handy menu entries in GNOME (for me at least) is the Connect to Server entry in the Places menu. This allows the user to connect to nearly any type of server quickly and easily. The user can even connect to a Windows Share from here. In Unity - you won't find that. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find any means to connect to a server in Ubuntu Unity. The only way to make any sort of connection in Ubuntu Unity is:

  1. Open Nautilus from the command line.
  2. Click Go | Network and then attempt to connect to your Windows network.

This, however, did not work for me. From GNOME Shell I could effortlessly connect to my shared folders using the Connect to Server wizard. From Ubuntu Unity...no dice. Even though I know Samba is configured correctly and working, Ubuntu Unity simply wouldn't play along.

Configuring the desktop

In order to configure the GNOME Shell desktop the user only has to right-click the desktop as they have for years. Ubuntu Unity? No dice. In order to configure desktop with Unity, the user must click Applications | System | Appearance. Most new users aren't even going to know how to get to Systems from within Applications. And if they do figure it out (it's not difficult), chances are they won't know that Appearance configuration is tucked into the System category. Shouldn't there be a Preferences category? Bad call on Unity's part.

And while we're at it...both desktops are still using Mutter. I realize that Unity is in major transition from X to Wayland and the rumors have been flip flopping since the announcement as to which compositor it will use. (I just googled it and still find instances where some are saying Mutter and some are saying Compiz.) Regardless of which it uses, just make sure compositing can be customized. That has been one of the best features of Linux desktop - customization!

What? No run dialog?

That's right. Ubuntu Unity has forsaken the trusty run dialog. I don't know about you, but that dialog has been my bread and butter for launching applications for a very long time. Why would a desktop designer think removing that tool is anything but a horrible idea? GNOME Shell? Of course, you can have your run dialog!

What? I can't change my window manager?

This is the case for both desktops. You can not change your window manager. Say you prefer Emerald over the standard window manager...if you're using either GNOME Shell or Ubuntu Unity, you're out of luck. One of the draws of the Linux desktop has always been its flexibility. If you're using either GNOME Shell or Ubuntu Unity, kiss that flexibility goodbye.

Draw a conclusion

Anyone that has read my column long enough knows I have been a big champion of Ubuntu and Canonical for a long time. When Mark Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu was migrating to Ubuntu Unity I was on his side. I assumed there was good reason for the shift. Well, I've had plenty of time to give Unity a try and, to be quite frank, it's a mistake. Ubuntu Unity simply does not perform or behave up to the standards users have grown to expect from a Linux desktop. My fear is this will actually do more to harm than to help the Linux desktop cause. When new users install Ubuntu 11.04 they will be greeted with a desktop designed for netbooks and will feel cheated.

As for GNOME Shell...that's a tougher one. It's certainly not a step back because it functions so well and offers a lot of really nice "evolutions" to the current state of the desktop. My biggest gripe with GNOME Shell is its lack of flexibility. But GNOME Shell certainly does have a lot more polish and looks worlds more professional (where Unity seems to be convinced looking like a toy is a better take on the desktop.)

Given the choice between the two, I would choose GNOME Shell any day. Fortunately that is not the only option. We will see plenty of Ubuntu re-spins (a GNOME Shell spin will probably appear right away). In fact, these migrations will probably bring some of the alternative desktops (such as my favorite, Enlightenment) to the fore. And that is probably where I will be heading to full time - Enlightenment. What about you? What is your take on the GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu Unity battle?

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.

78 comments
Sawyer Bergeron
Sawyer Bergeron

I have used zorin OS with KDE interface for a while, keeping the zorin AWN launcher for its similarity to windows, and kde for just about everything else. I used ubuntu till 10.10 as a "daily driver", then went back to windows for about a year, then after that I gave up on trying to recover from "hardware" (or so microsoft support told me) issues and wiped my hard drive before installing legacy linux 10.10. Sure, it had no support, and sure it was lacking serious stability, but that was what I ran until about 4 months ago, when I installed Zorin, I'm convinced I'm never going back to anything else unless windows 9 is unix based and looks exactly like windows 7. I basically used KDE based blur and a few tweaks to get it working much like a windows desktop with still supported widgets and no (major) errors or crashes.

tuxfan
tuxfan

Linux mint mate rocks , it use the old gnome , I have try all the new thinks and distro's not like it all :)

bbqchickenrobot
bbqchickenrobot

You start out by laying out the notion that based on a users first time usage of either Desktop which would the user choose... or prefer... or declare supreme. Then you shred Unity for not having things the former desktop used to have (when the new user wouldn't know this) ... then you go into your usage habits, etc and state why Unity sucks because it didn't possess or retain what you thought it should have. How about this... as of five days ago I came to Linux from Win7 Ultimate and had never used Unity or Gnome shell. Once I download Ubuntu 11.10 I loved it and then made it my primary OS and ran windows in a Virtual Machine. That's what Unity did for Ubuntu. I was surprised by the long way Linux had come since five or six years ago and now decided to run it.... Fedora didn't do this, Debian, etc... Ubuntu + Unity rocks!

mjwelchphd
mjwelchphd

To get to "Connect to Server," click on the desktop, then move the mouse pointer to the top of the screen just right of the word "Desktop" and a menu will appear. Pull down File and there you will find the missing "Connect to server." In fact, this is where the missing menus went to for all windows. Just click on an open window, then move the mouse pointer to the top of the screen to the right of the App name, and the menu magically appears. It's very strange, but once you know where the menu is, you're good. Maybe there's a preference to have the menu always appear, but I haven't looked for it yet.

strangled1
strangled1

I enabled 'autohide' for the Unity launcher - and haven't seen it since. Tapping the mouse cursor against the side of the window can't coax it back. If I drag a desktop folder to the side, the launcher appears briefly - but shyly retreats before I can activate any action on it. Even logging into a Gnome session - and using compiz to reconfigure the Unity to set the launcher to 'dodge' mode isn't enough make Unity let me have a launcher back. That's it. I'm dead in the water. They've hidden enough capability from me that I can't fix my own desktop. So, Gnome it is... Though I feel nearly as handcuffed there - it hasn't totally incapacitated me.

esp02
esp02

I love unity from release 11.10. For example, with unity you are very quick at the program or document you want. How?? When you would like to search use the window button. When you don't release the window button you see at the left the programbar with a number in each program. So you choose the number and you are there. When you don't choose a number but release the window button you will get the "explorer" from unity. Then type the program or document name you want. Or search with the options on the right side. It work so well... thanks a lot Ubuntu!

Data Installations Leeds
Data Installations Leeds

We can use Ubuntu on client machine also and its much better Operating system. you are right that mostly it use on server sides and its more safe and secure OS.

Pablo Honey
Pablo Honey

I didn't start using Linux, much less Ubuntu, until this year, about a month before 11.10 came out. Since I had problems with some drivers, I couldn't use Unity at first. Instead, I used Gnome for about a month and a half. I got used to it and almost didn't want to switch to Unity, but I decided to give it a try. Since switching to Unity, I've become a Ubuntu fanatic. I absolutely love Unity. It was weird at first, but you get used to it. Yes, there are NEW ways to do new things. Most complaints I hear about Unity are that it doesn't work like the ol' Gnome desktop. This is correct. Of course it doesn't. It's not called Gnome. It's called Unity. So, it's different. It's like when I first tried to use a Mac. I was trying to use OS X like Windows. That didn't go so well, so I just thought OS X sucked. But it didn't really suck, I was just using it wrong. You can't try to use OS X like Windows or vice versa. You use Windows like Windows, OS X like OS X, and you use Unity like Unity, not Gnome.

bornbyforce
bornbyforce

I can not agree more with: "... Not because there aren't other options, but the sheer thought of someone in this group thinking this was a good idea is quite disturbing.". Same here, For #7(&'s sake... I can not even hide this annoying Bluetooth Icon. It is there on a panel which is always in front of my eye while I can not have what "I" want on the same pannel. Isn't that ironic for an OS known for its flexibility? Also very well mentioned earlier by other people here: instead of rushing to push something out of the door fast it's better to concentrate on the quality a little bit. HUGE number of things are added to make Gnome3 and Unity possible. A few things that we always wanted are neglected yet again. And worse: You don't add functionality? You are busy adding things that I don't want? It's alright. At least don't remove the things that I was happy using! Where is my dear "up" button in nautilus? why should I go through some obscure path to make the default manifestation of an adress actually as an adress!? And when someone says this is why people are still using Windows they get a flame war. No man! It is true! People out there want to use computers. Their lives is not about computers like us. If it is frustrating for me, how is it for them? They once go through some learning process in their lives and afterwards just slowly modify it to adapt to small changes. And that is how it is supposed to be. You can not make them change the way they were doing things every 6 months because you came up with this brilliant new idea. Gnome and Ubuntu are making a mistake. And I am happy about it. I was always feeling guilty for never trying other options. It made me try Xfce and it is alright so far. KDE was never an option for me because Nokia simply have blood of people on their hands. A little bit about the touch screen... no matter how much I try I can not imagine myself being comfortable touching the screen to get programs switched every few seconds. Touch screens may be good for mobile phones but anyone who looks at computers a little more seriously (Not necessarily a power user) would rather use a roller ball mouse. And I am not even mentioning the dirt ammased on your screen after a few hours. On Gnome2 I needed to move my hand with the mouse less than an inch to open a program. What do I have now? go all the way from this side of the screen to that side and back. I gave it time so that I may get used to it but after a while I started to feel I am contributing to global warming. Is it a mouse running and clicking excersise? It is not even funny. Something I like to happen is a big number of developers actually forking out and continuing on the old Gnome2 interface. Its success would be a big lesson for all of us. Wishful thinking? I hope not.

aliahyp
aliahyp

I have to agree with the last several comments. I have 35 applications in my Mac OS X dock, and I really need another row. The launcher icons are huge! The "Search Applications" does no such thing! Nowhere can you type in the first few letters of what you want, and 1/3 of what's displayed on the first click is stuff that's not even installed! It's unforgivable that not even the *cardinality* of what is displayed can be customized! The corresponding "Files and Folders" item is positively useless. There's this envelope icon near the top right of my screen for a menu offering to set up Evolution that I can't get rid of (I use other solutions)! I hated Ubuntu the last time I used it, about 2 years ago, because just trying to change the font was a nightmare, let alone being unhappy with the categories in which all of my applications had to be arranged. At least to me, how things look is important to me if I'm going to be looking at it every day. There's still no relief on customizing the categories either. When one installs a Windows program, it's standard for the installer to ask where the shortcuts should go. The "All Applications" menu has "Universal Access" as its third to the top category! How many times am I going to have to go in there?! Two years have passed and I can't rearrange my start-menu equivalent, which is now buried in another layer. At least Windows 3.1 Program Manager let you delete groups you didn't want! I should be able to drag and drop all of this around. Unity is a clear step backwards in usability, which is devastating because Gnome has some formidable usability problems to begin with. Now, the effort to make it better is split, leaving us with two sub-par choices, when the priority should be to give us a choice as to how we want to organize it's * stupid* to alienate developers when you're trying to build a platform. Not being able to have all of my tools where I can immediately reach them at all times frustrates me to the point of wanting to spend as little time working with the platform as I can get away with, and that means I won't be volunteering my time to work on anything based on Unity, and lets face it, a large part of what Linux desktop development is going on is pro bono. Both Unity and Gnome have *so* far to go before many people are going to actually enjoy spending the time they'd have to using it to build the applications that would make the platform a compelling alternative consumer OS.

pdxmusl
pdxmusl

I just spent most of today test driving unity and gnome 3. I agree with a lot of what's said here. Trying to do anything in unity is almost impossible. Options are severally limited. I suppose as the project goes through it's iterations, a lot of these problems can be addressed. But to avid linux users, unity was not ready for release. But.. Gnome 3 suffers many of the same problems as unity does. It's not as configurable as past versions. Both systems are for the most part WYSIWYG. I really dislike these shell or cellphone looking desktop systems. The application icons are spread the entire screen, forcing exaggerated movements in order to do anything. I've heard some favor it because "no more menus". I ask.. how is that not a menu? Closing an application is pain full in both. Switching to concurrently running applications is painful. Unless you like the multi-step process and overly exaggerated mouse movements, alt-tab and other shortcuts become your friend. Both gnome 3 and unity really do a number on productivity. I suppose if you just need the system to do simple stuff. Check mail every once in a while. Listen to music. Play a game here and there. I suppose you probably wouldn't notice some of these issues. But if you are like me and don't have a standard list of applications you almost always run. Or if you almost always have a super long list of applications running at the same time. Both unity and gnome are painful to work with. It seriously makes me want to migrate away from linux all together. Not because there aren't other options, but the sheer thought of someone in this group thinking this was a good idea is quite disturbing. But.. that's just me. I really wish I had more positives to say. As I dive down into it a bit more, I may uncover things I like. Changes that are good IMO. But as of yet, the only positive thing I have to say for both is, first boot both look pretty.

ethaniel88
ethaniel88

I think that Unity is awfully bad. I mean why would they add non-yet installed application lists on the menu making it looks full and the left menu bar is too big and useless if you have almost over than 10 applications that you always use. User would be too confused with too many application choices in their menu. And i must agree that having the current application's name in the upper menu bar is really a space waste and annoying. I fell like it's stuck there even when i re-smaller the windows application. I have moved to Linux Mint but still it's kind of buggy when playing video's from external drive. It gives error & sometimes no sound at all. This is why windows will still always win over. You wouldn't find something like this in windows. Never in my experienced with windows. Unless you don't have the codec installed in windows, it'll play videos smoothly.

Hugh971
Hugh971

Both Run and Connect To Server are available in Unity. Connect to server is under File and Run can be bought up with the old trusty Alt + F2 combo.

fletchoid
fletchoid

My main computer has always been a Windows computer. My work computers are Mac. All my secondary (old, used, spare, etc.) computers use Linux. I have been using Ubuntu on my secondary computers since 8.04, and run several Versions of Linux in VirtualBox on my main computer. I try every new version of Ubuntu or Mint, and have liked each of them when they are new, and moved on to the next versions as they became available. The ONLY exception has been Unity. I have been playing with it on my virtual machine for a few weeks now, and have finally decided that I HATE it. OMG! I can't find anything, don't know how to get my NAS to show up, take many many clicks to get where I want to go, etc. etc. I find myself gravitating to my Mint Virtual Machine. The fact is... the vast majority of computer users in North America use Windows, and the Mac OS comes in Second. If a Linux distro is relatively similar to either of these, it is quite easy to adapt to it. If it is totally different, it can be annoying. I like Linux, and am willing to spend the time to learn new things, but the average user will just give up after about 10 minutes of frustrations, and delete a bad Linux distro, never to try it again. I can see having Unity as a CHOICE, but I really don't like it. I will be using Mint for the next little while. Mint gives you Multiple choices, and that's what I really like about Linux. CHOICE. If Unity is the only way Ubuntu goes, I will be going in a different direction.

chromemagnum
chromemagnum

The KDE versus GNOME flamewar is over! We can finally bash each other's opinions of what "simple" is! But nothing will change; in fact, I'd be willing to bet that before this post closes an Arch user tells us that they really know what simple is, and it has nothing to do with the desktop :)

Aysgarth
Aysgarth

Well a week or so has passed since I made my first comment suggesting Xfce 4.8. I still think Xfce 4.8 is a great desktop and a more than good enough replacement for Gnome 2.32 But .... I am actually warming to Gnome3. The more I use it the less I resist. I can have my preferred black desktop and once I got the feel for how it functions I am less inclined to dismiss it. My teenage daughter has taken to Unity. It took her a few minutes to work out how it functions and declined the offer to revert to a classic Gnome desktop. I still do not like Unity much, but I do like Gnome3. An easy way to setup your system and still use Ubuntu is to download and install Xubunu, then add the Gnome3 PPA and install. That way you can select your preference at the login screen. So far having the dual install has not caused me any grief. Adding Gnome3 to a standard Ubuntu install can cause all sorts of issues and blocks Unity and Classic Gnome from loading - lib conficts galore. My notebook will be running Gnome3/Xfce 4.8. My desktop is staying with Debian Wheezy and a Gnome 2.30 desktop for a while yet. Interesting times.

nickk32
nickk32

Being a new user to the Ubuntu OS I like the new look/feel of Ubuntu 11. For the new user like myself it is one more step in the right direction.

h1l4nd0r
h1l4nd0r

Anybody Tell me pleaes how can I manage wifi networks in unity as easy as in gnome desktop? is there any way? I even don't know how to connect vpn wich I've added in network connetions app. I just don't have the wifi icon on the main panel, and can't add it there as in gnome, how can I access it?

jhyder
jhyder

I prefer Gnome or XFCE hands down...but I know where all computing is headed....touch....that said, for the transition period Unity should only be offered based on hardware spec. scans done at install/boot....netbooks and desktops are still mildly different....Unity has a ways to go.Just my a*s*ole but I'm entitled to possesing one....(ok,sorry for lame joke)

anders_w
anders_w

Its not correct that connect to server are missing - yes there is two file windows, booth a new and the classic nautilus. Nautilus have a widget to the left just as the new. The reason for two is that Nautilus still have "must have features" like "connect to server" and will stick a round till there are better solutions.

lsatenstein
lsatenstein

Unity will definitely win for the netbook crowd, to which the majority of college students will select in place of a laptop. The fight will be between netbook and xpod or android device. Students need keyboards, so netbook it is until after graduation.

viralnexxus
viralnexxus

Mr. Shuttleworth's "hidden agenda" was becoming more visible to me since Jaunty. He is slowly transforming the Ubuntu Linux Desktop into a Mac OSX "clone" in order to appeal to all the pretentious and trendy Apple users with deep pockets. Don't believe me? Take a look at the "purple and blue" hues of the desktop wallpaper, remind you of anything? lol. It won't be long before we all have to start purchasing copies of Ubuntu to help pay for his trainwrecking decisions.

Jaqui
Jaqui

both are abortions as far as usability is concerned. they are ripoffs of the macos menu bar across the top of the screen idiocy. only 1 gui worth using, the rest can go rot. E16!!!!! everything else, INCLUDING E17, is garbage.

bobp
bobp

This will open the door for Mint to rise to the top. Mint takes Ubuntu and makes improvemnents - everything from more drivers to improvements to the interface.

gteachey
gteachey

Ubuntu Unity will only see it's face on Ubuntu and it's variants. GNOME already has the rest of the market, so they'll have a wider audience in that respect.....but does any of this really matter? One will never be better than the other, that's why they're on Linux! We have choices on what we run

hezakiah
hezakiah

Why is it that every "upgrade" I see lately is a degrade? Instead of rushing something out just to be the first at whatever, they should actually create something that works. Otherwise, Linux will end up like Windows, a security sieve.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Keep pissing off users they will just switch to another flavor. I am even as I write thinking about doing this.

jtodd929
jtodd929

From the beginning, Shuttleworth's mission in creating Ubuntu was to reduce Microsoft's Desktop PC marketshare. One of the MAJOR advantages that Windows has had over Linux is its "Standard" appearance and form which allows it to be easily distributed to manufacturers. When I ask folks why they use Windows instead of Linux a common response is that there are too many distros and not enough attention on developing/standardizing one for delivery to the masses. Unity is an attempt to standardize a Linux platform and deliver it to the masses. I think it is a GOOD thing for Linux. Unity will facilitate OEM distribution and simplify things for people that don't know as much about computers and don't have the time to spend learning what many of us know. Ubuntu will allow users to install Gnome-shell with one click. I'm not sure why folks have anything to complain about. You have to two awesome Gnome-based Desktop platforms to choose from. Gnome 3 also recognized the advantages of a standardized platform with limited customization--so they instituted changes to reap the advantages of it. There's good and bad to everything. One thing that Linux has never really had is a Standard Layout Desktop platform. Some developers are now trying it. I don't think this is a bad thing-especially considering the research and development that went into the Gnome-shell design. Perhaps a spin-off to Gnome will give users the customization they want. I strongly disagree with your either/or characterization of Unity vs Gnome-Shell for the desktop PC. I think they can both coexist and that there is a user market/group for each. More advanced Linux users will likely end up using Gnome-shell. New folks will be brought in by Unity and maybe end up utilizing something different once they get more experienced. I am excited that users have both options to consider and to choose from.

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

opensource has one big weakness...this is the lack of speed and focus of development of some projects.Gnome 3 is still not ready! Clearly Ubantu got fed up after seeing HTC sense on android and did their own thing...pity they did not finish the project looking glass started by sun and copied by some. How about sense on Gnome? ..anyone?

Slayer_
Slayer_

I just tried Ubuntu, I absolutely hate how it is now, this new unity thing looks even worse!

esteban.aliverti
esteban.aliverti

I have been using both gnome-shell and ubuntu unity the last 2 month. I started using gnome-shell, but I didn't like it, so now I'm giving a try to Unity. Some of the things I didn't like about gnome-shell are: 1.- Alt+Tab behaviour is awful. (In my case) Grouping applications brings more disadvantages than advantages. 2.- The launcher menu is useless. Really. I mean, I think a dock would be far more usable than a screen that mixes a lot of different things. Unity also has some sort of launcher menu that combines installed and non-yet-installed applications. I don't like it too ;). If you want a "Run dialog" just install Synapse. After you use Synapse you will see why I say that launcher menu is useless. 3.- The notification area... I didn't find it useful at all. 4.- Having the current application's name in the upper menu bar is a space waste (IMHO). I would love to have my nice applets just like with gnome 2 5.- No workspaces? Of course that Unity has a lot of caveats too. But this is just its first version. Moving from Gnome2 to gnome-shell is a step backward in my opinion. I didn't test the last version of gnome-shell, but what I didn't like what I have seen so far.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

I vote this way because I don't believe that the Unity we first see in 11.04 is the way it will stay for long. What we see in Gnome Shell is essentially not going to change much from here out. This is the first iteration of Unity on Ubuntu, I don't intend to use it, perhaps by 12.04 it will have some of the functions that are missing. If it doesn't have them soon Ubuntu may indeed be shooting itself in the foot. To be honest I may have to switch to one of the respins if it doesn't. I agree that Unity doesn't look professional in it's current presentation. It will need a theme manager to change those Icons at the very least. Perhaps it already has one? Either way I like the standard gnome desktop, I've tweaked it the way I want it and loosing that ability to tweak will not fly with the standard linux crowd.

rindi1
rindi1

I absolutely agree with enlightenment. The only problem is that currently there are only a handful of distro's about that use e17. Very nice is bodhi, and it is ubuntu based. Another one is be PXLinux which has an e17 version, but that one in my point of view almost makes it look like the other desktops. One of the things I like about it is that it is light-weight, but still has good eye-candy.

tor
tor

I upgraded from sever 9.10 to server 10.10 and lo and behold no desktop at all; installing the server didn't set up sshd and other confs during th einstallation and I had to download and install gnome desktop; after all that, it won't connect to the Internet. You'd think they'd give an advanced warning about the missing gui for the server.

ginjaninja405
ginjaninja405

Clearly you have not done nearly as much research into Unity as you have GNOME Shell. Unity is far from complete, and the arrangement of menus are still undergoing maintenance. For goodness sake, it's not even in beta 1 yet (it still has an Alpha release, and then there's a second beta as well). 11.04 Unity has had much more development put into it, and the speed at which it is being created is accelerating. But it is not finished. I cannot believe you would judge so early. Connection errors are to be filed as bug reports and sorted out within weeks. Just so you know, Unity is using Compiz. Unity 2D (legacy environment) uses mutter. Also, the run dialog has just been made available in the daily releases. And you can change your Window Manager. Infact, where the hell are you getting your dated information? Netbook Unity is dead, keep up Jack.

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

It is understood that to differentiate itself from the next Linux distro it has chosen to develop its own unique desktop.This will appeal to some but turn off others.Its early days in the development cycle to judge Whether it will appeal to mass market users is key performance indicator for this distro.if it cannot gain mass market appeal it may drop this development program.Most people agree the greatest desktop development pace in 2011/12 is around mobile technology.Microsoft has interpreted this in windows 8 as a seamless UI transfer from mobile to tablet and desktop.This maybe where gnome should be too?

rindi1
rindi1

I don't like it either. It may be OK for gadgets and smartphones or tablets with touchscreens, but I don't have any such device, and for use on a PC it is unusable. It's just about the same as with the new gnome version that fedora uses.

pdxmusl
pdxmusl

Yeah.. there seems to be a lot of work in this department. But I really hate touch screens. You can't fit as much content on the screen due to oversized buttons or you have to make oversized screens. I'm a medium built person, but I have bigger hands. Family trait. For me, unless the screen is, sorry for the joke, supersized, forget it. These phones, cameras, and pads all coming out are completely useless to me. This probably isn't a problem as more desktops migrate to touch screens. I suppose we will have to see how the technology evolves. For now, I have to say I'm not a big fan, nor a supporter. There is a long way to go before I believe it's useful technology.

jon123ni
jon123ni

I think one can look to the browser wars to see that competition has really upped the ante for web browsers, and each time one tries to outdo the other. I thought I would be loyal to Firefox for a long time, but Chrome won me over very quickly with its quotes about happiness

xaKira
xaKira

I don't think it is they degrade very much. 10.10 is much better to use than 7.10 where I started with Ubuntu. I do wish they brought out upgrades only once a year or maybe like the LTS upgrades, once every 2 years. And I agree with you, a bit more focus on the "paper cuts" would be nice.

RickB9
RickB9

I'm glad Ubuntu went overboard, else I wouldn't have found Mint Fluxbox Isadora. After all this BS distro-hopping I feel very at home, now.

xaKira
xaKira

There are the "masses" type of user and the "others" type of user. I suppose Ubuntu is gearing for the masses, but we wont really know how it will be until we try it out for a bit.

linuxcanuck
linuxcanuck

Clem Lefebvre has announced Mint 11 "Katya" will use GNOME 3 and be Ubuntu based. I think newbies who try to use GNOME 3 will be very frustrated and Unity isn't much better. It involves totally changing the workflow and most are not interested in learning something new. Of the two Unity has the most potential for new users because it is more like the Mac desktop and GNOME is unlike anything. I can't see Linux hardcore users either liking it much as they mostly do not like change. However, that being said both with improve and grow on us in time. I remember when KDE 4 came out and the KDE 3 users stayed away in droves. Now nobody misses KDE 3. It will be the same with GNOME and Unity.

jgmsys@yahoo.com
jgmsys@yahoo.com

I'm tending to agree here. I've only played around a little with eLive, which features E17, but it is much more compelling than what I'm seeing here. The only issue i see at this point is I'll have to find the source for my video drivers, as eLive doesn't really support my HD RADEON 4750 out of the box. Well, none really do correctly. There's always a "proprietary driver" installation to do, which doesn't really exist on eLive like it does on Ubuntu. So it's back to the forge, find the source and all the dependencies, which can sometimes be a hassle. But then again, tinkering is what we Linux nuts live for.

rindi1
rindi1

If you need a server with GUI then you should install a desktop version. The server options you can always add from the repos.

tagno25
tagno25

Ubuntu SERVER is for servers, not desktops. AFAIK, it has never had a GUI installed by default. When installing it asks if you want to install SSHD, Apache, CUPS, and a few other things.

pdxmusl
pdxmusl

It did seem to favor gnome, but since it was doing a comparison, that is fair. And.. in that regard, many of the quirks of unity are serious problems. It doesn't matter if it's version 10, 5, 1, some beta or alpha version. If the version is released to the public and it's not up to doing it's job right now. That's a serious problem. And it's not up to doing it's job right now. Maybe after a couple of years Unity might be a fully functional and useful GUI, but it's got a long way to go to be useful. A lot of core required concepts just are not there at all. A lot of things I was used to doing cannot be done in unity. Or require several orders of magnitude more effort. Again. I'm sure as time goes on, these things will be resolved. Or we will all get used to it just like we get used to weird quirks of MSOSs'. But the author is trying to do a usage test on how it is right that instance. There are no cookies or bonus points for future revisions. If it fails at something that instance, intent is meaningless.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Since much of Mint is to look like Windows and be easy to use. Stupid things like moving the close button, adding sub menus, etc. Would work against its goals. Of course, we can always switch distros, or just refuse to upgrade.

rindi1
rindi1

I don't have a radeon 4750, but I've tested eLive with some PC's with that had nvidia cards, and it would ask during startup whether you want to use the legacy drivers. If I said yes these cards would work. I'm sure it normally also asks that for AMD (radeon) cards. I don't remember, but it could be that eLive uses Debian stable, and that would mean you won't have the newest and things available. Could be that that causes your issues (or does it use debian SID)? On the other hand, with current distro's I've had no problems at all with AMD cards, as the opensource drivers provide 3D functionality out of the box, while the nouveau drivers for nvidia cards which are also opensource only have 2D support (it may be different with experimental versions of these drivers), so if I want to use nvidia cards with 3D I need to use the legacy drivers. This causes issues if I install them from the nvidia site's downloads,as whenever a kernel update is received, I have to run the nvidia setup tool again. I suggest you try out bodhi, it looks similar to eLive, although I haven't yet tried it with a 3D card and don't know if the compiz effects work there yet.

chimpook
chimpook

The difference of server and desktop is not only in GUI presence, but in kernel options too