YAAAUU (Yet Another Article About Ubuntu Unity)

 I tried.  I really did.  I tried to like Ubuntu’s new Unity interface and tried hard to make it work. Unity felt ok on the Acer Netbook -- the small screen is a good match for the new vertical application launcher.

It was sort of ok on the larger Dell Latitude E6500s laptop.

It was ultimately a disaster on my 64-bit desktop with the 24-inch display. Not because I had to fiddle for an hour or so to figure out how to use Compiz to give me more than the default four virtual workspaces.  Not because switching between workspaces is kind of clunky, requiring either two hands to perform a triple-key shortcut followed by a mouse click to switch workspaces,  or alternatively being required to navigate the fussy vertical app launcher to find the switcher app. I could have eventually accepted that. I think.

What ultimately made me go back to the Gnome 2 shell was that for the third (and last) time last week Unity crashed while I was trying to switch between workspaces. Each time the switcher application froze mid-switch and locked my desktop up *hard*. I could not even ssh into it from another machine to kill the session, I had to do a hard reset.

The crash behavior acts like a memory leak or other kind of memory error because it takes about three days of heavy use and lots of switching between workspaces before it crashes, but that last time proved to me that Unity is not yet ready for prime time, at least not for this user.

Now, running Ubuntu 11.04 under the nice, comfortable Gnome 2 interface, I only have to deal with one little annoyance:  when I switch between workspaces there are frequently graphics “artifacts” left over from the workspace I just switched from. This no doubt a feature of how Ubuntu integrates the proprietary driver for my Nvidia 8200 chipset.

Life isn’t perfect, but it still beats the alternatives.




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no honest person could

istok's picture

no honest person could honestly say which is worse: unity or gnome 3. it's neck and neck. right now i'm leaning toward saying gnome, but every day one learns some new horrible truth about the two experiments.
on a general note, people who use ubuntu should just get over it. they've been left behind for a new "market" that awaits canonical, just around the corner. so move on peeps, ubuntu has.
on another particular note, kde is ridiculously bloated, at least the way it's put on that ubuntu kde thing which is what i tested. it's so slow that it gives linux a bad name.
and when all's been said and done, phones are supposed to be dumb. unlike people who fall for advertizing tricks and buy what they don't need. tablets, huh.


Doug.Roberts's picture

I've pretty much heard the same about Gnome 3. And I've long since given up on the baroque brokenness that is KDE. Somebody is bound to get the Linux Desktop right eventually. No, it will not be xfce.

Debian + KDE

Anonymous1234's picture

Hey I love my Debian Squeeze KDE 4.4.5 desktop. It kicks ass and I've used Gnome 2 since 2006. I switched over to Debian Stable because it is actually stable unlike Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Been running Debian Squeeze since the freeze I think it was December or February can't remember, but everything that I need to do on it has worked once it has been setup and don't have to worry about stupid updates that break the system or have to implement every 2-4 days.

It could be e17. Fast and I

Anonymous's picture

It could be e17. Fast and I mean really fast, customizable AND not fugly.


Anonymous's picture

Just use Debian.
Gnome 2.3.


slump's picture


BUY A MAC. - I have two

Kyle's picture

BUY A MAC. - I have two - but I prefer Ubuntu - free software easy to customize and easier to use.


Anonymous's picture

We're not all rich, and it's certainly not better.

Been there, did that

Doug.Roberts's picture

OSX is ok, but I really do prefer Linux and the flexibility one has in selecting which desktop environment to use.

Maybe next version Unity

Iman's picture

I tried Unity for a day or two and I removed it. I believe they will get it right later. I might try what you did Rich because it had to many glitches for me

Unity not ready

Eliezer E. Vargas's picture

I went back to 10.10... Even on gnome2 i had random crashes. Unity is not ready... but the worst is that it is a disaster in a dual monitor configuration... It is just horrible! I'll wait. I tries Mint but it seams that the crashes are not Unity related.

Not sure it's all Unity's fault

Rich.H's picture

I did an in-place upgrade 10.10 -> 11.04 on my HP laptop, and experienced all of the Unity weirdness people have reported - hangs, invisible windows blocking mouse clicks, etc. After some experimenting with KDE and a couple other desktops, I did a clean install of 11.04 to de-clutter and go back to Unity. ALL of the aberrant desktop behavior vanished. I wonder if the upgrade process isn't properly retiring the old Gnome 2 shell.

Postscript: Even after reinstalling, I soon found Unity annoying enough to drop it in favor of Gnome 3. Even though the look/feel is similar, imho G3 is much more intuitive and less intrusive. Plus it has an app search function that actually WORKS, and the full menu tree as backup.

PPS: I did have a couple of graphics glitches with G3, quickly cured by installing the latest/greatest proprietary Nvidia driver (275.09.07). Might help w/your artifacting.