Shawn rants a bit about Ubuntu's new Unity interface, and gives us a couple tips on how to adjust.
I agree with Shawn on all points in this video. The side bar definitely needs an off switch and the menus need more function. I'm sticking with Gnome until unity sucks less. Now I know what KDE folks went through when KDE4 came out.
I agree, for the moment I'm granting it the benefit of the doubt and I'm trying to give it a chance.
I believe the keyboard shortcuts are the way to go with Unity. BTW the sidebar disappears if a window is nearby or if it's maximized, you can make it appear again if you hold the Super key.
As you state @2:50.
If I don't see an application's name every day, I often forget its title. I'll know I want to edit a video, but might forget the video editor is named pitivi, or kdenlive. If I have a menu, I can go to the "video" submenu and see the installed apps in that category. With Unity, it takes several non-intuitive (for me) clicks to get there.
Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.
I have the same problem remembering program names. Perhaps the answer is to do more stuff with more stuff more often so we can remember the names of all that stuff.
Are drop down menus really that big a deal; it is a GUI for Gods sake. Terminal and ALT+f2 are always available.
I like it. It has a few advantages and doesn't seem to have any drawbacks. The docky on the side is very cool. It disappears when not in use and if you want to switch to something running in the background then just move the cursor to the docky area and it bounces out and has small white arrows beside programs that are running. You can drag and drop to customize docky or right click to get to a lot of files very easily. (Good Tips) I haven't seen the downside to this upgrade except compiz doesn't work...yet. I think everyone needs appreciate the hard work that went into this and not fear change. I love firefox 4 also. I was hesitant to upgrade but glad I did now. :~)
I have found the top bar (panel) to be confusing with respect to the individual menus. Like Shawn, that is one of my annoyances with mac os.
Also, the fact that the menu is not visible until you put your mouse over it, baffles me too. Just curious, how does a touch device access that menu, or how does one even know that the menu is there?
I am running this in a virtual box, so some of the controls (including the top panel) don't look right. I don't know if that is impacting some of the apps or not, but when I open libre office writer, the menu actually stays with the app and not on the top panel. But firefox, terminal and others, the menu goes on the panel. That is really confusing and inconsistent to me.
When two or more apps are full screen, I think the average "windows" user might have a hard time going from one app to the other (at first). Many may not know alt-tab, and there doesn't seem to be any indication that if you move your mouse over to the left, the launcher comes back and you can select the apps from there.
With Firefox, I can right click the launcher button and get a new window. With terminal, I can't right click and get a new terminal window. What?
How do I open multiple terminals? I have to use the terminal menu? Or use the ubuntu button and find the terminal app and launch another?
In most cases, I like the whatever you call it when you click the ubuntu button or push the super key. Typing an app works pretty well, assuming you know what you are typing for. I also like that you can navigate reasonably well with the cursor keys.
When you click the launcher button labelled "Applications" a similar window opens up where you can select apps to launch. I like that, but for some reason, it took me forever to find the small text that reads "See 74 more results". I could not figure out how to truly see all my applications.
I like the placement of the launcher on the left side since most screens are of a nice wide format these days.
A lot of times, maybe it's a vbox thing, when at least one app is in full screen, the left hand launcher hides while my mouse is hovered over it. Not every time, but often enough. For example, libre calc is open full screen and I click on the button in the launcher to bring it to the front. Then I mouse over to the left again, and the launcher comes up. I mouse over firefox and the launcher hides. No tool tip or anything.
I hate the min/max/close buttons being on the left. That's not new with this release, though :)
I think there is some promise, and I look forward to comparing it to gnome3. Hell, at least Unity will run in vbox! I can't even get gnome3 to run in vbox.
First of all. I'm not against the multitude of anything ;-)
But I do agree with "The ESR comment" and also, sometimes more options doesn't means better options. The large variety of graphical interfaces as Gnome, KDE, among others on Linux world, on one side is welcomed since you have options. But it remember me how difficult is to chose a pasta's dich in my favorite pasta restaurant's in town. Yes, instead of they only serve pasta, you realize that they have so many option at the Menu... It become a hard choice.
Just a thought: At some point in the development cycle of Linux, might be opportune to unify (like we have at Kernel level) the graphical environment. Something like to join the efforts from the several developer in order to create a unique graphical "CORE". I know it can sounds a little crazy idea at first.
But this joint could give us a simpler(and optimized code) and an universal environment. From this point each developer could offer their own extra enhancements, visual effects, flavors and so on, as extra packages allowing people to differentiates and turn the desktops adherents for the work and the machine utilization.
I am interested to know what your opinion is concerning Gnome3. If you need something to test it with I would suggest the Fedora LiveCD from the Gnome3 website. It performed better for me than the openSUSE LiveCD.
It is interesting that my setup is identical to yours. I've customized the desktop so that I have one panel at the top that contains everything I want it to contain. And my rants about Unity are also the same as yours. It was deja vu watching your video.
I'd like to continue with Ubuntu, but it seems that the distro is no longer intended for users who don't want to follow the default path. I'll stick with Ubuntu 10.04 until I have time to look into the alternatives that have been suggested here and elsewhere. Then I'll switch to something that doesn't restrict me to one setup. Goodbye Ubuntu. It was great while it lasted.
I have been using Ubuntu 11.04 since the last beta on my netbook. I was going to give Ubuntu one last try before sticking with Lubuntu or moving to a certain rolling release debian distro. I actually like it. No crashes yet. I haven't learned all the tricks, but It doesn't get in my way at all. My wife picked up my netbook a couple of days ago-she normally runs an XP netbook-no problems finding and launching applications. Puzzling as I have been using ubuntu since Hoary Hedgehog and I was flummoxed initially because Unity was different.
Also, power use way down, hibernate works perfectly compared to what I used previously. Can't wait for the 2d version to try on my old desktop.
Shawn thanks for the video. I too am completely befuddled with Unity Dash and Launcher. Let's hope Mr. Shuttleworth has a rethink before completely ditching Gnome. It would be a great disservice to the wonderful things he's done with Ubuntu.
One area where Unity seems to be better than the classic menu is with touch/tablet displays. The bigger icons are easier to hit with your index finger out of the box and w/out calibrating. Otherwise, the cursor seems to be just slightly off from where my finger is actually on the display. For the bigger unity icons this isn't a problem but with smaller menus and the close button on windows it can be hard to hit. Using a digitizer solves this problem, but for those w/out pen support, Unity could be helpful.
I do agree that the File, Edit, ect menus are rather annoying being placed along the top bar.
I agree with Shawn. I took down 11.04 and reinstalled 10.10 because I found the interface too hard to use.
However, if you had a touch screen the Unity interface is far superior. Once we are willing to throw away our carpal syndrome causing mice (mouses?) and use our fingers, Unity works.
Unfortunately, I'm still wedded to my mouse and the old gnome interface. The only touch screen devices I have are my car's GPS and my smartphone. Even there, I need a good screen cleaner.
Disclaimer: Canonical employee here, but not working on unity.
The menu at the top bar: it's far from the window. Yet it's faster to get there than to the menu bar on the window. It's called Fitt's law, and it has been tested the right way, by having people do it and measure how fast they do it.
Also, since the window now has no menu, you just gained some 24/30 px in height. Considering the vertical size in pixels of the average screen has not increased in 10 years (I had 1024x768 in 2000, I have 1366x768 now!), that is *very* important. Also the reason to lose the bottom bar. Also the reason to merge the window decorations with the top bar when maximizing.
All that leads to much better usage of precious vertical screen real estate.
That we have wider screens is also the rationale for putting the dock on the left edge. One thing you may not have noticed is that if you maximize a window, the dock goes away. So, basically the dock is using lots of space, maybe, but only if your windows are not using it.
As for the search interface being the default instead of the menu... it's a taste thing. I have not actually clicked on the apps menu in maybe 6 or 7 years, using ALT+F2 in KDE or GNOME instead.
So, I think there are reasonable answers to your gripes, which of course you may decide are not enough to tip the scales, but it's not exactly madness ;-)
> The menu at the top bar: it's far from the window. Yet it's faster to get there than to the menu bar on the window. It's called Fitt's law, and it has been tested the right way, by having people do it and measure how fast they do it.
Share the data with us. Also share the data on the systems they tested with. Quite frankly, I've never, ever found this set up better on anything larger than a single 1680x1050 monitor.
I've just been using unity on a dual 30" monitor setup, and I have to say this layout is definitely slower, and quite irritating. I've switched back to the gnome interface, and perhaps I'm just a freak of nature, but it's far easier for me to move a short distance and correct than it is for me to move alllllllllllllllll the way up and over to where the menus are and click. I'm aware of Fitt's law, but remember the distance you have to travel is a factor (big one) too. I may be uncommon in my set up, but this change is something I find very disappointing and irritating, and slows my workflow considerably. I'll have to find another distro to work with from now on.
so clicking on alt-f2 then typing in the name of a program to launch is faster than moving the mouse over to the applications menu and mousing over to the application you wish to start? I don't think so.
Unity (and gnome3 shell) are a response to tablet computing. This isn't a good desktop and mouse interface. This is why there are menus on the left (unity launcher) and menus on the right (the lense menu) and why applications appear as large icons in the middle (like a smartphone).
Unfortunately tablets are not the majority of users of linux (or ubuntu) for that matter, hence the strong negative response to it.
I'd like someone to tell me how I can drag a window from one desktop to another. and how to switch easily from desktop 1 to desktop 3. I used to be able to just click on the destkop switcher and do that in less than a second. Now I have to scroll the unity launcher click on the icon for the switcher, then the desktops appear then I have to click on the desktop (double click) and finally get the desktop I want. That is not good usability.
Thanks for the comment. My biggest complaint is indeed the menu/dash thing. I agree it's a taste issue. I just wish Canonical hadn't taken away the choice there. It seems as though it would be trivial to allow even rudimentary Unity options.
I think with the ability to configure things to my liking, I'd feel like more of an owner of my desktop. This release feels like Canonical has scolded me for using my computer in a way other than "The One True Way" in the past. Now, if I want to keep using Ubuntu, I have to do it the Unity way. It may be nicer for new users (I'm not convinced, but I'm willing to admit I don't know), but what about the geeky among us?
I didn't like the "Me Menu", but I could remove it. I don't like Empathy, Evolution, or Gwibber, but I can remove them. I don't like the "dash" with Unity, but my only option is to boot into the mostly-working classic mode, which will be eliminated in the next release.
Thus my friendly rant. I truly do appreciate your rational answers, hopefully some of my concerns will make it to the right people. :)
... after all I was until recently a user of Arch Linux! Heck, I was a KDE developer! (in the prehistoric age when Qt was not free software, too!) We *loved* options!
Mostly these are matters of taste, as we both agreed, and right now there is something interesting going on at Ubuntu that I have not seen before. There is *a* taste that is being used to decide how things are done, and which things get implemented.
Sadly, it's not mine (or you would all be using green/blue desktops running openbox and tint2), but it is one, and I am very curious to see where this goes. That decision to go along one specific, clearly chosen design path, has always been the norm in the proprietary world, but was never the case on FLOSS (unless you count E17, I suppose).
I find it a fun experiment.
I am sure lots of people at Canonical are subscribed to the LJ RSS feed, so I am sure you will get responses from them at a more civilized hour ;-)
Unity was originally designed for netbooks, but I think it was a really bad move from Canonical to set it the default for Desktop edition. I personally might abandon Ubuntu altogether if they stop supporting Gnome.
They will support gnome 3 in 11.10
I'm not surprised at your take about Unity on Natty. I'm not planning to use Unity.
I'm running a business and need to get my normal chores done w/o a new learning curve and wasting time finding my files. Business is tough enough already in today's economy w/o these new wrinkles.
My plan is to stay with Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop LTS until H... Freezes Over in the 18-mo. cycle. Then I'll probably install Ubuntu 10.04 Server LTS, install Gnome 2.? Desktop and related needed software, get all the updates and then disconnect from the Internet. That should take me through the 5-year server cycle with the 10.04 series.
Linux Mint on another computer should be okay for e-mail and web browsing with a Gnome desktop. Perhaps that'll work for my other software as well.
Perhaps by then Gnome 3.? will have the normal feature back on the panels, the minimize buttons, Applications, Places, System, etc. I regularly use w/o the Unity craziness.
If you like Unity, great! Enjoy.
If you don't, I gotta ask, why do you care so much about a GUI when you can pick 50+ others easily? I've never understood why Linux users put up with the bloat of either KDE or Gnome all these years. There are other OSes if you like bloat after all. **Any** window manager will launch apps for you. I'm still confused about what these "OEs" add for all the bloat they demand.
Come over for a visit with Lubuntu. The water is fine, actually it is very nice. Less bloat, more of why you like Linux. Customize as much as you like - easily. Lubuntu 10.04 is snappy on a Pentium4 with 1GB of RAM. My 81 yr old mother likes it. She found the migration from XP easier than to Win7.
If you need something lighter, check our TinyCore - you'd be hard pressed to find anything lighter. It makes DSL and Puppy look like huge oil tankers in comparison.
That makes complete sense, all those "features" are annoying.
I like how you set up your custom work space, I have similar one buy in KDE (and yes the bar is at the bottom -- that makes sense, it's easier to select the top of the window or the window buttons, I just have to move the mouse pointer up and not care where it lands, if you have the toolbar on top you need to fish for the windows buttons, or for the tabs in the browser).
Give KDE a honest try, you might like what you see.
You can resize the panel on the left but you have to install CCSM to do that. They should make it a little more intuitive. The dash does kind of suck, but I use it like gnome-do sort of. I just hit the Super key and then type what I need. For example if I want to bring up a terminal I will type just 'te' and then hit enter and the terminal will open. Now if you have more apps installed that start with te then you will have to type more letters but just hitting enter will pull up the first application shown when you start typing. I think unity has potential, but it shouldnt have been pushed out so early. That being said I feel the same way about Gnome 3. They both rushed out the newest version when they should have held off another 6 months or so and really polished it up. But I guess we will have to beta test these desktop shells before they know exactly what we as users want.
unity is hard to use. i will wait it developing...
I tested one of the betas, and the "menus at the top" *infuriated* me, because I like my activation to follow the mouse. If one application, not maximized, was sitting on top of a maximized application and I wanted to access the menus for the un-maximized one, when moving the mouse towards the top of the screen it would pass over the maximized application, and the menus would switch over. This has to be some of the stupidest behavior I have ever seen, it just wasn't thought through very well. I know Canonical worked very hard on it, but I honestly can't see myself using this on any of my desktops. I like my 2-panel gnome (1-panel gets a little too cluttered for me!). Everything about unity is entirely too large, and not nearly "discoverable" enough (where programs are, browsing different categories). I don't like to click the damn mouse, and I felt like I had to do it much more often than in the standard gnome desktop. Ugh.
Hold down the ALT key leaving your mouse in the active window. This will show the menus. You can use acceleration keys or arrows to make your selection.
Just an option. I too use "focus follows mouse" and I do not raise the active window. I've been computing this way for almost 20 years and I don't need to change.
I watch the progression of the development of Ubuntu and I can't help but wonder if some of these things aren't driven by the desire for eye-candy.
Maybe we should get back to basics.
A quote from, "The Art Of Unix Programming" by Eric Steven Raymond, may be in order here.
(Note the reference to "chrome" in this quote predates the Google Chrome OS. In my opinion it is more a reference to what we would call eye-candy today.)
The Art Of Unix Programming
Rule of Simplicity:
Design for simplicity; add complexity only where you must.
Many pressures tend to make programs more complicated (and therefore more expensive and buggy). One such pressure is technical machismo. Programmers are bright people who are (often justly) proud of their ability to handle complexity and juggle abstractions. Often they compete with their peers to see who can build the most intricate and beautiful complexities. Just as often, their ability to design outstrips their ability to implement and debug, and the result is expensive failure.
Even more often (at least in the commercial software world) excessive complexity comes from project requirements that are based on the marketing fad of the month rather than the reality of what customers want or software can actually deliver. Many a good design has been smothered under marketing's pile of “checklist features” — features that, often, no customer will ever use. And a vicious circle operates; the competition thinks it has to compete with chrome by adding more chrome. Pretty soon, massive bloat is the industry standard and everyone is using huge, buggy programs not even their developers can love.
Either way, everybody loses in the end.
The only way to avoid these traps is to encourage a software culture that knows that small is beautiful, that actively resists bloat and complexity: an engineering tradition that puts a high value on simple solutions, that looks for ways to break program systems up into small cooperating pieces, and that reflexively fights attempts to gussy up programs with a lot of chrome (or, even worse, to design programs around the chrome).
Quoting ESR on anything related to programming is a disqualifying offense. Really, it's like Godwin's law for the 21st century ;-)
In any case, how can someone look at GNOME 2, then look at Unity (as in this very video) and find unity more complex is a bit beyond me.
The ESR comment made me laugh. :)
Regarding the complexity of Unity -- I find the process to start an application complex. That doesn't mean it's difficult to understand (although I'd argue finding the categories isn't as obvious as it could be), but rather it takes more effort to start a program.
With the old school menu, you can literally click once. Click and hold, navigate menu, release button on app, and it starts. With Unity, the dash/menu thing is cumbersome at best, at least for me. I'd like to see an option. Click on the corner and get the standard Gnome 2 menu, or get the Unity dash -- then everyone wins. Choice choice choice, that's what I like. Unity seems to take most of the choices away.
Well, that assumes you know on what sub-sub-menu the app you want is located (or else, you may add a few backtracks there while holding the button).
Then again, if you know that, you probably know the app's name.
And if you know the app's name, then you could just press Alt and start typing it.
The Gimp? Alt gi
Firefox? Alt fi
Guake? Alt gu
And so on. There is also the added feature of unifying app and file search. Maybe what you want is not really to open gedit, but to edit devicenzo.py. Once you get used to that, it's quite handy, and is just not there in the classic menu.
Argh, whenever I say Alt, assume it says Super, which probably means the "Windows" key on your kbd. I have swapped that because I have a weird keyboard in my notebook.
My issue with Unity is a love/hate thing. On the one hand I love the integrated notification and the global menus that actually work. I also love the way in which the max/min/close buttons are integrated into the global menu. toggling multiple desktops is handled nicely as well (though Gnome 3 might do this a little better - but not much). All in all, very nice touches.
On the downside I hate that the App dock (and don't call it anything else, as that is exactly what it is) is pinned on the left. Sure that is cool on limited screen spaces and touch screens, but on Everything else its a pain in the arse. I would rather have mine at the bottom of the screen, but no, I'm stuck on the left. Adding aps to the dock is not hard, but when compared to other linux docs, Macs dock and window's Rocketdock, the extra steps make it feel clunky. Then is the matter of the menu.
Who the hell thought this one up. when I click my menu I want to see local aps. If you're going to use most of the screen to show me the menu, then show me all of my aps and make category filters readily available. Instead what I get is an abbreviated list of aps, categories hidden under a toggle menu and a bunch of suggested aps that I might or might not want to download. WTF is that? If you want to give me suggestions then ad those to your software center like Mint does with theirs. As it is the menu is not effective and intrusive for no reason.
Personally I would like to see something more like the main menu from gnome shell used in Unity: full vie of all my apps; category filters right on top; no app suggestions in the main menu; a dock that can be moved around; and maybe better integrated drag and drop features in the dock. Keep the awesome notification integration and the nice global menus (which I daresay are better done then Mac's own).
Your solution, while being more efficient, is not better, its very cluttered and clutter obstructs the brains ability to quickly find specific things quickly. With the dock set to auto hide the Unity solution is much better. Also if you where to open more than a few applications in your solution then it would become very confusing and damn near unmanageable especially when trying to switch back and forth between apps. How i have my Macbook set up is with the dock set to auto-hide allowing me to quickly access applications when i need them and focus on the windows thats active when i don't, i also how the top corner set as a hot corner to go into expose which also lets me get back to work without to much faffing around with a cluttered panel.
You don't have a degree in usability and you don't have a degree in user interface spatial awareness so i don't think you should be using your set up as a reference point for how unity should have been done. Unity is far from perfect, but its better than it was and certainly better than your implementation.
Just my two cents.
I've used Ubuntu and Gnome for a few years now, and have been completely happy with both; until now... I'll likely keep Ubuntu 10.04 on my netbook until it dies, supported or not, and run Debian with Xfce on my desktop. I've been playing around with it for a couple weeks now, and it's perfectly acceptable as a replacement for Ubuntu. Not as n00b friendly, but not terribly difficult either. I have a nice looking desktop, that does what I want it to. As an added bonus, I've got a rolling release, so as long as I pay attention to the bug reports, I'll never have to perform an enormous install again.
Anyone who likes Ubuntu, but not the newest changes should give the Debian/Xfce combo a try. I think you'll be pleased with the results.
I really struggled with it until I learned the keyboard shortcuts for Unity. My unscientific estimate is that my mouse usage is down by 25% with Unity. I've been on Unity for a few weeks, and my mouse wrist is noticeably less sore after a long sit.
I'd agree with one thing though. I really don't like having window toolbars on the top bar ala OSX. I was hoping I would get used to over time, but that hasn't happened. Every time I have to go mousing up to the top bar a little part of me dies.
Nice comments, I can understand why the major design shift can feel really different, but I really like the changes. You've been away from windows for too long! Using the Win key in windows would bring up a search box where you could type in a search for programs. When MS introduced this I hated it at first after years of sorting and ordering menus to my liking. However, once I got used to using the Win key and searching for an app I ended loving the feature (was one of my favorite features). Ubuntu has done the same thing, I think its really cool that I can hit the Win key and then just search (i.e. type a couple of letters) to pull up my apps. Who knows if Ubuntu gains more in popularity maybe we can call it the Lindows key in the future! I think for windows users coming over these design changes will probably make Ubuntu more familiar from the start.
I think the design changes will take some getting used to but do make the interface look better (just my opinion). The side dock took a bit to get used to but I really like how they slide it out of the way for full screen apps so it doesn't really interfere for a user like me.
I noticed in your video that you were a little windows apps open guy so if you don't full screen then you probably will feel like you've lost some screen real estate. I also noticed that you hacked your app buttons to be back on the right which means you haven't fully embraced Ubuntu's mind slant of buttons to the left! The funny thing is after hating that change I now feel strange on my windows clients clicking buttons on the right side.
For regular Ubuntu or Linux users these changes will take some adjusting too, but then looking at gnome 3 it looks like they were going a bit like Unity with the side dock issue anyways.
Thanks. I also had the same three gripes. I appreciate your comment "been away from Windows for too long". For me it's away for five years. XP did not do this but we should expect such MS contributions to creep in on us.
I installed gnome. It was not there on my initial install but no challenge to get it. I will continue to test Unity though because I have an Android tablet and expect to buy another tablet when I see Linux running on them, that may mean Ubuntu-Unity.
Honest to goodness you all sound like a bunch of blue-haired matrons complaining about aches and pains, or worse yet, Windows users bitching about all the reasons they hate *anything* else.
It's open-source isn't it? Don't like it? Then change it. Use an alternative desktop. Xfce for one can be made to work and act so much like gnome that non-experts couldn't tell the difference. I haven't checked because I only concern myself with LTS versions of Ubuntu, but isn't gnome-desktop still in the repositories? It has been since Dapper Drake 6.06. If it isn't, then forward-port it to 11.04.
But for the love of all that is good and free, quit'cher bitchin' and don't make it sound like all of the Linux universe is collapsing in itself. Do you really think this is the way to convince Windows users that Linux is superior? I, for one, don't.
Alter Unity, advocate a different desktop environment or window manager, adapt classic gnome to 11.06, or adapt to the future.
In other words, be a positive influence.
All my best - Chris Reich; Rochester, New York
"Alter Unity, advocate a different desktop environment or window manager, adapt classic gnome to 11.06, or adapt to the future."
All things windows user are not capable of.
I could not agree with you more regarding Unity's Dash design. Let's hope that Unity's UI design team rethinks the current configuration and implements a better solution for 12.04 LTS.
The rant you are trying to make are not very good. You will fit more programs on the Unity launcher than you had on the top panel. It also takes less space as it auto hides. The only difference for you is to drag the mouse to the left instead to the top.
The big problem with Unity is that although new.. it still feels old. It also takes more resources than Gnome-shell. I used Unity for two month and constantly had to work against it instead of with it as i do in Gnome-shell. Unity also get's in your way when you try to do things. The same goes for Gnome 2.3 too by the way. In maximized state the probability of miss-click is rather large with the global menu. Same goes for minimized if you have another program maximized. The chance of accidentally closing a program is big. Also the looks of Unity really bothers me. They should really have stayed with Unity on the Netbook remix and had Gnome-shell as the default DE on Desktop.
Gnome-shell do not get in my way. It stays in the background. I can do most things by just two clicks.. if i install a dock it will be only one. But i felt i didn't need it. It looks and feels fresh.
I also have no clue why Unity is a better interface on a 19" monitor; I could almost bet it wasn't. But I could love it on a netbook, a tablet, or a phone:
1. The "dock" will be much easier to click on that the tiny 24x24 launcher icons in your gnome panel.
2. The weird "app finder" thing has the same reasoning. Picture it on a tablet and you'll see it's not so bad.
3. The global menu (a la Mac OS X) makes a lot of sense when your display is so tiny that 90% of your apps are always maximized.
In short, I won't use Unity on my desk, I'll keep using it on my portables.
Just to clarify, KDE isn't the only alternative to GNOME. There are XFCE (lighter than GNOME and KDE), LXDE (lighter than XFCE), ROX Desktop, UDE and plenty of others. You can even install your own stacked or tiled window manager and build your environment from there (OpenBox, Fluxbox, dwm, wmii, awesome, Window Maker). One interesting WIP Desktop Environment is étoilé, which is interesting because it's based on GNUStep (but it needs developers, I think). But please, don't think that GNOME/KDE (and now Unity) are the only options, they aren't. If you want to use Ubuntu so badly try Lubuntu, which is mantained by the community and not by evil corporation Canonica, but I'd personally suggest to try Debian, since Ubuntu users should be already at least a bit familiar with it. I hear Linux Mint has a Debian Edition which I suggest to try, it mixes the best of both worlds. But stay away from Canonical, they are shoving their branded, proprietary stuff down the FOSS community (Ubuntu One comes to my mind, GPL client but proprietary server).
It seems like Canonical used some concepts from Windows and OSX for Unity. The side bar is reminiscent of the new bottom bar on Windows 7, and moving the menu bar to the top left from OSX. I still don't know where they got the crazy application menu, though. For someone who puts a lot of stake into the aesthetics of an OS, these changes may be good ones. I, however, think gnome is a good combination of sleekness and functionality.
For someone switching over to Ubuntu from Windows or OSX, the changes may make it an easier transition. But, I think they crossed a line with Unity, and are now somewhat detracting from the functionality of Ubuntu in favor of beauty and sleekness.
istok, it's true that we could just switch to another linux distro, which is what I may end up doing. But, I've been using Ubuntu for years and got attached to it. I'd be sad to give up on it.
Well I am an avid Ubuntu user for the last 3 years who wait eagerly for it every cycle to come out. However, to be frank, this cycle was different. Even then today I did download the Natty and tested it.
I have only one word, "Awful!!!".
It's clearly 10 years back now in terms of technological development. Technology is to simplify things, not over-simplify it. Unity is a bit over simplified I would say.
The first thing that turned my mood sour was the indicator-applets. The good thing about them, now indicator-applet/session act as a single applet, however there is no distinction between left and right click on them anymore. It's just not traditional or conventional.
Then comes Unity launcher. I wish I had a photographic memory so as to remember each and every icon. It will take a while to get used to.
My biggest Complain is about the dash. It's simple counter-productive. Why on earth I need icons 250px big to launch a program??? Now even a blind person can launch them without difficulty (no offense intended), while most Ubuntu users I guess are quite good at vision.
It seems Canonical has decided to strip users of the little configuration left in GNOME. I feel bad due to this.
Well I am skipping this cycle to wait for the next. If I don't like it then I would choose the stock GNOME. If that's not available, I am going to KDE.
It's all decided the instant i saw those god-forsaken indicators!!!