YAAAUU (Yet Another Article About Ubuntu Unity)

by Doug.Roberts

 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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