My opinion on Unity, reduced to two sentences and with all profanity removed with a crowbar:

If you want a shiny barely-customizable straitjacket as a desktop environment, go buy a Mac. Please stop wrecking Ubuntu.

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Brian Burger

Started this site way, way back in November 1998, when the web was young. It's still here, and so am I.

32 thoughts on “Disunited”

  1. Abso-freakin-lutely.
    Bitterly regretted the update. Using “Ubuntu 2D” mode of 11.10 otherwise it is unbelievably slow and eats up 100% of 1,66 GHz processor capacity.

  2. As much as I shy away from distilling complex arguments down to sound bites, I would agree with the sentiment. Oh, and if you want customizability, come to Kubuntu…we got all of that you would want. πŸ™‚

  3. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with Unity if it were just another option along with kde, xfce, gnome, etc. One of the key reasons for people using Linux is exactly the fact that they can choose, and Unity could be an extension of the range of choices available. What annoys me is that is not.

    Despite what they say, there is no real option for Gnome 3. Few of the components are downloaded as part of the Gnome-shell installation – hell a number of the components are not even in the repositories. Those that are have been patched to make them work with Unity introducing bugs when run under Gnome. The new DM loads Unity-only components which are incompatible with Gnome and leaves them running even when the user has chosen Gnome in preference to Unity.

    If you want Gnome 3, you have to replace lightDM (not easy, because the session files are duff), download Gnome3 from git and build it yourself with jhbuild. Even then, the video support is problematic and needs to be tweaked (although I have heard that that is also true for Unity users). By the time that you have finished, you have a working Gnome3 but have screwed Unity – I think that is to do with Unity’s non-standard indicators. Even then things aren’t quite right. I ended up removing everything to do with Unity and – hey presto – my Ubuntu partition works almost as well as my Debian and Fedora ones. I don’t consider myself a techie, but I doubt this approach is an option for the average user.

    There is no reason why Canonical could not have offered users a Gubuntu, along with Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Unity, with a little loving attention paid to the fallback option for those that don’t like gnome-shell either. If they had, no-one would be angry about Unity – they would welcome it as another option suited to a different group of people. As it is, Unity has simply split the community.

    The development of Unity has been a deliberate attempt to remove Gnome (or at least anything recognizable as Gnome) from the desktop, which is particularly ironic as Unity is merely a badly written shell running on top of Gnome. Finally, Canonical’s attempts to take ownership of Gnome components by renaming, patching and even just replacing gnome logos with Ubuntu ones is pathetic.

    Of the twenty people for whom I have installed Ubuntu, only one uses Unity (2D – can’t get 3D to work reliably), non are upgrading to 11.10 (many couldn’t anyway because of the KMS and video bugs), two have moved to xfce, one to kde, and three have gone back to 10.10. We are all just waiting for the next release of another distro before we leave. Of the remaining Ubuntu users whom I know, all but one has already left or like me finding that they are spending more time on their Debian or Fedora partitions than Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu is already “wrecked”, and like Humpty-Dumpty I doubt that it can ever be put back together again, certainly few people that I know have the patience to see if Canonical will try.

  4. duncan,

    “There is no reason why Canonical could not have offered users a Gubuntu, along with Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Unity, with a little loving attention paid to the fallback option for those that don’t like gnome-shell either. If they had, no-one would be angry about Unity – they would welcome it as another option suited to a different group of people. As it is, Unity has simply split the community.”

    Then do it duncan, this is free software, there’s nothing stopping you from starting up an alternative distribution suitable to Gnome-shell users. If a “Gubuntu” project gets a strong following just as Xubuntu for example did in the past, I should imagine it would end up being a part of the overall Ubuntu family eventually.

  5. I have tinkered with fvwm, xfce, beryl (compiz), gnome. Was never really happy.
    I love Unity (now in 11.10).

    P.S.:And I don’t like people telling me that I should then by a Mac.

  6. I do like Unity. I used to customize my gnome environment, just to make it look like… unity !
    But that’s not the point : Mac is quite cool (I got one), but there is a huge difference between Mac OS and Ubuntu : Ubuntu is Libre. I used free software even when Mozilla 0.8 was a barely usable web browser. This is what makes the difference to me.
    And FOSS is also about choice. You can use gnome-shell, or gnome2, or xfce, or kde, or OpenStep, or whatever, can’t you ?

  7. I’m reading a lot of comments comparable to this one from people who used to praise Ubuntu before the infamous switch to Unity. And they are all absolutely right! Unity marks the end of Ubuntu as we knew and loved it. Now is the time to build something new, based on Debian but using GNOME3 technologies the way GNOME developpers intended them to be used (respecting the default apps and default configuration), and just call it GNOME OS.

  8. I like the sentence, it made me laugh πŸ™‚
    But you have to remember that unity is still at the beginning and soon will be more costumizable.

    And I like unity.

  9. Customization comes with maturity. You can start adding customization options once the core functionality is already working. They are focusing on the core features to have something solid for the 12.04 version.

  10. I was a MacUser.
    I leaved it for Ubuntu Unity!

    I totally disagree with your sentence πŸ™‚

  11. Got 4 machines running 11.10. Three of them are running Unity, and one is running Gnome (no effects) because Unity is too slow. Gnome3 was not usable, windows wouldn’t show up, and was slower than Unity. It’s a bit of a bummer that it’s not an option for really old hardware. Otherwise, I’ve had no problems with it, and frankly, I don’t really get what the hate is about.

  12. I definitely think Unity needs a lot of improvement before 12.04 but at this point with Gnone2.32 being EOL and Gnome3 (Which was a mess at the time) I don’t blame the decision to move to Unity. I really wish Classic was still an option until Unity is either highly flexible, customizeable and stable.

  13. Thank you for your constructive criticism, you make Ubuntu a wonderful place to contribute.

  14. I left Mac OS X for Linux (Ubuntu 11.10 to be exact), so Unity and GNOME definitely feel familiar. I was not very impressed with Unity, and installed GNOME 3, and for the past several weeks it’s all I’ve used.

    I love GNOME 3. I also love Xfce 4.8 and Docky. My point is, it’s a Desktop Environment. If you don’t like it, then switch.

  15. I am not sure a Gubuntu is the answer. The last thing imho Ubuntu (or Linux in general) needs is any type of fragmentation.

  16. I use Ubuntu since 6.06 and relied more and more on it after each new version. For me 11.04 was nearly perfect. 11.10 left me frustrated. for the things I couldn’t find. As my computer is just a tool to get my word done, I changed to Kubuntu. 11.10.
    Kubuntu has a lot of issues t be solved. But at least I feel myself at home.

  17. For me, the introduction of Unity, or for that matter any variant to the Ubuntu family ought to have been offered as a choice in the installation process — not as a default, & it ought not require one to search out how to switch from one to the other — completely, not just something on top of Unity. Instead of unifying the Ubuntu community, all I all I see is more & more division & the ‘developers’ ignoring the problem entirely, or worse pretending there is no problem: we made our decision, so it isn’t possible we ere wrong….
    Very disappointed, indeed.
    Running Natty [preferred], Debin 6, and Oneiric, Gnome {Gnome fallback] —- for me, personally, Unity is unusable; slows my productivity to a near stand-still.

  18. I agree with you to a point.
    The Mac desktop was the last one with GNOME… that was such a Mac clone that it was nauseating. (we use KDE, LXDE at home) Cmon… changing the buttons side?

    Unity is just retarded though and it treats all users as simpletons.

    We used Linux for the first time when we both a Dell laptop with Ubuntu 8.04. My wife hated it so much she begged me to put Windows 98 on it. She called it the ugliest and most depressing desktop since Win95 and our older son called the brown heavy look “The Brown Noise” (South Park reference).
    Had my nephew not informed me of other desktops, we would have left Linux after two months on Gnome.

    So I have no love lost for the Mac clone.

    But Unity is just an insult to my intelligence (or of old ladies, my mom, mominlaw and 5 aunts are all over 75 and have learned to use Linux in the past year and Firefox, email and Skype daily. Its not harder for them) and none of the kids want to use it.

    But thats the wonderful thing about free software desktops: there is plenty of choice in distros and desktops to suit everyones tastes (but I prefer those that let you configure your deskopt how YOU want it because NO ONE knows better waht you want.)

  19. Unity (and GNOME3 and Fallback) drove me to Lubuntu. I know nothing about Mac, but I found that the article spoke to me, otherwise. Ubuntu took an excellent distro, and essentially spit in the face of all their long-term users for people who don’t even know it exists yet anyway. I’ve used since 6.06 and one reason I liked it better than XP at the time was that it was customizable. XP let you fiddle with colors and little else. GNOME 2.x was my playground, and both Unity and GNOME3 took most of my fun away.

    For those of you who are trying to excuse Unity by saying that the Core functions need to be perfected before customization can come, you need to realize that no other products can be realized functioning so poorly and expect to be successful. Windows Me was panned for functioning so badly and had to be replaced quickly. Atari 5200 was a failure because it tried to replace the excellent 2400 model with poorly functioning hardware and software which did not move to a new generation of video gaming. You can’t replace a popular and well-functioning product with a half-broken and low-function and expect to be successful. Go ahead and releas Unity along with a Gnome2 option: no one is telling you not to, but to leave us twisting in the wind is Netflix-level of incompetence.

    Canonical deserves to lose a chunk of their users because they took away the gold and left crap in its place.

  20. “Unity is just retarded though and it treats all users as simpletons.”

    Simply not true. Everyone, who does show enough style to not just drop to floor brawling, after login to unity was soon delighted by Unity’s gifts for the keyboard affine user. This shell got a little more functionality as just “Apps,Places,System”. What a pity, that some users condemn the whole thing because they can’t move the dock to another screen edge.

    Stop shouting until you at least got a fine glimpse of what you’re ranting about.

  21. I don’t mind configurability being limited, normally I’ll set up a desktop environment to my liking (terminal typing is a-OK) and not change it till necessary.

    Now, when I have to wait a whole second for the menus to appear when I press the windows/command key, typing into the search box has huge delays, scroll bars are a mess when using the touchpad, the desktop is unusable using nvidia 173 drivers, etc. I start looking at alternatives.

    Right now I’m satisfied with Gnome Shell in Oneiric with a few tweaks, like removing the overlay scroll bars and adding tracker UI to the launcher (cause it’s not yet integrated properly into the shell). But for the 12.04 release I will probably research other distros cause Unity is, frankly, a mess, and I don’t want to deal with it anymore.

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