Ivor O’Connor

May 1, 2011

Linux Mint > Ubuntu 11.04

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 3:37 pm

I’ve been playing around with Ubuntu 11.04 on a couple of machines for almost a week now. Ubuntu 11.04 has an entirely new user interface to it making doing even the simple things very difficult. Even opening a shell is a major task. You have to click on an apps icon. Then carefully maneuver the mouse to a little triangle that will display all the apps and wait 5 seconds for the interface to respond. Then you must slowly and carefully scroll down. If your mouse deviates outside the area you must restart from scratch because the window will close. In another 5 seconds you’ll find the terminal app. Now if you want a second terminal, shell that is, you can’t get it. The menu only lets you open a single shell. The final kick in the nuts is the color scheme the shell uses. It’s very hard to read.

Most everything must be tweaked with this new unity interface and it would take weeks to get the new interface to the point it would be as productive as the old interface. I doubt it’s possible though. This all can be bypassed. Simply install the latest version of linux mint. Everything works right from the get-go and there is no fancy smancy interface requiring weeks of tweaking. No downtime.

Ubuntu seems to be run by kiddies more interested in blinding you with eye-candy than allowing you to be productive. Screw them. Stick with Mint. Remarkably I’m not alone in this either. Looks like people are voting Ubuntu out in favor of Mint as shown via the download stats at http://distrowatch.com/.

Today I found somebody from the Linux Journal who shares my opinion about the mess. He’s much nicer than me and merely calls it “bizarre” over and over. Questioning how they could justify the ergonomics. He doesn’t even touch upon the fact the unity interface doesn’t allow opening more than one terminal at a time. Notice how he has to very carefully has to click on the expand triangle. Very  very difficult without a mouse on a laptop. Slows everything down to a crawl.

I’m now switched over to Mint with Debian as a base. After having been almost exclusively an Ubuntu user for many years. Anyways Mint with a Debian base is called LMDE for Linux Mint Debian Edition. I’m surprised how much faster it is than Ubuntu. Things seem to open about 4x faster than they had with Ubuntu. The speed difference is incredibly nice. Furthermore LMDE uses the latest somewhat stable software so it’s years ahead of the official Ubuntu releases. And always will be because Debian uses rolling releases. So when something becomes stable it immediately becomes part of the OS. Not everything works though but it’s ok with me. For instance the “Update Manager” is busted. Instead you must use “sudo apt-get upgrade” and dist-upgrade. The other thing that doesn’t appear to work is the auto-login. I have to enter my password every time I reboot. Other than those two issues everything is much better than with Ubuntu. Bye-bye Ubuntu!

Perhaps they switched to Unity because it would be great for tablets. The big icons on the left make sense in that environment. It should have been an option. Now that I’ve seen there are better alternative distros available I’m not inclined to return to something that’s inferior.

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11 Comments »

  1. Give Pinguy OS a try.

    Comment by Anon — May 2, 2011 @ 3:43 am

  2. Have you actually tried it? It seems to me like you used it for five minutes and said “I’m not gonna bother.”

    I’ve been using Unity since the Unity 2D ppa appeared (netbook) and now I’ve started using it on the desktop. And it’s possible to have multiple shells open. And it’s generally rather fast (on a medium to low end machine).

    Also, what’s with the stuff at the beginning? Either you’ve got some real driver issues, or you’re trying to run this on a netbook. And no, you do not have to be careful trying to do anything. Just push against the side of the screen and the dash appears (to open something pinned. What’s with the triangle though? I really do not follow.

    However, just to prove opening a terminal is trivial: default shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T.
    Or if you want to launch it typically, click on Ubuntu logo, type ‘terminal’, launch it. It does not seem hard.

    I advise you try again and see whether it’s really that bad. I’ve been rather sceptical at first as well, but after using it for a few days, I find those features rather simplifying some tasks and speeding up my workflow.

    Just my 2 cents, extremely spread.

    Comment by Anonymo — May 2, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    • Sorry, I forgot to mention: opening multiple windows is possible, by using the middle click

      Comment by Anonymo — May 2, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

      • Actually, never mind both of those posts. I see that you complain about this regularly and mindlessly. I guess there’s no need explaining since you’ve got your mind set.

        Comment by Anonymo — May 2, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  3. Well thank you for leaving some replies. You ought to log on and make an account.
    > Have you actually tried it? It seems to me like you used it for five minutes and said “I’m not gonna bother.”

    Well I’m not sure why you would say that since I clearly said I’ve been playing with it for almost a week. Then I posted a link to a review from the linux journal. And there are hundreds of people with similar views as mine there. Almost all very negative.

    > I’ve been using Unity since the Unity 2D ppa appeared (netbook) and now I’ve started using it on the desktop. And it’s possible to have multiple shells open. And it’s generally rather fast (on a medium to low end machine).

    I didn’t say it’s not possible to have multiple shells open. However it’s not possible via the unity interface. Then your snide comment about it being generally rather fast on a medium to low end machine. All my machines are medium to high end. Maybe our definitions of generally fast are totally different.

    > Also, what’s with the stuff at the beginning? Either you’ve got some real driver issues, or you’re trying to run this on a netbook. And no, you do not have to be careful trying to do anything. Just push against the side of the screen and the dash appears (to open something pinned. What’s with the triangle though? I really do not follow.

    Again, little innuendos. If you read what I wrote you’d understand. I’ll spell it out for you again. The triangle is to expand out all the hidden apps. Almost impossible to click on quickly without a mouse and since most people are using a laptop it’s almost impossible for most people to click on. It takes concentration. Then you have to scroll down. The video I included rants on about how stupid it is to be forced to expand and then scroll down. The expand portion requires clicking on the little triangle. And no, the dash doesn’t always appear either. It’s a POS. You are just striking out. Totally.

    > However, just to prove opening a terminal is trivial: default shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T.
    Or if you want to launch it typically, click on Ubuntu logo, type ‘terminal’, launch it. It does not seem hard.

    The Ctrl+Alt+T works. However it doesn’t launch a second instance if you simply click on the terminal logo from within Unity. One instance is all you get through Unity. Really for somebody who has been using Unity for so long as you claim I’d expect more knowledge.

    > Sorry, I forgot to mention: opening multiple windows is possible, by using the middle click

    When was the last time you saw a middle mouse key on a laptop?

    > Actually, never mind both of those posts. I see that you complain about this regularly and mindlessly. I guess there’s no need explaining since you’ve got your mind set.

    Yes I do complain about it regularly. For six years now Ubuntu has been getting snide comments out of me. I’m always upset with the lack of depth the Ubuntu crowd tests things. In the past I’ve put up with it. Now I am not. I’ve switched already to LMED on my main computer. I’ll be making the switch on another this coming weekend. Maybe on two. And then the final one or two sometime this month as soon as I can port over everything. Ubuntu is apparently run by people who don’t care about their users, only about eye-candy. I don’t have time for it.

    However on an i-pad like tablet the unity interface might work. I don’t have any tablets and I don’t plan on getting any for a few years.

    Comment by ioconnor — May 3, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    • My medium to low end machine definition is a cheap and old Dell D420 netbook (or something of lower class, if it’s got a normal Intel card it’ll work). Not a hang there, without a single modification. And my definition of generally fast is: I can use it, without having to wait for the basic parts of the system to appear. That there is not a problem opening a tray app, or that the dash and the lens will appear instantly. Not a problem with either of those.

      I’m still not sure what you’re on about with the triangle. You mean the thing next to a running app? You know you can click anywhere on the icon for it to spread out? Or do you mean the one in the lens thing? It’s got a quite large area around it that responds, quite hard to miss it unless you’ve slipped.

      I haven’t seen a middle mouse button for a long time on a laptop. But you can just press both at the same time and it acts the same.

      So just the same, I have read your post twice (I mean before writing the first comment). And while you did say you’ve been using it for a week, it gives the impression that you didn’t.

      Comment by Anonymo — May 3, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  4. As a result of your replies I looked at this posting, http://askubuntu.com/questions/28086/unity-keyboard-mouse-shortcuts, and attempted to try each of the mouse shortcuts. Most of the ones I was interested in did not work. An example is center clicking an app in dash. First off if I move the mouse to the center of one of the icons then dash vanishes. I have to keep it on the far 1/8th of the icon. When I hold down on both the left and right buttons nothing special happens. I don’t get a second instance of the application as is suppose to happen. I also tried cycling through maximized programs. That didn’t work for me either. I tried a few other things with the keyboard and such but only the very basics worked reliably. I don’t want to be a jerk and say harsh things so I’ll politely say Unity may get the kinks worked out quickly because it’s been forced down the throats of a lot of people. It could become a nice interface. I don’t want to be on the cutting edge helping the developers with problem reports and such though so I’m switching as quickly as time permits me. I want a stable UI that doesn’t change so I can do work.

    Perhaps losing people like myself is an acceptable loss to canonical. They think the eye-candy will entice users away from Windows and the Mac. I hope they are right…

    Comment by ioconnor — May 3, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    • Frankly, there’s not that much new eyecandy. It’s just smooth animations, and well, it simply looks nice to the eye. And you get used to that since most interfaces incorporate such things. Maybe it’s just that you were unlucky now. Try again with 11.10, an I’m sure it’ll be properly working. And the LTS will most certainly be stable, after two cycles, if 11.10 fails.

      And funnily, the window circling worked for me after installing, but stopped now. Also, I don’t really now how is it with the simulated middle click. Works on my laptops, but I can’t really find a setting to turn it on. I guess it’s dependant on Emulate3Buttons, which is inaccesible from any setting (anywhere, generally).

      To me, it was a choice between Unity and Gnome3. And since my first 3 days with Gnome3 resulted in a few crashes, I decided to go with Unity, with which I was already familiar since 10.10 on my netbook.

      Comment by Anonymo — May 3, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

  5. Simply, now, KDE >Gnome3 and Unity. I’m planning to migrate my two machines to a good KDE distribution. There’s a bunch of candidates here, like Kubuntu, Pardus, openSUSE,PCLInuxOS or Mandriva.
    Bye Ubuntu.

    Comment by Jander — May 4, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  6. […] Ivor O’Connor said, “Ubuntu seems to be run by kiddies more interested in blinding you with eye-candy than allowing you to be productive.” […]

    Pingback by Ubuntu 11.04, Unity Released to Mixed Reactions « Matias Vangsnes — May 6, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  7. […] Ivor O’Connor said, “Ubuntu seems to be run by kiddies more interested in blinding you with eye-candy than allowing you to be productive.” […]

    Pingback by yerros | Official Blog — November 12, 2011 @ 3:44 pm


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