The Unity Experiment

Since the next version of Ubuntu will make the controversial move to Unity, I decided to give it a whirl today. I’m curious and hopeful. I will try to stick with it for at least a full day of work.
Lets keep in mind though that this is the old version of Unity, not the one they’re launching with 10.04; which will, amongst other things, include Compiz candy. As an aftertought to pouring my findings here, I might want to install the repository that will provide me with the latest version. Also, this is Unity 0.2.46 or something near that and its Unity for Ubuntu Netbook Edition .. Still, the fact that this is “live” for netbooks makes the many usability questions worse.

So! Brass tacks; Ugly; Raw and Unfiltered:

Whoops, Fallout 3 launcher icon vanished – Ill put it back later
after the Xorg experience, its back. Thats weird on many MANY levels.

Eeeuw! Everything is fullscreen *puke*

Whot? Compiz?? Grr

Cant find any installed Wine software – Annoying. How am I to start Fallout 3 next time I have some time to play (like not anytime soon)?

Where is my Desktop? I finally got into the Apple flow of actually using that space for productivity flow.. I DONT want to have to un-learn that again :/

When holding the “super”-button (Most hardware has this printed with the windows logo. The EU should really do something about that.) the icons in the bar on the left light up and show numbered shortcuts. Nice.

The app menu for most apps is in the upper bar, like apple offers. Its a choice I’ve been hoping for, but I dont know if I want it as a default :/ Now that I’m on that alley of thought.. I guess the whole Unity interface has been Apple-ized.. interesting…

The apps screen and folder view sure takes some getting used to. Like how can I just browse my directories?? What if I need a folder I didnt open recently??
*Some time after* Oh; its quite simple really.. Click the files view (the one that throws all files you recently opened on the screen – yes, those too), click to the folders pane, click a folder. Now you ll see the folders content (to some extent) and in the upper right corner (very unobtrusive I might say. Hidden might be another word): a folder icon that opens the explorer

I kinda like that when you search for an app it integrates app store options. Or dont I :s

Where is the Unity setup screen? Or isnt there one of those? :s Do I hear Steve Jobs’ whisperings? I would really like to disable some stuff.. No options so far though..

Clicking the bookmark for the local samba server does nothing. Or at least nothing visible. No icons or whatever.. no windows opening.. This is painfully immature :/
Oh I need to apologize. Assuming it did anything was prejudice. It did NOTHING. Then again, thats a Gnome construct so it shouldnt be that surprising.. Cant seem to find the Unity version though.. No network shares for you?
Oh wait, using nautilus it appears it was already mounted. The system just doesnt mention it Anywhere. Until it threw a message through nautilus.. hmm..

Damn, I miss the ability to zoom in Compiz. Says a lot about my eye-sight, but still. That should make it a key accessibility issue (most people have some sort of sight related quirk or problem)

In a “I WANT COMPIZ” kinda moment, I opened a terminal and typed “compiz” – I know, I’m working breakage, but it might just Work! In times where (most) of the earth has been mapped, a man can at least explore crap like that. Anyway. I pressed enter, Compiz discovered I was cheating, running another WM and threw a hissy fit “No I Wont Start!” To be expected. A nasty surprise however was that the actual manager had stopped working and left me in a state where only tty1 and killall Xorg got me out. Nasty.

Oh my, it seems to have lost all its icons and thumbnails again. But they’re slowly coming back. Probably because of the crashlike ending of the previous session. Possibly? Hopefully? :s

I do believe many issues will resolve theirselves as unity gets the hang of your habbits. Important documents and software in the “popular” tabs; the sidebar filled with your favorite icons.. Any software with those options has to be afforded a grace period where it gets to know you..

Now then..
Unity is certainly a next step in vision on usability and the future of the desktop.
Mind you, thats compliment nor derogatory comment.

Considering the big version nr difference between the one in the repos now and the one on; I’m going to uninstall this version and try the most recent one. Changing to Gnome to remove Unity and install the newest version.

Published by Gert


2 thoughts on “The Unity Experiment

  1. i’m on unity on my samsung netbook, biggest problem for me is that the launcher bar on the left takes up valuable screen real estate, meaning i don’t have the minimum 1024 screen width most sites assume.

    oh, that and it (mutter, actually) crashes when plugging in an external monitor.

    work in progress, i guess?


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