“Random People off the Street says, ‘Unity is better than other Desktops!'”

Says Mark Shuttleworth (the founder of Ubuntu) in his latest interview with the “Ubuntuusers.de” (a highly active German forum for Ubuntu users). True, when Unity was first introduced with Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, it had many issues. Though I don’t know how you feel, but with the latest release of Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, I gotta say, Unity is, well, it’s looking better :).

In the interview he states that…

” … introducing change is difficult, and when you have 10x the number of users of the next most popular distro that will generate 10x the amount of commentary! …

… when we take 10 developers, or 10 artists, or 10 random people off the street and put them in front of Unity they get much more done in an hour than they do with Gnome 2 or any other Linux desktop environment”

But in my all honesty, I still don’t get the idealism behind the “application launcher” and its UI implementations.

For instance, they say that the true quality of a software utility can be measured by its ability to help the user get the job done, without getting in the way. I don’t know if it’s the application launcher or I myself who’s more arrogant ;-), but whenever I’m using an application (such as Firefox) in Unity, now and then, I find myself moving the mouse over to the left-edge of the screen, and though it ain’t my intention to open the application launcher, yet it pops out of nowhere, which is really annoying and also one of its biggest drawbacks.

The 5.10 version of Unity that came with 12.04 Precise Pangolin has a somewhat nice feature that only opens the application launcher when you move your mouse over to the left-side with some intensity (pressing against the corner a bit). This seems to help avoid mistakenly opening it.

You can change few settings of the application launcher by right clicking on your Desktop, choose “Change Desktop Background” and then click on the “Behavior” tab …

That however, can also be a bit of a problem, while actually trying to open it, because now you have to “push” the mouse against the left-side with some intensity (more efforts), rather than “just moving” the cursor there.

The other drawback in my experience is the difficulty one would have to face while dealing with multiple windows of the same application (minimizing, opening/choosing the window that you want to bring to front).

I’m not gonna say much about them here because I’ve written about them in the past, and perhaps some of these issues will never be solved because most of them are directly related to the location of the application launcher.

But that being said, in general, I think the Ubuntu 12.04 is an excellent achievement because, it boots/shutdown really fast, has a mature (stable) Unity desktop, better power management features (less CPU wake ups, HDD related acoustic management features such as spinning down the disks somewhat aggressively, and the “read-head” parking etc have enhanced battery life in general) and last but not least, it’s all for free :).

Anyhow, back to the real topic. This interview was compiled using questions asked by the users of “Ubuntuusres.de” forum and Mark shares his thoughts on things such as:

*. How he feels about the achievements and the feedback received by Unity (so far).

*. Thoughts on Ubuntu’s other desktop derivatives (such as giving up on KDE).

*. How they maintain a quality development process.

*. What lies ahead in the future for Ubuntu.

*. How he perceives the importance of the “outside” community for the existence of Ubuntu.

*. Ubuntu on TVs, Mobile devices and how they’re planning to sell millions of PCs pre-loaded with Ubuntu in the coming years … and a many more.

You can read the full interview form this Ubuntuusers.de Wiki page. A thanks goes to “torstenfranz” for putting it all together :).

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

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