Ubuntu 11.04

Posted by JoshDreamland on April 29, 2011, 2:28 p.m.

Out of sick, morbid curiosity, I decided I would update to Ubuntu 11.04. I was fully aware that they had switched to Unity; I thought to myself that it was something I would have to deal with, so I'd have to get over it and launch it.

This is going down as the second biggest computer mistake I have made in my entire life. For the last two hours, I have been on sensory overload with regard to all the shit they managed to break between the versions. During the four minute reboot, I noticed that the logo which usually appears on the boot screen on healthy installations was now uncentered text, as from the lower TTY consoles. It began typing in red debug messages, and anything else it could think to throw in to be generally unattractive. I'm becoming used to this; Ubuntu acts differently with each new install, and my other computer has always done that. After my four minutes were up, I was greeted with some lag from GDM as I entered my credentials. The most I could do was pray it wasn't like this each reboot.

Finally, I would see the culmination of all the controversial decisions that went into the design of 11.04. I have never felt so lost in my whole life, I swear to God.

To my left lies a dock with nine nonsense items in it. To the top lies the default Ubuntu panel, with nothing attractive in it, either. I figure, it's fine, I'll just find the preferences. WRONG! As I probe the panel, I notice that it adopts an OS X like behavior; there's a File, Edit, etc. menu bar hidden in it, presumably or the file browser.

At this point it begins to set in how truly fucked I am. I spy FireFox in the dock; it is the only useful item there. I click it, and am greeted ny the most horrific sight with which Ubuntu has ever presented me: it adopted the top panel as its own, something like on Mac, only the window lost its title completely.

Disgusted, I dug for the close button, which is on the left and also embedded in the top panel. I decide I must launch Pidgin and ask for guidance in an IRC network.

I have used OS X. I dislike the operating system for a variety of reasons, but it was so vastly better than Unity that I couldn't believe my own thoughts. On either UI, so far as I can tell, if you are looking to run a program, you had better fucking PRAY it's in the dock, because if it isn't, guess what you're doing next? You're going to dig, motherfucker.

Every time I'm on a Mac I find myself digging for the terminal. It's just in /Apps/System/Utils/. I find myself digging for FireFox as well on some school-owned models. Usually the commonly used applications are right in the dock, and there aren't enough to really flow elsewhere. No Pidgin in the Unity dock.

Fortunately, the terminal was, so I was able to just call Pidgin from it without any additional digging. Is this convenience? Apparently, those who actually know how to work Unity launch programs by typing their name into its Dash…

Microsoft realized their Start Menu was obscenely oversized and had, in fact, ceased to fit on some displays. How did they deal with this? Add a search feature, of course. Maybe I've grown spoiled, having my programs neatly and lovingly organized by GNOME in a manner that is small and delicate and easy to navigate. Or maybe Unity was just a fucking stupid idea.

Pidgin took a while to load, giving no console output to indicate that it was doing anything. I aborted it microseconds after it displayed a window. Some cursing ensued, followed by a relaunch, and I was finally back on the network.

The #ubuntu channel was so packed as to make the lines for the newly-released next-gen consoles look tranquil and unobtrusive. As the reality set in that I have less ability to navigate my own OS than if it were simply redone in size-72 Arabic and, should I scream, no one would even be able to hear me, I began to feel as though I were drowning in my new miserable UI. Fortunately, someone did hear my shouts of OH GOD WHAT IS THIS I *blub blub blub*, and enlightened me to two facts,

1) The preferences were moved to the power button dropdown menu, because that is logically where they should be in any desktop environment,

2) I could revert to the old GNOME interface from GDM, something I had not tried.

No sooner did he finish the statement than I thanked him and logged out.

As I was greeted by GDM, I happily changed session to 'Ubuntu Classic', entered my credentials, and logged back in. I was greeted with two error messages from a panel applet I had written which added easier access to a few programs I frequently use by adding drawers to the default Launcher icons (see the project page, http://sourceforge.net/projects/quickdrawer/). It turns out, whatever GNOME they updated to, it is giving my applet a hard time attaching multiple handles to one instance. This is a problem, but I decide I can work around it.

I launch Pidgin again to pay #GNOME a visit and ask what may have caused the shift between this version (2.32.1) and the last. I then notice that the scroll bars have not been replaced with the old GNOME-powered versions; they are functionless and undraggable. There is a method by which you can drag them, but it inhibits using middle click to quickly scroll to the top or the bottom. The functionality is slashed.

The people of #GNOME were surprisingly unhelpful today. One seemed to believe it was just a temporary consequence of updating; I'd believe it. I don't know where to start debugging something that works on one GNOME version and then just doesn't on another… I even used the newer, undeprecated functions. We'll see, I guess.

I continued using this update long enough to realize that basically everything about it is broken in some way. When Pidgin makes a call to FireFox, it doesn't pop up. It just draws its window on top of everything one time. This means that as widgets repaint, it slowly dissolves away. This is an example: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1052740/Screenshot.png. Very attractive, how that Pidgin window has no title bar or anything.

I guess I'll just wait until this boils over, as I do with every new, pitiful Ubuntu update. RetroX, stop reading. I mean it. Everyone who is not RetroX: Don't tell RetroX, but I'm going to break down and install Arch on my next box, just to avoid this stupidity every six months.


PY 9 years, 8 months ago

I can appreciate a lot of what Unity does, and can see the idea behind a lot of their UI choices. Hell, I even agree with some of them, maybe even most of them. However, it does seem to be partially a case of too much too fast, and partially a case of a few really, really poor choices poisoning the rest.

However, I can't hate them for it. They're trying to make a better UI, and whether they've succeeded or failed, at least they're not just redoing the same basic UI we had a decade ago.

colseed 9 years, 8 months ago

I have used OS X. I dislike the operating system for a variety of reasons, but it was so vastly better than Unity that I couldn't believe my own thoughts. On either UI, so far as I can tell, if you are looking to run a program, you had better fucking PRAY it's in the dock, because if it isn't, guess what you're doing next? You're going to dig, motherfucker.
Use Spotlight much?

JoshDreamland 9 years, 8 months ago

No, I hate all built-in search features pretty much without exception. Grep and I have become friends, but other than that…

Extravisual 9 years, 8 months ago

I didn't think any Linux-proficient people liked Ubuntu to begin with.

aeron 9 years, 8 months ago

I had a similar rant about GNOME 3 a while back. Too many OSS projects these days are moving in stupid directions. Unity looks like more of a piece of shit than GNOME 3, and that's saying something.

I went ahead and switched to Fedora/KDE. I know historically KDE has been prone to UI changes (plasma workspaces, etc.) but I feel like their philosophy isn't as plagued by the unnecessary oversimplification that's become so trendy these days.

Josea 9 years, 8 months ago

tl;dr what a rant

I tried Unity for a minute, decided I didn't want to bother learning how to use it and went back to Gnome panel.

Jeremy 9 years, 8 months ago

Try Slackware, its great for advanced Linux users.

JoshDreamland 9 years, 8 months ago


For the most part, no, they did not.


I actually hate KDE, but I used to like Fedora.


I stopped liking Fedora when I realized how much Ubuntu did for me (including, well, adding me to the Sudoers file).


Why did I think you liked a good rant? To be honest, though, I can't bring myself to read it, either. Way too big.


Maybe when I'm over the trauma from this try. :P

bendodge 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm so glad I like KDE.

Josea 9 years, 8 months ago

Maybe when I'm over the trauma from this try. :P
Ha, you should try Gentoo for a week, just for the fun of it. And do not use genkernel.