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The last time I switched my usual GUI:

Displaying poll results.
Within the last week.
  980 votes / 5%
1-4 weeks ago.
  1404 votes / 7%
1-12 months ago.
  2732 votes / 14%
1-2 years ago.
  2531 votes / 13%
2-5 years ago.
  3155 votes / 17%
More than 5 years ago.
  3975 votes / 21%
GUIs are for wimps.
  3747 votes / 20%
18524 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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The last time I switched my usual GUI:

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  • Ubuntu Natty/Unity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dido (9125) <(hp.muirepmi) (ta) (odid)> on Sunday June 05, 2011 @10:44AM (#36342546)

    Well, just upgraded to Ubuntu Natty last week and am trying to get used to the Unity interface. There's a lot I like about it, and also a lot of small things that are very irksome, but nothing so bad that I'd want to go back to Gnome Classic. The Mac-style top bar with pulldown menus works for me although it takes some getting used to. It's a lot faster to get to the menu since getting at a menu item you want doesn't require you to make the mental effort to aim. Sliding to the top gets you there right away. I only wish it was consistent across all apps. I also like how the Windows 7-ish taskbar/dock is on the left side, saving vertical screen space in these days of 16:9 aspect monitors. Some of my irks is that a large application like Firefox always starts up maximized. I never got used to running applications maximized like that, and I do wish that some update will soon fix this. Another annoying thing is how many applications, like a Gnome Terminal or Emacs, will start up with their bottom bit just beyond the lower edge of the screen. With Emacs this is particularly annoying, since the minibuffer appears at the bottom, beyond the edge of the screen, unless I move the window. This is also annoying for Gnome Terminal because once you've filled up the window, the last line (where the command prompt will wind up being!) is beyond the edge of the screen. I imagine there must be a setting somewhere that controls window gravity, but I have no idea where it is.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      How ironic. Everyone I talk to hates Unity. IMHO It is a fall back to "trying to be the other interface". If it wasn't for the "workspace switcher" and tabbed terms in gnome terminal I wouldn't have been able to use Gnome classic either. I don't know how people can stand searching around for minimized applications instead of just switching to a location on the desktop to a place where the application (and the other related applications) is open. Do people really only use one application at a time? I'l

      • Unity is the reason why I switched from Ubuntu to Xubuntu last week. It's the first time I've tried xfcd, but so far I like it just fine.

        • My Ubuntu box got Unity as part of the upgrade last month, so I marked "1-4 weeks ago", and then last week it decided to change to the "Unity with the menu bar in black on black" version, or something very much like that - maybe it was the "too skinny to see" version instead. I haven't had time to fix it. I'm likely to switch to Xubuntu or Lubuntu or maybe go heavyweight with Kubuntu just to avoid Unity.

          Meanwhile, my other Linux boxes are mostly non-GUI, and I talk to them via ssh or browsers. And my Win

      • If you go to the Ubuntu forums or a site like, there are a LOT of people who like Ubuntu. It's hard to tell if they're blind Ubuntu fans or are more capable of learning and dealing with a new GUI, but they're out there.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          I use the same editor that I used 20 years ago.

          A good tool doesn't necessarily need to tossed out like last season's overpriced fashion accessory.

          Forced change is stupid. I should be able to keep using a software tool because "software doesn't break". If I happen to like a new tool, I should be able to switch to it because I happen to like it and I find it useful.

          People who like to create artificial churn should be tarred and feathered regardless of what excuses they give to themselves or others.

          That said.

    • I switched over to Xubuntu (xfce4 desktop on xfwm) because of Unity. I'm so very glad the GNU/Linus distros don't have some kind of single desktop, otherwise there would be no choice when a bunch of developers only talking among themselves go flying off on a tangent, and then try to push their whacked up vision with little user input down our throats
    • by AntEater (16627)

      Another annoying thing is how many applications, like a Gnome Terminal or Emacs, will start up with their bottom bit just beyond the lower edge of the screen. With Emacs this is particularly annoying, since the minibuffer appears at the bottom, beyond the edge of the screen, unless I move the window. .

      A real emacs user doesn't need to see the minibuffer. They keybindings should just flow from your subconscious. In fact, I've been using emacs for so long that I rarely even look at the screen. Most of the time I stare out the window while editing code. I'm more productive this way.

  • Does this count if you regularly switch between a Windows 7 box and a Linux KDE box depending on what you are up to?
    • by NtwoO (517588)
      Well, at work I use Gnome. My home desktop runs KDE4.6.2. My laptop runs XFCE. My MythTV runs EvilWM. KDE was changed from 4.5 to 4.6. quite recently. This is a funny poll
      • Similar situation here. Windows XP at work; Windows 7, Slackware Linux and Mac OS X on the personal laptop. Android on my phone, Vista on my set top box.

        If the focus of the poll is to reference the GUI of the OS I'm working in, well I regularly drop out of Xfce into the bare terminal on Slack, as a lot of the work I do in that OS is easier to accomplish on the prompt and it avoids distractions.

  • I "upgraded" from OS 9 to OS X 10.0 (a true work in progress) in 2001, but I was still dual booting between the two quite often until 10.1 came out later in the year. It's been all Aqua goodness ever since then.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <> on Sunday June 05, 2011 @11:51AM (#36342878)

    I'm a forced refugee when GNOME vanished from Fedora. I don;t consider the tablet based GNOME3 to even be in the same linage since it is so different and incompatible with the past project's work.

    Guess folks got wind of Windows 8's similar tablet/touch based interface and the tail lamp chasin' was on. Ubuntu's Unity is the same iPad/Android look. Kinda pointless since the odds of ever getting installed onto a tablet are near zero and the whole tiled/touchme thing is kinda wastefull of space on a twenty inch display with a mouse.

    But now I'm getting happy with XFCE and life goes on. The takeaway lesson here is that the next time some pinhead pontificates about how we should be pushing all the desktop projects to come together into one single project (to bring about The Year of Linux on the Desktop of course) the proper response is to punch em in the nuts. Diversity is the only that can save us when a project's leadership goes off its trolly.

    Just having minor glitches getting previously working launchers working with XFCE, other than that it's all good. Launchers firing up remote X clients vis ssh fail because they aren't getting the environment varables for the ssh agent unless I add an otherwise useless terminal. Stuff like that. As we refugees flood in I'm sure XFCE will evolve pretty fast in the next few months.

    • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@ g m> on Sunday June 05, 2011 @04:10PM (#36344536)

      Another vote for XFCE, and I'm glad to see how it's moving ahead. 4.8 just came out and added some nice improvements (the biggest for me is that now it's much easier to manage multiple monitors), but it still didn't need any major, revolutionary changes. Same old panel, same old window manager (which works beautifully, I might add), same old desktop. Nothing that needs to be changed. Does exactly what a DE should in my opinion - it allows me to get my work done, and stays out of the way otherwise -- the perfect balance of simplicity, customizability, and user-friendliness.

      In fact, around my university there are quite a few kiosks for web browsing, and they all run Xfce on Fedora. That should say one thing: it gets the job done.

      • Also forgot to mention the stability - very stable too. It shouldn't be that surprising though - greater simplicity, less room for bugs. Very nice...

    • by caseih (160668)

      Gnome 3 was well under way before Windows 8 previews were out. Claiming that Gnome 3 is taillight chasing an unreleased operating system is a bit disingenuous, just because you don't like it. Besides that, when I first saw Windows 7, I thought, wow that looks a lot like Linux, most like KDE.

    • by McNihil (612243)

      XFCE here too. On all my machines (home and field) Gnome3 was unable to be correctly initialized and with that: one gets a desktop that is as useful as... (I have nothing good to say here so I wont.) The whole Gnome3 sidestep was for me the last straw because I wasn't overly happy with gnome since 2.18 or there abouts... (Fedora 8 I believe.) After that it felt more and more like they insisted on shooting themselves in the foot. With Fedora 14 I ditched metacity for Compiz+emerald but was never fully satisf

    • by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday June 06, 2011 @02:21AM (#36347560) Homepage
      Let me jump on the bandwagon and recommend XFCE to everybody who doesn't like Gnome3. I might add that I've seen a few bits of the discussions among the Gnome devs and it looks to me like a few of them simply got obstinate and refused to compromise until everybody else caved in and gave them their way. That's why there's no icons on the desktop, no minimize button only one panel, locked to the top and so on. IMAO, Gnome is suffering from the Tyranny of the Stubborn Minority.
    • by MPolo (129811)
      I switched to KDE when this happened, but I'm still not 100% happy, so maybe I should look at XFCE as well.
    • If I wanted my computer to look like a smartphone, I would plug a monitor into my Nexus.

      I also went to Xubuntu. XFCE is simple and clean. Of course, being less popular, there are a few limitations. For example, Dropbox doesn't interface well with Thunar, neither does Mercurial. There are workarounds, of course.

  • by fizzup (788545) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @12:40PM (#36343180)

    Several weeks ago I switched from Ubuntu to OS/X on a Hackintosh. I hadn't owned a Mac since my 512k in the 1980s. I had always hated that Mac because I couldn't find the command line. However, having got an iPod Touch and then an iPad, I thought I would give OS/X a shot.

    I hated it. I couldn't get used to it at all, and the feeling lasted for a long time. Why is the menu bar at the top? command-tab switches applications, but not windows within applications. You can never tell what's running without a bunch of effort. Then, my wife asked me an interesting question: why does Word start quickly sometimes, and other times it is really slow to start? I began thinking of how to explain this goofy situation that the application doesn't actually quit when you close the window, and then I realized the truth of it. Sometimes Word starts fast, and sometimes it's slow. Don't worry about it. Just click. You don't know where your photos are when you import them into iPhoto? Don't worry, just click. Every application you ever started today is still running? That's what the VMM is for so don't worry, just click.

    Now, I'm a real Mac user. Well, I paid the price of an iPad for my desktop, so I suppose I'm not a true Mac user. However, I have come to truly love the abject simplicity of using a Mac. I love the dock, the app store, all the shortcut keys, all the stuff that works that way when you try it... This abomination could really take off.

    • by roju (193642)

      Bind exposé to a hot corner, and your problems with finding windows will be over forever.

    • Here's the best way to navigate a Mac: Spotlight. Just type what you want and click enter. Type Word + Enter and Microsoft Word will open. Office + Enter and LibreOffice will open. It's 10x faster than using any GUI. It's like a command line if you didn't have to be specific (like the ones you see in cheesy 80/90s movies where it was almost like there were no commands, the computer just understood English) -- I've had a 100% success rate with it. Whatever program, file, or folder I need I can find it as fas

      • by redback (15527)

        I will never buy a Macbook until they get rid of trackpads.

        • His point was that Macbook trackpads are so far ahead of any other (it's even better than a mouse for anything besides gaming or precision photo editing or the like) it's ridiculous... I felt the same way you did until I tried one. I mean really tried one, not just casually in an apple store, and customized in a way that suits me.

          And I can't stand trackpads on any other computer I've ever tried. But now I can't see myself buying anything but another macbook pro - not just because of the trackpad, but it's a

    • Command+Tab switches Applications, and Command+` switches between windows within an application. Word does some font cacheing stuff that can make it take a very long time to start up sometimes. In older versions at least, turning off the font live previews made startup a ton faster.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        That shortcut took me literally years to figure out by myself... no kidding.

        For the rest I'm also the kind of guy who likes to figure out stuff by himself, not asking for help (well a Google search sometimes) especially when it comes to using applications.

        And definitely not help desks. I have asked questions to help desks after I really couldn't work out how to do something (and being convinced that it IS possible), only to have the whole help desk unable to answer my question. I actually have the same p

    • The process is almost complete, you havearebeing been assimilated.
  • I switched my GUI 0.4 seconds ago from my console window to my firefox window.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Wow you type fast!

    • I don't even get whether a tilling window manager is a GUI... I guess probably not? It seems like this question really meant to ask about your window manager.
  • Every GUI that I have used has the annoying habit of inserting a panel in front of the window or text field that I am typing on, causing me to loose the last dozen or so key strokes. One would think it were possible to detect that the user is actively typing and delaying panels from showing themselves and becoming the key window. My experience on Linux is limited, but this is a problem for me on both Windows and OS X.
  • In that case I switched to KDE 4.6 around the end of January. If you count minor versions, then I switched 4.6.3 about 4 weeks ago.

  • I have two macs, a couple PCs, several linux boxes with a few flavors and a couple virtual servers running on my WinDoze box. I've switch 3 or 4 times today not counting CLI.

    Or...I could say that this is my "usual" GUI setup and haven't switched anything in ages.

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @06:54PM (#36345626) Homepage

    Does this mean switched for good, or does it count if you switch temporarily for testing or experimentation? Or if you use different GUIs on different machines? On my main home box, I'm still using FVWM, but I frequently play with other GUIs on it. My main menu even has a Window Manager section with five entries at the moment (E17, Fluxbox, FVWM, Ratpoison, Window Maker). If we count other machines, then I switch between FVWM, GNOME and Windows all the time.

    So my answer is either A) within the last week (daily, actually), B) 1-12 months (last month, actually), or C) over 5 years (more like 12), depending.

  • I never really change my GUI on Windows - I find the default one is usually fine. And I generally don't shell out money for new versions of Windows - I might as well get some use out of the Windows tax I pay. My last upgrade was ~2 years ago, so my Windows machine is still on Vista, still default GUI.

    *{nix|BSD}, I tend to use either on very old machines, or on servers with no need for a GUI. My Arch server doesn't even have X installed. My other box, a "rescued" computer about a decade old, can't handle m
  • by BatGnat (1568391) on Sunday June 05, 2011 @10:28PM (#36346752)
    Easy as....
  • I change GUIs like I change clothes. Right now I'm stuck on xfce due to the speed and simplicity, but all other desktop environments I've used have merits that cause me to use them at least once a week. Except icewm, I hate it. Besides the main machine, I've got ratpoison on an old P3 with a clicky keyboard that I'd much rather use than a mouse.
  • Not since my computer was stolen two years ago. I had been using LiteStep on my XP machine and the standard layout for my Ubuntu laptop. Thieves seemed to have missed my laptop., which was and is broken. They took my PC though. I had insurance out for theft in the house I was living at. I got a check for 1k and got my self a new Windows 7 based PC and that's when I changed my GUI. I really wish LiteStep worked on windows 7 :(

  • Last month from Ubuntu to Crunchbang Linux

  • The only time Ive actually switched for a while was when KDE4 got stuffed into distros way damn soon. Then I spent six months in gnome and then a little bit more using kde with metacity wm... And then KDE was stable again and it was all happy times :)
  • Switched to Kubuntu last week, and not looking back. Everything works together so much better than it did in Ubuntu/Gnome2. I was also surprised to find out it has desktop effects even without hardware acceleration.
    Gnome 3 seems like a nice interface for tablets, I might use it when I get one later this year. No idea why anyone would want Unity, since Gnome3 seems to do everything it does, but better (in both visuals and functionality).

  • I code on a Mac (love it), the code runs on a VM with Ubuntu/Gnome (good enough), I test on XP (have to).

    I get the keyboard shortcuts (e.g. Ctrl-C vs. Cmd-C vs. Ctrl-Shift-C) right almost every tenth time.

  • Tried Unity and didn't like it. Went back to traditional gnome and decided that it was pointless to hang on to something that wasn't going to stick around since Gnome3 is their future. XFCE does everything I need and gets out of the way.

  • Does switching from Emacs 22 to Emacs 23 count?

  • I use Windows at work, Linux and MacOS at home. So perhaps my answer should be "every couple of hours"?

    Funnily enough in all three environments I mostly use the GUI to launch command line shells and Emacs. Even after all these years I still feel most comfortable with the command line and fumble around a bit when trying to accomplish the same tasks through the GUI.

  • Still using FVWM here. Have been for a decade plus. This means I don't waste time relearning the UI every few years and instead can focus on being productive and actually doing the work I want to do. Same keystrokes, same menus, same mouse movements.

    Only in the computer world is constant relearning of the human-machine interface considered "progress".

  • Android phone rooted, Cyanogenmod 7 installed. That counts, right?
  • I just changed from GNOME to KDE and am exploring other options too. Before that it had been about 5 years or more...

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Monday June 06, 2011 @01:56PM (#36352972)
    All a GUI is, is something that gets between me and the apps I want to run. While it does some useful management things (and judging by the bloat, a lot of stuff that may or may not be useful as well) all I ask of my GUI (and of my operating system, too) is that it keeps out of the way as much as possible. Generally if I have to take notice of it, it's not doing its job.

    The "About" entry says it's GNOME - I really don't care.

  • Switch my rump. You're all using Xerox Parc User Interfaces-- PUIs!

  • Where is the "When Mark Shuttleworth force-fed Unity down my throat" option?

  • Our Linux Users Group next month is going to be doing a shoot-out of some different desktop environments, and as part of that I've been playing with tiling window managers for the last month. At first I was going to just try switching to awesome, but then I realized that there is a huge choice out there and I've been trying several of them, currently I'm using i3, but xmonad has a nice feature where it will let me move a workspace from one monitor to the other, which I really like. So far though I'm reall
  • windows at work, mac at home...

  • Both did nothing except what I told them, and both were readily scriptable for new menu items.

    Further, neither wasted real estate for tool/menu bars; the entire root window was a "menu bar".

    Sawfish even had Gnome support to make it easy to run those tools. Although KDE tools didn't have quite the same level of integration, they did work.

  • For about a year, I have been using Window Maker and GNOME. Just not GNOME's window manager.
    Before that, I used only Window Maker. And that's since the late '90s. Before that I used Afterstep briefly.
    I have Window Maker's more NeXTly features disabled.

    I can not stand a window manager that hides the resizebar inside the title bar, like Metacity (GNOME) and MS Windows do. I start dragging the resizebar when I was aiming to drag the window around. Hiding controls is just bad UI design.
    Window Maker also has win

  • WIMPs, surely!

  • I have a feeling that 99.9% of those who believe GUIs are for wimps actually use a GUI. I have a book at home that says the textual console is actually made up of graphical representations of bytes. So in a technical sense, only people who use punch cards or type pure 1s and 0s to perform their daily routine are the buffs around here. The rest of us argue over lines versus symbols.
  • I started using twm in 1991, and I have yet to find a reason to switch. All the newer window managers seem to insist on controling things. I want control over where my icons go. I want control over what all my buttons do. I don't want some control bar or other clutter.

  • Updated KDE to 4.6.0, what a mistake that was. Suddenly I couldn't log into KDE and I ultimately fixed it by using zypper dup to update my distro to OpenSuse 11.4.

    Since then I've had countless problems with my KDE sessions, audio playback, VirtualBox and more. Yay stability!
  • I've been using Emerge Desktop for more than a year now on Windows 7 and it's awesome. Takes a little bit to set up, but so much cleaner than Explorer. Plus, you can actually make the right and middle mouse buttons useful for something other than getting Display Properties. Right mouse is a fully customizable menu of shortcuts, program folders, whatever you want. If anybody remembers OpenWindows, it's kinda like that. It also has a system tray, quick launch, and can handle virtual desktops as well.

  • I just upgraded from Debian 5.0 to 6.0, which for me also meant going from KDE 3.5 to 4.4. That may not technically be a change of GUI, but it was quite a noticeable change.

    Also, I have "Unity" on my Ubuntu netbook, and an iMac, so I guess I change GUIs whenever I change computers.

  • I switched from "Luna" (I think) to Aero, when I switched from XP to Windows 7.

    I love Start Search, Aero Peek, Aero Snap...

    On the otherhand, I'm not too happy with how MS combined the Task Bar with the Quick Start area. Grouping application windows on the task bar kind of bothers me. I wish I could group and ungroup application windows quickly, so I didn't have to chose between grouped or ungrouped. Pinning documents to icons in the Quick Start area is an odd metaphor. I think recent documents/files bel

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