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Journal ObsessiveMathsFreak's Journal: The End of Ubuntu 4

I have just upgraded my machine from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10 and everything is broken.


It began with Unity. The horror. If there's a way of finding the main menu, I wasn't able to discover it. Menu bars have entirely disappeared from applications, to be replaced with the mac "menu on top" paradigm, a.k.a. one of the main reasons I've never used a Mac since 1994. You can't even log out of the bloody interface, let alone tweak it. Even the fonts are terrible.

It took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to get rid of Unity and replace it with Gnome 3 and I can't say there's really much of a difference in terms of usability. All of my default Gnome 2 desktop settings have been blown out of the water. Completely. My panels and taskbars and lauchers are either deleted or are all over the place. Even if I wanted to change them back, everything is basically uncustomisable as far as I can tell. You can't move objects around in the taskbars. Yes that's right. You can't move objects around in the taskbars.

Is this what a desktop is supposed to feel like?

I feel like my computer window has been turned into a walled garden, like that on an iDink, which I am permitted to carress and fawn over, but have disallowed from making my own in any way. Will I have to download some kind of "App" from the "Ubuntu App Store" to gain back basic functionality? Do I have to dive into arcane settings and ppa just to get back the system which I had and liked only a few hours ago? Do I have to give up and choose Gnome 3, or move to XFCE, or move everything to the shell, or basically waste the next two weeks getting back what I had?

If that's the price of Ubuntu (and it is) then I am leaving.

Ubuntu and Gnome died the moment they allowed the UI designers to take over. The art students, the inveiglers, the smooth talkers, the wild eyed dreamers, the "visionaries", the people who didn't care what they were doing as long as it made them feel talented and superior. These are the people who have designed unusable,confusing systems and interfaces that delete years of carefully customised menus and discourage serious use of computers.

And as for the "boring" people, the programmers, the testers, the package maintainers, the people who listen to the community, those who put real thought and concern for users into their themes and interfaces, the people who don't go to conferences, who communicate with users directly via forum and newsgroup, who sit at their desks working to make distros better, often for no reward at all; what of them? Are they in charge in this brave new work? No. They are cast down and out, by a brigade of bullshitters too busy bopping on their iPods and blogging than in doing useful work.

If you let the wrong people into an organisation or a community, they can destroy it. Ubuntu and Gnome shows that this can happen to distros and open source projects just as easily and quickly as it has happened in the many industrys, countrys, and economies throughout the word. The destroyers will fail upwards, the blazing heat of their incompetence scortching all new pastures dry. The rest of us will be left behind to pick up the pieces and start again. In 5 years time, Ubuntu may be back on the path to being usable again, but I can't wait that long.

I'm thinking of starting off with Mint.

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The End of Ubuntu

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  • I was impressed by the fit and polish of OpenSUSE. If your objectives aren't hindered by the non-Debian roots and different package management you might try it, especially since you're back to Square One anyway. KDE might be a better UI for you, given the directions Gnome and Canonical have taken.

    • KDE never managed to sully agree with me. I actually tried XFCE4 and I have to say that it's a great enviornment. The Gnome2 - > XFCE transition is smooth, and xfce is in fact superior.

      So this stage, I'm effectively looking for an XFCE based or supporting distro, preferably either debian or ubunut based. I'm beginning to suspect that Mint is the way to go. As you say, staying on Ubuntu is only going to get worse with Canonical at the helm.

      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        Of the two choices, If you want the latest and greatest stuff go with Mint. Debian Sid provides a stream of new shinies and is usually perfectly operable. I once went years using Sid on my desktop, but its absolutely not for anyone who doesn't have a good understanding of how Linux, Debian, and Debian packages work because when it breaks you're on your own.

      • by macraig ( 621737 )

        Well, if XFCE suits you best and since Mint has an XFCE build then that would indeed seem to be a good choice. You get the app benefits of being derived from Debian and Ubuntu, too.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers