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5 Out of 11 Crashed Unity In Canonical's Study 468

Posted by timothy
from the that's-nothing-I-can-crash-anything dept.
dkd903 writes "Today the results of the Default Desktop User Testing for Ubuntu 11.04 was published by Canonical's Rick Spencer. The test was done using 11 participants from different backgrounds to test the new Unity interface that Ubuntu 11.04 will have." Though the Unity interface in the upcoming Ubuntu is a moving target, the bad news from this test is that about half of the testers managed to crash it.
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5 Out of 11 Crashed Unity In Canonical's Study

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  • Surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @02:27AM (#35837524)

    That's pretty surprising, I only manged to use it for 10 minutes before I ditched it and moved to Kubuntu.

    • Unity isn't stable, it hasn't reached the "production level" yet.

      Anyone know what's the reason behind Ubuntu rushing Unity out, before it's ready?

      • by nzac (1822298)

        Unity isn't stable, it hasn't reached the "production level" yet.

        Anyone know what's the reason behind Ubuntu rushing Unity out, before it's ready?

        Because if Gnome 3 turns out to be popular it would be DOA.

        • by udippel (562132)

          Because if Gnome 3 turns out to be popular it would be DOA.

          I can promise you: no need to worry about that

      • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Saturday April 16, 2011 @03:57AM (#35837864) Homepage

        Ubuntu rushes everything out before it's ready; it's impossible for a 6 month release cycle to do anything else. This whole Unity experiment is no surprise to anyone who was using in Ubuntu in 2008, when the at the time barely working PulseAudio was integrated into the "Long-Term Release" 8.04. And by LTS, they mean "supported until the developers are whipped to start working on their next 6 month deadline the week after shipping".

      • anybody know why ubuntu is even bothering to develop unity? cause it seems like a shameless rip-off of osx. i'd just use a mac instead of this half-baked pice of shit.

    • Ditto. I hated Unity as soon as I started playing with it, and felt no different an hour later.

      I was frustrated with KDE from 4.0 - 4.5, but 4.6.2 seems to have addressed most of my gripes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2011 @02:37AM (#35837566)

    Crashing is not the worst thing about it, but the fact that it is a worse interface than Gnome 2. It's not terrible like Gnome 3, but feels like a step backwards nonetheless.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Indeed. KDE isn't looking much better either IMHO. It hasn't felt "right" to me in years (I used it primarily up until the early 3.0 days).

      At this point I'm looking at switching to XFCE.

      • Yeah, I poked at the whole Gnome 3 - KDE 4 split some time back, and I didn't really care for either of them.

        Anyone know if the whole Right Click Experience (or whatever) is trademarked by MS? I want to right click and make new folders, cut-copy-paste text, delete & rename stuff, etc.

        I haven't yet tried XFCE or any special add ons to the window managers. Anyone know?

        • Personally, I was a KDE hater ever since 4.x, and stuck to Gnome. But the growing move towards idiot-centric interface design as exemplified by Unity, and to an even bigger extent, Gnome 3, seem to show that Gnome is not a viable DE in the future.

          That forced me to evaluate the present options, and I admit that I was pleasantly surprised with KDE 4.6 (on Debian, in case it matters). I didn't much like the previous iterations for the simple fact that I couldn't even use them for long enough to make any impres

    • by Spewns (1599743)

      It's not terrible like Gnome 3

      I was skeptical about Gnome 3 too until I started using it. (Fedora alpha)

    • by w0mprat (1317953)
      Frankly Unity has (or had) some promise - I've seen many people move their taskbar or dock to the left hand side of the screen, and they all swear by it. I do this now myself for heavy multitasking. It is an easier more natural way to switch apps than the universal default of the bottom of the screen.

      As someone who spends a lot of time on a linux desktop, unity is pretty awful, it just can't do the obvious functional things that other interfaces can, ignoring stablity, it's just no where near well sorted
  • Them new DE's, man (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caius112 (1385067) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @02:44AM (#35837584)
    I personally find all Unity, GNOME 3, and KDE 4.6 to be unuseable. What the hell went wrong? Why reinvent the motherfucking wheel as clumsily as possible over and over again?
    • by hawguy (1600213)

      I agree with Unity and Gnome3, but I don't find KDE 4.6 to be any less usable than Gnome 2 (especially after I switched the launcher to classic style). What about KDE do you find to be unusable?

      I really wanted to like xfce, but ran into problems with xfce in Natty beta 1 where the window manager would hang occasionally. I'll try it again after Natty is out of beta.

      • by caius112 (1385067) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @02:57AM (#35837634)
        OK, you're right, KDE is by far the most useable of the three once you've disabled all the "semantic desktop" and "desktop activities" bullshit. But out of the box, it's just as jarring as the rest for me.

        Of course, the mere fact that you can disable shitty features is a rarity these days. What happened to the Linux philosophy of personalization?
        • by Tanuki64 (989726) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @03:07AM (#35837688)

          Least common denominator. The more idiots use a system the more it has to be dumbed down.

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            there's always a nice, simple, straightforward command line

          • by muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:05AM (#35837916)

            So who is now Gnome3's and Unity's target group? Idiots overwhelmed with Windows and OS X? I dont remember that the race for Desktop domination was meant to be a race to the bottom.

            Gnome3 & Unity are so unusable for everyday work (from a business point of view), that they do not even seem to be desktop oriented any more at all. They both seem to bet on a (appleized) smartphone & tablet dominated future and want to get there as soon as possible.

            The demise of Gnome2 will absolutely KILL desktop linux used in businesses, at least in mine. Deprecating the familiar Gnome2 workflow for no other reason than some visual art designer masturbation reeks of irresponsibility towards existing customers and _will_ have consequences. Leaving Windows and trying Linux on the desktop on a larger scale was a bet not every business was willing to make. Punishing those who did by arbitrarily destroyng familiar desktops environments will no nothing but prove linux skeptics right and linux enthusiasts wrong and seal its fate on business desktops on years to come.

            • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:58AM (#35838148) Journal

              True with that.

              I switched back to Windows. Before I get modded as a troll I have to say I still like Linux on the server and I am serious and not troll baiting. I love all the scripts, apis, and programs that Linux has.

              I saw the writing on the wall with Fedora 15 after I left Ubuntu due to the lack of stability and quality software. I left Windows because of beta quality products that were terrible. Linux is less stable in my experience on the desktop with the exception of Gnome 2.8. I saw the writting on the wall again with hardware based html 5 of all the new browsers ... with the exception of a lack of Linux support.

              My 3 year old laptop running Fedora 13 can not even handle some sites under Linux. Chrome is getting much better but most hardware rendering is still only available on Windows.

              Gnome 3 and KDE 4 are terrible. Sun donated millions of dollars of R&D into Gnome and Opendesktop and it is stupid to throw it all away. Why? Menu's work. You may want to reduce the amount of mouse clicks to find things. For some reason Gnome decided to increase the mouse clicks for the same task?? Lets now look at the hassle to simply switch a workspace. Why is that hidden? Infact in Unity why do I have to keep clicking around to see all apps?? Ugh

              Compiz with newer widgets with more functionality is where Gnome should have went.

              I have virtualbox handy for Windows 7 and will look forward to using it to run Postgresql and some Lamp. For me I now use Windows and I feel like garbage for turning back 10 years of my life but I do not care what people think of as stable 10 years ago or cool. I want something that works. Seriously Firefox4, IE 9, and Chrome scream and you can run all the Unix apps with Virtualbox or a win32 version.

              Lets hope gnome 3.2 fixes this and I may just come back but there is no shame of switching to MacOSX or Windows. Today's gui's remind me of poor Netscape's demise of 4.

              • You praise Linux's customizeability and variety, but left Linux because you couldnt be bothered to install Gnome 2 on one of the newer distros? The mind boggles.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by westyvw (653833)

          Choice is what I like, Unity is driving me crazy because it seems so locked down (or devoid of anything interesting all together). I agree with the ability to personalise philosophy.

          KDE still rocks for me. Activities is a great concept and actually works well. If you dont want it, dont use it no big deal. Like classic menus? Use them. Like a desktop or several "workspaces"? Its your choice (or the distro managers for the default appearance).

          • by marsu_k (701360)
            Agreed on activities - it took a while for me to get my head around the concept, but at least for me it works very well. Like having virtual desktops within your virtual desktops (insert appropriate "yo dawg" here).
        • by gilesjuk (604902)

          The more configuration options you add the more testing is required and the greater the chance of an option being broken.

        • What happened to the Linux philosophy of personalization

          Some of the newer gnome guys and others decided that the linux desktop needed to be standardised if it was going to compete with MS Windows (ignoring that the "start" menu can be offscreen on any side of the screen and other weirdness that can be customised in stock MS Windows). They decided we needed a common desktop environment - CDE if you like - and they were a bunch that had never been exposed to CDE on Solaris to see that almost nobody apart fro

        • by Hatta (162192)

          If you want personalization, try Awesome. Write your own environment in Lua.

    • by smash (1351) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:50AM (#35838112) Homepage Journal
      Yes, agreed.

      I'm waiting for the dust to be blown off windowmaker, and more people to realise that they can write cross platform stuff for GNUstep/OS X.

      Windowmaker plus a decent file manager / dock would give Linux a powerful, usable desktop. Unfortunately the past few years I've seen of linux desktop "development" is madly rushing to re-implement whatever useless crap Microsoft has tacked onto the latest version of Windows, or trying to look like Aqua.

      The Free NIX desktop used to be BETTER because of innovation that was happening in the free software world. Lately it's just playing catchup, and poorly.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        It's not just the desktop. So much F/OSS software is like using the commercial equivalent circa 10 or 15 years ago it's absurd. Makes you wonder if the people who are developing it are not just reinventing the wheel, but the only wheel they could find to reinvent was hacked out of stone.

        (FWIW, I'm quite a fan of F/OSS software and I'll happily concede there are F/OSS products out there that are easily equivalent to - if not streets ahead - of commercial equivalents.)

    • by gilesjuk (604902)

      Maybe the developers don't understand K.I.S.S. and "if it's not broken don't fix it". All they needed were refinements and improvements, mainly around appearance as they did look a little ugly in places.

      Also, with the accusation that open source tends to copy the interfaces of Windows and OSX I guess they were trying to do something different?

    • by jimicus (737525)

      UI design is hard, and it's something seldom taught in a lot of CS courses (or if it is, it's entirely optional). Which means there's no shortage of developers, but developers who can design something you'd actually want to use are pretty thin on the ground.

    • Look back to the GNOME that shipped with Red Hat 7 through Red Hat 9. It was free of distracting crap. It didn't have anything on the desktop unless you count the panel (taskbar thing) or the solid-color background. Now we get TWO panels, because Mac-oriented and Windows-oriented developers formed a committee, and loads of random shit on a desktop that would be buried under windows if you were actually using the computer.

      It happened with Windows too. Never minding the rotten core, Windows 95 was actually at

  • I found Unity netbook from 10.10 to be acceptable after a bit of use, but the upgrade to Natty beta was enough for me to drop it in favour of just going back to Gnome 2. I'm also trying out Gnome 3, and both these 2 as well as KDE all feel like suboptimal blind stabs at some holy grail rather than fast and practical.

    Might have to try out Enlightenment again, or xfce. i dunno.

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      I'll grant this: Unity seems to be a OK interface for netbooks and possibly touchpads.

      You don't want the full desktop experience on those environments.

      You don't really care or want Alt+Tab. You'll likely only be doing a few things at once.

      • "I'll grant this: Unity seems to be a OK interface for netbooks and possibly touchpads."

        No, I tried it and it sucks on netbooks too. It doesn't actually work reliably, and the bits that do work don't let you do quite a lot of stuff that the classic interface does.

        • by Compaqt (1758360)

          OK, that's a data point.

          I hadn't used it on netbooks, by the way.

          I guess this is going to be another my-way-or-the-highway Ubuntu fiasco, like window controls on the left, the faux-Mac design, "windicators" [google.com].

          • If I knew that Mark Shuttleworth was personally using Unity for all his daily work, I'd feel better about it. At least then there would be someone who loved it.

      • by DrXym (126579)

        I'll grant this: Unity seems to be a OK interface for netbooks and possibly touchpads.

        You don't want the full desktop experience on those environments.

        You don't really care or want Alt+Tab. You'll likely only be doing a few things at once.

        My experience of Unity is it is a useful UI for netbooks. It is a compact UI. Problem is it's inflicted on EVERY desktop regardless of size and doesn't appear to have configurable settings that would make it more tolerable/useful on large desktops. I don't want the single Mac style menu or the dock on the left, or indeed the behaviour it uses to hide itself. All these things should be configurable through a UI. I'm aware there are settings in text files that control these things, but they have to be in the

        • Global menu [google.com]: It was sort of OK, I guess, for the original mac.

          Now we have 24" and 30" screens. You can have apps in all corners of the screen, and you're supposed to mouse all the way up to the top left to access a menu?

          Create one problem, and then start applying bandages everywhere: Mark's answer? Create menuless apps.

          Newsflash: Not every application can be as simple as an iPhone 99 cent doodad.

          And say goodbye to discoverability. Say hello to the old-style right-click menus of Gimp and Dia [gnome.org] that everyone al

  • by Xgamer4 (970709) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @03:06AM (#35837682)
    Just ignore the crappy blog link. It's not really helpful at all. Here's a link to the actual results:
    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2011-April/032988.html [ubuntu.com]
  • by dcollins (135727) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @03:07AM (#35837686) Homepage

    FTA: "None of the participants could figured out what Ubuntu One."

    Indeed.

  • I like Ubuntu 11.04 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mass Overkiller (1999306) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @03:16AM (#35837724)
    I have to admit that when I installed Ubuntu 11.04 beta with Unity, I felt the need to repartition my hard drive to make more room for linux and less room for windows. I like the desktop, I like the bar thingie on the left (whatever it's called). I like typing "System" and having it give me an application to click rather than wade through 3 submenus. There have been a few bugs like not being able to select that bar thingie on the left sometimes, and I still don't know what that Ubuntu icon is for or why it turns blue. Also, I'd like not to have to type my password in when I boot into linux - I thought that was why I selected "auto login" as an option. I truly enjoy this latest version and I'm thinking of keeping it. Just fix the bugs. I'll adjust myself to the layout quickly enough.
    • What frustrates me about Unity is the same thing that frustrated me about Windows 7. Simple tasks take longer to accomplish. Take opening a terminal, for example. In Maverick I can click Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal, or click on the terminal icon I have on my panel. In Natty I have to either:

      1. Right-click on the Applications icon and select "Accessories"
      2. Click "See all" to expand the list
      3. Scroll down a list of gigantic icons and find the terminal
      4. Click on the terminal

      Or:

      1. Click

  • It's just bad UI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cripkd (709136) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @03:21AM (#35837746) Homepage
    The fact that it crashes is not the end of the world. Ubuntu 11.04 is still in beta.
    What I don't understand is why Unity has made so many bad UI decisions.

    1. the icons are on the left, to conserve vertical space. Ok, but I'm NOT on a netbook. Why not give me the option to move it at the top or at the bottom ?
    2. The icons are on the left. Whenever you use content on a screen (in mostt western countries) you start scanning the screen with your eyes from the left to the right. Why do I have to see some brightly colored icons everytime I move to the next line? This never happens if the bar is at the bottom. The eyes focus on the content not on some list of eye-candy icons. Again, why no move it to the RIGHT at least?
    3. The window title/window controls fiasco. I don't see why should I perform a specific action to either see the whole title of the window,l the window control buttons or the usual application "File" menu. The desktop is not yet an iPhone. The desktop is still another paradigm. The application menu should be visible at all times! We're not all just using firefox all day long (see Eclipse for exmple.)
    4. Blurred windows menus. Why do I have to first focus the window and then hover or something to get it's menu?

    PS. Speaking of usability, why does slashdot redirect to it's main page after logging in ??? I still hope unity will change a lot in the next 1-2 years,, otherwise it's just crap they put out to spite gnome.
    • Re:It's just bad UI (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Khazunga (176423) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:38AM (#35838054)

      I installed 11.04 this week, and I totally disagree. I absolutely love top-level navigation taking over horizontal space instead of vertical space, as well as other vertical-space saving features, such as moving the menu onto the title bar. Naturally, I appreciate this more because my laptop has a 12" display. Were I on a 24" desktop LCD and I could spare space for the menus. However, if you are so inclined, this is just a gtk option. It's easy to move menus to their standard location, Unity does not bind you to that decision.

      As for readability with icons on the left, just maximize your windows or move them to the left of the screen. It will push the icons away.

      Sometimes, I think people criticize ANY change. I'm not involved with Unity and have not accompanied its development. The final result was a total surprise to me this week. I like it. There are corners to be polished, for sure, but it's an excellent first version.

      • by PybusJ (30549)

        Sometimes, I think people criticize ANY change.

        Yes, and the answer is to give people the options to respond to change at the pace that they can cope with. Attract them in with better interfaces, which if they are better will become apparent over time. Releasing "upgrades" to previous versions which take away functionality people are used to and doesn't offer configuration is guaranteed to annoy users. Considering the interface people have huge amounts invested in using a deprecated compatibility option w

      • by c (8461)

        > There are corners to be polished, for sure, but it's an excellent first version.

        Generally speaking I agree, and that's having used it on a netbook and laptop since they threw it into UNR.

        However, the multi-head support is a clusterfuck. I don't know if this is just a Unity thing or something in whatever parts of GNOME it's tied into, but unplugging and switching monitors is routinely a disaster, occasionally leading to having to drop into a console to clean out sessions and configs before I can login t

      • I hate that the launcher disappears whenever something is maximized. And I hate that the window title and the menu bar occupy the same space and have different functionality on mouse-over. This completely fails the grandpa test: I have no idea how I would ever walk my grandpa through a simple task over the phone when things are constantly shifting, disappearing, and changing depending on where the cursor is. Horrible interface.

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      1. the icons are on the left, to conserve vertical space. Ok, but I'm NOT on a netbook.

      Actually, that also makes sense with the general move to 16:9 monitors (which is also annoying, but using the same size panels as HD TV is clearly going to be an economic end-of-argument). However, most sensible GUIs let you put the icon bar left/right/top/bottom to suit your preferences and monitor configuration.

  • so... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hitmark (640295) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:35AM (#35838034) Journal

    looks like i will be using XFCE for the foreseeable future. Tho if this dumbing down spreads, i may be forced to go LXDE or even FVWM...

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      It's more "let's copy Windows and Mac OS X" than anything else.

      But I, for one, find the Mac OS X UI unusable, and Windows is getting worse with every new version.

      It seems like they're trying to turn the desktop into some media experience rather than a tool to do things with.

    • I have never understood why people want a GUI thats not "dumbed down". I thought the point of a GUI was simplicity?

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot AT davidgerard DOT co DOT uk> on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:49AM (#35838102) Homepage

    I have installed Ubuntu Natty Narwhal. The new Unity interface is stupidly shit. Half the stuff literally does not work on my netbook. If you woke up one day and thought:

    "Gosh, I'd really like to make using my universal general-purpose computer that I can do ANYTHING with feel like I'm using a locked-down phone running an obsolete version of Android through the clunky mechanism some l33t h@xx0r used to jailbreak it, I can't think of a better user experience"

    - this gets you quite a lot of the way there.

    If you want it to feel a bit more like a computer, log out, select "Ubuntu Classic" and log back in and then you'll only have the Mac ripoff menu arrangements to contend with.

    I actually liked the old UNR interface. I wonder where it all went horribly wrong.

  • Just grab some Xubuntu or Kubuntu and you can have Gnome again.

    One of the best things about open source is the freedom to use alternatives :)
  • ...and you will realize how bad unity is!

    * 18% thought libreoffice calc was a calculator
    * 18% thought Ubuntu Software Center was the Recycle Bin
    * 36% thought the Me menu icon might be a close button
    * 20% could not find a window's menus
    * 50% 5/10 first tried clicking Firefox in the launcher again to open a new window
    * 54% could not figure out how to change the background picture without right-clicking
    * 54% could not figure out how to rearrange icons in the launcher
    * 40% could not launch a game that
  • It is very buggy on my laptop. The whole screen goes blank whenever I put the pointer on the left edge of the screen.
  • OK, I jumped on Natty a little while ago, alpha 3 or so. It was a bit bumpy when I got on but within a week all the biggest bugs had been ironed out and it was possible to actually use the system reliably. I went for the new kernel, which includes numerous performance improvements, to the point you can actually notice. My video card, a 1GB DDR3 240GT from Gigabyte, is amazingly well supported these days, which is nice because it wasn't even IN the driver for over a month after I bought it. That was back in

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