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Shuttleworth Calls Ubuntu Performance Art, Calls Out Critics 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-am-so-great dept.
darthcamaro writes "Mark Shuttleworth has taken a lot of heat for Ubuntu's decision to use Unity, to move away from Wayland and about its stance on the community distros like Kubuntu. In a new interview Shuttleworth shoots back claiming no matter what he does people will always find fault due to...'competitive pressures.'"
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Shuttleworth Calls Ubuntu Performance Art, Calls Out Critics

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  • He has a point, no? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <{slashdot} {at} {jawtheshark.com}> on Thursday April 25, 2013 @05:31AM (#43544249) Homepage Journal

    I mean, he does have a high-profile Linux distribution he's responsible for. He has the problem that people hate change and he needs to take decisions. The thing is: change can be right too. Unity has many haters, but from the latest LTS release on, it is actually pretty good. I like using it now, and I originally dreaded the switch for my two "normal" users on it, being my mother and mother in law. I expected support calls to no end, when I finally did switch them from 10.04 (Gnome2) to 12.04 (Unity).

    Surprisingly, neither had any problems adapting. That shows me that he was right: for normal users it is actually not all that hard. That said: when Unity was released it really did have a lot of rough edges. That's what it gave a bad reputation, IMHO.

    Microsoft has the same problem: change is hated by their users. Probably even more so, in the Windows ecosystem.

    I'm normally a proponent of "don't fix it if it's not not broken". The problem is that the Gnome guys "broke" Gnome, and thus they said "we can do this better". Whether this "better" is truly "better" lies in the eye of the beholder. My experience is: the common user reacts positively to it. That's a win in my book.

    • by YukariHirai (2674609) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @05:47AM (#43544305)

      Microsoft has the same problem: change is hated by their users. Probably even more so, in the Windows ecosystem.

      There's a reason for this: in the Windows world, change is mostly for the worse. Sure there are some important steps forward and changes for the better in amongst it, but it always seems like those are eclipsed by dumb decisions and change for the sake of change.

      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday April 25, 2013 @05:56AM (#43544339) Journal

        in the Windows world, change is mostly for the worse.

        Not just that.

        In the Windows world, there are just two choices; run an old version, or put up with the awful interface. At least with Linux, you can use Mint, or even pick an XFCE, Enlightenment etc etc respin if you want Ubuntu and don't like Unity.

        • to use those linux clones litestep, or some .net based shell managers too.

          Who knows, maybe if Unity is really liked, it will be ported to windows.

        • That's exactly why I use Linux exclusively now. I have choices as to how my system works and what it looks like. With Windows I was stuck using what Microsoft thought I wanted to use and no option to change it. Sure, I could go back and use the old version but I would have no updates. At least if I used an old version of Linux, I could add a PPA or something that ported back the security fixes and such.

          I enjoy the freedom of choice that Linux offers me and the I enjoy being able to look at the code if I fee

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          People in the business world also love stability. Home and hobbyist users can afford to deal with change, but change in the work place means spending time adapting to it.

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @06:50AM (#43544483)

        There's a reason for this: in the Windows world, change is mostly for the worse.

        There's a reason for this: in the Windows world, change is mostly for the worse.

        Lets see. I remember Windows from v1 all the way through to XP.

        2 was better than 1. It had overlapping windows!
        3 was better than 2. Icons and early networking.
        95 was a huge step forward from 3. e.g. People didn't close down Windows to run their legacy DOS apps anymore. They ran them within DOS boxes.
        98 was a better 95. It fixed the rough edges.
        ME was apparently a step back. I didn't try it. I took a sidestep to 2000.
        Windows XP was a big step forward in reliability, merging consumer UI with NT kernel.

        I can't speak for versions after XP, as I went to OSX at that stage. But I've covered most of Windows history there, and you're wrong with that statement.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of Microsoft or Windows, that's why I moved to OSX. I had grown to have complete contempt for Windows by the end. But it's wrong to say that Windows changed for the worse with most versions. It did generally improve.

        • by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @08:00AM (#43544775)

          Windows 2000 and Windows 7 are the best releases. Win2000 took the best parts of NT but also allowed consumer stuff such as most games to work. XP only brought extra bloat, slight instability and horrible security record (which was later mostly fixed with service packs). Windows 7 is the pinnacle of the classic desktop: polished, secure, fast and nice.

        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          Well, initially XP was 2k in bad. They fixed that with XP SP1 and by SP2 it had enough staying power to compete with the next two Windows versions.

          Then we got Vista, which was bloated as all hell, had more compatibility issues than early XP and gave us joys like UAC, which is kind of like gksudo or OS X's admin password dialog except that it takes ten seconds to load, tosses up a modal dialog that blocks the entire desktop and occasionally makes the modal dialog appear to be on top of the other windows wh
          • by Cinder6 (894572)

            I actually like Windows 8, but it does require a shift in mentality to see the benefits. It's intended to be used as a launcher with the facility for holding many shortcuts, not as a menu to dig around in. Since I always used the former method for the old start menu(in Vista and 7, at least), 8's new start screen took little adaptation, and I had originally installed the customer preview in order to lambast it!

            At the same time, I found that some of the people I encouraged to switch to it had a hard time ada

            • by Jesus_666 (702802)
              I think Metro falls into the same category as Ion or Ratpoison: Some people are extremely efficient using it but others are completely baffled by how it's supposed to work... and the latter are in the majority. Microsoft added some rather unusual gestures to the whole thing (plus gesture-centric UIs are uncommon in desktop-land), which doesn't help. It's certainly a usable and intuitive UI - on a tablet. On the desktop it's so different that most people have to relearn everything, yet Microsoft didn't make
        • For my use patterns, Windows peaked with NT 4.0, combining the Windows 95 interface with the reliability of the NT kernel.

      • The interesting thing with Windows --- change under the hood (non-forward facing core changes) has almost always been improvements; minus the f-up in Vista with file-copy priority scheduling. Whereas forward facing (GUI/interface) has mostly been superfluous. E.g. it looks different but functions about the same or better.

        Microsoft threw that idea out with Windows 8: core changes were good, but the forward facing GUI/Interface was a drastic change that looks different and functions about the same or WORSE
      • There's a reason for this: in the Windows world, change is mostly for the worse. Sure there are some important steps forward and changes for the better in amongst it, but it always seems like those are eclipsed by dumb decisions and change for the sake of change

        People said that about the change from Windows 2000's version of Explorer to Windows XP's implementation. They also said it about the introduction of Aero with Vista, and its changes in Win7. All of those were incremental steps forward (and yes, I do think Windows 7's version of Aero is a *huge* improvement over Windows XP's version of Explorer... Win7 is, unfortunately, probably going to be the pinnacle of productivity under Windows).

        That's not to say that Windows 8's UI isn't an *enormous* leap backwards

    • The problem is that the Gnome guys "broke" Gnome.

      And the KDE guys broke KDE when they transitioned from 3.5 to 4.

      Maybe broken early releases are an inevitable outcome of step changes to interface projects that are developed out in the open. Maybe the problem isn't with KDE, Gnome and Unity, but with our expectations, and people who don't want to experiment with cutting-edge DEs should be explicitly warned away from them?

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        The problem is that the Gnome guys "broke" Gnome.

        And the KDE guys broke KDE....

        And the HURD desktop guys broke .... oh wait

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Sorry, but nothing excuses GNOME people from GNOME Shell... or Canonical from Unity. Who "did it first" anyway? Doesn't matter. Neither occurred because there was a need. They did it "anticipating" a need or a change of public interest. I think it is clear that anticipating change can be just as bad as being "late to the party." (right Microsoft?)

        I think neither would have been so bad if they hadn't taken this "all or nothing" / "one direction" approach to their development. A better idea, I think, wo

    • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @05:58AM (#43544343)

      Unity has many haters, but from the latest LTS release on, it is actually pretty good.

      I switched to Xubuntu for the time being but am willing to give it a second try. I only have one question: Does Unity by now have a menu of all applications reachable with one click or mouse hover?

      When I had to fix the graphics drivers on my girlfriend's laptop yesterday, I had to guess the German localizations of applications for monitor settings and drivers and scroll through lists of oversized icons. The concept of searching for applications by a name (that you must remember) is inherently flawed and was discarded with the invention of the desktop and folders in the early 80s. If that has been fixed I'm happy to give Ubuntu another try. (The application "dock" is also pretty annoying, especially since it only seems to pop up every second time I try, but I assume it is easier to customize by now.)

      • by ais523 (1172701)
        It doesn't. You can do it with two clicks in two different ways, but as far as I know, there's no way to pin the applications lens, which is what would be required to do it in one. (They have fixed the dock, now, though.)
      • I also preferred the "Menu" system of Gnome 2. Thing is: that concept is going the way of the dodo (Mac OS X doesn't have it at all, Windows 8 shows their vision of the future, which isn't rosy either). I don't like it either, but it's the way it is. To make it useful for me, I just changed the dock to the applications I use most. The last time I tried Gnome3, I didn't understand what to do whatsoever. Okay, that's a while ago. It might be better now.

        The application "dock" is also pretty annoying, esp

        • At least with KDE you get to choose on almost every level. I also think they made the right choice with their default approach: a complete menu that is searchable, not search-only.

          That's the best of both worlds. I've never much liked kicker's interface, I was using lancelot as my KDE menu since it's earliest releases and I love it, full listing of apps with a zero-click launch design, searchable menu (that also searches documents and all other relevant data sources), application favorites, integrated views

      • by rvw (755107)

        Unity has many haters, but from the latest LTS release on, it is actually pretty good.

        I switched to Xubuntu for the time being but am willing to give it a second try. I only have one question: Does Unity by now have a menu of all applications reachable with one click or mouse hover?

        Install the ClassicMenu app. It installs an icon in system tray. So the location is different, it works mostly the same. It works for me. I switched to 12.04 LTS, after hanging on to 11.04 for as long as possible, and I'm glad I changed. It's not as smooth as OSX, if I had the choice I would still use Gnome 2, but this is good enough and all the Unity bashing is a lot of BS in my opinion.

        The concept of searching for applications by a name (that you must remember) is inherently flawed and was discarded with the invention of the desktop and folders in the early 80s. If that has been fixed I'm happy to give Ubuntu another try. (The application "dock" is also pretty annoying, especially since it only seems to pop up every second time I try, but I assume it is easier to customize by now.)

        I agree. This is really bad and I can't understand that they haven't fixed this yet.

      • When I had to fix the graphics drivers on my girlfriend's laptop yesterday, I had to guess the German localizations of applications for monitor settings and drivers and scroll through lists of oversized icons.

        I'm pretty sure that the dash shows you programs not only by their local name but also by their original name.
        At least when I'm typing stuff into the dash, I have non-obvious hits.

        Also, you can reach the settings by going top right on the screen. The list is not that long so that going through the icons would have helped.

      • You don't have to know the application by it's name. If you need the application to, say, scan a document, you can type "scan" and you will see all the aplications that you can use for scanning.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You are trying to do something that the average user doesn't want to do. You may go to /usr/share/applications and use grep to find the tool you're looking for. That would be a bad answer if people were commonly trying to do what you're doing, but most people use the proper language and if they got it wrong it was probably during install, and they can simply reinstall.

        • by Culture20 (968837)
          The average user doesn't want to know what applications are available on a new install without typing every conceivable string into the GUI or resorting to using the command line (average users hate command lines)?
    • by slacka (713188) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @06:34AM (#43544425)

      Say what you will about Ubuntu, of all the Linux distros, it has the most polished out of the box experience. In my career, I’ve probably installed close to a thousand Linux images and Ubuntu has consistently provided best hardware compatibly and least issues over the years. When Unity was started, the Gnome 2.x panel, was completely broken and useless in vertical mode, necessary for 720p netbooks and widescreen monitors. Gnome 3.x was looking to be the next KDE 4.0.

      So I can understand Shuttleworth's desire for something like Unity, but what I disagree with is how he went about it. Instead of going off on his own with Unity and Mir forks, He should have worked with Gnome and Wayland to fix what was broken. See the Mint MATE project for how Ubuntu should have proceeded with Unity. All of these unnecessary forks just weaken and already stretched thin open source development efforts.

      • by heypete (60671)

        Say what you will about Ubuntu, of all the Linux distros, it has the most polished out of the box experience.

        That used to be the case. Since the time of 10.10 of the "mainline" Ubuntu, I've found it to be considerably less intuitive than expected. I much prefer Mint+MATE over any of the mainline Ubuntu releases. That and Xubuntu.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Since the time of 10.10 of the "mainline" Ubuntu, I've found it to be considerably less intuitive than expected.

          As a computer user of many years, you are unqualified to determine what is an intuitive interface. So am I, but I'm not making declarative statements about what is intuitive. Ob: Nipple.

      • Say what you will about Ubuntu, of all the Linux distros, it has the most polished out of the box experience.

        I'm not convinced that's true any more.

        Basically the magical auto everything system they've concocted to give the polished experience is now so huge and poorly documented that things now go wrong and it is very hard to debug them. I've had weird problems which I can only put down to some sort of race condidion, but after fairly extensive digging, I've still no idea how everything integrates properly

        • by Ash Vince (602485) *

          Or just stuck with X11 and fixed what's wrong with that. Even better.

          By X11 you must actually mean X.org. The original version of X11 that Linux used to ship with was Xfree86 but that ended when they got hissy and tried to change the licence to one that may (I am not a layer so have no idea if this is actually true or not, the important thing was that the community thought it might have been) have been incompatible with the GPL. This caused no end of crap and resulted in everyone moving to x.org.

          The problem is that X.org is pretty much a dead project now. Ok, Ubuntu could ha

          • What you say is likely true for almost all users, but for server management, the network transparency features that come with server-client separation are a huge asset. My own "use-case" is that I frequently need to install commercial scientific software on remote headless systems, e.g. the head node of a computational cluster in the server room. These installers invariably have GUIs, which I use by SSH-ing into the box with a forwarded X connection and just running it.

            There are other ways to do this, of co

            • I'm starting to miss systems that worked in the corner cases.

              It used to be hacker heaven. It's been hijacked by people who seem to want to replicate the "anything which isn't explicitly allowed is forbidden" mindset.

          • By X11 you must actually mean X.org.

            No. Whyever do you think that. X.org is the most popular server side implementation of the X11 protocol and is also bundled with its own xlib, making it the most popular implementation of the client side protocol. Specifically I was talking about the X11 system.

            The X11 Window system was created almost 30 years ago and things have moved on along way since then.

            Yeah, and Linux was created 22 years ago and unix 43 years ago. I'm glad we've abandoned all of those legacy tech

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Nowadays every device (even phones!!!) have a dedicated CPU and Graphics Chip that the display manager can talk to directly without going over a possibly insecure network. Now you want to be able to give applications a direct pipeline to the graphics hardware to make it feel as responsive as possible if they need it.

            And here is where you have proven that you do not understand X11. Not only do requests not go through the network at all unless applications are displaying remotely (they use shared memory or domain sockets, not internetworking sockets) but X also has extensions permitting direct memory access or direct GPU access. However, if you happen to have a network in between the client and the server, it will get used, and provide you functionality that just won't be there with Wayland.

            In addition, Wayland does not

            • I'm not a fan of Wayland (clearly).

              With that said, it's entirely possible that by the time anyone is actually using Wayland, it will support remoting individual applications. I only hope that it does it worth half a shit.

              Well, I don't see why you couldn't connect a remote application to a Wayland server local to it, then forward the bitmap over the network and display it in a local window.

              In fact...

              You could probably have a Wayland-X11 bridge so that a wayland server renders the bitmaps, then splats them do

        • by Alomex (148003)

          Or just stuck with X11 and fixed what's wrong with that. Even better.

          Which is pretty much everything, but *nix fanbois don't like to hear that, as in how could it possibly be screwed up since it is part of the *nix holy trinity???\

          Noobs forget that there is much that is/was wrong with Unix (for example initially it had no security). It has gotten to where it is because people like the Wayland's Hogsberg, Ubuntu's Shuttleworth and FSF's RMS.

          • Which is pretty much everything,

            Like what? Apart from the ancient and barely used and really rather small drawing APIs which have replacements in very standard extensions, what is wrong with the X protocol?

            Noobs

            chuckle.

            there is much that is/was wrong with Unix (for example initially it had no security)

            So? There was also much right with it, like pipes, uniform file access, file as stream of bytes etc. Do you propost to replace those too because noobs?

            • by Alomex (148003)

              Like what? Apart from the ancient and barely used and really rather small drawing APIs which have replacements in very standard extensions, what is wrong with the X protocol?

              Have a look at this, directly from the X.org guys.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIctzAQOe44 [youtube.com]

              Do you propost to replace those too because noobs?

              Kiddo what on earth are you talking about?

      • by hduff (570443)

        Say what you will about Ubuntu, of all the Linux distros, it has the most polished out of the box experience.

        Then you have never used Mandriva/Mageia. Great hardware support, sane defaults. Easy for the average user to admin. My only complaint with them is that their graphics are nice but uninspiring.

        Mageia 3 should be released next month and is looking great in beta 4 dress.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Instead of going off on his own with Unity and Mir forks, He should have worked with Gnome and Wayland to fix what was broken.

        I'm still not decided on Wayland/Mir, but GNOME/Unity is a clear case of necessity. The GNOME developers are not known for taking outside input. They ignore the users at every turn. Why would they listen to Canonical? I would expect even more NIH syndrome from them in that case than in the already-extant general case of everyone and their mom telling GNOME that they're dumbing down the interface too much without giving anything in return. At least Unity provides eye candy.

    • I'm normally a proponent of "don't fix it if it's not not broken". The problem is that the Gnome guys "broke" Gnome, and thus they said "we can do this better".

      Let us know when they get around to doing that.

      Every release gets harder to customize for utility.

      • by Coryoth (254751)

        Every release gets harder to customize for utility.

        I heard that about GNOME 3.x, but then I actually got around to using it. It didn't have a user switch feature I liked. I just share a computer amongst my family so a fast user switch that listed users and didn't have to go through passwords is fine ... and no longer a provided option.

        So I decided to see if there really was anything I could do about it via extensions. I spent a little time researching -- mostly learning javascript, which I didn't know at the time, and a tutorial on how to write extensions.

    • by Vintermann (400722) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @07:28AM (#43544635) Homepage

      Just because people will criticize you no matter what you do, still it may be the case that the criticism is valid. In the article, Shuttleworth does nothing to defend Mir - he calls it convenient and effective for them, but that wasn't the issue. The issue was why Wayland would NOT be convenient and effective for them.

      Wayland isn't primarily a library, it's a protocol, and the big challenge for a protocol is getting people and companies (like NVidia!) on board, not that work has to be duplicated. Realistically, some will choose to go with one and not the other, and that means more wasted effort, whoever "wins" in the end.

      • by div_2n (525075)

        If you step back and ignore what comes out of Canonical word for word and the criticism that follows and examine the situation a bit more objectively, the decision to go to Mir gets more clear and makes a bit of sense. Ignore the technical feasiblity for a moment of them getting Mir to a sane state rapidly enough for it to be used in the next year like they claim.

        Canonical decided to make a gamble a few years ago which now the data suggests was wise -- mobile is the future of computing and the old laptop/de

    • by erroneus (253617)

      Change for the sake of change is bad for a great many things and especially in the PC/Computer/Internet world. Let me offer a car analogy... no wait, let's change that.

      Let me offer a wife analogy. Everything is going just fine... things are stable. And then one day your wife says "...we need to talk..."

      How is that not "oh shit...."?

      In the grown up IT world, we do a change management process which includes things like "purpose" and "impact assessments" before making sweeping changes. I see no indication

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Unity spent at least 2 years with rough edges and even now arguably it's still seriously lacking as a desktop UI. In particular I think the global menus and the hover scrollbars might be reasonable compromises when someone has a low resolution screen and needs the space but they are serious usability problems on larger screens.

      Unity itself is tolerable in most ways but when its compared to GNOME 3 (probably its closest counterpart) one wonders why it exists at all. GNOME 3 could be skinned to resemble Uni

    • by dc29A (636871) *

      The problem is that the Gnome guys "broke" Gnome, and thus they said "we can do this better".

      Gnome 3 has become much better these days. With a few extensions like application menu, places menu and drop down terminal, it's actually very usable. Unity on the other hand is slow piece of shit. I ditched Unity for Ubuntu Gnome, never been happier with my DE choice!

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Gnome 3 has become much better these days. With a few extensions like application menu, places menu and drop down terminal, it's actually very usable.

        So just to be clear, once you've turned it into GNOME 2, GNOME 3 is quite usable? Guess what? That's why we have Unity to begin with. It wouldn't exist if not for GNOME assclownery.

    • Unity has many haters, but from the latest LTS release on, it is actually pretty good.

      At least the latest LTS (12.04.whatever) still uses Unity 2D. 12.10 uses Unity 3D only (once you're past the login). Performance is dismal on a virtual machine. Virtual box, AQEmu, virtmanager, etc. all can't handle the way Unity uses 3D acceleration. Blame is passed off on the virtual machine managers, but Ubuntu obviously didn't test that. I can't be the only person that tries out new distros as virtual machines, or likes to use virtual development machines, can I? It's certainly not a good first impressi

    • That's because a lot of Linux people are the sort of people that will hate mainstream things. They probably don't even care about open source or contribute to it. It's just about not using Windows because their mom uses it.

      Ubuntu is still a great all around operating system and has helped bring a lot of attention to Linux and that's partially because someone is trying to make a business out of it.
  • by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @06:27AM (#43544409)
    An interesting contrast: Volkerding does what he does with Slackware with no fuss. Shuttleworth gets all defensive on what he does with Ubuntu.
    • >An interesting contrast: Volkerding does what he does with Slackware with no fuss. Shuttleworth gets all defensive on what he does with Ubuntu.

      Interesting, and part of the reason (besides size of userbase) I believe is their different attitudes. Volderding actively ENCOURAGES other people to do what he chooses not to. Remember a few years ago when slackware dropped Gnome support ? Patrick stated that he was dropping it because gnome (at the time) required patches to libraries which were not part of the

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      An interesting contrast: Volkerding does what he does with Slackware with no fuss. Shuttleworth gets all defensive on what he does with Ubuntu.

      Well, no. Volkerding doesn't do what he does with Slackware. Slackware is a pile of packages put together nicely. Ubuntu is an attempt to change the world, for good or ill. They're very different projects, and it's obvious why one of these people would be catching flak for their actions while the other is engaging in a more "safe" activity. IMO, we need both kinds (of people, and distributions) for a healthy software ecosystem.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, the distro is a regular comedy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 25, 2013 @06:42AM (#43544455)

    IF Unity and Gnome 3 had taken the time to FIRST fully develop their products while at the same time fixing existing products, maybe they would have been better received. But they didn't do that. Gnome, Linux, Ubuntu are far from perfect. Nautilus for instance is a nightmare with samba shares. None of this has been fixed. If you got a spotty internet connection and connect a 3G modem, there is no easy way anymore to tell Ubuntu to prefer one over the other. Multi-monitor support finally works but you can still only select one wallpaper.

    It works... but it could be better.

    And then instead of improving, fixing what is there, KDE, Unity and Gnome 3 all decide to instead go for something new and unproven and give us highly buggy versions of it as non-optional replacements... and the users said FUCK NO! It isn't just that the basic core idea is wrong (more on that later) but that we would have prefered to:

    A: have existing bugs fixed.

    B: Not be forced to change how we use our computers.

    C: Not be forced to deal with a whole lot of new bugs, on top of the old bugs.

    Windows 8, Unity, Gnome 3 and KDE have taken a fundamentally flawed approach to the desktop. Their unified idea seems to be: The user wants to see his desktop and play with it.

    Reality: The desktop is there to put things on, that then obscure the desktop which I never ever see again unless something crashes. In real life, if you can see a users desktop, the user is not doing anything productive. I got a large screen multi-monitor setup and the desktop is barely visible, what you do see instead are the applications I am running because THAT is where my work is being done.

    Go back to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_Desktop or Enlightenments animated wallpapers. All very nice, very cool and totally and utterly useless on an actively used PC because the moment you start using your PC, the desktop is hidden underneath the application you want to use. A pro has few desktop icons because to reach them, he would first have to close a dozen windows.

    An active desktop is like the stock picture in a picture frame, useful to have something on the screen when the PC/frame is in the shop, but essentially useless once actively used. You take the picture frame, open it and put your own picture in front. Bye bye active desktop, won't see you again until my PC crashes and the few seconds between boot and me having opened my applications again.

    OSX is just as bad with that gigantic dock at the bottom. Thank you Steve Jobs, just what I wanted, less horizontal pixels for my windows. At least Unity puts it to the side. Screen space is simply not cheap/available enough yet to waste pixels on stuff I don't "need". The only people that like Windows 8 and the likes are people who have toolbars installed in their browser. The rest of us want more SPACE! Not less.

    And I be honest, once I had winamp/xmms installed with skins and made room for it in my windows layout. These days my music player lives on the notification bar and is 16 by 16 pixels or so.

    Had these new "desktops" launched as optional side extra's (how many of you ever used Active Desktop or the various versions of Widgets), they might have been well received... well, as well received as their ancestors. Which is to say, not at all. Remember, ALL THE PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS AT TURNING THE DESKTOP INTO A GADGET ZONE: FAILED

    So, instead of taking the hint, developers thought: "Well we just not going to make it fucking optional anymore!".

    "Yah... well I am simply fucking not going to install it then".

    With mobile phones the old idea got some new fuel but lets face it, how many of us think of our mobile phone as a marvel of usability? I sure as hell don't. It would be like taking away the mouse form a PC gamer and give him a touchpad instead... NO! It is not that touchpad on laptops are totally unusable but why should I replace the far superior mouse on my desktop with a laptops second rate input method?

    The new desktop work slight

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      IF Unity and Gnome 3 had taken the time to FIRST fully develop their products while at the same time fixing existing products, maybe they would have been better received.

      Let's just set GNOME 3 aside, because they're not trying to please their user base, and they're just doing whatever they think they should be doing because science says so, or whatever. Unity was introduced in Ubuntu 10.10, the release following an LTS release. That means they had two more releases to work on Unity before the next LTS. This is Ubuntu behaving as normal, and as expected. If you expected a new feature introduced in a release following an LTS to be polished, it's your expectations which are th

    • by tapspace (2368622)

      Have you found windows to crash often? I haven't. Not 8, not 7 and not XP (at least less than ubuntu in XPs case). I really dislike windows and I don't use it (I use Ubuntu), but one thing windows users seem to be missing is the crashstravaganza that is ubuntu/unity/compiz. Oh, you've got like several tasks going, because you know, computers? Let's just crash compiz or completely lock up. LOL. Now spend the next hour saving everything, rebooting and opening everyhing back up. Awesome!

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @07:18AM (#43544589)

    The effective keystroke monitoring in recent Ubuntu monitoring is a _much_ bigger problem. The desktop search result is broadcasting your searches back to the Ubuntu mother company for Amazon search results. Despite Mark's claims, this is not "putting ads in Ubuntu" it is far more than merely adware. By effectively tracking local user searches, by default, it is clearly spyware. Worse, the queries were being sent in clear text, and there was no graceful way to turn it off. Those had to be top level decisions for the new release, and they were terrible decisions.

    To quote Mark from his own response to this at http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/1182 [markshuttleworth.com] .

    > We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don’t trust us? Erm, we have root

    Mark's claim that "your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query" is nonsensical. Tracking cookies and the sometimes abusive tracking tools of doubleclick.net provide thorough tracking of the search queries and the results, and to automatically be doing This, along with other recent changes, has demonstrated that Mark Shuttleworth and the leadership of the Ubuntu distribution _cannot be trusted_. Having "root" access is not an excuse: it's a reason that Ubuntu should never have even tried this obvious and adware and spyware attempt.

    Also note: the queries are not going to be encrypted to protect you, the user. They're going to be encrypted to make them less obvious to network monitoring and tougher to block.

    • So is it still there? I thought they fixed it already because of all the negative feedback. Can't they just put a dialog box during installation:

      "Ubuntu gives you an option to use the Amazon shopping lens to extend your desktop search. Discover exciting products from the vast catalogue of Amazon while you help to support Ubuntu. Click here to read the privacy disclaimer. Would you like to participate? [Yes] [No]"

      Or even better, also separate it from the regular filesystem search.

      • So is it still there? I thought they fixed it already because of all the negative feedback. Can't they just put a dialog box during installation:

        It's not fixed in my opinion, because it's still the default and you've got to opt out and you've got to take active measures to do so. A fresh install of the latest 12.10.xx gives you a little clickable message (it's a URL shortcut, turns out) that is called "Legal Notice". It tells you generally how to disable the internet Dash search. It would be quite easy to ignore the "Legal Notice" at the bottom of the UI, thinking it was just more license agreement BS that no one reads anyway.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      By effectively tracking local user searches, by default, it is clearly spyware.

      You forgot the word "default". Turning it on by default was what made it spyware.

      Worse, the queries were being sent in clear text,

      Yes, that is utterly unacceptable, especially since we already have public keys for Ubuntu in our distributions.

      and there was no graceful way to turn it off. Those had to be top level decisions for the new release, and they were terrible decisions.

      Agreed. They did implement a graceful way to turn it off afterwards, so apparently they agree as well.

      Mark's claim that "your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query" is nonsensical.

      After "you should trust us because we've basically got root on your computer" we should all know that anything coming out of Shuttleworth's mouth is simple ranting of a madman. Only a truly crazy person would have sai

  • if it's so good, how come your user retention has gone to shit?

    and the performance art thing.. he refers to how he decided to decide in advance when the release is - NO MATTER IF IT'S SHIT you'll still have to release on that day! that's what he meant with it. and it's stupid.

  • I don't get this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 25, 2013 @08:29AM (#43544965)

    I can understand normal users hating change, but techies? Come off it... There is nothing constant in tech but change. I, while not liking (or using) Unity, don't dislike it. I prefer KDE or Enlightenment, but whenever a new version of Ubuntu hits the mirrors, I dutifully download it and give it a week before redoing things to suit my tastes.

    To those that bash Mark: running a company is no small feat. Running a tech company is a very difficult feat. Running a company with a release deadline every six months and still innovating is a moving target and he and the Ubuntu team do it very well. At least they are trying to innovate and deliver new ideas and functionality.

  • No wonder it's starting to suck. Changes for art's sake usually don't make good changes for usability.
  • Install Ubuntu server and then "apt-get install kdm" and you're good to go with KDE. I realize it's easier to install kubuntu, but then you're not running an "official" release.

  • Of course they're getting flak. Point to one time in history when someone has really, earnestly tried to change things that matter without being criticized.

    All of the spitting contest "they made amazon searching the default, how dare they", "they refuse to ignore the architectural issues with X, how dare they" stuff is to be expected. It's people who aren't actually trying to implement a vision for the future whining about others who are.

    Ubuntu is fighting to put Linux and open source at the heart of the
  • by epine (68316) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @03:14PM (#43548723)

    "What's genuinely difficult is that both I and a bunch of people that help make choices, genuinely care about what other people think," Shuttleworth said. "We go through a lot of trouble to accommodate other folks."

    Huh, that's why I recall getting the memo from Mark early on in the Unity adoption cycle that there would be a transition period that would suck donkey balls for power users with dual-head workstations, expressing that while he realized this would highly inconvenience certain user demographics making tough decisions is necessary to future success of Ubuntu.

    That's why he so cleverly timed the transition so that the users most inconvenienced could wait out the dual-head donkey-balls fiasco on a LTS release. No wait, neither of things were true. He went to no trouble to help other people accommodate themselves.

    From Leading Change by John K. Potter (p.88):

    One of the main reasons that vision creation is such a challenging exercise is that those guiding the coalition have to answer all these questions for themselves, and that takes time and a lot of communication. The purely intellectual task, the part that could be done by a strategy consultant, is difficult enough, but that often is a minor part of the overall exercise. The emotional work is even tougher: letting go of the status quo, letting go of other future options, coming to grips with the sacrifices, coming to trust other, etc. Yet after they are done with this most difficult work, those on a guiding coalition often act as if everyone else in the organization should become clear and comfortable with the resulting vision in a fraction of that time. So a gallon of information is dumped into a river of routine communication, where it is quickly diluted, lost, and forgotten ...

    So why do smart people behave this way? Partly, the culprit is old-fashioned condescension. "I'm management. You're labor. I don't expect you to understand anyway." But more important, we undercommunicate because we can't figure out a practical alternative: Put all 10,000 employees though the same exercise as the guiding coalition? Not likely. [My emph.]

    Yes, Mark, I get the necessity message, and I always have. What I don't get is all the condescending bungling around proactively communicating this vision (and perhaps offering better transition options) so that more of us could have remained in the fold.

    In Shuttleworth's view, the nastiest thing that people can do is to set up unnecessary tension.

    You mean the tension about whether you communicated the Unity change well enough, soon enough? Bite me. Seriously, I hope Unity grows up to become everything you dreamed it would be. But excuse me if I don't hang around in a neighborhood where roads are demolished before signs are posted.

"You know, we've won awards for this crap." -- David Letterman

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