Open Ballot: do you support Ubuntu's move to Unity?


This is a big one: the world's most popular Linux distribution is getting a radical desktop overhaul in 11.04. Ubuntu will switch from the standard Gnome layout, as used in all previous desktop releases, to the Unity interface featured in the netbook edition. As we prepare to record our next podcast, we want your opinions on the change: is this a bold leap forward for Linux, giving it a unique GUI to clearly differentiate it from Windows and Mac OS X? Or are changes like this too risky, and Ubuntu should stick with the tried-and-tested Gnome layout?

Let us know what you think, and give yourself a more interesting name than Anonymous Penguin if you want us to read your comment out!

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Your comments


I don't really care, but I thought I'd just say that this is the way things are heading. Big, shiny, Web 2.0 icons are in; fusty, nonsensical menus in menus in menus are out.

Look at the new OSX: it's like its secretly mated with iOS and "does not at all" predict a coming together of the form factors. Perhaps a desktop environment with big, finger-sized icons indicates a hidden ace in Shuttleworths sleeve?

Me? I'm typing this on Debian running XFCE, and say this: you who get riled about choice have it as you can still install Gnome. Those who get riled about useability have their way as long as the bugs are fixed because Unity is very Granny-friendly: first thing they'll say is "Ooooh doesn't it look like an ipad". Those who go on about Ubuntu and oh-how-evil-it-is should shut up and install Debian. After all, when people moan about companies taking Linux and making money out of it, they generally seem to gloss over Google/Android/Maemo/Moblin/whatever.

At least everyone has forgotten which side the buttons go on.

No way

I think I may end up switching to Fedora if this goes through. I don't like Unity. Gnome is simple, powerful and customizable.

u no ty

I do not like it. It has slowed down everything. I can't find what I usually use (possibly because it it so slow)
I've ditched Maverick UNR for Easypeasy. It is the equivalent of the MS Office ribbon interface for an OO user.

pah Shuttleworth is an arse

pah Shuttleworth is an arse just doing stuff for the hell of it and because he can "benevolent dictator for life" spit spit spit

bags of potential

Unity has bags of potential... potential to replace mono as the predominant figure of hate in the linux world.


It is now more evident than ever that Ubuntu was created to sabotage Linux and Shuttleworth is the software world's equivalent to Kim Philby. It is no coincidence that Mark Shuttleworth's initials are MS... he is a MicroSoft employee working undercover to infiltrate Linux and destroy it from within. Unity is probably Steve Ballmer's idea.

Unity Desktop - No thanks

I have Peppermint One running on my notebook with the default Openbox and PCManFM filemanager. At a time when we're looking for some standardization and consolidation on the Desktop, this is not the time to introduce yet another scenario, what are they playing at? At the moment Unity seems very amateurish. Doubtless there will be funding for development but with the army of Gnomes cheerfully working around the globe on their favourite Desktop methinks that Canonical will have their own work cut out. I recently strayed and installed the Ubuntu netbook edition with Unity desktop but I really couldn't get on with it and I'm back with Peppermint, hooray! Best Regards, and Servus to Mike!

Unity Desktop - No thanks

But, it could be could be Linux's answer to Windows Vista (KDE 4.X)

About time

I think it's something that is needed, a Linux distro taking the bull by the horns and going for it, there is too much tip toeing around from other distros all trying to keep everyone happy and just churning out slight changes (Fedora)

We cant really lose either because if it's rubbish just jump to another distro im sure Mint's user base will grow after this.

Not a fan of Unity

Having used Unity for two weeks, I have to say I don't like it. The Unity bar takes up too much room on my netbook, it is slow and when compared to 10.04 I think it takes more clicks to access apps that are not docked to the bar. I think this is a step backwards.

Interesting concept

I tried Unity on my laptop. It intrigued me to say the least. It was very structured. I can say I do see area's that need more improvement and investigation though. Overall I am excited to see some type of change that may give the the desktop a more structured approach and appearance. After all the OS is just a shell in which to operate all of the other software from. I like the idea. I've been using Gnome for a long time and think it is much more structured and easier to navigate than KDE which is a spin off of Windows in appearance and approach. I welcome the change. It can only get better as has Linux overall.

Not for me

I am a long time Ubuntu user. I am sticking with the LTS release. If Unity turns up in the next LTS, I will likely move to another distro. Been using Linux on the desktop for 5 years now. Maybe I'm finally geeky enough to try Arch.

Not a fan of Unity

I am not a fan of Unity. Too many buttons and makes the desktop look chunky. Just stick to what works and give back to the Gnome community. I am thinking of possibly switching to KDE or possibly Mint if they do not make the change.

Unity a welcome change

I think Unity for Desktop Computers will be good if more thought and design goes into the finished package. As it stands now Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 with unity is very basic and lacking in many areas. I see much room for improvement. If the Desktop version is to become reality I hope a lot more work and thought goes into the finished product. I welcome the design change over Gnome. It's time for some fresh idea's to surface in a new structured Gnome OS shell.


I Support The Change

I support the move to Unity. Change is good!

choice please

The install should have an option of standard or unity. Being forced to "accept it" is not the open source way.

I am sanguine......

Yes, I am in favour because, as with everything else, if Ubuntu move away from Gnome, there will be a re-spin that will fill the void, and drop Gnome onto Ubuntu 11 : think K:Ubuntu.

But then again, do we really need /another/ distro with another desktop in, frankly, a crowded market place? Personally, I like Enlightenment, but who uses it? Pick up a cd/dvd on the front of a mag' and 9/10 out of ten it will be Gnome or KDE. This move by the big 'U' will confuse those new to the market.,.....

c'est le vie.

Looks good for us Apple users

It felt very familiar-was just like the OSX dock was moved to the left ( I humbly confess that my desktop is a Mac) . The option to move the unity bar to the bottom of the screen or to the right would be nice, as would be the option to resize the Unity bar and the size of the buttons. BUT: On my Aspire 110/1.5GB RAM/32GB/SSD, it felt way too slow, and no wifi-therefore I switched back to 10.04...

No Unity for Desktop, just

No Unity for Desktop, just tablet would be fine. Personally I would stick with Gnome or KDE and see what goodies they come up with to use in the future. The beauty of Linux is choices. If I am stuck with one shell how flexible is that. I myself use a tiling window manager (Ratpoison) it is the best for my need.


To be honest, I am happy with the desktop just the way it is in Gnome 2.32 and am not perpetuated by the desire to swap to Gnome (shell) 3.0

Unity has quirks that personally I would find annoying, for example Notify OSD - described as "Unobtrusive, sleek, and beautiful notifications for application authors to get information to the user with distracting users from the work they are doing." Yet the OSD notification shown in the photo shows an application author listening to BB King with the words "What a legend!"

Personally I find having to dodge the already prevalent advertising all over the Internet to be bad enough and dread the thought of having it shoveled in my face by an application. After all I don't really care if BB King is your Legend. He's not one of mine!

But as someone already stated if you don't like Unity, you can always swap over to Gnome Shell.

You're not obliged to use it :D

Hey, there you're not obliged to use unity, don't forget that with linux you can install all the environnements and use what you want !, ex for me lxde + gnome + kde, so i just added unity , this is it man !.., what else :D, it's not the end of linux ubuntu (or of the world )

Stability is a much underrated thing

I have a car, my wife has a car and my daughter has a car. They are all made by difference manufacturers and I drive them all on a regular basis. I never get confused because all of the controls are pretty much the same. And you know what? It has been like that for decades now.

If motor manufactures messed about with the controls on cars the way OS manufacturers do, I'd need to take a driving test in each of our three cars and every time we get a new one. This would make it so much harder when all I want to do is get from A to B.

But wait! We also have a Linux computer, an Apple computer and a Windows computer and getting from A to B can be quite difficult if you switch regularly from one to another. Clearly the design of computer UIs is an extremely immature discipline when compared with the equivalent discipline in the motor industry.

What UI designers need to concentrate on is convergence and not change for the sake of it. The perfect UI will never exist. So let's just pick one and move on.

All our cars were purchased for their different capabilities but that is no reason for them to have different control layouts. All our computers were chosen for their different characteristics but that is no reason for them to have different UIs.

P.S. Take Terminal out of the standard distribution and stop developers being lazy about building GUI configuration tools.


Obviously a bad mistake for Ubuntu lovers. Unity may be good for some who love it, but mainstream Gnome Ubuntu has still a long way to go on the Desktop. v9.10, 10.04 and 10.10 never applied any user-friendliness on the desktop (dragging menu-items, shortcuts, configuring main-menus, configuring even spaces between icons; that is everything Windowslike). Of course I could move over to Freespire or another Windowslike distro; but come on...Ubuntu is still lagging behind Windows on the desktop. I was looking forward for it to catch up on MS.
Going for unity??? Where did that come from??? At least perfect the Gnome desktop before abandoning it!

Who cares?

I'll never use Ubuntu, anyway. Quite happy with Fedora.
Makes more Fedora users, probably, which is good, seems to me.

More choice == good

Desktops are no panacea. They just hide the works.

I'm Excited for Unity

I'm glad that Mark is making these changes and I'm looking forward to unity! I think that it's good that Ubuntu is picking ideas and going full throttle at them - things are changing and developing.

Unity might not be ready now, but let's just wait and see how it is comes 11.04

Time to Switch?

Installed UNE 10.10 on spare hardware today.

If that's the future of Ubuntu Desktop I will definitely switch to a rival disto (most likely Fedora).

The interface feels 'dumbed down' - Very disappointing...

Change is good

I haven't really tried Unity myself, but I have seen it on my friends laptop. To be honest, I didn't really like it and when I heard that it was going to be the default in Ubuntu 11.04, it scared the hell of me. I am so used to the regular GNOME that I really didn't want a switch. But, I used to say the same about MS Office 2007. I was so pissed off with the change, but after getting used to it, I just became comfortable again. I think people will complain in the beginning, but will eventually get used to it. And for those that don't like it, just change to a different distro. I don't think that Canonical is trying to be another MS, because if there is one thing that differentiates Linux from Commercial distros is choice. If you don't like a certain distro, then change to a different one. If Ubuntu will be the new target for malware, so will Linux in general. The fact that they will change to a different piece of DE, doesn't mean they are changing the OS in general. If everybody liked Slackware or Red Hat from the beginning, then we wouldn't see so many Linux distros around.

I strongly believe that Canopus have a strong reason behind their decision. If people don't like it, then choose another distro and stop complaining.

No, I don't support a move

No, I don't support a move to Unity. The new Gnome is the right way to go for the desktop. Unity just doesn't work for me on a desktop.
OpenSuse has KDE about right, albeit still with some "oddities". Really great as day to day tool. Ubuntu is probably the best for Gnome at the moment.
From what I've seen of Gnome 3 it is going to be the biggest thing to hit the desktop since Windows 3.11 (and yes, I do know that Xerox did a better desktop than 3.11 way back in about 1968, which was later adapted for Amstrad PC's as I recall. Three colour buttons on the mouse and so on).


It is good that they are exploring new ground. Gnome abounds in lots of incarnations in different Distros so good on Canonical for doing it different. To date they have done a pretty good job of pushing Linux so let's just see how they go. My guess is they will probably do a good job.

I for one do not like Gnome as it always seems to lack something. Give me KDE, XFCE, E17, they all have more to offer. I for one think it is a good move to try something new.


Hmm. It will be interesting to see what happens - perhaps a Gnomebuntu would become more popular, or perhaps Ubuntu will remain more common because Ubuntu users don't want to bother with switching. I think that is what it all boils down to - which will become more popular - because that distro's environment will be the one that gets the most attention. To me, Unity does not look as good as Gnome - but then again, I am more used to Gnome.

Whatever happens, though, I just hope that on Ubuntu's upgrades and installs, you can choose between Gnome or Unity, and I think this is particularly important on upgrades.

Down to my own personal view, I do not support the move. Fragmentation is not a good thing, in my opinion - just look at the failing attempts in the charts to topple X Factor's single - and this move will create more fragmentation.

Do it!

Since version 5.04, I have used and installed Ubuntu. I have tried all versions from the desktop to the server. Building brand new computers for my customers, I give them the option of all possible operating systems but when it comes to Linux, I have always recommended Ubuntu. I was once told that Linux will never be like Windows because in the Linux community, they want the people to learn and work hard for what they want. In this day and age, people simply do not have the time nor the patience to learn and work hard for their version of Linux.

Perhaps this is why people still tend to stick with Windows. People just want a computer that will get their daily tasks done quickly and efficiently without having to learn coding. Ubuntu changed all that so I say go with the Desktop Unity version but don't simply scrap the Gnome version completely. Remember what happened with Windows ME and Vista? Microsoft lost a lot of respect with those two versions and even today, people are still sceptical of Windows. Don't let this happen with Ubuntu as it is a great OS. On average, I install Ubuntu on twenty computers a year. If the change to Unity is bad, then this will effect my attempts at selling (business talk only) Ubuntu in the future. I advertise Linux only on my website but when a customer is interested, I show them Ubuntu on a dedicated computer.

Please be careful Ubuntu.

Ubuntu on eee

I installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.10 on my eeePC 1000 and it has made a new notebook out of it. Many functions, such as connecting to wifi, operate far faster than they ever did with the factory load. A few, such as volume, must be operated from the GUI because the keys no longer work. The apps on the left of the screen are largely out of the way, and scroll easily. I think it is pretty good. I think it will be popular with new users.

Unity is Linux Positioned for New Market - Tablet PC's/iPad

It's a bold move that positions Linux as a alternative OS for the growing tablet marketplace. Unity simplifies the OS and places emphasis back on the applications. This works towards the strengths of Linux - security, stability, and system resource conservation. Thus, providing a new path for future innovations in a world that is quickly turning away from desktops to specialized tablets for reading, applications, etc.

Gnome and KDE are not well suited to make this transition. The average user isn't interested in what's under the hood. They simply want quick access to the applications that they need to get their work or entertainment needs met.

The Unity interface will be successful if it is supported by first-class application development. But one must applaud the effort to position Linux as an alternative on these new mobile devices that are REPLACING desktops! And if your goal is making Linux simple... you have to take seriously the market trends of the iPad!

Please iron out the bugs though...

I think Unity <em>looks</em> really nice, but having tried it on my netbook, I worry that Canonical's reputation for rushing out buggy software will yet again be their undoing.

We all know Gnome is a declining force, and they are way behind schedule. But Canonical needs to get Unity right this time. Most users, myself included won't stand for a beta standard release with 11.04 - It's just too easy to switch over to Fedora.

Unity? Why Not?

I've been an Ubuntu user since the Koala and I've never looked back (never will either)! To be honest, I was pretty worried about Unity - it uses Compiz and it can be very hungry on some machines, but the people working on it are all trying their best to see that the Narwhal delivers something special - Desktop and Netbook. Unity is very similar to GNOME 3 except polished and tweaked just for Ubuntu so the change isn't as drastic as I first thought. By the time it's released, most of the bugs should be ironed out and performance should be top-notch. In fact, I've found myself getting more and more excited waiting for its arrival.

Keep up the good work Ubuntu Team!

Time to move to Debian after

Time to move to Debian after they say "For security reasons you should use Unity."

I very much support

I very much support Canonical's move to Unity even though I do not use Ubuntu. The thing people do not get is that Ubuntu is not guided by a community but by a company. That is why you get "benevolent dictatorship" which is good for the "average Joe" while still allowing the user to refuse to follow default settings. One thing I prefer about Debian over Ubuntu is that it gets all the new things but it is by the "popularity contest" that packages become default and not by the people behind the project. The thing is Ubuntu is best for the average user while Debian is more for nerds (that doesn't mean it's difficult to use though).

(I'm not too familiar with other distributions).

By the way, I will be trying Unity on Debian. As for Ubuntu's stability, I only recommend LTS releases to people.

Unity is gansta

My and my Home boys are well impressed with this unity shit.

Though I will go to town on the guy who said I can't move it where I want it.

11.04 is still good

I think using Unity as the default was a horrible choice. However, once I disabled overlay scrollbars and Unity, 11.04 has become my favorite operating system in the world!

I switched to Debian 7 (testing)

I tried unity for a few weeks, didnt like it at all...switched to 10.04 LTS but had problems of stability with my I7, so tried Mint which I did not like because the green colours. Finally I tried Debian testing and learned how to configure it works perfectly.

I think Ubuntu is loosing many users with that movement to Unity...

Forgot to say

I really hate also the overlay scrollbars...another reason I moved to Debian.

I liked Ubuntu but not anymore...looks like they are targetting touch screens market instead desktops.

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