11.04, a leap forward

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Users first, on free software. That has always been our mission: we set out to bring the joys and freedoms and innovation and performance and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience. And yesterday marked the biggest leap forward in that mission that Ubuntu has ever taken, because in addition to the work we always do to make sure that the world’s best free software is polished and integrated, we brought something new to the very core of the user experience of the free platform: Unity.

We put user’s first because we committed to test and iterate Unity’s design with real users, and evolve it based on those findings. We’ve documented the process we’re following in that regard, so that other free software projects can decide for themselves if they also want to bring professional design into their process. I very much hope that this will become standard practice across all of free software, because in my view the future of free software is no longer just about inner beauty (architecture, performance, efficiency) it’s also about usability and style.

In the design of Unity we chose to be both humble and bold. Humble, because we have borrowed consciously from the work of other successful platforms, like Windows and MacOS. We borrowed what worked best, but then we took advantage of the fact that we are unconstrained by legacy and can innovate faster than they can, and took some bold leaps forward. In category indicators, the dash, overlay scrollbars and other innovations we are pioneering desktop experiences that I am sure will be emulated elsewhere, in both the free and proprietary platforms. This is the public “1.0”, there are rough points which will affect some users more than others, but we will iterate and polish them up one by one. Our goal should be to continue to set the pace and push free software to the forefront of usability and experience, growing the awesome Ubuntu and Unity community that shares those values and is excited by those ideas.

Ubuntu’s killer feature remains that community. The spirit of Ubuntu is about understanding that the measure of our own lives is in the way we improve the lives of others. Ubuntu has both economic and human dimensions: it is unique in bringing those together in a way which enables them to support one another. The fact that so many people recognise that their time, energy and expertise can have the biggest possible impact when expressed through Ubuntu is what makes their individual contributions so much more valuable. By recognising that it’s not just about bits, or licenses, or artwork, or documentation, or advocacy, or support, or assurance, or services, but that it’s about the whole of those in synthesis, we make something different to what the world has ever seen before. So to everyone who has helped bring Ubuntu 11.04 to fruition: thank you, and well done.

Of course, Ubuntu is far bigger than Unity. And the needs of the Ubuntu community, and users of Ubuntu, are far more diverse than simply Unity could address. So I’m proud of the fact that the Ubuntu community publishes the whole expression of software freedom across its archives. Kubuntu continues to improve and set a very high standard for the KDE experience. Lubuntu, the LXDE based expression of Ubuntu, is moving towards being 100% integrated. There is unique work being done in Ubuntu for users of the cloud and other server-oriented configurations. While we can be proud of what’s been achieved in Unity, we are equally proud of the efforts that go into ensuring that the full range of experiences is accommodated, to the extent possible with the effort put in by our huge community, under the Ubuntu umbrella.

We’re committed to keeping that the case. By welcoming all participants, and finding ways to accommodate and celebrate their differences rather than using them as grounds for divisiveness, we make something that is bigger than all our individual dreams.

242 Responses to “11.04, a leap forward”

  1. Ubuntu 11.04 Says:

    […] […]

  2. Chow Loong Jin Says:

    Unity is really looking good in Ubuntu 11.04. Thanks, and congrats! On the other hand, I do wish that some focus can be put onto Ubuntu’s default memory footprint these days. In Ubuntu Maverick, Compiz took merely 20-30M of memory at any point in time. The indicator stack on the other hand, leaked pretty badly, needing a restart every ~24 hours to prevent an OOM situation. I put the bunch of things through valgrind for quite some time and nailed a few annoying leaks, but couldn’t find some of them.

    In Ubuntu Natty, Compiz with Unity enabled starts off with 60M of memory, and gradually grows over the span of five hours or so, to somewhere around 300M of memory. Then I restart it. I’ve created some valgrind dumps at http://people.ubuntu.com/~hyperair/unity-2770.tar.bz2, but it would be great if we could have something that is coded from ground up with proper memory management for once. Digging around for memory leaks is time consuming and a waste of effort when you consider that it could have been done right the first time.

  3. Ben Says:

    Thanks Mark, good post.

    I expect like Ubuntu, Unity will continue to improve in time.

    Hooray for change!

  4. oraculum Says:

    That’s one small step for ubuntu, one giant leap for community.

    Thanks Mark!!!

  5. Zmago Says:

    Thank you Mark and to everybody who are involved in this project for all effort which has been done. Ubuntu is really becoming something very very usable and beautiful and at the end you almost forget that underlying system is Linux :)
    One thing that partly dissapoints me is menu for java applications.. for example BonitaSoft for BPMN. without menu is hard to work.. but i believe that you will fix also this problem/challenge in the future.

  6. dominik Says:

    I am a long-term KDE user (going back to 1.x days). For some reason I never liked Gnome although I tried it out more than once. Furthermore I never fell in love with kubuntu, and still think that the KDE integration work done by opensuse is really awesome. During the alpha and beta phase of natty I was curious about Unity, which is why I gave it a try and immediately fell in love with it. Although there are some areas which need improvement (please make the dash configurable), I was able to fully switch to Ubuntu and Unity (from opensuse/KDE) after beta 2. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    (Now you still “have to” convince me to use Ubuntu on my servers as well, where I am using CentOS and RHEL 😉

  7. Vamp898 Says:

    Chow Loong Jin

    The problem is that you didn´t understand the Memory Management of Linux at all

    It starts to use 300mb over the time, but if you start something that needs this memory it can also shrink again to 20-30mb or whatevery.

    There is no memory leak, this is a feature called “Memory Management”.

    What you mean is Windows which uses more memory which doesnt get freed and can be called Memory Leak in case that it is wasted.

  8. bashar Says:

    Congratulations on this great release.

  9. Wayne Schuller Says:

    Thanks for your work Mark – strong thoughtful leadership is great for the free software desktop

  10. mlu Says:

    unity rocks now on my desktop 😉 thx for your work, mark! unity (and in combination with utouch) could be the impact for linux desktops – i hope so!

  11. Brecht Says:

    Forward? Are you sure?

  12. hobgoblin Says:

    Thanks for another release – I hope in time that it’s as appreciated as much as you’d hope.

    “We put user’s first because we committed to test and iterate Unity’s design with real users … We’ve documented the process”

    I’d love to see thew documentation – particularly how unity was a step forward.

    You might like to visit your forum sometime to see the reactions from more than a few people.

  13. Buyongo Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great release, will download it when there isn’t such a crowd, anyways when can I come and work for Canonical?

  14. Daeng Bo Says:

    Taking Ubuntu out of the pack of GNOME distros was a good move for Ubuntu. Congratulations to Mark and the whole community. I have been defending Unity on Reddit for months, saying “you need more than ten minutes to determine whether you like it or not. Give it time to grow.”

    Mark, you need to run your posts past a second set of eyes. There are way too many misplaced apostrophes.

  15. Ampers Taylor Says:

    Hi Mark, I have to admit, I like Unity very much, and even more as I get to know it further. In addition, to paraphrase an old Conservative Party saying in England, it puts some “clear blue water” between not only Windows and Mac, but between the other Distros as well. Or should I say “Clear purple water” :-)

    Well done for sticking to your guns after all that flack from others in Linux.

  16. Salih Emin Says:

    Congratulations for all the hard work creating the new user interface that puts Ubuntu as a new operating system along side with Windows and Mac OS.
    I love people when they don’t re-invent things that are already invented. If something or an idea is working in other areas in oss or proprietary OS’s, then we should use it.

    I love the whole aproach of Unity:
    — “Use as much screen as possible”
    — “Don’t bother user’s eyes with things that should be hidden… autohide them”

    So I loved:
    — The global menu and the autohide of the menus (file, edit, view etc.)
    — The unifications of the the windows title bars with the Global Menu (That is really the smartest thing.. who ever thought that ! Bravo !)
    –The Launcher that has everything I need or I can put and it autohides when I don’t need it

    What does need work (and I saw it also in the Unity usability benchmark):
    — Dash: if you don’t know the name of the app you are looking for, you are in trouble
    — icons: We need new ones! (Faenza icons are sooo gorgeous and it is as the were designed for Unity)

    I am aware that not everything and every Idea has landed in Unity… and I know that 11.10 will be awesome. You have already proven that.

    Good job people !

  17. oliver Says:

    “In the design of Unity we chose to be both humble and bold. Humble, because we have borrowed consciously from the work of other successful platforms, like Windows and MacOS. We borrowed what worked best, but then we took advantage of the fact that we are unconstrained by legacy and can innovate faster than they can, and took some bold leaps forward.”

    Copying the ideas of other operating systems, implement them in an inferior way and then selling it as innovation and a leap forward is indeed a bold move. But humble? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I really love Ubuntu, but during the last couple of releases I got the feeling that instead of seeing innovation, my linux desktop is slowly turning into a Mac OS X ripoff. Which would be fine if the ‘borrowed’ ideas would at least work as good as the original. Which they don’t.

  18. erik Says:

    well done..been using natty since alpha1 and its been a treat to see things evolve. i love simplicity at first glance – very good for newbies just coming to ubuntu to do a few simple things.. i just hope we also keep the complexity hidden down below within our reach too.. afterall, linux IS the ultimate tweak.. one more step to bug #1

  19. Marco Says:

    Congrats Mark and all you,

    with Unity Ubuntu and Open-Source is leading the development for the first time ever. When Fedora come with Gnome3 this trend with be further reinforced.

    Think about it – this is the first time Open-Source operating systems introducing new ways of working with computers. Indeed, this is big!

  20. mark Says:


    Well, patches are welcome. There are quite a few bits of innovation in Unity. For example, the sound menu is Mac-like, but it also allows music players to embed themselves in it directly. You won’t find that on a Mac, and it’s popular on Ubuntu. There’s plenty more.

  21. adred Says:

    Thank you Mark! There are things I hate about Unity especially the all huge thing(Home Dash icons, fonts, etc) but it’s certainly AWESOME! I know it can only get better and as of now now it’s already great. Again thank you!

  22. Martin Says:

    This is the first Ubuntu cycle where I’ve been uncertain as to keep on using Ubuntu or possibly moving to Fedora with it’s Gnome desktop (I tried that but it was actually not pleasant…). Although my worries quickly vanished when I found out that the classic Gnome environment would be available at least this cycle too. I tried 11.04 with Gnome 3 a while ago, and while I’ve been following their development with excitement and optimism, for me it turned out unusable in it’s current state. I think I’ll have to wait 6 months or a year for another try… so it’s Unity for me at this moment.

    “We put user’s first because we committed to test and iterate Unity’s design with real users, and evolve it based on those findings.”

    Nevertheless it falls short in this cycle, even after the above mentioned usability benchmark (which may have been carried out a bit late for changes finding it’s way in before the final release). Also, I (really, really) recommend watching Brian Wills review of the Unity design. I think he’s very good at putting words on the different problems that Unity has right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCJAjK6g8eE

    I was worried since my netbook experience with 10.10 and Unity was not pleasant, I always went for the classic Gnome desktop. Unity in it’s current design has a couple of issues but again, I’m quite positive. I warmed up to 11.04 by arranging my AWN panels in 10.10 in a similar way. I quickly got used to it and some of my worries went away. Right now, my biggest gripe with Unity is the complete lack of a main menu. While I like Gnome Do and use it always, I also would like a regular main menu. The Dash makes it very difficult to overlook your programs.

    I’m very excited about the lenses functionality and what people will come up with. I’ve seen some cool lenses on OMG!Ubuntu!. Maybe a main menu lens in the future :) So all in all I think the Unity interface is maturing and it’ll only get better from here. My laptop already has 11.04 on it, and I’ll be cleaning out 10.10 and installing Natty on my desktop computer in the coming week.

  23. dms Says:

    Not so happy with 11.04 – for now

    Running 10.10 works for me. Radeon runs with OSS drivers in 3d mode. But 11.04 shows up with a blank / black screen :-/

  24. mns Says:

    Thank you for ubuntu and the great ideas around it! =)

  25. Nick Mailer Says:

    Yes, I just discovered the faenza icons today, and their uniform round-rect shapes do make them seem as if they’ve been designed just for Unity. I *strongly* suggest that they be adopted by Canonical for Oneiric. I’m surprised they weren’t for Natty, to be honest. Without them, Unity looks like a bit of a jumble sale. With them, it looks – well – unified!

  26. LOR Says:

    Russians linux user about 11.04 http://www.linux.org.ru/news/ubuntu/6204001

  27. Why Ubuntu Should Continue with Upstart for 11.10 « Not Lucky All The Time, But Smart Everyday… Says:

    […] here’s the real reason why I think we should remain on upstart in 11.10, it’s because (as Mark mentioned today) we put users first.  Do I need to remind anyone of the pain we went through in Karmic (Ubuntu […]

  28. Joseph Smidt Says:

    You guys are the best! I love the direction Ubuntu is taking Linux. Ubuntu continues to be just what Linux so desperately needs to take off.

  29. riverazo Says:

    I’m not sure that Unity is the best answer, but I think it’s very brave for Ubuntu to explore new horizons. I will keep being a faithful user for years to come.

    Ubuntu rocks!

  30. candtalan Says:

    Thanks Mark

  31. Mandy Sauls Says:

    In the spirit of Ubuntu, looking forward to *share* experiences through ‘Unity in Diversity’ of the Open Source ICT Community both under the Ubuntu Umbrella. Delighted^MS et al brilliant release Ubuntu style *Cheers*

  32. ZIDANE Says:

    Thank you Mark and everybody for this awesome OS

  33. Fabrizio Lapiello Says:

    Hi Mr. Mark

    IMHO -> http://post.ly/1xy7T

    Fabrizio Lapiello

  34. Ubuntu 11.04: first impressions | cartesian product Says:

    […] 11.04, a leap forward (markshuttleworth.com) […]

  35. zelrik Says:

    Maybe I’ll try Unity when it lands in an LTS. I don’t want to take any risk right now with my laptop. Congratulations though, Unity sounds very promising. Also, please don’t forget that you shouldn’t follow (OSX) but lead.

  36. hitaisin Says:

    Thanks Mark, Canonical, all ubuntu and debian devs!!! I really like unity, continue your work!

    Thank you very much!

  37. Owais Lone Says:

    Great job everyone. Unity is just superb. Can’t wait for 11.10 alpha :)

    and yes, we do need to give some more attention to memory management. Footprint is increasing release by release.

  38. Vital Says:

    “Users first” ?!?
    Cellphone users first, the rest we don’t care about in 11.04 – fixed that for ya.

  39. Michael Says:

    I am really loving Unity, and all the other improvements in Natty.
    The Ubuntu designers did an excellent job making Unity as productive and good-looking as possible, and the developers did a great job implementing those designs, so I don’t think I will leave Unity any time soon. At first, I was wary of the massive changes, especially the features I recognized from mac OS X, but I now know the Ubuntu developers didn’t just copy OS X’s interface, they pulled the best features in from all operating systems, and then improved them a bit.

  40. Nathan Smith Says:

    As a designer-y type myself, at first I didn’t like the change. But after using it for a two days I have to say that Unity really sets Ubuntu apart as an exemplary. I also find it interesting that even non-technical people are beginning to refer to Ubuntu by name, rather than just thinking of it as yet another Linux distribution.

    Anyway, well done!

  41. Gabor Racz Says:

    Thank you Mark and all for Ubuntu,
    Which I really like. This feeling makes me ask: are you not afraid that Apple will sue Canonical for, eh, implementing “their” ideas?
    Just see the recent Apple-Samsung issue, i.e. the Galaxy phone UI copies the iPhone icon grid and sideways page swapping, and so on. And there are much more examples…

  42. frosch Says:


    As much as I disagree with oliver (after serious skepticism concerning Unity), telling users to submit patches is less than the best method to encourage productive criticism. I understand the dedication to the project, and the need for recognition when it comes to providing a free service to the Community, but your expectation is simply — as you would surely after a little downtime admit — not helpful. Are there points where Ubuntu doesn’t offer the out-of-the-box experience that Mac OS does? Absolutely. The integration of a dictionary, search functions, etc. could be part of Ubuntu — but aren’t. The Global menu is a little clumsy — as if it were designed to distract from Mac OS’ strengths by the very fact that it is an imperfect clone.
    My only suggestion — and with all respect, Canonical is your baby — is to change the release schedule. You don’t encourage the adoption of open source desktop software by meeting a deadline that doesn’t meet — in all totality — the needs of users in a way that is above and beyond the proprietary alternatives. That expectation may be unfair — hence your annoyance with the criticism — but it doesn’t make it unrealistic. You have to give people a reason to switch to Ubuntu; if it isn’t twice as good, people — except for bleeding hearts like myself — simply won’t notice/give a ****.
    There is room for improvement, regardless of the tone in which such expectations are expressed.
    The default icons are clumsy — not because those who made them didn’t give their best — but the point still stands that other free alternatives should have been used even in the last release. The dock itself should be immediately customizable (width, icons shown, etc). There are huge strides in Unity, and it’s already improved my productivity, but humbly accepting criticism is extremely important for any service. Remember that it takes a certain amount of effort to express criticism; deriding criticism as lazy in comparison to the labor invested in creating the project is — if there’s something to the criticism — mere self-righteousness.
    A final word: thank you for your investment in Open Source software, for your dedication and passion in making my computing experience — and my company’s bottom line — more attractive. I think you have all done a great job!

  43. Eduart Says:

    my biggest concern is the idea growing in me lately that the ubuntu community’s voice (which as stated by Mark here is the real treasure of ubuntu) is not heard by canonical leaders as it used to be.
    unity is a great idea. it’s implementation is far from being perfect though(we are at station 1.0 as you (Mark) said). but with the help of the community and implementation of their ideas this project can have a fantastic future.
    i have seen so many ideas, brilliant ones, about the dash, the unity launcher, the application/global menu etc.
    they were simply amazing and would have made this release a better one, and were in time for the ubuntu team to implement them, but unfortunately i didn’t see anyone (maybe only one about changing the launcher’s dimension… finally) taken in consideration, while listening to You stubbornly stating (in more then one occasion), that this is how u wanted it, this is how u wanted things done and let us (you) work in peace and wait for the final result (which is not only far from being perfect, but also far from providing the same usablility as recent ubuntu releases did) etc, etc…
    that’s why that idea just grew in me.
    Mark u stated that this release and all ubuntu’s are for the people, for the ease of use etc, so listen to people’s voice and to their ideas because they also represent the users point of view which is the centerpiece of ubuntu’s philosophy right?
    so this is my thought; listen to the community’s voice and their ideas. they will make ubuntu better.

  44. Mali Says:

    There’s one thing messing in ubuntu : PHOTOSHOP !!!

  45. wca Says:

    I have used Ubuntu for several versions and always enjoyed the next step. I find it sad to say this but I use a desktop computer not a toy phone.I will not run Unity on my home machine. After giving it a run both in beta and the final I don’t doubt that I could adapt to it but it would feel like falling back into the Windows mess I left.

    So I have have gone back to 10.10 and thrown the 11.04 dvd in the trash. Sure I could run “classic desktop” but 11.04 brings nothing really better than 10.10 so why bother rebuilding my whole disk. I can easily say that Unity brings to the desktop the look of a toy phone and the oldest clunkiest skin Stardock ever presented. This is not how I want my screen to look or my computer to function.I have no interest in this giant step away from usability and the arrogance of this post makes it easier to bid good-by to Ubuntu 11.04 and, I guess, Ubuntu itself. Sad moment all the same. And where to next?

  46. Hear the echos of the centuries Says:


  47. Chris Says:

    What a lie. This isn’t a step forward, it is another step towards copying OSX, just like every company. The window close,min,expand are on the left just like on Mac windows. Unity is just another dock, just on the left side. The menu at the top left just like mac top left. Then there is the minimal interface. It is really sad that a company that has 10% of the market share has everyone copying it. Even the browser companies are doing it too. They all look like one offs of Safari.

    Isn’t there any creativity left in this world?? No wonder Linux Mint is so popular and now we are seeing Xubunu taking off, which is really nice.

    To give Ubuntu credit, it has made Linux more popular.

  48. clockworkpc Says:

    The only people who complain about Unity are long-time users who do not see the value in switching from Gnome 2.x. I respect that, but Ubuntu is not Yet Another Community Distro, it is a project that has always sought to propel Open Source into the mainstream. Along the way it has lost some users, and gained many, many more. I showed Unity for a few minutes on an eeePC to a long-time Mac user, and she has gone home and downloaded the ISO to try on her other laptop. I showed it to another Mac user and without prompting, she complained that Apple’s software releases have been buggy and she’s a bit frustrated by the OSX interface sometimes. If you have ANY experience whatsoever talking to Mac fans about UI and design, you’ll realise that these two anecdotes are simply staggering. Mark Shuttleworth, I am prouder of you as a South African than I am of the Springboks.

  49. d2kx Says:

    I am running Ubuntu 11.04 since Beta 1 on my laptop for university and I am more than happy with it. Excellent work!

  50. WndlB Says:

    Unity was good for the netbook, and great for my new laptop. Thx–I, for one, am not, by preference, a command-line sort of person.

    BUT could you please do something to make access to Ubuntu One more secure? Email addy and just a bare password really isn’t sufficient, these days, if a lot of your cyber life is up in the cloud. Maybe like GMail’s two-factor authorization or something…

  51. Shuttleworth: Ubuntu’s New ‘Unity’ Puts Users First | devious4entertainment.com Says:

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  52. Lonnie Nunweiler Says:

    Unity is great if you have ADD or a small monitor and a very limited number of things you do. Try and have 50 or 60 apps you use all the time on the hiding panel. Instead of visual clues and muscle memory taking me to the desired icon I have to move the mouse to the edge, wait for the unhide and then scroll the bar to find where my icon is. Trust me, it is not as easy as the way I have gnome setup, which I guess is the point. I set it up for my needs and it works. Unity will not allow me to do the same level of customization and if I don’t like the way your developers do it, then the response is — Too Bad. Why can I right click on the desktop and add a launcher when it is not allowed to drag an item from the Unity hidy thingy? How can you be putting users first, when I am a user and am being told to change the way I work to suit some developer who has a hard on for netbooks and ipads? Unity might be OK for Social Networking or Multimedia but you have forgotten about the users who do real work and for whom the Unity desktop is simply too simple. Question for Mark — If unity is so great why are you having to defend it? As you defend are you considering some of the criticisms or simply saying we don’t get and too bad? Add some flexibility for the guys who will need it. Anyone satisfied out of the box is not who you should be listening to.

    Why am I taking the time to post this when I can simply use gnome? Ubuntu is moving away from gnome and I would like to stay with Ubuntu but as long as Unity is such a closed door to my workspace I cannot use it. That means at some point I will have to find another distro that supports what I want. I suspect that I am not alone in this fear.

  53. ken Says:

    I’ve read your statements about the sole purpose for Unity, and I’ve read statements from canonical. You and they both state this is to target and bring in windows users. what will happen then to those who have been with you from the beginning as a end user that do not like or want to use unity? For now, classic is available, what about after this? are we kicked out….

  54. Shan Says:

    Thank you Mark

    – For bringing us Ubuntu
    – For proving that community is a BIG thing. Again!
    – For your leadership, innovation, bringing great people on board and still keeping it FREE!
    – For challenging old thinking and showing us what Linux can be.

    Please bring more OEM partners to sell ubuntu systems pre installed.
    It sucks to keep windows or mac license, and wipe the system to install ubuntu.

    There is already a business model built on linux and that is ANDROID!!

    Btw, Natty rocks!! Thanks again.

  55. nmarques Says:

    Hi all,

    I would just like to congratulate the Ubuntu Community for this new release featuring Unity, which I am sure it will make the delights of many Linux Desktop users. It is nice to see a Linux distribution that focus on the Desktop and user experience to follow a path of differentiation towards the regular distributions that follow the traditional ‘downstreamer’ models.

    I specially like the way how Mark used the term ‘umbrella’, that’s a cute touch.

    All the best for Ubuntu and their users,


  56. Srinath Madhavan Says:

    I might not be a Unity fan, but I’ll give you this. The “Ubuntu” font and the older “Human” GTK themes absolutely rock. I run Debian squeeze, but I use those two exclusively. Thanks for funding the great work Mark.

    PS: I *was* a Unity and Gnome Shell hater. I no longer am. Thanks to this[1] talk by Mark. Cleared everything up :-) For others who are curious to know what changed my mind: Pay attention to what Mark says from time 23:47 onward.

    [1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUAzicy_01o&feature=fvst

  57. Jan Says:

    Unity is nice. It’s simple. It saves lots of wasted pixels. I like it :-)

    But unfortunately Unity in Natty is “0.1” rather than “1.0”. It’s not intuitive nor usable. Not yet. There are things I’d call worse than just “rough points”.

    There was a usability study couple of weeks ago. Usability study is one of the biggest achievements by Canonical. Congratulations! It shows you care. But what are they good for? I was sure Unity will be “opt-in” rather than “opt-out” in Natty after reading the usability study from April. Have you just ignored it? What has happened to “USERS FIRST”?!?

  58. Beej Says:

    I have to admit.. at first I was upset about the decision to go unity.. but after using it for the past day.. I have to admit.. this was a very smart move… Good job guys..

  59. Jacques Says:

    I am getting the feeling that Ubuntu is seriously isolating itself from the rest of the linux ecosystem these days (while the new interface is called ‘Unity’, it’s a bit ironic). I think the real innovation in Ubuntu is the focus on user experience, and that’s what makes it great. The number of innovations in the latest version of Ubuntu is low in my opinion although there’s been lots of new code written, which means it’ll take a while (2 years?) for it to reach a level of code quality close to what it’s trying to replace (gnome shell…). As much as I wish you guys well, I wish you’d not alienate yourselves from the rest of the community – it seems to me the real issue here is the copyright assignment policy that’s not acceptable to many, maybe the position on that should be cleared up. Why should Canonical be the only one not subject to GPL obligations on this code? The FSF also requires copyright assignment but, at the same time, promises to “always and forever release all versions of the software as free software and only free software”. Maybe something like that would be in order?

  60. Peter Frandsen Says:

    Great work again Mark – thanx.

  61. Canonical Designs Ubuntu’s Unity Interface to ‘Put Users First’ « Matias Vangsnes Says:

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  62. neeraj Says:

    Congratulations to Mark and all the Ubuntu community…and hope Ubuntu 11.10 is going to be unique in terms of best linux user experience .

  63. Lemuel Cantos Says:

    OMG!! How do I apply for a job at Canonical?

  64. usr Says:

    “Kubuntu continues to improve and set a very high standard for the KDE experience”

    Kubuntu’s 11.04 is the best KDE4 Kubuntu version, but it is still the worse KDE distro.
    Kubuntu’s tools are buggy, poor implemented and later than Ubuntu (and sometimes inexistent) and Kubuntu’s packages of KDE are also buggy. If you use Kubuntu daily, you can find bugs and more bugs that Ubuntu hasn’t got.

    At one time I thought that it do not use even their own developers, as it has very obvious flaws.
    In the other hand, the OpenShot (developed by a members of Kubuntu team) screenshots are made ​​under GNOME. It confirms my theory.

    Kubuntu is a bad joke.


  65. Charly Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I turned to the Linux world thks to Ubuntu, starting from 8.04. Switching to every new release @ RC stage. Never had more than 1 major bug at a time, and always found a workaround within the hour. And on these few issues, 95% were linked to ATI drivers…

    But 11.04 has been different. Started to go mad with FGLRX, again.

    It started with “slow desktop”. Found the trick: “VSync” to be de-activated from Compiz.
    Then came the dual screen management: artefacts on startup. No big deal, but well, not that good for user experience…
    Next, flash working bad. OK, found: GPU acceleration to be switched off.
    Oh, then VLC not working? Ah, found: does not support GPU accel either (regression!).
    And what’s happening now with my Evolution account setup dialog box? Flipping text, blank window, back again…
    And while solving that, 3 times it happened that unity would crash.

    OK. Enough for me. So frustrating!!!!!!
    => Unity is brilliant. Nice user experience, the time to solve the bugs I got used to work with this interface and I DO LIKE it.
    => Worse than ever, ATI drivers are messing everything around. And there was no warning anywhere in the Ubuntu release notes!

    As a solution, I’ve switched to KDE. Couldn’t stay on Gnome2 desktop (while Gnome3 is out), couldn’t use open-source ATI drivers (this fan noise is making me mad), I had to find something working “out of the box”.

    KDE did.

    Keep up the good work with Unity. I’ll try again with 11.10.
    But please, pay attention to compatibility with proprietary drivers, and warn in the release notes – if I was to try Linux for the first time with 11.04, I would have gave up forever.


  66. Thorsten Wilms Says:

    Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to replace “terate” with “iterate”. Oh, and your copyright notice is stuck in 2007.

    Afterwards, delete this comment, as it won’t self-destruct 😉

  67. mark Says:


    There are hundreds of ideas, suggestions and bug reports coming in around Unity every month. The developers and designers and I all participate. Some of these ideas are explored, developed, tested and ultimately implemented. Many are not. If you care to look at the archives, you’ll find plenty of cases where I have been supportive of new work being suggested by people who have nothing to do with Canonical.

    Of course, the majority of things are NOT pursued. in our view, simplicity and clarity trump features. Many options or features or concepts may be interesting, but they would in my view detract from the coherence of the whole, so I don’t support them. And that’s my job, leading the design. If we did not have someone in that position, we’d end up with something that looks like it was designed by a committee on energy alco-drinks. There is plenty of documented writing on how open source has suffered from this historically, and we’re determined to break with that tradition. Don’t beat me up for drawin a line and refusing to support your favourite feature. It’s Linux, you’re free to use a different shell, or patch Unity to do what you want. Put your patched version in a PPA and share it. Have fun. But coming here to be a grouch and pretending like I never listen to any suggestions is just inaccurate and mean-spirited.

  68. francesco Says:

    I’m a GNU/Linux user since 1994, Ubuntu since 2006, and I must say Unity is the worst user experience I’ve had so far.

    – the global menu could be ok, but having it invisible by default is simply BAD UI DESIGN: each time I have to perform an action I have to move the mouse to the upper-left corner of screen, wait for the menu to display, read all the entries and move the mouse to the one I need, it almost twice the time and three-times mouse movement respect traditional solution.

    – the dock is absolutely UGLY, almost disgusting, I can’t believe you’ve shipped such a pack of childish icons

    – in the dock applications and navigation is mixed and almost confusing

    – if you don’t know the name of an application it can be REALLY HARD to find it (I had to type ‘terminal’ in search bar just to open a terminal, and that’s unbelievable)

    – if something is working bad for me, or i find it ugly, i need a way to customize it, and in Unity you don’t always have it

    The overall feel is as if I was working on a giant smartphone, and that’s my desktop system… I’m not sure they have to look the same
    I don’t doubt you develop things with users and for users, but then maybe you should select them little better

  69. mark Says:

    Heh, thanks Thorwil, the post is now on version 1.1 :-)

  70. Canonical Designs Ubuntu’s Unity Interface to ‘Put Users First’ Says:

    […] and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote on a blog post on April […]

  71. Alessandro Pedarra Says:

    I will not leave Ubuntu until ‘Ubuntu Classic’ is supported, then I think I will switch to Lubuntu (hoping it will improve steadily). Apart from the switch to Unity it’s the distribution I like best and I support the ‘user centric’ philosophy (maybe we have lost something on it lately).

    I do not like at all Unity or Gnome Shell, like many Ubuntu users. Fine if you want to pursue something that wont coincide with what the ‘majority’ (?) of the userbase want but it’s clear the you will leave someone behind in the process.

    P.S.: I have payed before for Ubuntu (since I have used it happily it is right to pay for it, even if not asked).

    Anyway thanks to Mark for the work done, the distribution is actually the best for desktop users (apart for Unity) and you are a clever and passionate man.

    For the future I’m not interested in leaving Ubuntu, perhaps just switch to a more classic approach like Lubuntu (classic isn’t ‘bad’, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, for some things the wheel is just perfect).

  72. Der Genosse Says:

    Clearly, you should fire your design team. The “unprofessional” designs in Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and so on are so much better than Ubuntu’s. Being supposedly “unconstrained by legacy” is the poorest attempt at justifying deliberately bad user interface design (straying from the Mac OS X Human Interface Guidelines you were so inspired by) I’ve ever heard. There is a reason that neither Windows nor Mac OS X have abandoned the traditional desktop paradigm. The reason is that it works, and works a lot better than wanna-be solutions like Unity (or Gnome Shell) that don’t solve problems because there are no jarring problems in the first place with the traditional desktop paradigm.

  73. Wild Says:

    Am I the only one one who thinks that the “Apps available for download” in the unity Apps search Lens is unecessary and should be removed?
    Suggesting apps only in the App Downloader as in previous Ubuntu version was ok.

    Now it’s as annoying as ads… really. I just want a clear view of my currently installed apps, and most used apps is alright too.

    Please make an option to turn the App download Suggestions off, or tell me how to do it if it’s already possible.

  74. Chow Loong Jin Says:

    @Vamp898, I highly recommend you download the tarball I linked earlier and take a look at the ms_print-* files for a dump of what functions have been allocating what memory.

    For my measurements, I was using the RSS (Resident Set Size) count, which shows the number of bytes of memory owned by a process that are actually in the memory. Contrary to your accusations, I do understand that this count can decrease as the memory pressure on the system increases, but all of the memory from RSS that’s going away from RSS is just getting stuffed into the swap, which ends up gradually filling up over time, reducing responsiveness of the system.

    What I refer to as a memory leak is an application (or library that the application uses) allocating memory via new/new[]/malloc/calloc/realloc, and not releasing it.

  75. Rong Thach Says:

    First, congrats on the new release of Ubuntu, but there are still issue with Unity which I will describe in a minute. Second, there are concern that Ubuntu is ignoring the community (hopefully that’s not the case), and it’s awesome to implement new innovation feature into Ubuntu for the masses. Finally, the issue I’m having with Unity is (since I’m visually impaired) the panel and launcher doesn’t zoom with the compiz desktop zoom setting which I need. Hopefully the next release will fix these issue in order for me to make a transition to Unity. I’m currently using classic desktop on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal). Anyway, good luck with the next phase of Ubuntu development which I will be participating in, and give my thanks to all the developer’s.

  76. Gulli Says:


    can you please make some improvements in unity? For example, that you can’t click something on the window behind the unity menu? So it happens that I click on the window behind the unity menu. Due to the menu behavior it will be hide, when you clicked on a task but also when you are still with the mouse over the menu. I think it would be a better behavior to hide only when you move the mouse out of the menu.
    And why are there several scrollbars implemented in ubuntu 11.04. You have one new version of the scrollbar in nautilus, but another version in the programm loader (when you click on the ubuntu logo in the left upper corner of your screen). Why?

    Best regards,

  77. Juan Says:


    First of all, congratulations for a new release of this awesome project. Now, about Unity, I’ll give you my impressions:

    What I like:

    .Looks OK (looks better than GNOME, but not as good as KDE, but this is only a matter of personal taste).
    .When you press the windows key, a menu pops up, and you can search anything from there (I loved this feature)
    .Works great (for my hardware at least)

    What I don’t like:

    .The show stopper for me: The global menu when you use minimized windows. When I open something minimized, it really bothers me that the menu appears at the top of the screen (far away from my window when I use a large screen). If there is a way to change this behaviour, please tell me 😉
    .I can’t right click on a usb drive and format it, like I used to do on 10.10 from the icon that appeared on the desktop (and I use this a lot).
    .The default theme bored me (usually I don’t like dark themes). It was cool on 10.04, it still looked nice in 10.10, now it’s boring (but you can change this easily).

    So, I still love Ubuntu, but now in it’s KDE flavor :). If the global menu would become just a regular menu when you minimize a window, I might use Unity as my default desktop, but till then, I’m loving Kubuntu with KDE 4.6 (only missing the Software Center :P).


  78. Rehdon Says:

    Alas, I’m one of those faithful users who are going to be left in the cold by Unity. Many reasons why I won’t install it:

    – it’s definitely a UI regression: launching apps, choosing windows of open apps, customising the desktop etc. require far more mouse clicks or are very limited (UI adjusting) compared to Ubuntu 10.10: afaic, 11.04 is *not* fixing what is *not* broken in the first place;

    – as many others have noticed, the general feeling is that of a smartphone/tablet UI pasted on my desktop: not nice at all;

    – also, having used a Mac recently I was shocked to see how much of the UI was simply copied verbatim;

    – problems with proprietary ATI drivers (which I happen to need);

    – didn’t like the split and spat with the GNOME community: really uncalled for in times of scarce resources;

    – while not considering myself a power user, “simplicity and clarity trump features” is not a philosophy I subscribe to: if you can’t make a powerful OS simple enough (not simpler than it is necessary!), you have failed.

    I’m really saddened by this turn of events because I’ve been using Ubuntu since the Warty Warhog times, and I have suggested it to quite a lots of friends; heck, I also had a box of CDs shipped and distributed those to my class! I regret that I can’t recommend it anymore, I just couldn’t help people if I don’t have it installed myself, and I’m not at all convinced it would be an improvement for Windows or Mac users.

    I *might* be back for 11.10, which I’ll surely try. In the meanwhile I’ll have a look at Xubuntu.

    Keep up the good work guys. Next time try to include some Linux users in your UI tests because, you know, it does hurt seeing that you apparently care for Windows and Mac users only.


  79. Robbie Williamson: Why Ubuntu Should Continue with Upstart for 11.10 | Follia Digitale Says:

    […]  So here’s the real reason why I think we should remain on upstart in 11.10, it’s because (as Mark mentioned today) we put users first.  Do I need to remind anyone of the pain we went through in Karmic (Ubuntu […]

  80. Hasan Adil Says:

    Hi, Upgrading to 11 as I write. Can there be an option to save my password so that Update Manager doesn’t ask me so many times.

  81. studentz Says:

    Just an opinion.
    Because of the compromise of Canonical, (Mark S), with the Linux Desktop, I will keep Ubuntu in my box independent of my annotations below.
    Unity feels good in a laptop, a netbook, and it will be awesome in a full touch device. I feel, however, that Maverick fits better than Unity in my 22 in monitor.

    Thanks for this big work

  82. Cypress Says:

    This is the worst Ubuntu version ever. Unity is a joke and the direction GNOME 3.0 is going, I see myself back to Slackware next year, running either an old GNOME desktop or Fluxbox. In a world with minimization buttons and typical taskbars, you had to – HAD TO – create something Web 2.0. Well, some users just won’t have that.

  83. Paul Says:

    Well, that’s wonderful!

    Now, can I get a Gubuntu?

  84. kikl Says:

    Congratulations, it looks very polished and will hopefully convert many OEMs to preinstall ubuntu. There are quite a lot of changes and it really takes a while getting used to. I found the design of the dash and the keyboard short cuts very helpful.

    The “lenses” combine google-like searching for files/applications with the traditional search in categories. But gnome-do still seems to be smarter in terms of google-like searching and traditional searching is faster using the traditional gnome 2.xx interface. Well, but it looks very very pretty and the inclusion of apps for download is a great feature.

    I’m not a fan of the global menu but I understand it saves workspace. When working in a maximized window, the global menu works fine. I have no complaints. I don’t know whether hiding it by default is good for usability but the interface certainly looks nicer this way. The global menu is a prime cause for confusion and a usability nightmare (PITA) when working with plural non-maximized windows, IMHO.

    I think a short introductory video after installation would help convert a lot of people.

    But, you obviously know what you are doing and have weighed the pros and cons of your design decisions. Unity is going to be a huge success after initial grumblings, I am convinced of that. By the way, your new home page ubuntu.com looks really pretty!



  85. kikl Says:

    I have just one suggestion, which could make many gnome 2.xx users very happy. If you right click on the application lens in the dock, then a list of categories appears. This is similar to the traditional gnome drop down menu list. In gnome you merely need to hover over one category with the mouse and the apps in said category are displayed immediately next to the category. This is probably the fastest way to search when you don’t know the name of your app and are searching by category. At the moment you have to click, the dock disappears and the content of the category is displayed. If this could be implemented in the new dock, you could probably convert a lot of die hard gnome 2.xx users. But, I don’t have high hopes.

    Well, all the best and thanks for your great work.



  86. Adityaa Says:

    Thanks n Congrats. Ubuntu 11.04 is really looking good.

  87. Psygo Says:

    I have moved away from Ubuntu for some time in favor of Linux Mint. But with the release of 11.04 and the Unity interface I decided to give it a try. It slows my workflow down. While I can not complain about the interface much what I can is the fact that you have to dig for everything in the menus. The search does not help. It doesn’t help the fact that it I am looking to open two things in the same directory I have to open one. It then auto-shuts the dash, then open it and go all the way back to it! I’m hoping that you get the Ubuntu team on making Unity suck less in the future.

    Good luck.

  88. Eduart Says:

    the ideas i had in mind are not my favorites ones. i have seen hundreds asking for them to be implemented in the ubuntu forums, bug reports etc.
    it is normal for ubuntu to take good ideas from other Os-es but i have seen these ones being taken a step further by the community in the right direction, then proposed to the canonical team and being refused by them.
    i didn’t write my comment to offend anyone but to express my thoughts and because i love ubuntu (i was my first love, the one distro which made me love linux and will always have a special place in my heart) and because i don’t want ubuntu to just catch but overtake the others.
    but listening to “It’s Linux, you’re free to use a different shell” said by You to an old ubuntu user/lover is not only nonconstructive but it is mean-spirited too.

  89. foxoman Says:

    @ KikI :
    It’s already there

  90. Frank Zimmerman Says:

    It seems that the new Unity interface generates either a love or hate reaction!

    On the part of me and my son, we love it. I don’t understand the comments that say it’s hard to find apps. Just press the Super key, click “More Apps”, choose your category on the right, and there they are! However, in most cases it’s just a matter of pressing Super, and typing the first few letters of what you’re looking for, then press Enter.

    The whole presentation is much more beautiful than a menu system, and I love the way Zeitgeist is integrated to show you the last used apps and files. And I also like how it shows you apps that you could install. Very intelligent and well thought out.

    I also like the integration with Compiz, as that software is also very innovative. We were cheering when you decided to move away from GnomeShell/Mutter to build on Compiz instead.

    I use Macs and Pc’s, but this is a step in a new direction, and it “just works” for us. I haven’t had this much enjoyment out of an operating system since the days of the Atari Mega and TT, where we were multitasking, and doing all sorts of innovative stuff, with only 4mb of memory!

  91. Jeff Says:

    Mark, I was absolutely wrong about the new Ubuntu 11.04 release. I tried the betas and disliked so much about it. As a warty (beta even) user I have followed every release witnessing each one getting better and better. As a developer I felt like this release was leaving me high and dry for the sake of making things work on a tablet. Boy was I wrong! Best Ubuntu ever! Love everything about it!!

  92. # # Hear the echos of the centuries Says:

    Firstly, please allow me to apologise for my Orwellian sarcasm yesterday. To be fair, I was livid and I think understandably so. In discussing your blog post with a friend she made the sexist comment “Men never think about what they say”. Obviously, as with all ‘ist’ comments, this is not true. In my experience though, I’ve noticed that all people neglect to consider the impact their statements have from time to time.
    Are you aware that by applying the word ‘free’ as you have in this blog entry that you are co-opting it to define open source/simply ‘free as in free beer” and thus diminishing the true meaning of Free and the principles behind it as used in the context of Free software? It is my sincerest hope that you simply overlooked the possible ramifications of doing so and will edit your entry.

  93. sisto Says:

    Massively amazing release! Full of awesome!
    I will be using unity from now on… It was really easy to get used to it!

    Please vote on my idea…

    Thank you!

  94. Skelator Says:

    All you’ve done is add some bling and take away the Applications and Places menu. Both of those menus are what made Ubuntu well organised, efficient and easy to use. Unity is not efficient with the mouse and makes a meal out of the simple task of opening an application. Anyone who uses ssh shares or samba shares will have to click into nautilus before clicking the bookmark.

  95. Fr33d0m Says:


    Unity or not, 11.04 for me is yet another reason to step away.

    Sometime back you all decided that we all should just get use to the buttons on the left. I hated the idea but tried–rather I’m still trying. I still go to the upper-right and then realize my problem.

    With your indicator applet, you set yourself on yet another course counter to my liking. In the past at least I could remove those bits that were of no real use to me like the mail indicator that wouldn’t tell me I had new mail unless I was at my computer when the message popped up. Now its sucked in the Liferea icon that told me how many new posts had arrived. And so far trying to find a way to kill that applet has proven fruitless. This is not what is meant by the term “making things easier” or “providing value”. Quite the opposite. This is taking value away and making things harder.

    Both Ubuntu and Gnome seem to be happily driving off a cliff in separate cars. Both of you envision yourselves making great stuff, and until lately I would have agreed. But mystery-meat navigation does not contribute to user-friendliness and placing form before function leads only to uselessness.

    I love the concepts embodied by Ubuntu, It’ll be hard to find a distro that gives me the same feeling of humanity. But in the end, Natty is one step too far away from useful for me. You were doing a great job making Linux more usable, but now you’ve jumped the shark.

  96. Denis Lehane Says:

    Mark, thank you for this fantastic operating system. I have been an Ubuntu user for over three years now and I had gotten used to Gnome and the ease of use, when I read about Unity being implemented into Natty I was hesitant to give it a fair shot but then having started using it from the third alpha I got used to it and really enjoyed and still do enjoy using it.

    The team have done an amazing job with 11.04, so well done to them and thank you Mark once again.

  97. dan Says:

    Thank you Mark. Together we can fight terrible diseases like Microsoft and Apple

  98. Ramon Casha Says:

    “Underwhelmed” would describe my reaction to Unity and Gnome Shell quite well.

    The idea, as I understand it, it to make things simple enough for everyone to use, but aiming for the lowest common denominator means that it reduces the features and functionality that the more experienced Linux users use and enjoy. I *want* to be able to customise the window decorations, select a different window manager, change the look & feel of the interface and so on. I *want* to have a window list running across the bottom. To me, a step forward would be something that adds features without removing the existing ones. I’m not running Natty on a mobile device or little pad. I have a nice big screen with plenty of room for the window list and my top apps to remain visible at all times, and on a smaller screen I could always resize it or make it auto-hide. With Unity I’m stuck with one setup. The “one-size fits all” approach ends up fitting nobody particularly well.

    Sorry but to me, Unity is a giant step backwards.

  99. Hardik Dalwadi Says:

    @ Mark & Community

    Thanks a lot for such great design of Unity and congrats for Ubuntu 11.04 release.

    @ francesco

    You can always open terminal using “Ctrl + Alt + T” keyboard shortcut in Ubuntu 11.04. I am sure you will love the Unity, Ubuntu 11.04 most, once you will have quick access to keyboard shortcuts [1]


  100. kikl Says:


    Hi mark,

    please check out this video. It addresses all the issues I have had with the new unity interface in a very sensible way.


    Good Day


  101. Ahmed Says:

    Congratulation on implementing Unity in Ubuntu. It is a great step forward but fortunately incomplete. You might loose some of the loyal Ubuntu users and, for sure, it will not help in attracting Windows 7 or Mac OS X 10.6 users. How can it be if there is no way of creating a shortcut of an application on a desktop, or finding an application without a name is so difficult. And on top of it, it is not possible to customize most of the things.
    Love of people for Windows is not only because it has innovated new ideas but it is mainly because it has made the computing easy for ordinary people. Just look at Windows 7 – they have ample ways to find an application or a document, and a lot of ways to customize the things according to a taste.
    I have a great hope in Unity. It may change the future of Ubuntu as it has now all the freedom available to change the look and feel of the desktop. I am sure that the Ubuntu 11.10 will be as good, if not better, as Mac OS X and Windows 7.

  102. Emmanuel Ninos Says:

    Dear Mark,

    ‘…the future of free software is no longer just about inner beauty (architecture, performance, efficiency) it’s also about usability and style.”

    I agree that Unity is really a big step forward
    because it’s not only technologically advanced but also has style,
    but if we [as a community] really mean to fix bug 1
    Canonical has to produce and sell computers with preinstalled Ubuntu
    and also offer real permanent after-sales support to the customer
    [funded by an amount of money out of the product’s price].
    Such a “social contract’ especially to the new, inexperienced free-software user is ABSOLUTELY VITAL.
    The vast masses of computer users who still stick to closed OS
    do it because they find it TOO DIFFICULT
    to cope with the process of
    a) installing Ubuntu
    b) upgrading to the new version every six months.
    In plain English, there are thousands of people who WANT to use linux, but they are simply afraid they cannot do it on their own!
    Without this hand-holding,
    I’m afraid the goal of making Ubuntu the most popular operating system will remain a pipe dream.

    Emmanuel Ninos
    BA English & Greek, Dip RSA TEFL, MA Ed.
    teacher librarian
    GNU/Linux user and evangeliser,
    Wikipedia contributor

    my blog dedicated to FOSS

  103. Shuttleworth: Ubuntu’s New ‘Unity’ Puts Users First (PC World) | Technology Information and Science Says:

    […] so far. A day after Natty’s official release, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote a blog post explaining that and some of the other decisions that were made on the way to version […]

  104. Nathan Says:

    While there are some things I don’t care for in the new release, that’s to be expected when you create a whole new interface. The first version of MacOSX had some really funky quirks too. In the next two releases I have no doubt they will polish themselves out and the next LTS will be freaking awesome.

    Good job on leaping forward.

  105. kikl Says:

    Some more thoughts on unity:


    He basically thinks that it’s still too inconsistent and buggy. Again, the global menu is causing lot’s of pains.

  106. sect2k Says:

    First of all congratulations on the new release, Unity issues aside, Ubuntu keeps on rocking.

    “And that’s my job, leading the design.”

    Just have to ask, what makes you qualified to make those decisions? I know you fund the project, but that’s not exactly a valid qualification for UI/UX design leader.

    I agree that not all ideas can be implemented and that’s OK, as most are rubbish, but some valid issues, even documented UI/UX regressions, with unity were raised, but were never addressed and countered with any valid arguments, but rather simply ignored or dismissed.

  107. nadeem alherbawi Says:

    i had some points regarding the new unity. the dash please reconsider it, it is really annoying and make it hard for new users to figure where is the applications they want for instance if i click on the dash then i need to chose media or Internet or other, well other can include so many application, so users should scroll down to find what he wants (which is so frustrating) i did check with 3 friends who didn’t have that much experience with linux software and there names, they got so many problems to find applications they don’t know names and also they cant write descriptive phrase such as music player (they got nothing) so they need as a result to search all categories or they has to know in which category that kind of program that they need will be and then click on show all which is not seen at all and most of them didn’t aware of its existence. i did see gnome 3 dash it has more ease to use dash since categories really clear and i did use descriptiveness’ phrases and it works fine. there is also performance issues i will not wait the dash for so long to appear and it also so sensitive close without reason, then users for sure will get so annoyed with this and go back to the old classic GUI. i hope you accept this feedback as a constructive one
    regards (sorry for my English)

  108. patrick Says:


    I am using ubuntu since ~4 years, used debian before. Keep up the support for debian. I will never forget how apt saved me from redhat’s rpm dependency hell. Still thankful.

    Unity imho is a great decision. I like it a lot. That direction is exactly right. I am eagerly waiting for Wayland. :-)

    Keep up this great commitment. And THANK YOU! for a great computing experience with ubuntu.

  109. Klkkkk Says:

    Unity was cooler then i would have hoped for! Good work, and i think Ubuntu has a bright and interesting future.

  110. boggs Says:

    Well done on a splendid job in this latest release of Ubuntu Linux 11.04 Mark!

    As I am writing in this comment I am making sort of a little testing and review in this latest version of Ubuntu Linux. The installation was fast enough and the presentation is very nice better than 10.04/10.10. It has the latest software packages available. The Unity desktop environment looks great. Its easy to make the transition from the 2.x GNOME desktop environment.

    However, there are one thing I have noticed in the Unity environment. I have noticed there is no “minimize” features that you can find in the Unity launcher or dock so to speak. Would it be better if we put a ‘minimize’ features to the Unity launcher/dock because people who come from the Windows 7 and Mac OSX might get a bit frustrated when the know that there is no minimize feature from the Unity launcher/dock. And I’m pretty sure they will feel that way once they use this latest version of Ubuntu.

    But overall this latest version of Ubuntu is really good in general. More power!!!

  111. Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 11.04 Linux & Unity | ZDNet Says:

    […] Shuttleworth opened by saying that the main point of Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity was “to bring the joys and freedoms and innovation and performance and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience.” […]

  112. Patrick Says:

    When Alpha came out, I hated it. When Beta 2 was released, I tried it and loved it for about a week or two. Finally, once it was released, I installed it on a spare hard drive and I just can’t like it. The menu is too much of a hassle. Gnome Shell is actually more usable when it comes to finding things in the menus. It’s good that they make it so each gnome menu category is always visible, for one thing. Plus, in Unity, the list of available downloads and the “most frequently used” categories in the menu are just in the way when I’m trying to find something else.

    The thing I initially fell in love with with Ubuntu was the speed and the intuitive menus. Everything was organized by category and easily accessible. For now, I’m switching to Xubuntu and/or keeping 10.10 installed. The thing about them is that they don’t make you think about using your computer. They are just there, and they work without having to think about HOW to do what you need to do.

  113. Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 11.04 Linux & Unity « Matias Vangsnes Says:

    […] Shuttleworth opened by saying that the main point of Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity was “to bring the joys and freedoms and innovation and performance and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience.” […]

  114. aL Says:

    Mark… I dont know if you will read this, but making unity default was not a very good idea.

    I guess you motivation was to put it in 11.04 so you have another release to make improvements so it will be ready for next LTS…

    But it should have been put as optional, so people can still report bugs and dont have this awful impression of unity… Its full of bugs yet. Its not ready yet. I am sure you are a smart dude and can tell that yourself… I wish it would be ready for next LTS, but im afraid it will take more than a year to make it usable…

    release often, release early is cool motto, but is different from imposing it to users… I am sure you know that. All the new cool features should had been optional, not on by default…

    meehh… I dont know why bother. Sure lots of closer ppl has already told you this and you are aware of it… just in case 😉

    keep the good work, and please make a bug-fixing only release. Thats what is lacking right now in ubuntu… tons of bugs open, lots of them without even a response… :)

  115. Ubuntu ‘Natty Narwhal’ Inspired by Windows, Mac OS X (ContributorNetwork) - Webmaster Blog Says:

    […] and that it’s “compatible with all your devices.” And its new look and feel “borrowed consciously” from Windows and Mac OS X, according to Ubuntu founder Mark […]

  116. Travis Whitaker Says:

    Congratulations Mr. Shuttleworth on an excellent release! I’ve been using Ubuntu since 6.06, and each release is my new favorite. I applaud you for not allowing the nonconstructive and often nonsensical criticism to cloud your decision making. I remember the storm of criticism that surrounded Ubuntu switching to PulseAudio, the Ayatana indicators and notifications, and moving the window control buttons. I certainly consider myself a “power user” and Unity’s simplicity has only enhanced my workflow. I especially appreciate that it can be easily keyboard driven. The less I need to keep my hand on the mouse, the better, and Unity has me using the mouse even less than before.

    Please turn a deaf ear to the FUD that is being thrown around and stay the course. One only needs to compare Ubuntu 6.06 to, say, 8.04, and imagine the improvement Unity will see between now and 13.04. Just don’t leave the power users behind as Ubuntu moves forward. Thank you again, I’m looking forward to what will come from UDS Oneiric. I doubt you need any Chemical Engineers at Canonical, otherwise I’d gladly join the team.

  117. Mark Shuttleworth พูดถึง Unity "ผู้ใช้ต้องมาก่อน" | Content Store Says:

    […] ที่มา – Mark Shuttleworth […]

  118. kev Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Could I suggest you make an official pdf press release (with screenshots) available on your web site so people like me can send it to our local newspapers to raise awareness.


  119. Canonical’s Ubuntu Puts Users First With Unity Interface | eWEEK Europe UK Says:

    […] and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote on a blog post on April […]

  120. Nexus6 Says:

    Yesterday was my first exposure to Unity. I don’t really have a dog in this Gnome vs. Unity fight, so I was looking forward to seeing it, I was expecting it was going to be very cool.

    Now, day 2 (not a long time, I know), I think that Unity is a huge step towards making Ubuntu (and Linux) an attractive option for the average computer user. The desktop will be simple and fairly intuitive to most non-geeks. The resemblance to the Mac desktop will be a huge selling point I think. There’s an enormous “the Mac is cool and easy to use and cool and did I mention cool and hip” aura around Apple products, and just resembling the Mac desktop will give potential users the “warm fuzzies” about it. They’ve all heard that Linux is for geeks but here’s a friendly happy UI that looks just like the lovable Mac! Sold.

    I hate it.

    I’m something of a “power user”, have been using Linux exclusively for 12-13 years now, many distros but Ubuntu for the past five years. With Unity, it seems that all the flexibility, the ease of customization that I’m used to with Gnome, have been taken away. Just to tweak the icon size on the great, huge, real-estate-eating, non-hiding, non-movable launcher required me to go out and download the Compiz settings manager. Why isn’t that at the very least included in the stock install?? I’ve long had a strong affinity for the desktop cube and desktop cube-rotate eye-candy, but when trying to enable it, I find that it conflicts with the Compiz Unity plugin. No cube for me. Despite making Compiz tweaks that look like they *should* work, it appears that I still do not have my six virtual screens (viewports?) back … just the default four. To switch between programs on different desktops, so far from my fumbling around it appears that I have to manually switch desktops with the tool on the launcher, THEN do the Alt-Tab thing to get to the program I want. With Gnome, I just had to click on the minimized window on the gnome window-switcher panel gadget, and zoom, I was taken to the right desktop with the right program front and center.

    It’s entirely possible that I am not yet grokking some kind of hidden configuration magic, but so far, as a fairly sophisticated user, it’s been nothing but frustrating. For now, until I can accomplish all of the customizations that I could easily accomplish in 10.10, I will not become a Unitarian. I WANT to like Unity, really I do, it’s just very much in my way in its current incarnation. Linux was not meant to be “one size fits all”.

  121. 11.04, um salto adiante - André Gondim | André Gondim Says:

    […] Fonte: Mark Shuttleworth. […]

  122. Ginny Says:

    I do not regard myself as a power user. That said, even I am finding Unity to be stifling. In order to run an application, you have to know what it is called. You can’t just look it up in a menu. Even the notification area is gone. Why not give people the option to whitelist applications that use the notification area, without requiring us to Google multiple times. Better yet, the notification area should be returned to us.

    I find that I am having to add more and more programs (such as AWN) to do the work of things that are simply missing in Unity. I feel Mark S should have contacted Ubuntu users to test this piece of work. Windows users probably won’t move. Forcing long-time Ubuntu users out of the fold is not called for.

  123. Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 11.04 Linux & Unity | ayamrocker by john hawk Says:

    […] Shuttleworth opened by saying that the main point of Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity was “to bring the joys and freedoms and innovation and performance and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience.” […]

  124. Zhehao Mao Says:

    I installed Natty Narwhal on my laptop. I have to say that I really didn’t like Unity. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I really much perform the old gnome panel.

    There are some design decisions in Unity which I thought were really silly, such as hiding the menus in the global menu. This serves no useful purpose, as there is nothing else to take up part of the screen. It could also confuse new users who do not know that they have to move the mouse up to the top of the screen in order to see the menus.

  125. Ubuntu ‘Natty Narwhal’ Inspired by Windows, Mac OS X | edzardt.co.za Says:

    […] and that it’s “compatible with all your devices.” And its new look and feel “borrowed consciously” from Windows and Mac OS X, according to Ubuntu founder Mark […]

  126. Andreas Says:

    Since I use Unity, I feel very sexy.

  127. Canonical defiende su apuesta por Unity en Ubuntu 11.04 | The Inquirer ES Says:

    […] ZDnet, Mark Shuttleworth […]

  128. Michael W Says:


    I appreciate the hard work you and canonical do with Ubuntu. I’ve been running Ubuntu for a very long time now and have liked it very much. I don’t like Unity at all. I will wait for the next LTS to make a final decision, but this release is a huge step backwards in my opinion. The fact that you felt compelled to make this post in defense of your position might show the fact that you are losing touch with existing users. I cannot fault you for having a vision and sticking to it, I admire that. I just no longer share your vision. It’s been great, but if the next LTS isn’t an actual step forward for my desktop I will be moving to another distro.

    I admit I’m a power user, and an early adopter. I like to fiddle with the UI and various configs to customize things. One of the main selling points I use converting Windows users is the ability to change almost everything. “If you don’t like it, just change it,” I say, and they do. But now it’s “Well if you don’t like that bit, it’s too bad, just deal with it.” If I leave, I’m taking all the people who rely on me for advice with me. I’ve brought many users to Ubuntu, but I will take them to another product if Ubuntu doesn’t do what I need and want. I have many friends that are also early adopters, and they seem to share my views on Unity.

    Innovation is great, but it doesn’t feel like that’s what is happening here. It feels like copying, and not doing a very good job, at that. Like I said, I’ll give it until the next LTS to see how it turns out, perhaps you’ll address the issues. Judging by this release however, I’m already trying out other distros so I’m ready to move, when the time comes. I’m telling people that ask my opinion to stick with the last LTS of Ubuntu. That’s not really a good sign for Ubuntu’s future when in the past I have encouraged them to upgrade after every release.

  129. Peter Says:

    The new UI sucks on any display with high resolution, on focus-follows-the-mouse (which people aren’t used to, but which is much more useable than click-to-focus), and in working with multiple windows at the same time (as most Unix applications are designed).

    It’s also the most bug-ridden release of any Debian-based distro I’ve used in over 15 years, even Unity aside.

    It feels like a clone of features from the Mac UI without a deep understanding of what makes the Mac work.

  130. Mark: Sobre Unity y Ubuntu 11.04 « Ubuntu Life Says:

    […] Opina en su blog que 11.04 es un salto hacia adelante, que el usuario es lo primero y entre otras afirmaciones, nos […]

  131. ioca100 Says:

    From Rio, Brazil;

    Thanks Mark !

    Shalom !

  132. tomascl Says:

    Hi I’m a Chilean Ubuntu user from a long time, and I really love Unity, the way it works and looks is just perfect. Please continue with that excellent job.
    Thanks for all
    A very happy ubuntu user.
    PS: I love that the indicator panel replicates over splited screens, very usefull.

  133. truman Says:

    You sound like a press release. Also sounds very far away from the reality of what using Ubuntu means today. I understand that you got a business to run and a bit of hyperbole always comes handy, but perhaps an attitude less flashy and a bit more down to earth would be more desirable, or at least, more honest.

  134. Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity – how Mark defends the change « Awe Struck Says:

    […] release and make it available as part of synaptic manager, there were outcries. But in this article, Mark has rightly defended why Ubuntu remains strong and how we should embrace change even if it […]

  135. Zwulf Says:

    Hehe… I knew my comment would not be accepted. 😉
    Although others wrote the same, it seems to be hard to accept, that Ubuntu goes a way of restricting user’s possibilities. That is not GNU/Linux. It contradicts the ideas of free software. It’s just “free as in free beer”. Sad.

  136. Wolf Says:

    Dear Mark,

    Thanks for Ubuntu.

    Regarding Unity: Think again. You err here.


  137. joe Says:

    Am I missing something – I cannot multi-task applications within any workspace – I need to click back and forth between them while remembering what was on the other workspace.

    What did you guys do – hire a bunch of microsoft windows programmers ;-(

  138. Kevin Says:

    I thought I was going to hate Unity, but I am actually pretty happy with it. It took a bit of getting used to, but it is very intuitive.

    However, you need to take what you have and allow power users to customize from there. A simple interface, and well chosen defaults are awesome, but if your user has a valid reason for changing that, let them.

    Full review here:

  139. UNF Says:

    Having read some preview reports, I was highly skeptical about the prospects for Unity on 11.04, until, that is, about 24hrs after starting to test Beta_1, by which time I was convinced by the impressive ease of use, great look and intelligently integrated features that “it’s a keeper”.

    System stability on my Dell Latitude of 100%, even at that stage, rekindled my instinctive urge to purge Windows 7 from my SSD and I followed through by bidding BillG the time-honoured unfond farewell of Format C:\*.* ~ am now so relieved the baneful demon is banished and confident he won’t ever darken my SATA-interface again.

    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is my new base system ~ the Linux Desktop has truly arrived, at long last ~ so well done to all the Ubuntu Team + keep up the brilliant work!

  140. Mark Shuttleworth defiende la interfaz Unity en Ubuntu 11.04 | BytNews Says:

    […] a los usuarios primero, en el software libre. Esa siempre ha sido nuestra misión”, afirmó Shuttleworth en su blog, explicando que Ubuntu en ese sentido es “un paso […]

  141. Zmago Says:

    Mark can you imagine that even my 68 year old mom is using now computer with ease?? She never liked computers because she didnt understood how to use them but now with Unity she don’t have problems anymore :) Thank you again.

  142. Isaac Gouy Says:

    > In category indicators, the dash, overlay
    > scrollbars and other innovations we are
    > pioneering desktop experiences

    I’ve been using desktop Ubuntu for the last couple of years with the default settings. I’m just trying to get stuff done – I don’t spend my time micro-configuring window managers.

    Now with Unity it takes me more steps to complete the same basic window management tasks.

    Now with Unity simple mouse scrolling in a window requires accurately moving a pointer over a scroll thumb target less than 1/10th the length of a window scroll bar – one out of three times I miss and the scroll thumb disappears.

    Now with Unity I spend time de-maximizing windows that Unity maximized because I moved them too close to the top of the screen.

    Now with Unity I loose space at the left hand side of the screen as well as at the top of the screen.

    > We put user’s first because we committed to
    > test and iterate Unity’s design with real users

    I don’t know which users you put first – I do know it wasn’t me.

  143. Mark Shuttleworth defiende la interfaz Unity en Ubuntu 11.04 | GNU/Linux Pararaguay Says:

    […] a los usuarios primero, en el software libre. Esa siempre ha sido nuestra misión”, afirmó Shuttleworth en su blog, explicando que Ubuntu en ese sentido es “un paso […]

  144. zhelonCHILE Says:

    I’m sorry but I do not like the unity; This decision hurts, but I think ubuntu fails, because really sucks inferfaz; prefer gnome 3, I’ll go to linux mint
    gracis so many joys in linux, ubuntu

  145. clockworkpc Says:

    @Zmago, your comment illustrates exactly what Unity tries to achieve. I’ve seen the same reaction in people that I have shown it too. Keep up the great work, Canonical!

  146. Mark Shuttleworth defiende la interfaz Unity de Ubuntu 11.04 | Blog Zuhosting Says:

    […] a los usuarios primero, en el software libre. Esa siempre ha sido nuestra misión”, afirmó Shuttleworth en su blog, explicando que Ubuntu en ese sentido es “un paso […]

  147. Mark Shuttleworth defiende la interfaz Unity en Ubuntu 11.04 | ActualidaDigital Says:

    […] a los usuarios primero, en el software libre. Esa siempre ha sido nuestra misión”, afirmó Shuttleworth en su blog, explicando que Ubuntu en ese sentido es “un paso […]

  148. Gurkan Sengun Says:

    I tried Unity, it’s horrible. I wish you would have picked up Window Maker instead. That’s inspired by Mac OS X too (well NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP). At least you would get something stable, which is consistend among all hardware (not just 3d accelerated ones). Besides it’s got a small memory footprint, and is very fast.

  149. Emmanuel Ninos Says:

    Dear Mark,

    ‘…the future of free software is no longer just about inner beauty (architecture, performance, efficiency) it’s also about usability and style.”

    I agree that Unity is really a big step forward
    because it’s not only technologically advanced but also has style,
    but if we [as a community] really mean to fix bug 1
    Canonical has to produce and sell computers with preinstalled Ubuntu
    and also offer real permanent after-sales support to the customer
    [funded by an amount of money out of the product’s price].
    Such a “social contract’ especially to the new, inexperienced free-software user is ABSOLUTELY VITAL.
    The vast masses of computer users who still stick to closed OS
    do it because they find it TOO DIFFICULT
    to cope with the process of
    a) installing Ubuntu
    b) upgrading to the new version every six months.
    In plain English, there are thousands of people who WANT to use linux, but they are simply afraid they cannot do it on their own!
    Without this hand-holding,
    I’m afraid the goal of making Ubuntu the most popular operating system will remain a pipe dream.

    Emmanuel Ninos
    BA English & Greek, Dip RSA TEFL, MA Ed.
    teacher librarian
    GNU/Linux user and evangeliser,
    Wikipedia contributor

  150. su Says:

    I was using 11.04 on virtualbox before the final release. I’ve submitted some bug reports. Obviously a lot of bugs are still open and are still waiting bug fixes. I hope these will be looked at in 11.10. I tried installing 11.04 on my laptop (HP Envy 14) and I found that there is quite a bit of hardware incompatibility which made me revert back to Windows.

    @mark: The ubuntu website says “fully compatible with microsoft office”. I believe this is misleading. Libreoffice can’t import .docx files with “table of figures” or “table of contents”. It can’t import Equations either. I don’t even think LibreOffice will state that it is fully compatible with Microsoft Office.

    The reason that I mention this is because, anyone I talk to about ubuntu asks me only 1 question: “Can I use Word on Ubuntu ?”. – This is where we all get trumped. I don’t have an answer for this. I hope the OpenDocument Foundation can catch up to Microsoft Office and make it fully compatible. However, I feel that stating LibreOffice is fully compatible in the website is not being honest (!!!KARMA!!!) :)

    Overall, I feel unity is an awesome shell. I’m obviously waiting for 11.10 and 12.04 the big release that should put Ubuntu up with all the major players.

    Thank You

  151. jeroen Says:

    I tried to Install ubuntu 10.4 on a travelmate 290. It didn’t work. Had to reinstall 10.10. I installed ubuntu 11.4 on my PC and it worked, but:
    I don’t like unity. Its a nasty dock that isn’t liable to customizations I want them to have. I like the real Gnome desktop with dockbar on the bottom installed. Its easy to customize for end users and its easy to use for users that also (need to be able to) use windows. Thats the case with many office workers. I don’t want to use desktops that are so very different.

    Therefore I love Ubuntu classic and I customize it to my needs.

    I think that the Linux mint interface is more the way I want it than the Ubuntu unity is.

    The good thing is that ubuntu allows me to choose the desktop I want. It would be nice If i could decide what woulde be the default desktop for new useraccounts.

    But compared to Windows Vista or 7. Its much better, faster and reliable and easier to install.

  152. Alain Says:

    How hard can it be to realize that a smart phones where pixels are at a premium and desktop where pixels are plentiful obey different UI paradigms ?

    The rationale behind the design of Unity seems to have been to save as much screen real estate for the client area at the expense of menus and panels. As a result desktop and laptop users have to hunt for their usual shortcuts.

    Just googling up for “Ubuntu classic Unity” tells where the market is going.

    Time to get the head out of the sand.

  153. Ben Finney Says:

    > Ubuntu’s killer feature remains that community.… The fact that so many people recognise that their time, energy and expertise can have the biggest possible impact when expressed through Ubuntu is what makes their individual contributions so much more valuable.

    Yet you continue the community-hostile practice of demanding, through a “contributor agreement”, exclusive rights for Canonical in Unity and other works. Why not recognise the value of a community of peers by dropping the insistence on special rights for Canonical in the code base? Stop reserving to Canonical freedoms in the software that you deny to others, and your words about the value of community might ring less hollow.

  154. Mark: Sobre Unity y Ubuntu 11.04 Says:

    […] Opina en su blog que 11.04 es un salto hacia adelante, que el usuario es lo primero y entre otras afirmaciones, nos […]

  155. st Says:

    Thank you! I like Unity and ubuntu 11.04. I am happy with ubuntu 11.04!! and thanks again!

  156. Celso Says:

    Well, i need to honest that i wasn’t watching unity with good eyes since i saw the interface but now that i decided to guive a try, i like it! But mark, please, implement a few more themes but but for the dash too. (with the led screens,when i bought my laptop, in win7, the colors looked more real, more intense! with more quality! and i think ubuntu misses that (oh, almost forgot, and a weather applet) . But hey, its JUST my opinion.
    Keep a good work and i am inpatient for Wayland to arrive!

    Long live to Ubuntu!

    Cheers and all the best,


  157. schneeloewe Says:

    Its a pitty.
    What you say Mark, in your posting is not what I – THE USER – experience.

    You dont ask me what I want – everything in Unity is where it is and does what it does.
    Nothing can be changed as I want it.

    The Name “UNITY” ist a Joke – it devides the Community.

    And I – The USER will go an search for another linux.

    Bye UBUNTU – the last years where good years and probably there is time for a change…

  158. Emiliano Says:

    Hi Mark, I have an idea (not light, regarding to memory, but good in terms of usage!) for Ubuntu Unity in the future:
    a 3D side Panel!
    You can find a picture here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1891321996165&set=o.6723083591


  159. mark Says:


    RMS’s blog on this is very helpful, and useful. I agree with his position. Our experience is that, on key projects where we ask for a contribution agreement to be in place, we fit quite squarely into the category Richard describes as being appropriate for contributors who make smaller contributions to a larger project. In those cases, Richard argues that contributors should try to get the company to agree always to making an accepted contribution available in a free release, whatever else they might do with is.

    And in fact, that’s exactly the approach we take. Further, it’s the approach we’ve argued should be the standard approach in Harmony, though that view hasn’t carried the day so far.

    I understand that contribution agreements are contentious. But a simplistic, knee-jerk anti-corporate position is not useful, either. Such agreements often facilitate amazing work done by companies, and in my view, we want more of that, not less. Yes, there are opportunities for abuse, but the same is true of free speech or any other potent right.

    If you read RMS’s blog, you’ll see that he’s not taking a simplistic view of this at all, unlike some of the vocal critics of CLA’s. RMS’s position is nuanced, and I think it is worth re-reading until you yourself can come to a sophisticated view, whatever that might be. Your current view appears to me to be unaware of the potential benefits of CLA’s.

  160. 2 cents worth Says:

    @ Der Genosse

    Hmm, I once held that opinion too. (My apologies to those who I have offended.)

  161. R3s3t Says:

    Thanks Mark,

    I think unity is great and I am looking forward to the many proposed improvements. Keep going with your mission to get Ubuntu / Linux to what is deserves. Even though that is everything but easy.



  162. Aprende todos los nuevos atajos de teclado de Ubuntu 11.04 con este wallpaper | IdentidadGeek Says:

    […] por muchos y querido por otros, Mark Shuttleworth dijo en su blog que esta nueva versión y la incorporación de Unity es uno de los saltos más importantes en el […]

  163. Ron Lawrence Says:

    While the launcher may be great for netbooks, it is severely limiting for larger format screens. Having it fixed and only slightly configurable on the far left of the screen(s) is really awkward. While I love almost every other aspect of unity, I find this lack of configurability even more limiting to the way I work than having to use windows. Even windows 98 let you move the startmenu panel around, and OSX lets you move the dock around! Why force users to have the launcher only on the left side of a potentially very wide (with multi-monitors) screen? The excuse that it must be near the “ubuntu button” makes no sense to me. In fact, the “ubuntu button” is now pretty much useless.

  164. mark Says:

    @Emiliano: that’s very cool, thanks for the link!

  165. Tom Greer Says:


    I’m extremely disappointed in 11.04. It’s filled with bugs. Unusable after upgrade. No window borders. Compiz settings discarded. Emerald segfaults.

    But I’m most disappointed in the Unity user interface, which is senseless for a power-user with multiple monitors who typically has 20 to 30 windows open.

    I read that you recently said that you recognized that power users would not be pleased and suggested that your long-term vision doesn’t include their needs – that they should look to other distros.

    Thanks for the honesty – and, after five loyal years, good bye.

  166. ico123 Says:

    Dear Mark,
    well there could be alot to say probably there still is.
    Let me start with the switch to 11.04. Compared to 10.10, 11.04 feels really like the first ubuntu version that seemed to be thrown onto the market too early. The quality and joy using a fresh ubuntu version for me is not there.

    It’s small things that make me realize:
    -in libre office I cannot mark text in certain situations.
    -Doing a commit under eclipse suddenly makes it crash.
    -groovyConsole only works in full screen mode otherwise its not visible.
    -virtualBox OSE no longer provides a stable xp-vm.
    -In Firefox 4.x I click on a linkl the page is delivered then I need to click once more onto the page before scrolling with mouse finally works(->?!).

    No big deal I am developer myself, but… none of such effects did I ever experience when switching an ubuntu version before…

    On unity: first reaction: where is my configured gnome? Ok can get with classic…
    again: such hadn’t happened so far. Was there a need/urge to push the users to a new window manager?

    Still fine: we shall all use it and be happy with it. I tried it. It feels nice to certain extend,
    but then again: where’s the guided tour? where’s the hint: “hey we got a new windowmanager but don’t worry your
    existing windowmanager of the foreversion is still reachable”?
    Was there no time to create such?

    This all combined with the info on wikipedia about the “gnome vs unity struggle” strongly supports
    a feeling that natty had to come out “whatever-it-takes” and that the users would have to be forced to use unity.
    Thus it fits with my personal experience now that 11.04 feels not as “round” as 10.10 and its predecessors felt.

    Beg your pardon all just my personal opinion. I haven’t been there when the community discussions took place.
    Plus it’s probably of no help to talk about made decisions and things of the past.

    Then looking forward: ok you propagate unity. Probably fine for the majority of users.
    What I wish for would then be: can we -in the long run- have gnome as a separate installable window manager
    just like we have with KDE today?

    That would provide the freedom of choice I think of and enjoy with linux/ubuntu.
    Because I want to stick with gnome and I want the gnome 3 experience.

    Wouldn’t it be a pitty to force all those gnome fans to use other distrisbutions?

    Greetings from Germany!

    A puzzled and wondering longtime ubuntu user

  167. don't know Says:

    “Humble, because we have borrowed consciously from the work of other successful platforms … We borrowed what worked best”

    Thanks for not trying to reinvent the wheel but adapting stuff that a lot of ppl are used to.

  168. Emiliano Says:

    @Mark: it is obviously an opensource idea…

  169. Natty and Unity at WMLUG | Ben Rousch's Cluster of Bleep Says:

    […] here because I covered some of this in a previous blog post, Mark Shuttleworth has several good blog posts about it, and a Google search for Unity will get you more than you could ever […]

  170. eduart Says:

    ok guys i have read this article, which is an in-depth review of the relationship between canonical, ubuntu and the ubuntu community.
    the author expresses his thoughts on how canonical is treating the ubuntu community and ubuntu users, and what are the risks of such treatment.
    also there is his point of view about unity, the way it was brought up to the community and users and what its future might be.
    i totally agree with that. this is also what i have thought for along time: there is no more freedom of choice under ubuntu anymore and that’s sad.
    this is the link. take some time to read it. it’s worth it.

  171. Damon Says:

    I also would like to chime in as another user that has historically loved Ubuntu but is feeling a little estranged. Unity is fine and usable for my work computer with one monitor, but with two monitors made me feel claustrophobic — the launcher was buggy and stuck in a weird spot because I couldn’t move it to the right of my monitor. The Unity interface does not handle having many windows open well and is completely non-intuitive. Lots of times I would try right clicking or dragging something, sure it would work the way I expected, and was then surprised and annoyed. For example, if I have Nautilus open to my music folder, pressing the ‘Home’ button doesn’t open a new window in the home directory! If Ubuntu drops gnome 2 for 11.10, I will not be upgrading and will be forced to find a new distro for my home computer.

    Point is, Unity is great for a laptop or one monitor setup where maximizing usable screen space is important, but for larger or multiple monitor setups, where it’s more important to make it easy to navigate through lots of windows Unity fails. So please please please keep the gnome interface option around.

  172. Emiliano Says:

    Some (I don’t think many) people says Unity is not what they thought, that abandoning the sympatico Gnome is a sin against Mother Earth and so on.
    Anyway, before changing distro I would take into account that with Ubuntu everything about my hardware works, and much better than other commercial OS’s. Maybe you can install another Linux distro, but you could loose many features, and start spending time (i.e. money) on configuring your system.

    At a first sight everybody is able to say:”Hey, this is not good for me!”, but counting numbers from zero to ten before acting could save lot of your time, and so life 😉


  173. Renato Monteiro Says:

    Hi folks, Hi Mark..
    I`m from Brazil, using Ubuntu 11.04 on my old DELL 110L.. It`s a great system, but it`s not just “Unity” what I`m talking about. I`m talking about the multimedia features (that works very great), the user-friendly step-by-step installation, the network-manager (works very great with my 3G broadband).
    God bless you all,

  174. cantormath Says:

    System Settings -> System-> Admin -> Login
    Choose Ubuntu Classic

    Drama over.

  175. James Says:

    I’m sorry to say that I am another person who seriously dislikes Unity. It’s an awful copy of a mac without doing the job properly. The icons are massive and look like a child designed them and take up so much space. I miss the menus and panel applets.

    Mark, you are clearly a clever and successful businessman but perhaps you are not the right chap to lead the design team. I wish you would spend your time, influence and money persuading software companies to release their software on Linux. If Adobe released a version of photoshop for Linux how many more users and respect would you get!?

  176. Carl Dong Says:

    Hi Mark!
    I’ve been using Ubuntu since Breezy and was always pleased, but to be honest, Unity is a big disappointment.

    While I support the idea of not going with Gnome 3, I can’t understand why Unity includes the main basic mistake Gnome 3 has: Dictating the user how to use his computer and taking the choice from the user.
    There are so many things in Unity which feel broken for me (as I can’t do the things I did in Gnome 2 any more or I need more steps/more mouse-movement/more clicks/more time) that appear to be “design decisions” I don’t know even where to start with.

    You have a vision of how to use computers? Great! But please don’t force everyone to share this vision. Please give us at least the OPTION to do things we are used to do, as we really loved the way Ubuntu was before.

    Because that is the main thing Unity is lacking of: Options.

    You can’t really decide how the launcher behaves, you can’t decide whether tooltips are displayed in indicators, you can’t decide how your workspaces are managed and many more.

    Mark, you started saying “users first”? I don’t have this impression. Have you looked at http://www.ubuntuforums.org ? The community not at all reacts positive on Unity…

    You said “professional design”? So how did Canonicals own Usability Testing http://design.canonical.com/2010/11/usability-testing-of-unity/ come into account in Unity?
    And why did this test not include a single Ubuntu user?
    So, when you say “users first”, you mean “get many new users first”?
    Nothing against new users, but please don’t forget the old ones, the community you are saying about is so important. And this community doesn’t use Ubuntu because they like getting everything dictated like on Mac OS…

  177. Carl Dong Says:

    PS (“post” of course only when my previous post is approved, Askimet seems to regard links to Canonical as Spam…):
    I have to admit it is not all that bad:
    In fact, there are elements of Unity I enjoy. The Dash is really a good and practical thing. (apart of not being able to copy text in a lense…)
    Also, Unity looks really good – as all previous Ubuntu version, too.

  178. Ankit Tulsyan Says:

    Great job Mr. Shuttleworth.

    You are such a tremendous inspiration for the entire community..

  179. Lars Rune Nøstdal Says:

    Hi Mark,
    You probably get 100’s of emails and I see there’s 100’s of comments on this blog also so you probably won’t read this, but I just want to remind you of something.

    The reason why people go from Windows to Ubuntu is because people are tired of the random changes, the unstability and the complexity of the Windows platform. The changes and unstability on Windows is caused by MS adding new features that people don’t need and of course it’s also caused by ad-ware and viruses.

    Every time I help a user with typical Windows problems I hear them say this; “I’m so tired of this complex mess; I want something simple that just works”. What I have then said is “you should try Ubuntu; it is simple, almost boring, and it just works and it is fast etc. etc. and it stays this way over time”, but this is something I cannot say anymore with these upgrades. I feel I’ve been lying to other people now. This is a smack in the face.

    Can we _please_ stop all this now? This isn’t working; ignore the kids who want shinies; they don’t “last” anyway.

  180. mark Says:


    We share the same goal: an easy to use, stable, free environment. When we actually test how people use Unity, they find it easy to use. We will in due course start testing both Windows and Unity, so we can do comparative studies of which is actually easier to use, and where we can improve Unity to be the best in that regard. I understand that change is difficult and bad, but it is also inevitable. We needed to make a firm step in a new direction, and we have imo done very well with that first step.

  181. mark Says:

    Adobe’s customers expect an environment that is easy to use. Adobe’s customers are not interested in old-style Linux. I think, by investing in Unity, design, ease of use, and OEM relationships we greatly increase the chances of having Adobe and other ISV’s take Linux seriously.

  182. Larry Herman Says:

    I’ve been an Ubuntu user for about five years now. I mostly use my system for Office Applications (word processor, spreadsheet), Second Life, and games. The Unity interface disappoints me, so I’ve opted for now to go back the the menu driven interface that I am used to. I can’t see “easily” to add icons for the applications I use to what I think is called the dash. Drag and drop seemed intuitive, but it’s not working for me. It also seems to take more strokes and clicks to do things with Unity. If it’s no relatively straightforward, easy, and intuitive to use it, I won’t use it. Maybe version 2.0 can address ease of use issues.

  183. Emiliano Says:

    I think that Unity means finally that Gnu/Linux is no more an OS for nerds or ict genii, but a user friendly OS. Think that navigators, mobiles already use Gnu Linux. With Unity you finally gave a modern interface. I used Debian since 2006, then I discovered Ubuntu that is similar do Debian but much more user friendly and plug and play. Unity improves these features.

    I’m not so sure that Unity is a bit apple…if you look at Gnome and KDE since the 2000…you will discover that maybe windows and apple were influenced by the opensource community. Check it…I use Gnu/Linux since 1998, and I have lived some history…

  184. kikl Says:

    Hi Mark, I am slowly liking unity more and more. For me the design of the keyboard short cuts really stands out and helps a lot. I recently discovered this new and simple design of nautilus:

    Nautilus Elementary

    Now you probably already know all about it. All I can say is: I love it: It is simple and straight forward, like google chrome. For me this is a perfect user interface. I think nautilus should be the next part of the operating system that needs a GUI update in terms of usability and design and this is a wonderful starting point.

    All the best


  185. Stormwatch Says:

    A leap forward? Well, sure, a leap forward INTO THE ABYSS, that’s what! Unity may be the worst graphical interface I’ve ever used. It is visually unappealing (a polite way to say “really ugly”) and counterintuitive (a polite way to say “a complete mess”). Seriously, even Windows 3 felt more user-friendly. This is not a promising design with some rough edges, it is a terrible design through and through.

  186. toni Says:

    One thing that feels strange to me and really pisses me of is;
    at the unity plug in compiz the designers of the design team and their leader give the option of making the upper panel transparent (which by the way is the only desktop component that changes with the themes), while there is no option for making the unity launcher or the dash transparent (or at least blurry) .
    The result is that whatever beautiful theme you decide to use there will always be a black ribbon on your left (the launcher) and a black quadrangular box on the desktop (the dash).
    very inconsistent !!!!!!
    any ways, one image speaks more than 1000 words. the second image in this link.

  187. Alfredo Says:


    I think Unity works great for standard home and office users, wich if I´m not wrong was Ubuntu´s goal. I do find find some troubles when using many windows at the same time, but this being a first release I think it´s a great step foward.

    Can´t wait to get more customization options though. Hopefully we´ll enjoy them in Oneiric. Thanks to everyone that make it possible!!

  188. Jeff Says:

    Photoshop for linux would be awesome. I’ll move the last Windows PC in my household to Ubuntu :)

  189. Mauritz van Heerden Says:

    Hi Mark, I have been trying out open-source software installations for many years and was forced to come to the conclusion that there was no Linux distribution that could compare to MS Windows and that it would be difficult for these distros to reach the mark.
    Then I downloaded Ubuntu 10.10 and installed it. My first impression was, “Sh..t, this is fast”. I was, however, totally overwhelmed by the sheer pleasure of and intuitive operation and it was such a total surprise to finally see a Linux distribution that could hold it’s own and even surpass MS products in a lot of respects.
    So, hearty congratulations for making Linux “Come of Age” for me via this release of Ubuntu. I never thought it possible to become excited about a Linux Distro (my lack of Linux experience forces me to get a monkey-proof installation) but I am VERY EXCITED with what you have achieved with Ubuntu.
    So, please keep up the excellent work that you and the team are doing and I really look forward to seeing what is going to come from the Ubuntu stalls in future.

  190. Patrick Says:

    I would like to thank you so much for Ubuntu 11.04. I’ve been a convert to linux since I first tried it on Hardy Heron. But my wife was always confused and baffled by Ubuntu. I actually think that the new interface might have exceeded the goal you set a while back of being as good as OSx. I think this new interface outdoes OSx. I say this as a primary user of OSx (I have to use it for work).

  191. rifkie Says:

    Thanks to Mark and friends for a genuine effort to keep linux free and the best distro.
    I hope ubuntu can give more attention and focus to the application server in the future.

  192. genux Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great comment, I started to test/use the Unity 11.04 at the start of March and it really has progressed soo much since then, great leader ship and also insight because after using it it is hard to go back to gnome/kde.

    Since it appears to be a massive movement to online applications, but allot of companies are still using applications on there PC to achieve tasks, where do you think that the most of the development process is really required to gain business uptake for Ubuntu/Linux on the whole try and achieve the best online applications integration or to spend time on trying to get business to uptake for better integration with older applications ?

    I suppose the main question is where do you see the “desktop” PC in about 5 years time, will it be everything is online and the basic PC is just a dum terminal on the whole.

    Great work done.
    Genux / Ian

  193. Pawlo Says:

    Sadly Kubuntu is one of the worst KDE distributions. What’s more sad I didn’t notice a single Kubuntu bug filled by me fixed in launchpad (very serious bugs). I can give some examples:

    I can’t logout without crash – KDM screen is black, so I have to switch to vt and restart KDM. I’m an admin, so I can handle this, but what others are supposed to do?

    Amarok… while it’s the best player in the entire world it’s totally messed up in Kubuntu. I can’t fast-forward mp3 or when I double click a song it starts playing next or previous one.

    Flickering… after playing 3D games everything flicker, so I have to suspend compositions.

    Thankfully Ubuntu is much more polished and I’m starting to love Unity. I hope there will be much better KDE applications integration in Ubuntu, because KDE apps are the best. Unity+KDE apps = success. :>

  194. harry Says:


    Since there’s now a big focus on users of Ubuntu, have you thought of sponsoring a summit similar to UDS but aimed more towards the actual users? I would be more than happy to support you in this effort.

    I can envision an Ubuntu Users Summit where real users (of all technical levels but less focused on developers) would come participate in workshops covering such things as:
    – Using Ubuntu in Business (esp., overcoming common hurdles)
    – Organizing local user groups
    – Ubuntu Marketing (esp., getting feedback from users to incorporate into marketing campaigns)
    – How-to sessions

    There are many possibilities here and I think there would be an interest. I’m certain local Ubuntu communities would help with drumming up interest.


  195. Allen Says:

    Unity is, as a reader commented at Ars Technica: “a serious contender for the worst piece of desktop shell design since Microsoft Bob.” I tend to agree.

  196. srinivas v Says:

    “users”, who are they, who are ur audience?
    why re-invent the wheel when u could have taken the source from gnome3 and customized to ur hearts content.
    humble in stealing, well u are still a thief.
    community?, user community, dev community, paid dev community, ?
    “ubuntu is far bigger than unity”, the biggest joke and the “will be” most famous one liner in the history of GNU/*
    what is ur main aim, come on mark, out with it. Let the world know what is ur ultimate aim. How are u going to monetize ubuntu GNU/Linux. For a change, I am also interested.

  197. Mark W Says:

    …And an even bigger leap backwards.

    This unfortunate “Unity” fiasco has rifted an awesome community like an earthquake. For one of the few who has had the rare opportunity to view the beauty of the earth from a different perspective, it sadly appears your view of the big picture regarding this great software project, that has been built by many willing hands and willing hearts, has been clouded by something.

    I am now embarrassed to point people towards Ubuntu in it’s current raw state. You must make putting this right a highest priority.

  198. Mtthias Says:

    unity is a big pile of crap…still love linux, but there are exceptions :)

  199. jonj Says:

    Just tried out Unity in 11.04. I like where this is going, thanks!

  200. Canonical con l’ultimo rilascio di Ubuntu 11.04 ha introdotto un nuovo desktop environment, Unity. Tralasciando le critiche, e i dissapori. Facciamo il punto su quello che è, e che sarà l’esperienza utente di Ubuntu. Il fondatore di Canonical Mark S Says:

    […] è, e che sarà l’esperienza utente di Ubuntu. Il fondatore di Canonical Mark Shuttleworth si è esperesso in manierà chiara: puntare su un ambiente desktop unico, personalizzato e castomizzato per competere con i più […]

  201. Jasna Says:

    Hello Mr Shuttleworth,

    We’ve met in Croatia this Monday (May 16’th) in Zagreb at DORS/CLUC (http://www.dorscluc.org/)
    I’m a girl that bothered you on your way out from auditorium, when your keynote was finished…

    Just wanted to tell you that I apologize for my clumsy intro…it’s not easy to be somebody’s fan…don’t get me wrong…What I wanted to tell you back then, that Ubuntu is the distro with which I stepped into open source waters, therefore big respect for you and your work…

    And have to admit that I love LTS versions of Ubuntu, therefore I can’t tell anything special about 11.04 release (I still use Lucid Lynx)…but I can see what you’re trying to do..Hope friends of mine will change their attitude now, when everything will be eased up for them… Although don’t understand what was so hard till now… I guess because it is something different from what they are using now (Windows)…Habits are nasty thing…Well hate to admit it, I was like that too…

    As I told you in Zagreb, since I am a future teacher of computer science (still student, final year), therefore soon I’ll be “molesting” pupils in schools 😀 hopefully..What I didn’t have chance to tell you….I’ll try to tell them that they have a choice, that they don’t live in one world, proprietary world, there’s also open source world….

    I think that they deserve to know that they have an alternative…I’m not a person who spits on one thing while raising to the stars other things…considering technology I use proprietary and open source software.. but open source much more

    It’s their choice what will they use later in life…..As long as they know that they have an option…

    Many times I’ve heard:”Open source software is recommended for the schools to use.,” What bothers me why are there so many schools not using it….Maybe that will change one day, who knows…

    Sorry for such a long post, I didn’t know where else to write to you…

    Thank you for your visit, and for the keynote in Zagreb, and visit us again,

    All the best,


  202. Emiliano Says:

    I think that if Ubuntu was rolling, it would be perfect for everybody, even for my grandma that isn’t able to install it every six months 😉

  203. Manuel Dias Says:

    Hi all,

    Just giving my 2 cents about unity controversy.

    I’ve been reading opinions all over the internet about. Some praising the bold step and some announcing ubuntu’s death.

    Well, I did not install it just because I only go for LTS but I have a VM and always install the latest version. Unfortunately Unity 3D did not work, even following the tutorials for this purpose. I heard about the Unity 2D and as far as I can see it as a similar functionality. I tried on the same VM machine successfully . From the videos that I saw about Unity 3D and from the experience that I had with to 2D I can say it both work in a very similar way.

    So, as far as I’m concerned and I’m not a Linux hard core defender (I use Windows when I need but Ubuntu is my OS of choice in all computers that I own) I must say that all my fears went immediately away, I find it easy to operate, intuitive and a good balance between design and functionality. It requires to get used to but, what the hell, so the other new OSes.

    Quite frankly I don’t understand most of the negative arguments when a stupid guy like me (who stays away from the command line – it’s like seeing the devil to me) can adapt it in about 5 minutes (not joking).

    As for the argument of new users this it would be quite simple since I tried this with people who do not understand anything about computers and found their way easily.

    So from my experience, most of what it is being said is FUD and the kind of mentality averse to changes. Changing is good even if the result is terrible (not the case here in my opinion) and assuming the risk for that is a sign of leadership.

    Mr. Shuttleworth, I only have to congratulate you once more and extend this to your team. I’m a big fan of you and your way of taking a risky investment on this business model. On top of that, it is a nerve recking handle the typical human nature and its envy to other people’s success. I know from experience that this is hard to take. However, bear in mind that there are a lot others, who appreciate what you and your team do and give it away for free.

    P:S. English is not my native language so please excuse any mistakes.

  204. Bazon Bloch Says:

    List of things which are less efficient compared to previous versions or not even possible any more in Unity:

    * Grouping windows in contexts by using workspaces
    Although workspaces are still there in Unity, they lost their function: Every window on every workspace is represented in the launcher. The launcher even lets you switch the workspace without intending it. You don’t even have a glue on which workspace you are on now, as this is not shown any more.
    launchpad 683170
    launchpad 689733

    * Starting a window in e.g. 80% screen size
    Before, a new window launched exactly the size you closed it last time. Now, when it was bigger than 75% Screen Size last time, the window is forced to open maximized. Whether you want it or not.
    launchpad 754214
    launchpad 769085

    * Using menus in different windows
    Requires one click more each time you change the window: FIRST click to focus the window, second to get to the menu. Before, focusing the window and accessing the menu was just one click.
    (don’t know whether there is a launchpad bug about this)

    * Selecting windows containing text documents
    is now very difficult, because in the shiny exposé-like view you can’t read the content and the window title:
    launchpad 734253

    * Pasting in Alt+F2
    worked before with middleclick paste, Ctrl+v or context menu and was very useful following tips from the internet. Doesn’t work any more:
    launchpad 736222

    * Quick look in a window and then minimize it again
    Worked before with pressing the window switcher two times (show – minimize) and was very useful and a very common practices. Doesn’t work any more with the Unity launcher:
    launchpad 733349

    * Minimizing a background maximized window
    Is more difficult than before, because that window has no controls: Normally, the window controls are in the top panel for maximized windows. But the top panel is now occupied by the window having focus. (Which is confusing by the way, as it looks like the menu belongs to the background maximized window)
    launchpad 762277

    Also, the evolution initial settings dialogue is too big for netbooks and not resizeable, so a basic task is only very hard accessible.
    launchpad 779911

  205. Alex Says:

    Having used the new unity interface for a few weeks now I can say I quite like it. The first few hours may be a bit frustrating if your use to the more traditional desktop interfaces but overall I like the new layer of added simplicity especially as I don’t think it is affecting productivity of “power-users” like myself.

  206. marcusklaas Says:

    I like Unity quite a bit, I think it’s a fine innovation. Don’t really dig the default theme but I suppose custom themes will start popping up soon. I’ve got to admit I haven’t tried GNOME 3 yet, so can’t really say which shell suits better. My two cents (which have been stated a million times before, I know):

    – alt-tab application switching is quite slow to popup
    – can’t really find programs that you don’t know the name of (especially system settings and sorts!)

  207. eduart Says:

    isn’t this a great idea for the dash?
    clean, simple, easy to understand and navigate through.

  208. Patrick Says:

    Okay, after giving it a second try, Unity is growing on me. It’s easier than trying to install proprietary nvidia drivers on some other distros. I trust that many issues will be ironed out on the next release. Keep up the good work and thank you.

  209. Avetik Topchyan Says:

    I am for unity, and for peace among all men. But no, there’s only division, no real unity. And the “Unity” desktop is just another proof of that. First thing I did was to try Unity, and I really wanted to experience its value, but found no real value, sorry. Maybe I’m a wrong kind of user, I don’t know, but it just didn’t make sense to me. I switched back to “Classic” interface (which someone on another board vowed to remove from next Ubuntu version: I’m confused as to why…) Then I removed overlay-scrollbar including its lib, which brought me back to a much more comfortable interface (not just good old, but just better usability, IMHO). Overlay scrollbars are complete nonsense (sorry for sounding negative, but believe me, there is no other way to express it). Max and min buttons were ubuntu-tweaked to _canonical_ (no pun intended) right corner. Things are now back to normal. My next distribution will probably not be Ubuntu anymore. Let’s see.

  210. Marco Says:

    Thanks Mark for this brand new version as usual it’s a pleasure to discover a new Ubuntu version. I totally agree on new regarding what you’ve said about Unity:

    “In the design of Unity we chose to be both humble and bold. Humble, because we have borrowed consciously from the work of other successful platforms, like Windows and MacOS. We borrowed what worked best, but then we took advantage of the fact that we are unconstrained by legacy and can innovate faster than they can, and took some bold leaps forward.”

    Yes Open source can innovate faster than proprietary softwares but…she evolution shouldn’t be detrimental to simplicity, bugs correction, and friendly use. I do prefer this version nevertheless there is ;ore bugs and design inconsistency regarding the Unity Dock and the dash which is still not configurable.
    Despite these remarks and bugs I do recognize that Unity is a quite a leap for Ubuntu…I look forward to Wayland and Qt implementations…then will get a cool a refreshing Ubuntu. Good job Thumbs Up For Marks and the Community.
    PS; there is one thing that I like in open source, is when so;ething goes wrong or of you have a remark, you can just write a mail a discuss with a dev or the Boss. This is Open Soucre….cool is Open so drop by1

  211. Davor Says:

    Unity is here to stay, that`s obvious. Still, it needs more polishing.

    Icons and those background colours…

    All together looks frivolous.
    Unity needs more serious look.

    Anyway – it is good path to go. So…
    Go Ubuntu! Go!

  212. tony Says:

    great post mark, i think ubuntu will just get better and better

  213. Avetik Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I understand — this is your blog and you are screening the comments, but my previous comment (which I don’t see here anymore) was not offensive or even super-negative, I just honestly shared my end-user experience. You and folks that work for you should pay attention not just to those who say “Hurray!” to anything you do (like we did in good old Soviet Union) but to those who send you constructive criticism. If I cared enough to write it to you, it is probably important. But if you are unable to listen, well, what can I do.

    Perhaps you will realize one day you are moving to the wrong direction.

  214. Bort Sarsgaard Says:

    I like to keep a lot of open windows — usually a half dozen terminals. With Gnome Shell the taskbar makes it very easy to switch between these windows. Unity has made this an utter ordeal. I have other smaller complaints, but this one is so bad that it renders Unity unusable for me.

  215. Justin Says:

    I have what I believe to be an important question about Unity.

    Will you be able to theme it with HTML/CSS/Javascript like you can with Gnome. That thought must have come up. Making the objects DOM objects so that their properties can be manipulated via ‘HCJ’. I did create a Brainstorm suggestion http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/27926/ But it was not approved, I don’t know why, I don’t understand the brainstorm process.

    Irrelevant, being able to use HCJ on the presentation layer is massive. QT5 is going that way. It is essentially the whole Windows Presentation Layer – XAML or even Mozilla’s XUL done in a far better way, that people are already familiar with. It can majorly add to accessibility as well by ensuring that the desktop isn’t just displayed, but semantically marked up instead. Currently I think that it would be crazy to miss this opportunity. But that’s my opinion. I’m sure that idea has probably already come up, but I’m still waiting to hear someone talk about it.

    Anyway, many thanks – would love to know if you actually ever manage to read this.

  216. candtalan Says:

    Mark I found your recent reported comments about the involvement of commercial companies in to the free software ecosystem, very interesting. http://lwn.net/Articles/442782/
    I hope you will be enabling an elegant debate around it over time, it seems like an area which is as important as it might be risky and uncomfortable too.

  217. Joe Linux Says:

    Unity is Canonical’s Edsel. It is one of the most user unfriendly desktop environments every developed. It’s totally unintuitive. The wiper is particularly annoying and not at all useful. There are no menus to assist the user. As a an alleged system, it is very difficult to navigate. Some sort of cheat sheet is required. Please bring back the previous three menu system. You could use the Ubuntu logo to create sort of an Apple favorites menu that possibly could bring out the wretched wiper. The taskbars need to be user friendly like in the past. A user needs to be able to right click on the taskbar to easily add applets. The bottom taskbar needs to be returned because it is so easy to see what is launched and navigate to it. Unity is very foreign, unfriendly and difficult to use. My advice is to abandon the project in favor of a much more traditional approach.

  218. Andres Says:

    I updated to ubuntu Natty and I love unity.
    At first time I hated it, because your use to the more traditional desktop interfaces.
    It is very easy to use and configure, it still needs some improvement but at the time it’s good.
    I think the area of my desktop y better and i can find the installed software very easy.

  219. pete Says:

    Finally the geeks realised that “software is no longer just about inner beauty (architecture, performance, efficiency) it’s also about usability and style.”.. Mark, you are on the money, as much as it grates, its true – Ubu still has a long way to to become “Mum friendly” but your getting there guys… fantastic work, and yes it makes me feel all safe and warm inside, and thats a bonus, not the reason im using it.

    (Non techie).. Its not all great though, there is still a long way to go, but you guys seem to be setting the banchmark.

    just my 2 cents 😉

  220. juancarlospaco Says:

    We miss you on Twitter :)

  221. mark Says:


    I sometimes take a few weeks to circle back here and clear the queue of comments Akismet has flagged for moderation. Don’t hold it against me, it’s the only way I know how to keep the comments clean of spam. I generally do publish critical comments, especially if they come with a full name.

  222. mark Says:

    @Sarah, who posted anonymously and wanted a reply:

    I know that some of my views are controversial. My role is to lead, and while I am not perfect nor do I have a crystal ball, I do have the privilege of a very broad exposure to the whole free and proprietary software ecosystem.

    A long time ago, I felt upset that the free software ecosystem was not producing something that would change the world the way I believed FLOSS could. I realised that holding opinions was easy, but if I wanted to do something about it I would need to climb in, put myself at risk and build that vision, for better or worse. The result is Ubuntu. Today, I’m again looking forward and asking the question “how can we make free software the de facto standard way people do software”. And the answer, to me, is jujitsu: not to deny the value of proprietary software or semi-proprietary strategies, but to figure out how we can leverage them for our own purposes. So, while it is always dangerous to dance with the devil, and while I recognise the risks of doing so, I remain convinced we need a more mature relationship with that world than the FLOSS community has today.

    You and I are both obliged to stay true to ourselves. I hope we’ll find plenty of ways to get good stuff done, despite our differences.


  223. Jose Says:

    Hi Mark, my feedback as a power user:

    I installed Ubuntu 11.04 on two computers, my old laptop(three years old) and my netbook Asus One.

    On the laptop it said something like: “The graphic chip does not support Unity”, it has proprietary NVIDIA drivers that works.

    The netbook Asus Aspire One works with Unity. I went mad looking for the computer preferences and wasted a lot of time doing that. Unity could work over time but you need some changes:

    The first and more important one is educate you users, this is a marketing design flaw that I honestly did not expect from you with your experience making companies. If you change every single way of doing things people should have an option to learn the new stuff. As someone wrote before, you need a guided tour for windows, mac and linux or newbie users. If you can make it a video or sound with a python script, better because sound is extremely cheap on memory and power resources.

    You are frustrating every single user right now, you only have a very limited window of time to convince users to change, if they do not they will go away and justify the change talking s*h*t about Ubuntu and Unity. No good.

    I have a beautiful backgrounds on Windows and mac. Eye candy is important, period, but the standard background is an ugly abstract of colors, a little improvement from the mud wallpaper times. Are you going to let Steve Jobs use beautiful and powerful Lions while your distro displays a mess or mixture of nothingness. WHO IS THE SOUTHAFRICAN GUY HERE?? As my Aquarells teacher(who sells it for a good living) use to say “people care first about other people(faces), then animals, and then human things like boats and houses, that is where the eye goes first, those are the heroes of the picture” Steve Jobs knows that, you seem to ignore it.

    Solve the multiple windows issue for those that need it(giant screens like my imac and multiple screens users), and the majority of the people that are hating Unity right now will be able to coexist with it. With time they will be able to slowly get used to it, humans are habit creatures, they can not change too much in a small period of time. Wow, just imagine if the Wayland transition is made on the next Ubuntu version, so many changes and bugs to digest.

    Keep the great work!!

  224. Jose Says:

    Oh I see they are new wallpapers now, but the standard statup one could be improved a lot.

  225. SpamSpamSpamSpam Says:

    Thank you for your response. I’m relieved to hear that you do understand what you are doing to an extent. It seems silly to think that you wouldn’t, but I actually was concerned about that. I’m still not sure you understand why Free software is so precious, but I do kind of see what you are trying to do. Not the approach I would take, but, we are different people.

    >You and I are both obliged to stay true to ourselves

    This is very true and, although your methods are impacting something I hold dear, I do wish you luck in achieving your core goal :)

  226. Paulo Says:

    Maybe you should start this article with the words “this is an opinion article and not necessarily the real truth”. And that’s what it is: your opinion about how things work, from your point of view. Maybe you should openly discuss your ideas with some other people with different views of this matter.


  227. mark Says:


    This blog is quite clearly my personal opinion, there’s nothing to suggest otherwise.

  228. Maurers Says:

    to be admins, you can use this solution. You can create a group called admin, and give this group admin privileges. Then you can add all the users you want to have these privileges to this group

  229. Lars Rune Nøstdal Says:

    Thanks for the reply Mark, but out of utter desperation I decided to try the Gnome 3 PPA. However, this is how windows look like: http://i.imgur.com/8XNqc.jpg (with both the OSS and closed drivers).

    I give up. This is just stupid.

  230. Hasan Says:

    Unity looks great in screenshots. But it is very hard to get it up and running. The installation is bet is quick and easy. But I can’t find a machine both physical or virtual which can run it. So logistically, it has problems. I have a Dell Dimension which runs winxp, win vista, win7, ubuntu just fine. But when I put ubunu11 on it, it says the hardware isn’t good enough and it goes to classic ui. I tried virtualbox and unity won’t run on that earlier (running virtualbox on lastest mac). I’m not going to buy a brand new machine just to run unity. So having a technology that can’t run on reasonably backward hardware is not useful. Either the ui drivers aren’t well written. I’ve spent a fair amount of time writing linux kernel code in the IO and file system so know the issues. Imagine if using ext4 required everyone to buy new hard drives, that would be silly.

  231. Santse S. Says:

    At first glance I loved Unity, then I disliked it when I realized how little I can customize it, now I like it again when I have gotten into it. It only needs to be a little more customizable and we have a winner. The top four hopes are:

    – The top bar should be more customizable. I want to add the old work space switcher in it. It’s so slow to switch desktops nowadays!

    – Applications, file & folders and workspace switcher should be moved next to the recycle bin. It makes more sense since they are not windows like the other buttons.

    – Also they should be removable. I have found no use for the first two and I can also open them from the Ubuntu logo. Or maybe just combine both of them to the Ubuntu button. Customization is important here since people have different kinds of set-ups, screen sizes and habits.

    – The small arrow that indicates what apps are open is too easy to miss. I would remove the background rectangle from every app that is not open.

    You and everyone else in the community are doing incredible job. I hope you all the best.

  232. ArghUnity Says:

    I regard myself as almost a power user.
    Ubuntu was the best distribution, and much of Mark’s philosophy is admirable.
    But I cannot abide this Unity thing on my modern desktop. Everything moves. Animations distract and delay. Big clumsy icons. Too many clicks. Cannot customise. Global menu sucks. All the power user habits count for nothing. Feels like a big phone.
    So within a week I switched to classic.
    Will you commit to keeping that option possible, or are you saying sooner or later I will have to get used to Unity?

  233. Eric Baird Says:

    Mark, here’s the big secret about the OSX global menu.

    The reason why Apple use it isn’t because they think it’s optimal, or because it saves precious screenspace (OSX users tend to have larger desktops than average). It’s also not a “modern” Apple innovation. It’s the old-fashioned way that people used to design desktops back in the days of the Atari and Amiga, before the Windows designers decided that the new VGA screens were large enough for them to be able to repackage all of a program’s interface components into a single more logical and visually-consistent block.

    There are two main reasons why Apple stuck with the “old” method:

    Reason One is the same reason that they stuck so long with the one-button mouse. They’d invested credibility in a certain “look”, and to change that look was to lose a distinctive visual cue that set them apart from Microsoft. To change was to admit that a part of the MS design had actually been better than theirs. It was easier to stick with a non-optimal design, because the Apple brand was about being different.

    Reason Two was that the global menu creates psychological “glitches” in the user’s workflow. Apple were concerned that people using Photoshop all day would come to associate their job with the software rather then the OS, and if that happened, Adobe users would be happy to switch to the same Adobe software running under cheaper PC hardware, and Apple would lose high-value marketshare. Keeping the OSX global menu meant that the user periodically jumped out of “Adobeland” and made them keep looking at an Apple menubar with an Apple logo. If the users already liked Apple, the global menu gave them a series of subconciously-enjoyable “Apple moments” thoughout the day. It was a psychological reinforcement technique designed to make professional users finish their day thinking “Yaaay, I’ve been using an Apple product!”.

    The same thing goes for the OSX launcher bar. It’s designed to be obtrusive, and to jump out and squeak “I’m an Apple!”. A clone of the OSX launcher is available for free for Windows, and almost nobody uses it, because on the face of it, it’s a really bad piece of GUI design. But it wasn’t designed for efficient workflow, it was deliberately designed to //interrupt// workflow and create “Apple moments”. It causes the computer equivalent of an mini ad break.

    So Ubuntu 11.04 copying the OSX global menu gave Ubuntu a credibility problem, because the people who liked the global menu tended to be Apple fans who liked it because it reminded them of OSX (so their goodwill was being directed at Apple rather than Canonical), and the people who disliked the global menu, or didn’t understand where it’d come from (or knew the OSX way of doing things but didn’t like it) were narked with Canonical rather than Apple. It was lose-lose – Ubuntu got the blame (for bad design, or for unimaginatively copying rather than innovating), and Apple got any goodwill. Users tend not to mind the outright and gleeful theft of great ideas (after all, the users are the immediate beneficiaries), but in this case, Ubuntu seemed to be copying ineptly – its designers didn’t seem to understand the function of what they were copying, and were copying distinctive features that were //sub//optimal. That’s kinda the worst-case scenario – it means that your users don’t credit you either with originality //or// with technical knowledge.

    It’s like … suppose that this is 1966, and The Monkees bring out a hit song that goes: “Hey hey, we’re the Monkees …”, and it creates a strong brand perception for them. If you try to copy in on that success by bringing out your own song whose chorus is “Hey, hey, they’re the Monkees …”, then even if your product is technically as good or better than theirs, all you’re doing is bolstering their brand at the expense of yours. People who like the original will still buy the original rather than yours, people who don’t like the original won’t like yours either, and industry people who don’t care either way will wonder how you manged to make the mistake of copying something cheesy whose only real purpose was to emphasise someone else’s branding.

    Yes, there will be some situations where a global menu //might// save some useful space (although if the user is that concerned about space and is already using a space-optimised app like Chrome, the idea can become a bit redundant) … but if you’re going to implement it, you do it as a user-option. You have a special section for “Screen optimisation” that lets the user tick boxes for “small fonts”, “global menu” and any other space-saving tricks that spring to mind, and that way both the Windows and Mac user-communities give you credit for being more friendly than //either// MS or Apple, and you also get to make a big show about how much work you’ve put into optimising the OS for different screen formats (and different user-bases). By putting in a choice that //neither// Apple or MS offer, suddenly you become the market innovator rather than them. Putting in those sorts of easy customisation options for different situations add flexibility and might make an OS the first choice for new emerging hardware platforms.

    But by taking out flexibility it means that you’re liable to be wrong-footed every time someone brings out a new hardware format. If you’re betting the future of the OS on wide-screen small-format landscape netbooks, and the future turns out to be portrait-format tablets, or table PCs, or wall-size projected screens with gesture control, or … something else … you’re never going to have the right user-interface support for the Next Big Thing, and people wont regard the OS as either sufficiently future-proofed or sufficiently compatible with legacy hardware to invest in it. The thing needs built-in infrastructure that’s flexible enough to make as much software run as well as possible, on as many hardware platforms as possible.

    That’s Ubuntu’s niche. OSX can’t compete on that level because it’s Apple-specific, Android and iOS run well on low-powered hardware but can’t run large Office apps (yet), Win7 isn’t good on limited hardware, and WinXP is now officially dead.

    The market ought to be wide open for something like Ubuntu 10.10, if the industry reckons that this is an OS designed to cope well with a range of novel hardware configurations, and if they think that it’s a fully professional system that isn’t going to embarrass them.

    But if that’s the market that Canonical is going for, IMO it’s probably not a good idea to put out releases with “issues” of the sort that 11.04 has.

  234. christiaan_ Says:

    I would like to thank Mark and the Ubuntu team for an amazing leap forward with Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity. After reading so much negative feedback about unity and people complaining, I would like to say I personally love Unity, and have only had good installation experiences with Ubuntu 11.04 on old laptops (7 years old), on a variety of older and newer desktop machines, and even working out of the box on the latest Macbook Pro’s.

    Some background: I am an advanced user of Windows 7, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu, with 30 years of media, design and development experience. For the past 3 years I have used Ubuntu as my main operating system.

    People who dislike Unity: Guys you have choice in Ubuntu as so many have pointed out – don’t like it – don’t use it. Use Gnome 2 classic or DOS for that matter – or theme it to look like your favorite OS or as you like. That is the joy and freedom of Linux. Choice.

    Graphics Hardware issues with Unity: To be fair I have had many issues with machines and Windows 7 Aero to work, so some issues with Unity is not a big deal, it is new and will evolve. For those older machines Unity 2D works perfectly. Look at how far Unity has evolved in a few months since it’s release ! It has been pushed and polished by all the users. That is the power of the community – don’t just complain – contribute. Most issues are quickly solved by the community and posted.

    Why I like Unity more than Windows 7 or Mac OS X: My setup includes a desktop machine with high end specifications and 3 x 23″ Dell monitors running on a ATi 5770 graphics card. My input devices of choice is an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad. Not the default Ubuntu setup. Which one of the 3 operating systems desktop works best with this hardware setup ? Ubuntu Unity. On the move I use Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity on my Macbook Pro 13″.

    1. Unity is the only OS that is looking towards bridging the gap between the conventional desktop environment and mobile touch devices. New devices need a new approach. Unity is not the perfect answer – but a good one, and will evolve over time, in my opinion.
    2. Unity makes more sense to new Linux/Ubuntu users than Gnome Classic. Projects like Mint are great to migrate people from windows, but do we want more windows XP look alikes?
    3. Unity work very well on laptops and smaller devices, using the screen real estate in a much better way than OS X or Windows 7.
    4. Unity had a full screen button long before Mac OS X.

    Thank you once again for doing the hard work of moving things along and getting them done. There will always be the people kicking and screaming to avoid change.

    Viva Unity, Viva Ubuntu

  235. Bazon Bloch Says:

    Eric Baird:
    Very good analysis, I couldn’t agree more.

  236. nerdsabetudo Says:

    aybe this is not the right place to tell this, but users want games in their computers, why the reason Ubuntu is never consider the first option by any users. Bring major game companies to Ubuntu linux world in fact is not to hard. If you, Mark, try talk with people from Valve to provide a version of Steam to Ubuntu, all the nice games for Windows and Mac platforms will be available in Ubuntu too. If we have Skype, a proprietary software under Ubuntu Software Center, why not Steam for gamers?

  237. Henke Says:

    RE. christiaan_ three comments above:

    1. Why would anyone want to completely bridge that gap? The gap exists for several reasons, some of them physical and very easy to recognize as opposing sides. Touchscreens vs mouse & keyboards. Single small display vs unlimited multi-head variants. Devices with a single focus at a time vs multi-purpose and multi-tasking work/gaming stations. Casual time-killing browsing and gaming on a bus vs hardcore gaming with buddies or frantic work before deadlines. Watching a cute-kitten-youtube-clip while waiting for said bus vs a fullblown movie experience with family and friends.
    No device exists, nor will exist in the near or even far future that can do all those things well.

    2. Unity is new to new Linux/Ubunut users, regardless of previous experience. What’s worse, Unity is very new to old Linux/Ubuntu users as well. What’s worst is however that it borrows things from just about every OS out there, hoping that users will recognize them as good picks – but not a single thing actually works the way they “used to”. If you want users to feel at home and be able to navigate intuitively, be like what they already know, or at least provide _defaults_ that are recognizable. It does not need to be another Win XP clone, as long as it can resemble it for new users, and it’s easy to choose something else once users feel comfy enough to want it. OS:es don’t start customized, they “earn” it by getting more and more loved by their users.
    To prove Linux/Ubuntu is about choice, let people choose! Don’t downgrade the experience by locking them inside something built for less capable devices (not much comes close to the efficiency of a keyboard and mouse yet).
    No, switching “back” to classic Gnome isn’t an option! Truly new users won’t know what Gnome is. They won’t know what a Dash is, or Lenses, or [insert-new-random-Unity-term-here-is] is. Truly new users won’t even know what Unity is, or why it works the way it does, it’s just “new Ubuntu” to them. They don’t care about programs having a unified way to show notifications, as long as they do show. They’ll just be annoyed the icons they see don’t react the way they’re supposed to, if they show up at all. They’ll be annoyed that there’s no obvious way all installed programs can be listed. They’ll be annoyed all toolbar menus are invisible and miles away from the window they belong to. They’ll be annoyed by all the media programs they don’t use bloating the (now huge) volume control. They’ll be frustrated by all missed instant messages because a single small icon now represents all communications that need attention. If they get emails every 10th minute, they’ll start ignoring that icon. They leave the desk for 30min and end up unintentionally ignoring the 3 new IMs that arrived while they were gone, as they now compete with 3 unimportant emails. They’ll be annoyed that starting programs suddenly requires multiple clicks over long distances. That is if they can still click the main menu at all, it’s more than often obscured by the “tray icons” that do show properly, albeit at random locations.
    Semi-new users with a farily high comfort levlel will likely have an even harder time adjusting. All their new customizations, panels, widgets etc got trashed without warning. All replaced by a new shiny, but unforgiving and unpersonal, monolithic construction dictating their preferences.

    Gnome, its menus and panels were recognizable and could obviously be customized if you didn’t like them. All you needed to do was to stumble across the options in the context menu. Unity has none of that, so new users have no choice but to uninstall _Ubuntu_. Yes, people discard the latest Ubuntu because of Unity, every day. Not because they don’t have a choice to switch to Gnome, but because they either don’t know they can or they think it won’t be worth battling with it after every new install. Yes, new people still see re-installation as the easiest way to fix many problems – thanks MS…
    New users aren’t idiots, but they are new so they often need something familiar. And they don’t like to feel like idiots by having a shiny new OS release put in their hands and not immediately understanding even how to see if a certain type of program is available. Easily understood categories went out the door in favor of a big pile of which you only see the top, and a useless search.
    In short; Unity makes very little sense to new users, except perhaps where no full desktop makes no sense, like 3″ displays. There people start out fresh with less expectations and are more willing to accept compromises. For that is what Unity feels like, a compromise where everything is either half done or half thought through before completion. It evolves, yes, but how far can it get from the corner it’s heading for?

    3. Maybe. If you can live with the scrollbars being hard to see and move to absolute positions. Or that the main menu obscures the entire screen when opened. Or that the close/minimize/maximize buttons are too close to the main menu. Or that the toolbar menus of several programs don’t fit at all if you add an indicator or two. Or that the “# instances open” indicators on the sidebar don’t really tell anything about what’s in those windows. Or if you don’t mind not being able to change icon sizes in the sidebar popouts to fit a reasonable amount of icons on the screen. Or that attaching an external display gives you no explicit control over where the sidebar appears. Or that touchscreen-only devices have a really hard time interacting with the new GUI with much efficiency.

    I love Ubuntu and I don’t see myself running anything but Ubuntu (or perhaps a close derivative) in the near future. But change just for the sake of change isn’t good. Canonical claim they have done a lot of UX research on actual users when designing and working on Unity. Yet we see users having major and _fundamental_ UX problems everywhere. Even issues Gnome and KDE worked out ages ago. They also claim they want to work with the rest of the GNU/Linux community, yet we have a clear rivalry with the Gnome project. Competition is healty, but not when it becomes rivaly just for the sake of being rivals and doing what the other guy doesn’t want to do. Choice between products is good, choice within a product you already like is better!

    RE: nerdsabetudo:
    Porting Steam is certainly not enough. Steam isn’t a game engine, more like an app-store. Each individual game would still need major porting effotrs to run natively on anything but what they were originally made to run on. That’s just not going to happen. Our only hope is that new games (new game engines) are made to target multiple platforms from the start and that the platform can be adapted to run the older games (think WINE). We have Skype because the Skype people released a version specifically for Linux. We might get Steam if Valve does the same, but none of the Windows-specific games downloaded by it would run without WINE.

  238. Full Circle Podcast Episode 19: Burnt at the Stake | Full Circle Magazine Says:

    […] Unity??? Dont like Unity, Dont use it. Plenty of other Distros out there. (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/671) […]

  239. Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity – how Mark defends the change « zen of almost all things Says:

    […] release and make it available as part of synaptic manager, there were outcries. But in this article, Mark has rightly defended why Ubuntu remains strong and how we should embrace change even if it […]

  240. Full Circle Podcast Episode 19: Burnt at the Stake « Everything Express Says:

    […] Unity??? Don’t like Unity, Don’t use it. Plenty of other Distros out there. (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/671) […]

  241. Mario Says:

    Hi Mark. I like the work of unity, but it would be better not to rely more and rewrite the code compiz unity. Compiz has many problems. The codes graphical effects can rewritten, i think!!!

    ciao da Modena

  242. Torsten Says:


    now that I upgraded to 11.10 this weekend I am forced to use Unity, which I disabled for good reasons.
    It is a mix of the WORST of 3 worlds, contrary to the *IX – it tries a lot and gets nothing done right.

    Indeed, there is a lot of things found on other OS – but they did it better.

    I feel reminded to the Apple behavior on one hand (THEY define what the users wants and what he is allowed to do) and on the other hand to Microsoft’s chaotic menus/desktop.

    The first thing I saw on the Dash was a wrong icon for a program. No (obvious) way to correct this. “Dash” brings no results when trying to find something there, system menu also no chance. Right click (where I expect to find properties, this is still valid for icons on the desktop!) brings up nothing useful. Dash itself has no context menu. Great!

    The next thing was installing a puzzle game. Was quite easy with Software Center, I just searched for “jigsaw”. Not so easy was launching it afterwards. Puzzle? No. Jigsaw? Nothing. I had to click on Dash, select the 2nd icon on the bottom and expand “all programs”. Hey, we’re back to Windows! Rummaging through a list of more than 150 items is exactly what I want to do every day! Great!
    One of the main reasons to prefer Linux (especially Ubuntu) over Windows was its clear menu structure, making it easy to find any program with few clicks. I only missed the feature to access the menu items by keyboard ( opens the first folder starting with that letter and so on). But on Windows I’m at least able to move programs to other menus while I’m completely left alone with Unity. Also Windows 7 (even if I really do NOT like it) at least finds programs by ANY part of the program name, while in Unity you have to remember its exact spelling. What will be the next step, honoring capital letters?

    Well then, after finally finding the game it crashed somewhen. In such cases I usually start the process manager and since I have a widescreen monitor, I place it somewhere down right so it doesn’t disturb other activities. Now guess what? When I want to close other than by keyboard, I need to move the mouse across the screen to activate it and the whole way back to get to the close-button! I don’t have a tablet, but I would believe it’s a good feature for this kind of device. Anyway, as long as the majority of machines are still PCs with mice, this should be an OPTION at its best, but not a default (with no obvious possibility to change that)!

    I was not that happy with XP and consider W7 even crappier, so I’m with Ubuntu since “Dapper Drake” trying to get used to it. The plan was switching completely to Linux after support for XP will be discontinued. But now I will have to find either another Distro with a comfortable menu system or continue using Windows. Too sad, regarding all the wasted time.. :(