The desktop remains central to our everyday work and play, despite all the excitement around tablets, TV’s and phones. So it’s exciting for us to innovate in the desktop too, especially when we find ways to enhance the experience of both heavy “power” users and casual users at the same time. The desktop will be with us for a long time, and for those of us who spend hours every day using a wide diversity of applications, here is some very good news: 12.04 LTS will include the first step in a major new approach to application interfaces.

This work grows out of observations of new and established / sophisticated users making extensive use of the broader set of capabilities in their applications. We noticed that both groups of users spent a lot of time, relatively speaking, navigating the menus of their applications, either to learn about the capabilities of the app, or to take a specific action. We were also conscious of the broader theme in Unity design of leading from user intent. And that set us on a course which led to today’s first public milestone on what we expect will  be a long, fruitful and exciting journey.

The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ’em in the 70’s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years.

Screenshot of the original Macintosh desktop

The original Macintosh desktop, circa 1984, courtesy of Wikipedia

We can do much better!

Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications. Here’s what we hope you’ll see in 12.04 when you invoke the HUD from any standard Ubuntu app that supports the global menu:

HUD for 12.04

Snapshot of the HUD in Ubuntu 12.04

The intenterface – it maps your intent to the interface

This is the HUD. It’s a way for you to express your intent and have the application respond appropriately. We think of it as “beyond interface”, it’s the “intenterface”.  This concept of “intent-driven interface” has been a primary theme of our work in the Unity shell, with dash search as a first class experience pioneered in Unity. Now we are bringing the same vision to the application, in a way which is completely compatible with existing applications and menus.

The HUD concept has been the driver for all the work we’ve done in unifying menu systems across Gtk, Qt and other toolkit apps in the past two years. So far, that’s shown up as the global menu. In 12.04, it also gives us the first cut of the HUD.

Menus serve two purposes. They act as a standard way to invoke commands which are too infrequently used to warrant a dedicated piece of UI real-estate, like a toolbar button, and they serve as a map of the app’s functionality, almost like a table of contents that one can scan to get a feel for ‘what the app does’. It’s command invocation that we think can be improved upon, and that’s where we are focusing our design exploration.

As a means of invoking commands, menus have some advantages. They are always in the same place (top of the window or screen). They are organised in a way that’s quite easy to describe over the phone, or in a text book (“click the Edit->Preferences menu”), they are pretty fast to read since they are generally arranged in tight vertical columns. They also have some disadvantages: when they get nested, navigating the tree can become fragile. They require you to read a lot when you probably already know what you want. They are more difficult to use from the keyboard than they should be, since they generally require you to remember something special (hotkeys) or use a very limited subset of the keyboard (arrow navigation). They force developers to make often arbitrary choices about the menu tree (“should Preferences be in Edit or in Tools or in Options?”), and then they force users to make equally arbitrary effort to memorise and navigate that tree.

The HUD solves many of these issues, by connecting users directly to what they want. Check out the video, based on a current prototype. It’s a “vocabulary UI”, or VUI, and closer to the way users think. “I told the application to…” is common user paraphrasing for “I clicked the menu to…”. The tree is no longer important, what’s important is the efficiency of the match between what the user says, and the commands we offer up for invocation.

In 12.04 LTS, the HUD is a smart look-ahead search through the app and system (indicator) menus. The image is showing Inkscape, but of course it works everywhere the global menu works. No app modifications are needed to get this level of experience. And you don’t have to adopt the HUD immediately, it’s there if you want it, supplementing the existing menu mechanism.

It’s smart, because it can do things like fuzzy matching, and it can learn what you usually do so it can prioritise the things you use often. It covers the focused app (because that’s where you probably want to act) as well as system functionality; you can change IM state, or go offline in Skype, all through the HUD, without changing focus, because those apps all talk to the indicator system. When you’ve been using it for a little while it seems like it’s reading your mind, in a good way.

We’ll resurrect the  (boring) old ways of displaying the menu in 12.04, in the app and in the panel. In the past few releases of Ubuntu, we’ve actively diminished the visual presence of menus in anticipation of this landing. That proved controversial. In our defence, in user testing, every user finds the menu in the panel, every time, and it’s obviously a cleaner presentation of the interface. But hiding the menu before we had the replacement was overly aggressive. If the HUD lands in 12.04 LTS, we hope you’ll find yourself using the menu less and less, and be glad to have it hidden when you are not using it. You’ll definitely have that option, alongside more traditional menu styles.

Voice is the natural next step

Searching is fast and familiar, especially once we integrate voice recognition, gesture and touch. We want to make it easy to talk to any application, and for any application to respond to your voice. The full integration of voice into applications will take some time. We can start by mapping voice onto the existing menu structures of your apps. And it will only get better from there.

But even without voice input, the HUD is faster than mousing through a menu, and easier to use than hotkeys since you just have to know what you want, not remember a specific key combination. We can search through everything we know about the menu, including descriptive help text, so pretty soon you will be able to find a menu entry using only vaguely related text (imagine finding an entry called Preferences when you search for “settings”).

There is lots to discover, refine and implement. I have a feeling this will be a lot of fun in the next two years :-)

Even better for the power user

The results so far are rather interesting: power users say things like “every GUI app now feels as powerful as VIM”. EMACS users just grunt and… nevermind ;-). Another comment was “it works so well that the rare occasions when it can’t read my mind are annoying!”. We’re doing a lot of user testing on heavy multitaskers, developers and all-day-at-the-workstation personas for Unity in 12.04, polishing off loose ends in the experience that frustrated some in this audience in 11.04-10. If that describes you, the results should be delightful. And the HUD should be particularly empowering.

Even casual users find typing faster than mousing. So while there are modes of interaction where it’s nice to sit back and drive around with the mouse, we observe people staying more engaged and more focused on their task when they can keep their hands on the keyboard all the time. Hotkeys are a sort of mental gymnastics, the HUD is a continuation of mental flow.

Ahead of the competition

There are other teams interested in a similar problem space. Perhaps the best-known new alternative to the traditional menu is Microsoft’s Ribbon. Introduced first as part of a series of changes called Fluent UX in Office, the ribbon is now making its way to a wider set of Windows components and applications. It looks like this:

Sample of Microsoft Ribbon

You can read about the ribbon from a supporter (like any UX change, it has its supporters and detractors ;-)) and if you’ve used it yourself, you will have your own opinion about it. The ribbon is highly visual, making options and commands very visible. It is however also a hog of space (I’m told it can be minimised). Our goal in much of the Unity design has been to return screen real estate to the content with which the user is working; the HUD meets that goal by appearing only when invoked.

Instead of cluttering up the interface ALL the time, let’s clear out the chrome, and show users just what they want, when they want it.

Time will tell whether users prefer the ribbon, or the HUD, but we think it’s exciting enough to pursue and invest in, both in R&D and in supporting developers who want to take advantage of it.

Other relevant efforts include Enso and Ubiquity from the original Humanized team (hi Aza &co), then at Mozilla.

Our thinking is inspired by many works of science, art and entertainment; from Minority Report to Modern Warfare and Jef Raskin’s Humane Interface. We hope others will join us and accelerate the shift from pointy-clicky interfaces to natural and efficient ones.

Roadmap for the HUD

There’s still a lot of design and code still to do. For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD; the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it. And all the other patterns of interaction we expect in the HUD remain to be explored. Regardless, there is a great team working on this, including folk who understand Gtk and Qt such as Ted Gould, Ryan Lortie, Gord Allott and Aurelien Gateau, as well as designers Xi Zhu, Otto Greenslade, Oren Horev and John Lea. Thanks to all of them for getting this initial work to the point where we are confident it’s worthwhile for others to invest time in.

We’ll make sure it’s easy for developers working in any toolkit to take advantage of this and give their users a better experience. And we’ll promote the apps which do it best – it makes apps easier to use, it saves time and screen real-estate for users, and it creates a better impression of the free software platform when it’s done well.

From a code quality and testing perspective, even though we consider this first cut a prototype-grown-up, folk will be glad to see this:

Overall coverage rate:
   lines......: 87.1% (948 of 1089 lines)
   functions..: 97.7% (84 of 86 functions)
   branches...: 63.0% (407 of 646 branches)

Landing in 12.04  LTS is gated on more widespread testing.  You can of course try this out from a PPA or branch the code in Launchpad (you will need these two branches). Or dig deeper with blogs on the topic from Ted Gould, Olli Ries and Gord Allott. Welcome to 2012 everybody!

568 Responses to “Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.”

  1. Matthew Helmke Says:

    Very cool idea! I look forward to testing it.

  2. elvisd Says:

    Nice idea! Love your ideas and ubuntu in general!

  3. Venkatesh Nandakumar Says:

    Very nice. Will this require developers of applications to write extra code to be compatible with HUD? Or will this work for any gtk-menu auto-magically?

  4. Tijl Says:

    I really like the concept. As a KDE user, I never use Kickoff (The K-menu, similar to “Start” on Windows). I always launch applications with Krunner (Alt-F2 and then type the command). Being able to do something similar with application menus, sounds great!

  5. s.r Says:

    Hmm… nice enhancement. I really will use it!

  6. Jonathan Carter Says:

    Interesting concept. Unity is slowly but surely turning into LCARS :)

  7. Ted Gould Says:

    @Venkatesh: It will work with any application that can use the global menu, which includes most GTK programs, Qt Programs, etc.

  8. Ankit Tulsyan Says:

    I love the concept…Great idea.

  9. Afshin Arefi Says:

    Perfect, I think this is going to be a game changer for Ubuntu, Canonical and the Open software world.

  10. BigWhale Says:

    It certainly looks nice and seems to work very well. If there will be no browsing, how can you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?

    Now user would open the menu, select Edit and then look at the selections and they would see standard Find/Replace/… and there’s an item you never seen before.

    How do you discover menu items that you don’t know they exist?

  11. me Says:

    Another advantage of menus: app discovery. I often can’t remember the name of an app. The menu allows me to scan the names until something jogs my memory. If the HUD can search on app descriptions and categories too, then it would be better than a menu.

    Also, the Fluent UX ribbon can be minimized. It only appears when you need it. And you can setup some quick access buttons for frequently used actions.

  12. Anon Says:

    Will it be possible to use this feature from within a KDE session? Also, having a cli client for it is absolutely genius! Even if a native KDE version is not released, it might be possible to make a quick hack using that. I wonder if I can port this to a Kupfer or Do plugin to control apps directly from it.
    It will take a few days to get rid of muscle memory but I think this is a pretty good approach. Looking forward to test it!

  13. James Says:

    Looks fantastic to me as a keyboard fiend. I enjoy finding my apps with a few keys in Unity, and I hope the talk of fuzzy matching means more fuzziness will be finding its way into this and the dash than we’ve seen pre 12.04. It’s nice to see the desktop catching up to Emacs ;).

  14. mr_slowhand Says:

    that sounds a great experience, adding ppa now

  15. Charles Kravetz Says:

    Appears I will have to update my computer to take advantage of the voice recognition. This is exciting to see. I am sure it will improve accessibility in Ubuntu!

  16. Uli Says:

    This awesome, I have wanted something like this for a long time!
    In Libre Office for example I always know what function I want, but I rarely find it in the first menu tree I try.

  17. Ibrahim M. Ghazal Says:

    An interesting concept, but how will it work with mice or on tablets?

  18. Ubuntu evoluciona los menús de las aplicaciones mediante HUD [EN] Says:

    […] "CRITEO-300×250", 300, 250); 1 meneos 1 clics Ubuntu evoluciona los menús de las aplicaciones mediante HUD [EN]  por juan87 hace 13 […]

  19. Antonio Says:

    It’s an interesting idea if it’s complementary with the standard menus/system. Just as it is, I think it misses 3 main points:

    1.- App functionality discovery/browsing (as said by @BigWhale)
    2.- Repetitiveness: shortcuts anyone? having to type every time the same keyword to do something like e.g. copy&paste can be a pain in the ass.
    3.- Using apps that are mouse-intensive (e.g. gimp) can be counterproductive to switch too many times from mouse to keyboard. In that scenario, mouse-accessible menu options are usually required.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    Apart from that, I do think that it’s a nice improvement in order to have a menu system controlled by voice.

    The last question would be: is this going to be available to other distros or is going to be integrated with unity as a ubuntu-only feature?

  20. Gustavo Says:

    Innovative and creative. Like you said any UI change is controversial. but this one, being complementary, can be worked out positively.
    As a suggestion I thing we can figure out a more useful initial display of the HUD, something visual like Microsoft’s Ribbon that is redesigned/filtered while the user types.
    Congratulations for the good work.
    I love Ubuntu.

  21. Marcos Barbosa Says:


    This concept may be default, but optional. Because is hard to use with a tablet and some people (like me, for example) use mouse to access menu. New ideas is welcome (overlay bar, global menu, HUD, etc.) but a good configuration tool to enable/disable this options is very welcome too.

  22. David Says:

    I can see where it is so much easier to type bookmark instead of clicking a star. Using a GUI use to be so easy until everyone decided to make it easier.

  23. the One Says:

    Press F1, search through Help?

    Also, overlay HUD on the window it’s accessing the menu from or something.

  24. Magnesus Says:

    Looks very interesting. Remember though that people prefer clicking to writing especially in apps like Inkscape. In writing apps like LibreOffice it should be very good.

  25. Lucas Sampaio Says:

    I’m not understand clearly. Are you saying that I’ll can use HUD and the traditional menus together? I disagree that HUD should replace the “old-style menu”, even though I’m the ideal user of HUD (I love Vim and Keyboard navigations).

  26. burli Says:

    Interesting Idea. Usefull for Tablets and TV. Maybe awesome with voice recognition. But I am shure that mouse users wont be happy.

    Is there a date for the rollout in Precise?

  27. Chris Says:

    Awesome concept, and I look forward to trying it out.

    2 points, however:
    1. It needs to be able to understand user input (intention) without this input matching up precisely to a menu item. In the video above, ‘compose’ new email is used. What if the user just types ’email’? Will it pull up all the ’email’ entries? In an email programme, I imagine those to be numerous. Perhaps some gauge of ‘user level’ is called for, or some ordering algorithm for results.

    2. The inclusion of cross-application matching. I would love to be able to control Banshee from this when working in OpenOffice or while browsing, for example.

  28. Jimbo Says:

    Is there an open source voice input project we (users) could be contributing to? Because everything I know about voice input tells me that they need insane amounts of voice data before they start to work properly.

  29. mark Says:

    @Marcos, yes, it will be optional. Tap ALT if you want it, otherwise, nothing’s changed.

  30. likemindead Says:

    Bwahahaha… the LCARS comment is brilliant. Here’s hoping. I’ve been a staunch Xubuntu fan ever since Unity dropped. Look forward to the day Unity matures a bit more. Keep up the hard work, Team Ubuntu. Thanks for all you do.

  31. waspinator Says:

    the microsoft ribbon can be minimized, so it doesn’t take up that much room until you need it too.
    I’m eager to see how the HUD will help discover functionality.

  32. Stefan Says:

    How can someone, who is completely unfamiliar with ubuntu or some programs, guess the right menu names, function names or whatever? If he doesn’t know what to search for, he isn’t going to find it, is he?

  33. Alex Besogonov Says:

    Will it be possible to separate it from Unity?

    Though I’d guess that most of the indicators infrastructure is not dependent on Unity and it should be fairly simple to port 1000 lines of C code to another desktop environment.

  34. Ale Says:

    Why not make this dash-menu appearing while pushing the mouse cursor on the top of the screen? Or better, hovering the top panel (where now appmenu appears).
    I like this idea, so much.
    Newbie users will love it if it’ll be less “itstimetousethekeyboard”. Like the unity dash we could have the minimal version (search bar like this) ora a advanced version with the main menus displayed like the “filter side of the dash”.
    Ok more clicking, but still good to me.


  35. Mohamed Ikbel Boulabiar Says:

    “An interesting concept, but how will it work with mice or on tablets?”

    it will work when you just modify the mapping to the actions.
    The big part which is libdbus is here, so the next thing will be working on mapping input device features to menu actions.

  36. Andrew Ampers Taylor Says:

    BigWhale I like this idea of Marks but you certainly have a point, unless there are facilities to also browse menus.

    I mean without having to cluse HUD and revert back to the old structure of course.

  37. razvi_me Says:

    congrats, Ubuntu has totally left behind windows and mac.


  38. Navishkar Says:

    I’ve been using something similar to this on my OS X desktop for a while. Cmd+Shift+/ gives me a search box allowing me to search for menu items by name. Quicksilver goes further with its ‘User interface+’ plugin.

    It’s been a great boon for productivity so I’d like to see it on my linux desktop as well.

  39. Mark Fernandes Says:

    “every GUI app now feels as powerful as VIM”

    Now you have me hooked! Say no more!! :)

  40. Michael Wild Says:

    Reminds me of Apple’s help menu search: 😉

  41. mattp Says:


    Next step: get rid of menu groupings, since they’re not needed with this interface. Just have the raw menu options. Then since you use the menu so much, you may as well have a dedicated window for it. We could even break functionality out of monolithic “app-style” programs (who wants to rip off apple?) and into descrete programs that chain together. Imagine using an image editing program to change a picture, and then using word processor commands to put text on it, all without leaving the HUD!

    You could even use dbus to send data between programs, like sending water via pipeline from one place to another. You could just “pipeline” data between programs, maybe with a special syntax just in the HUD.

    wait shit we just invented unix

  42. behzad Says:

    is it possible to add the feature to show the shortcut key in HUD in front of each search result item.
    a lot of times i go through the menus just to remind myself what the shortcut key is

  43. Vinko Magecic Says:

    So, I will need to type everything instead of making a few clicks?

  44. PizzaPanther Says:

    I predict this will be an utter disaster if put into 12.04. If people really wanted to use the keyboard so much, we would be using command line interfaces. Additionally, HUD ruins discoverability and forces you to think what your intent is. Most users will not know what their intent is or if they do, how to correctly phrase it so that they can input the correct search term.

    I already have this problem with the Unity application menu.

    While HUD could be great once you learn a program, I think for casual users it will be awful.

    I’m not a power user of every program I use, so you’ll ruin almost every user’s experience.

    I can see HUD being a bridge to voice input, but alone it is awful.

  45. mark Says:


    Yes, we agree, there will be a mouse way to activate the HUD. Not sure exactly what’s best, feel free to test a couple of options on local users and report your findings on the Ubuntu design list.

  46. keithpeter Says:

    I’m finding the ppa just now as I have precise on the PC. I love this pushing against the accepted norms.

    I think BigWhale has a point – see Nielsen’s work on searching vs browsing. We need both. You have to be able to discover the affordances somehow because the model the application uses for an activity may not be the same as your expectation.

    Voice commands: in a classroom with 25 PCs? I’ll have to think about that one :-)

  47. mark Says:


    Yes, should be!

  48. mark Says:


    Actually, it’s the other way around. The person who is completely unfamiliar with the program now has a chance to say what they want, and have the program offer up the things it thinks are the best match for that. So instead of trying tersely named menu options, you can use the words that YOU prefer, and the app has a chance to get it right for you.

  49. mark Says:


    Yes, we are agreed, simple matching of the menu text is not as interesting as matching a deeper understanding of intent, based for example on fuzzy matching, matching help text, matching translations, matching your history, and matching additional data crowdsourced from what OTHER people chose when they typed what you just typed. There’s a long way to go still, this is just the start.

  50. Adam Says:

    I think this looks very interesting and promising.

    However I think BigWhale’s point about –

    “If there will be no browsing, how can you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?”

    is an important one that both Unity and Gnome3 have lost substantial ground on.

    “First, do no harm” needs to be remembered in design.

    It is very slow and difficult to browse through Unity and Gnome3 with your mouse. I’m all for the Run box entry and launch bars for things that you already know about. If you deemphasize or substantially change the browsing for programs to launch or menu items it makes it very very painful to learn about new gui-based software or find things with your mouse muscle memory.

    The amount of mouseclicking needed for browsing unfamiliar or infrequently used territory in Unity and Gnome Desktop went UP very substantially.

    It works for people that memorize the WORDS of menus or NAMES of programs but I (even being a long time command-line user and advanced Vim user with hundreds of program names memorized) do not remember that the 3d program I launch sporadically is NAMED “blender”. I don’t want to memorize that. The mouse provides a way for me to have a lighter impact in being able to just remember/see the heading “graphics”, find that submenu in the gnome launcher menu and have a suite of options with perhaps an icon shape+name to focus on.

    That process is click, short swipe, click in Gnome2 for ANY installed program with its more traditional launcher. Count the actions and the distance of mouse travel in Gnome3 or Unity for infrequently accessed/not docked items, it’s usually a painfully bad story.

    In the same way if it’s difficult to access unmemorized or infrequently accessed items in a menu because of HUD then you’ve lost ground.

  51. Rohit Says:

    Would it not restrict someone’s ability to explore stuff? Would a newbie ever type in “GEGL Tool” into HUD for GIMP?
    This is when traditional menus are removed altogether.

  52. Julian Lewis Says:

    I hope by the old (boring) way you mean getting rid of the Unity perversion.
    I managed to persuade my family to move to Linux and they made a huge effort to become familiar with Ubuntu pre 11.04 Gnome-2, our house is currently an MS free zone, I made a huge effort teaching them and weaning them off Windows, I now have an easy time maintaining their Ubuntu laptops and desktop systems.
    With the Unity interface they will all be going back to MS windows in droves along with the rest of the Ubuntu non geek users. What people don’t seem to realize is that my family don’t care about slick user interfaces and are not prepared to spend time being annoyed trying to find where the functions they want are hidden. The whole idea of providing a granny proof interface that can be used by a power user on a tablet, mobile phone, or desktop system, is an over generalization that is just plain wrong. Give a full simple reliable and efficient interface to everyone on a desktop and let them learn how it works for the tasks they need to perform and don’t expect them to like things being changed unexpectedly.
    HUD looks like the absolute last thing I would want on my desktop, all I want is an xterm, git, ssh and a GUI that lets me launch email and a web browser. My family want to play mp3s and cds, watch movies, browse etc. What is really bad is that I can’t imagine using it on a tablet or small portable device without a keyboard… so whats the point ?

  53. Patrick Says:

    Terrible. Who looks at a GUI and says, “You know what this needs? More typing.”

  54. Rio Says:

    What a horrible idea. How about putting some thought to the people for whom typing is not the best approach? For example, any Asian language?

  55. Reuben Says:

    Nice! I use this extensively on OS X to access actions that don’t have a keyboard shortcut (or actions I don’t remember what the shortcut is). I hope Unity will also fix the several issues that made me switch to Fedora and Gnome Shell, like video drivers issues and the sidebar being extremely annoying to use.

    Always good to see innovation in open source projects! :)

  56. Alissa Says:

    From the demo video, when HUD is first invoked, no options are displayed. Like another poster I am concerned how new users of an application will discover features. Seems one way to address that problem is that when first invoked, the overlay menu should list the traditional menu options (and perhaps after using the app for some time it starts listing your top 5 frequently used actions immediately on invocation). Moreover, the user could drill down menu options from the overlay menu, e.g. “Edit” is shown on first invoke, user doesn’t type anything and instead clicks on “Edit”, then the subitems are shown like “Edit > Undo”, “Edit > Redo”, … On the other hand, if the user starts typing then it immediately displays search results as the demo shows.

  57. Danillo Says:

    It looks like a dash to the application menus. A great inovation! But I do have one concern, related to this: “For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD (..)”

    I wonder what that would look like, because this visible map is something I think is still absent from the dash. The dash made me more productive because it’s so easy to just press super and type the name of what I want, but I still add the classic-menu-indicator to my panel as there are times when I can’t keep track of the applications I have installed or I can’t remember the name of the application I want, since it’s so much faster to looks for it in a small list rather than in the middle of tons of massive icons. Another hindrance for this map would be if we had to click on things like “more menu itens” and “show items filter” to see all the functions.

    I don’t feel I have a good global view of my applications with the dash right now, so maybe when thinking about the design of a funcionality map for the HUD its implementation for the dash could also be considered?

  58. keithpeter Says:

    @Chris @Mark

    Its a fine line between fuzzy matching of intent and pulling in other information on the one hand, and presenting a coherent set of choices on the other. Some balancing needed. Its about signal to noise, like using the OED full version as a spell check dictionary.

    I think its a wonderful start (playing with it now).

  59. Paradiesstaub Says:

    Canonical has the balls to be innovative and push the Desktop forward, great!

    Hope Eclipse IDE will support Global Menus this circle.
    Replacing the menu by text search is nice, but over all I would love to see a Shortcut tooltip at the right hand of the HUD – if available.

    PS: I’m an Emacs user :)

  60. Ging34 Says:

    This is a really cool project but that assumes all users know commands or function…you are fighting with 2 important aspects:

    human mind
    software immediacy (without manual i can learn it!)

    this is a use case with HUD:
    I’m a new Gimp user…obviously i don’t know this application, but i want learn it!
    I open my photo and i want transform it like a framework brushed (“Van Gogh” filter)
    I type framework…..[nothing]
    i type brush…d’ho..this changes type of brush

    this is another without HUD:
    I’m a new Gimp user…obviously i don’t know this application, but i want learn it!
    I open my photo and i want transform it in something like i don’t know, i want play with it.
    i see Filter option, i open it and i find “Artistic” option..i go upon with mouse, and the new selection menu show me “Van Gogh”….what’s that?…i click on it and my photo becomes a beautiful picture of van gogh!, i learned a new function!

    i think this new function mustn’t substitute with old menu…..not now!

    i’m sorry for my english -.-‘

  61. Rockiger Says:

    I think this is very clever. Think you are using a complex software like OpenOffice – you know some feature you want to use, but don’t recall the shortcut, just type in the name and to can use it. No movement away from the keyboard neccessary – very powerful idea.

  62. Andres Says:


    I’m a Ubuntu user from a long time ago. The idea is pretty cool indeed, and I congrat the team for that. I’m a user of synapse, and I saw that HUD is basically a gnome-do/synapse/kupfer on esteroids, so for me the main concept is not new, you just add the menu as part of it, and, indeed is a great addition.
    I have a question and a suggestion. The question is, this would be available in Unity2D ? The suggestion, I don’t like the idea to place the HUD window on that corner, I wonder if it won’t be better to put it on the center, or below the center of the screen, because in that corner you hide all the program main gui, like tabs in the browser, icons on programs like LibreOffice/Inkspace. I think you placed there just to be consistent with Unity Dash window, but in my case I don’t use the dash because in Unity2D doesn’t integrate well with Xmonad.


  63. W. Craig Trader Says:

    My comments here:

    In the beginning was the Command Line … but the problem with the command line is that it’s an expert’s tool. If you’re a beginner, the command line is intimidating because you don’t know what you can do, much less how to do it. The main reason why WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointers) interfaces became popular was that anyone could drive through the menus looking at what was possible, and then pick whatever seemed closest to what they wanted. Of course, if you decide to put everything in the menus, they become complex, complicated, confusing, and incomprehensible. Menus (as typically implemented) require that pointing device, which makes them incompatible with speech input, hard to use with touch interfaces, and deeply nested menus may end up obscuring most of the screen.

    So people have been trying to fix menus for a while. Toolbars were the first big alternative to menus, though they tended to be used in conjunction with menus. Microsoft’s Fluent UX (aka Ribbons) was the logical out growth of toolbars to the point where they encompass the menu entirely. If you’ve used them you probably have your own list of “what’s wrong with ribbons”, but in my case it was because menus were gone, leaving me to spend minutes hunting in the damn ribbons to (hopefully) find operations that I could have found and used in seconds from the menus. At the same time, the ribbon became almost completely pointer-centric, not less-so, making voice and keyboard control of the application almost impossible.

    Now Ubuntu is proposing the HUD (presumably for Head-Up Display, though there is very little in common with traditional HUDs). With the HUD, you do something to trigger it, then type characters until the HUD identifies what you want. In many ways, it’s like the Instant Predictions feature that search engines and browsers have incorporated in recent days. While the HUD may be better for keyboard and voice-centric control of applications, I feel that it loses the capability to browse the UI looking for features. This is fine for a developer who’s already familiar with his/her application, but it will be devastating for the user who knows what he/she wants to do, but not what it’s called. It will also be a poor fit for graphical applications (like GIMP) where the primary interaction tool is the pointer, not the keyboard.

    I’ll continue to evaluate Ubuntu releases, but at the moment, their trend in UX design seems to be intent on punishing the existing Ubuntu user base, while trying to make things “easier”.

  64. Tim Says:

    Well done, this looks very promising indeed. I already use an approach like this as much as I can, without ever considering it as a ‘concept’. It started with IntelliJIdea – I use the Find Action box to bring up a small prompt into which I type anything I want: very much like your HUD. I never use the menu bar anymore and I absolutely love the continuation of flow you mentioned. I use a Mac, so Spotlight has become my way to launch programs and find files. DTerm gives me a popup command prompt anywhere: both are very HUD-like. Having a global, integrated HUD at the OS level is tremendously exciting and I will definitely be trying Ubuntu now.

    Thinking out a few years, you might have hit on the perfect laptop UI. Touch-screen monitors are an inevitability, so there’s your mouse/trackpad replacement. Then with the HUD you have a fluid way to ‘drive’ the computer with a keyboard using something close to natural language. The combination of the two will be incredibly productive.

  65. RichB Says:

    You mean Jef Raskin, not Jeff?
    Oh, and Aza is no longer at Mozilla.

  66. mlux Says:

    Thats a wonderful thing! This is really an innovation!!

    But I have a question:
    “The HUD concept has been the driver for all the work we’ve done in unifying menu systems across Gtk, Qt and other toolkit apps in the past two years. So far, that’s shown up as the global menu. ”

    I am from the .Net and Java – world (C#). What does this global menu mens for application developers? Is this integrated in GTK (if i make a menu on GTK# then it will be available on Unity) or do i need to know a special framework? I have a lot ideas for innovative applications which i want do deploy as a new start up on USC. But is C# (monodevelop + gtk#) the right way to uses this?

  67. Rockiger Says:

    One more thing though. Please don’t mess with the clasical menus – Just leave them there.

  68. Marco Says:

    Sounds cool, but there is one point I don’t get. Menus provide a very simple way to “learn” what you can do with an application. For a text editor it is quite obvious, but think about Gimp commands. I wouldn’t know 1 milion feature were available if I hadn’t gone trough the menus many and many times. How do you plan to solve this issue with HUD?

  69. Daniel Butler Says:

    I love this. Almost everyday I wonder, how can I do this without screwing up my work flow by moving my hand to the mouse, the mouse to the menu, navigating the menu and then moving back. I love the dash search in Unity so much. It’s so easy and intuitive.

    I just have two things to say.
    One is that I think the menus should be left there more permanently for when people are using the mouse/touch interface. (though I will definitely be using the HUD!)

    The other is that I think it would also be really great if the keyboard shortcut appears to the right of the menu item, like it does in menus, so that when you use the HUD to do something a lot you can learn a keyboard shortcut that will likely be faster.

    Thanks for this update!

  70. Daniel Wiberg Says:

    Very interesting, will definitely test it. I have absolutely no idea if I will like it.

  71. peter Says:

    Very creative and forward-thinking. Impressive at the vary least.

    Just a few thought:

    As a UX designer, I completely understand your want to “change the world.” Being that Ubuntu is designed for the so-called “power users,” if your intent was to re-engineer for that specific users I think this is a very logical solution.

    However, if your intentions are to make this the next UI – then I must disagree. Screen resolutions are getting bigger – and those days of “above the fold” is history. Most users that require large screen area (graphic designer, video/audio producers) have 30″ screens where real-estate is no longer relevant. For simple things like word docs, excel, web-browsing, most users are not “power users.”

    Again, I applaud your efforts but after reading through your thoughts, I still don’t understand your basic logic.

  72. mark Says:


    That’s what we mean by “discoverability”. For the moment, we’ll leave the menu’s there (probably hiding them as we do in 11.10, but you’ll be able to expose them if you want, or mouse over the panel). Going forward, we’re keen to experiment with better solutions for that specific goal of “mapping the app”. Ideas welcome, Ubuntu design list please :)

  73. mark Says:

    @RichB – thanks, updated.

  74. Ted Gould Says:

    @Alex, the search is provided over DBus. While we won’t put effort into supporting other DE’s, they’re welcome to use that interface as they wish.

  75. mark Says:


    Would speech be a better option for them?

  76. Markus Says:

    Hi there. Need to say something about the Last Ideas of the Ubuntu Project. Now Ubuntu is changing to a Bad System cause i think you change good things to bad. The UI of 10.04.3 is the best System i´ve ever seen. With Version 11.10 you kill all your great work before. I don´t know why you do this. You think Ubuntu Users would like to have a simple System but what you did is, you gave Users a System like Microsoft Windows 8, nothing to do, nothing to change… this is a Bad Day in Ubuntus History i think. Linux Users are Linux Users cause they need to configure their System like they want. Gnome 2.30 is a great Thing, but 3.0 is awful for Linux Users. So the Way Ubuntu Changes in the last Year is a Sign for me to Change my System back to Debian the Mother of all. Linux is great, and dont want to be Windows !
    So let me say, as Ubuntu uses Unity, you loose much Users, cause Unity is made for Windows Users not for Linux Users !

    I got a little Hope in my Heart, that you see the Bad Fault in this Development of Ubuntu and Change the Things.
    So for this Part, i use 10.04.3 until the LTS is over and after that i Change back to Debian.

    Version 11.10 is the biggest disappointment I’ve ever seen, and it seems not the only one to go. I spoke with many people and all agree Unity does not change, but the end. Greetings from Bavaria, Germany. Markus

  77. mark Says:

    @Patrick funnily enough, I did! Wasn’t the first, and it may not be a good idea, but let’s see how it goes shall we?

  78. mark Says:

    @Julian Lewis – try them. We do this all the time in a usability lab, and most users far prefer Unity to Gnome 2. Your family may of course be completely different.

  79. Ilia Jerebtsov Says:

    This system seems to work under the assumption that I actually know, or at least already have a basic idea of what I want. I don’t think most users do. Rather, they have some end goal in mind, and try different things in order to see whether it gets them closer to it.

    The ability to decompose a problem and describe it in words is a non-trivial cognitive task. When I find myself using an unfamiliar program, my process is to browse through the various options and see whether any of them seems like the sort of thing that I want. I won’t know what I want until I see it, and for that I need to be able to browse around and experiment.

    Unless this is used in conjunction with a regular UI, this basic method of discovery is removed. The various functions of a program are stripped of a way to advertise themselves, and I have no way to find out what can a program do for me. By removing that knowledge from the world, you’re forcing me to go read manuals and memorize things, which I don’t want to do.

    On its own, like the console, this is a powerful tool for power users who already know what to do, but it’s a step backwards in usability for the average person.

  80. mark Says:

    @Rohit, they might if they read about it in a magazine, say. And we would not remove traditional menus without an alternative map.

  81. marcelo Says:

    So, we are turning the user experience into a big “King’s Quest” game? You know, where you wanted to take the cookie from the shelf and you spent five minutes guessing that the engine understood “grab cookie” and “grasp cookie” but it didn’t understand “take cookie” and “pick up cookie”… I won’t ask if this was looked at by people with actual knowledge of HCI because I know I will be told that yes, it was, even if the evidence demonstrates otherwise.

  82. Jef Spaleta Says:


    I’d welcome a video showing the same interactions using a software keyboard on a touch centric device like a tablet interface.

    My concern is, on such interfaces, the search and keyboard overlays take up so much display room that you no longer get enough visual display for the application scope you are working with to avoid some confusion. For example, I’d like to see a video of the inkscape interactions again on a tablet with a software keyboard in use to do the functionality typing.


  83. Alan Says:

    I’m not optimistic about what I’ve seen and am reading. There are some good ideas here, but they’re entangled with some deep problems.

    The “map of the app’s functionality” appears to be completely missing. Scrubbing the menus can tell you what the program can do, educating you about features you didn’t know to ask about. It’s also useful if you know something exists, but can’t put it into words.

    Also, when I’m in an application where my hands are on the keyboard in a typing position anyway (e.g. writing a document in OpenOffice) yes, this looks great. But if I’m doing something without the keyboard (e.g. Chasing link on a web site), or using the keyboard as a palette with the mouse (GIMP and Inkscape leap to mind), you’re interrupting my flow.

    Finally, one of the big advantages of a shortcuts is that they are consistent. Smart systems like this are inconsistent. Take a similar tool, Firefox’s Awesomebar. I like it. I got comfortable using it as my primarily way of loading common sites. I’d type “re” and Firefox would correctly conclude I wanted Google Reader. But something changed. For some reason Firefox promoted another bookmark as a better match. The “select and delete” trick doesn’t remove it from the matches. My muscle memory fails and something I was doing without even thinking now requires me to pay attention and interrupts me flow.

    As for speech, while speech input is a good idea and worth adding, it’s a special case, not the common case. People frequently use computers around other people: in their office, at the library, in the coffee shop, while watching television with others. In none of those places is it appropriate to have a conversation with your computer. If the input system is only usable in limited situations, why bother learning it at all? Any work on voice input needs to start with the understanding that its primary audience is not everyone, it’s people for whom keyboard and/or mouse is a problematic input.

    Maybe you have some brilliant ideas to sort this out, but I’m not heading them yet.

  84. Mike Coleman Says:

    That’s very slick. Kind of “revenge of the command-line”, which as a command-line user I feel is totally appropriate. I think Unity detractors will be a lot less grouchy once they see this.

    The only concern I see is that the context-dependent nature of completions may need some careful work to keep it usable. Even if I listen all day long to my favorite band, the “Edit Cuts”, I don’t want that to cause problems for me in LibreOffice…

  85. George Says:

    Nice to see you guys working on usability projects but you are going in a completely wrong direction. While there are references to Mac OS and Windows there is the blaring omission of the OS X design. Everything that HUD does is actually present in the help menu in OS X. Also OS X’s implementation does not forgo the drop down menus, which are in fact a fast way of you getting to a command provided that you know where it is. Ubuntu’s HUD might also run into some patent issues as Apple’s implementation might be some what copyrighted.

    It’s a great effort but you shouldn’t completely dismiss what other’s have done before you . Oh and in case you were wondering, OS X does map the help menu to a shortcut by default ( Cmd + ? )
    So yes by all means include HUD to applications but please do not make the MS mistake and proclaim HUD (Ribbon in MS’ case) as the solution for everything.

  86. Axure Says:

    Clicking is just much faster.

    Typing will only be useful in rare cases, when one can’t remember where an option was.
    (Assuming HUD supports synonyms, because one can just as easily not remember the name of an option.)

  87. rvl Says:

    Nice idea but its value is mainly in text-heavy applications.

    I use xmonad myself so I can keep both hands on the keyboard as much as possible. The HUD would be useful in this environment.

    But when I use Inkscape and the GIMP I usually have my left hand on the keyboard to press shortcuts and right hand on the mouse. If I can’t remember the shortcut I mouse through the menu to look for it. The HUD has no place in these kind of apps. It will give your users RSI when they move their right hands between the keyboard and mouse.

    I am also skeptical about voice commands. They could be helpful at home or in your private office but I predict a lot of people wouldn’t be comfortable talking to their computer in public. Also I would prefer not to talk with my computer if there’s a good song playing in banshee.

    Hopefully this feature will be fast enough to use. I installed ubuntu on my wife’s laptop (lucky her) and the alt-tab menu takes 0.5s to appear – which makes it pretty much useless. The launcher search thing (when you press the win key) takes forever and makes the disk thrash.

    It’s a neat feature. Keep pushing the envelope, cheers.

  88. Branimir Says:

    Great stuff! I guess on tablets voice recognition could replace keyboard actions

  89. Jason Balicki Says:

    Ubuntu: Fixing things that aren’t broken since 2004.

  90. manny Says:

    Mark, am loving this, I think this can become a HUGE breakthrough.

    I first saw this concept in a Gimp fork called Adaptable-Gimp:

    With good discoverability and some tweaks this can be done not just for gimp but for many more applications!

  91. Ubuntu 12.04 Bakal Mengantikan Menu Lama Dengan HUD | Amanz Says:

    […] olehnya. Dan sebagai memberikan idea awal, Mark Shuttleworth melalui blog beliau telah pun mengumumkan salah satu fungsi baru padanya, dinamakan sebagai HUD (Head-Up […]

  92. Bree Says:

    ok here is what I am seeing..
    I want to save a file so instead of hitting [mouse] file-save and done. now I will have to type or hit a command key and type save file, and hope it shows me the command or starts to save file.. its 3 clicks at most vice typing a command key and few more characters, selecting the right chose[a few more characters.. no no this looks like a disaster in the making. Oddly it sounds good but from my experience of using computers for over 30 years a made for voice type interface but adapted to keyboard hasn’t worked well.
    Now voice use , which i do, to run some programs has sped up my work but i still use menus. I don’t know what user base your looking to please but remember most users AREN’T power users. A Simple find the basic functions is essential.

    1 keep menus
    2 add the command search
    3 allow menus to be full blown or basic [switchable as the command search matures]
    4 add in basic voice for commands as you can
    5 convert to full voice use as best as possable with full command search via voice or keyboard
    6 fully convert to voice and keep keyboard and mouse fully intragrated.

  93. ENC Says:

    I for one do not search for functionality all the time. I search the first time, and then I remember WHERE that functionality is. Searching is more tedious than clicking a button in a known location.

  94. Brian Perry Says:

    I was thinking LCARS too -especially with the voice recognition. At first I was thinking this would slow my workflow down a lot since I use lot of hotkeys. If you keep the hotkeys or if the computer can react to movement, that may actually speed up my workflow. May need to get copyrights to keep Apple from suing over some frivolous patent related to siri for voice.

  95. Sue-Ellen Says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about HUD and menus and the common user. I deal with a lot of Windows-centric users because the ERP software I consult for is Windows only. So, I know how common Windows users think. I am a die hard GNU/Linux fan, though, but by necessity I have a foothold in both worlds. Without menus Windows users tend to get lost, the older ones, anyway… so always need to have some type of traditional option for them to get around when the Unity launcher frustrates them. Like gnome shell’s extension which adds a regular gnome2 menu to the top panel, that way users can use something a bit more comfortable when they don’t know what they are looking for. I pretty much have no need for that in Ubuntu (either Unity or Gnome Shell), I just type in what I am looking for or what I want to do – its a rarity I go for an old fashioned menu. And for as EASY as I feel Ubuntu to be, I am reminded every day how boxed in Windows users can be and thus hard hard it is for them to change. The clients I cater to can hardly deal with minor changes, let alone big ones (and thus why some are still on Office 2003). They get very frustrated and confused and easily give up. Many won’t even try to learn anything new. That’s the battle where GNU/Linux is concerned. Its not that Ubuntu and other distros are *too hard* but rather that Windows users who can barely figure out how to use Windows are scared to move on to something better if only because it is something DIFFERENT. Still, I keep the flags flying… :)

  96. maccad » HUD’s up! Ubuntu creates menu-free GUI Says:

    […] will feature the first release of Head Up Display, or HUD, which distro creator Mark Shuttleworth has predicted will ultimately replace menus in Unity […]

  97. Ubuntu 12.04 Bakal Mengantikan Menu Lama Dengan HUD | HatiBlogger [dot] Com Says:

    […] olehnya. Dan sebagai memberikan idea awal, Mark Shuttleworth melalui blog beliau telah pun mengumumkan salah satu fungsi baru padanya, dinamakan sebagai HUD (Head-Up […]

  98. mark Says:


    Time yourself doing both.

  99. Tom Says:

    I wish I could present stuff like this to customers.

    “Yeah, we’ve got this great idea, there’s a huge gaping flaw in it but we’re ignoring that and just hoping we can figure it out later!”

    A new way for users to interact with their applications is great, but when a menu is still necessary it isn’t a menu replacement, and shouldn’t be presented as such.

  100. mark Says:

    @marcelo, nice analogy! And yes, with the proviso that we can be a bit more generous in the pattern matching these days than they were back then.

  101. olh Says:

    Finally something made by people with brains. But it would be nice to have the graphical menu while having the HUD until people get over it.

  102. mark Says:


    Oh nonsense. It’s ready for more widespread testing and commentary, and isn’t harmful to people who like their menus unchanged. The ‘huge gaping flaw’ is perfectly covered by leaving menus in place unchanged. Stop being such a grouch and try it. Green eggs and ham, etc.

  103. Conheça o Heads Up Display, nova revolução do Ubuntu « Ubuntu-BR-SC Says:

    […] Heads Up Display, nova revolução do UbuntuPostado em 24 de janeiro de 2012A algumas horas atrás Mark Shuttleworth anunciou o Heads Up Display, ou HUD. Ele substitui todos aqueles estilos de menus que nós já conhecíamos, por um sistema […]

  104. Head-Up Display – Neue Menüs für Anwendungen in Ubuntu 12.04 » OSzine OpenSource Magazin Says:

    […] kann. Später könnte HUD das Menü sogar ganz ersetzen. Selbst die Bedienung per Sprache schließt Mark Shuttleworth in seinem Blogpost über HUD nicht […]

  105. TimM Says:

    How do I discover a feature if I am not sure what it’s called? How do I use visual memory of where something is?

    I think that 1984 Mac looks simple and discoverable and it’s probably a far easier thing to use.

  106. Ubuntu’s Upcoming HUD at Says:

    […] fact that I am not a fan of Unity in Ubuntu, I am really looking forward to the HUD features that Shuttleworth shared today. Unity feels like it hampers my productivity rather than enhance it, but the HUD appears to expand […]

  107. HUD: Το νέο έξυπνο μενού στο Ubuntu! Says:

    […] προφανώς θα είχε άμεση σχέση με το dash. -Αυτό ακριβώς ανακοίνωσε σήμερα και ο mr Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth, στο blog του. Η ονομασια του HUD και […]

  108. Mark Shuttleworth presenta a HUD, el menú inteligente y contextual de Ubuntu Says:

    […] Blog de Mark Shuttleworth Tags: HUD, interfaz, Mark Shuttleworth, […]

  109. alfem Says:

    “Voice is the natural next step”

    Uh uh, I am looking forward to see voice i18n ;-D

  110. Tom Says:


    Upon opening the page I was excited to see how you could have cooked up a replacement for menus, but was disappointed to find out that you hadn’t. Now, that’s ridiculous, because what you’ve come up with is great. Had you said “hey, this is new and awesome, check it out!” I would have walked away grinning from ear to ear.

    Leaving the menus there does the job just fine, but means that while HUD is a valid and useful addition to Unity (and software in general), it’s not a menu replacement.

  111. manny Says:

    ALT is the only way to access it? Then this would be one of those preciously kept secrets to only those that have read the manual :/

    something as good as this needs to be easier to discover for all.

    what about a visual cue for the big chunck that are mouse users?

    Not sure what the plans are to make it more discoverable but something like a Windicator would be so cool for this. :)

  112. stefanct Says:

    i am usually very skeptic about any “new innovation” that mark introduces (and usually i dont fall in love with its final implementation either). this looks quite interesting and going in the right direction. i am a heavy shortcut user and love gdk apps that allow user-customizable shortcuts (and have added this functionality to apps myself). also, i deem the fact that the “menu is as map of available actions” as a very important part of the *documentation* of a good application. but besides that i hope you, mark, and your fellows do not forget a major distinction between keyboard shortcuts and the input method you propose:


    of course one has to remember the right shortcut and this can be a major inconvenience especially if they are not customizable, but if you do the mapping between intent and shortcut correctly, you get the right thing back from the application (not counting the times when one hits the wrong button(s) ;). it is important that the HUD gets it THAT right eventually. if the result depends on other open applications, is changing often due to wrong machine learning or different working behavior/focus etc. this will get some users very angry.
    this will be even more a problem for speech recognition!
    i am not sure this problem can be avoided and/or solved, but we will see. it will not solve itself though, please put some pressure on it, because i think it will be a major part of the hud’s success/failure.

    regarding the lost “map of actions”: just show the normal (interactive) menu above the input field of the hud and let the user use it if he wants. hide it if the hud is not active (but be sure to make this configurable!).
    might not look as good as the existing thing… but i hate good looking, especially semitransparent ui elements, that are unusable (i.e. way too much of what was introduced on various operating systems in the last years).

  113. Dr Zempt Says:

    I love how Ubuntu is making strides to enable the user to comfortably navigate with her hands on the keyboard.

    What I don’t get though, is: Mark, you mention early on the two functionalities of a conventional menu end explain how you plan to improve on the first one. But how is the HUD going to even retain the second functionality: serving as a map of the app’s functionality?

  114. Henry Moran Says:

    Although this functionality looks great, there’s an App called Alfred that could possibly do the something thing if someone would write and extension for it.

  115. Viktor R. Says:

    So, just to be clear: let’s assume I’m a German user. I’m toying around with Gimp, a program I don’t know or don’t have much experience with. I want to apply a “Gaussian Blur” (“Gaußscher Weichzeichner” in German) to an image, but I don’t know how that filter’s called. So I try to describe what I want, perhaps with verbs like “verwischen” or “verschwimmen” (which both can mean “to blur” in English). The HUD will then be intelligent enough to offer me (among other filters) the “Gaußscher Weichzeichner”? Or put more generally: will HUD be able to deal with users entering terms which in a specific context are close enough to the meaning of a menu entry? In other words: synonyms. For example, if I want to group something in, say, LibreOffice Draw, will “put together” let me reach my goal?

  116. Byron Says:

    Excellent! As a long-time Gnome-Do/Synapse user, I for one welcome our new search-based launcher overlords!

    And it’s about time. Glad to see an OS team finally realize this functionality should be the default means of interacting with the OS, rather than menus, ribbons, mice, or whatever. It really does feel like an entire layer has been removed from between me and what I want to do.

    Kudo’s guys, keep up the good innovation.

  117. HUD, Un nuevo sistema de menúes para Linux Says:

    […] Vía Markshutterworth […]

  118. Jose Says:

    Mark, this is what we need on tablets!!

    The reason we can’t use an actual OS(windows, mac or linux) is because of menus: They are too small and picking them is impossible with the finger, but if no small, we can’t provide the same number of options.

    But for it working on tablets we need two things:

    1)Voice recognition that works. It will take some time for it to work ON the tablet(not on google or mac servers). Typing on tablets is so slow.

    2)A way for people to learn. Interactive tutorials on real time. I open a fighting game on a ps3 and they teach me all movements, any 6 years old kid is able to master it because they teach them!!

    Why nobody teaches unity?.

    “Discover” is not an option, people don’t “discover” how to play piano or guitar , driving a car, to flight a plane or using a PC, (trial and error is terrible slow and painful and in some cases dangerous or deadly). Something or someone show them first.

    Show them to use 95% of unity in 5 minutes or use the tutorial to refresh people memory when they want to know how to do something in simple tutorials.

    You can show people how to do things, you already have all the necessary pieces:

    You have gtk and qt interface access united so you could ask people things like “open a document” using recorded mp3s, and/or text dialogs, and wait for people to do that, when they do, give them a reward(paulov techniques 😀 !)

    A proof of concept(quick and dirty) should be trivial to do on a day, I could do it if you give me a way to contact unity people for technical help(I program gtk and qt but don’t have a clue about Unity).

  119. jonobacon@home Says:

    […] we announced the HUD that is landing in Unity. This is an awesome new feature. See Mark’s blog post, the coverage on PC Pro, and the interview with John Lea on OMG! Ubuntu!. Here is a video of the […]

  120. roger Says:

    This is great start – cut straight to the command you want without wading through menus.

    Now some other considerations:
    * People read fastest right to left or left to right.
    * Screens are getting wider.
    So, why do interfaces present options in vertical lists instead of horizontal ones?
    The screenshot shows the options in a vertical list, why not make it horizontal?

    Think Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS. Now that menu was so fast to navigate and intuitive it was ridiculous.

  121. Michael Glasser Says:

    This is excellent. Some of the areas where desktop Linux suffers is a lack of consistency between programs. The different tools kits simply do not have the same menu structure and this is bad. What you are working on, even with its warts, largely works around that. It is a work-around for a bigger problem in the OSS community.

    You get UI issues more than many in the OSS community and you are willing to admit when you make a mistake. I commend you for that and have nothing but respect for the work you are doing, even when it has rough edges.

  122. Jose Says:

    In my opinion 90% of people problems with Unity was simple frustration(People rationalize the emotional feelings they have and find reasons the same way they find reasons to explain why they get in love).

    Mark, You created a huge change with Unity and you did not gave an option to do what used to work in a different way. Options were there, but people didn’t knew they existed!!. It took 30 minutes for me to find the new preferences panel!!!!,and I’m an expert programmer who used computers since Atari, DOS and windows 3.11.

    People did not spend 30 minutes, they become frustrated and changed OS talking sh*t about Ubuntu. It was a mistake I never expected from someone who led a commercial company, who got emotional too.

    It is not only what you do but in contact with people it is very important how you do it.

  123. Gabriel Mazetto Says:

    It’s a great complement to applications menus but it’s definitely not a replacement for menus. One of the main concepts behind user menus is that it tells users what kind of actions can that application do. Whenever you open a brand new application that you’ve never used before, you probably will click some menus to see what sort of actions that application can do for you.

    Not knowing or having to cycle in a search list is not the answer to this.

  124. Aaron Seigo Says:

    “Will it be possible to use this feature from within a KDE session?”

    it’s called “krunner” and can be called up with alt+f2. making a runner plugin that uses libdbusmenu is a few hours work at most and the rest is already there. Plasma Desktop has had it since 4.0, the people at Humanized had working implementations of such interface prior to that … it’s not new, but it is a nice idea. though i do believe that the decision to completely replace application menus (if that is indeed the plan) is a rather poor one. a typing centric approach also goes in the opposite direction of touch based interfaces, so if nothing else it does demonstrate Canonical’s continued commitment to the desktop (or else a lack of understanding of the touch space…)

  125. Ubuntu: un nuovo modo di usare i menu | Binary Emotions Says:

    […] Shuttleworth ha annunciato quest’oggi HUD (Heads UP Display), un nuovo metodo per tentare di spingere la desktop […]

  126. rhY Says:

    Retarded. This is why everyone is moving to Linux Mint. Wake the fuck up. LOL

  127. Ubuntu intentará crear interfaz sin menú - FayerWayer Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu(Mark Shuttleworth) […]

  128. Gabriel Mazetto Says:

    Retarded. This is why everyone is switching to Linux Mint. Wake up!

  129. Jay Says:

    Looks great! Been using gnome-do/synapse and this appears to have a similar function, however application specific! Not sure why there are so many naysayers when it comes to Unity. I been using ubuntu way before Unity and am still using it on a daily basis. Which is a lot coming from a ‘Windows’ Sysadmin for a large corporation. It’s like everything else in IT,….change! So go with it…

  130. robvdl Says:

    I am sorry but that seems horrible, typing every time you want to use the menus. So many people are switching away from Ubuntu because of Unity. I personally switched to Kubuntu and haven’t looked back since, but many others are also switching to Mint and Xubuntu.

  131. Ubuntu Looks To Replace Traditional Menus With New "HUD" Interface | Lose Your Fear Says:

    […] the HUD, without changing focus, because those apps all talk to the indicator system.” So sayeth Shuttleworth in an in-depth introductory blog post. And yes, the traditional menus will still be there, too — at least for […]

  132. Vince Says:

    Am I the only one who finds the HUD in the screenshot completely unreadable? Sure, I guess it will be themeable, but I’m surprised at the choice of that theme for the purpose of introducing it.

    Why I’m not sure whether I’ll like it, I’m glad to see people innovating. Best of luck to you guys!

  133. Ubuntu Linux’s New ‘HUD’ Interface Will Do Away with Menus | Got2.Me Says:

    […] serve two purposes,” explained Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in a blog post on Tuesday morning. “They act as a standard way to invoke commands which are too infrequently […]

  134. MG Says:

    It is going to be very important to have some means of allowing a user to find out what features a program has. It is often not obvious that a program *can* do something until you see a menu entry for it while you are poking around. Ideally the “help” system should handle this, but in reality many help systems aren’t much “help” unless you already know what you are looking for. Telling program authors to simply write much better help introductions isn’t a realistic near term goal either.

    A good example is that Inkscape can do bar codes. While it may be obvious in retrospect that this is a useful feature for a drawing program to have, it would never have occurred to me beforehand that this would be present in Inkscape. I found this by accident while looking for another feature, but this serendipitous discovery has been very useful to me.

    Perhaps what would work would be to have the HUD work more like the “Dash”, where you can either type or select the menu options using the “filters”. The menu filters would have the same names as the original menus themselves (so they would be automatically created), but laid out in a similar manner to the Dash.

  135. Simon Says:

    While it’s good that you’re actively thinking about user experience, I’m not sure this is a good thing to test on an LTS release.
    So far I’ve been underwhelmed by Unity, mostly due to its lack of configurability, memory requirements and slooooow operation on my somewhat aged but not obsolete laptop. It still needs quite a bit of work before it becomes a really usable environment, and it seems a mistake to add a huge feature like this to it in an LTS release, which should concentrate on usability and stability above all else.

  136. Casey Says:

    Great!! I can’t wait to enjoy all this additional bugs … er I mean features … that I got to experience with 11.10. Seriously, can you guys just fix the stuff first before moving on to “new and better” features that just add more problems.

  137. Casey Says:

    WARNING .. there is a SERIOUS bug in the comment form. I just submitted and comment and the page reloaded with all of “Simons” info, including email in the Reply form.

    As proof, I’m submitting Simon’s email and web address with my post. Yikes !!

  138. Ubuntu Linux’s New ‘HUD’ Interface Will Do Away with Menus | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] serve two purposes,” explained Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in a blog post on Tuesday morning. “They act as a standard way to invoke commands which are too infrequently […]

  139. Katie Says:

    You know, I dislike a bad UI, I really do. What I hate most are the fanbois piling on, insisting that any reason I hate it is because I’m some cave dwelling knuckle dragger who needs to get with the times, and understand that this guy over here as a VISION, and that I probably only spent 30 minutes with it before making a decision.

    I get it. UIs change. I have Unity a chance. I used it for several months, but there were so many things wrong with it, I couldn’t get work done with it. That bar was ugly and ridiculous. Where my apps were changed for no good reason that I could see. I could no longer do duel screen with my laptop, in spite of being told that it was fully tested for that set-up.

    The worst part, though, was the attitude of the community. My protests were met with derision and eye-rolling. Unity has a vision. Unity is going places. I just couldn’t see it.

    And that’s why I’m on Mint, now.

  140. kikl Says:

    I love the idea! Awesome! It sounds and looks great and I am definitely looking fofward to using it. “Minority report” is one of my favourate movies! This is how science fiction actually inspires science. Gives you something to marvel about. But, please keep the good old menues for the time being so as not to alienate legacy users.



  141. mangue Says:

    If you remove menus completely, it will be horrible.

  142. Sebastian B Says:

    This puts a heavy dependency on precise translations. I am often not aware of whether the application I use is translated or not. Menu entries are in the same position regardless of language. With the HUD I would have to always be mindful of what language to express myself in.

  143. TuringTest Says:

    Nice recall-based interface. Now how are you going to support finding commands through recognition? Will menus be at the same place than they are now (hidden)?

  144. Lars Vogel Says:

    Thanks for taking the initiative and re-inventing certain desktop paradigmn which are annoying.

  145. HUD- The new smart Menu for ubuntu|Shuttleworth Announcement | Unixmen Says:

    […] Tweet Announced today by Mark Shuttleworth the arrival of Head-Up Display, or HUD, a smart Menu that will replace global menus in Unity. […]

  146. Lucas Sampaio Says:

    I’m disagree that HUD should replaces the old-style menu in the future. I’m agree with your arguments, Mark, and I’m really excited to use HUD in my Ubuntu, but we can not forget the other users that simply hates most of terminal style interfaces (like HUD), and they’re the majority and, I think, the target of Ubuntu.

  147. HUD | Wulf's Web-den Says:

    […] Apparently Ubuntu is considering a move away from traditional GUI menus to use an interface called HUD (presumably Heads Up Display). I watched a short video on the Read Write Web site. There is also more information on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog. […]

  148. Linux, BSD un citas lietas - Atvērtajās ziņās | Ubuntu Linux izstrādātāji piedāvā alternatīvu tradicionālajai rīkjoslai Says:

    […] Linux “tēvs” Marks Šatlvorts prezentējis principiāli jaunu rīkjoslas mehānismu ar nosaukumu ‘Head-Up Display’ (HUD), kas […]

  149. pip25 Says:

    This reminds me of the Ubiquity Firefox add-on, which I use regularly. Needless to say, I find HUD’s approach very intriguing – however, my personal experience is that this approach can only complement, not replace menu usage. As others explained previously, in apps where mouse usage is dominant (Gimp) or in systems where typing is not convenient (tablets) the HUD makes reaching functionality considerably harder, not easier.
    Another feature I am reminded of is the search in Windows’ Start Menu. That’s also a complementary approach – right now, anyway. (Who knows what Windows 8 will bring.) It’s like an intelligent, quick shortcut; but you need to know where you’re going in the first place to take it.

  150. Nikhil Says:

    This is quite interesting, I can’t help but think of Launchy ( since I’ve been using it for close to 5 years and can’t think of working on a computer without it. This seems like the next step in the evolution.

    To the people complaining about the typing, as a power user, I’d love this because it lets me use my machine seamlessly without handling the touchpad or the mouse, plus it might be faster in the long run, I feel.

  151. MadsRH Says:

    I *love* all the new shiny stuff coming from Cannonical these days – Keep it coming 😀

    Does HUD do synonyms? I’m mean, can use both Quit, Exit, Close etc. or do I have to know the precise wording of the application is using?

    About the M$ Ribbon, I have to say that it, for me, is the most productive UI I’ve ever used. Especially the font preview (as shown in your screenshot) is such a timesaver. I hope you can implement a similar feature (or a better one) in HUD.

    Best regards

  152. LmazeF Says:

    Fantastic idea!

    Btw I wanted to contribute one thing that mostly goes unmentioned about Ribbons: when mouseover you can scroll through the different Ribbons xia your mouse wheel, which proved (at least for myself) very helpful and convenient – simultaneously keeping an eye on what you´re looking for while brwosing through the Ribbons.
    It does use up some space though. So here´s the second thing I wanted to say, or ask for: it would be absolutely fantastic to see (optional) Ribbons (remember the mouseover and scrolling thing) on the left or right hand side in LibreOffice or OpenOffice! This would speed up usage of the menu tree for finding out what you can do with a given application, what you mentioned.

    Keep up the great work!

  153. Mark Shuttleworth annonce HUD » Terranux Says:

    […] La 1ere chose qui frappe c’est qu’il ne manque qu’une chose a cette interface, la voix le sujet est d’aileurs abordé dans le blog de l’annonce faite par Mark. Je vous invite a le lire c’est très intéressant! […]

  154. Oliver Says:

    Interesting idea. I’m not sure how well it will works in practice with some apps like libreOffice but it is great that Cannocial and Ubuntu are not afraid of trying out new interesting interface designs. If this was an Apple innovation everyone would praise it.

  155. Fer Says:

    So basically HUD is like an invisible terminal with super-search, or Google-Desktop or Gnome-Do on steroids.
    Interesting for some people, but, like always, it drops many years of interface knowledge because doesn’t offer an alternative. It is “one way”.

    Does anybody remember when we could have this kind of functionality just downloading a program (Gnome-Do, Cairo, Compiz, …), to become one new alternative to do something in just another way, without loosing old functionality? There were choice to do one thing in very different ways, and anyone cold choose the better for his/her own.

    I like innovation, but I like to choose, and just don’t understand the point to drop all other choices just to offer a “unique way” to do anything. Why this kind of innovation must force a “better way” without contemplating alternatives?

    Sorry, just don’t understand this enforcement style of doing things. Liked Ubuntu for many years, but now I feel displaced, and didn’t find alternatives inside Ubuntu anymore. Anyway, I think that people like me are of no interest of your vision Mark. Good luck anyway, sincerely.

  156. DPHenderson Says:

    Looks very interesting, will definitely bring me around for another go at a linux distro.

    You’re absolutely right though about the challenge presented in discovery. I suspect that applications will need to give help documentation a more significant place in the development of the application than it currently enjoys. Help seems the logical place to embed command discovery in such a system especially in connection with a capacity for fuzzy searches.

  157. Jamie McAuslane Says:

    Read this with interest. I think a combination of both paradigms would work. Mark I love your passion for UI development. Who knows where this will take us. Currently using Unity 5 on 11.10 and really pleased with the overall improvements and general snappier feel. I wish you every commercial success with your ventures. You’ve taken a good bit of stick this last year and although I still would like greater customization, I can totally see where your coming from. Thanks again mate.

  158. Tom Gardner Says:

    Accessibility for “differently abled” users may, or may not, be an issue – it isn’t clear to me.

    Have you done any trials with disabled users?

  159. Anoop Says:

    I think this is a good idea but menus should still exist by default because it is what users expect. People who want to save screen space should be able to disable it.

    It should also be integrated with help, e.g. “? thing” should invoke help for “thing”. There should be shortcuts for invoking other applications e.g. “google this”, and customisable synonym tables, so you can use whichever of quit/exit/close you prefer.

  160. nn Says:


    What new features are going to be available which tie into the HUD? In other words, what will distinguish “legacy” programs from those which use the HUD _really_ well?

  161. Gonzius Says:

    Just great and promising. I must admit that the direction to what Ubuntu is heading with Unity and this new toy feature is exactly what I like! If M$ Office applications and usable Origin clones would be additionally availabe I wouldn’t even consider installing another operating system as dual-boot or virtual machine (except for testing of new Ubuntu releases).

  162. Benjamim Gois Says:

    @Mark, i have a great respect for your work with ubuntu and opensource, but i think it just doesn’t make much sense. People are using the mouse for 2 decades and they are doing fine, why would they want to switch back to keyboard only ? The ribbon approach is a much better solution. Our memory works better for images not for text or names. I don’t understand the basic logic behind HUD and unity dash.

  163. Tom Gardner Says:

    Consider naive or forgetful users…

    In the video at 1:05 the question is “What was that other filter called again?” and you search for “shadow”. Fair enough.

    How would HUD work if you couldn’t remember “shadow”? Conventional menus present you with an exhaustive list of options which can be browsed to find what you’ve forgotten.

    How would HUD work if you didn’t even realise that there was a concept of “filters”? Conventional menus’ exhaustive list gives a naive user a hint that something exists even though they don’t realise it (yet) and aren’t looking for it (yet). The user can then be simply and easily be drawn into a deeper understanding of what can be achieved when they become more proficient.

    In other words, I’m concerned that while HUD may be an excellent way of finding whatever you are looking for, I see it as an impediment if you are exploring a new application or don’t (yet) know what you want.

  164. Chad Says:

    LaunchBar was released in 2001, Quicksilver came out in 2004. Apple made Spotlight part of the OS in 2005. I know the scope is different, I just want to make sure we all know what kind of timeline we’re working on here.

    In my opinion, this kind of “GUI-aware commandline” shouldn’t replace menus, it should coexist. Menus are great for discovery and people who prefer spatial metaphors; no commandline will ever be good at those things. That’s not to say that menus can’t be replaced, iOS has shown us that they can, but I think that’s a separate goal.

    All that caution and snark aside, I think Linux is the perfect environment for this kind of idea and I’d love to have this available the next time I’m on a Linux desktop.

  165. Jonathan Says:

    ere is my problem with this. It needs the user to bee too familiar with the program to know all its available menus and options.

  166. Links 24/1/2012: Cinnamon 1.2, Ubuntu Versus Menu Bar | Techrights Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu. The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ‘em in the 70′s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years. […]

  167. iHARDWARE Magazine Feed Reader » Blog Archive » Tired of drop-down menus? Here comes Ubuntu’s HUD Says:

    […] Read more at Mark Shuttleworth’s blog […]

  168. Ubuntu Linux’s New ‘HUD’ Interface Will Do Away with Menus » Linux news Says:

    […] serve two purposes,” explained Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in a blog post on Tuesday morning. “They act as a standard way to invoke commands which are too infrequently […]

  169.» Blog Archive » Meet HUD: Ubuntu’s New Way of Using App Menus in Unity Says:

    […] brand new way of using menus in Ubuntu’s Unity interface was announced by Mark Shuttleworth this […]

  170. HUD remplazará el menú de nuestras aplicaciones en Ubuntu 12.04 | Says:

    […] Fuente: […]

  171. Jean Says:

    I invite you to imagine being surrounded by a cubicle farm full of people all using voice-activated menus, while you’re trying to code.

  172. Rubén Romero Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I started using GNU/Linux in 1997 as a desktop only. One of the things I learned to like early on was the command line interface (CLI). Coming from a DOS > Win world the power of the CLI in GNU/Linux systems was astonishing!

    In my everyday activities as a sales executive I am a heavy user of a GUI (Unity) and the CLI (mostly Guake, because of the F12 trick). Also I try to consciously avoid the Unity tool/search-bar. The reason for this being that I am more used to the Synapse and Gnome-Do experience which integrates better with GUI applications than the terminal does (for any other tasks I use CLI programs and some times stuff like ‘mc’).

    Often I have found myself wishing to be able to voice a command to the computer. What interface I use for doing this is irrelevant (terminal, synapse, gnome-do or unity tool/search-bar) because my goal is always the same: invoke the power the CLI in a GNU/Linux system. In later years also the commodity of an interface that learns from what you do.

    With this in mind, I would like to ask you to share with us your ideas regarding our path from where we are today (thinking specially of HUD) and on to the day when we are able to use voice as a first class command option in the FLOSS desktop: existing software to be used in the equation, projects or working groups involved, how to contribute, what about other languages than English?

    Tomorrow the first I will do to my laptop (yes, it runs precise) is to grab HUD from its PPA and play with it.

    Thanks for this. Keep up the good work!

  173. Matt Says:

    Interesting concept, however I second those who raised concerns regarding discoverability.

    One of the best examples where discoverability is crucial is shown in the demo video – filters in Inkscape. How is a user supposed to discover the filters which are available to them without browsing the filter menu?

  174. thartist Says:

    and people thought Metro was counterproductive.

  175. udippel Says:

    It’s all fine. I especially liked the cli-based demo.
    But it must not do away with the menu altogether at all. Why? How often, when I use a new application, do I just hoover the whole menu, all dropdowns, to explore which features that application has?
    The writers of a software should not (yet) be allowed to offer a flat list of options, but still provide a logical, hierarchical, access method. And then a command like “menu:” in HUD could still display this hierarchy (instead of the flat alternatives) for exploratory navigational purposes.

  176. Remains of the Day: Google Overhauls Privacy Policies to Unify Services [Video] Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say Hello to the Future of the Menu: Ubuntu strives to make its Unity interface more intuitive by replacing global menus with a heads up display. [Mark Shuttleworth | here be dragons] […]

  177. D Bnonn Tennant Says:

    Mark, I like the idea behind the HUD, but why are you making the HUD text so hard to read by superimposing it over the desktop elements? My background is in direct-response advertising, so I know from a lot of testing that text is much more difficult to read when superimposed over some kind of graphics. Similarly, it is between 50% and 200% harder to read reversed text like you’re using in the HUD (light on dark) compared to dark on light.

    If accessibility is your goal, rather than eye-candy, I think these are issues that deserve attention.

    Kind regards,

  178. Aleve Sicofante Says:

    Exactly what Jose said.

  179. Anon Says:

    @Aaron Seigo
    Might be interesting, but I am a kupfer user, and I find krunner a bit redundant for my use case. (I literally echo “” > /usr/bin/krunner at every update). Perhaps if HUD’s functionality was already there, I’d consider using both. But I really find Krunner subpar in comparison. And the fact that I can’t disable it bothers me a lot. I can even disable Unity global menus and it doesn’t even have a GUI in 11.10.
    I’ve learned not to trust cool little kde extensions, because a lot of them fall into abandonment or never pass beta stage. (like qtcurve or oxygen-appmenu, which renders horribly without compositing and doesn’t look it’ll ever get fixed. I love Icon Tasks with Unity Launcher API support, but I don’t know for how long it will work. All apps that keep me into KDE keep being abandoned and it’s too many workflow breaks). What keeps me into KDE is Kwin and Krusader (with kate parts). Kwin is just perfect to do serious development, but I can’t stand the standard KDE apps. I do love the options though, but I keep using apps like Pidgin and Geany, or Firefox, opposed to what KDE offers.
    Sorry, getting krunner recommended is something that specially bothers me. You come and boast about it, but I’d prefer to be able to use it. Look, even Gnome 3, as weird as it is, already has more dedication from developers than whatever you can see at Sorry. But your self-promotion was aimed at the worst possible user. I hate to be anchored in KDE because the alternatives aren’t where I want yet, but it’s getting there. Oh, and check out Kupfer. It will show you how it’s supposed to work, in functionality and extensibility.

    Anyway, I wonder if I can use the cli tool on Ubuntu Oneiric? If so I would love to be able to toy with it for some time. I really can find a lot of uses for this. Unity keeps becoming more and more inciting. (Please get Unity 2D to this level too, and I won’t look back!)

  180. Baram Avraham Says:

    A voice UI will ultimately prove to be the best method. However, a keyboard/mouse/touch type UI will still need to be available for those who cannot speak clearly for medical reasons. I think making something quicker and more intuitive than a menu driven UI is a VERY good idea so long as it doesn’t devolve into a “I’m feeling lucky” Google experience.

  181. Miguel V. Says:

    Looks great and innovative. Perfect to attract users…

  182. Brad Says:

    Looks stupid. Who wants to type out their commands? It much more intuitive to make way for people to be able to click on things and give them greater flexibility. Going the wrong direction IMHO. If I want to type commands I’ll use the terminal.

  183. AnonCow Says:

    Does that mean that people are required to *know* what it’s called in computerspeak and cannot find a way to list all commands? Stupid.

  184. HUD new kind of interface in Ubuntu 12.04 » MyWeblog Says:

    […] serve two purposes,” explained Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in a blog post on Tuesday morning. “They act as a standard way to invoke commands which are too infrequently […]

  185. Новости компьютерного мира - Разработчики Ubuntu представили инновационную альтернативу традиционным меню Says:

    […] Шаттлворт представил новую систему меню ‘Head-Up Display’ (HUD), которая […]

  186. Rory Says:

    This is daft, maybe a useful alternative for the mouse/stylus/trackpad averse but not a practical alternative for everybody else. If you want to simplify the UI, remove menus all together, don’t invent some other crazy way to allow for unnecessary complexity. On the other hand if your menus are such a crazy mess you need a command search based UI then your applications are horribly borked in the first place and should be the focus of your attention.

  187. Ubuntu Looks To Replace Traditional Menus With New "HUD" Interface | Aspirepad Says:

    […] the HUD, without changing focus, because those apps all talk to the indicator system.” So sayeth Shuttleworth in an in-depth introductory blog post. And yes, the traditional menus will still be there, too — at least for […]

  188. » Remains of the Day: Google Overhauls Privacy Policies to Unify Services [Video] Great Blogs Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say Hello to the Future of the Menu: Ubuntu strives to make its Unity interface more intuitive by replacing global menus with a heads up display. [Mark Shuttleworth | here be dragons] […]

  189. Ubuntu intentará crear interfaz sin menú : Tecno-Life Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu(Mark […]

  190. » The new Unity HUD is a trojan horse. Thoughts Says:

    […] […]

  191. Anon Says:

    Mark, sorry to disagree, but nothing beats the Mac desktop circa 1984: N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
    This is something one realizes only after some 20 years using computers and it comes as a deep philosophical insight.
    Unfortunately, humanity is lost beyond any help so people come up with crap like the one exposed in that post,
    Again, sorry.

  192. Hamish Says:

    And I thought the M in WIMP stood for Mice:

    W – Windows
    I – Icons
    M – Mice
    P – Pulldown menus.

  193. Ubuntu intentará crear interfaz sin menú | Noticias del Cerebro Digital Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu(Mark […]

  194. Inbae Says:

    I don’t think my grandma will enjoy this UI.

  195. Mark Shuttleworth anuncia HUD, el reemplazo de los menús de las aplicaciones en Unity Says:

    […] Shuttleworth está dando a conocer la introducción de HUD, que será el reemplazo de los menús de las aplicaciones en Unity, y el motivo principal por lo […]

  196. Jasir Says:

    I see two issues –

    1. average users of a program may not know all the options. so they still need to be able to see the menu to do a not so common action.

    2. even power users would need this for a new application that they would like to use/try.

    Possible Solution: Show an option in the the right click context menu of the window to show/hide the menubar. Include a shorcut key to toggle (ctrl+M?)

  197. Jasir Says:

    may be even a HUD entry to show/hide the menu 😉

  198. Dave Goldberg Says:

    Bill Atkinson created the pull-down menu, not Xerox Parc.

  199. Tony Robinson Says:

    Where is the core ASR technology going to come from? Will it need training for every user? How many languages will it support? It’s one thing to build a speaker-dependent system for a demo but quite a challenge to deploy that to all Ubuntu users.

  200. Meet HUD: Ubuntu’s Way to Throw Out App Menus | LOTP Says:

    […] more check out the video below, which shows the HUD in action.Where is this Going from HereIn his blog post, Mark Shuttleworth gives us a little preview of where he see’s the HUD going in the […]

  201. Mikel Says:

    Add some voice recognition and this would be much more useful. In mouse intensive apps like Inkwell your hand would rarely need to touch the keyboard. You could activate the Hud with a word, say Hud, then speak each search term until you’ve narrowed it down, then click your selection.

    Otherwise this is a tool to alleviate bad menu designs and poor memories. Anything that requires me to move my hands between control devices more often is not much of a UI improvement.

  202. Canonical chce zmienić 30-letni standard. Zobacz innowacyjny pomysł menu aplikacji Says:

    […] zerwał z przyzwyczajeniem posiadania dolnego panelu, a teraz Mark Shuttleworth na łamach swojego blogu prezentuje nowe, innowacyjne menu aplikacji. Od lat siedemdziesiątych, kiedy to Xerox PARC […]

  203. Nikita Says:

    Great feature! I’ve been wishing for a search-in-menus function in my daydreams, but I didn’t expect to see it coming so soon. Keep up the good work! (But I still want the menu to appear: it’s useful for mouse-only applications.)

    After you’ve polished the usability of this feature, I urge you extend this system for scriptability. HUD can be a universal API for communicating with GUI applications, much like the CLI is for non-graphical tools. Maybe even extend the menu protocol to allow calling commands that accept parameters. Then they will be accessible through voice command, CLI, and in scripts.

    I think of voice, CLI, and now HUD as different sides of the same coin. If human language from voice or keyboard can be translated to a computer language, even in a few user-relevant cases, it will elegantly introduce a new level of user interaction to the Linux world.

    I can’t wait for 12.04. Multimonitor support, HUD, better multitouch… this release will bring some of the top features I wish I had.

  204. peter b Says:

    just a thought and question:

    – the tablets are well received by the users at large (they spoke loud and clear with their pockets lately) because of the very easy, intuitive pictorial/graphic UI. searching/looking for apps does NOT need any typing – swiping is all that’s needed and selecting the choice is simply by finger pointing/tapping (the natural millennium old way of selecting the option desired) . typing is used for entering apps input and on rare occasions when device configuration changes are required or needed.

    – the user is (must) be presented after boot, by default, in the easiest way with the device’s capabilities ie apps/tasks that it can perform WITHOUT any additional input especially typing. the user should have the liberty to choose and pick what it wishes to do with MINIMUM effort (in order – swiping/tapping the screen, clicking or, in the last instance, typing).

    – given these latest developments it is clear (at least to me) that that will be what the vast majority of users desire.

    – the biggest challenge, (in my mind) is to port any os (ubuntu in this case) on the existing platforms – intel32/64,AMD, SoC (nvidia, texas instruments etc), etc, etc. so that the UI is absolutely the same or, at least similar AND most importantly functions as close as possible, or better than current touch tablets and smartphones os’s. whoever masters this task the best AND quickest/fastest will no doubt have a big chunk of the market. from what I understand ms will be one of the first out of the gate (sometimes this year).

    – as far as existing installed base (huge) of desktops, laptops etc (without touch capabilities) a usb interfaced (or wifi) trackpad (Magic trackpad maybe) can v easily provide good workspace switching without the need of additional typing in dash/HUD.

    – as far as the apps menus are concerned they should pop op on the apps screen only when needed (say press F1 or by hovering the mouse over a certain area or by pointing on a certain area on the trackpad).

    any opinion Mark please ?

  205. HUD el menú del futuro o el próximo fracaso de Ubuntu « Gabuntu Says:

    […] el menú del futuro o el próximo fracaso de Ubuntu Mark Shuttleworth publicó en su blog lo que para él es el menú del futuro y lo ha llamado Head-Up Display (HUD) el cual reemplazará […]

  206. Hekardu Says:

    I like the new possibility, but have serious doubt about the usability.

    It forces the mix of keyboard and screen interactively, where the user will need to type, look at the screen if the computer narrowed down the choice to what he/she intended, maybe type some more, maybe hit enter or click. This jump between keyboard, screen and mouse seems counterproductive, I’d really like to see this tested IRL.

    Can we enhance right-click too? Bring a full screen of contextual actions related to the selected object, instead of the silly one-dimensional menu… something with BIG buttons :) And don’t constrain yourselves to having all buttons at the same size! Go the way of the ribbon, or chrome’s text+icon menus.

    Well, I guess I’ll have to download 12.04 and try the HUD out!

  207. Stephen Says:

    That is really nice to see. I am amazed at how the Linux desktop has improved so quickly. Looking forward to the voice recognition added to HUD.

    Can’t believe the post about Mac desktop… a completely different thing. You can’t see the code, you have no choice and there is such a thing as personal preference. I only use open source because I like the idea of ubuntu (as in the African sense of humanity making us more aware of our humanity). I am part of a community working to build something great, users of closed source software are just customers following marketeers.

  208. HUD: The new “Future proof” Menu System of Ubuntu Linux Says:

    […] can visit this blog entry by Mark Shuttleworth to get a more clearer idea about the whole […]

  209. Heads-Up Display (HUD) to Replace Application Menus in Unity [Ubuntu News] | IT RSS Says:

    […] Image courtesy of Mark Shuttleworth’s Blog. […]

  210. james Says:

    hate to say it but i hate this. now instead of a simple click to accomplish something i have to speak, have the pc misinterpret it, erase it who knows how many times until i get what the pc thinks i want to do. sorry sometimes simple straight forward menus just work and work correctly. Microsoft office ribbon is a great example of that, it is garbage and takes twice as long to accomplish work compared to previous versions. This is just another step in the wrong direction.

  211. Clive Says:

    I applaud the desire to innovate and the willingness to challenge the status quote of the user experience. However, I am not sure that Canonical are getting valid data from user experience testing.

    The KDE were roundly [and correctly] criticized for the introduction of KDE 4.0 [which was unstable, incomplete and, most importantly *non-intuitive* for an existing KDE user. I installed Oneiric to give Unity a try, but after a tortuous couple of hours getting my machine confiured correctly, then an unpleasant couple of days trying to understand how Unity worked, I gave up and downloaded the KDE packages to get to something workable. IMHO Oneiric just repeated the mistakes of KDE 4.0 – leaving their users behind.

    Please don’t stop innovating, but at the same time I believe you need to put more effort into the transition/education process. For example, a first-time launch of Unity should give a user the option to launch a 15 or 20 minute tutorial to cover the basics. Please don’t leave us hanging in the way that KDE 4.0 did.

  212. Matt Says:

    So it’s going to work as poorly as the Unity Dash search in 11.10? Can’t wait for that…

    (I used to promote Ubuntu releases on my company website. Now I’ve switch to Mint. And not because I hated Unity like so many whiners. Actually, Unity was the first dock-centric experience I accepted, and I still run it on my netbook. The problem is all the other mouse & video bugs that came with it. It’s all Cairo for me now.)

  213. Baybal Says:

    stupid idea, its more an interference than an interface. Lots of transparency makes my eyes hurt

  214. ashickur.noor Says:

    When we can use it?

  215. Ubuntu to feature command-line shortcuts - TECHNOLOGY GADGETS – TECHNOLOGY GADGETS Says:

    […] reinstate menus in Unity applications,” pronounced Canonical owner Mark Shuttleworth, in a blog post announcing a technology. The initial chronicle of HUD will be partial of a Ubuntu 12.04 Long Term release, due in […]

  216. Будущее графического интерфейса по версии Марка Шаттлворта | UNIXCLUB Says:

    […] […]

  217. xfuser4 Says:

    I also strongly disagree with this design. The nice point of the classical GUI is that it shows the user the options he has. The problem of the terminal and the problem of speech interfaces is that the user does not know his options and has only limited possibilities to discover it. HUD has exactly the same problem.

    To paraphrase it: “How would you find out that GIMP has a motion blur filter with HUD, if you do not exactly know what motion blur is, but you are searching for a certain filter?”

    Finally, HUD is not so innovative if you think about the search field in the “Help” menu on MacOS X, which does exactly the same. It allows you to discover menu items by their name.

    And BTW: Translucent interfaces are generally bad. They are very distracting and cluttering.

  218. Ubuntu Linux izstrādātāji piedāvā alternatīvu tradicionālajai rīkjoslai | Ziņas no medijiem Says:

    […] Linux “tēvs” Marks Šatlvorts prezentējis principiāli jaunu rīkjoslas mehānismu ar nosaukumu ‘Head-Up Display’ (HUD), kas […]

  219. andybleaden Says:

    Wow.Something radically different and innovative and again from Ubuntu. Cannot wait to test this out.

  220. Sunabozu Says:

    Wow this is really stupid. You should totally invest your time in creating things which simplifies, helps or eliminates hard tasks. It is basically console typing line with auto complete.
    I imagine myself when i am working with graphic design programs, and i want just to change tool, i click some buttons to open HUD, when i type tool i want, when i pick one from list and type enter instead of just clicking on it on the tool i want.
    Well, but its great tool for looser, thought. Great work guys!

  221. Heads up, Linux fans, Ubuntu’s ditching menus | Brian's Blog Site Says:

    […] Ubuntu 12.04 will introduce a new Heads-Up Display for interacting with the operating system in April, wrote Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. The HUD will allow you to “express your intent” with the operating system and the programs running on it, wrote Shuttleworth. […]

  222. peter matis Says:

    implementing HUD is not a new idea, nevertheless I’m looking forward to make use of it in 12.04. I’m already working with the same kind of interface in applications like SideFX Houdini or Foundry Nuke and it’s really the best work flow I can imagine. however I’ve been shocked to read in Mark’s blog that the HUD should altogether replace the old style menu. In my opinion it’s a stupid idea which would only confuse lot of people and in some cases make it impossible to learn new software.

  223. Hans Bezemer Says:

    Sorry, but it assumes two things:
    (1) That I KNOW the NAME of the option I’m looking for;
    (2) That I don’t mind switching between mouse and keyboard (I do!).
    In short, the idea is “interesting” but I don’t think it’s too great.

  224. burli Says:

    Currently HUD only uses the information provided by regular menus. Is it conceivable to add a interface so apps can provide more detailed informations to HUD?

    And I think sometimes it would be helpful to give more precise commands. An example: I have a video with multiple languages and multiple subtexts. If I play this in Totem and try to change the language and enter “german” to HUD I get two results. Maybe it will be nice to say “language german” or “subtext german”

  225. MichaelADeBose Says:

    I like the look of it with an eye towards voice input and eventually some of the thought driven applications. Simple word input along with a bit of OS guessing and maybe some eye reading tech would make a highly adaptive input environment. Typing could get tiring as mousing around works best when you’re being a little lazy. I think what goes missing for most devs is that users change their use patterns per mood. Sure the portability of mobile devices often obscures the fact that humans can use a tablet in a range of more comfortable body positions regardless of where they are. Use comfort options decrease a little say going to a laptop and then aren’t a consideration when moving to the desktop, where you’re stuck in a chair. Obviously, loss of processing power and application capabilities are the trade offs for being able to use a tablet in a range of body positions.

    I bring that up only because UI development seems to be of the mind that we favor key commands or pointers, when the reality is we are all unconsciously changing chairs or using one chair acrobatically rocking on one or two legs vs. four or rocking someway or other. However, depending on how you are positioned even in the same chair we are forced to adjust the position because often typing or even using a mouse causes us to move from comfortable to functional. The UI that’s needed is the one that doesn’t sacrifice comfort over access to the OS. We may be a ways off still, but this is where the prize lies.

    Have to wait until the test drive, but this appears part of the puzzle at least.

  226. VPKind Says:

    The new is well forgotten old (AutoCad – 1978)

  227. Alexander 10 Says:

    I do not think that this development will be equally useful to all users, such as non-English speaking users. Internationalization of open source software is often undeveloped (although the development of the case), so part of the menu items are translated, while others – remain in the English language (mostly – innovation).

  228. Not Relevant Says:

    See Colibiri ( ) also.

  229. Разработчики Ubuntu представили инновационную альтернативу традиционным меню | PROUBUNTU Says:

    […] Шаттлворт представил новую систему меню ‘Head-Up Display’ (HUD), которая […]

  230. Ian Abbott Says:

    Nice, but there are issues as people have said with discovery. How would you discover functionality if it was named differently to what you expect – does it support synonyms? Also, whilst I commend you on pushing this forward, it’s not entirely new. Mac OS X had this for *years* via the third party application from Blacktree called QuickSilver ( before Apple then added the ‘search help…’ to do this auto-matching to menu items. On OS X though it then shows you where it is on the menu should you want to find it the ‘old-fashioned’ way.

  231. guynux Says:

    The 16/9 screen format is a bad idea outside watching films. Your solution with Unity to use a vertical bar of icons is a pretty good response. But why not to continue this simple concept _inside_ the applications : a vertical and swapable bar of icons like “Files Edit Display Tools…” This could also be usable for tablets, phones in landscape. Your HUD could then reinforce this model. Thanks for all

  232. Canonical bringing HUD to Ubuntu 12.04, company’s assault on menus continues « Says:

    […] 2012 23:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink The Register  |  Mark Shuttleworth  | Email […]

  233. boethius Says:

    I had attempted to turn my work PC into a Ubuntu 11.04+Unity box. I couldn’t take it. I am a patient person (sort of, anyway) and I gave it several days, persisting through the pain a number of times when I really just wanted to toss it out the window. Though Windows has changed a lot over the years and each major UI change (e.g., from Win 3.1 to Win95; from Win95 to XP; from XP to Vista/Win7) has required some significant re-learning, ultimately after a few days of usage the changes and UI tweaks start to make sense. Unity baffled/baffles me. Every time I want to find something I have to type it in? Are you serious? The hardest part was finding the control panel-type apps that tweak the system preferences. I ultimately spent a lot of time Googling for how to do tasks that on the classic interface would have taken me seconds before. I found the setting to bring up the option of “Gnome Classic” in gdm so I could choose my own interface and never looked back. I suppose Unity has some nice ideas, but the execution feels basically weird to me. I want to be able to bring apps into the app dock EASILY. I want it to be adjustable in magnification like the dock in OSX. I want to be able to go back and forth between Unity and an explorer-type interface easily. What about organizing apps into categories (Office, Graphics/MM, System, Internet, etc) or is that too old school? Pinning is one of the nicest things about Win7 – put it in Unity. I wouldn’t get so frustrated if I could easily move my apps into – and out of – the Unity dock. Maybe that’s a lot to ask.

  234. Magnesus Says:

    Remember that right now we don’t have to click to show submenus, which makes browsing them with mouse incredibely fast. I wonder how to solve this in HUD… Maybe columns like in iTunes for the default view (shown before you search sth) – first column – top level menus, second columns shows when you hover one of the items from first column etc.

  235. Pawel Says:

    I’m not a big fan of those typed searches. I’m a Blender user, and the new Blender has this kind of function built in (I just press SPACE and type, and options appear), but I hardly ever use it, except maybe just for the first time when I’m looking for a tool. So I can see the uses of this approach, but I think most people just like to remember where things are and then just be able to reach them with a single click. So this could be useful as long as the old functionality of just clicking to start stuff is preserved.
    Slightly off topic: I’m a lot more concerned about the loss of easy configurability (and functionality) that both Gnome 3 and Unity seem to be undergoing. I love the idea of menus in the top bar, which brilliantly saves real estate (Unity, sadly not Gnome 3), or even the controversial reduced scrollbars, but I don’t like being deprived of the ability to mark files as read/viewed/important (emblems – almost essential to me, now gone!), or having to meddle with css configuration files to change aspects of the interface, with some things not even working (I haven’t been able to change Nautilus background so far with the scarce information available over the Net). That’s why I’m thinking of switching to KDE, where the graphical configuration functionality has been preserved, or even extended. Gnome 3’s so called “advanced settings” are just pathetic. The configurability of Unity is also “embryonic”, at least for an average user who doesn’t want to play with raw configuration files and command line. The inability to remove the top panel is inexcusable in a Linux system – after all, full configurability is one of the things people have always loved in Linux, which made it so much more fun than Windows for a relatively advanced user. It’s no longer so much fun using Compiz desktop zoom with the top panel staying there unaffected like an eye-sore. It’s like a Miscrosoft-minded boss telling you – we know what’s better for you, that panel is there to stay! Fortunately, in KDE you can still change the size/colour/placement/functionality of your panel, hide it, or remove it completely.
    I do appreciate all the efforts of the Ubuntu team and I’m no hard-headed “conservative”, but I think losing configurability is not a real advancement – at least not on a Linux system. Unless you just want to become another Windows.
    Anyways, we’ll see what this looks like in practice. Temporarily I’m probably moving to KDE

  236. .log : пулеметная команда Says:

    […] графический интерфейс тоже не стоит на месте: The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ‘em in the 70′s. It’s […]

  237. Pete Austin Says:

    Sounds horrible for mouse users and worse for touch. If your plan is that users should type a keyword, in situations where they would previously have used a menu, isn’t this likely to make an on-screen keyboard appear, covering-over part of the document that they are working on?

  238. Tino Says:

    Hi Mark,
    I have only show the video on your website. It is possible to select menues with mouse pointer?
    I think, it’s very bad, if only select menues by keyboard typing. In this case I must changed always the input devices between keyboard and mouse.

  239. Max Says:

    Simply terrible. Those who like it are free to use it if the wish, but I’m using a GUI exactly because I never want to type commands, ever. I am NOT, and have never been, more productive with a keyboard than a mouse, despite me hacking around on computers since the days of the Spectrum. “Search” is already useless to me, so will this be. Do not try to force me back to a CLI in disguise – I respond to coercion badly, and I’m pretty sure so do a whole lot of other people.

    Let me try to phrase this simply: the day you remove menus will be the day you finish killing Ubuntu as a popular OS choice and relegate it back to a shiny toy for geeks only. Wanna dismiss this as Cassandra complex? Be my guest. I’m entitled to install some other sane OS on my boxes, and you’re entitled to orchestrate a train wreck; simple, right?

  240. Rohn Says:

    After a brief look I’d say it is promising.

    I find it interesting you compare it to the MS Ribbon “Gooey”. The Ribbon is expressly designed for NEW users. It appears that the HUD is more focused on EXPERIENCED users, people who know the command names. Thank YOU! To me,
    “The ribbon is the Transformer “Gooey” for the A.D.D generation!”

    IMHO (not so “H”) MS’s single largest mistake when they implemented the Ribbon was not including backward compatibility with the menu. It would have been a trivial effort for them to move the old menu to a “new” “Menu tab”.

    As other’s have already pointed out. Keep the HUD as another option to the menu rather than as a replacement to it. This allows the user to pick between UI’s that work best for them: say keyboard in a word processing program vs mouse or stylus in a graphics program.

    You mention voice as another access option to the HUD. Well, that is fine at home or in a private office. But for those of us who work in cubicle farms with 100+ other people in an open layout office voice would be a disaster! I read that back in the 80’s WordPerfect had hundreds of phone support people working in large open rooms. But that worked because WP also invested in active sound suppression systems. It is bad enough listening to other people having coversations or talking on phones. Having to listen to people issue voice commands to their computers would be insane.

    As soon as I read about this developement, and saw the video it reminded me of MS’s attempt at a similar tool. The MS development team build an addon for Office 2007 and 2010 called “Search”. Like HUD it allows you to type in a command name and it filters and displays potential matches. I always recommend it to people I am talking to:

    The innovation I’ll suggest is making it easy for users to add alias’s to the search path. As others have pointed out, this tool assumes the user knows the command name (not new users) or that the developers have included enough alias’s / synonyms that terms most users try work intelligently. If a user is comming from a different application or background, it would be nice if they could use commands and search terms they are familiar with.

    I like mattp’s comment about moving from monolithic programs to ubiquitous functional modules that are avaialable everywhere. So we end up with a “workspace” that you can apply any functionality to as long as you have bought the module. It actually sounds like an extension of what OneNote has started, being able to click and type anywhere, not having to worry about saving files, etc.

    Although work has “forced” me to be a MS person, I look forward to watching how this UI develops. I hope it proves good enough for MS to “invent”, aka steal, in a few years … .

  241. Vijayanandham Says:

    Looks like WebOS JustType feature.

  242. alex Says:

    Too much keyboard, too much text. Don’t remember the name of what something is called? You’re out of luck. This is why menus were created in the first place. Some people need those visual prompts to remember complex tasks. Some people can’t or don’t use the keyboard or keyboard shortcuts in combination with a mouse because of usability/accessibility. Even worse…text obscures features. Menus allow the user to explore program features without really knowing what you’re looking for.

    This is an interesting concept, and I’m sure a lot of people will find it useful, but it does seem to pose some problems, and I hope this doesn’t become the ‘only option’.

  243. Harry Says:

    It’s an interesting idea Mark, but as a supplement to existing menus rather than as a pure replacement. Going forward I would like to see Ubuntu adopt GNOME 3’s new system of menu organisation which is more efficient than the existing model where screen real estate is concerned, and adopt the HUD as a supplement to that. Who knows, GNOME 3 might even adopt the HUD as a supplement in return, restoring some harmony to the Linux desktop ecosystem.

  244. nuxnix Says:

    I use Alfred a similar app on Mac OS X for launching programs. I think it is a mistake to get rid of CUA menus completely. ( File Edit View Window and Help) – they are so are ingrained. I can see why a product manager would want to. Its nice to be ahead of the curve and new user experiences fit small factor devices much better.

    Nevertheless I think its a mistake. But then I like the Terminal too so I realise for new generations a 40 year old paradigm needs work.

  245. cm-t Says:

    I wish I have time to get more involved into the ubuntu code and especialy in project like this one (atm trying to join ubuntu tour online, but time missing)
    Well done to all the people behind the project, j’ai cru voir ton nom Didier :)

    @W. Craig Trader
    about pointer :
    I don’t know what road the project is taking because i just discovered, but i think the current dash 8 icons home is not much used by people, but could be a good HUD home screen instead of blank; (and instead of 8 icons you have icon menu aplication icons and label). Of course, if application does not provide icon for menu, could automaticly choose an icon for the generic label from a list, a default blank, or first parent menu icon found. Dash has filters, main application could be these filter in HUD. If you use most of time a menu it becomes suggested (…) [warning to not get lost the user, he must not think he is in dash]

    Well, all that to mean, imho, HUD has more ergonomic potential that I see in this video presentation (didnt installed yet), it can be very usefull for big finger/small screen, and pointer devices in generale.


  246. KennyS Says:

    My advice? FORGET ABOUT THIS IDEA! It is not user friendly….
    Text based searching for menus?

    I think it would be better to give an equation to solve for each time someone wants to find a menu option…

    Unity is already bad… there is a reason why we have menus. You need to stop thinking like programers and start thinking on how the human brain works

    this MIGHT be an option, as an additional feature.. The ribbon also is bad for many reasons…

    Alex said it best above and its a no brainer

    “alex says: (permalink)
    January 25th, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Too much keyboard, too much text. Don’t remember the name of what something is called? You’re out of luck. This is why menus were created in the first place. Some people need those visual prompts to remember complex tasks. Some people can’t or don’t use the keyboard or keyboard shortcuts in combination with a mouse because of usability/accessibility. Even worse…text obscures features. Menus allow the user to explore program features without really knowing what you’re looking for.

    This is an interesting concept, and I’m sure a lot of people will find it useful, but it does seem to pose some problems, and I hope this doesn’t become the ‘only option’.

  247. Canonical planning to bring HUD to Ubuntu 12.04 Says:

    […] Canonical __spr_config = { pid: '4e9e9dd4396cef47cb0005d5', title: 'Canonical planning to bring HUD […]

  248. Ubuntu to feature command line shortcuts | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] ultimately replace menus in Unity applications,” said Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth,in a blog post announcing the technology. The first version of HUD will be part of the Ubuntu 12.04 Long Term release (LTS), due in […]

  249. David R Packer Says:

    Why not make a companion to the HUD?

    Left Alt for the the HUD, right Alt for “Explore.”
    Explore would be the opposite of the HUD. More like a traditional menu structure in concept, only with more information. For example, in the GIMP example mention above “Artistic” would be somehow expanded with a sentence saying something like “filters that mimic traditional artists tools” and perhaps an icon or image. Something less clunky than the current PITA help menu structure…more like the android app store layout mixed with a wiki, but internal to each application. Perhaps visually more in line with what we see in the current dash. Icons, title, and text I guess.
    The point of this would be to provide a shorthand learning method for each app, and encourage use of the HUD as a logical next step.

  250. Ubuntu 12.04 HUD Supports Voice-Based Menu Commands | LORDSITHTECH Comtips&Technic, Network tips, Linux Says:

    […] Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth reports that a new Head-Up Display, or HUD computer menu system, will be implemented into the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS release scheduled to go live in April. The new HUD feature will replace current menus in Unity applications, providing a faster way to access menus in applications. Instead of clicking through menus, users simply type the command they require in a search box. Full Read  Be Sociable, Share! Tweet […]

  251. jeff Says:

    Will it search only for the active application or all running applications?

  252. Mike Says:

    The basic idea is very solid. However, without a map to discover the available features, I fear it’s next to useless.

  253. Mr.Bean Says:

    why the HUD positioned at the top left? why not at the centre of the screen (just like the alt+tab switcher)?

  254. fdsfdfd Says:

    “They force developers to make often arbitrary choices about the menu tree (“should Preferences be in Edit or in Tools or in Options?”)”

    Apple managed to solve this problem very early on. With proper guidelines there should be nothing arbitrary about these choices.

    My main problems with this are how will a user even begin to know what an application is capable of? You don’t seem to address this at all in the videos or article.

    Secondly isn’t it widely recognised that keyboard interaction feels more efficient but mouse interaction IS move efficient for tasks which are not repetitive.

    This sort of demo looks nice to geeks, but it would be a nightmare for even upper-average users. It would be fine to add this functionality as well as a traditional menu (Apple already do this in their help menu) but to hold it up as a wonderful innovation that’s better in every way is just silly when your demo involves someone typing “un” then selecting the 3rd item down to undo.

  255. Ubuntu 12.04 HUD Supports Voice-Based Menu Commands Says:

    […] Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth reports that a new Head-Up Display, or HUD computer menu system, will be implemented into the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS release scheduled to go live in April. The new HUD feature will replace current menus in Unity applications, providing a faster way to access menus in applications. Instead of clicking through menus, users simply type the command they require in a search box. […]

  256. Mark Johnson Says:

    I’m a long-time KDE user (I always use Krunner to rather than the menu), but I use Unity on my netbook. This feature looks amazing, and if it’s as good as it looks will probably convince me to switch wholesale when 12.04 comes along. I’m interested to see how you solve the problem of discoverability – it’s great to type “Filters” and be able to scroll down the Filters menu, but you need a way of finding out the Filters menu exists except by accident.

  257. Arthur Says:

    Mark, I have a question. You said that,

    “Our goal in much of the Unity design has been to return screen real estate to the content with which the user is working”.

    If this is the case, why don’t you encourage the adoption of ribbon-like interfaces, and allow them to integrate with the global menu?

    A ribbon removes the need for a having both a menu and a toolbar. When minimised, a ribbon looks exactly like a menu and acts exactly like a menu, it’s just a hell of a lot more useful.

    The HUD is a *wonderful* idea, but it’s not an alternative to a ribbon, it’s the perfect complement to a ribbon.

    With ribbons, the global menu could contain an application’s entire interface! (People like me who think that devoting some screen real estate to exposing an applications features is a good thing could choose not to minimise it).

    Why do you believe that having a toolbar with a selection of features crammed into it and the rest hidden in a menu (whether searchable or not) is a better arrangement than having all features sensibly organised in one visually descriptive interface? Do you believe that in ten years’ time we’ll still be using this approach?

    Kind regards,


  258. HUD, el nuevo desarrollo de Canonical para Unity | El Blog de Rigo Says:

    […] el día de hoy, Mark Shuttleworth ha anunciado HUD -Heads UP Display- el nuevo desarrollo de Canonical para Unity. Antes de contar de que se trata, creo que esto traerá […]

  259. HUD algo nuevo para Unity | Facilware Says:

    […] Vía | […]

  260. Ceyhun Alyeşil Says:

    Nice very nice. Typing will be little different for a while but once i saw that voice part of the blog i become very happy. I hope you finish that soon^^

  261. Robert Says:

    It’s good to notice that this HUD is for at least 8 years a common concept in SecondLife(and compatibles) Most peolple don’t even know how far ahead they are. 😉

  262. Diego Viola Says:

    Give us Wayland please.

  263. bber Says:

    Great, moreover it would be great if when launching HUD,
    we’ll have before searching
    the last two commands passed,
    and the three most common/used commands for the app

  264. Uz novi Ubuntu stiže HUD | Says:

    […] Ubuntu korisnici neće morati odmah da pređu na HUD, već će u prvo vreme postojati zajedno sa tradicionalnim menijima. Kako HUD funkcioniše možete videti u priloženom video, a detalje o njemu možete pronaći na […]

  265. Theraot Says:

    “the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it”

    don’t replace it.

  266. Alexandre Provencio Says:

    I wish the context menu is also included, then it’s bye bye menu accels!

  267. HUD vai substituir menus no Ubuntu 12.04 | F2 - Sistemas Says:

    […] fundador da Canonical Mark Shuttleworth falou em seu blog sobre um novo elemento GUI. O HUD, abreviação para head-up display, vai inicialmente operar junto […]

  268. Danny Says:

    This is a huge step back.

    The modern trend is to move away from mouse and keyboard, to make computers more intuitive for normal people who just want to get work down. And this system requires that you KNOW what you’re looking for, by NAME. This is precisely why GUI’s replaced command line interfaces; menus and icons provide discoverability.

    What if the effect you’re looking for isn’t called ‘Glow’? What if it’s called ‘Highlight’? You’re stuck with the same frustrating blank slate that so confused PC users back in the 80s.

    Most computer users are not touch-typists and use ‘hunt and peck. Even for a keyboard warrior like myself, this makes no sense.

    Every desktop app should use ctrl+z for undo. Why would I bring up this HUD with one shortcut, to type ‘und’ and then return when ctrl+z should do the job? If the app doesn’t have undo, or uses an odd shortcut, then that’s the app’s problem. The OS shouldn’t be responsible for mitigating bad design.

    And you’re demo of the bookmarks and search isn’t any improvement over the typical UI of browser. Safari has a shortcut to move the focus to the search bar and ‘as-you’type’ search of the bookmarks.

    You have a picture of a the /ancient/ Mac interface from 1984. But the fact that the Mac OS has changed so little in 30 years is a testament to it’s original design. The fact that distros like Ubuntu have been trying so obviously to copy this design (particularly in version 10) proves this further!

    Again, Apple have being doing this right with spotlight since Tiger. Microsoft have been doing this right with the newer Start menu in Vista.

    I used to like Ubuntu. It was a like a cleaned up version of the Windows NT UI which didn’t get in my way.

  269. Ubuntu HUD ‘Head-Up Display’ | JessiHash'Blog Says:

    […] Shuttleworth a annoncé HUD ou Head-Up Display, une alternative au menus des applications pour Unity qui devrait résoudre […]

  270. Peter Simpson Says:

    I hope someone at Canonical reads this. Though I applaud your investigation of alternative UI designs, there should be an option for those users who do not feel adventurous. Ubuntu has grown big enough to be accepted in the work place, education and even as a replacement for Windows. Many of these users just want a computer they can depend on. Your lack of a Gnome option on newer releases of Ubuntu is keeping these users from upgrading. They like Linux, they like Ubuntu, but they’re not interested in experimenting with Unity or whatever else you’re trying out on this revision of Ubuntu. You risk losing these users by continuing to experiment with new UIs without providing a basic Gnome interface option.

    Sadly, I’m one of these users. I’m in my late 50s. Ubuntu is a great product. I’m very productive when using it, more so than with Windows. While I agree with you that new GUIs need to be explored, I personally, don’t want to be told there’s no option *but* to explore new GUIs on the computer I use to get things done. By all means, offer experimental UIs, but please, please, please — provide an alternative “classic” interface for those of us who just want to get work done, the same way we have been getting it done for years. If that option is no longer available, then I’m afraid Ubuntu and I will end up parting company, which is a shame, because I’ve been using it for quite a while and I rather like it.

  271. kwyjibo Says:

    Great to be seeing Open Source innovation. Are these inventions going to be patented and placed in a Linux defensive portfolio though? We’ve seen with Android how utterly feeble prior art and the obviousness test is in the face of patent trolling. What’s needed is a strong collective Linux portfolio.

  272. Ubuntu HUD pakeis standartinius programų meniu | FACEIT.LT Says:

    […] Shuttleworth, kompanijos Canonical, užsiimančios projekto Ubuntu palaikymu, vadovas, papasakojo apie naują instrumentą, pavadintą HUD (Head-Up Display). Pastarąjį jau ketinama integruoti į […]

  273. Ubuntu: interfejs HUD ma zastąpić menu | Says:

    […] odnajdywanie różnych funkcji systemu i konkretnych aplikacji. O nowym rozwiązaniu poinformował Mark Shuttleworth, prezes firmy Canonical, który ma nadzieję, że stopniowo zastąpi ono tradycyjne […]

  274. "Just Type" comes to the Ubuntu Desktop in 12.04 LTS. - webOS Nation Forums Says:

    […] […]

  275. Uz novi Ubuntu stiže HUD | BigRadio Says:

    […] Ubuntu korisnici neće morati odmah da pređu na HUD, već će u prvo vreme postojati zajedno sa tradicionalnim menijima. Kako HUD funkcioniše možete videti u priloženom video, a detalje o njemu možete pronaći na […]

  276. B Linsey-Bloom Says:

    NO NO NO!
    I love the design of Unity, I think it’s the best interface available on any platform. Unfortunately in 11.10 I still can’t use it for work because it still has so many bugs.
    The HUD is an amazing idea too but please don’t release it before it’s ready. You should be focusing on stability and bug fixing for the LTS, not introducing ‘experimental’ new features like the HUD.

  277. Anthony Says:

    Am I missing something? I prefer not to be negative and flame-war-igniting, but how is this innovative? Here’s a video of very similar functionality which is default behavior in each mac osx app:

  278. Kieran Says:

    Very nice, reminds me a little of Ubiquity from Mozilla Labs . It will be interesting to see how the traditional menu will change over the next few years, tablets will be the biggest driver for change I think

  279. soumak Says:

    I’m wondering how the following scenarios will be addressed.

    1) Lets say I have a file on my desktop that I wish to delete. Do I have to click the file then go the HUD and then type delete? That to me seems like it would be more work than just dragging in to the trash bin.

    2) in gimp..i agree that it is easier to find filters and things of that nature that is not directly on the screen but lets say you wanted to use the paint bucket tool and color the screen a selected color. in your case 1) you would have to choose the color via the mouse 2) click on the HUD access button 3) type in fill (or something similar). OR if you were to utilize the mouse..which you are already using to select the color, you then click the paint bucket tool on the left hand side and then click to fill.

    don’t get me wrong, i think its a great idea. i especially loved the email feature..that is great. I do see the benefits of this but i think there will need to be a mind shift to this functionality. I just think that there needs to be more thought on complete integration to where users don’t have to utilize the mouse and keyboard in combination. It just seems like this interface would be difficult for simple functionality but would significantly help for more complex functionality that requires searching.

  280. Little Blue Says:

    Sounds quite interesting.

    I am really looking forward to see how this interacts with Lotus Notes or Lotus Sametime 😉

  281. Mike Blais Says:

    This is stupid ideal. This isn’t going to convince me to switch to Linux. Give me things that can do easy and then we are talking. There some thing that Windows 3.1 can do that Ubuntu can’t do ever, and I don’t mean running Windows or DOS software. I got to type what I want to do. So I type erase, does it know I want to delete. Maybe I missed spell it, what then?

    I agree with fdsfdfd. It going to be make thing longer then they need to be. This also going to be the slowest way to do thing.

  282. Benjamim Gois Says:

    Mark, sometime ago i read an article written by Bruce Tognazzini (ex apple engineer) discusing which one was best for IOS, a good searching feature or a great browsing system. It´s just what i see in unity. If you think it might help take a look:

  283. Canonical chce dokonać rewolucji w interfejsach. Uda się? « Spider's Web Says:

    […] Co to jest? HUD – Heads-Up Display, czyli sposób interakcji z komputerowym interfejsem aplikacji. Na razie we wstępnych fazach rozwoju, bez mapy funkcji i dostępny tylko na wersji Alfa Ubuntu 12.04, jednak rysujący całkiem nowe możliwości. Pomysł jest całkiem nowatorski, nastawiony na redefiniowanie GUI znanego do tej pory i sprawienie, że będzie prostsze w bezdotykowej obsłudze niż znane od dziesiątek lat sposoby. Jednak niestety pomysł i jego sensowność swoją drogą, a szanse na przyjęcie się swoją. HUD nie ma zbytnich szans na sukces, przynajmniej dopóki zajmował się nim będzie tylko Canonical. Gdyby Apple go “wymyślił”… […]

  284. Christos Says:

    I beg you to rethink. This is simply too cluttered and takes up far too much screen space. In a word: horrible. The old MacOS interface you posted is immensely better. There is no need to make all GUIs like fake movie computer GUIs.

  285. mythus Says:

    This looks very interesting, and I can’t wait to test it out myself.

    I’ve always wanted a quicker, easier way to access commonly used functions in a program. This seems like it could be the answer to that.

    I am also glad to see that you will keep the traditional menu structure, at least for now, for the many that do not like change or simply have a hard time adjusting to/liking the HUD. I think that this answers fdsfdfd’s remark (seems like he didn’t read the part where you said the traditional menu will also be there).

    As for menu discovery, I think the best option would be to add something of this nature:
    You type File or Edit, and it shows that at the top with (in fainter colors) the stuff that goes in that menu underneath that can be clicked on or arrowed/tabbed to.

    ALso I know you want to replace the traditional menu, but might I please suggest that even when you have all the kink worked out in the HUD that you leave the traditional menu as an option, even if that means it has to be a downnloaded component from the ubuntu app store? There will always be those that no matter what you do will hate the HUD, you can’t please everyone! This should be noticable from those that hate UNITY but don’t realize they can still get classic GNOME (via installing GNOME 3), or use UNITY 2D, but top panel only, kind of thing, or another DE/WM altogether. It is simply because once people have found what they like, they want to keep that choice, even if the new thing might be eventually better over-all, it won’t be for those that feel like they are loosing the freedom to use what they like and are used to. So, please keep that consideration in mind – after all, the spirity of Ubuntu is about humanity towards others, even if you don’t like their choices, right?

    Again though, good work as usual! I love to see innovation and new ideas!

  286. Roberto Salazar Says:

    I would like the enhancements made on mobile UI carried back to the desktop. I would like a side bar that I can use to make searches, type notes build custom menus, publish on social networks, etc. If there’s something like this already pls let me know.

  287. cement_head Says:

    More typing as default? You have to be kidding. I still run Maverick because Unity is unusable for work. Keep this interface design for tablets, tvs and cell phones. This (Unity, HUD) does not work well on desktops (for people that do work, not play).

  288. Alex Says:

    Looks slick & sounds great! I look forward to trying it!

  289. UnityArgh Says:

    All these new interface changes just make it harder for me. I liked the old Gnome 2. When Unity came along I felt my computer had been bricked. Thankfully I found Xfce which is clean, lean and fast.

  290. Ubuntu’s HUD | ericl.journal Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu This entry was posted in posts by Eric Longstaff. Bookmark the permalink. /* […]

  291. David Mulder Says:

    +1íng fdsfdfd, and just to add to that, this will probably be pointless as users often remember commands spatially and visually, both of which you lose right now. And it’s not without reason that ubiquity died a silent death (although greeted warmly at first it simply turned out to be inefficient).

    Oh well, I would like to just ASK A SINGLE THING: PLEASE PLEASE let a subset of (non-geek) users test this new interface and observer their use of it, because I strongly doubt it will be received well by the non-geek folk.

  292. UnityArgh Says:

    Security: A bug in this site:

    (Alex’s full email address was exposed to me. Of course I will not use it.)

    After I submitted a comment and scrolled down to the bottom of the page I noticed the form had been filled in not with my email address, but instead exposed the last published commenter’s email address to me.

    That is why I used a fake email for this present message.

  293. Jimmi Says:

    Some historical nitpicking…

    Xerox didn’t invent the GUI in the 70’s, Douglas Englebart did in the 60’s! Xerox was first to attempt a real implementation of a GUI.

    And the Xerox Alto didn’t even have menus, that was one of the thing that Apple came up with…

    “The Lisa team eventually settled on an icon-based interface where each icon indicated a document or an application, and developed the first pull-down menu bar, where all menus appeared at the very top line of the screen.”

  294. Mark Shuttleworth Unveils New Head-Up Display for Ubuntu 12.04 | Kantier Says:

    […] Every time I write about Ubuntu and its (not-so) new Unity interface, I see lots and lots of comments decrying it as useless, an abomination, the worst thing to ever happen to computers, etc. Personally, I’m not so flummoxed by it, but there’s no denying that Unity has been a divise addition to Canonical’s flagship Linux distribution. The choice to move application menus up to the global bar at the top of the screen has been frustrating to many, and a lot of power users find Unity too mouse-intensive. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s Self-Appointed Benevloent Dictator For Life, yesterday unveiled the next step in the Unity evolution: the Head-Up Display. […]

  295. Ubuntu 12.04: Schnellzugriff dank "Head-up-Display" - NETZWELT Says:

    […] Blog-Beitrag (Quelle) […]

  296. David Says:

    How is bouncing back and forth from mouse to keyboard easier and faster? That’s what makes menus easy. You just point and click and go back to what you were working on (usually with the mouse). There’s no mouse – keyboard transition. That’s my biggest complaints about GUI designs. I have to mouse to the app, open it, then transfer to keyboard to do some typing, move back to mouse to open a new feature. Make is so I can do everything from either the keyboard or mouse with minimimal / intuitive effort and I’ll be hooked.

  297. Pellaeon Says:

    I see this as a disaster because for us Chinese users, typing is a much slower task.

    For English users, if they want to save the file, they’ll probably just type “sav” and would be able to select “Save File” through the HUD.
    But for Chinese users, we’ll probably have to type “儲存”, which means “Save”. In order to type these two characters, first we have to type “ㄔㄨˇ”, these symbols represent how we pronounce the character. And then we have to select the correct character in the input method, because many different Chinese characters share the same pronunciation. We’ll probably have to press 5~8 keys just to type one character “儲”. And if the character is rarely used, we’ll have to go through more selections just to select the correct character.

    As you can see, Chinese users have to type through more keys (typing the pronunciation and selecting correct characters) just to express the same meaning.

    I believe not only Chinese have this problem, many other languages also do. For example Japanese and Korean.

    This would be a serious issue to many non-English users.

  298. HUD, la herramienta de Canonical que dará mucho que hablar Says:

    […] Podéis visitar la pagina de Mark Shuttleworth donde explica los detalles de HUB, en este enlace […]

  299. Ubuntu intentará crear interfaz sin menú Says:

    […] Introducing a HUD. Say hello to a destiny of a menu(Mark […]

  300. Appifyer Says:

    I found the idea very interesting, but it has two weaknesses:

    1) No browsing
    2) No hotkeys

    Browsing is the mapping for when you don’t know what you’re looking for (step 1 in the “Learning curve”). Accessing something by typing text or going through a GUI is, in my opinion, step 2. Mouse movement is bad, but exaggerated keyboard typing isn’t perfect either. Step 3, using a command that you know – should optimally be launched using hotkeys. Hotkey improvement and standardization is the future. When I have finished typing this comment, I will not click the “Submit Comment” button. I will press tab, space. Because it’s faster.

    With your method, the equalivent would be a keypress and a string, for example (Show HUD) -> Subm (Ok).

    Anyway, interesting progression, I like the idea, but I think human-machine interaction can be even more improved.

  301. AdrienB | HUD, nouveauté d’Ubuntu 12.04 Says:

    […] Shuttleworth vient d’annoncer sur son blog une des nouveautés majeures de la version 12.04 d’Ubuntu, The Precise Pangolin (prévue […]

  302. AdrienB | HUD, nouveauté d’Ubuntu 12.04 pour Unity Says:

    […] Shuttleworth vient d’annoncer sur son blog une des nouveautés majeures de la version 12.04 d’Ubuntu, The Precise Pangolin (prévue […]

  303. Разработчики Ubuntu представили инновационную альтернативу традиционным меню | DimDok Says:

    […] Source ← Редкое видео с молодым Стивом Джобсом, снятое […]

  304. Oliver Says:

    Cool concept, I don’t know how well it will work in practice but it is great that Canonical and Ubuntu are not afraid of
    trying out new interface designs.

  305. Haz Says:

    Nice concept, I can see some good uses, but I think this is a step backwards. In an IM client where the user is typing, it makes sense to use the HUD. But in a photo editor when I’m primarily using a mouse, I can undo an action with, at most, two mouse clicks, the feature would be a poor replacement for existing menus.

    IMHO, menus are pre-written to save a user from constant typing. It definitely depends on the context of use, and shouldn’t be hailed as a replacement!

  306. Gustav Says:

    This looks promising as a help system, but not as an all out replacement for menus.

    First of all, it requires typing when you are using the mouse. We have mouse driven menus for a reason.

    Second, despite fuzzy matching, you can only search when you know the term or a term like it, and you know what the app is capable of. It does not offer a way to discover the capability of the application. In the video, how would I know that the application can even put glow or shadow effects on a polygon. What if I didn’t even know they were called “effects.”

    However, combine this with a properly designed menu bar, and you have something. Like the search field in the Help menu on a Mac.

  307. Mark Shuttleworth Unveils New Head-Up Display for Ubuntu 12.04 | Startup Help Says:

    […] Every time I write about Ubuntu and its (not-so) new Unity interface, I see lots and lots of comments decrying it as useless, an abomination, the worst thing to ever happen to computers, etc. Personally, I’m not so flummoxed by it, but there’s no denying that Unity has been a divisive addition to Canonical’s flagship Linux distribution. The choice to move application menus up to the global bar at the top of the screen has been frustrating to many, and a lot of power users find Unity too mouse-intensive. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s Self-Appointed Benevloent Dictator For Life, yesterday unveiled the next step in the Unity evolution: the Head-Up Display. […]

  308. Matthew Says:

    I see this as more of a extension than a replacement. As others have stated, menus provide a means of discovery.

    Think of it this way. You go to a dinner that has no menu at all. Your issue is you have to keep asking the waitress if they have X and X is based on the customers current knowledge of previous menu items from other dinners. Not only that but maybe they have their own original item. You would never know cause there is nothing there telling you its even an option.

    Don’t get me wrong I think its great your trying to think out of the box but my opinion is that this feature needs more thought.

    As a side note I don’t understand why there is this mission to kill menus. They work and pretty well IMHO.

  309. GuillaumeB Says:

    Right now, the Mac application Alfred App keeps me on Mac OS X. It seems HUD has the potential to get those exact same features

    I advise you to look for Alfred App and why not give it a try. It’s a mix between GnomeDO/Quicksilver and Chrome’s Omnibar Custom search engines. It connects with web services as well as local applications and system too. Actions/queries are triggered with a simple custom keyword in a universal box

    i’d die to see this integrated in Ubuntu. i hate being so much dependent on this application as I’d really like to give up Mac machines. But I see HUD a great potential to go this direction.

  310. Daily links for 01/25/2012 | Blog | Bob Sutor Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu. […]

  311. HUD, o cómo Ubuntu dirá adiós a los menús | TechWeekEurope España Says:

    […] que leas mucho incluso cuando probablemente ya sabes lo que quieres”, escribe Shuttleworth en su blog. “HUD resuelve este problema” al ofrecer un acceso rápido a las acciones disponibles. […]

  312. Danny Says:

    Great to see some fresh thought going into the UI, leveraging the idea of intents seems promising. I certainly rate using the keyboard to launch applications (I use Gnome Do as my primary launcher), though I’ve reservations on it’s use within apps. As several folks have commented, this doesn’t really help with the “map of the app’s functionality” aspect.

    Also some care over roll-out would be appreciated. When Unity came in as default – and didn’t suit the way I like to work – I lost a lot of time getting back to Gnome Classic.

  313. Trinae Says:

    Interesting concept, but I think it should not be part of the 12.04 LTS release. It’s going to be very beta at best, which kind of goes against what an LTS release is about. People are just getting used to Unity, now we’re throwing this out. Could this be too much too soon?

  314. Christopher Drum Says:

    I’m not of the camp that thinks the keyboard is a no-no for making a better user interface. I’m also very much of the mind that the desktop UI needs a swift kick in the pants and I don’t think dumbing the interface down is the solution. However I may feel about this HUD, I am glad to see attempts to shake things up.

    That said, I’m not convinced by your sales pitch nor the demo video that you are on the right track. Specifically you mention a few areas in which menus fail, but I don’t think what you mention is a failing of the menu.

    1. When they get nested, navigating the tree can become fragile.
    I’d suggest that if the nesting of a menu structure is so deep as to become that fragile then the menu item in question should be rethought.

    2. They require you to read a lot when you probably already know what you want.
    But you are conveniently not mentioning that spacial locations are remembered and reused in an almost reflexive-like manner. Proficient users aren’t really “reading” every menu item, so much as scanning. Now I have to read the FULL LINE of menu options for every suggested option to make sure that the option I’m choosing falls under the proper context. Even when the demo video typed the word “Undo”, the typical use case of “Undo” was not the first-most option in the list. Presumably the order of that list is decided by the developer of the program in question, and so we may find ourselves in the case of typing “Undo” and the “real” undo is in some arbitrary point that is different for every app.

    3. They are more difficult to use from the keyboard than they should be, since they generally require you to remember something special (hotkeys) or use a very limited subset of the keyboard (arrow navigation).
    I’m not sure how substituting Command-P with the new “Type the word print and select from a menu the print that you meant” makes the keyboard easier to use.

    4. They force developers to make often arbitrary choices about the menu tree (“should Preferences be in Edit or in Tools or in Options?”)…
    If we look at the Macintosh, Preferences is ALWAYS under the application menu. This problem is solved by strict human interface guidelines for the platform.

    5. …and then they force users to make equally arbitrary effort to memorise and navigate that tree.
    The names of the functions, conditions, and items in a program are just as arbitrary. You have only swapped one arbitrary reference for another one.

    Lastly, I would urge you not to look at the ten-year-old Minority Report nor the gaming community for work-a-day UI ideas. They are fleeting, one-off designs that will (do?) look dated very quickly as other, cooler UI concepts strive to be the next awesome thing that has Hollywood buzzing. You are definitely on the right track for following Raskin’s theories, not just because he’s a respected grognard but because he has put his life energy into the ideas and isn’t trying to wow us with flash and sizzle, like your other inspirations.

  315. The Latest Ubuntu Interface: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Menus! | PHP World Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth is getting a lot of notice for a blog post he has up, that defends the Heads-Up Display (HUD) interface that the upcoming version 12.04 LTS […]

  316. Mansoor Says:

    I love the idea! Awesome! It sounds and looks great and I am definitely looking fofward to using it. “Minority report” is one of my favourate movies! This is how science fiction actually inspires science. Gives you something to marvel about. But, please keep the good old menues for the time being so as not to alienate legacy users.

  317. neil_for_free Says:

    This is definitely a great step. But it needs to be remembered that different users have different ways of interacting with the desktop. The main point is that the system should not get in the way of the user.

    Case 1:
    When someone is writing a lot of text, and needs to do something with the menu reaching over for the mouse breaks your thought and is a hindrance. In such situation HUD is a gift.

    Case 2:
    But again, when someone is drawing an image with a mouse, reaching over to the keyboard and entering a command in HUD breaks your thought.

    HUD will be great for a

    1) keyboard specialists
    2) advanced user of an application.

    While a menu is needed for,

    1) A new user learning the application and exploring or a
    2) An excessive mouse user.

    Thus we need both. This cannot be a replacement but can be an OUTSTANDING addition to the UI. And also let this not replace shortcuts like , , , etc.

    Please do not impose on users, keep the FREEDOM of choice ON. Unity did not.

  318. andrea Says:

    this is the dumbest idea i’ve ever heard…

  319. Jim Van Zandt Says:

    To echo some of the above points, please:
    – Leave the menus, since they allow discovery
    – Indicate the shortcut key if available, so a user has a fast, dependable way to invoke the command the next time.
    – Voice is a special case. It should certainly be available for accessibility. But for most of us, if there are others around then we don’t want to annoy them with voice commands.
    – Translucent gadgets make both the foreground and background hard to see. Unless there is some reason I need to see both (say, to accurately position a figure in a document) I would rather they be opaque.

    But also:
    – Please add a help reference, in case a command comes up that I want to know more about. Maybe just tab to the command then hit F1.
    – Please indicate when a command is potentially destructive – e.g. would take more than a single-step undo to recover from.

  320. raczgabor Says:

    Very cool idea and implementation, but…
    Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive would frown.
    To illustrate the HUD usefulness, they would not choose the Inkscape – because you draw with the mouse and switching to keyboard means more movement and losing time.
    It would be better to demo with Writer or anything not mouse-centric app.

  321. Gabe Says:

    I like where Ubuntu is heading and can’t wait for these ideas to mature.

  322. Andrew Says:

    I like how you want to try new things, but please allow more options, such fallback to a more classic desktop environment, or even the ability to select from various desktop environments. The system shouldn’t be dependent or integrated with the graphical interface.

  323. » Разработчики Ubuntu представили инновационную альтернативу традиционным меню Says:

    […] Разработчики Ubuntu представили инновационную альтернативу традиционным меню Марк Шаттлворт представил новую систему меню ‘Head-Up Display’ (HUD), которая проповедует кардинально иные методы и может заменить обычную систему вложенных меню, которая существует в компьютерной индустрии уже более 30 лет. Теперь вместо путешествия через многочисленные выпадающие меню для поиска нужного приложения или команды, система HUD предложит пользователям просто напечатать в поисковой строке, что они хотят сделать. В процессе набора команд система будет автоматически подбирать и предлагать наиболее вероятные названия программ из приложений имеющихся в системе или команд, имеющихся в штатном меню текущего приложения. В каждом отдельном случае HUD будет пытаться максимально точно угадать, что хочет пользователь, для этого он будет запоминать все предыдущие ассоциации между введенным и запущенным, с каждым разом всё лучше подстраиваясь под конкретный стиль пользователя. В любом случае, каждый раз HUD будет предлагать набор из наиболее близких вариантов, позволяя выбрать именно то, что нужно. Например, набор комбинации букв «rad» предложит команду «Radial blur» в приложении GIMP, при вводе «D» будет предложено удалить файл или отредактировать свойства документа. Марк Шаттлворт считает, что с HUD будет намного проще осваивать новое ПО, а также мигрировать новым пользователям с Windows, при этом не надо будет заново разбираться в новой для них структуре меню (предполагается, что HUD гораздо более интуитивнее и понятнее, чем традиционные вложенные меню). Новая система меню преследует две главные цели. Во-первых, система HUD обеспечит стандартный способ доступа для всех команд, в том числе и для редко используемых, для которых, как правило, отсутствует какое-то графическое представление в системе из иерархических меню. Во-вторых, Марк считает, что такой подход позволяет видеть все команды, как системные, так и собственный набор команд приложения, – в логически едином пространстве. Теперь любая внутренняя команда приложения находится на таком же уровне «вложенности», как и любая другая, что объединяет воедино всю функциональность системы (одна из главных целей концепции интерфейса Unity). Как у старого, так и нового подхода, есть свои плюсы и недостатки. Марк считает, что на работу в традиционном графическом меню тратится много времени. Иногда поиск чего-то может быть очень долгим, если приложений много и пользователь не помнит, где конкретно находится то, что нужно. HUD позволяет мгновенно «дотянуться» до любого приложения, помня хотя бы часть его названия. Марк также считает, что если горячие клавиши отчасти и решали эту проблему, то интерфейс HUD в любом случае будет проще, так как всегда проще запомнить короткое ключевое слово (или несколько таких слов на выбор), часть названия программы или какую-то её отдельную команду, чем безликую комбинацию клавиш. Недостаток HUD в том, что он требует четкого понимания что хочет пользователь. При использовании HUD также увеличивается нагрузка на память пользователя и требуется гораздо большее взаимодействие с клавиатурой, но учитывая склонность пользователей Linux к консоли, такой подход смотрится вполне рациональным. Но, несмотря на всё это, старое визуальное меню будет пока сохранено, параллельно сосуществуя с HUD. Таким образом, по словам Марка, скорее всего, HUD впервые будет представлен в Ubuntu 12.04, и будет доступен во всех стандартных приложениях Ubuntu, которые поддерживают глобальное меню. Поддержка традиционных меню будет сохранена в полном объёме, система HUD будет включаться опционально. В доступных в настоящее время тестовых выпусках Ubuntu 12.04 можно установить HUD из PPA-репозитория «unity-team/hud» (sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-team/hud; sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade). Активация интерфейса HUD производится через нажатие клавиши Alt. Но HUD в таком виде – это только начало. Второй логический шаг – это распознавание голоса, когда эти же команды можно будет отдавать голосом. Фактически текущая «промежуточная реализация» HUD – это предварительная адаптация графического интерфейса под будущее голосовое управление, которое и является главной и конечной целью всех планируемых преобразований. Подход HUD преследует своей главной концептуальной целью расчистить рабочее пространство монитора от нагромождения элементов управления (в противоположность тому, как это сделано в продуктах на базе концепции Microsoft Ribbon), чтобы с одной стороны — позволить пользователю компьютера полностью сконцентрироваться на рабочей области приложения, но при этом с другой стороны — сделать любую команду системы максимально легко и быстро доступной. Via Source […]

  324. Ubuntu 12.04 substituirá os menus por um “Heads Up Display” | Web Developer IT Says:

    […] um post em seu blog o fundador e ex-CEO da Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, apresentou o novo design, no qual usuários digitam o nome da função de pretendem acessar em uma “barra de comando” […]

  325. Canonical bringing HUD to Ubuntu 12.04 » Says:

    […] The Register Mark Shuttleworth […]

  326. laughingskeptic Says:

    You complain that menus “… are more difficult to use from the keyboard than they should be”, but in your following examples you ignore access-key (different from accelerator-key) based type-through-menus that Microsoft introduced back in 1987 and continues to support with the ribbon today (e.g. “Alt F S” for “File->Save”). It drives me crazy that Apple never picked this up and most Linux menus also do not support this basic innovation. You also missed the “pro-HUD” argument that most modern applications contain more functionality than can be rationally organized into a usuable menu system. I personally find that the ribbon bars often bury too much functionality and would like something like the HUD, especially when trying to perform less-often-performed tasks.

  327. Heads up, Linux fans, Ubuntu’s ditching menus » Linux news Says:

    […] Ubuntu 12.04 will introduce in April a new Heads-Up Display for interacting with the operating system, wrote Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. The HUD will allow you to “express your intent” with the operating system and the programs running on it, wrote Shuttleworth. […]

  328. Linux as Source of UI Innovation? - Tech Dech Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth has an interesting article up announcing a new “HUD” for Ubuntu intended to replace the menu bar: Mark Shuttleworth blogs on HUD […]

  329. HUD: Az alkalmazás menük kezelése másképpen » Somlói Richárd blogja Says:

    […] nagy vihart kavart Mark Shuttleworth nemrég megjelent blogbejegyzése, melyben a nemsokára az Ubuntuban debütáló egy új technológiát, a HUD-ot, azaz a Head-Up […]

  330. Innocent Bystander Says:

    A coffee shop which only sell coffee, still needs to display a menu. Now imagine you are in a renowned French restaurant, which doesn’t have any menu. The waiter will try to best guess your command. You, of course, have little knowledge about French cuisine and barely speak French. Well, good luck with your order. Morality: do whatever you want. The traditional menu must remain.

    The HUD idea is good for those who knows well the software they are dealing with. It looks smart and trendy, like smart kids nowadays who can sing a lot of songs … until you discover that modern songs just repeat the same few syllables.

  331. Mark McCorkle Says:

    Have you guys been measuring (via GOMS or otherwise) the various types of users (entry level to experienced) using the traditional menu -vs- the HUD? If so, could you share those metrics for the readers of this blog so that they can have some solid numbers to discuss?

    Also, leaping (and using the alt as a meta-mode leap key) is a wonderful homage to Jef’s CueCat, but having it “learn” is a dangerous route to take, as it keeps us from being able to memorize where things are. If the list of things we are looking for is infinite (like a google search) we expect to not be able to memorize the result set, but when we have a finite list of things, we expect to be able to build some habits around “type D, down twice, then hit enter” to get to a specific selection every time (ask any AutoCAD, VI/VIM, or tab complete user).

    If you can make the HUD work “as the user intends” and still offer the user methods to develop habits, then I think you have a strong win here.

    Now, what about Jef’s Zoomworld?

  332. Raul Says:

    Although the HUD is very interesting and probably useful idea, I still think that much more important general usability goal would be to make the desktop more responsive and resource efficient. So if the user does something, the system reacts instantly. Currently the Unity desktop experience is much clunkier and slower than Windows 7 for example. And Microsoft seems to put lots of effort to optimize it in Windows 8 even further. Also it seems that Apple products (iPhone, iPad, macs) are highly regarded in that sense.

  333. Markavian Says:

    I love what you guys are presented. My favourite feature in Windows 7 is the “type to start” app, which Mac user’s tell me they’ve had for years. Having more of these fuzzy actions available is great usability, and as pointed out, leads in very well to voice commands.

    One big dissapointment though is the MS Office ribbon. I still struggle with it on a daily basis. It constantly moves icons around and makes it difficult for me to find and use actions. I expect items to come up in the same place, but instead I have to restart my “search” for a particular feature every time. It was better, for example, when the “Send and Receive” button was in the same place all the time. I know there are different use cases for their software, but I honestly feel like MS took a backwards step with the ribbon.

    However, I look forward to the future of interfaces, and programs making more of an effort to assist the user by identifying their regular workflows and presenting options appropriately. Failiing that tho, nothing beats a good file menu that lists all the features of the program. (Aka Manual Search from top left to bottom right).

  334. Ubuntu 12.04 จะเลิกใช้ "เมนูบาร์" เปลี่ยนมาเป็น HUD แทน | | Magento, รับทำเว็บไซต์ Magento, รับทำเว็บไซต์ Says:

    […] ที่มา – Mark Shuttleworth […]

  335. LinuxLife Blog - News: Head-Up-Display revolutioniert Menüs in Ubuntu 12.04 Says:

    […] Die Menüs haben natürlich auch Vorteile, vor allem sind sie immer verfügbar und immer an der gleichen Stelle. HUD will diese Vorteile beibehalten, aber die Nachteile beseitigen. Das geschieht, indem man das HUD aktiviert, worauf sich eine Suchmaske öffnet. Man kann nun einige Buchstaben von dem eintippen, was man tun möchte, und das System führt eine unscharfe Suche durch und zeigt alle passenden Menüpunkte unmittelbar an. Daraus kann man schnell den gewünschten auswählen. Wie das genau funktioniert, demonstriert ein Video im Blog von Mark Shuttleworth. […]

  336. Chris Brainard Says:

    There are already apps out there that do this. Removing the menu is horrible UI design and is basically kicking out everyone from using Ubuntu, except those who are on Mobile devices. Why don’t you replace the desktop and have users boot into a terminal. Then they can be real power users and not have to fiddle with that silly mouse. This is the worst case of minimalism ever. Many people warned you about Unity and you didn’t listen. Now I am sure you won’t listen to people complaining about this and it will be the final nail in the coffin. Good Bye Ubuntu.

  337. Mark Shuttleworth Unveils New Head-Up Display for Ubuntu 12.04 | Bitmag Says:

    […] Every time I write about Ubuntu and its (not-so) new Unity interface, I see lots and lots of comments decrying it as useless, an abomination, the worst thing to ever happen to computers, etc. Personally, I’m not so flummoxed by it, but there’s no denying that Unity has been a divisive addition to Canonical’s flagship Linux distribution. The choice to move application menus up to the global bar at the top of the screen has been frustrating to many, and a lot of power users find Unity too mouse-intensive. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s Self-Appointed Benevloent Dictator For Life, yesterday unveiled the next step in the Unity evolution: the Head-Up Display. […]

  338. Ubuntu HUD - Nie wieder Menüs - Bratwurst mit Käse Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth sagt noch viel mehr dazu auf seinem Blog. […]

  339. Ubuntu swaps application menus for HUD control system Says:

    […] changes were revealed on a blog posted by Mark Shuttleworth, the lead designer at Canonical – the London-based firm behind […]

  340. Charles Says:

    What we had 2 years ago was better than Unity or HUD. Plain simple Gnome with Ubuntu look and feel. Much better, easier to use. I prefer using my mouse (1 or 2 clicks) than having to type on my keyboard.

  341. Canonical bringing HUD to Ubuntu 12.04, company’s assault on menus continues Says:

    […] Register  |  Mark Shuttleworth  | Email […]

  342. Karim Says:

    Will the HUD allow me to enter parameters?

    for example

    “zoom 50%”
    “compose [contact name]”

    Is this even necessary?

  343. HUD, la herramienta de Canonical que dará mucho que hablar | Noticias del Cerebro Digital Says:

    […] Podéis visitar la pagina de Mark Shuttleworth donde explica los detalles de HUB, en este enlace […]

  344. fiji.siv Says:

    In the video, the user had to manually select the first entry from the list. I hope that once implemented, just hitting [Enter] will do the same as selecting the first entry. Reduce key presses, hand movement, etc.

  345. David Says:

    Keyboard? In 2012? What about Asian language users? Aren’t tablets and touch screens supposed to be the future? Is this why you don’t have manpower to make unity more configurable, THIS? Are you kidding us?

  346. Mihail Yakimenko Says:

    when you help AMD makes Good ATI Driver?? Or Fixed ATI driver in Ubuntu 11.10??? ><

  347. J.Lysle Says:

    Looks to me like just another way to control where people surf and what software people use, how they use it, and in general just another control method by distributors of operating systems. I doubt that I will be able to remember hundreds of typed commands to get to some specific area of some specific software. Going back to the dark ages of DOS etc, type written commands just to get the operating system to function, (and get it wrong every time because of some small spelling error) might be great for the geeks or so called power users and gamers, but the everyday user wants to be able to see what they are invoking clearly. Most people, even in Africa, can read a written language nowadays and don’t need to search for what should be an easy menu command and function to find that they nowadays already know, is there. A waste of time and effort just for the sake of change in my opinion. A new, guess what we have for you today method. Why break and tamper with something that already works very well. I have no great hate for the old fashioned MOUSE. Your losing a lot of people with change for change sake and catering for a specific market. I know pretty well what programs/software etc that I need to use every day and don’t need to be force driven to use something new all the time.

  348. Felix Haller Says:

    That’s an interesting concept. I will help testing it and report bugs (if any 😉 ).

    I think this feature will attract some new Ubuntu-users. But I beg you please to only extend the traditional menus at the moment and NOT TO REPLACE them. Otherwise I think we will loose users.


  349. Anon Commenter Says:

    I’m looking forward to using this. I’ve been using the keyboard more since I started using Unity, and this will help it even further.

    However, the normal menus should be kept indefinitely. While I managed to get my parents to switch to Ubuntu (and they have no problems with it! They started on Gnome2 and the switch to Unity was very smooth and they found it not as problematic as many say people would), they still hardly ever use the dash to search – they do prefer the mouse. That’s my argument for always (or as long as they are still used anyway) keeping the menus, after all many people prefer to not use the keyboard at all, except for typing.

  350. J S Says:

    Since Unity is ‘for’ phones and tablets, how to type on the HUD?

    Reminds me of the command line with auto-complete. The problem for using this is that a user must guess where to start: “save” or “load” a file. But I often need to look for an option, “I want green text, is it in formatting? or editing? and then character or paragraph?…” You can zoom around and find some hints on where to find the solution. Window’s ribbon hides things (good grief! using Windows for an example!) – annoying in the ribbon is all the stuff you don’t use all the time is compressed but that’s when you really are looking to find things and have to expand the ‘more’ option in each one you look at.

    How to address the basic Unity issue of user customization for 12.04? Can I make the side bar thinner? Change the color? combine the top bar with the side bar so I only have one taking up screen space (I do this on classic Gnome, one top bar with all the important bottom bar features)? I’m more likely to use a fixed side bar than auto-hide, but can I turn that option on/off? will there be a gui of unity modification features? As soon as people can customize it, easily, then people will be drawn into it.

    From what I’ve heard .. the TV and movie industry goes to “one guy” who sets up the computer screens for all the scenes where someone is interacting with a computer. from hackers to ‘minority report’ wall screens. The actors of course just hit random key to make the action happen, but ‘the guy’ does a lot with UIs – and it’s all with Linux (so the studios don’t have to spend money on MS). Might want to seek him out and see what interesting UIs he’s done.


  351. t0@d Says:

    Wow – after all this time we are returning to the pre-windows techniques of Lotus-123 and MS-Word (circa 1980s).

    I like the server (terminal only) version of Ubuntu too – but please don’t get rid of the user interface – ‘kay ?

  352. Philipp Schroeder Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great to see you pushing for innovating the desktop experience on Linux.

    I defected from Ubuntu to Mac OS X (aka “golden cage”) about 3 years ago. Your announcement to add this language-based interface prompts me to revisit Ubuntu 12.04 – I’ll definitely have a look at it.

    For those interested in some of the history behind this, here is a video recording of Aza Raskin demonstrating Enso, a command line tool for launching, navigating and operating desktop applications, at Ubuntu Developer Summit May 2007.

    Warm regards from cold Switzerland, Philipp

  353. PJ Says:

    Unity broke Ubuntu for me. This just piles it on. Frying pan? Fire?

    I stuck with 10.10 and decided to wait for 12.04 before giving up.

    Still hoping for some love for what wasn’t broken.

  354. Jean van Wyngaardt Says:

    There seems to be a lot of negativity around the changes being made to Ubuntu and the introduction of HUD.. Here is my point of view:

    1. No one is forcing you to use Ubuntu, and if you don’t like the future of its progress – find another flavour of Linux to play with and stop trolling the forums / blogs. Most of you haven’t even tried the HUD, so how can you voice any kind of opinion on how much you hate it? I thought linux users had open minds? ‘think outside the box?’ HUD is exceptionally innovative! Give it credit and ‘try’ using it with an open mind..

    2. From the video – HUD looks like a really smart combo of your personal google search and wolfram alpha – you search for whatever you think you want and magically the answer appears.. Nothing could be simpler and more powerful in a OS, what’s to hate?

    3. Mark and the Ubuntu team – You have done such a great job in creating a brilliant flavour of Linux. No one has put Linux on the map like you have, and no one has made Linux as commercially available – before Ubuntu you would have no chance of calling up dell and asking for a laptop with Linux installed! Keep on creating and innovating, you have my support.. :)

  355. thet Says:

    I switched back from awesome ( to unity because i love it’s goal to reclaim the screen real estate! unity does it quite well. and now that: the concept of HUD sounds quite revolutionary! i’m looking forward to it.

  356. James Says:

    Excellent idea but looks really clunky and very dominate on the screen. Could you make it smaller and visually simpler?

  357. CountZero Says:

    “I want my CLI back. To hell with those pesky pixels. And I want it to be transparent!” Geeks. And you wonder why Linux never took off on the desktop.

  358. loki Says:

    Please to only extend the traditional menus NOT REPLACE them!

    How would I find feature that I don’t know if it exists or I don’t know and I’m too dumb to know how HUD works?

  359. Robert Dean Says:

    This is an interesting idea, and I applaud the exploration. My first take is that requiring the user to type what they want will present some usability challenges. I think mouse-oriented applications (like Inkscape or a web browser) are more suited to a mouse-navigated menu/ribbon-like system, while keyboard oriented applications like word processors or spreadsheets will be a more natural fit for HUD (as long as keyboard shortcuts are provided and displayed so that users have a faster way to access functions.

  360. keeflookeem Says:

    I’ll start by saying that I love innovation and attempts at improving the UI. Ever since 6.06, Ubuntu has been my main OS. I loved the stability, the speed, the security, and above all the intuitive and friendly UI. I like the automation and helpfulness of the GUI that is unmatched in any other OS (*nix, Windose, OSX). The sheer power given to the user, without recompiling the source, rewriting programs, editing cryptic .xml or .conf files…

    That being said, I must say that Unity and Gnome3 are completely unusable for me.

    My problem is that when I installed 11.04 (and 11.10), my desktop was suddenly the equivalent of a smartphone. With 11.04, you could at least use “Gnome classic”, which was a poor imitation of older versions… With 11.10, that was gone too. No ability to significantly change the menu bars, no task manager, no customization other than choosing a theme and desktop background… It looks like crap if you’re using a dual-monitor setup and have a video running in full-screen while working on the other (you still see the top-bar over the video). As a GNU/linux user, I cherish above all the ability to quickly modify and customize the UI according to my needs. That is long gone now. To the point that even Win7 (!) is more usable for me.
    In summary, Mr Shuttleworth, I’d like to say that so far, you and your team have been nothing short of geniuses, and I’m sad to say that the attempts at emulating Steve Jobs’ “revolutionary” visions are not only falling short, you’ve completely alienated the crowd you have accumulated so far. Do us a favor and spare us the wannabe iPhone and give us more Ubuntu. It’s like this one girlfriend I had that kept trying to be like my ex, that wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to tell her that I hate my ex, and if I wanted to date the ex (or someone like her), I wouldn’t have left her. Needless to say, that too because a thing of the past. Don’t be a thing of the past.

  361. Celso Says:

    You know what? add HUD with the current menu for pc’s, giving an option to disable menus on tablets and adapting voice recognition on it would be a good idea. But please, don’t disable menus on pc’s or at least make an option for users to decide(menus are very useful). And an animated background would be even great!

    Keep up the good work!


  362. Napoleon Williams Says:

    There are several problems that could arise with voice activated command functions as default status on the computer. They are:
    1. Too much noise from too many people talking, such as in an office setting or where there is a crowd.
    2. Loss of of privacy and perhaps inadvertent disclosure of confidential information when commands are overheard.
    3. Computer issuing wrong commands if user, while on the computer, takes a telephone call or responds to someone in the office. For example, using the word exit, discard, trash, save to someone who is on the phone or is seated nearby, might cause the computer to execute the command even thought the word was part of a conversation and not a command.
    4. Will talking sometimes in a whisper or talking against a noisy background confuse the voice activated command functions?

  363. Head-Up Display, una nuova soluzione di Canonical sui menù per Unity | Says:

    […] Via | Mark Shuttleworth […]

  364. Joshua H Says:

    I am very excited by the prospect of what the HUD can do. However as many have suggested, the old fashioned menu probably should be retained still. In fact I don’t see the HUD as a replacement, but a complement to the menu. How I see myself using the HUD:

    The HUD would be set to come up by a keyboard shortcut – CTRL H maybe.

    If I know the app or command string (as I probably would for the my most commonly used apps and tasks), I will just type it into the HUD.

    If I don’t, or if I just want to see what’s available, I will type, say “programming”, to bring up the menu for all programming apps, or “internet” to bring up a clickable menu that includes Firefox and Bittorrent client, or just “mainmenu” to bring up the main menu that has all the top levels.

    I am also looking forward to seeing autocomplete feature for the HUD. Even an autocomplete that can learn my preferences over time like Google Search! Ok I am getting ahead of myself now…;P

  365. Ubuntu 12.04のヘッドアップディスプレイはメニュー方式のGUIに別れを告げる? Says:

    […] Shuttleworthが昨日(米国時間1/24)、Unityの新機能であるヘッドアップディスプレイ(Head-Up Display, […]

  366. Ubuntu’s HUD and the Menu | Bowen Li Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth announced on his blog that Ubuntu 12.04 will include a new Heads-Up Display (HUD) interface that will eventually replace […]

  367. koz Says:

    Really good idea. But don’t remove the global menu and keyboard shortcuts. If the user want to repeat something like adding and testing effect in gimp or inkscape it’ll be awful to type same thing again and again (as shown in the video also).

    keep it up!!!
    Best of luck!!!!!!!!

  368. Ubuntu Unity’s new global menu | Technology News Says:

    […] Technology News iCloud Q & A AT&T, Sprint or Verizon: Which to Pick? iPhone 4s Q & A First 9 Things To Do w/ a New iPhone iTunes & Android: What Works Ubuntu Unity’s new global menu var addthis_product = 'wpp-262'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":false,"data_track_addressbar":false};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];} Idiot: […]

  369. Ubuntu swaps action menus for HUD | euronewsweek Says:

    […] changes were revealed on a blog posted by Mark Shuttleworth, the lead designer at Canonical – the London-based firm behind […]

  370. Not seen and not HUD | The Vast Jeff Wing Conspiracy Says:

    […] is experimenting with a new UI replacement for the menu bar. I’m seriously sleep-deprived, so I might have missed this, but there’s one big […]

  371. Head-Up Display, una nuova soluzione di Canonical sui menù per Unity | Indipedia – Indipendenti nella rete Says:

    […] Via | Mark Shuttleworth […]

  372. Ubuntu intentará crear interfaz sin menú - Alevosa > Comunicación Digital Says:

    […] Link: Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu(Mark Shuttleworth) […]

  373. Clint Says:

    I was watching this and couldn’t help but feel like I was back in the very infant pc-times … I mean – it looks better and it does give you hints as you type – but still it is typing on a keyboard in order to use your computer. This is what we used to do before the window-and-menu based OS’es came out.

    I am guessing that it will still be possible to use my CMD+Z (CRTL+Z on PC) to undo? Or should I type “un” and then select the 3rd item down every time?

  374. Max Says:

    So dissent gets censored now, it seems? Way to go…

  375. tOm tOm Says:

    It looks promising! Good job Canonical.

  376. PapaZapa Says:

    Just when I had given up with Ubuntu and started looking at Microsoft again!
    I think innovation always starts from smaller companies…and then larger ones copy it!

    Canonical, be ware!


  377. Roebie Says:

    HUD is a disaster for non-natives (thus for English software all not native English speakers).
    Look at it like this. Even though my English is fairly good, it often happens than I know what I want to do, but that I don’t know/remember how that kind of action is called in English. A menu gives me a tree structure I can browse through. It will be rather easy to find the branche that contains similar actions and when I see the thing I want to do in that branch, I will recognize the English word for it.
    With HUD this is completely gone. I simply won’t find what I’m looking for. Weeks of beta testing have made that clear to me.
    So while I like the idea of HUD, I would strongly advise Ubuntu to keep menu’s avaible aside of the (default?) HUD.

  378. Philippines news: Ubuntu to sport new ‘head-up display’ menu | Pinas.Net Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth, one of the backers of the Ubuntu OS, said they are working on a minimalist “Head-Up Display” (HUD) that will replace the menu bars and items. “The HUD (connects) users directly to what they want. (It uses a) ‘vocabulary UI,’ or VUI, and closer to the way users think. ‘I told the application to…’ is common user paraphrasing for ‘I clicked the menu to…’ The tree is no longer important, what’s important is the efficiency of the match between what the user says, and the commands we offer up for invocation,” Shuttleworth said in a blog post. […]

  379. Ubuntu 12.04 e il futuro dei menu | WebEnt Says:

    […] (0) Vai ai commenti // Due giorni fa il famoso astronauta ha aggiornato il suo blog con un articolo che introduce HUD (Head-Up Display), ovvero un innovativo sistema di accesso ai menu delle […]

  380. Theo Markettos Says:

    Firstly, let me say it’s a good thing that someone in the Linux world is actually doing UI development, not slavishly copying Windows 95. And this sounds like a useful feature to complement existing menus. I’m wary of it as the only way for many of the reasons previously described, particularly to avoid scaring users off (who don’t look for the config option, they just give up and install Windows).

    Some questions about internationalisation. Say I want to use the interface in Swahili because I don’t speak any other language. Someone may have translated the menu options, but such translations are often patchy. They may not have translated extra context information (that says that ‘grab’ and ‘grasp’ and ‘take’ and ‘pick up’ are all synonyms). I get a poor UX because of the limited vocabulary in my language. It’s worse if app A has Swahili menus and app B has English menus.

    Also, there would need to be an obvious ‘switch language’ button. Foreign-language versions of the Windows UI are just about usable for someone who has used it in another language – the menu structures are the same, the on-menu icons are the same, I can feel my way around and use trial and error where necessary. If you remove that structure I’m lost. So there needs to be a way to quickly and visually switch the UI language without needing to know the existing one.

    Next, keyboard drivers. I might be using an English desktop but typing in Arabic. I don’t want to have to keep flipping between keyboard drivers to type commands. I might be typing Arabic but not understand Arabic sufficiently to enter my commands into the UI even if it was multilingual.

    How does this cope across all languages? My linguistics is on thin ice here, but it’s conceivable there are some where use is radically different to English enough to make the concept difficult. For example, Greek words are often very long. Because of common prefixes, you may need 6-10 keystrokes before it’s possible to guess what the action is. Asian languages wrap up lots of meaning in one character – can verb actions be easily described in a few keystrokes?

    So essentially you need to have a long talk with the i18n people to check out all the international corner cases.

    Given that a ‘discovery’ option hasn’t even been designed yet, I would be wary of deploying as default until that option has had extensive user testing, which makes me reticent about it being ready for mainline in 12.04 LTS.

    I’d happily take these points to the Ubuntu design mailing list, if there was a pointer to how to find it.

  381. Ubuntu 12.04 ile gelecek HUD en sonunda geleneksel menünün yerini almayı hedefliyor – Video Says:

    […] desteği, dokunma ve hareket tabanlı kontrol desteğinin olacağını belirtti.Video: Ubuntu HUD İlgili – Mark Shuttleworth Etiketler: head's up display, hud, hud video, ubuntu, ubuntu head's up […]

  382. Robert Says:

    This is great. I find it really hard to look through drop down menus and there are so many programs today that have 9+ level nested menus. It can take literally seconds to find what command I’m looking for, life would be so much easier if I just type what I want. I already know all of the commands a program has and what they are called. Clickable toolbar buttons aren’t user friendly at all and take up way too much screen real estate. Keyboard shortcuts are too hard to press as well.

    I think this new interface will make Ubuntu really accessible to new users and will draw them away from Windows/OSX. After all, being ‘linux for human beings’ is what Ubuntu is all about.

  383. John Sullivan Says:

    HUD – Because Unity wasn’t bad enough.

  384. Carlos Says:

    I installed Gnome 3 in Ubuntu 11.10 to avoid Unity, for me Unity is a strange way to force the people to use more “clicks” or steps to do the same. Now with this HUD you translate the wrong concept to the software menus. What about the spatial orientation? what about the visual memory? What about all the things that are working ok whith the interfaces for years (not only in the computers field)?

    Search is a powerful tool to find when you don’t know where is a tool, but when you know is a delay, you must type letters instead of press on the icon or option menú. How many clicks do you need to execute an option with the HUD? and without it? Could you compare it before continue this nonsense?

    Yes, I love Ubuntu, but I don’t know if I can continue with this.

  385. Micky Martin Says:

    This is a way forward from the GUI distraction that GNOME3 brought to us.
    From what I see is, this is definitely going to be useful for, a) Gotachas and b) Searching but its surely time consuming for working and surfing around.

  386. Russell Horwood Says:

    That’s probably the best software related news I’ve EVER heard!!! It could only be better if they announced they were dropping that disgusting orange default colour.

    I (like most people) hate the current Unity desktop, actually I quite like it, I just REALLY hate certain things about it, such as when information providing bars disappear of the side of the screen to save a couple of pixels… erm.. why?, and glyphs that move to the other side of the screen when you maximimze a window, WTF?

    I hate having to use the mouse for anything since I’m usually on the couch with a keyboard I don’t like to switch to the mouse all the time. EVERYTHING should be quick and easy with the keyboard.

  387. Russell Horwood Says:

    Just watched the video. Some great idea’s in there but first can we focus on getting the basics right in this Unity DE, otherwise ppl will always hate it.

    You MUST show what apps are running – Do I window switch, or do I fire up a new instance?

    You MUST provide visual feedback on launchers, icons on the dekstop and in the side bar just sit there when they are loading – Did that click register? I better click it again. Arrgghh.. I only wanted one instance, now I have three for some reason.

    It MUST run side-by-side with other desktops. I tried to run 11.04 with KDE installed and it destroyed my entire system, I was very unhappy.

    Also: HINT – Users care far more about stability and speed than they do about flashy gimmicks. That’s why I’m still using 10.10.

  388. Russell Horwood Says:

    Hang on. Aren’t menu’s already navigable with the keyboard? Surely the fastest way to execute any command is with a keyboard shortcut. I don’t know about you guys but when (eg) when I copy to the clipboard I press ‘Ctrl-C’, I don’t point the mouse at the menu, edit, copy, only noobs do that.

    Speed is the most important thing for me.

    It you keep both you may be on the cusp of making a great operating system again, at the moment I think you’re treading a risky path which could easily lead to Ubuntu becoming complete rubbish. I really want a truly great Ubuntu so please, consider your roadmap very carefully.

  389. Stefan Says:


    Think of someone who switches from Photoshop/Windows to Gimp/Ubuntu(HUD) or Word/Windows to LibreOffice/Ubuntu(HUD). He doesn’t know which feature is available or not. The more complex and special and less self-explanatory a software is, the more difficult would it be using it with the HUD. Think about useless menu entry names like “extra”, “special”, etc. The HUD would be awesome, if every program would use the same terminology.

  390. Adriano Mitre Says:

    Really cool! Congratulations!

    I am just worried about using Levenshtein distance, which produces unlikely results which clutter the first positions — and ranking is of foresmost importance in this case.

    I am firm in believing that you should use the maximum likelihood “distance” with a linguistic + keyboard (key confusion) model. I have a decent AI and ML background and I could help code and tune the core of the searching and ranking engine. Would you point me to the repository?

  391. XaviConde Says:

    A terrible idea… Every time someone claims ‘WIMP is dead, I have a better idea’ … it doesn’t show. WIMP works, was an evolution over a command line interface and made things so much simpler. Now, new paradigms like this HUD don’t really make WIMP look old and uncomfortable, but the opposite. I agree with all of you who think that you need to know what you’re looking for in advance. it would be much more simple to allow users rearrange the most used actions using customizable menu bars, at least for big apps like Inkscape. If you need to know what the app is capable of in advance, it is by browsing the menus.

    Also take into account that large menu navigation can also indicate that the menu structure is poorly designed. Adding a HUD over it doesn’t make it simple. The app is still poorly designed, and on top of it, you can’t find what is capable of. Go to help or tutorials? it will say ‘click on menu bar…’.

    I also have concerns regarding localization, both for typing menus and specially in the future, for voice recognition. Because sometimes translations are not that great. So if I’m reading an English tutorial and I want to the same with my Catalan desktop, it will be very difficult to type from English to Catalan, while by seeing a menu screenshot or an icon, at least I can figure out where to find it on a non-English UI.

    Summarizing, please don’t make it default.

  392. Le cousin HUD | Korben Says:

    […] aussi rapides que via la console.Pour plus de détails sur HUD, je vous invite à lire la prose de Mark Shuttleworth.À suivre de près…Merci à Nox pour le partage ! Posté le 26 janvier 2012 | Commentaires: 0 | […]

  393. Concept: Ubuntu’s HUD | Says:

    […] Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu. → Elsewhere hud, menu, ui, video ← Dear Zinga […]

  394. Ubuntu 12.04 remplacera les menus des applications par un HuD « Zero4 Says:

    […] Sur son blog, Mark Shuttleworth, fondateur et ancien PDG de Canonical vient de présenter sa nouvell… qui permet aux utilisateurs de trouver la fonction à laquelle ils souhaitent accéder en tapant quelques lettres dans la barre de commande « Heads-up Display » qui apparaît de manière identique dans toute application. La recherche s'effectue dans une base qui répertorie tous les menus de toutes les applications Unity et renvoie les correspondances possibles (y compris quand les mots clefs sont imprécis) comme le fait n'importe quel moteur de recherche. Le HuD s'adapte aussi aux commandes saisies le plus souvent par l'utilisateur. Les équipes de développement travaillent également à associer des commandes vocales avec le Heads-up Display. « La recherche est rapide et familière. Elle le sera encore plus quand nous aurons intégré la reconnaissance vocale, la gestuelle et le toucher à ce système. Nous voulons qu'il soit facile de parler à n'importe quelle application, et que n'importe quelle application puisse répondre à votre voix, » a déclaré Mark Shuttleworth. « Quand on l'a utilisé un peu, on a le sentiment que le HuD lit dans nos pensées, » a-t-il ajouté. […]

  395. Masaüstü Anlayışı Ubuntu HUD İle Değişiyor | TeknoKedi Says:

    […] 12.04'ün gelmesi için daha da sabırsızlanabiliriz. Kurucu Mark Shuttleworth'ün paylaştığı yeni menü görünümü HUD (Head-Up Display), herkesi […]

  396. LGB Says:

    I love the idea. However I’m thinking on people who are not so tech-oriented one. They’re used to browse menus with mouse only, no keyboard whatsoever. Personally, I welcome things like this, it suits perfectly my needs (I don’t like using mouse, anyway as system administrator I spend half of my life with terminals and shells of various UNIX systems since more than 10 years) however I don’t really understand what not-so-tech people will think (or maybe I missed the point: can the “old” menu system be used still even after introducing this HUD stuff?).

  397. When will Ubuntu Grow up! | Immy Bites Says:

    […] changes were revealed on a blog posted by Mark Shuttleworth, the lead designer at Canonical – the London-based firm behind […]

  398. Ubuntu 12.04 Development update Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth’s major announcement that Ubuntu’s Desktop will soon offer an additional way to interact with your applications […]

  399. John Says:


    I must admit, I was pleased with the fuzzy search facility in the dash – but only because I had been so totally frustrated trying to find my favourite applications in the cut-down launcher. That was seemingly the start of making us all hackers & geeks. We don’t want to have to find out where all our favourite applications are now at every new release.

    We are users not developers. We want life in Ubuntu to be friendly, relaxing, comfortable and yes also slick and chic if that’s OK with you. We most definitely do not want our life in Ubuntu to be jarring, confusing, frustrating and time-wasting – which it now is, thanks to Unity.

    You are, I believe, now ‘on probation’ for many Ubuntu users. Any more messing around with our Ubuntu interface and we are off to new distros. Please be warned.

  400. Graeme Says:

    I like Unity (except lack of decent support for multiple desktops), but this is a much more radical, and brilliant change.

    I have long said that GUIs were too mouse driven, and imagined what a highly developed command line might have been like. Quicksilver type launchers were the first step to what I hoped for, this looks like the next.

    So what are you plans for tablets and discoverability?

    If this works well it will turn me from a user who marginally prefers Ubuntu to Mandriva or Mint into a fan.

  401. Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu. | Ubuntu-News - Your one stop for news about Ubuntu Says:

    […] Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications. Here’s what we hope you’ll see in 12.04 when you invoke the HUD from any standard Ubuntu app that supports the global menu: Read more here […]

  402. Ray Andrews Says:

    There’s no such thing as a bad idea unless the originator of the idea makes using it mandatory. There are some very intelligent comments above, and I would say that they are all right, even though they contradict each other. The only thing about this sort of discussion (apart from the inevitable static produced by the morons) that I don’t like is that it tends to degenerate into a contest.

    It is not a contest.

    I am a command line fanatic. When I know what I want to do, and when I know how to do it, I type a command and it is done. It beats climbing menu trees with 15 clicks any day. But when I don’t know what I want to do, or what ‘commands’ are available to me, or when I’m not sure of syntax of a command, the menu is my savior — menus not only give you control, they ‘explain’ the software to you as well. And, as the old saying goes, menus make doing easy things easier and they make doing complicated things impossible.

    What about HUD? First the bad news: it will never teach you anything, as would a menu. A person using HUD (and only HUD) will be a sort of infant forever — always knowing that he wants something, but never learning how to actually get it for himself without being spoon fed. OTOH, it sort of gives you the ‘directness’ of the CLI but with a forgiving fuzziness — you start out in an ‘imperative’ state of mind, and then get to pick from a menu.

    OK, goferit, but MAKE IT AN OPTION.

    As for me, I’m working on something that will attempt to have it both ways.

  403. kggy Says:

    It seems that Ubuntu is returning to the early age of Linux and forces users to somewhat use the command line. Does this mean that Linux is failing at GUI?! To make an OS popullar with the “masses” you want to make them type as little as possible…it is a touch and/or click world out there, everyone is trying to lose the keyboard…but this is not the case with Ubuntu!

  404. notzed Says:

    Ahh so the start-menu-which-is-really-a-disguised-but-hopelessly-inadequate-command-line idea from microsoft windows 7 taken to it’s absurd conclusion. Hardly a new idea. Also a terribly weak argument: ‘preferences’ might be in tools or edit? Well what if it’s called options or settings instead? They both have the same usability issues from the get-go, and both are solved by the same solution (one which was very strongly a part of the original mac for that matter), a style guide everyone sticks to.

    Turn menu’s into a command line? But without the power of a command line? Great idea! It’s like turning every application into a braindead version of emacs …

    Why not just ask applications to add a real command line interface instead? Then you’d be able to add voice input via that if you wanted to. Pop on an IPC mechanism that can talk to it and then you can have different applications talking to each other creating powerful meta-applications without needing horrible integrated ‘suites’ (i.e. something like arexx, from 20+ years ago).

    I like using a keyboard more than most, but i’d surely rather use a mouse for what a mouse is used for, and a few standard short-cuts for common operations I use often enough to remember.

    All you seem to be doing is making people learn to re-do something they already knew how to do but just didn’t know that they were having problems with (because: they weren’t). You’re not adding anything new or useful of itself: when you could be doing so much more than just painting the wheel a different colour.

  405. Pete_Holroyd Says:

    What cloud are you on Mark?

    A great tool for the minority but a significant blockage to the majority of users.
    This is a fantastic concept but way too difficult to implement in one hit.

    This decision will certainly be reversed in a fairly short space of time and menus will be re-introduced allowing the majority to continue to use Ubuntu whilst the HUD matures.
    The question is why is this not apparent today and why do the majority have to suffer, complain and loose valuable time whilst you come to your senses?

  406. Denis Says:

    I can’t start *.bin install file from for linux and also Desura client from

  407. Ryan Says:

    I like the idea of the ribbon being incorporated into Unity because in Windows (a lot of Microsoft applications use it, not just MS Office), the ribbon is very easy to read and very easy to figure out for the new computer user. HUD is a good idea for more of the advanced user. I am more of an advanced computer/Ubuntu user, but for most “new-comers”, or people completely new to Ubuntu, I think they will find that the Unity interface is not for them, just because it is very advanced, and more for the advanced computer user. But I do like the Unity interface. I am just afraid that new people will find it a bit hard to get around and work with.

  408. Ubuntu’s New HUD « Says:

    […] can read more on Shuttleworth’s blog here. Share […]

  409. Brad Says:

    One thing I love about Canonical is that you guys are willing to push the boundaries and think out side of the box.

    I think the HUD will improve work flow in many area’s and I cant wait to give this a spin, but I cant see it ever completely replacing the menu system in its current implementation- these are the concerns I have:

    Im going to use Photoshop as my example program

    When you go on a memory course, they teach you to associate textual information such as someone’s name, with visual cues- eg: Paul can be remembered by picturing him as a PALLbearer, carrying a coffin on his shoulder. This is especially good advice to people who are creative or “right brained”

    So, with that in mind, People often remember the functions position in the menu rather than the name. So lets say for example that I have extracted an image from the back ground, but there is still a thin line of background colour left around the image. I know exactly where to go to remove this, but I wont necessarily remember that its menu name is “Matting>defringe”

    Another example: If I want to know if my colour selection is printable, I enable the menu option- “Gamut warning.” Once again, not a name that is easy to remember.

    Yes I can try to describe it to the HUD, but I would imagine that this could drag you from a right brained creative and almost automated “zone” to a left brained logical state, which could become disruptive.

    2) By the same token, the first time I noticed the option for “Gamut warning” in the menu system, I quickly googled it to find out what its function was, and discovered a great new tool.

    With the HUD I probably would never have discovered this option, unless I had the foresight to imagine that such a tool was possible.

    3)Ubuntu, as far as I know, is aiming to draw in the casual market. Now I have aunts who barely know how to use a mouse. They rely on the menu item to trigger its function, rather than the function triggering the name. People like that are going to battle.

    Its not all negative, this is what I love about the HUD:
    1) It will speed up workflow for familiar menu items- there is no question about it.
    2) It will help find items that are located in unfamiliar menu mazes.
    3) if a help system is integrated into the search, It could replace google to some extent.
    eg: going back to my photoshop example, lets say I am having a problem with a series of photos. I can type in the word “red eye” or “Over exposed” or whatever, and that way discover a function I never knew existed. Very cool.

    What I would love to see:

    1) Canonical coming up with a creative way to integrate visual cues into the HUD
    2) A list of frequently used menu items that are easily accessible: (and pin-able)

    2.1) Perhaps located alongside the search box so that if I am copying and pasting 100 times, I don’t need to type C…O…P…Y *click* P…A…S *click* a hundred times.

    2.2) I tend to use the same handful of menu items over and over again.
    So if I’m touching up a photo, I would use one set of commands
    If I’m designing a billboard I will use another.

    I would love to see a menu system that adapts to the task at hand- and creates a list of Frequently used items in, say, a right click pop-up menu.

    Eg- right click, a menu pops up. You use the mouse wheel to choose the task at hand- almost like choosing your desktop in ubuntu. So I choose “Photo touch-up”
    Next time I right click I have all the frequently used touch-up options at my fingertips.

    2.2.2) okay this is a little out there, but I was playing torchlight the other day, and at the bottom of the screen you have 10 blocks to assign frequently used spells and potions to a number key. So if I want to cast ember strike I click 4. With that in mind Integrate number slots into the above mentioned popup menu and then we are talking 😉

    well, you know what they say: chew the fish and spit out the bones

    Thanks for all the hard work you guys are putting in. Cant wait for 12.04!!!!

  410. Bruce Taylor Says:

    This looks great and a fantastic concept. One thing that needs to be considered is that the text which is being displayed in the HUD should be specifically contrasted against whatever is presently being displayed on the desktop below it. That may mean dynamically altering the colour of the HUD text in certain areas where there are similar colours being displayed on the Desktop. This is vitally important if HUD is to be successful. There would be nothing more distracting than a HUD which is not easily readable.

  411. John Hunt Says:

    This is a great idea.

    However, there are so many very serious problems with this that it’s a VERY BAD IDEA to actually put it into Ubuntu.

    – Discovery of features/functionality in a program…how do I know what commands are even there?
    – Devices without keyboards…typing on those will be fun eh?
    – People who can’t type very quickly…is this really going to make it faster for them to use their computers?

    Please, don’t just throw things into Ubuntu without really thinking about them – it’s spoiling what is/was a good distro. I’ve ended up going back to Debian.

  412. Ben Says:

    Wow, this looks great! Can’t wait for 12.04 :). I think refinements are needed with the Unity launcher though, it’s a bit cumbersome to use, for example if you choose the ‘Installed’ apps via the Ubuntu Software Center in order to see a list of installed apps in a particular category, the arrow to open each category of apps is to the far-left which makes it annoyingly easy to accidentally open the Unity launcher on accident. And it’s a little infuriating. Perhaps provides built-in control of how end users want the Unity launcher invoked? For example, instead requiring a click to the far-left to invoke to visibility of the Unity launcher or something.

    But, that said, Ubuntu developers are definitely innovating – keep up the good work!

  413. mov to avi Says:

    Thanks for talking about this. The post is awesome. Today, I have tried the utility for video encoding. So I am able to watch my movies anywhere now.

  414. João Hornburg Says:

    Please, ignore the haters. This feature is amazing! Some real hardcore innovation in human-computer interaction.

  415. Jon Beebe Says:

    I love this, and will surely update when it comes out. I imagine after 5 minutes with this and any other menu system will feel awkward and frustrating. Keep up the great innovations.

  416. Ubuntu to feature command line shortcuts Says:

    […] ultimately replace menus in Unity applications," said Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth,in a blog post announcing the technology. The first version of HUD will be part of the Ubuntu 12.04 Long Term release (LTS), due in April. […]

  417. Flimm Says:

    Ever since I read a blog post on “GNOME Do everywhere”, I’ve been excited about this idea. I love that the Ubuntu design team are exploring this, with usability tests.

    I’m a bit bothered that I only heard about this now, though. It’s clear to me that the design team at Canonical were thinking about this ages ago, influencing their design choices in Unity. Why not communicate that with the rest of us? It seems like the same mistakes made with the buttons controversy are being repeated. I accept that Ubuntu is a meritocracy, but could we make “communicate early, communicate often” an Ubuntu practise?

    Love you people, keep it up!

  418. PaP Says:

    Hi !

    Good good ideas, how about what is made on smartphones : predictive keyboard ??

  419. [How To] Install the new features HUD (Head-Up Display) in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin | Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth has made a clear and present users of Ubuntu evolution of a new menu called HUD (Head-Up Display), as an alternative to an application menu designed especially for Unity, which should solve many of the current problems with the existing menu, fully satisfying users in usability. […]

  420. Jorma Says:

    Dear Friends,

    an interesting proposition and informative debate. What Mark seems to be doing is adding another option for us users. He started by saying that HUD “will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications”.

    However, he also said that “you don’t have to adopt the HUD immediately, it’s there if you want it, supplementing the existing menu mechanism.”

    And “For the moment, we’ll leave the menu’s there (probably hiding them as we do in 11.10, but you’ll be able to expose them if you want, or mouse over the panel).”

    So it seems that we are going to have some additional features called HUD in Ubuntu, but traditional menus will survive, too. At least for a while.

    What I (and many others, it seems) hope is that we users can choose when to get rid of the menus, if we so decide.

    I also hope that the debate stays informative. I was quite worried about the Unity interface, as the press and active users seemed to react negatively.

    When I finally tried Unioty, my own experience was and is highly positive. I set the launchbar in a fixed position, reduced the size of the icons and learned the shortcuts for manipulating the desktop environment. For me those changes made a big difference.

    The debate about Unity has been curiously unstructured. Some users have expressed their displeasure, but often without going into detail.

    Perhaps Ubuntu quality assurance people could provide a structured web site on which people could express their concerns/hopes regarding each detail of HUD. Then we would perhaps have less of those frustrated “retarded” or “crap” comments and more useful input from the community.

    Thank you, Mark, for radical ideas. Thank you, Ubuntu people, for keeping it all under control.

  421. Netch Says:

    While adding such mechanism can be useful for many, I strongly disagree with idea to *replace* menu for this. Your example with “Delete” is good for demonstrate some caveats: what if user will search for “erase”, “wipe”, “remove” and other synonyms? Studying exact terminology with each program differences can be fatigue, and neither “fuzzy matching” can cover all such cases.

    I will argue using terms from old (mid-80s) book “Man-computer interfaces” by Robert B. Coats and I. Vlaeminke. They use concepts of “answer ahead” and “question ahead” which describe two ongoing strategies to help to select action. (Regrettably didn’t see repetition of these concepts in newer books, they are too fundamental to be forgotten.) Menu is the ultimate case of “question ahead”: all possible actions are listed and structurely organized, so each can imagine action, classify it and search appropriate item via menu hierarchy. One shall not limit himself to formulate exactly how the action is named: he can read and select the most appropriate variant among suggested ones. On the opposite, classical command line is the ultimate form of “answer ahead”, but minor change of typeahead aid with variant list (as Unix, Cisco, etc. does for ) makes them menu-like. Dialog with fields to fill is “question ahead” with lot of “answer ahead” for fields where user shall enter its data.

    Neither of these ultimates (total question/answer ahead) is finally right and proper interface shall provide some combination of them. Menu is the best when you try to express something but don’t know yet how to name it. By dropping the application menu you lead a user to search a black cat in dark forest, when ever initial direction isn’t easy to guess. A lot of users will totally confuse and reject to use such interface.

    The drawbacks of menu you describe are obvious, but they aren’t so fatal and menu is still conceptually nesessary even with all that drawbacks. So I wish it shall remain in use. Even power users can regularly extract some action from menu due to asking something wasn’t asked yet (or very rarely), so corresponding name isn’t known.

    HUD would be extremely useful in manner similar to command line with typeahead tips: as currently one can press d and get alternative list, HUD will do the same for menu. I wish to see menu still available, even if an additional click is needed for it (as currently Chrome does).

    Yet another argument is that ability to do main actions with only mouse is convenient and customary for many users. (Got from the discussion on RSDN.)

  422. Ubuntu - pomoc | Head-Up Display, czyli HUD – menu przyszłości Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth nie ukrywa, że przyszłością będzie sterowanie aplikacją/systemem za pomocą głosu. Zdaje sobie sprawę z tego, że zajmie to sporo czasu, ale czuje, że będzie to świetna zabawa przez najbliższe dwa lata – do wydania kolejnej wersji LTS. A jakie są wasze wrażenia, opinie, pomysły? Źródło: […]

  423. mark Says:


    Right person to speak with is Ted Gould, first name dot surname at, it would be fun to see various strategies for improving the predictive qualities of the search!

  424. El futuro llega a Ubuntu con HUD | .:: Geekuu - Technology life ::. Says:

    […] Si ya te está picando el gusanillo y todavía te has quedado con ganas de saber más puedes obtener más información sobre HUD en la web oficial de Mark Shuttleworth  […]

  425. Jay Lane Says:

    I read this post with interest. I then went on to to install Hud on Precise, as I thought before I comment I should at least try it out. Granted this is an incomplete version of what Hud will be. I take it that it’s not yet implemented for certain apps? Doesn’t seem to work/invoke with the default Ubuntu terminal. I feel a little at sixes and sevens using it as obviously I’ve grown up on menu based computers.

    None the less I can see potential here. Personally discarding traditional menus would be too much of a hike up unless Hud was so incredibly intuitive and easy to use. I think implementing this level of Gui change at the moment might steer some away from Ubuntu. Whereas if implemented incrementally then I feel it could be of great use and perhaps the catapult the Gui onto a different level.

    I’m just a tad bemused as to whom this is aimed at Mark? Traditional Ubuntu users, new users or Windows migrants? I think the Ubuntu faithful would readily play with this and learn all of it’s beauty. New users (like granny, young people who have never used windows)? I feel that this group wouldn’t without tuition even know that Hud existed as part of the interface or perhaps how to use it effectively. Windows migrants (which I presume you would like to get on board), again without tuition would just be spitting out their morning cornflakes saying “where on earth are my menus? I don’t even know what to type in to get menu options!!? Sack this… I’m back to Windows … Linux is just too difficult to learn and I just haven’t got the time or inclination!!?”

    So that’s my question, who exactly is this aimed at? The first two groups maybe there’s some hope. The latter perhaps very slim in a Hud based ui is implemented without recourse to traditional menus. I really want Ubuntu to succeed on every level and understand where your coming from on these decisions. Just not sure on this one. But I guess time will tell and kudos to Ubuntu for pushing the limits of computing.



  426. Lawrence Knowlton Says:

    After reading just a handful of posts, I get the feeling you’ll feel like it’s deja-vu all over again:
    The idea of a HUD is intriguing. One thing though that I feel may be an issue: a person still needs to know what a program can do before being able to type in something in the HUD to tell the OS or program to do something. Even if a person does know, they’ll still have to remember what to start typing.
    The HUD, therefore, can only be an enhancement once functionality of a person’s OS and software are known. Certainly not a replacement for structured menus. (even menus display keyboard short cuts for commonly used functions)
    For the record, I don’t get the whole anti-gui thing. You say you want to unclutter the desktop real estate. Why? Now you have to scroll through a sidebar to find a program, when you could arrange icons on your desktop and know exactly where a particular icon is located. Not everyone has a desktop icon clutter issue. Moving away from allowing icons on the desktop reduces functionality overall and is change for the sake of it. You’ve either run out of gui ideas or have given up entirely by going backwards (there are still people who remember MSDOS on the planet).
    Also, having autocomplete functionality is weakening our abilities to critically think. We become reliant on the autocomplete to allow us to not have to think about a whole command, just remember a couple letters and the program digs it up for you. It may make us ‘more productive’ for work purposes, but we still lose in the end. //end of rant

  427. faycel Says:

    Good work mark.
    there is a solution for remembering the menu items: you can give a user a freedom of activating and deactivating for every application to be used by the UNITY HUD. for example if i know the most firefox menu items that i use every day then i can choose to activate the HUD for Firefox.
    “sorry for my english”

  428. Salvatore Says:

    HUD looks wonderful. Go on!

  429. mark Says:


    Yes, eventually, patches welcome!

  430. mark Says:

    Dr Zempt,

    Yes, there are two aspects to a menu, and we have got a good replacement for only one of them, which is why traditional menus will remain in Unity until we have a proven good replacement for the other! The mapping problem – how to teach a user what an application is capable of doing without expecting them to read the manual, is a very interesting area for research and design experimentation. So that’s where we’ll focus next.

  431. fuhaoyun Says:


  432. mark Says:


    Yes, which is why the graphical menu will remain in Unity alongside the HUD. People with brains probably picked that up from the blog post 😉

  433. Trond Says:

    It is like you have moved the searchbox from the start/menubutton in Windows. I know a lot are just using that field to get to what they want.
    Nice enhancement.
    Although I am not sure about unity versus gnome-3. I am still on LTS10.04 and I will upgrade to 12.04. But is it right to add such new features to a long term support version? I mean I like the LTS to be stable and well tested and not have new features like this built in.

    Anyway: Keep up the good work!

  434. David Lee Says:

    Needs refinement. For example, the options offered by the HUD is often unreadable if the background application happens to be showing a white patch in that area (for example, an empty browser window).

    For example:

    The options offered by the HUD is almost unreadable- it almost cannot be seen.

    I propose that the HUD be made more opaque and be shaded in a darker color, so that the text is more visible compared to the current state.

  435. clinicaldss Says:

    wow…sounds interesting. does this make writing scripts of different programs easy? (by reducing the burden of reading documentation of command line options of programs)

  436. Week in Review: January 20-26 - Van Patten Media Says:

    […] again, Ubuntu shows some real innovation in user interface design for their upcoming 12.04 release. It remains to be seen how well the new HUD works in practice, of […]

  437. Daragh Says:

    Wait, so now I have to type everything??
    Instead of one click of the mouse, I have to take my hand off the mouse to use the keyboard and start typing out my intent? Instead of one click for “new document” I have to type out “new..” or one/two click(s) for paste special I have to click “pas” and then, with the mouse or several taps of the down key select it? And goodness help me if the command I want is several levels down!
    I get the concept, I really do, but please remember the people who actually LIKE graphics (cater for right as well as left-brained people) and buttons (I remove the text from most of the toolbars I work with) – remember why the menu is often supplemented by a toolbar at all!

    I am hoping you will do significant amount of usability testing and use rigorous feedback before making this change. A lot of UI and IA people are watching, and it would be a pity to tarnish intent-driven interfaces because of this mis-step. Simpler is not always better: There’s stuff missing from 11.04 that should not have disappeared.

    Thanks for your efforts – make them count!

  438. Daragh Says:

    …and another consideration: what if this really took off? would we have to install keyboards on photo copiers?

    two requests:
    – please add a graphical glyph to the command so it can be found on a toolbar
    – please also display the keyboard shortcut for that command


  439. Ubuntu moves beyond the desktop with new TV interface, menu-killing navigation system Says:

    […] a new display interface deserves just as much attention. Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth recently blogged about the change, called the Head-up Display (or HUD) that does away with the menu and tries to […]

  440. Skini Says:

    This is an interesting idea. It would be extremely helpful if you could also trigger off a context sensitive help describing the menu items in the search which would give some information about the menu item if it isn’t clear from the name.

  441. Luke Says:

    The 1970s called. They want their CLI back. No offense.

    Considering screens have gotten pretty damn big and have rather good resolutions, I can’t see how an attempt to reclaim screen real-estate can be justified. The effort should go towards cleaning up the UI, trimming off needless complexity, and laying out options and information visually in a quick and readily accessible manner. Apple’s general approach of large, easy-to-click buttons under the title bar and a very ample side bar, as well as Microsoft’s approach with the Ribbon interface is where UIs should be headed, to say nothing of the wonderfully simplified approaches taken by iOS and Windows Phone.

    Squirreling everything away behind an arcane command line that is itself squirreled away as a hidden drop-down menu is precisely the wrong way to go. It looks like a decade’s step backwards compared to the original Mac UI. It can be great as a supplement at the disposal of power users, but it shouldn’t be the primary way to interact with software.

    Likewise, voice is doomed to be limited and clunky until computers begin passing the Turing test and are able to parse natural language so effectively that you could carry a conversation with one; something like Siri is a decent step in the right direction, but it’s a long, long way off from something that could be showcased as major UI element.

    Ubuntu has been on a downward spiral, UX-wise, and if this HUD model catches on as Shuttleworth hopes, I dare say the old motto of “Linux for Human Beings” isn’t just dead, but completely rotted away.

  442. Ubuntu Linux tendrá una interfaz sin menú (HUD) | Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth, fundador, comentó: “Si HUD sale en 12.04 LTS, esperamos que te encuentres usando el menú cada vez menos, y que estés feliz de esconderlo cuando no lo uses. Definitivamente tendrás esa opción, junto con otros estilos de menú más tradicionales…  Aún sin voz, el HUD es más rápido que buscar menús con el mouse, y más fácil que usar una tecla especial, ya que sólo necesitas saber lo que quieres, no recordar una combinación específica de teclas”. […]

  443. Peter Says:


    This reminds me of Spotlight, but with much more depth and within applications. I like it a lot.

  444. Aleve Sicofante Says:

    Can you please clarify this?:

    – You say the HUD will be there along with menus in 12.04.

    – You also say the ultimate goal is getting rid of menus and replace them with the HUD.

    I, and many others, would like to know when do you plan to get rid of menus and if this ultimate goal is there to stay or will depend on any unmentioned factor, such as -but not only- user rejection of the idea (in the same way you finally -and thankfully- pulled off forced hidden menus).

    You know, people have to make long term decisions on the software they plan to use or install in their computers. Many of us don’t want to invest (time and effort) in a platform that’s planning to get rid of menus, so I would be very grateful if you state clearly that:

    a) HUD will never replace menus, it will always be suplementary, not just in 12.04, but in the foreseable future.

    b) HUD will replace menus as soon as you develop the technology to do it, a goal you will be pursuing heavily. Just say you plan to introduce the HUD-only feature between 12.10 and 14.04, for instance.

    I understand you’re not just “playing around” with this, so I definitely would appreciate a clear and solid statement on what we can expect.


  445. Carlos Says:

    Cool!, very idea.

  446. Cor Koelewijn Says: says: Why use Ubuntu? Ubuntu is easy to use…
    if you like all users to agree with that, newbie & hacker alike, you need to be consistent in the desktop (leaving the application & system menu in tact while moving to a new unity desktop), yet be innovative(like with HUD).

    You don’t make friends when you change the way the desktop works and force new features to users who just want to be able to do their ‘usual’ work.

    You are a great innovator, but not all your Ubuntu users want to be a guinea pig… 😉

  447. Introducing the HUD - Monday By Noon Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.. […]

  448. Lawrence Knowlton Says:

    Mark, I don’t envy you. You are trying to innovate and making something that is unpopular with a majority tends to go along with that. The thing I don’t understand is why there can’t be an experimental version to do with what you will and one that users want to use now to be productive. Perhaps you’ll find a way to replace menus, but, in the mean time, users are frustrated with Gnome 3, app side bars and loss of control of their desktop. Naming this Unity is a poor choice, as it is only causing dis-unity among those trying to use it. My hope is for Gnome 3 to be forked, in order to give back the desktop to the users it is intended to provide utility for. Hopefully, your efforts will come to fruition at some point and users will find your incarnation useful and intuitive.

  449. Matthew J. Sahagian Says:

    My only concern with this is that it works on the “focused window” — unfortunately I recently had to switch to the Mac due to work. I’ve made it as similar to Gnome 3 as I can and operationally I feel like I’m half way there, although the thing that I lack the most which no matter what I will never get used to is sloppy focus.

    The argument as to why Macs can’t have sloppy focus is because of the centralized menu. This works similarly in the sense that let’s say you had two window on the screen, in order to activate this via a click (not a keyboard shortcut) you would possibly need to travel over the other window on your path to it. This would make that window “steal” the focus.

    It seems to me that we need to have a new focus model. Focus for keyboard and mouse events, and focus for window management operations such as these. Ideally the Mac would provide keyboard and mouse focus in a “sloppy” manner, while only activating the menu for the application if it were clicked.

    That being said, there are many comments here, especially the last one as I post about how “users are frustrated with Gnome 3” — I was a very strong advocate of Gnome 2 and used it as my primary desktop for a long time, Ubuntu 5+ if I recall correctly. Before that I used FVWM — so I know the whole configuration and power user argument. The fact of the matter is Gnome 3 won me over when I realize the most frequent tasks were so much insanely more accessible and faster than they were previously. There were a few things to remember to get a lot done fast — hence why I’ve tried to replicate those behaviors in Mac.

    This said, I think all of these new approaches are good, and I would welcome the HUD innovation — but please keep sloppy focus users in mind. Sloppy focus is actually quite useful for multi-taskers and needs to be part of these new paradigms.

  450. Ubuntu will replace the menu with the search interface HUD - Open News Says:

    […] Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu will be in the blog search interface with HUD to replace the menu […]

  451. Ubuntu moves beyond the desktop with new TV interface, menu-killing navigation system | Smart TV Guide Says:

    […] a new display interface deserves just as much attention. Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth recently blogged about the change, called the Head-up Display (or HUD) that does away with the menu and tries to […]

  452. Anonymous Says:

    This is interesting, but not ground-breakingly new. The XyWrite word processor used a similar concept back in the early 1980’s, when everyone was experimenting with their own ideas and version of “how it should be done”. You know, before standardization and MS domination world peace…

  453. HUD Akan Menggantikan Menu di Ubuntu 12.04 | LinuxBox.Web.ID Says:

    […] == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];} Sponsor Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth memposting sebuah entri blog mengenalkan sebuah elemen GUI baru, The HUD, yang merupakan kependekan dari Head-Up Display, yang […]

  454. Jaroslaw Staniek Says:

    Nice post and introduction. We have the HUD implementation started in Kexi last September and available it is for 2.4. For now only database’s object discovery but executing any command will also work in 2.5.


    Of course we have hidding supported in the tabbed toolbar what makes it of height than any app that has one toolbar and the menu bar.

    BTW, Kexi redefines ribbon as tabbed toolbar (surprisingly quite widespread technology) and will merge it with HUD by highlighting and/or filtering relevant toolbars. We have APIs already for this in place and will have to add visualization.

    The merge is needed because having only HUD without menus and toolbars the apps lack discovery feature.

    Mark, I am looking forward to see people attempting to integrate Kexi’s GUI with Ubuntu’s native menus and now the HUD.

    Jaroslaw Staniek / Calligra/Kexi Team

  455. Ubuntu moves beyond the desktop with new TV interface, menu-killing navigation system (Digital Trends) | Way to SMS, Free Texting Online Says:

    […] a new display interface deserves just as much attention. Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth recently blogged about the change, called the Head-up Display (or HUD) that does away with the menu and tries to […]




  457. Mosab Ahmad Says:

    As a keyboard loving guy, this is exactly what I was dreaming of! Thanks Canonical, I can’t wait for April to come 😀

    You should add some themes to make the desktop look like CIA screens in the movies :D, this would be very cool 😀



  459. Ubuntu vai mudar por completo o sistema de menus | Tecnoblog Says:

    […] HUD (Head-Up Display) foi apresentado pelo próprio Mark Shuttleworth em seu blog, e provavelmente trata-se de uma das maiores revoluções na área de interfaces para usuários. […]

  460. Conheça o HUD: o novo sistema de menu do Ubuntu Says:

    […] Shuttleworth, fundador da Canonical, anunciou hoje em seu blog o HUD (Head-Up Display), o novo sistema de menus do Ubuntu 12.04 LTS que funciona através do […]

  461. Tudo novo de novo: Ubuntu vai mudar por completo o sistema de menus | Você Informado Says:

    […] HUD (Head-Up Display) foi apresentado pelo próprio Mark Shuttleworth em seu blog, e provavelmente trata-se de uma das maiores revoluções na área de interfaces para usuários. […]



  463. Tom Schneider Says:

    HUD absolutely needs voice like a much improved Apple SIMI. The keyboard is not good enough; I want to be able to talk to the computer!

  464. Ray Andrews Says:

    Why can’t we have a ‘teach me’ mode? As much as I prefer the CLI for doing ‘power’ things, I still use the GUI as much as the next guy, but what I hate about GUIs is that they not only try to make things simpler, which is nice, they also try to hide what they are ‘really doing’ from the user, which bugs the hell out of me. Whatever happens with HUD, I wish that HUD and every other WIMP/GUI thing that was ever invented would help me to learn more about my OS rather than hiding my OS from me.

    All this ‘helpfulness’ has a way of backfiring, doesn’t it? The amount of work Mark and his people have done is near immeasurable, yet, for all that, we see people going BACK to Debian. Me, I started with Ubuntu, but now I use Linux Mint Debian Edition because the more I get to know my OS, the closer I want to be to how it ‘really works’. Most of my internet buddies use Slackware for exactly that reason. There is something wrong with the entire zeitgeist of computer world where so many of the latest ‘improvements’ make things worse — the Japanese have a word for that. IMHO what the entire Linux world really needs is better documentation, not new bells and whistles.

  465. PC Blog » Blog Archive » Ubuntu предлагает отказаться от традиционного меню Says:

    […] (Mark Shuttleworth), в будущем интерфейс HUD полностью заменит привычные раскрывающиеся меню. Вниманию […]

  466. Ubuntu 12.04 to replace traditional menus with new HUD | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] founder and former CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced the new feature on his blog. “The core idea [of HUD] is to get to a world where people can direct an application to do […]

  467. pavolzetor Says:


    Biggest issue is for unity and hud, that it cannot replace characters with diacritics to ones without

  468. Shuttleworth: Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu. » Why Linux? Says:

    […] a lengthy posting from Mark Shuttleworth describing the “heads-up display” concept that Ubuntu is pushing toward. “It’s […]

  469. HUD na Linuxu | Croportal Magazin Says:

    […] Dakle, Linuxov HUD izgleda kao idealan spoj mogućnosti Blendera i izbornika Start Windowsa 7 i predstavlja odgovor na Microsfotove vrpce. Valja ipak uočiti jednu bitnu stvar kod ta dva principa – vrpce su primarno namijenjene korištenju pomoću miša, dok je Ubuntuov HUD namijenjen primarno korištenju pomoću tipkovnice i tu se zapravo vidi kojem profilu korisnika više odgovara koji način korištenja grafičkog korisničkog sučelja. Više o HUD-u pročitajte ovdje. […]

  470. HUD na Linuxu - Vrilo - Sve vijesti na jednom mjestu Says:

    […] Dakle, Linuxov HUD izgleda kao idealan spoj mogućnosti Blendera i izbornika Start Windowsa 7 i predstavlja odgovor na Microsfotove vrpce. Valja ipak uočiti jednu bitnu stvar kod ta dva principa – vrpce su primarno namijenjene korištenju pomoću miša, dok je Ubuntuov HUD namijenjen primarno korištenju pomoću tipkovnice i tu se zapravo vidi kojem profilu korisnika više odgovara koji način korištenja grafičkog korisničkog sučelja. Više o HUD-u pročitajte ovdje. […]

  471. Andreas Delleske Says:

    Please do experiment with new interfaces etc. – but PLEASE KEEP a distribution free from those.

    It has taken awhile until the classial desktop has evolved – until before Unity. I will wait for all that dust to settle in new interfaces but until that moment I want my classical desktop. I have to work – and I hate to unlearn everything a hundred times.

    This is the reason why I’ve switched back to Ubuntu 10.4 after 11.10 and I definitely will leave Ubuntu if the useful classical interface will be crippled any more. Smae is true for my coworkers (research company) no one likes Unity.

    There is a lot more to do than do mess with the UI – Linux still carries crappy file structure etc. – and no “unifying” effort will ever help. A new paradigma will come, from outside Linux I think.

    Please keep a distribution free from Unity – or we will all migrate to Mint or something else..

  472. Uh disused DVD Says:

    How the hell are we supposed to find files/folders that we don’t know the name of? And how is a huge list of random names better than menus? At least the menus are organized and you know where you are in the hard drive – which folder,etc. if this is anything like the windows search, it will DEFINITLY not be able to beat the typical menu interface in play now. Good try, but bad idea. Clicking a few times to get to what I want is not a burden…I’m not lazy.

  473. Head-Up Display na Linuxu : IT Rešenja Says:

    […] Više informacija o Ubuntu HUD na […]

  474. Canonical Plans to Rewrite Ubuntu Interface Again with HUD | My Blog Says:

    […] on other pursuits, such as Ubuntu TV, Canonical owner Mark Shuttleworth announced a new endeavor, a Head-Up Display, designed to reinstate window menus. Here’s a demeanour during a skeleton and what they could […]

  475. Arie Skliarouk Says:

    Mark, your discontent with menus strikes a chord with me. It is one of the reasons I am using highly customized fvwm setup for 15 years already, practically unchanged. My productivity with the setup is about 300% higher than when I am forced (occassionally) sit in front of gnome2 menus. I am looking forward to compare my current setup with HUD.

    My fvwm setup is described here:

  476. Denis Says:

    In install time the Ubuntu OS better would be choise interface, means Unity or GNOME, or Plasma.

  477. XaviConde Says:


    ‘Yes, which is why the graphical menu will remain in Unity alongside the HUD. People with brains probably picked that up from the blog post’

    I assume is people with brains, not amoebas, who claims in his article ‘Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications’. So the question with HUD is not to have an alternative to menus, but to ultimately _replace_ menus, sometime in the future. For if not, what is all this fuzz about? If that’s not the plan, then you should not pretend to be it revolutionary, if it is just a mere option, unlike CLI vs WIMP.

    Anyhow, keep on with new ideas. I think a HUD has potential on non-desktops systems, though.

  478. Blog Informatizado » Software Livre: HUD o novo sistema de menus do Ubuntu Says:

    […] prepare-se para uma nova experiência com o sistema de menus do UBUNTU, que segundo o próprio markshuttleworth, apresentou em seu blog. O HUD (Head-Up Display), será o novo sistema de menus da Distribição. […]

  479. I menu delle applicazioni sotto forma di HUD su Ubuntu 12.04 | TUXPLANET Says:

    […] Blog di Mark Shuttleworth […]

  480. Rodney McDonell Says:

    I already dislike it when i have to take my hand of the mouse to reach the keyboard – this looks like it would make that much more annoying for me.

    I can’t see it working for the desktop or laptop so much. I think it’ll be good for those devices that don’t have a mouse such as tablets, phones etc.

  481. Ubuntu 12.04 | Girlandio Santana Says:

    […] parte de seu nome. Em um post em seu blog o fundador e ex-CEO da Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, apresentou o novo design, no qual usuários digitam o nome da função de pretendem acessar em uma “barra de comando” […]

  482. Ubuntu 12.04 mengganti menu traditional ke menu baru HUD - Bring My Knowledge With You Says:

    […] dan mantan CEO Canonical Mark Shuttleworth mengumumkan fitur baru di blog-nya. “Ide inti [HUD] adalah agar semua pengguna dapat mengarahkan aplikasi untuk melakukan […]

  483. Introducing the HUD to Ubuntu | Os Vídeos Engraçados Says:

    […] us for a review of HUD – Ubuntu's intent driven interface. Check out for more details. […]

  484. אולג מיקשבסקי » אז מה בתפריט? Says:

    […] מאת: אולג מיקשבסקי בשעה 12:33 נושאים: כללי Mark Shuttleworth – ממפתי ה-Ubuntu הציג זן חדש של תפריטים. Head-Up Display, or HUD מתוקף תפקידי כבר שנים חלק מעבודה שלי – פיתוח UI WEB. ומה הדבר הראשון שחשבתי? זה Autocomplete רגיל! ואז שמתי לב לתופעה מעניינת מאד. ממשק UI של מחשב שהתפתח קודם היה ממשק קל תוכנת רצה על מחשב desktop. כל הממשקים של עידן האתרים האינטראקטיביים נגררו וניסו לחקות את הממשקים הידועים באפליקציות הרגילות. ואז – הממשק הוובי התחיל את דרכו הבלתי תלויה. עם פיתוח כל הנושא יותר ויותר ממשק הוובי משליך על ממשק האפליקציות standalone ועכשיו לדעתי אנחנו בשיא המהפכה ! יש לי את ההרגשו הילדותית הזאת שאני חלק ממשהו גדול. via Mark Shuttleworth […]

  485. YF Says:

    Is 12.04 a good time to test-drive another Unity-like concept so likely to create even more uproar?

    Please, do not ignore the comments here… the idea seem nice, but features like app discovery are a must, even for power users (on new applications). And you may introduce it, but do not force us. If you disable app menus for good and leave HUD as the only option, count on a new wave of users leaving Ubuntu.

    My mother barely learned how to create a folder and move files around (using nautilus menus)… I can guess how much trouble it will be for her to remember to type ‘Cut’, as she needs to read the whole menu everytime to remember what it is called. Isn’t Ubuntu a distro for newcomers? Let it be flexible enough to accomodate all kinds of newcomers and experienced users, do not try to tell us what’s the ‘new way to do things’.

    Kind regards.

    Note: I’m a computer power user, but new to Linux world, just 2 years (and loving it). So I presume I’m much more open-minded to changes than long-time users that refuse to leave Gnome2 and so on. And I like Unity… but take it easy on such changes… they may kill Ubuntu.

  486. Alexander Trauzzi Says:

    Hey Mark!

    Don’t forget to get lots of testing done with important Java-based apps like Netbeans! This looks fantastic and is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for to save me from having to dig for the file menus all the time!

    Great work and Unity has finally found it’s way into my heart. I’m glad I gave it all the chances it needed.

  487. Ubuntu 12.04 HUD – incursiune in viitorul meniurilor pentru aplicatii | Windows 7 Bucharest Says:

    […] via sursa […]

  488. John Says:

    “And that set us on a course which lead to today’s first public …”

    That’s “led”, not “lead”.

  489. Ubuntu’s New ‘HUD’ Factor: A Step Forward or Back? » Linux news Says:

    […] reading your mind, in a good way,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth explained in a blog post last week, complete with a video that offers a small taste of that […]

  490. Is the Menu of the Future Still a Menu? « The UI Observatory Says:

    […] to redefine how users issue commands to software applications. In a blog post entitled “Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.“, Mark Shuttleworth explains the approach they are […]

  491. Linuxpay » HUD: el futuro llega a Ubuntu Says:

    […] Interesados pueden encontrar completa información sobre HUD(Head-Up Display) desde […]

  492. Petr Says:

    lol wtf is this shit? 😀

  493. Peter Harvey Says:

    This looks extremely promising. I immediately loved Unity (bugs aside), since I find using the keyboard SO much quicker and more productive than the mouse. However (to echo a previous comment), I always have classic-menu-indicator there so that I can browse my installed applications as a fall-back when I can’t remember the name of what I want.

    It is essential to have a way to EXPLORE the various possibilities within applications, too, rather than simply home in on one function. What about a catch-all command (e.g. ‘menu’) which would throw up the complete set of possible functions. Working as a kind of lens, functions could be grouped in a number of ways – according to their purpose, alphabetically, core/plug-in etc. – whatever is deemed useful. This ability to choose how to view ‘menu items’ would be far more effective than the traditional fixed menu groupings, and items could appear more than once, of course, in different contexts.

    The key thing would be to have HUD work in two distinct ways – a narrow one for homing in on a specific function, and another which opens out the results as wide as possible, in an exploratory mode. (NB: maybe the Unity Dash could adopt something on these lines for the same reasons; then we could ditch classic-menu-indicator!)

  494. UBUNTU : : Reamde Says:

    […] информация за HUD може да хвърлите поглед на блога на Марк Шътълуърт (Mark Shuttleworth).   Източник : Categories: Uncategorized […]

  495. BitBurner Says:

    Hands on the keyboard. I took my hands off the keyboard when I left MS-DOS and went GUI.

    Majority of computer users are content consumers, not content producers. For the producers the keyboard approach may be powerful, but the consumers what to lay back and use the mouse. Keyboard is not needed unless you produce something.

  496. The Future of the Menu: Say Hello to Ubuntu’s Upcoming Head-Up Display [Video] Says:

    […] to the application, in a way which is completely compatible with existing applications and menus.[Mark Shuttleworth] Tweet (function(){var […]

  497. The Future of the Menu: Say Hello to Ubuntu’s Upcoming Head-Up Display [Video] | Says:

    […] [Mark Shuttleworth] […]

  498. Ubuntu’s New ‘HUD’ Factor: A Step Forward or Back? | DUMBWIRE NEWS Says:

    […] reading your mind, in a good way,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth explained in a blog post last week, complete with a video that offers a small taste of that […]

  499. Søren Says:

    I dont like the idea , some dont remember all the applikations we use , how to find a app you dont remember the name on ??

  500. Ubuntu’s New ‘HUD’ Factor: A Step Forward or Back? | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] reading your mind, in a good way,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth explained in a blog post last week, complete with a video that offers a small taste of that […]

  501. Another bad idea from Ubuntu: replace menus with the HUD | Chainsaw on a Tire Swing Says:

    […] started getting weird in some pretty user-unfriendly ways. Now Mark Shuttleworth has published a new post on his blog about the future direction of Ubuntu, & boy it’s a doozy: Say hello to the Head-Up […]

  502. Martin Says:

    Good work on continuous innovation. Two things though:

    1. I hope you will start the practice of introducing a “guided tour” of new features with each release. This is important for new and existing users, or those coming from other desktop paradigms.

    2. Mark, as a South African, I wish to see you using your leverage to get more involved in the South African government’s adoption of open source. Goodness knows our tax money has gone into enough proprietary software; it’s time to step up and offer not just a free desktop that the public sector can use, but business software too!

  503. Kenny Strawn Says:

    Have to say, this is definitely a good improvement to Ubuntu. Rather than having to dive and scroll through menus, you can just search for the action you want (even with your voice). Definitely simplifies the whole Ubuntu experience.

  504. TypeCast | Ubuntu HUD, maybe ubuntu finally have made a good addition to the UI | Says:

    […] to the UI 31 Jan 2012 Mark Shuttleworth (The founder of the Ubuntu project) posted on his blog the other day about a coming feature to […]

  505. Ubuntu Slovenija | Uradna spletna stran slovenske skupnosti Linux distribucije Ubuntu | Ubuntu HUD Says:

    […] Vir: […]

  506. The Dilemma of the Linux Desktop » Linux news Says:

    […] one hand, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth blogged about his intention to replace menus in Unity with a system he called “Head Up Display” […]

  507. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! » Linux news Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  508. Ryan Says:

    Good idea – a pull-down menu universal interface.
    It will be a very very bad idea if ubuntu gets rid of or limits one’s access to the traditional interfaces. Users won’t go with that.

  509. HUD, la herramienta de Canonical que dará mucho que hablar | Ayuda Linux Says:

    […] Podéis visitar la pagina de Mark Shuttleworth donde explica los detalles de HUB, en este enlace […]

  510. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! | Toppli Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  511. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  512. Phil Says:

    Will the horrible soundtrack make it into the final release, or will HUD work silently?

  513. 菜单之死? | 互联网的新鲜事 Says:

    […] Ubuntu 将要探索的新交互方式 HUD,以取代传统的菜单。在《介绍 HUD,与未来的菜单问好》中,他指出,自从 Xerox PARC 在 70 […]

  514. gerlos Says:

    Seems a cool idea, but I’m not sure that we really need it–never though it before now, but I feel that menus as they are now are really useful and easy to use, can’t say if HUD will make me more productive (don’t think so, but I still have to try).

    The lack of discoverability of the HUD is a really bad thing imho. First time I run a new application I don’t know exactly what I can do, and how developers called the actions (or how are them localized in my language!), so menus ad great to become more comfortable not only with the things we can do, but also with the language specific to the app.

    One other consideration: in my experience, I feel a lot easier to use menus when commands are identified by an icon next to them (I recognize the icon even before I read the text), why don’t add this kind of visual aids to usual menus, and to the HUD? (isn’t it too much text-oriented, even in the output?)
    Another thing that helps me a lot when I use applications is when common commands are put in the same place and with the same wordings. I know that if I can save my data, there will be a File -> save command in the menu. This coherence (that should be extended imho) helps me also because makes new and specific commands stand out of the list of the already known commands (we need to learn only what’s different).

    So, before implementing something new, that we can’t know if it will be better or not (we must try), why don’t we do as much as we can to make our old menus better?
    It’s easy:
    – Same actions, when applicable, should always be in the same place in menus, and called with the same name, and identified by the same icon (and with the same keyboard shortcut)
    – I know that someone thinks that it’s not nice, but adding icons to menus make it easier to use them, so please do it!

  515. Dave Says:

    @Ted Gould
    You said: “It will work with any application that can use the global menu, which includes most GTK programs, Qt Programs, etc.”

    What about Java applications???

  516. Matthew Johnson Says:

    I think this looks fantastic – but as a compliment to existing menus, NEVER instead of


  517. Alex Content Says:

    Fantastic concept and brilliant execution [like always in Ubuntu] but will it work also in languages like Hebrew, Arabic and others that are written from right to left?

  518. Leon Says:

    Good Idea BUT!!! There is a categorical mistake

    What of new users, we don’t always know all the options available and actually learn to operate programmes by searching the menu bars and clinking on things just to find out what they do.

    So if options disappear behind a veil usability will decrease unless you are a genius at computers

  519. Emiliano Puddu Says:

    Unity is growing fast and usefull! I hope it will be the “chiave di volta” in IT!

  520. Harold Says:

    Oh please no. Shifting constantly between mouse and keyboard … the whole great thing about a GUI is the “graphical” part. This really introduces the KUI … keyboard user interface. It strikes me like a devolution back to a kind of dressed up command line … a prettified terminal. The whole great thing about a GUI is that you associate a concept with a picture … it’s “intuitive.” This is a concept with a bunch of words … intellectualism. Nope … it’s a step backwards, and will invite the Windinistas to say that Ubuntu is more difficult to use than Windows. It would be great to have as an adjunct to icons, but not as an out-and-out replacement for them. I know you’re trying to carve out a new nuche for Ubuntu … make it more relevant and all … but not like this. Please.

  521. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  522. snowdrop Says:

    The GUI was invented for a reason – to avoid typing. The HUD is an excellent complement but a lousy replacement for the menus mainly because it actually will require the user that knows & remembers the menus to do more work with his hands and move them around more. The HUD’s excellence is mainly there when you are not familiar with the menus and the software has millions of them. Most software doesn’t even fit that description. On the contrary, most would have pretty slim menus, at least the stuff you see used by the average Joe.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. HUD will never, ever, replace menus successfully since it is – as a replacement – going backwards in development, not onward.

  523. Pragmatist Says:

    I have a whole litany of problems with Unity which boil down to the productivity workstation/server UI is being neglected in favor of the netbook/tablet single application paradigm. Ironically things that save space on a small screen can actually take more space on a large screen, and gloss that looks really cool in a demo can be difficult to read/use in practice.

    Unity complaints:
    – Pop-up menu bar on left side of screen – constantly bump into this when using the firefox back button or other button bar applications.
    – The root menu need a significant amount of work
    – administrative/configuration options are still not complete
    – Sub-selecting from multiple open instances/windows of the same application is awkward
    – Menus should ONLY be moved to the top when the application is maximized… otherwise leave the root menu in place – seriously the multi-window paradigm is broken without this fixed
    – Resizing of standard fonts is missing
    – Too much dependency on Internet access (cloud) with all of its security problems – stand alone should be a first class citizen
    – Lack of menus for browsing available selection of supported applications in an organized fashion – soft links is the right way to support multi-category application launchers
    – Over-dependence on “searching” – results are non-authoritative by nature which is why no one uses Google’s “I feel lucky”.
    – No textual description for launchers even via float over – we can read, we’re not three year old.
    – running application indicator is only marginally useful compare to the window list from classic gnome – perhaps.

    – Don’t through the baby out with the bathwater when trying to create an improved UI paradigm.

  524. Ruben Ploeg Says:

    The feature is convenient but hardly anything new or something that hasn’t been done before. I’ve been using this since Apple added it to OS X Tiger back in 2005. In Mac OS X you can find the menu search field under “Help” or simply hit cmd + ? and start typing away. It’s especially convenient in feature packed applications like Keynote, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, InDesign etc. when you’re not sure where something is located. For frequently used actions I still prefer keyboard shortcuts.

  525. Matt Says:

    Please debug heavily and run some user interface tests before adopting this. The most productive environments have the fewest steps required to get the job done. That’s why modal editing in vi or it’s equivalent in emacs is so powerful. I get annoyed when I have to go through multiple clicks to do something simple (e.g. switch desktops).

    However I find dash to be completely useless in ubuntu. I can not remember the names of the ever changing applications to get the job done. Heck typing “mail” in dash doesn’t even bring up thunderbird. (It does work in synapse however). Moreover the file search capability doesn’t seem to work on files the system has never processed. Additionally to get to file search or your application menus require some very confusing multiple clicks on poorly documented icons. I recommend keeping a most recently used list or some way to quickly browse the menu tree. Please don’t expect anyone to remember that cp is copy and mv is move or that thunderbird is email, or gimp is an image editor etc.

  526. Shuttleworth presenta HUD, un menú para todo Says:

    […] Tweet En su blog, Mark Shuttleworth nos presenta lo que según él mismo describe como “el futuro de los […]

  527. David Ball Says:

    I’ve used Unity since it first came out. The first version I did not like, the recent one with the 3D support was better, but still not enough to persuade me from using Gnome Shell instead. I see though now, this HUD looks awesome! I am excited to get to try it out. I may finally switch to Unity. Note though, I think you need to retain options for a more traditional user experience as well. Now you have split the audience again: there are those that want their GNOME 2 back, those that love Unity as it is, and those that will love the HUD. Be sure not to alienate the base you built over the last two revisions of Unity. Great work! :-)

  528. Mark Shuttleworth Unveils New Head-Up Display for Ubuntu 12.04 – - Tech News AggregatorTech News Aggregator Says:

    […] Every time I write about Ubuntu and its (not-so) new Unity interface, I see lots and lots of comments decrying it as useless, an abomination, the worst thing to ever happen to computers, etc. Personally, I’m not so flummoxed by it, but there’s no denying that Unity has been a divise addition to Canonical’s flagship Linux distribution. The choice to move application menus up to the global bar at the top of the screen has been frustrating to many, and a lot of power users find Unity too mouse-intensive. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s Self-Appointed Benevloent Dictator For Life, yesterday unveiled the next step in the Unity evolution: the Head-Up Display. […]

  529. MamiyaOtaru Says:

    wish the HUD would show hotkeys next to entries as the normal menu does. I use them frequently, and they are faster than typing in part of a word and selecting an entry. Typing “undo” instead of ctrl-v all the time would bet incredibly annoying. I realize you aren’t disabling them, but making them harder to discover is next to the same thing

  530. Bobaloo Says:

    You need to learn to conjugate, Mark! “Lead” is not “led” unless it’s the noun chemically represented by “Pb”. Your sentence should read “[a]nd that set us on a course which led …”. Why should I take you seriously when you’re to dependent on a spellchecker?

  531. Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Updates: The HUD will Replace Application Menus | LinuxNov Says:

    […] Source “Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu“. […]

  532. Menu之死? Says:

    […] Ubuntu 将要探索的新交互方式 HUD,以取代传统的菜单。在《介绍 HUD,与未来的菜单问好》中,他指出,自从 Xerox PARC 在 70 […]

  533. TJ Says:

    Mark – I’m sad to see you backing down under pressure and allowing menus to still exist:-)

    It’s hard to see how people will not leave Ubuntu for at least *somethingelseBuntu, another distro or another os. Most of my friends and I are switching to tablets for day to day tasks. Both android and iOS seem to be ahead as far as UI goes. Good search capability and VR is there too. I only use desktop for tasks that require a lot of computing power – playing games:-) Photoshop and video editing. And my tablet will be competing with my desktop even more with introduction of cloud services and cs6 by adobe… One more thing – please don’t try to imitate St. J. and lock us in perhaps genius innovations. People don’t always want to be told what’s best for them and how to do things. Please stop sticking people, who trusted you, with default and only choices like unity and now hud. In my opinion you should quit ditro business and just concentrate on designing UIs. It seems like your efforts are being spread too thin.
    Sorry if it sounded too negative but please understand that things like unity wasn’t just “controversial” for many people – it was a disaster and a big let down…

  534. TJ Says:

    By the way not using real email because of security in the comment form…

  535. Ubuntu moves beyond the desktop with new TV interface, menu-killing navigation system | Says:

    […] a new display interface deserves just as much attention. Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth recently blogged about the change, called the Head-up Display (or HUD) that does away with the menu and tries to […]

  536. francesco44 Says:








  537. francesco44 Says:


    There is few things the interface designers at Canonical seem to ignore totally: our brain is divided in two…the LEFT brain….and the RIGHT brain….There is a bridge between these two sides of the brain called the “callous” body.

    As everybody knows (well almost everybody concerned by GUI design)…the LEFT brain, specialized in language processing, is dominant….because we, humans, are a speaking species. And the RIGHT brain is specialized in the treatment of shapes, forms, space etc…. (I recommend the opus of Betty Edwards..on this subject)

    It is also established that the right brain is much more quick and multitasking than the left brain….otherwise we would not be able to drive anything (bike, car, plane….) and avoid dangerous situations. Thanksfully…the right brain is in command in many critical situations.

    The mouse, icons, pre-established menus are sollicitating THE RIGHT BRAIN….The “HUD” is adapted to the LEFT BRAIN….so very slow…without any doubt…There is an exception with the “command line” who is like a second language for professionals who masters its vocabulary and grammar perfectly, being in that case faster than amateurs using mouses, icons and menus.

    The “mouse”, “icons”, “menus” was strongly linked to instinct and natural ways of organizing things in space…This is why it was such a huge success…in the 6 mont following the introduction of Mac OS.

    It is not difficult from these arguments to see why HUD might be a failure…Once again…I do not pretend to hold the truth…(because of the exceptionnal efficiency of the command line…but only for professionals)

    But I suggest to Mark…If he has some brain left (bad joke)….to think deeply to these questions….

    Best regards anyway

  538. Todd H. Says:

    Hands on keyboard instead of off on the mouse… aways a good idea. Saves bunches of time. Thanks Ubuntu Team for keeping on pushing the UI!

  539. Ubiquam Says:

    I am using Ubuntu with avesome. Memory consumption, only 4% of 2 GB. Much faster and more convenient.

  540. Forrest Leeson Says:

    Consider two computerized maps.

    One is like a normal map, save that — once I specify I want to go to Peoria — it hides all the roads that don’t lead to various Peorias.

    The other starts as a completely blank sheet which reveals those roads once I make that specification.

    Which gives the map-reader a better idea of the structure of the area? is better at showing compatible or similarly interesting destinations? The former, I suggest; but the latter is more like the HUD concept described.

    The general idea of menus is to surface every function in the program — compromised by hierarchical organization in which things get lost (is it in Edit or Tools? in a submenu?)

    So why not flatten the entire menu structure into a searchable scrollbox, which instead of revealing matches hides non-matches. The question “Is it Preferences? or Settings? or Configuration? or…” is moot, since one can just scroll through the whole shebang and find out: by default everything is shown rather than hidden.

    Of course, the best of both worlds is to have both worlds; a checkbox to switch from Hide Non-hits to Show Hits would do nicely.

  541. Kenny Strawn Says:

    It seems as though that the version of Unity in 12.04 is *newer* than the HUD version. Please fix this!

  542. Frederico Araujo Mendes Says:

    Unity Concept Mockup for Ubuntu 12.10. Hello, I did mockup video , I hope you enjoy.

  543. Eric Says:

    So basically the intent here is to make a clumsy system slightly less so by asking users to stop, type & click? Sounds…clumsy.

  544. Richard Says:

    If this is the future of Linux, I’m fleeing back to Windows.

    Keep note that devices with virtual keyboards (like tablets, keyboardless appliances…) are gaining prominence, therefore HUD would pretty much cripple them, compared to keeping the menu/mouse-driven paradigm.

  545. Sameer Verma Says:

    Presumably, at some point HUD will meet speech and it will be like Picard asking for “Tea, black” :-)

  546. Ubuntu Linux dumps menus, replaces them with a search box | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu Foundation, has announced a rethink of the traditional menu in forthcoming versions of the Ubuntu Linux operating […]

  547. HUD | Push Design Says:

    […] other exciting thing is coming from Ubuntu. The HUD coming in Ubuntu 12 is basically a launchbar that replaces software menus. For users who […]

  548. Adam Says:

    I understand the issue — the bloated ribbons of MS Office were why I swapped to gedit+pdflatex in Linux in the first place. But the Application Menus are not entirely redundant with the HUD. The Dash and HUD both allow you to quickly open and control apps, but they’re not useful at all in exploring what capabilities you can actually access. Ironically, it’s entirely contrary to the Ubuntu theme of “light” — a newbie is left to literally groping about in their apps menu and app menus, trying to locate whatever they’re looking for. If you know your software well enough, it’s truly wonderful to be able to access it with just a few keystrokes — that’s exactly why the terminal is so useful — but the keyboard-based terminal/Dash/HUD way of doing things just isn’t useful for everyone all the time.

    I like the metaphor of restaurant menus that someone brought up earlier. It’s great to have the familiarity to order right off the bat from a familiar restaurant, but that doesn’t make offering a menu any less of a necessity. A newbie will still need the menu in order to know what the restaurant actually serves, and even a regular may want to try something a bit different once in a while.

  549. Forrest Leeson Says:

    So what’s the equivalent of “ls /usr/bin” going to be?

  550. Nine Rules for Designing a Linux Desktop | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] why Mark Shuttleworth’s Heads Up Interface (HUD) is unlikely to replace the menus. Menus are ancient and occasionally unwieldy. But, as Shuttleworth […]

  551. Nine Rules for Designing a Linux Desktop » Linux news Says:

    […] why Mark Shuttleworth’s Heads Up Interface (HUD) is unlikely to replace the menus. Menus are ancient and occasionally unwieldy. But, as Shuttleworth […]

  552. John Barnes Says:

    I don’t use Ubuntu, but looking at the screenshot my first thought is how I find out what the product does that I don’t know about. I will have to type in a word and hope that I am using the correct nomenclature that has been used in the application. By browsing menu entries I can find some of the features I don’t know about. There’s always that pesky help file I guess…

  553. Denis Says:

    For it need so calling: First-Steps_HUD guide, for beginers users, with menu-like GUI on lense.

  554. if it ain't broke, don't... Says:

    Ribbon doesn’t work on smaller displays and if there are many tools (buttons). Too much button sliding around and/or scrolling (reminiscent of hit the monkey flash ads).
    I think ribbon was designed for huge displays (27″ plus) to allow flailing mouse clicks.

    I’m glad ppl work at improving UIs (even non digital device UIs)
    But AFAIK for software, nobody has improved on user customized combo of memorized key-commands and menu/toolbars.

  555. AppMenu Runner, meet the KDE HUD | Afiestas Blog Says:

    […] few days ago Mark Shuttleworth announced the HUD menu, a  Unity dialog that lets you trigger menu actions in the focused application […]

  556. Matt Arnold Says:


    I’ve got a question, I probably won’t use the HUD My theme is still the one from Red Hat 9, although i did really like the one from 7.04 and I’m proud of it thank you. But the fact that Canonical is headed down the speech recognition path interests me. Does this mean we will eventually have full dictation support in Libreoffice? next question how can we have a usable floss speech recognition when Nuance Inc has it patented out the wazoo?

  557. Ubuntu 12.04 Akan Mengantikan Menu Lama Dengan HUD Says:

    […] disajikan oleh Ubuntu 12.04 ini. Dan sebagai pembuka, Mark Shuttleworth melalui blog beliau telah mengumumkan salah satu fungsi baru ubuntu 12.04, Namanya adalah HUD (Head-Up Display).HUD ini kelak akan […]

  558. tone matrix Says:

    […] for choosing my track, I really appreciate it. Here’s the link to the blog & video. […]

  559. mark Says:


    Did you mean “too dependent on a spellchecker?”

  560. spyked bricks in the wall — evoluția interacțiunii om-calculator (i) Says:

    […] – gândim la fel. Începând cu una din versiunile viitoare, Ubuntu va veni cu un așa-zis HUD, adică un meniu contextual mai deștept dedicat accesării rapide a meniurilor. Chestie care mi se […]

  561. bill Says:

    This will be unusable by anyone that has ever used a GUI before.

  562. A. Peon Says:

    [Everyone else’s complaints, echoed.]

    Meanwhile, some comments:

    I notice the screen real-estate for Mac-style menuing is now blank in this mockup. Perhaps that’s a hint that both interfaces could and should co-exist during the “learning curve” period…

    I do feel like it’s a colossal failure for my pathetic 1990s style of workflow, which generally involves strafing pulldowns (“discoverability”) and then readily memorizing the ALT-F,O verbiage for “File->Open.”

    Of course, ALT access to “classic” pulldown menus (who developed that convention first, MS, Borland, IBM, or other?) is a bit modal already, but you aren’t “trapped” in the mode until you’ve first held ALT _and_ hit the appropriate key.

    On its lonesome, I’m not sure how this avoids turning into “Zork: The Operating System.” I notice Windows users relying on the search box in the Start menu more and more – but that’s because MS made the Start menu a constantly-reordering unpredictable mess, and the “awesome bar” list of possible actions you might’ve intended is equally “non-spatial.”

    I also notice that this thing, ironically on multiple levels, discards the idea of presenting “canonical” keyboard commands. If it “learns,” the same input on different users’ machines may produce wildly different results. However, this means it’s chucked both the “ALT-?,?” approach, and the convention of listing the alternate “application-specific” key combinations – which, in some cases, are a benefit – CTRL-S and CTRL-R in Firefox, by example, both avoid creating modes.

    [At first, I wasn’t convinced “mode errors” were such a big deal, but time and time again I see how prevalent they are, and that the saw about them being the one fault experience can’t fix is true. Pick up “The Humane Interface,” give it a skim, and then start noticing how many things have never tripped you up because they _don’t_ rely on a state your brain can fail to track.]

  563. Mark Shuttleworth anuncia HUD, el nuevo sistema de menús inteligentes de Unity | Says:

    […] | Blog de Mark ShuttleworthVídeo | YouTubeEn Tecno Apps | Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin. Primera toma de contacto y […]

  564. Osas Says:

    HUD is already present in another form – Krunner.

    Basically you chose Gnome because it is “more” free (gtk as compared to QT),

    Then progressively tweak Gnome to perform like KDE, except controlling reconfigurability (corportation’s like controls like gconf).

    Good business sense, but “screws” opensource.

  565. mor Says:

    how do i get it?

  566. HUD - новый подход реализации меню приложений в Unity | Ubuntu Info Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth написал в своём блоге о новой реализации меню […]

  567. serif Says:

    oh at last,time has come to get rid of unity in ubuntu.about 2-3 months ago here i had commented on the new name of ubuntu ahead(precise pagolin)and criticized both the name and the unity.i had offered to stop using unity but at that time all was good for unity because people were newly discovering this goodlooking by day unity showed people that it was using right hand to touch left ear..and my comment here had been deleted that time, maybe i was crashing the happy family photo anyway since unity inspite of being a crazy fan of ubuntu i have jumped onto mint like many practicals…in short,sometime mark should listen to wise guys

  568. serif Says:

    again my comment was deleted..u cant run away from reality…u melting against mint with this closedminded head..