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Location: GUIs > Linux / Unix > Ubuntu 11.04 Unity

Ubuntu 11 Control Center
The Control Center replaces the GNOME desktop "System" menu, and is launched from the "Power" menu in the upper right corner.

Disappointingly, the Launcher and the Top Bar really have no configurable options.

I have to load additional software just to change the size of the icons? Seriously?

(Meh, they should have marketed the extra software as the "Ubunutu Plus! Pack")

Scroller Scroller Right Scroller Left

Scroller bottom

Another odd change made to Ubuntu 11.4 is a new scroll bar.

This scroll bar is only present in Gnome/GTK applications that use the built in scroll bar. As such the new scroll bar does not appear in Firefox, OpenOffice, or even the new Unity desktop!

At first, it is not visually obvious how to use it. It appears it was designed to reduce clutter, and sacrifices the visual elements necessary to give users visual hints as to its function.

At first it appears as just a thin line on the edge of a list box, the length indicating roughly what percentage of the list is displayed. A slider control only becomes visible as the mouse cursor moves over the line. In a slight inconstancy, the slider may appear on either side of the line depending on if the window is at the edge of the screen or not.

Ubuntu 11 tiles
In an attempt to mimic Windows 7 (which itself is reviving a relic from Windows 1), dragging a window to the edge of the screen causes it to "tile". Dragging it to the top causes it to "maximize".

Ubuntu 11 Workspaces
As is typical with Linux desktops, Unity has a Workspace switcher. Application windows can reside on any of 4 different workspaces. Using 3d acceleration, the desktops zoom in and out when the selector is used.

Ubuntu 11 Ubuntu 1
In addition to Firefox, LibreOffice Writer, Calc, Impress, Workspace Switcher, Applications and Files and folders, the Launcher also contains icons for the Ubuntu Software center and Ubuntu One.

Ubuntu 11 applets
The Gnome menu control panel is still present even when Unity is active, but this is because it still has both desktops currently.

On the brighter side, the Time Date control panel applet works much better now.

Ubuntu 11 shutdown
Getting ready to shut down Ubuntu 11.4.

In summary, I think the Unity desktop actually has some potential but needs much improvement.
Some of the things that need to be changed:

  • Restore an application hierarchy similar to the Applications menu.
  • Use smaller icons, or adjust to the size available.
  • Don't cover the entire screen with the Dash.
  • Conform to the system color settings (this is not a video game!)
  • Don't show non-installed applications in the application menus. Keep installation separate.
  • Add user customizability to the application hierarchy.
  • Add user customizability to the size and location of the launcher.
  • Add the ability to turn off capture of menus on the Top Bar, probably default to off for normal desktop installs.
  • Fix LibreOffice to use the menus in the same ways as other applications.
  • Either don't require 3d acceleration or ship 3d capable drivers for all video cards.
I would really rather see original, open, user interface research but it feels like Ubuntu is just randomly copying MacOS X and Windows 7.

Ubuntu 11 CLI garbage
Ubuntu shutting down... Apparently it is very important that I know that the dbus main process is killed by the TERM signal. Whatever the hell that is.