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Thread: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

  1. #11
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    Looks nicer than the rest, faster and works better than the rest.

  2. #12
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    Lets see, I like the HUD very much. pressing the alt key would pop up a search are that says type your command. Its a collection of all the click commands in the menu bar for the application. Let say that you open a script with gedit. Instead of click the menu view, then click the highlight mode, than click a section, than click the highlight mode, you can just press the alt, and start typing your preferred highlight mode, and press enter. Its like bringing the menu option that needed to be clicked with mouse, to the tip of your fingers. Thats one huge point that i like.

    Next is the super/menu bar, how do you call it, Unity Dock? Its like a mixture of Windows and Mac. Its take a while to get used to it, but its great. press the super key, type the name program you want, you dont even need to type the whole things, a few letters and your wanted program should appear in the list. Theres even separate tabs for programs and files. In face you add this 'lens' as they called it, for various things.

    I'm using 13.04, and its reported to be faster than 12.04, so im not sure about 12.04.2 and 12.04.3. 12.10 is slow though.13.10 will introduce Mir, so it might not be fast on old computer.

  3. #13
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    I use Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS 64 bit and I downgraded to this specific version from Ubuntu 13.04. I found the standard releases are too buggy for my personal tastes and the LTS releases are far more stable. Ubuntu Unity is polished and mature technology. I like it, but it's not my favorite; however, I use it most of the time. I like the fact that I am getting a close representation of Apple Macintosh OS X without having to pay top dollar for the hardware and software combined. Ubuntu Unity is a solid desktop environment for those looking for a new user interface that is more advanced and feature rich than GNOME 2. I find that it has made me more productive in the long run.

    Ubuntu 13.04 is stable and mature and Ubuntu Unity is considerably more developed and polished, but the underlying operating system itself is known to have its quirks and bugs compared to 12.04.3 LTS. I only have one System76 Lemur Ultra Thin (lemu4) PC so this is my production machine and I require as much stability as possible. I don't want to have to download dozens or hundreds of new updates on a frequent basis each week. I also find that Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS 64 bit is considerably faster than previous versions and it's more stable and robust. It's similar to Ubuntu 13.04 in terms of offering a smooth and continuous user experience without the newer features like desktop web apps, online accounts integration, and other tweaks under the hood.

    One of the best things about Ubuntu Unity is that there are rather innovative new features that are being developed to make it a more convergent user interface across different form factors and devices. It's an idea with merit and usefulness. I have found that GNOME 3 and K Desktop Environment to be lacking in terms of usability compared to Ubuntu Unity so I don't use them too frequently. The user friendly design and usability define the Ubuntu Unity desktop environment and it has made Ubuntu a top choice among GNU/Linux distributions. I think this is a major reason why so many Linux users choose Ubuntu as their daily driver on their PCs because it's a coherent and seamless user experience that strikes the right compromises.

    Once you get used to it, it's difficult to switch to another desktop environment or GNU/Linux distribution that lacks Ubuntu Unity. It's a cachet per se.

  4. #14
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    I also love Unity, but for quite different reasons to many other people here. Sorry, this is a very long post, but Unity is a good desktop in so many ways.

    1. Screen space. Unity's Launcher (the bar on the side) can autohide if you elect to. Even if you don't, it uses screen space that is generally not very useful on a widescreen monitor: the side. On a widescreen monitor you are lacking vertical space and it's wasteful to put too much user interface chrome in the vertical space.

    Unity also folds the titlebar and menus of maximised applications into the top panel, so as to give you more space. Even the overlay scrollbars save some room, although not much.

    2. The overlay scrollbars. On a laptop running Windows, you might keep your cursor hovering over the "down arrow" on the scrollbar of a document so you can just click to scroll down. If you want to scroll up, you have to grab your trackpad and move the mouse right up to nearly the very top of the screen to move up a line or two. Or use trackpad scrolling - which I've often found to be imprecise and annoying.

    However with Unity's overlay scrollbars, when you click on the "down arrow" the overlay will stay there (as long as you don't move the mouse). If you want to scroll up, it's only a couple of pixels away. Obviously, somebody has looked at this particular use-case and thought "We can make this more helpful to the user".

    3. Drag 'n' Drop in the Launcher. Back when I used Mac OS 9, I had a tabbed folder sitting on the bottom of my screen with shortcuts ("aliases") to programs I often used. If I wanted to open a file with a particular program, I could drag the file down to the tabbed folder (which would open in full), and drag the file over a program I wanted to try opening it with. If the program icon highlighted, it could open files of this type, and you could drop the file onto the program to open it. Dragging a file to a program icon makes a lot of sense to me as it emulates what you do in the real world (pick up a document and give it to a person), and the highlighting function allowed you to see easily whether the file could be opened.

    Unity does this! I was thrilled when I found out about this. You can drag files toward the Launcher, and most of the icons will dim - the only ones that will stay lit are those that can open the file. Drag the file onto one of the icons (whether lit or unlit) and Unity will open the file in the program.

    4. Indicators: If you had used Linux a few years ago, you might have had a frustrating experience with "notification area icons" (what Windows users would call the "System Tray"). Because every program was directly responsible for drawing and interacting with its notification area icon, it was a bit of a wild west in terms of how that icon would react. Depending on the program, a left-click would open the main program window, or open a menu, or do nothing, or toggle a switch. A right-click might open a different menu, do nothing, toggle a switch OR even ask if you wanted to remove the icon.

    Also, you know how you can open the File menu in a program and, without clicking again, move the mouse to the Edit menu and it would open and the File menu would close? You couldn't do that with notification area icons. Not reliably, at least. Oh, and if you had KDE or Qt programs running on your Gnome desktop or vice-versa, they would look out of place and really inconsistent.

    Not any more. Ubuntu-Desktop, which eventually became Unity, pioneered the "Indicator" API which provides a standard interface for programs to hook into to display indicators. A left-click will always open a menu. A right-click will do nothing. You can drag your mouse from one icon to another like any other menu. As a bonus, indicator menus are searchable from HUD. This adds to the tight integration in the desktop and just makes everything feel consistent.

    5. Quicklists, progress bars and emblems. If you start copying a file, the file manager icon on the Launcher will show a little progress bar so you can keep an eye on it while doing other things. Update Manager will show you a little number in a circle in its icon; the number of pending updates. Right-click the Launcher icon of several different programs and you'll be given a quick list of things you can do in that program - particularly opening a new window or a new tab, but there is potential for much more. Windows 7 also does these things.

    6. Wide-ranging search features. One of the more shameful parts of Linux was simply that there was no good search mechanism. Beagle, Tracker, all the others... they all ate up CPU power and in the end usually failed to find the file you were looking for. The search mechanism in Unity (hit Super and start typing) actually works, if you've opened the file in the past. And it's not just files - you can search music locally by ID3 tag, or online via music stores. You can search for videos locally or through online sources, and it's even clever enough not to try searching any sites that you can't access in your country. The shopping lens can search Amazon and will be extended to search several other places. You can look for programs locally installed, or in the Ubuntu Software Center - there's little distinction, and you don't even have to know if the program is installed, you just search for it.

    It's all extendable. You can write your own "scope" or "lens" to do the search or display the search results respectively, and there are lenses and scopes you can download today to search anywhere. Unity makes it easier to watch catch-up TV services than to watch live free-to-air TV - that's really something!

    7. Notifications. I always got annoyed with notification bubbles. I thought I was getting annoyed that they kept appearing, but in fact I always got annoyed because they seemed to make me "close" them. Oh, I know: They would disappear on their own, but the presence of the close button seemed to demand my immediate action. The Unity notification bubbles do not even allow user action, on purpose. Without that close box, and with quite a short timeout, the notification bubbles don't make me frustrated anymore. I find that a very clever piece of user-interface design - they really figured out what was annoying users, even when the users didn't actually know themselves.

    8. Similarities to Windows 7. If you put the Windows 7 taskbar on the left side of the screen, you'll find it actually works just like the Unity launcher (except there's no Dash). I can't really explain it, you'll just have to see for yourself.

    9. Nice animations.
    Yes, it's shallow, but I like the animations and generally the look of Unity. The folding/unfolding animation when you move your mouse over the Launcher when it's full of items, is cool. The fading and unfading of a notification bubble when you move the mouse over it, is lovely. The little reflective shine of a Launcher icon when a new window opens - very appealing. Window exposing and workspace management also look fancy due to the Compiz backend. And you can customise these, too, using Compizconfig Settings Manager.

    I also like the semi-transparency of the Dash and Launcher, and the way these change colour depending on your desktop background. Try it!

    I'll admit, there are two things about Unity that I don't like:

    1. Program browsing. To browse your programs, you need to open the Applications lens of the Dash, which is two clicks or a keyboard combination. Then click Show All Results, then click Filters, then click on the filters you want to use (for instance, "System" and "Accessories"). It's a bit slow because it requires too many clicks. Fortunately it's not often that you'll have to do that, because usually you can just locate the program by typing its name or by clicking its icon in the Launcher if you've already pinned it. Once you have most things pinned to the Launcher or know the name of the program so you can just hit Super and type it, you'll be fine and happy.

    2. Workspaces. Apart from them being disabled by default in Ubuntu 13.04, they've always been a bit clunky to use in Unity. In Gnome 2 you had a visual representation of the windows on each workspace, and you could just click one to switch to it. You could drag windows around the workspaces just using the little switcher. Simple, elegant and useful. Unfortunately, in order to look at or manage your workspaces in Unity you need to click the icon first. This seems to discourage me from using them, whcih is very sad because I used to be a heavy user of workspaces.

    I strongly recommend you give Unity a proper try. A few weeks. I get frustrated that people don't give it a proper chance ("I upgraded from 10.04 to 12.04 five minutes ago and I hate Unity already! How do I install Gnome 2?") because Unity is actually a clever, well-designed desktop when you get familiar with it. I love the features and design principles behind it, and I find it a joy to use. Try it - it's a total break with tradition, and all the better for it.

    TL;DR: Unity is very well designed apart from two rough spots. Try it for a few weeks and you may just love it.
    Last edited by 3rdalbum; August 30th, 2013 at 01:24 PM.
    I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.

  5. #15
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek_Tombrello View Post
    After hemming and hawing for QUITE some time, I finally decided that there were updates to certain programs that I needed that 10.04 just wouldn't run. So I bit the bullet and upgraded to 12.04, knowing all the time that Unity was the new interface. As much as I hate change, I promised I would give it a try. After 24 hours, I'm done.

    This is the most confusing interface I have every used. Instead of menus, I either have to type in what I want, or scroll through 193 programs all lumped together. I can't find a "Show Desktop" icon. Running programs are added to the bottom of the sidebar, meaning for me that I have to scroll down through a dozen icons to pull up one that is "minimized". I hate the "Minimize/Maximize/Close" buttons on the left side, but I can't figure out how to get them on the right...

    Can some one who LIKES unity please explain to me why? What is it that appeals to you? What am I missing?

    In the meantime, I am going to try and install Gnome-Panel. Failing that, I created a backup before I "upgraded," so I'll just upgrade it back to 10.04.
    If you really do keep a dozen or more apps open simultaneously, then I can see that using any dock might be an issue. In Gnome 2, do you just maintain a pager with a dozen little boxes in it?

    Likewise, if you need constant access to some random programs from those 193, then perhaps Unity isn't for you.

    Window decorations can be moved to the right side via dconf or a tool like Unity Tweak Tool. (Dunno if that's out for 12.04.) Decorations gotta bo somewhere and I don't recall that Gnome 2 exposed an easy way to move them, either.

    A "show desktop" icon is available. if memory serves, in 12.04 it's offered in Sysem Settings, as is a workspace pager.

    Unity is not made to function like the old Gnome 2 interface. Efforts to approach it like that will only lead to frustration.

    I've always prefered using a dock over a panel. I typically keep 3-4 applications open, each in its own workspace. They stay there for days and weeks, I'll also open new apps in new workspaces for some specific purpose. What I want is the simplest and fastest way to move between them. A panel interface like Gnome 2 or KDE forces me to, first, manually create the workspace, then manually move to it and launch the app. When I close the app, the workspace remains, which may or may not be what I want. To move to another app in another workspace, I need to click on a featureless gray rectangle (and remember which is which) in a pager or drill down through a menu.

    In Unity, while I still need to manually create each workspace and launch the app in it, once done I can move between apps, regardless of workspace, via the Launcher. I find that much more convenient than doing it the older Gnome 2 way.

    With it's ability to automatically create and delete workspaces, Gnome Shell is even easier for me to use. A left click on an icon in its dock opens an app in the current workspace, or displays the app if it is already running. If multiple instances are running, a right click lists them all. A middle click on an icon in the dock creates a new workspace, moves to it, and opens the app. If that app is closed, and nothing else is in that workspace, it goes away.

    That kind of approach works best for me. Others prefer a panel approach with traditionally minimized windows. There's room for both. (Just don't expect Gnome 2 to be resurrected. It died not because the interface suddenrly became unusable, but because the developers didn't want to nurse along its aging dead-end internals.)
    Last edited by buzzingrobot; August 30th, 2013 at 01:31 PM.

  6. #16
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    Why do I like it? Because my liking it upsets people like you. Stop trying to dictate to me what I can like or not like. It is only a computer operating system user interface. I am under no obligation to justify my decisions to you.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
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  7. #17
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    For me I am divided on Unity, on one hand I actually kind of like it as I like its overall look and feel.
    I do like the dash for its type searching, once you get used to searching apps via its searchbar it becomes a non issue.
    And its searchbar is better then what most make it out to be, I only have to type one or two letters to search out its list of apps.
    But I hate the lack of configuration, I hate the fact you have to install third party apps to get things like weather and temperature.
    I also hate the fact Canonical thinks my desktop is a phone, argh
    Last edited by MadmanRB; August 30th, 2013 at 02:56 PM.

  8. #18
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    Why do I like it? Because my liking it upsets people like you. Stop trying to dictate to me what I can like or not like. It is only a computer operating system user interface. I am under no obligation to justify my decisions to you.
    Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed ....

    I feel like the op, this thread is interesting because it brings points that I didn't concider or things I didn't know about Unity. As far as your answer go, I think you could've just skipped this thread instead.

    As for me I've installed XCFE 4.10 for now and I'm happy with that, Unity felt awkard a bit even though I was getting used to it (after I swith the min/max/close buttons to the right side I realized I was always instinctively going the to left side to close or minimize a window, hours even after I switched them).

  9. #19
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    I had to do a lot of major tweaks to turn unity into a desktop evnironment I could use.

    I got rid of the global menus and overlay scrollbars.
    I use Classic Menu Indicator or Drawers to turn it back into a menu driven system.
    I don't use the dash at all.

    I really like the launcher bar, and I like it's position on the left side of the screen.
    And I love quicklists.
    Moderation in all things; including moderation.

  10. #20
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    Re: can anyone who likes the 12.xx Unity interface tell me why?

    FYI, there are a lot of other options out there if you don't like Unity. XFCE, KDE, Cinnamon, and Mate all come to mind if you want to be able to use the traditional desktop style. Actually, you can even do it in Gnome Shell with a couple of extensions.

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