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$am
April 12th, 2012, 02:35 PM
Hi. My friend turned me onto linux back in early 2009, and I've been trying it off and on since then, but I've never been able to make the jump to using it as a primary working OS for me. I'll probably always be a mac person because of their accessibility.

Anyway, I decided to build a computer to give me a fun project to work on, with the eventual goal of turning it into a minecraft server. Until then, I decided to try out different flavors of linux as well as windows 8.

Well, in-between my fits of open source madness, my friend is keeping me up to date on all things linux, and tells me that ubuntu is no longer using GNOME, but has switched to something called unity, and that a lot of people are less than pleased about it. (while we're at it, maybe someone can explain to me what a desktop environment is, and how it effects the computer and the OS. All I know is that it changes how windows and the desktop look).

Anyway, as a (relative) linux noob, I have to say I like unity a lot, even though there are some nitpicks here and there. (I still don't know how to see a list of all the programs on my computer).

However, I found out I can download other desktop environments even after I install ubuntu, and switch between them at the login screen, and so, as the thread title implies, I downloaded all of them, including the old GNOME one I remember from back in 2009.

(oops I just realized this probably doesn't go on this board, maybe a mod could move it?)

So to get to the point more or less, I'm just wondering why everyone is so mad when you can just download GNOME after installing the OS. Clearly I'm not a linux expert, so maybe someone can tell me why everyone is so mad?

winh8r
April 12th, 2012, 02:44 PM
You can search the forum for threads about Gnome and Unity and see what discussions have taken place.

Needless to say the best place to start is in "Recurring Discussions"

(Which is where this thread will probably end up)


There is no straight answer to your question, it is all a matter of personal choice.

Use what works for you and what you are comfortable with , whichever OS or Desktop Environment it happens to be.

There are no rules.

grahammechanical
April 12th, 2012, 02:57 PM
You friend is wrong. Ubuntu is still using Gnome. It is using the Gnome 3 Desktop Environment. It is just not using Gnome 3 shell , the User Interface that sits on the Desktop Environment. A default Ubuntu installation uses the Unity User Interface because this is the decision of thoes who control the development of Ubuntu.

There was some kind of disagreement between the Gnome Organisation and the Ubuntu developers otherwise Ubuntu would be using Gnome 3 shell with Unity as an option. The two are very similar, in my opinion.

Unity is much improved in 12.04. To see your programs in 11.10 just press Super+A (That is the Windows key + A for Applications)

As for all the negative comments about Unity, all it proves is that there are nasty people using Linux. It is a comment on our times.

There is also Help documentaion. Open the Dash and type help and you will get a link to the Desktop User Guide.

In 12.04 if you hold down the super key you get an overlay on the screen showing the keyboard shortcuts

Regards.

lovinglinux
April 12th, 2012, 04:16 PM
Not a support thread. Moved to Recurring Discussions.

Copper Bezel
April 12th, 2012, 08:14 PM
(while we're at it, maybe someone can explain to me what a desktop environment is, and how it effects the computer and the OS. All I know is that it changes how windows and the desktop look).

It's a fairly broad category of the applications on your computer. A desktop environment includes the window manager and compositor, sure, along with the desktop interface. But it also includes processes that run in the background to manage settings and hardware functions, the utility apps that control those things, and basic utilities like the text editor, file manager, etc. So while power management, say, or multiple monitor support or keyboard layouts and so on, "happens" deeper in the OS, the way those things behave depends on the DE you're using.

Similarly, while the individual applications draw their own contents and controls and such, they get instructions on how to draw those controls from the settings part of the DE, and your interaction with them (say, copy and paste, or even a mouse click) can be mediated by other layers of the DE, say, a system clipboard, or the compositor, or the input methods you have selected through the DE's settings.

So the DE is really most of the operating system components that you actually interact with. That's why it makes sense to say that Ubuntu with Unity uses the Gnome desktop, even if it doesn't use the Gnome interface and window manager / compositor.

3rdalbum
April 15th, 2012, 05:01 PM
I don't think you can do it anymore, but my favourite party trick in 2008 was to log into Gnome, do a fast user switch to the login screen and log into KDE, then do another fast user switch and log into XFCE. I had all three of those desktops running simultaneously and could switch between them with a simple keystroke.

You can probably tell, I didn't get invited to many parties.

I don't know why people are complaining about Unity as the default desktop. I suspect they're not familiar with the ability to install a different desktop - the same people often complain that "Ubuntu removed a feature" when in fact it was an upstream project such as Xorg or Gnome, indicating that these people don't keep up with developments.

I've been using Ubuntu since 5.10. Even then, it was not using a stock Gnome desktop; there were custom patches in place. Ubuntu 10.10 contained many elements of what is now known as the "Unity desktop" such as Notify-OSD, Compiz and Indicators. Basically we've always been using Unity, it's just that it was called Ubuntu Desktop before.

Peripheral Visionary
April 15th, 2012, 05:09 PM
The best "layman's language" description of the different Linux desktops I've ever read can be found here (http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=54945&start=0#p314893). It's a nice overview and easily understood explanation that helped me understand a lot more about all the choices available in Linux.

$am
April 16th, 2012, 12:37 AM
It's a fairly broad category of the applications on your computer. A desktop environment includes the window manager and compositor, sure, along with the desktop interface. But it also includes processes that run in the background to manage settings and hardware functions, the utility apps that control those things, and basic utilities like the text editor, file manager, etc. So while power management, say, or multiple monitor support or keyboard layouts and so on, "happens" deeper in the OS, the way those things behave depends on the DE you're using.

Similarly, while the individual applications draw their own contents and controls and such, they get instructions on how to draw those controls from the settings part of the DE, and your interaction with them (say, copy and paste, or even a mouse click) can be mediated by other layers of the DE, say, a system clipboard, or the compositor, or the input methods you have selected through the DE's settings.

So the DE is really most of the operating system components that you actually interact with. That's why it makes sense to say that Ubuntu with Unity uses the Gnome desktop, even if it doesn't use the Gnome interface and window manager / compositor.

I see. This brings up so many other questions. I thought using linux would help me gain a better understanding of how software works just as building a computer removed a lot of the "black box" mystery around the hardware. I guess the more I know, the more I know I don't know.