Accepting Canonical’s Ubuntu Unity

13 September , 2012 Bill Linux

Introduction
I have not been a fan of Unity and I had a hard time accepting it. I am a full time Linux user since Red Hat 3 which was around 1996 and had a hard time with the new user interfaces Gnome and Ubuntu were introducing.

Not Accepting the Future
The old Gnome interface was not going to be continued by Gnome, there were some forks such as Mate. As soon as Gnome and Ubuntu made the decision to change their user interfaces so dramatically I was disappointed and made the move from a Gnome based operating system to KDE. Being a Mono developer I started looking at tool kits that support KDE. This became very hard as there is no supported GUI designer for KDE in Monodevelop and the tool kit of choice for Qyoto was not documented and supported very well either (I have written an article on C# Mono user interfaces here).

Making a Change
I stayed with KDE for quite a while and after an upgrade and a buggy Plasma Desktop I decided to make the change to a Gnome based distribution again. Mint 13 was the choice with a Cinnamon desktop. Cinnamon was still new and had it’s problems and I was willing to stick with it as they worked them out. I really enjoyed it and talked a friend into trying it but was starting to wonder what all the hype was about with Gnome Shell and Unity.

Starting to Accept the Future
I downloaded Ubuntu Gnome Remix and installed it in Virtual Box to test it out. I still had a hard time accepting it as it was new and different and decided to install it as my operating system so I would be forced to use it full time. It took a while but I started to really enjoy using it after finding the Gnome Extensions page and how easy it was to install them. I was even able to edit the Javascript code of one of them to look the way I wanted. I stayed with Gnome Shell for a while and completely customized it with themes, extensions, Gnome Tweak and Code. I thought to myself… if I was able to enjoy Gnome Shell after disliking it so much, maybe I should give Unity a fair go.

Ubuntu Unity
I tried Ubuntu with Unity in Virtual Box for a couple of days before making the decision to install it as my main operating system to force my self to use it and give it a fair go. I moved the close, minimize and maximize buttons to the right and added a menu button to the left of the windows. I disabled the global menu so the applications host their own drop down menus. I used MyUnity and Ubuntu Tweak to adjust the button bar transparency, remove the color from behind the buttons on the bar and change the size of the buttons.

I like the Lens feature of Ubuntu Unity and the arrows on the bar. This is what is keeping me from switching back to Gnome Shell. The ability to add new lens applications to the dashboard also is a plus.

Conclusion
Accepting Ubuntu’s Unity desktop is like having your first sip of Guinness Beer, you may not like it at first but it will grow on you.

Desktop, gui, linux, ubuntu,

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