Home > Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Unity, Xubuntu > Veni. Vidi. Odio Unitate

Veni. Vidi. Odio Unitate

May 28, 2012

My apologies for not writing this sooner. I know some of you were waiting with bated breath on Saturday for me to finish my run with Unity, and I had planned to wrap it up on Saturday. But I didn’t. I gave the new desktop environment from Canonical, featured only on Ubuntu so far, an extra day just to see if ultimately there was anything — anything — I am missing.

If you can read Latin, the blog’s title says it all. If you can’t, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

But first things first, I have a hard and fast rule — well two, actually — about using Free/Open Source Software. It’s simple: Find what you like and/or what works best for you and use it; it may not be what I use or it may not be something we agree on, and that’s fine. The second rule is a no-brainer: Contribute back to the distro/FOSS program that you use, whether its with bug reports, coding, documentation or financially; and make sure your digital contributions go upstream where they belong. As you’ve heard me say before, some entities — cough Red Hat and Novell cough and their surrounding communities — do this better than others — cough Canonical cough — though admittedly the latter is getting better at it.

Which brings us to the Latin: After vanquishing one of a plethora of lands he overran while he was doing his thing, Julius Caesar said “Veni. Vidi. Vici.” This, of course translates to, “I came. I saw. I conquered,” a 47 B.C. corollary to Dr. Peter Venkman’s “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” in the 1980s movie “Ghostbusters.”

I’ll take it a step beyond: Veni. Vidi. Odio Unitate.

I came. I saw. I hate Unity.

As far as I am concerned and for my own computing purposes, there is truly nothing in Unity to like, and there is nothing here that is new. Let’s put aside the one-size-fits-all-but-not-really-any interface for a moment. It’s bad enough that desktop/laptop Ubuntu users are forced into a rigid interface better suited for a netbook or a tablet, but how is something like Head Up Display an innovation? I could have missed the memo, but how is typing out the program name easier than clicking on an icon? And what does HUD do that something like Konqueror — or even the command line — doesn’t do?

In fact, arguably Unity and HUD are a license to fall into bad habits, which is a hallmark for ease-of-use shortcuts built in to recent Linux user interfaces in order to draw users from other operating systems who, as the indescribably flawed reasoning goes, are drooling Neanderthals because they’re Windows users or lazy hipsters because they use Macs.

So the workaround here is simple. If you absolutely, positively have to use Ubuntu for some compelling reason — your family is being held hostage by a radical offshoot of the Ubuntu Apocalypse, for example — there is a workaround. It’s called Xubuntu. Other workarounds include Kubuntu and Lubuntu as well. For that matter, you could even go to a Ubuntu-based distro like Linux Mint, which gives you the GNOME-as-it-should-be experience in a solid distro.

Of course, if Unity works for you, then use it.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. colonelpanik
    May 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    You suffered Unity for a week and a day? Those days will never be returned to you.
    Do not be surprised If St. Peter, or his CTO asks about this during your final boot.

    Next up? You could do Oracle. They need to be done. Yes, you are man enough!

    • May 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Actually, it was only five days, six if you count today (no, I don’t have the ThinkPad with me at the moment, and I’ll be putting CrunchBang back on it). Oracle? No. Oracle doesn’t proclaim to be a player in the FOSS movement the way Canonical/Ubuntu does, so I’ll ignore them.

  2. May 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I’m sure that there was a very good reason for Canonical to systematically piss off the Gnome team, and fork Gnome-Shell to Unity… I know there must have been a solid business case for it… BUT… As Larry put so well here, this is open source, and you can lead a user to Unity, but you can’t make him drink… Might I suggest ‘apt-get install gnome-shell’ on that little Ubuntu Desktop?

  3. May 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    And there’s this: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_ivy_desktops&num=1

    Lots of good news about Unity, which I do end up using just because when performing installs over and over for embedded development, it’s too painful to keep changing the settings.

  4. May 29, 2012 at 10:50 am

    “Of course, if Unity works for you, then use it.”

    Phew… glad that was added… I now choose Ubuntu above other distro’s for one reason, Unity.

    • May 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Knock yourself out, dude.

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