I've complained for years that since the release of Windows 95 that operating systems have stagnated and have all converged on that same look and feel that began the Great Desktop Revolution way back in 1995. I observed a nasty trend in 1996, when I first saw FVWM95. It was cute and clever and it was Linux with that same great Windows 95 theme going on. Though it took some getting used to, I was a relatively early adopter of Windows 95--yes, before Microsoft fixed it with Windows 95B.
But, still somehow I wanted Linux to be different and better than its arch nemesis from the great NorthWest. Linux should be better. It should look better, respond better, perform better and be better because it's free. I'm finding, however, that even free isn't good enough because I'm still in search of the ultimate desktop.
Words to Unity
I'm not exactly sure how Canonical can defend Unity--athough, I've seen them try--and I'm not sure how anyone can use it. It takes me ten minutes to find my Terminal every time I try to find it. Finally, I added it to that goofy hanging chad thingy on the left side of my screen. I can't efficiently find anything using it. I uninstalled it and installed GNOME in its place. Imagine my shock when I looked at GNOME 3.x for the first time. I went into a fit of cussing and throwing that made me look like a spoiled toddler.
I am spoiled--spoiled by "GNOME Classic." Apparently, if I like anything that's works well, it's now classic, retro or my favorite, legacy. I love (and by love, I mean hate) it when people refer to legacy this and legacy that. Legacy? It makes me ill to hear someone call something legacy that's barely five years old.
I digress. Sorry, sometimes my rants diverge like that. It's a combination of poor segue planning and my own battle with ADD.
Anyway, I hate Unity. I can't find anything without having to page through every application on my system and it just feels clunky. A desktop manager should do two things: Provide a graphical background on which to work with applications and be easy to use--transparent, in fact.
I want to be able to sit down at my computer and launch any application within two or three seconds. I don't want to search for anything unless I'm purposely searching for it.
Unity is a big flop. I hope it didn't take a lot of effort to develop because it sucks. And, I'm trying desperately hard to express my opinion of it without using expletives.
Go Home GNOME
The new GNOME isn't it. In fact, my Linux systems have all been reverted back to GNOME Classic as they're calling now. Classic? Really? Just a month or so ago, it was just GNOME and I liked it. I liked it fine. It is clean, fast, efficient...and OK, it's a little Windowsy but still better than KDE 4.x. And, the hate for KDE 4.x comes from a guy who used to love KDE. I used it instead of GNOME. GNOME seemed a little buggy in its earlier iterations.
But, when KDE made the great switch to widget weirdness, I said, "Nope, no way. I have a choice. I'm moving to GNOME." I did and I've never looked back. Until now, that is.
I'm at a crossroads in my decision about a desktop manager, GUI, window manager or whatever you want to call it. I hate the new GNOME. It's cheesy and I can't find stuff. It's as if the developers took Unity to be the new Windows 95 and tried to copy its suckiness into what used to be a cool desktop manager.
Unity and GNOME 3.x both fail for me.
I thought when Microsoft got rid of its DOS-based operating system in favor of its NT-based flavor that the company had begun a new life. I was happy with Windows XP and think that might go down in history as one of the greatest desktop operating systems ever. Vista was a major fail. Windows 7 has somewhat redeemed Microsoft. It has a few quirks that I can't get used to like having to reinstall my printer driver every few days. It gets old. Rebooting for every update gets a little irritating. But, overall, Windows 7 is cool. Well, with the exception of Windows 7 Starter Edition, that is. It's a waste of media, time and disk space.
Windows 8 is a whole new animal that's really a vegetable. I hate it. I hate the look with all those ridiculously large icon things that you have to swipe through. It looks like it was designed for preschoolers not adults and certainly not for technically savvy folks like you and me.
I know it's in beta or alpha or whatever--blah, blah, blah--it's crap. I won't be using it. Oh sure, most of the goodies are still somewhere on the disk but finding them can be a real challenge.
What's with the three new desktop systems I've described here? Is the new thing to make you search endlessly for your applications and things you work with? I don't want to do that. I want to know where my programs are. I want to know where my documents are. I want to be able to work efficiently. And, searching through a bunch of flippy, gloppy icons is not my idea of efficient.
Who's designing this stuff? Monkeys? Aliens? Vampires?
How can you take something that works and then make it not work? GNOME, Unity and Windows 8--I won't use you. Any of you. Ever. I'd rather use TWM or the Chrome OS. And, I kind of hate both of those too.
Yes, I know there's Mac OS X. I'm reluctantly leaning in that direction. Unfortunately, it's so expensive to try anything Apple that I'd hate to find out that I hate Mac OS X too after making the investment.
Maybe I'll give LXDE a try again. Hopefully, it's less buggy than it was a couple of years ago when I installed it the first time. Whatever I try, I'll first put it in a VM and give it a good test run. If it won't install into a VM, forget it. I won't use it either.
I hope that by the time my current computer draws its last Watt that someone will have come up with something usable, efficient and not crappy. I don't like the dumbed-down garbage that they're tossing my way. If you're trying to appeal to a wider audience, don't. If people are too dumb to use a computer, then so be it. Don't waste everyone's time on something that looks like it should be teaching babies to speak and spell.
What do you use? What will you use in the next two years? Are you in the mood to change? What do you think of Unity, the new GNOME and Windows 8? Talk back and let me know.