Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

Summary: Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth detailed how Ubuntu will split from the GNOME user interface for Unity, which is its netbook approach. Simply put, Ubuntu will have a custom user interface.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth on Monday detailed how Ubuntu will split from the GNOME user interface for Unity, which is its netbook approach. Simply put, Ubuntu will have a custom user interface.

Unity interface on Ubuntu 10.10 Light

Unity interface on Ubuntu 10.10 Lite

The reaction to various press reports from Computerworld, Ars Technica and others has gone to extremes:

  • First, Canonical could be portrayed as evil because it's flipping its middle finger to the open source community.
  • Others say that GNOME was hard to work with.
  • And then you get your Unity sniping.

Don't expect much unity in the open source community over Ubuntu's very significant change.

The reality: If Ubuntu really wants to be a player on the desktop it will have to have more control over its user interface. Meanwhile, it makes no sense to have a UI for netbooks and PCs. In fact, the UI is everything. And as Apple has shown you can't really do interface by committee.

Gallery: Ubuntu 10.10 'Maverick Meerkat' released: What's new (and improved)?

Now Shuttleworth acknowledged Ubuntu has a lot of work to do. Ubuntu OS needs to rethink everything from windows management to what the interface should look like. Ubuntu's decision to go to a UI over GNOME (GNU Network Object Modeling Environment) is risky. However, if you can take a shot at broader adoption you do it. The Ubuntu interface (right) isn't going to get the masses excited.

In other words, this split from GNOME looks like a solid decision to me. Dell is selling Ubuntu laptops and if Ubuntu wants other PC makers to follow it needs a hot interface. Let's face it: If the best thing Ubuntu can do is mimic the interface of Windows it will never get beyond the enthusiasts. Show us something innovative via the Unity pragmatism and maybe you'll sway others to Ubuntu.

Topic: Open Source

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62 comments
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  • Gawd

    It took this long to figure this out?
    People
    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

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      raimu koyo asu
      • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

        @raimu koyo asu I'm keeping an open mind about Unity. If it winds up blowing snot, then back to Xfce I<a href="http://unitedcms.net/"><font color="light&amp;height"> unitedcms</font></a> from this we can <a href="http://blueampu.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">blueampu</font></a> than modern <a href="http://s-aquarion.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">s-aquarion</font></a> so that it <a href="http://www.soshaiti2008.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">soshaiti2008</font></a> from thos iPad <a href="http://asyouare.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">asyouare</font></a> of go.
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      • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

        @raimu koyo asu I'm the same way, I do my best to remain neutral. It's hard, if you communicate with the person the other person dislikes, then you fall out of favor with them! I simple can't dislike a person, just because someone else does, I just can't.
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    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

      @People One major point with Microsoft's approach, is that they always assume that there will be a lot of people out in the world, who do work, -that Microsoft wants to happen with a relationship to Microsoft products. This does not go for Apple (except for skin/case manufacturers etc. for ipod), or for Google. In other words, there are millions of people for whom choosing Microsoft's attitude will benefit them. <a href="http://www.arabaoyunlarimiz.gen.tr/zeka-oyunlari/aref-ghafouri.html">aref ghafouri</a> <a href="http://www.kraloyun.gen.tr/">kral oyun</a>
      Arabalar
    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

      @People Yeah, people love to repeat that "competition is good for users" mantra but it's not true when half of the players in a given market are phoning it in (so to speak.) The half-baked crap being dumped into the market by most of these companies will actually hurt users when they get suckered into buying them. At this point, there are only one or two phones I'd want to own. If there were indeed true competition, with a batch of companies truly trying to compete, not just dumping beta products into the bargain bins in the hopes of snagging the profits of 2-year contracts, then the consumer would benefit. As it stands, not so much.
      Arabalar
    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

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  • Took them long enough

    Maybe they'll take a play from Microsoft and get rid of those god-awful drop down menus.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 : the same ones that appear every time you hit ALT on Windows 7.

      Or you mean the Office 2007 interface that changed with Office 2010 and landed (sort of) in Win 7 Notepad and Paint.
      cosuna
      • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

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    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 <br>Gee, I still see drop down menus in IE8, Office 2007 and Office 2010 using the ALT key. Not that that's a bad thing.<br><br>Once again, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
      ahh so
  • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

    Linux's UIs were a bit of a pain. They embraced the concept that customization was a substitute for good UI design, and it didn't work.

    Sorry, but good UI design can't take second place to customization - the UI has to be a good design to begin with. "But you can customize it!" is a crutch, not a solution.

    The two bars was a bad idea - it violated KISS and gave the user too many controls. I'm sure the power user loves staring at dozens of controls, but the average user only really needs a small subset of them.

    Thankfully, they've changed the horrible brown of the previous versions, but they still need to work on getting the BEST theme to be the default, rather than something tossed together by somebody who just found the gradient tool in the GIMP.

    Of course, some of the best themes in Linux are replicas of Aero anyways, so I'm not keeping my hopes up.

    A single gradient for the bars isn't exactly professional artwork IMO.

    "It doesn't offer all the features that most other Windows-based applications has, like Windows Live Photo Gallery or Paint.NET (still my favourite photo editor)"

    Umm - Windows Live Photo Gallery is great for the vast majority of people, but I'd say that it's the minimum of what photo editing should be. If Linux apps aren't even that good, I'll pass, thanks.
    CobraA1
    • Sadly...

      @CobraA1 Sadly you're right about several things... The UI doesn't need the stupid Mac induced menu bar (that thing makes my brain hemorrhage it is so often inconvenient)... Also, the UI doesn't have a polished look like Windows and OS X have... Going even further the color scheme was just incredibly crappy!
      slickjim
      • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

        @Peter Perry I never chose a tool based on the color of the handle. Never made much sense. My Gnome background is basic black - in other words "none". I'm no artist, I guess, but I feel like art belongs in the eye/ear of the beholder, not on the deskop distracting attention from my work.
        Papa_Bill
    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

      [i]The two bars was a bad idea - it violated KISS and gave the user too many controls.[/i]

      A lot of people like the top bar. You can eliminate (or add) that top bar if you want to. Are you complaining for the sake of complaining?

      [i]I'm sure the power user loves staring at dozens of controls, but the average user only really needs a small subset of them.[/i]

      Well given the mess I've seen inhabiting many a windoze taskbar, that statement of yours is specious at best.
      ahh so
      • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

        @ahh so these wars never produce positive result...see it definitily effect these both tooo
        contactlucky12329
  • Why Windows-like UI?

    It should Mac-like
    and underneath of Mac+Linux is kinda-unix(TM)
    CyberAngel
    • RE: Ubuntu splits from GNOME UI: A good, pragmatic move

      @CyberAngel
      Hell no!
      12312332123
  • Desktop Linux - What a joke

    I'm sure the serial killers are delighted by the news.
    jackbond
    • Then you do not need to worry yourself to death

      @jackbond
      Watch out for those serial killers.
      I like the gnome desktop, will have to see with Unity.

      Riding with Penguins in a World of Glass and Fruit.
      Hooay!
      daikon