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posted by Dopefish on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the community-feedback-at-work dept.
kef writes "According to a blog post from the Unity desktop team, Ubuntu 14.04 will move the application menus back into the application windows, starting in Unity 7. Spread improvements, HighDPI support, new decorations, and the usual bug-fixes are also making it into the new LTS release. Is Unity starting to grow up?"
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by keplr on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:16AM

    by keplr (2104) on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:16AM (#5092) Journal

    I like Ubuntu because it's as close to my preferred OS (OS X) as I can get with Linux. There won't be anything keeping me there any more after this release. I might as well use Fedora or Debian with XFCE. If my DE can't be functional it might as well be lightweight.

    I wish they'd stop changing UI paradigms with every release. I actually like the global menu. It saves vertical space, and is always accessible in the same place. It's also not possible to overshoot because it exists along a screen edge. I just wish they hadn't made a lot of stupid changes just to make sure it didn't look *exactly* like OS X; hiding the menu until you hover over it, putting the close max and min buttons in the menu bar. Apple did it right. Just copy that.

    They're just making changes to make sure that it's unique, ignoring the fact that sometimes your competitors have hit on the one objectively correct way to do a certain thing. There's nothing wrong in copying sufficiently basic UI elements.

    --
    I don't respond to ACs.
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by mrbluze on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:43AM

      by mrbluze (49) on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:43AM (#5100) Journal

      Apple did some things really badly, like their task switching *puke* or their file manager *puke*, but otherwise yeah apple stuff is shiny.

      --
      Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by dacut on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:43AM

      by dacut (1766) on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:43AM (#5101) Homepage

      I wish they'd stop changing UI paradigms with every release. I actually like the global menu. [...]

      I'm typing this on a MacBook running Mint in a VM under Mac OS, so I get a bit of exposure to both constantly. I'm mixed on the global menu; it worked quite well on smaller screens, but has become a pain on larger ones (constantly mousing around to get to the menu).

      That said, the constant UI change in Ubuntu releases is damn annoying. It's like the Office group at Microsoft: they've got nothing left to innovate, so they just throw a new, experimental UI into each release. For a power user, it's annoying -- giving up on muscle memory whenever I have to work at a different workstation, for instance. For novice users in a business environment, it's often work-stopping: the training/howto/help documents others have written up are now obsolete because you can't figure out where the menu the docs are talking about have moved off to.

      If all of our documents were controlled and synced in step with OS/application release cycles, this wouldn't be an issue. however, I don't work for the DoD/Boeing/NASA, we have tens of thousands of users in hundreds of business units, each with their own schedules, priorities, etc., and the internal Wiki is often the best guidance one can get. I suspect our "model" is hardly unique.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by forkazoo on Sunday February 23 2014, @11:24PM

        by forkazoo (2561) on Sunday February 23 2014, @11:24PM (#5365)

        That said, the constant UI change in Ubuntu releases is damn annoying. It's like the Office group at Microsoft: they've got nothing left to innovate, so they just throw a new, experimental UI into each release. For a power user, it's annoying -- giving up on muscle memory whenever I have to work at a different workstation, for instance. For novice users in a business environment, it's often work-stopping: the training/howto/help documents others have written up are now obsolete because you can't figure out where the menu the docs are talking about have moved off to.

        So much this. Personally, I don't have a very strong feeling about where the menus belong. I've used both systems to good effect, but the meandering decision making process at Ubuntu seems to be the more interesting part of the story than where the menue goes on screen. It is, in a sense, the anti-Steve-Jobs method of design. Which is to say, the Steve Jobs method of design is to have somebody at the top who has a clear, firm vision in his head of exactly what he wants. He will then keep a project under wraps for as long as it takes to implement his idea, or to disprove his idea and implement another one. All the while, not even admitting the thr project even exists.

        To the contrary, the Ubuntu method seems almost intentionally focused on churn of things that users see. Utterly lacking in a Fearless Leader, Ubuntu's goal is to throw as many ideas out into the universe as possible, and then see what sticks, and how people react. In effect, the whole user base is one giant design testing lab. Which is infuriating to the users, but theoretically means that more resources are brought to bear on the idea of iterating the design, which could result in a better product in the long term.

        I've always said that you really need a Fearless Leader to drive things like UI design, but I am starting to wonder if the Ubuntu model of Try Everything really might eventually work. Unfortunately, I really don't get the sense that Ubuntu *understands* that this is what they are doing, and in each case just seems convinced that the new version is better than the old version, thanks to some sort of internal echo chamber effect. If they really wanted to take advantage of the ultimate version of this, I feel like they would be randomising some settings on each release, tracking metrics on common tasks and uploading UX data back to the mothership. If they had data as a result of confusing the users, it might actually be worth it...

      • (Score: 1) by Geotti on Monday February 24 2014, @12:10AM

        by Geotti (1146) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:10AM (#5388) Journal

        it worked quite well on smaller screens, but has become a pain on larger ones (constantly mousing around to get to the menu).

        Why use the mouse? CTRL + F2 for the left part of the menu, CTRL + F8 for the menubar, then arrow keys to navigate (if you switched the Fn key to the proper mode, i.e. "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys" in "System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard" is checked).

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by sharky on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:00AM

      by sharky (572) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:00AM (#5103)

      Did you watch the video in TFA? It's an option to turn global menus back to local menus. I imagine you can still keep it like you like...

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by hubie on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:05AM

      by hubie (1068) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:05AM (#5104) Journal

      Why switch your whole distro? Can't you just install a new desktop/WM?

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by keplr on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:12AM

        by keplr (2104) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:12AM (#5106) Journal

        I might as well clean house and get rid of all the extra cruft a vanilla Ubuntu install pulls in. I don't need Ubuntu One or any of that Amazon crap, for example. I've been considering switching to a more technically "correct" distro like Debian for a while anyway. I just liked how Ubuntu had everything working by default (Flash, AV codecs, proper font rendering, compositing, et al).

        --
        I don't respond to ACs.
        • (Score: 4, Informative) by Koen on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:41PM

          by Koen (427) on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:41PM (#5177)

          Since you're considering going for XFCE, you might like Xubuntu: it does not have Ubuntu One (but it can be installed) nor the Amazon crap, but it still has what you liked about Ubuntu.

          --
          /. refugees on Usenet: comp.misc [comp.misc]
        • (Score: 1) by useless on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:38PM

          by useless (426) on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:38PM (#5209)

          I would highly recommend cleaning house, just from personal experience. I had gotten lazy and just installed Ubuntu, thinking that I didn't want to spend all the extra time installing/configuring crap to get my laptop features working. After a while, the Ubuntu-y things started to annoy me more and more, my battery life/system response was shit, and that damn orange color they use everywhere is just ugly. It got to the point where I stopped using the damn thing and switched to an Android tablet w/ keyboard dock.

          Then I found myself with a free weekend, so I blew everything away and started over with a light weight Debian derivative that included non-free packages on install (I picked SparkyLinux because I have a long love affair with E, but any should work). To my surprise, not only did everything "just work" out of the box, battery life went up drastically (roughly by half), workflow improved, and I'm generally more happy. All that, and it took much less time (a couple hours) to install/setup than with Ubuntu. Haven't touched the tablet since.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by akinliat on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:58PM

      by akinliat (1898) <reversethis-{moc.liamg} {ta} {tailnika}> on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:58PM (#5275)

      Of course, the really sad part of it all is that you used to be able (with Gnome 1 and sawfish) to simply check a box and switch between global or local menus. Not to mention a whole host of other choices (like virtual desktop layouts and edge-flipping) that have been taken away for your own good.

      I sometimes wonder if being a jerk is a prerequisite to coding for the Gnome project.

    • (Score: 1) by NickM on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:25PM

      by NickM (2867) on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:25PM (#5303) Journal
      Fedora 20 + Enlightenment 18 builds from fmd [fedora.md] makes a really great looking workstation.
      --
      I a master of typographic, grammatical and miscellaneous errors !
  • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:26AM

    by Nerdfest (80) on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:26AM (#5094)

    I mentioned doing this on that other site about 5 years ago, and I think it';s a great idea, but I actually prefer what KDE has had for a while, and Gnome is starting to do with a button that drops the menu down. It's more intuitive. Of course, they could allow the menu display to be enabled by default, but I think I still like the button idea better.

    In general, anything is better than the ridiculous global menu idea. Yeah, you can get used to it, but if you have large or multiple monitors, it's a very bad design decision.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by stormwyrm on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:10AM

      by stormwyrm (717) on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:10AM (#5117) Journal

      The global menu is a pretty nice thing on a screen with middling resolution like 1366x768, typical of most PC laptops. It's easier to aim at a menu item when it's at the top of the screen than if it's attached to a window. I can see though how it would not be optimal if one had multiple monitors or had a screen resolution much higher than 1920x1080: both are true of my office workstation.

      --
      Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gottabeme on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:34AM

    by gottabeme (1531) on Sunday February 23 2014, @06:34AM (#5099)

    Look, on a desktop monitor, and especially with multiple monitors, a global menu may not make much sense.

    But on my laptop, which has a lower-resolution screen than my tablet and my phone (yet more vertical pixels than many new laptops!), I really, really want the global menu. I use KDE and use the "Menu" button in my panel. It's great. I don't need menus that often anyway, and vertical space is precious!

    Quit being choiceophobic. Let people choose what works best for them. Stop pulling the rug out from under people.

    I've used Ubuntu full-time on my laptop since 8.04 Hardy, but I sense a return to Debian in my future (though I've been saying that for a few years now).

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by lgw on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:06AM

      by lgw (2836) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:06AM (#5105)

      I've never gotten the hang of Unity. I keep getting the feeling that I can't configure the taskbar the way I'd like to simply because they won't allow the option to look like Windows. C'mon guys - choice is good!

      I hear good things about Debian + Mint. I keep meaning to play with that. Anyone have a Minty opinion?

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tftp on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:35AM

        by tftp (806) on Sunday February 23 2014, @08:35AM (#5120) Homepage

        I prefer Mint with KDE. I do not use Unity; tried a few times, never liked it. For me, Unity killed Ubuntu.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Nerdfest on Sunday February 23 2014, @03:09PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Sunday February 23 2014, @03:09PM (#5189)

      While we're at it, if Unity and Gnome Shell are trying to save vertical space, why do they force the panel to be stuck at the top of the screen? I tried it when I used Gnome shell, and it's acceptable, but I far prefer to have a panel at the left side of my screen. I did it even back when I used Windows 95. It works quite nicely in KDE, Xfce, etc. Those vertical pixels are at a premium, even with multiple monitors.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by zafiro17 on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:22PM

      by zafiro17 (234) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:22PM (#5285) Homepage

      I agree fully. But the fanaticism with which they try to reduce complications by reducing choices requires them to choose for you and stuff it down your throat.
      Meanwhile Windowmaker still works great.

      --
      Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Ambient Sheep on Monday February 24 2014, @06:24AM

      by Ambient Sheep (2148) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:24AM (#5602)

      If you look at the video in the article, it shows you that you absolutely DO have the choice. There's a switch that lets you choose between Local and Global menus. What's not to love?

      I've hated Unity in the past but this at least shows they are listening, and by giving you the choice, they've not pulled out the rug from under you at all.

      Does it still have the madly-annoying disappearing-and-reappearing scrollbars in the latest version? If not, then I might consider going back to it... that to me, even more than global menus, was what I hated most, the inability to do page-up/page-downs by clicking elsewhere on the scrollbar, because it kept vanishing.

  • (Score: 1) by swisskid on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:55AM

    by swisskid (803) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:55AM (#5113)

    If this actually works cleanly, and the Dash and stuff go faster, Unity will overtake Gnome3 for me. I'm excited to see where this goes....

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by weilawei on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:25AM

    by weilawei (109) on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:25AM (#5134)
    Are doomed to repeat it.
    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:32PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:32PM (#5207)

      I think Canonical think "if it doesn't fit, use a bigger hammer" overpowers "Those who fail to appreciate history".

  • (Score: 0) by aos on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:42PM

    by aos (758) on Sunday February 23 2014, @01:42PM (#5178)

    One thing that always surprises me is the amount of passion generated due to, in my mind, small UI changes. When Unity came out there was so much vitriol I was terrified to upgrade. When I did switch to 11.04 about a month after release, I was actually "disappointed." Okay, menu moved to the left hand side, now I search for stuff using the shell instead of hunting in menus. Honestly the former did not matter to me, and the latter was quite nice since it meant it was easier to stick to the keyboard.

    I've been using the global menus since that change went into effect too. While I've never used a Mac, I got used to it after a little while. No drama. While in jest I have often said change is always bad, in reality, I would say change is simply unsettling rather than good or bad. Certainly it was never enough for me to complain even when the barrier to complain was low (e.g. to a coworker after upgrading my desktop).

    My only real complaint is that the shell integration in the menus (i.e. press alt brings a search bar instead of dragging the File menu open and letting me move through it with the arrow keys) made things slightly more confusing when multiple words are used in the same context for applications. For example, "exit", "close" and "quit" are all used for the same operation. Before all I needed to know was that the menu key alt, menu list File and the last item were 99% of the time what I wanted. Now I need to try multiple keywords to get that menu item. That is not a fundamental flaw of the system so much as inconsistency in terminology between applications, so I find a reason to forgive Unity :).

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Iskender on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:57PM

      by Iskender (470) on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:57PM (#5221)

      One thing that always surprises me is the amount of passion generated due to, in my mind, small UI changes. When Unity came out there was so much vitriol I was terrified to upgrade. When I did switch to 11.04 about a month after release, I was actually "disappointed." Okay, menu moved to the left hand side, now I search for stuff using the shell instead of hunting in menus. Honestly the former did not matter to me, and the latter was quite nice since it meant it was easier to stick to the keyboard.

      There certainly always is a bit of hate at the beginning, before anyone has a chance to get used to the changes.

      However, after that there are two camps: those who get used to the new interface, and those who don't. I gave Unity a chance, and I've seen used it for a year. But I'm switching as soon as I have the time to do it (likely in summer). It just doesn't work for me.

      It obviously works for you. It basically comes down to needs. These are my problems:
      * Something like ten general configuration options.
      * No configuration options for the dock other than autohide in the LTS. Meaning, no configuration for the main UI element.
      * You can install compiz manager for more, but it warns of conflicts, and often doesn't work. (???)
      * Instead of clicking an icon to open an application, I click another and type the name. Wasted effort.
      * Program launchers and programs compete for space: you quickly reach a point where you either have to use fewer programs, or scroll to get at the interface.
        And above all:
      * Task-switching does a disorienting dance so I don't know which window I came from. There are no descriptions for window content in the dock (unlike in a taskbar), so you have to use this.
      * No option to un-stack several windows from the same application in the dock! Meaning I sometimes open documents in another application just so I can easily click between them. In any other graphical OS I've used single-click switching of windows has been possible. Not so in Ubunty Unity.

      Basically I'm wasting clicks and typing all day long, every day. I *have* grown used to the dock being there all the time: I wasn't sure I would before. I just wish they had actually done even a decent job with it. As things stand, I've gained nothing and lost a lot. The 12.04.4 release changed the look and broke Stellarium, too (hooray "LTS").

      • (Score: 1) by aos on Sunday February 23 2014, @05:23PM

        by aos (758) on Sunday February 23 2014, @05:23PM (#5232)

        From what I can gather then, it sounds like you use the mouse a lot more than me. From that perspective, I think I can agree that the mouse experience is degraded compared to what I recall from the Gnome 2 days.

        As I have grown older, I've avoided the mouse more and more; lifting my hands from the keyboard breaks up the workflow. I find it has also helped reduce strain in my arm because my arms are properly supported by the chair arm rests with the keyboard. When I want to switch apps, I use alt+tab rather than going to the Unity launcher, and wait a brief moment for the app group to expand if I use multiple windows/instances. When I want to open a new app, I hit the "Windows" key and type part of the name. Same thing with switching workspaces, ctrl+alt+arrows.

        I wonder if the preservation of the keyboard usability was intended or just an accident ;).

    • (Score: 1) by CluelessMoron on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:09PM

      by CluelessMoron (1374) on Sunday February 23 2014, @07:09PM (#5279)

      Ok, but how do you feel about Slashdot Beta?

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Schafer2 on Sunday February 23 2014, @03:59PM

    by Schafer2 (348) on Sunday February 23 2014, @03:59PM (#5197)

    Unfortunately, the menus are not in their original location, but are integrated into the title bar in the name of screen space conservation. To reduce clutter (and possibly to help you remember you can double click to maximize the window), they are normally hidden.

    Since they are hidden, unless you memorize each application, you do not know where your menu selection is until you hover over the title bar. For me, this turns menu selections into a two step process...rather than going direct to "View", I go up, hover, look at the selections, then move to "View". This is slow.

    The attempts to increase density are laudable. The hiding of high-usage elements within the currently-active application (sliders and menus) go overboard, cutting into daily usability. I use Unity full time as my work desktop, and struggled for two months with overlay scrollbars before finally disabling them (though I still use them on a laptop).

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by githaron on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:57PM

      by githaron (581) on Sunday February 23 2014, @04:57PM (#5220)

      I doubt it will be an issue for your regularly used applications. Unlike the scrollbars, the menu positions are mostly static. Most likely, within a month or less, you will go to the correct spot without even thinking about it.

      • (Score: 1) by Schafer2 on Monday February 24 2014, @06:39AM

        by Schafer2 (348) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:39AM (#5610)

        Thanks -- that's a fair point. If the menu items are there before the mouse click, it might not cause any slowdown at all.

        It also solves a problem with global menus. I'd be doing several things, on and off the computer, and go to perform a menu action without realizing my desired app did not have focus until I hovered over the top panel and there my desired menu wasn't.

        As with most things Ubuntu, I'm grateful for their open source work and distribution (to the point where I contribute upon upgrade). I'm game for trying it their way for several weeks.

  • (Score: 1) by kumanopuusan on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:08PM

    by kumanopuusan (2575) on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:08PM (#5318)

    Cinnamon is running just fine for me in 13.10. Why would anyone use Unity?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by npm on Monday February 24 2014, @12:57PM

      by npm (2749) on Monday February 24 2014, @12:57PM (#5765)

      Because some of us actually do like Unity, the cleanness, and the ease of getting to applications. I'm currently using Xubuntu (as my laptop is way too slow to run anything like Unity), and I can't believe how much nicer Unity is. It takes me maybe half a second to find a commonly used application in Unity; anything less commonly used is a two button press (alt shift, as I don't have a meta key on my keyboard of choice), type in the name, press enter. On XFCE, I have to click a button, find the correct menu, and then click the correct application.

      --
      "I could change the world, but they won't give me the source code." - Anonymous Hacker
      • (Score: 1) by kumanopuusan on Monday February 24 2014, @05:24PM

        by kumanopuusan (2575) on Monday February 24 2014, @05:24PM (#5976)

        some of us actually do like Unity

        I understand the meaning of all those words separately, but this phrase is complete gibberish. ;-)

  • (Score: 1) by EvilJim on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:28PM

    by EvilJim (2501) on Sunday February 23 2014, @09:28PM (#5324) Journal

    it started taking 30+ seconds just to get the menu up, then another 30+ seconds to locate Chrome. this is on a dual core, even my old single core didn't have any problems with older ubuntu versions. now running Mint with no issues whatsoever.

  • (Score: 1) by Abominous Salad on Monday February 24 2014, @03:53PM

    by Abominous Salad (3074) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:53PM (#5897)

    This website is populated wholly by people who refuse to accept bad changes painted as good.

    So... why is an Ubuntu story worth the bandwidth for this audience?

    Seriously, can we get a poll about ignoring Ubuntu/Canonical altogether? Fuck them and fuck giving them any publicity.