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posted by Fnord666 on Friday June 30 2017, @02:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the unity-was-so-cumberbatch dept.

Ubuntu's Unity interface is gone, which means there's one less desktop to choose from in Linux-land. And while dozens remain to choose from, Unity was one of the most polished out there. Many will miss its detail and design.

One of the desktops that is nearly as well polished, and therefore worth Unity fans considering, is the not-quite-as-new-kid on the block, Elementary OS.

Elementary OS actually began in 2011 as a theme for Ubuntu. It has evolved well beyond that now, with its own homegrown desktop environment dubbed Pantheon, 13 custom apps, and a distinct and very nice set of custom icons and themes. Under the hood it's still very much Ubuntu/Debian, so all the commands and basic apps you're used to will be there, even if you have to install them yourself. The Ubuntu/Debian underpinning also means you get the security and stability of those projects.

I've tested Elementary OS quite a bit over the last few years and I can say that, if you were put off by the bugginess of early releases, it's worth another look. The latest release, called Loki, has been very stable in my testing and features some really nice homegrown apps. The Elementary OS team is very good at getting the core of an app right and then polishing up the details over time.

Awesome. I really miss how Unity would slow my desktop to a crawl.

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  • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by jcross on Friday June 30 2017, @03:53PM (5 children)

    by jcross (4009) on Friday June 30 2017, @03:53PM (#533513)

    I'm probably going to get some hate for this, but I kind of like it. My work style is to have apps take up the whole screen, but organized in a consistent spatial pattern on virtual desktops. So the main aspect of unity I like is how it gets the hell out of my way. If I need to launch something I just hit the super key and type, but otherwise I don't need a big task bar or start menu at the bottom. The dock is far more compact, but adequate for the rare times when I need it. I also have to say that organizing menus and system-try kind of stuff at the top makes a lot of sense. I used to think it was stupid until I read an old book of human interface guidelines that Apple published, which explained that it's much easier to get the mouse to the edge of a screen because it stops there. This means that instead of precisely locating the menu on an application window, you just kind of throw the mouse at the top of the screen and there you are, only horizontal positioning is required unless you're going for the corner. After watching Windows users fumble around with menus, I think this might be right, although it might just be something about windows users ;). But yeah, if you want something that feels more or less like a traditional windows desktop, unity is not for you.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by chromas on Friday June 30 2017, @04:19PM (3 children)

    by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 30 2017, @04:19PM (#533531) Journal

    You can get the same panel layout in most DEs, including the Apple-style menu (though it seems inconsistent between applications). Not sure about Guhnome 3 though; those guys are off their rocker, if they even had one. They probably eliminated their rocker because options are bad.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by LoRdTAW on Friday June 30 2017, @04:32PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Friday June 30 2017, @04:32PM (#533540) Journal

      They probably eliminated their rocker because options are bad.

      No. They designed a new rocker because the original was old and therefor was due for a redesign because new is better. I'm sure you know the rest.

    • (Score: 2) by jcross on Friday June 30 2017, @05:24PM (1 child)

      by jcross (4009) on Friday June 30 2017, @05:24PM (#533569)

      Yeah I'm sure, especially with KDE Plasma which allows for all kinds of tweakage. But I have to say I really enjoy being able to make a fresh install, do a few very minor tweaks, and have everything consistently work right. It's been a while since I used other DE's, but that was not my experience a few years back. I guess part of it might have been that unique point in time, where both KDE and Gnome were throwing all the old stuff out the window and the new stuff was still kinda shaky. I'll need to get experimental again in a bit once unity is really abandoned. It just seems like every time the developers finally get all the kinks of an environment, it's time to throw it out and start over.

      • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday June 30 2017, @08:12PM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Friday June 30 2017, @08:12PM (#533663)

        I think I gave Unity a try at that point as well. It paled in comparison to the other DEs though (although it did get a bit better as well). Very slow, a bit unstable, and very fixed in its ways. I'm a full time KDE user now and will be very unlikely to switch again ... but you never know.

        The one thing that drives me nuts with some desktops is when they force their panels to the top or bottom of the screen. Vertical screen real-estate is a t a premium for most of us. Let us move it to the side. I think a sane person would make that the default.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @06:34PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @06:34PM (#533957)

    don't feel bad. it was eventually fine for a lot of normal people. i always left it on ubuntu machines that i set up for people. my grandma (in her late 70's) uses it just fine and she can barely use any OS (she never used computers when she was younger).