Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Unity isn't Linux, Julie

Julie Bort, a writer I enjoy at Network World, just finished up two weeks using linux (Ubuntu, to be specific) and wrote a column.

Committing one's self to a new operating system fully for two weeks (she cheated a little) is a pretty brave endeavor for anyone and I applaud her.   Heaven knows I would not offer to use an operating system I have never touched before for one day, no less two weeks.

Julie's column at the end of the first week made use of the word pain.  Being a helpful linux person, I emailed some suggestions.  In the final column, she mentioned she "LOVED the way readers of these posts offered me suggestions on fixes and new stuff to try. There is so much good natured help on the 'net for anything you want to do in Linux. That's the beauty of it, and what keeps me coming back for more."

I don't think a more eloquent statement about linux has ever been uttered.  You simply don't find this sense of community among users of other operating systems.

Community aside, if you view her list of complaints, they seem to revolve around Unity, the desktop.  Unity is a rather polarizing new desktop which comes standard with Ubuntu these days (unless you download Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or other variants). You are not stuck with Unity; as with most things linux, you can go with what suits you best.  My choice is Xubuntu, which uses the XFCE desktop, a rather fast and lightweight choice.

I am one of those people who doesn't like Unity.  It first arrived in a customized Ubuntu for a netbook and I hated it immediately.  While I suspect it might be helpful for someone who has never touched linux, I simply replaced it with XFCE.

According to Julie's final column, there are apparently quite a few bugs in Unity.  Had she had used a different desktop, these issues would not have made the article, which might scare people away unnecessarily.

Not that there weren't positives expressed...

"I generally appreciated the sophisticated feel of Unity, compared to the "childish" but far more straightforward look of GNOME 2.3x"

On the other hand, this sounds like it came from a Mac user.

Good on ya', Julie, for the fair shot and interesting articles.

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