Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ubuntu and the Unity mess


I tried it and I hated it. So my nice stable 10.04 simple Gnome desktop will be my last Ubuntu. I don't mind if they want to make changes, but there should be choices. That's what Linux & Open Source is all about. However......

With Ubuntu you now have the choice of...... Unity. Unless you want to go hoop jumping to choose another desktop. CBA as my son would say. I don't want full screen all the time. I'm no noob. I have a nice dual screen setup and frequently have half a dozen windows or more open  - logging or whatever. I want to see them all at the same time thank you.

So back on the distro merrygoround. It's one thing I really hate. Such a waste of time. I would rather there were less distros with developers focusing more on getting programs sorted & stable rather than messing around with yet another distro. Look at Where do you start ? It's madness.

It's the programs that you work with that are important. Sod the underlying OS. I want a nice stable system underneath with the programs I need on top.

Yes, there is room for some specialised distros - I love some of the tiny ones such as tinycore, slitaz and some of the disk/system maintenance ones.  My server software that I use ( is a modified CentOS. But come on people. How many do you really need ?

Why do we need so many Ubuntu based systems ? Why not one Ubuntu (or even Debian) with a choice of desktop(s) when you install it ? Simple package choices too, though there is nothing to stop you adding an 'Advanced' button for those who may want it. K.I.S.S.

Yes, I love Linux for both its simplicity and its complexity. But beyond a Debian base, Redhat, OpenSuse,  Slackware and Gentoo, which seem to be the firmly established favourites, is there a need for so many more ?

I would rather have less distros but with some more choice during installation. Then we can escape from some of the packaging madness. Will this Debian package work on Ubuntu or vice versa ? What a pain.

Quite simply, if it's a deb it should work on Debian based architecture. If it's an RPM then on Redhat/Fedora/CentOS etc.

Undoubtedly I will go Debian again as I'm familiar with it, but where to start from with so many Debian based Distros ? I want Debian, with my choice of desktop, and my choice of packages. It can't be that hard can it ?

I'd love to see linux become a bit more mainstream to get more manufacturer support for hardware, drivers, and applications. But it will never reach critical mass whilst there are so many specialised distros. Much as I love playing with things, in my working life I want it simple, solid & reliable. 

If I was a company developing a product, how many versions would I need to produce ? It's silly. I would never develop software for Linux because it is so fragmented.

So with XP EOL round the corner and a huge target audience that could probably be persuaded to try Linux if it was simple and well supported enough, please start making some fundamental things a bit easier.

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