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Canonical Bringing an Instant-On Ubuntu

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the feeling-the-heat-from-chrome-os dept.

Operating Systems 251

Today at the Ubuntu Developers Summit, Mark Shuttleworth presented a few upcoming Ubuntu projects, including "Light" versions of the operating system for "both netbook and desktop, that are optimized for dual-boot scenarios." Shuttleworth also took the wraps off Unity, a new lightweight interface that will be included in Ubuntu Light and eventually in Ubuntu Netbook Edition as well. "First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world. ... Second, we'll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, we can afford to be more generous with the icon size there. ... Third, we will make the top panel smarter." Ars got a chance to try out a prototype of Unity, saying, "Its unique visual style melds beautifully with Ubuntu's new default theme and its underlying interaction model seems compelling and well-suited for small screens."

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251 comments

Uhm? (0, Redundant)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161550)

Damnit I RTFS but didn't see anything about instant-on.

Re:Uhm? (2, Informative)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161608)

This is a joke, right? Instant-on is mentioned about 15 times throughout the article.

Re:Uhm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161800)

This is a joke, right? Instant-on is mentioned about 15 times throughout the article.

I'm out of karma, but let's see here:

The title mentions instant-on 1 time. The summary mentions instant-on 0 times. I can hardly be bothered to RTFA, but generally I expect the FTS to mention something somewhat related to the fucking title.

Re:Uhm? (3, Informative)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161846)

8th line of the summary:

Second, we'll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, [...]

Re:Uhm? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162918)

The great thing about it, is right next to the open program buttons is close a maximized window, this is very touch friendly indeed.

if the window controls are on the left, the launcher should be on the right, allowing 2 things.

1) the window controls are more Fitzy if using a mouse

2) a miss of launch does not close.

who is designing the UI's at canonical?

Re:Uhm? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162392)

Joking, Right? This is /. The title and the summary need have no relation to the article or themselves. YMBNH. :)

Re:Uhm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162610)

This is a joke, right? Instant-on is mentioned about 15 times throughout the article.

Are jealous because your windows box takes 10 minutes to boot?

Re:Uhm? (1)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162684)

Could have been a well-done joke if you hadn't selected an OS X user :D

Re:Uhm? (4, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162958)

Are jealous because your OS X box takes 20 minutes to boot?

Here you go ....

Interesting concept (5, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161582)

I'm not sure how I'd like this in action, but I'm glad that they're at least trying a somewhat new direction with the 'Unity' interface, rather than the typical scenario of playing catchup with Windows and OS X that the open-source desktops seem to usually do. Even if it doesn't work out, at least it should hopefully encourage further innovation and something to actually set Linux, or specifically Ubuntu, apart from the crowd. The whole "free alternative to..." approach really hasn't been a selling point since the battle for the server room against the commercial Unix vendors 10+ years ago.

Re:Interesting concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161786)

Playing catchup with OS X? They're still playing catchup with older versions of MacOS.

We’ve already talked about adopting a single global menu, which would be rendered by the panel in this case. If we can also manage to fit the window title and controls into that panel, we will have achieved very significant space saving for the case where someone is focused on a single application at a time, and especially for a web browser.

Talk about reinventing the wheel.

File management (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161788)

Ubuntu Light will not have any traditional file management and it will come with a few applications installed for web, media, mail etc.

This is what really caught my eye.

From the iPhone to the new Ubuntu, the wet dream of Hollywood and RIAA - a closed user-inaccessible file system seems to be making the rounds everywhere, including (evidently) in open source. It seem to be a part of an overall push not just to wring the last bits of control from the hands of the users, but to ensure that the users will be content consumers, not content creators.

Re:File management (4, Informative)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162060)

From the blog:

The two primary pieces we need to put in place are:

Support for many more applications, and adding / removing applications. Instant-on environments are locked down, while netbook environments should support anybody’s applications, not just those favored in the Launcher.

Support for file management, necessary for an environment that will be the primary working space for the user rather than an occasional web-focused stopover.

Emphasis mine. If this thing is going to fly at all, they'll need file management. It's that simple.

Re:File management (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162110)

Besides, I doubt they're gonna keep you from switching to a virtual terminal and looking at all the pretty files.

Re:File management (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162104)

Not at all. One of the biggest flaws in computer UI design today is that there are lots of things that are not stored as files but are still basically indivisible units of data, whether they're mail messages or database records or... you name it. Because so many of these things are not, in fact, files, a purely file-based view is a fairly clumsy way to represent that content. For most users, they don't need to know or care whether data is in a file or a database record or an email message in an mbox file. Abstracting those details away from the user results in a better user experience with more ability to manage the actual content than a pure file-based interface can provide.

It's not like the filesystem in Ubuntu Light will cease to exist or will become inaccessible to power users. You'll just have to install tools to reach it. At least I assume that this is the case.

Re:File management (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162268)

> Abstracting those details away from the user results in a better user experience with more ability to manage the actual content than a pure file-based interface can provide.

This reminds me of the Mac Girl that decided to burn CDs of her pictures because they were becoming too much to manage in iPhoto.

Hiding the filesystem is fine until you find that your forced alternative doesn't scale quite well enough any more.

It's absurd to get rid of a useful framework just because it's not "universal" enough.

If anything, things should go in the other direction. subsets of data and metadata should be accessable in the filesystem or to the shell with simple tools. There should be more explosure of the data rather than less. A vfs interface for the mail system could actually be a pretty handy thing. Perhaps it would even enable a "delete all text messages" feature in the iPhone.

Such an abstraction doesn't even need to be exposed to the end user most times. At least it's there, those that find the default tools lacking have some recourse.

Interesting things should not be impossible. Neither should the inevitable tech support.

Re:File management (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162988)

What is not a file? A big part of the whole *n.x ideology is that everything is a file.

Emails are files in the MAILDIR, database records are indeed stored in the DB files. Do you think this is magic here?

Re:File management (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163208)

What is not a file? A big part of the whole *n.x ideology is that everything is a file.

Emails are files in the MAILDIR, database records are indeed stored in the DB files. Do you think this is magic here?

Fine but how to I explain it to my mother? This interface is clearly designed for all the mothers and grandmothers out there.

Re:File management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32163264)

Sorry, but it isn't the filesystem's fault that every app developer wants to implement a half-arsed bloated filesystem inside their app.

Re:File management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162164)

surely this is not why they do it. and they can't possibly control it either. but it's clever because if you leave out the complexity, which is largely based on file management and text file configuration, you can sell it to non-hobbyist users as a relatively hassle-free experience, with reduced functionality.

what's negative is that it's sole purpose could be to access "the cloud" - a centralized and dangerous approach. but that's not written in stone, we can develop distributed alternatives.

Re:File management (3, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162190)

From the iPhone to the new Ubuntu, the wet dream of Hollywood and RIAA - a closed user-inaccessible file system seems to be making the rounds everywhere, including (evidently) in open source. It seem to be a part of an overall push not just to wring the last bits of control from the hands of the users, but to ensure that the users will be content consumers, not content creators.

Being geeks we sometimes fail to notice, but it's also the wet dream of the average consumer. Just the other day I had a conversation with a group of non-geeks in which I mentioned the **AA-driven move away from real computers and towards net-enabled appliances. Every single one of them agreed they would happily ditch their PCs for such a device if they could also do their office work on it.

Re:File management (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162682)

I am a geek, and even I would welcome a device that let me browse the web and read mail, but didn't have a file manager. In fact, I can't recall the last time I've used a file manager.

On the other hand, I want the software to be as simple as possible (but no simpler) in terms of basic concepts, including files. The reason for this is that designs that don't worry about complexity in terms of the basic building blocks that we have seem to invariably end up becoming unmaintainable buggy horrors. The ideal design is both user friendly and hacker friendly.

Also, in addition to the browser and the perhaps optional mail client, I want a terminal and an SSH client. They don't have to cost much in terms of resources, but they open a world of possibilities. In fact, I use them for everything I do besides web browsing and image manipulation. They don't have to be installed by default, as long as I can add them.

Give me a lightweight, user friendly, hackable system with a browser, a terminal, and an SSH client, and I'll be a happy customer. And I know it can be done.

Re:File management (3, Interesting)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163050)

Give me a lightweight, user friendly, hackable system with a browser, a terminal, and an SSH client, and I'll be a happy customer. And I know it can be done.

You mean a N900?

Funny how your post starts with not needing a file manager but ends with requiring a terminal.

Re:File management (2, Insightful)

fandingo (1541045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162964)

Exactly. I do tech support at my uni's law school, and I have had about a dozen professors and students come up to me in the last month because they lost a word document (I love finals season...). You know what happened? They opened an attachment, modified it (sometimes for hours), saved (no error messages or anything), and exited. Word happily saved it to a temp folder, and it was never to be found again. No where, not /temp, application data, local settings, etc. That's so stupid that I can't believe Word would do that.
But it's not just Word either. Folders suck. I'm a nerd, so all my files are organized, but it's still a pain. I don't like dealing with it.

Users hate file managers.

I just don't see this mattering to the RIAA either on Ubuntu or as a general trend. Talk about knee-jerk reaction.

Re:File management (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163280)

I had this argument with my wife recently. She runs an architectural practice and keeps her documentation in a nice directory structure which I keep backed up. I pointed out that there were no CAD files in her project folder. She pointed to the icon for the CAD tool on her desktop and said "its all in there".

You see, this tool starts up with a nice file picker showing a thumbnail of recent projects. but it hides the location of the actual files.

The other problem we have is that if I plug her LCD monitor into a different computer she doesn't understand why all the files are different. For her the monitor is the computer and the application is the data.

Re:File management (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162218)

From the iPhone to the new Ubuntu, the wet dream of Hollywood and RIAA - a closed user-inaccessible file system seems to be making the rounds everywhere, including (evidently) in open source. It seem to be a part of an overall push not just to wring the last bits of control from the hands of the users, but to ensure that the users will be content consumers, not content creators.

Though I don't doubt the *IAA crowd loves this type of thing there are a sh!t load of consumers who would love this type of device as well. Maybe not you, but /. readers are not generally the target market for *consumer* type devices.

Ubuntu would just be the OS on a lightweight, internet device. Much like Linux is just the OS under Android, Ubuntu would be the OS and not the main selling point of this type of product. Parents with young children would love this type of product. Control the websites their kids go to and they can't get infected. Can't download anything, can't really hurt the software portion of the product. Hell, I'd push something like this on about 1/4 of the users at most of my clients! If they're using internet based software, or an .asp based inventory system pointing back to their SBS, or a cloud based e-mail & customer service package, then what else do they need?

Re:File management (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162238)

The sad truth is that most people don't want a full-featured computer and are dangerous with it. Give them a web-browser, an office suite, an email client, an IM and a picture manager. Full featured computer will become again the tool for the geek and the developper. The mainstream will go away as it came. It brought us cheap hardware and insecure environment. It was an interesting ride. Farewell and godspeed to you, have fun with your games and movies while I'll have my fun writing algorithms for them.

Re:File management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162990)

Traditional file management has failed 90% of users (number pulled out a dark region).

That people can get lost and confused by managing a hierarchy of files/folders only steals time otherwise useful for content creation.

Re:File management (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163226)

People who can't manage a simple branched hierachy of files, usually aren't doing much "content creation".

Miss Teen USA South Carolina? Is That You? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162046)

What the fuck did you just type?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww [youtube.com]

Re:Interesting concept (3, Interesting)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162090)

> I'm not sure how I'd like this in action, but I'm glad that they're at least trying a somewhat new direction with the 'Unity' interface ...

If you'd like to see it in action, there's a short (1:39) video showing this on YouTube: Ubuntu 10.10 Unity Interface. [youtube.com]

Re:Interesting concept (1)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163172)

looks like the macOS dock to me. Which is one of the stupidest ideas to come around in UI design in the last decade, and necessitating apple having to invent a bunch of UI hacks like expose to make it usable.

Re:Interesting concept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162996)

Yeah, I love this "new" direction that Nokia had 5 years ago with Maemo 1.1 on the 770 -- but at least Ubuntu is playing catchup to someone other than Windows, anyway.

And if you want to blame people for playing catchup to Win/Mac, keep in mind that it's mainly GNOME, KDE, and the distros that emphasize "user-friendly" (including Ubuntu, oddly enough) that have been pushing that, because of a (IMO correct) belief that most users will reject anything unfamiliar. There are plenty of good non-clone window managers out there for all UNIXen, including Linux, for those who want the best instead of the most familiar.

Re:Interesting concept (1)

boxwood (1742976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163252)

I'm not glad they're doing something different. Every time Ubuntu has changed things it has always sucked. The UI is fine, problem is windows and mac users are too stuck in their ways to even consider trying to use ubuntu. I read on forums that for a lot of users the first thing they do is remove the top panel and add the application menu to the bottom panel to "make it more like windows". Which is odd because since I've tried ubuntu under the default settings, I can't go back. First thing I do in windows now is add a top panel to put shortcuts to my most used places and apps. I tried MacOS for three months and even the UI experience there wasn't as nice as the default ubuntu setup.

Hopefully this Unity interface stays on netbooks and they don't try to shove it onto people using real computers. Lack of a decent taskbar is what drove me away from MacOS.

Allo dere! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161606)

Dis am your nigger wid de first nigger post!

Unity just for netbooks? Should be default! (5, Insightful)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161620)

When I saw the screenshots for Unity I was amazed. Finally defaults that make sense. I'm not a fan of dark themes, but that's easily changed. (e.g., in Lucid, switch from Ambience to Radiance.) There's no reason Unity should be limited to netbooks at all. In a world where widescreen monitors are commonplace, vertical space is always at a premium.

But Unity does more than fix the vertical spacing issue, it brings Ubuntu's default's into the 21st century with task management as well. Even Windows has moved on from it's old school taskbar into something resembling the Dock from OSX. Unity's dock is a step in the right direction and placing it on the left is a smart choice.

Unity should be what all Ubuntu versions ship with. Not just netbooks.

Re:Unity just for netbooks? Should be default! (2, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161882)

It does look like a good step in the right direction, but then again it looks like they could have saved a whole lot of trouble by investing in WindowMaker and GNUStep from the start instead of trying to reïnvent it too.

Re:Unity just for netbooks? Should be default! (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163060)

it looks like they could have saved a whole lot of trouble by investing in WindowMaker and GNUStep

As soon as GNUStep were to gain traction Apple would aim its cadre of legally-trained rats at it in order to keep it from becoming a viable free source-compatible build target for OS-X software.

Re:Unity just for netbooks? Should be default! (3, Informative)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163212)

Wait for GNOME 3. Although you won't be able [mail-archive.com] to use GNOME 3 + compiz anytime soon, there are many [youtube.com] preview videos [youtube.com] of the new GNOME that I find really interesting. (The second one is annotated in some slavic language but it shows many aspects of the menu and other interfaces)

Did I see something like Chromium? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161642)

I guess I did...so in that case I will wait for the "real thing"...that is Chromium [chromium.org] from Google.

Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161658)

Widescreen monitors waste tons of horizontal space and suffer a real lack of vertical space.
I say move both tool bars to the sides. If gnome panel would rotate the words and icons I would already do this.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161766)

Why rotate the words? You'll just have to tilt your head to read them, and you won't be able to fit as many on the task bar.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161824)

I've been putting the menu panel at the left side for years (in Gnome and in Windows) both to get the extra vertical space, and just because it makes sense to me. The problem is, Gnome seems to keep making it harder and harder to have it work properly there. The new indicator widgets are wide and don't seem to re-orient vertically, and Gnome Shell (Gnome 3.0) seems to not be able to move the panel to the side at all. I actually just bought a new netbook with better vertical resolution because I was sick of fighting (well, for development IDE's as well). The Unity work being done is the best interface news I've heard in ages.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Informative)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162858)

Same here. It started with my netbook, as I tried desperately to maximize vertical space so that I could actually read pdfs and long web pages. From there it trickled into my main machine.

One of the nice things I found to hack this together is Tree-Style Tabs for Firefox. Puts the tabs on the left and branches them from the tab that spawned them. That's the best way to organize tabs that I've ever seen.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161982)

In other words, widescreen is rubbish for some purposes, and actually we'd prefer 4:3.
Trying to "fix" the widescreen problem with software is just hacking around the fundamental lack of choice in screen formats now.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163026)

DING DING DING, we have a winner!

Re:Brilliant! (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163190)

h4rr4r, you seem to love the ring. =)

Re:Brilliant! (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163182)

In other words, widescreen is rubbish for some purposes, and actually we'd prefer 4:3.
Trying to "fix" the widescreen problem with software is just hacking around the fundamental lack of choice in screen formats now.

For laptops (especially netbooks and other small laptops), widescreen makes some sense even if its not really ideal for display considered on its own, because hacing a keyboard that shape makes sense, and neither adding extra depth to the bottom section to support a 4:3 monitor or having a smaller 4:3 monitor with dead space on either side of it makes much sense.

OTOH, for desktops, even with fairly small desktop monitors, you have plenty of real estate for controls no matter whether you have widescreen or 4:3 (personally, for anything but viewing widescreen video, I prefer a large, rotatable, 4:3 monitor to a widescreen one -- rotatable or not -- but I don't see it as a huge deal.)

Re:Brilliant! (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163286)

I made this post [slashdot.org] on the widescreen problem yesterday touching on forced format pushes.

Sounds like us 4:3 supporters are in the minority even within the walls of slashdot. Geeks incorrectly gauge the spread of 16:9 not from mainstream TV availability (many /.'ers timeshift series and don't watch daytime TV off the major networks.) Instead, our geeks seem to follow the logic that if most of our SCI-FI or HBO shows in our piratebay or DVR come in HD, then the other shows must be taped in HD. Most HD implies 16:9, and people have assumed from the above that 4:3 is then irrelevant even under PC's that ain't cable-ready.

This ignores how we subsidize the cable-only networks taping hit shows by paying subscription premiums. The reality is that bad logic and greed forces us to enjoy HD hardware that little content catered to it. Youtube, facebook and twitter don't need widescreens, and most people don't watch DVD's on their PC when a TV is there. I still am aggravated that a minority niche forced 16:9 to be a standard everywhere instead of forcing THEM to find the unsavory screens we all now have.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162140)

I say get rid of bars completely and incentivise people to learn to use the keyboard.

I dream, I know.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163040)

I generally only use the bars for stuff that does not work in commandline. When I saw tabs in Gterm the first time I said "cute, us adults just use screen". I am not normally one for this crap but it has its place.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

makapuf (412290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163150)

But I like to be able to go to the bar & drink a beer or two there ! Try to do THAT with a keyboard !

Re:Brilliant! (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162870)

I've been doing this in KDE since about 2.something on my laptop - mostly because vertical space has long been at a premium (even back at 1024x768 I wanted more lines in vi). KDE does the popup menu thing well in this mode - the one downside is names in the task manager

Want to change? just drag the bottom bar to the left or go into the control panel and drag it around

UI Decisions (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161680)

"First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications."

That's where I keep my Cairo dock, you insensitive clods. :(

Ubuntu Side By Side With OS X (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161730)

Recently I was visiting a friend who use to work at Apple in the Human Interface Group some time ago and he had two of his machines setup side by side. One was OS X and the other was the latest Ubuntu.

He sat there for a good hour going through painstaking detail of simple desktop operations and just how mind boggling bad Ubuntu/Gnome is in comparision. Many of the things I already knew from my own experience but it was shocking to have them put forth in such a direct and obvious light.

Maybe everyone overestimated just what Canonical was going to do with Linux, but one has to wonder what exactly do they do all day there? My Apple friend was describing the teams of people he worked with on OS X and it wasn't some vast army of developers. It is hard to imagine that Canonical can't even get something remotely close to Apple's OS X interface technology with the employees they have.

Can't Really Blame Canonical (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161892)

Linux is basically stuck with a bunch of independent technologies controlled by disparate groups who have no interest in each other.

Until some commercial entity like Google comes along an does a top to bottom remake of the Linux desktop like they did with Android when it left the crappy Linux cellphone OSs in the dust, Canonical is basically stuck with duct taping a bunch of poorly designed part together to try to give the appearance of a commercial quality desktop OS.

Canonical is clueless and incompetent compared to Apple but the sorry state of desktop Linux certainly isn't their fault.

Re:Ubuntu Side By Side With OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162422)

one has to wonder what exactly do they do all day there?

For GNOME 2.30, they even managed to dumb down the fucking calculator. Their time is spent choosing what to dumb down next, it gets increasingly harder as fewer and fewer features remain.

Re:Ubuntu Side By Side With OS X (2, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162592)

Did you happen to mention the #1 worst UI decision EVER is that damn "can only resize windows from the bottom right hand corner"

Re:Ubuntu Side By Side With OS X (2, Interesting)

Bertie (87778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163300)

Give them a chance, they're only really getting going now. Traditionally this has been an area that Linux has fallen down on. You're welcome to speculate as to the reasons but it seems to me that a lot of people in the community just aren't that excited by making stuff more user-friendly. Not to say that it doesn't interest them at all, it's just that they're more interested in performance and functionality, and so these are the areas in which efforts tend to be focused, meaning that user-friendliness can sometimes take a back seat, however unintentionally. Canonical have only really had a dedicated team focused on UI design for the last year or so, and to be honest those guys have had a bit of a battle with the community, whose hearts are generally in the right place, but a lot of them just don't appreciate the merits of, say, spending An Awful Lot Of Money (you probably wouldn't believe just how much money) on a house font.

I know they're hard at work, though, and I know Mark Shuttleworth thinks it's about the most important hurdle to get over in order for the general public to really take to Ubuntu. I think you're going to see a lot more interesting stuff coming from them over the next while.

(I know some of the people in there, in case you didn't guess)

This does not address the real problem. (2, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161746)

The problem: vertical space is limited. Quick hack: put toolbars on the sides. True fix: get a rotatable monitor!

Re:This does not address the real problem. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161886)

No, true fix = stop forcing us all to use widescreen screens even when we don't want to.
Next thing you know, they'll be justifying that we all HAVE to have widescreen because all the new desktops are set up that way.
Bring back full screen 4:3 !

Re:This does not address the real problem. (4, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162070)

A widescreen monitor turned sideways is truly awesome if you play vertical shooters (quite common under the MAME emulator).

Re:This does not address the real problem. (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163262)

A widescreen monitor turned sideways is truly awesome if you play vertical shooters (quite common under the MAME emulator).

Except that most arcade games (even those that used rotated monitors) had 4:3 screens...

Of course, you can always display 4:3 content on a 16:9 screen - but the point here is that even in this case, a 4:3 monitor would be better than a widescreen monitor...

That said, I just bought my very first LCD monitor (16:10 - I wouldn't settle for less vertical space than that) - and a monitor arm... I love being able to rotate the display and move it around easily, though I can't help but feel that 4:3 still would have been better.

Re:This does not address the real problem. (4, Informative)

stickystyle (799509) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161922)

The problem: vertical space is limited.

Quick hack: put toolbars on the sides.

True fix: get a rotatable monitor!

When I tried that with my laptop, it only worked once.

Re:This does not address the real problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162872)

10

The problem: vertical space is limited.

Quick hack: put toolbars on the sides.

True fix: get a rotatable monitor!

20

The problem: horizontal space is limited.

Quick hack: put toolbars on the top and bottom.

True fix: rotate the monitor again!

GOTO 10

Panels left/right much better in widescreen world (3, Informative)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161752)

I run with the "launcher" panel on the left and the applicaion panel on the right.
Both are auto-hide. This gives an lot of screen space on widescreen monitors.

The big pain is the few icons that don't translate well to the side panels.

Re:Panels left/right much better in widescreen wor (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162468)

Do what I did, replace them with nice-looking plain bold TEXT.
Horizontal or Vertical, they work. Eventually you get to know
where the app is after constant use. Ever since icons started
losing their meaning, and then started going wacky with
bubble-gum fisher price colors, I chose to make mine a business
minded desktop.

Add your own effects as well, e.g. reflection, shadow. And mostly
neutral colors, so they won't distract from color graphics work.

Doing touch screens right... for lefties (4, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161762)

It would be nice if they could make the effort to implement a touch based layout without biasing against lefties. This is a significant annoyance especially with traditional mouse oriented controls like scroll bars. To do this right requires a design that minimizes the occurrence of the hand covering the screen while performing touch operations. Usually what happens is a system is designed assuming right handedness and the result is awkward to use for lefties. Ideally, applications and the window manager will dynamically change based on a user hand preference.

Re:Doing touch screens right... for lefties (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162044)

I hear ya... but I gave in long ago. I've adapted to a righty world. I now do almost everything righty, since that's what most tools are designed for. I still write left-handed, but that's just about the only thing I haven't converted yet.

It was annoying for the first 5 or so years, but now I'm completely used to it.

Lefties are never going to be 100% supported; better to get used to doing things righty, it'll make for a lot less frustration.

Plus, your girlfriend/boyfriend/otherfriend will appreciate your ambidexterity, if you ever get the chance to make use of it.

Re:Doing touch screens right... for lefties (3, Funny)

Bugamn (1769722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162810)

better to get used to doing things right

Oh, I see what you did here.

"Instant" (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161776)

We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop.

That's a strange definition of "instant." 10 seconds.

Re:"Instant" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32161854)

I know! Instant rice takes at least 300 seconds. This is like time-travel, or something...

Re:"Instant" (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161860)

10 seconds? My fucking RAID controller alone takes several seconds to do it's shit.

Re:"Instant" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162020)

Yes. It is shit.

Re:"Instant" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162636)

You can be "instant on" (computer awake and ready to accept input/perform), but still not be online for 10 seconds due to needing to get an IP or start your browser. Odds are, the "instant on" (awakening) _does_ comprise a significant portion of those 10 seconds, but it probably does not account for other required actions.

Vertical panel (2, Interesting)

Bambi Dee (611786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161806)

What a sane decision. Why not lose the top panel, too? I've been going with a vertical panel (only) in KDE for a long time now. Even before I had a widescreen monitor it saved the "right kind" of space. (KDE 4's taskbar widget automatically strips the text off the buttons at that size/orientation, leaving only icons... they're usually informative enough.)

Not keen on Ubuntu's direction. (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161832)

No default GNOME shell? Going for lightweight, rather than modular? I don't see this as a logical direction for Ubuntu.

For instant-on, you could have the computer boot in a completely clean state then freeze that state to file. I practically guarantee that unthawing that state, then tweaking it afterwards (kill -HUP is your friend) will be faster than any staged booting or threaded booting could ever be. The only exception is a daemon or other service that creates a large amount of state at start-time. Then, you simply create your clean image to exclude such services and start them once the image is in place.

An alternative would be to do something similar, but instead of actually loading the software, you load and freeze hooks. This won't be quite as fast, but a frozen image of application hooks and corresponding DLL hooks (and perhaps the filesystem kernel modules) should be small enough to fit into a flash chip. This would "pre-boot" the computer without having to actually parse the init scripts and without having to have a full ramfs boot stage.

In both these cases, I'm picturing that when you change any init script or any of the packages involved, the machine would need to rebuild the fast-boot images. This means that updating low-level packages would place a LOT more strain on the system. On the other hand, disk access is slow, scripts are slow and starting heavier applications is also slow. Cutting two of these three out would massively boost startup times, cutting all three out would be damn-near instant-on.

(You actually could get instant-on with Coreboot + a running system image, and given that thumb drives have a larger capacity than older desktop systems, it's not impossible to imagine having such a system. Oh, and Coreboot works on a hell of a lot of platforms these days, for those who dismiss it as architecture-impaired. It's not perfect and it can be a pain at times as-is, but the one thing it's not short of is supported platforms.)

Re:Not keen on Ubuntu's direction. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162798)

``Oh, and Coreboot works on a hell of a lot of platforms these days''

I am happy to hear that, because the one thing that has kept me away from Coreboot all these years has been lack of support for my hardware. Other than that, it's just about perfect - I got boot time from GRUB to shell down to a few seconds years ago (on a 486, even), and from GRUB to full X session a few years ago, but the time from power-on to GRUB can easily be tens of seconds. I am led to believe that Coreboot can do better than that. :-)

Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate. Thanks for the heads-up!

Seconded. Not supported in my 5-year old system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32163042)

Coreboot STILL isn't supported in my 5 year old system (an Asus M2N-MX). How exactly isn't a 5 year old ASUS included in "a hell of a lot of platforms"?

"a lot" is not "all" (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163292)

Coreboot STILL isn't supported in my 5 year old system (an Asus M2N-MX). How exactly isn't a 5 year old ASUS included in "a hell of a lot of platforms"?

What a silly question.

All the non-Asus platforms made in the last 10 years would still be "a hell of a lot of platforms", just not the one you personally own...

(Mine wasn't supported by Coreboot last I checked, either...)

Horizontal vs. vertical space (3, Insightful)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161960)

Horizontal space is cheap, unless you decide to run two applications side-by-side. This is a scenario which is extremely common for people who are writing a document (HTML, Latex, most programming languages, maybe also 3d editors) and like to have a preview of what they're writing/drawing/programming. Unfortunately, despite widescreens turning more and more popular, window managers do not seem to have caught on the trend. AFAICT, only with some obscure tiling window managers such as Awesome and Xmonad or some scripting uber-hacks can you have two applications side-by-side without resizing them manually every time (which is a PITA). Thanks Ubuntu, neat idea, but I would rather have the toolbars on the top and bottom, and some support for tiling horizzontally side-by-side two windows.

Re:Horizontal vs. vertical space (2, Interesting)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162076)

I hide both of my panels by default. The entire screen is then devoted to whatever I'm working on. The only thing I lose is the clock.

Heck, most of the time, I use keyboard-shortcuts to switch between applications, so I don't even need the bottom panel. The top panel is mostly useful for the clock and easy access to NetworkManager. If I could have a shortcut that displayed the time via libosd and a better application-level network manager, I could do away with the panels entirely.

Re:Horizontal vs. vertical space (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162668)

That's fine and dandy for a full computer, but not for a touch interface:

We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.

That rules out keyboard shortcuts, which no longer make things easier/faster on a touch-only interface.

I like the idea of hiding all panels ... but how do you make them visible again later? Mouse hover is the traditional way, but we don't have a mouse to work with. Maybe through a gesture that "drags" them out from the screen edge?

Heck, if you do it that way, it doesn't matter which edge you use: top, bottom, left, or right. It would even work with screen rotation.

Re:Horizontal vs. vertical space (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162754)

I imagine you could do a lot with gestures. Two fingers swipe down from the top of the screen to display the menu, etc.

Though that said, I don't think traditional menus transfer well into touch interfaces anyway, so the top bar might be completely different in a touch-environment.

I think Apple's multitasking solution looks pretty good. I think it's touch the home button and hold to bring up the menu of running applications. Something like that (could be a gesture, or a special place on the screen, or whatever) to bring up such a menu would probably work well in this environment rather than a permanent bar.

Re:Horizontal vs. vertical space (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163054)

I like the idea of hiding all panels ... but how do you make them visible again later? Mouse hover is the traditional way, but we don't have a mouse to work with. Maybe through a gesture that "drags" them out from the screen edge?

ipad/iphone apps often run into this. The simple solution is to use the multi-touch recognition. For some apps (e.g. Atomic Web browser), it is a three finger tap anywhere on the screen to go "fullscreen". For others (e.g. Kindle apps), it's a single tap near the center. Recognizing taps is fast and reliable. The accuracy of drags depends on whether dragging does anything else in the app (like scrolling through a document, or flipping to the next page).

Re:Horizontal vs. vertical space (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162272)

This is a scenario which is extremely common for people who are writing a document (HTML, Latex, most programming languages, maybe also 3d editors) and like to have a preview of what they're writing/drawing/programming

Most people use WYSIWYG writers, so that point is moot. (not me though, I use Awesome).

Logical (2, Interesting)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#32161986)

Two thoughts:

1) Moving the max/min/close buttons now makes sense.

2) Dash reminds me a LOT of KDE 4's start menu.

I generally like the idea, especially with the goal of allowing KDE apps to seemlessly integrate. I still have issues with using the gnome base when I think LXDE has a far better upside (in my opinion) with respect to low power computing but I hope that Unity does continue to evolve and prosper.

StartMenu/Dock on left-hand side (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162026)

I've been doing this for years in Windows and OSX for the same reasons Shuttleworth has stated it: widescreen monitors Glad to see a system embrace this concept and see where it would go logically if done by default and per design (instead of just an alternate option).

Great netbook OS UI, instant on... Here, Today (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162078)

I have OS X on a Dell Mini 10v.

Dock on the left side. The sleep mode gives me instant-on operation and extends the stock battery life to 8 hours.

OS X renders beautifully. This is a great netbook experience. Of course, it's a hack... But it's a glorious hack.

If there's one thing that is not optimal, it's the Apple menu across the top of the screen. I suggest that Ubuntu for netbooks have the horizontal menu extend from the left-side dock. Or hide the menu automatically.

Re:Great netbook OS UI, instant on... Here, Today (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162814)

Well, 10.10 will be like that, only for people who aren't thieves.

usability... (3, Interesting)

g253 (855070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162320)

It's also true for regular Ubuntu I guess, but it just noticed it with the screenshot in TFA for some reason: that whole bar at the top of the screen completely defeats the purpose of Chromium's "tabs at the top of the screen" approach.

I Like this Direction (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162450)

I like the direction Ubuntu is taking. Instant-on, thinking about how to better use screen real-estate. These are things that have been on my mind for a long time, but I don't have the clout to get it done. Now Ubuntu is doing these things that I have been thinking about. I am looking forward to the results!

Bah (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32162834)

Different isn't always better. Sometimes, it's just different.

Instant on is great. I kind of miss the instant command prompt from the diskless Apple II days. I'm not dissing instant on.

Maybe this is the next great thing in user interfaces, but I hope there's another alternative on the install.

Open Source FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162916)

iPad > > > > > > > > > > > any netbook/os combo.

The iPad has sold over a MILLION units in less than a month. Ubuntu has been around for many many years and still hasn't cracked even a fraction of that user base.

Once again, Apple shows how it is done, and open source FAILS big time.

Vertical toolbars and touchscreens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32162982)

Moving the toolbar to the left of the screen isn't just good for using screen space on a widescreen laptop- it's great for touch interfaces as well. I have a touchscreen laptop, and I find myself often wrapping my left hand around the monitor, with my thumb interacting with the screen. It falls perfectly where the new toolbar will be. Win.

Mandriva already has InstantOn (1)

HoppQ (29469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163048)

For those of you interested in InstantOn action, there already is Mandriva InstantOn [mandriva.com] that has some similar design goals (couple of chosen programs, fast boot).

Prior art (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163076)

Is this really a new concept? How can anyone say this is "awesome" when all you had to do before was shove DockbarX on a GNOME panel? That's all this is (except they're making their own dock for it)! Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

moving panels (1)

TooLazyToLogon (248807) | more than 4 years ago | (#32163216)

The first thing I do in this wide screen world is move both panels to the left of my screen. Then I get rid of as many toolbars as I can, usually leaving only the file menu and maybe a navigation toolbar.

I'm not a fan of scrolling. I'd rather view it a screen at a time, like flipping a page of a book, by hitting the PgDn key.

Ubuntu's trend seems to be limiting the users ability to modify ubuntu to our preferences. In 10.04 they have remove the tools to modify the login. They kept the tools for managing Palm Pilots, but eliminated the kernel modules that allow any connection.

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