Mark Shutterworth announced today that Unity the default desktop enviornment which comes with Ubuntu will no longer be developed. It was based on the concept of convergence which to be fair was a good idea.
I personally didn’t really like Unity for desktops and never really got to play with Unity on a smartphone or tablet. I needed to make a lot of changes to make it more useable although I did find it slightly quicker than Gnome Shell under Ubuntu. But Gnome shell is just great to use for many reasons including its many extensions and lack of clutter is just right.
The bigger news is the concept of convergence seems to be under some doubt too, which I assume puts Ubuntu phone, tablet and tv at some risk? Weirdly enough just like the Boot2Geko/Firefox phone project?
In the meanwhile, for those thinking this is the end of Ubuntu… they are very wrong.
GnomeShell is one of many including KDE and more…
Why on earth have I never heard about Getting things Gnome?
I’ve been using Wunderlist because it ran on most platforms (more on this soon) and at the time Google Tasks client support was a mess (specially on Linux). Although I always knew it was always the wrong way to go about things, I went with it because I needed to Get things done (pun meant).
Anyway I’ve almost dropped Wunderlist because frankly it was exactly the same application across all platforms which meant it was heavy as hell on certain things (65meg! for a bloody task list?) and what drove me nuts was the fact it couldn’t be installed on 64bit Ubuntu without some serious messing. The only reason I started using it was because it was in the Ubuntu software centre, but after Ubuntu 11.04 it was removed.
Now I’m using Getting Things Gnome on my laptops and syncing to Remember the Milk. I’m also forced to use RTM type applications on my Android in the meanwhile. RTM is the weak link in the chain (it also does some weird things to nested tasks) and I’m now investigating syncing with Google Tasks and the good old TomboyNotes sync with Ubuntu one again. Ideally I would use GTG on my laptops Tomboynotes to sync and something like Tasko on my Android devices.
Interesting to also see the integration with project hamster, actually thats how I first heard about it… Although its good to hear from Rescuetime they are working on there own linux uploader.
For sometime I’ve been trying to get Gnome Extensions (still alpha) going but for some reason most of the good ones failed to install. However when I head home (after Christmas in Bristol) I give it a try, and it suddenly all works.
Its a bit of a hassle to get it working without Firefox but now I got quite a few installed.
- Activities Button Text – changed the text to say cubicgarden now
- Music Integration – useful to know whats playing and change the seek
- Coverflow Alt-Tab – Back to the Compiz style switching
- Calculator – Great for quick calculations
- Journal – Seems to bring up relevant stuff in the overlay mode
- Jump Lists – You can search for categories not just apps
- Notes Search Provider for Gnote/Tomboy – Search notes (more on this in the next post)
- Recent Items – Rearranges the search by recent items
- App Search – Searches for available apps not just installed apps
- Status only icon – Removes your name from the top right
Generally I’ve installed many of them but turned off the ones I don’t really like.
Although I really like Gnome3 Extensions, I’m really liking the look of the Unity Lens extensions (for example, Youtube, Piratebay, TomboyNotes Lens) I’m seeing going by in my Google reader via sites like OMGUbuntu and Webup8.
I’m not totally sure how hard it is to create the Gnome Extensions but I gather its mainly Python with a smidgeon of JS and CSS? It would be great to see even more extensions including some of the Unity Lens ones. Certainly could make use of some of the internet connected ones…
Generally I like what the Gnome team is doing, installing a Unity Lens is much more trouble than a Gnome Extension, now all we need is many more of them and a better way to search and sort them.
I have Ubuntu 11.04 on my laptop but I’ve added Gnome 3 and ditched Unity by adding repositories which have Gnome3. Everything kind of works but there are problems as described before here.
So I was happy to see the Ubuntu Gnome Remix project is growing and has a couple of releases such as gNatty.
This all comes at a point when I’m seriously considering wiping my laptop drive and building a version of Ubuntu without Unity from the very start. Problem is I don’t really want to loose all the applications, preferences, etc, etc… So I’ll try and get Gnome3 fully working then maybe one day soon, just do the wipe. I am hoping Ubuntu allow Gnome3 to be a part of Ubuntu or allow such projects to grow and establish themselves.
It hurts me to say it but Ubuntu is broken for me.
I upgraded 2 machines to Ubuntu 11.04 on Saturday night and left them downloading/upgrading over night. One of the machines, my Pentium 4 desktop machine. Upgraded and after a reboot looks and feels pretty much the same as it did before hand. There was a message to say it wasn’t able to run Unity because the graphics card was too low spec and after a click ok, its pretty much the same as it was before, nothing really changed. All seems good.
However my laptop (Dell M1210 XPS) also got upgraded after the pop up came up. After a reboot, I logged into Ubuntu which I assumed had unity installed and I’m left with my usual desktop picture some icons but no menus at all. What makes things worst is the location where I assume there should have been a menu is now black. So down the left hand side is black and along the top is black. Nothing… I would show a screen shot but as I discovered my keyboard mappings have also been lost in the upgrade. Yes even Fn+Print Scrn no longer works. Luckily Gnome-Do still kind of works, so I’m able to open applications, including screenshots with some hassle.
I finally logged out and tried running Ubuntu in classic mode (I assume using Gnome instead of Unity). Things are better but still not correct. My keyboard shorts are still somewhat broken and its a nightmare not having Compiz cube switching which I didn’t know I was so use to now. After a little googling I got cube switching back but only using a keyboard short cut. It seems the automatic switching when the mouse touches the side of the screen is no longer available?
Right now I seem to have three choices…
- Live without Compiz and run Ubuntu totally plain
- Run Ubuntu with Compiz using classic mode and work on the annoying things like (you may have noticed) no chrome/window boarders. (at one point I had no menus! Try saving something with no save menu…) Compiz seems to accept some changes but do random things to some of my settings. Like currently I can’t move windows or even change there sizes.
- Reinstall the whole thing from fresh and attempt to get Unity working
Its frustrating and I don’t really know what happened but for me right now Ubuntu 11.04 is simply broken… Expect screenshots as when I can consistently take them and upload them.
So I've wanted something like quicksilver for a while and I found launchy when I was on Windows but I couldn't find anything for gnu/linux. Till today when I found a few. Gnome-Do, Gnome launch box and Katapult.
I stuck with Gnome-Do because its smooth, the plugin support is pretty good and I love the blog of the developer (see quote later). I do kind of wish for the smaller box style of Launchy instead of the boxes of quicksilver but you can't have it all. Oh it would also be great if the background dimmed a little. You know add a little compiz-fusion power to the whole thing.
On a personal note, I have used Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and Linux exclusively for the last seven years. I don’t use Windows because it lowers my quality of life. I haven’t tried Vista. I recently made the switch from OS X to Ubuntu after realizing that all Steve Jobs wants is for you to shut up and buy a new iPod; don’t you dare criticize his taste or the way he treats third-party developers like dirt. Also, I’m fairly confident that propriety software has no future. Yes, I am aware that proprietary software has a multi-trillion dollar past and present, but this implies nothing about the future.
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