I am a Lucid Lynx user for exactly the last two years. I am a big fan of LTS releases and that’s why I only use LTS releases. I was waiting for the next LTS release, I did not even remove Lucid for Maverick, Natty and Oneiric. And after two long years, here I am with my new LTS release – Precise Pangolin. This release comes with the new Unity interface of canonical. Probably Unity is the most controversial thing which the Ubuntu community (as well as other Linux communities) got since the birth of Ubuntu. Lots of people hate it as well as lots of them love it. Theres wasn’t a single when people wouldn’t say – “Okay … that’s it, I am moving to Mint (or Arch or SUSE or any other distro)”. I myself thought Unity was not matured enough then, it was like a little baby which needed time to make its first step. After three releases, here we are having a Unity desktop with Precise. What do I think about it? Well … lets’ take a walk then.
What I liked:
- I always like docks. After installing a fresh Ubuntu the first thing I used to do was removing the bottom panel and installing the Gnome Do. Dock makes my work simpler, I can have all the necessary apps at one click distance. So the Launcher in Unity obviously suits me, it’s the alternative of any dock application to me. I like the launcher very much.
- Another important enhancement for me is the Global Menu. I like it too. It increases the vertical viewable area of the screen. Also it seems handy to me to access the menu for an application. This is one major point where Unity really pleased me.
- No bottom panel. That’s a good design. As I mentioned earlier, I had to remove that bottom panel for the sake of Gnome Do. So “no bottom panel” scenario is perfect for me.
- Do you know that dragging the icon of a running application to the trash quits it? I am not sure when does it come handy (because by the right-click, all the icons on the launcher get a ‘quit’ button), but it surely is an eye candy.
- The idea of dash is good too. One place to access the whole system – is a good idea. Searching any app by writing the few letters of its name, looks convenient for me. But who are not used to search the apps by writing its name – may face some difficulties by searching it with cursor. But it is fine for me.
- And of course the HUD thingy. Accessing the menu of an application by writing the function is really a good idea. I like the idea – it is brilliant. Though I do not use the HUD at all, it looks promising to me.
What I didn’t like:
- The implementation of dash. The dash could be designed more effectively. Such as – instead of only three rows the apps, files, videos, recent apps etc can be displayed in six rows at least. In a desktop monitor, the icons of the dash looks really big, which makes it ugly as well. Smaller icons would suit well in dash. But sadly there is no option to change the dash icon size.
- The border of the dash seems somewhat inconsistent. Just take a look at the following picture. In some places it is wider, and in some places it is narrower. If it stays narrower at all the places, it would look better.
- It’s a pity that we need to use third-party softwares (like Ubuntu Tweak, CCSM etc) to access more options for Unity. The default setting manager only have two options – to resize the launcher icons and to toggle the auto hide mode. Hopefully those options will become available in the default setting manager in near future.
- The big Ubuntu button on the top of the launcher needs to be more eye-catchy. It is really difficult for a first timer to find out that apart from the other launcher buttons this button holds all the power to access Ubuntu. This button is the center of every thing in Ubuntu, so it should be focused heavily than the other buttons. It must be stand out from the crowd of other buttons.
- Clicking a button on launcher doesn’t show any animation or button-action. There should be some kind of jiggling or trembling effects or a simple button effect when someone click the icon to assure the user that he presses the icon. Similarly there is no mouse hover effect.
Over all this is the Unity from my point of view. It’s only a week that I’ve been playing with Unity. So far it looks promising to me and I actually liked it. Overall the release of precise seems more stable and superlative than ever. I was really hoping to see a new unique icon set for Ubuntu. The oldish orange humanity theme is so much back dated. Unfortunately, they haven’t changed it. Hopefully they’ll enhance it in near future.