Unity in Precise: from the view point of a Lucid user

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.
The launcher (vertical dock)
  • 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.
Hud in Unity

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.
Instead of three rows, smaller icons in more rows would look better.
  • 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.
The narrow border in all places would look nicer
  • 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.

15 thoughts on “Unity in Precise: from the view point of a Lucid user”

  1. The HUD takes a little time to get used to, but it’s really worth it. You mentioned the number of categories in the Dash. There’s not only three. You can have as many as you want. You can install lots of other lenses, and they can display their data in the Dash home. The large icons in Dash are useful, because much of the data that’s displayed will be thumbnailed. Recently visited websites, for instance, of videos, pictures, etc. Besides, you’ll need to have text. So even if the icon was smaller, you would still consume the same space. On my 24″ screen, I don’t think they’re too big anyway. And of course, it makes it more comfortable to touch screen users as well.

  2. How can you be listed on Ubuntu, when you only try LTS releases? As a real Ubuntu person, shouldn’t you always be trying the latest and greatest as well? Not using it on a daily basis is understandable, but not even trying newer releases just seems weird to me.

      1.  Yes, I agree. I was just asking why he didn’t even try other releases. If your blog is on planet Ubuntu, one would think those bloggers would be eager to at least give the newest releases a try.

        1. Well… I didn’t realize that If I am on Planet Ubuntu, that means I have to use/try every version of Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu etc. I am in Planet Ubuntu because I am an Ubuntu Member. I am an member because of my contribution on various translation project on LP as well as in my local community and for supporting others on ubuntuforums etc. As I am not a developer, my contribution doesn’t involve with coding or any technical aspects of recent ubuntu releases. But when I promote Ubuntu or install it to someone’s computer I always go for the latest release. So I no need to use/try new versions unless they are essential for me. And also not all the ubuntu members in planet ubuntu use/try each and every new version.

          Hopefully I explained your previous comments successfully. 🙂

      2. I myself decided to stay On LTS releases after being on the ‘Latest’ cycle for quite some years now. It’s not just because that this release seems very stable and promising to me, but also now I don’t have much time to upgrade after each 6 months and then look for fixes for the new bugs or find work arounds. I know I will miss some new features and latest updates of the apps but these are some things that I am ready to compromise for the sake of stability.

  3. ভাই আরও কিছু ছবি দিয়ে প্রিভিউ দিলে ভালো হতো, এটা এখন ছোটখাটো স্নিপশট লেখা হয়ে গেছে।

    ভালো কথা, আমার কিন্তু উবুন্টু + কুবুন্টু দুটোর সিডিই লাগবে, আমার নেট কানেকশনের অবস্থা খুবই খারাপ।

    1. এটা কিন্তু উবুন্টু ১২.০৪ এর রিভিউ না, শুধুমাত্র ইউনিটির রিভিউ। উবুন্টু ১২.০৪ এর রিভিউ লিখেছিলাম এইখানে

      উবুন্টু ১২.০৪ এর রিলিজ পার্টিতে চলে আসুন, সব কিছু পেয়ে যাবেন ইনশাল্লাহ।

  4. >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.

    Clicking a button on the launcher should make it throb until your application launches. If this isn’t happening for you, you’ve found a bug. Also, hovering the mouse over the icons should pop up name labels beside them.

    1. Oh yes … hovering the mouse over the icons does pop up the name labels beside them. I expected something more attractive – may be while hovering the back light of the icon will be on or something like that.

      And there is no throb after clicking it! 🙁

  5. Hey, Liked your review. Though yet to install it I also liked the use of global menu. In my Lucid and older versions I always had removed the top panel to bottom, used main menu instead of menu bar, and, have accommodated everything I need on a single panel (excluded the desktop switcher & trash).

    I never liked the top panel because while working with other programs (i.e. libreoffice/firefox), there were two rows of menu and it was common for me to click on the wrong menu and look for a function which wastes time. Now the global menu have solved that problem, I guess. Now, the dock on right & the global menu saves vertical space and allows most used programs in a one-click distance, which is very convenient.

    Like you, I also use only LTS releases. It is not because of LTS loving or anything else, its only to save time and bandwidth to install all the other softwares (LibreCAD, PDFShuffler, Inkscape, QGIS, some time passing games etc.) and tweaks I use. It is not convenient to upgrade, as we have power cuts (called load-shedding) almost on every hour during daytime, and for an upgrade with all my installed software, I guess, it would be more than 2GB download. In a slow connection (up to 64 kBps) with power cut problem, its really a risky business – I don’t want to break my stable system.

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