Mar 09 2012
Before, I wrote that Unity sucks. I also wrote that I think that somehow everything gets worse: Windows 8, OS X Mountain Lion, and, of course, all Linux desktop distributions.
I still think that Windows 8 is going for the worse and that Apple can no longer sell me vacations in iOS land – and OS X is turning into a castrated iOS derivative, that discussion is over for me.
I’ve been spending some time with Linux Mint, Fedora and daily builds of Precise Pangolin over the last days. I even briefly booted into Kubuntu and Mint KDE, just to see how KDE has changed. The thing is, I never was a KDE guy, and that hasn’t changed. KDE is too playful for my taste, too geeky. And its design looks like Windows 95 on steroids. The problem is, no matter how many visual effects they put on top of that Windows 95 color scheme, it still looks like a leftover from the last century. It’s not for me.
The arguments that brought me back to Ubuntu and its Unity desktop are simple: Beginning with 12.04, even the LTS desktop edition will get five years of support. And Ubuntu provides rather smooth upgrade paths to the next LTS versions. In a business environment, that alone is a killer argument.
The second point is that Unity runs even on old and weak graphics hardware. There is no need for a fallback to Gnome 2 – who looks and feels completely different than Gnome 3. And once you’ve used Gnome 3 for a few minutes, Gnome 2 feels hopelessly dated – and alien. Gnome 3 is a one way street. Once you got there, there’s no turning back.
And then I have to admit something else: Despite all its quirks and imperfections and the general feeling that Unity is far from being ready and polished, and even despite my initial rejection, I am getting used to it. There is so much space for improvement in Unity that you could squeeze an entire universe in it, but I’ve actually begun to acclimatize to the new concept.
Since today’s daily build, Precise Pangolin also stopped firing those weird “system failure” messages. It seems that Precise Pangolin is quickly approaching release quality.
I can even live with the “Radiance” theme for Unity, which is available as an alternative in the default system installation and which takes away most of Unity’s depressingly dark appearance.
All this simply means one thing: Ubuntu will remain my Linux distribution of choice, both on the server and the desktop. At this point, I think that Ubuntu still is the best alternative to the major players.