Call for Natty Feedback!

strycore strycore at
Wed Mar 2 02:04:55 UTC 2011

On Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 8:58 PM, Jason Warner <jason.warner at>wrote:

> Hello!
> Natty Feature Freeze is here and A3 is upon us! Anyone following along
> closely should see and feel a fairly stable and usable system, complete with
> Unity and classic Gnome.
> I'd like to hear people's thoughts on Unity...and I'd like it to be pretty
> unfiltered and raw. In particular, I'm interested in seeing how people feel
> about:
> * The look and feel
> * Usability
> * Stability (knowing that we are entering a heavy bug fixing time!)
> * Highlights and favorite features
> * Perceived shortcomings and/or "wishlist" items
> You can reply to this email if your feedback is general/conversational or
> file a bug if you are experiencing a specific issue. Filing a bug with
> 'ubuntu-bug unity' command would do the trick and would get seen by the
> appropriate people for specific issues.
> It will be fun to hear what everyone thinks! I look forward to seeing the
> feedback.
> Cheers,
> Jason
> PS. For those that like to navigate via keyboard (and who doesn't!), this
> should be helpful

Here's my feedback for my Unity experience. I didn't spend as much time as I
would have wanted because of the nvidia driver issue but now that things are
working again, I can start testing it seriously.  Please note that I haven't
reported any bugs yet in Unity so consider this an overall summary of the
bug hunting that will happen in the next few days. There's 500+ bugs to
review before reporting anything new in order to avoid duplicates so it
might take some time.

==Home Button==
When maximizing the dash the text I typed went invisible but reappeared when
adding or deleting a character. Also, I didn't find a way to minimize it
once it was in fullscreen mode.
I was glad to be able to get the dash with a single press of the <super> key
and start typing to filter the results but then I still have to grab my
mouse and click on the icon, the tab key doesn't do anything nor does the
arrow keys.
I found it surprising that left click, middle click, right click, Alt+click,
Shift+click, Ctrl+click all did the same thing : launching the document or
app. For the documents, a contextual menu would have been nice in order to
have basic operations (Open with, Move to trash , Send to, Properties,
Remove from history, Open containing folder, etc..)

I have a hard time getting used to it, being used to Docky's behavior. In a
lot of ways I find Docky to be more intuitive.
I found it weird that it's not possible to show it by pushing the mouse to
the left edge of the screen and I have to go in the top-left corner to
display it.
Creating a new instance of an application is not very intuitive, but once
people have figured that they have to press the middle mouse button then it
should be ok, yet some people barely use the middle click, so a 'New window'
option below the 'Keep in launcher' would be nice to have.
I've discovered that it was possible to drag files on a Launcher item and if
the associated app supports this filetype, it will open it. Strangely it's
not possible to drag files to disk drives. And about these disk shortcuts,
there should be a way to identify them more easily, setting a custom icon
for example. I've got 5 of these and I got to hover each one of them in
order to know what I want to find. A network shares icon would also be nice.

==Panel & application menu==
On a dual screen setup, it feels tedious to travel the whole desktop in
order to select a menu item. I didn't understand with the menu was hidden,
how are people supposed to know it's there ?
If the application menu is here to stay then future applications will
probably have a different design. Developers will put everything in toolbars
and avoid menus as much as possible (or they'll put menus in the toolbar).

==General issues & experience==
When locking the screen or coming out from suspend, the unity panel still
shows on screen but that's nothing compared to video playback with totem or
any other video player (actually, I only tried smplayer in addition to
totem), the panel is displayed at all times and the springboard is shown at
awkward  times.
Here's a screenshot of the panel ruining at good movie about Ubuntu
Development featuring a cool guy:
Also notice how the springboard appears when I press PrintScreen.
On several occasions everything would freeze for a few second before back to
normal. This seems to happen more when resizing a window, dragging stuff,
and quitting games.
I've had a lot of compiz crashes, some minor ones where only the window
decorators disappeared and where I could fix the situation by running compiz
--replace and some real crashes where I loose all keyboard input and where
I'm forced to Alt-SysRq-K or if I'm lucky enough to have a nautilus window
open, browse to /usr/bin and click on compiz. This kind of crash is not
specific to Unity but it's annoying that it's still here (and that there's
no fallback when compiz crashes)

As I take gaming on Ubuntu very seriously, I tried a few games to see if
Unity offered a good experience on games.
I've started playing Oblivion again since the new Nvidia came out. I had
troubles running it in Maverick, but in Natty (classic desktop) the overall
experience is very good. With Unity I had no particular problem with the
game itself but I noticed that the steam icon wasn't showing in the systray
(or whatever you call it, you know, the legacy indicator). When I launched
the game, Unity was hidden as excepted but ... oh ! Steam icon, there you
are ! Indeed, the steam systray icon was showing during the gameplay. When I
quit the game, it appeared that it was hidden under the top panel, just next
to the Tomboy indicator. Invisible but i could still click on it. A funny
detail is that the steam icon had gnome-panel's dark grey background whereas
unity's panel has a light grey background.
Left4dead, also running from steam, showed similar behavior.
Then I tried Doom3, first run: no sound, i remembered I had to launch it
with padsp, second run: unity's panel was showing so I went  for a third run
a then I had some kind of focus glitches (unity panel still here), had a
hard time quitting the game and when I did, I had completely lost focus on
click, well not just focus but anything related to the mouse except the
scroll wheel (weird). After restarting the session, the fourth run went
smoothly, but still with the panel showing (the screen resolution had been
changed from 640x480 to 1680x1050 meanwhile).
Quake1 (darkplaces), Quake4, AlienArena, World Of Goo, Gish and UT2004
showed the same behavior concerning the panel.
Soldier of Fortune decided to also bring the Springboard in the party.
Aquaria and Braid, two recent ports by Ryan 'Icculus' Gordon ran perfectly.
I also use a trick to play some games like Minecraft in fullscreen mode on
my TwinView setup which involves the Window Rules compiz plugin but each
time I tried enabling this plugin, compiz crashed right away.

Ok, that's it for now, now time to go on Launchpad and subscribe to those
bugs or fill in new ones if nobody has done it before. Thanks to all the
Ubuntu developers who has put a lot of work into Unity :)
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