Post-natty changes to unity [Was: Re: Ubuntu & Gnome 3.4]

James Haigh james.r.haigh at
Mon Jan 9 00:56:57 UTC 2012

On 06/01/2012, Evan Huus <eapache at> wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM, James Haigh <james.r.haigh at>
> wrote:
>> I was a keen Unity fan when Natty came out. However, since Oneiric,
>> Unity is the main reason why I'm still using Natty.
> I find that very interesting. My personal opinion (and the general
> majority opinion, as far as I can tell) is that the Oneiric changes to
> unity were clear improvements.

Yes, Unity is more stable and has lots of usability improvements in
general but if things I use many times a day are removed then it
doesn't weigh up to upgrade yet.

People get very used to features in an interface. Unity was an
interface redesign, and takes a bit of getting used to. It was worth
it though, there are loads of advantages. However, I wasn't expecting
such obvious/major changes so soon after it was made default in Natty
- without even /options/ for features in the previous release.

> I'd be very grateful if you could provide some specific examples of
> behaviors that you preferred in Natty that were changed or removed in
> Oneiric.

>From memory, roughly descending in importance:

* Ubuntu logo - I thought it was very elegant when I first saw it. The
intersection of the Panel and Launcher contains the Ubuntu logo. It's
visible when the launcher is hidden, yet it's subtle. It was

* Launcher reveal - touching the top-left corner pixel should
instantly reveal the launcher. Pushing the left edge feels slow, but
if there's no delay it's too easy to accidentally reveal the launcher
when clicking something near the left edge, which is annoying. I have
the left edge disabled and just use the corner. It seems this option
has been removed. I flick my pointer to the corner at least 100 times
a day, almost by reflex. On Oneiric, it feels like being used to
wearing a watch, then still looking at your wrist if you forgot to put
it on (and of course not obtaining the time from this action).

* Super-a, Super-f (possibly others) no longer work. I use these
frequently to go straight to the relevant part of Dash. One of the
main features I preferred in Unity over Gnome 2 was the ability to
start applications very quickly: Super-a, first 2 or 3 letters of
application, Enter.

* Corner expand arrow on Dash has been replaced with window buttons
(close, minimise, maximise). Dash is more like a menu than a window.
It's inconsistent to put window buttons on something that doesn't have
minimise, maximise, move, resize, etc. that windows do. Also, the
corner expand arrow was intuitive, so I don't see how that change is

* Power cog icon, top-right - minor detail but it's always on my
screen unless something is fullscreen. Looks strange.

There might have been a couple of things I forgot, but they weren't
deal-breakers like the first ones.

Natty wasn't perfect for stability or usability. I filed a lot of bugs
in Unity in Natty. But the frequency of occurrence is far less than
how often I flick my pointer to the corner or press Super-a. Also, I
found workarounds for most of the bugs that affected me (usually when
reproducing the bug for the bug report).

I would have mentioned it earlier, before Oneiric was released, but I
had other priorities at the time. Sorry for this.

Thank you.
James Haigh.

Ps. It bounced from the list the first time due to the attached
pictures exceeding 40k. Here they are:

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