[ubuntu-uk] Ubuntu - Wrong Direction?

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Sat Dec 3 16:38:23 UTC 2011

On 3 December 2011 16:33, Tony Pursell <ajp at princeswalk.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
> On 3 December 2011 13:59, Liam Proven <lproven at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 3 December 2011 08:36, Barry Drake <ubuntu-advertising at gmx.com> wrote:
>> > On 03/12/11 04:15, Liam Proven wrote:
>> >>
>> >> I think it is easier if you have Mac experience. If all someone knows
>> >> is
>> >> Windows, they're lost.
>> >
>> > In a recent post, Paula said exactly the opposite - and she's working
>> > with
>> > Windows folk at FossBox on a day to day basis.
>> To quote Dr Ben "Bad Science" Goldacre, I think you'll find it's a bit
>> more complicated than that.
>> If someone is a reasonably expert "techie" and knows their way around
>> one type of computer fairly well, and then some major element of the
>> UI is suddenly changed, they seem liable to become lost and very
>> angry.
>> OTOH, if someone is an "ordinary user", who has never really
>> understood computers and doesn't know the difference between icons and
>> buttons, or what a "dialog box" is, then they just sort of feel their
>> way around. They don't really know what they are doing and have no
>> particular expectations of what the UI will do - they don't know what
>> a "UI" is. They just click buttons. Sometimes, stuff happens.
>> Sometimes, it doesn't, in which case, click again a few times and
>> failing that move on and do something else, or ask someone for help.
>> /That/ kind of user is fine with a change of UI. They didn't
>> understand the old one, they don't understand the new one, but so long
>> as it has big colourful buttons they can click and it does stuff in
>> response, they're happy.
>> This sort of user - and they are the majority of users - do not /do/
>> things like have multiple app windows open and switch between them.
>> They don't switch virtual desktops. They don't juggle multiple
>> instances of apps. They work in one app at a time. If it opens
>> fullscreen, they use it fullscreen; if it opens in a window, they use
>> it in a window. If it opens minimised, then to them, it didn't work.
>> They can't see it, can't find it and don't know to look for icons in
>> trays and things.
>> So there are 3 categories of user here:
>> [1] experts who use multiple OSs and multiple GUIs and are comfortable
>> in all of them.
>> [2] techies who only really know one UI and tend to be infuriated if it
>> changes
>> [3] non-techies, who don't really *know* /any/ UI and barely notice
>> changes
>> Unity is fine with groups 1 & 3 but infuriates group 2.
>> Now this is obviously a sweeping generalisation. For instance, I know
>> some highly-skilled experts who hate Unity, too! :¬)
>> But then, for instance, if someone is a highly-skilled expert and
>> really drives the UI hard, then small things like, say, the fact that
>> Unity's multiple-desktop support doesn't have window thumbnail
>> previews in it, when the GNOME one did, is a significant feature loss.
>> I routinely work with half a dozen windows open and Unity's window
>> management is fine for me - but I know people who claim to routinely
>> work with 30, 40, 50+ windows open and for them it's not good enough.
>> OTOH, very skilled people like that are entirely capable of switching
>> to a different desktop, and that's fine and good.
>> The problem is when they:
>> [a] bad-mouth Unity and tell others it's useless rubbish (i.e.,
>> projecting their experiences or preferences onto others)
>> [b] blame Ubuntu for removing GNOME 2, when it wasn't Ubuntu's fault
>> (i.e. misplace the blame & fail to realise that Ubuntu had no choice,
>> that the GNOME Project killed its own child in favour of the new baby)
>> [c] can't find a new desktop they like and complain that Ubuntu isn't
>> democratic (it never was, but if someone's a bit inflexible and can
>> only cope with a single UI, it's not the distributor's fault.)
>> The one that makes me particularly sad is when people try Unity, hate
>> it, switch to GNOME 3 Shell and like it and then use it to bad-mouth
>> Unity. I am sure GNOME Shell is fine - I can use it, I just don't like
>> it much. But Unity is more like GNOME 2 than GNOME Shell is. If Ubuntu
>> had gone with GNOME Shell, then it would have been an even bigger
>> change and I am absolutely certain that those people would have
>> complained about it even more! But, no, instead, they blame Ubuntu for
>> a UI that they just happen not to like and say that they are leaving
>> Ubuntu, that's it's turned to rubbish, etc. etc.
> Well said, Liam.

Thanks! (I have received a /lot/ of stick and even abuse for this type
of comment, of late.)

> I had thought Unity bashing was a thing of the past (ie back in 11.04).  I
> suspect there is a sizeable silent majority (me included) that just got on
> with it and have grown to love Unity.  In Unity, for instance, I
> effortlessly use multiple windows but ever used them in Gnome.

Multiple windows? I am curious - how so?

> I think the big failing was not to prepare people for Unity and to give
> little help when it hit them.  There was a lot of discussion about providing
> some transitional help by way of default Unity Help on the desktop or a Tip
> of the Day facility, but nothing came of it.  So now we are facing the next
> big migration to Unity, when people upgrade from 10.04LTS to 12.04LTS, this
> is going to happen all over again.  Shame.

I think you're right. What do you reckon anyone could do to help?

Liam Proven • Info & profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/lproven
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk • GMail/GoogleTalk/Orkut: lproven at gmail.com
Tel: +44 20-8685-0498 • Cell: +44 7939-087884 • Fax: + 44 870-9151419
AIM/Yahoo/Skype: liamproven • MSN: lproven at hotmail.com • ICQ: 73187508

More information about the ubuntu-uk mailing list