[ubuntu-uk] Unity is not working.

Avi Greenbury lists at avi.co
Wed Feb 22 14:17:44 UTC 2012

Kris Douglas  wrote:
> Linux Mint is higher in the rankings than Ubuntu.

Yes. And Scotland is subsidising the UK.

> He has has this machine for 6 weeks thinking it only had the icons
> down the left installed on it. (i.e the Unity Dock). Now someone
> could say to me "why didn't he read the manual?" The answer to that
> question is "Why should he need to?". Not even my Nan when she got
> her new Windows 7 laptop (after previously never using windows 7)
> read a manual, or needed to.

No, because Windows 7 isn't mechanically different in that respect from
Windows 95 or any of the intervening versions. Want apps? Click the
bottom-left corner. If she's ever used Windows before she can use
Solitaire on Windows 7.

> Why is it that Unity requires the user to be an expert. 

It doesn't. It requires the user to know how to use the computer, which
is basically what everything else does. In fact, all you've pointed
out so far is that the guy didn't know where the button for the search
thingy is because it's not explicity labelled 'click here to search for
something'. What else required expert knowledge? 

I'm a bit bemused at the thought of somebody wanting to run more
applications and not then going on to try to work out how to do it
either by asking or trying.

> A picture of the ubuntu logo means a lot to us, but to someone who
> goes and buys a cheap computer it means jack all. They wouldn't think
> to click there there is no hit that explains it's existence.

It's roughly the same as the Windows 7 one. It's the logo of the OS in a

> So the question, I ask, is why is Linux Mint higher in the rankings
> than Ubuntu.

Because of how those rankings work. I'm sure I could concoct a ranking
where Suse's winning if you like.

> The answer is simple, no joe average can use Ubuntu with ease now!
> You login to mint, you have a menu that says, believe it or not,
> "MENU" and when you click it, again, believe it or not, it shows you
> the program categories you can choose from (e.g "Oh, I want the
> Internet, oh look Firefox, I know what that is."). It makes sense to
> the user, it is what they are used to and it is a very friendly and
> comfortable environment.

That's lovely and all, but all it takes to get to that sort of
proficiency on Unity is to say 'click the button in the top left to
get a search box'. I know several 'joe average's using Unity happily.

> I could talk about this for hours, and I am going to write a blog post
> about it, people will have a go at me because I'm bashing the "perfect
> distribution". But seriously, think about what I have said, and test
> it on people, and then tell me I am wrong.

You're not wrong, but there's a very good argument to the effect that
the vast majority of users are *not* new to whatever they're using, and
thus it makes sense to pander more to the older ones. That way, rather
than having lots of newbie-friendly stuff that gets in the way you
simply have a very easy-to-use but not very intuitive system.

This is, historically, the difference between Windows and *nix and is
why everything takes an incredibly long time to *do* in Windows but a
relatively long time to *learn* in *nix.

This is also one of the major criticisms of Ubuntu before Unity came
along - that it tries to be easy to use and instead gets in the way.

> Unity is honestly broken, someone must understand this, I will happily
> speak to people in person or on email in more detail about this. I am
> willing to help, but you have to understand first that Unity is not
> quite there yet first.

File bugs. Maybe accept that it's not *broken* but simply not what you
want, and instead make use of one of the other myriad options? Lots of
people are quite happy with it, why break it for them in order to fix
it for you?

I don't think anybody feels that Unity is finished or perfect (is
software ever finished?) but I think it's going quite far to say it's
fundamentally broken. It's pretty reasonable to say that at least many
of the designers are mad.


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