[ubuntu-uk] Introducing Ubuntu & Unity to new people

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Thu Mar 15 01:23:20 UTC 2012

On 15 March 2012 00:42, Andres Muniz <andresmp at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----- Mensaje original -----
>> A tangential one here.
>> Someone made a video of his dad trying Win8 for the first time. Worth
>> a serious watch. There but for the grace of God go I. (But not to
>> Windows for me though)
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4boTbv9_nU&feature=youtu.be
> sorry following up on tangencial here. Did the same experiment with aero,
> OSX and ubuntu 10.11.
> What i take away was
> that the mac close minimize animation helps answer the question "where did
> my stuff go?"

Yes indeed. The little "zoom boxes" were something that PC types saw
as "chrome" - as needless decoration, but actually, they really do
help novices out. Apple is very good at this sort of subtle detail.
Often, it is misunderstood and other companies' copies lose the
function but retain the decoration - e.g. "wobbly windows" in Compiz,
or gratuitous translucency.

> The multiple desktop thing seen as cool but confusing to use. Also seems
> that the side by side window feature is needed.

It is probably not familiar to Windows users.

> Did not know mac and windows had virtual desktops.

It has been in Mac OS X since 10.5. The implementation is called
"Spaces" and it is a very good one - better than Linux's, I think. It
accurately remember where you put windows, unlike GNOME or Unity.
Moving windows from screen to screen is easier than on GNOME and it
did not repeat the GNOME 2 idiocy of not listing windows on other
desktops on the taskbar. (What cretin thought that was a good idea?)

It is not a built-in feature of any version of Windows I am aware of.

In XP, there is an official Microsoft PowerToy that gives the
functionality, for free:

I use it, but it's not very good. The separate wallpapers get
forgotten all the time - I now have no wallpaper at all. The
functionality for sending windows from one desktop to another is
clearly bolted-on and is very inconvenient. Some windows ignore the
vdesktop manager & appear on all desktops.

It's kind of half-assed, frankly. Better than nothing, but not much.

In Win7, I needed this in a role I was in last year. I found several
freeware tools - VirtuaWin, Dextop, and WindowsPager. I'm afraid I
don't remember which one I settled on.

It was, again, better than nothing, and worked better than on XP, but
only the "main" desktop had Aero compositing - all the others were
flat 2D, no translucency or anything. It also did not play nicely with
Remote Desktop.

But Windows aims at the common man, and virtual desktops, as those
videos show quite well, are a concept that is very hard to explain to
a novice or unsophisticated user. I think it's a mistake to leave them
in such plain view in Unity (which has a fairly half-assed
implementation itself, with no thumbnails in the Launcher or

Linux Mint hides them away altogether unless you add the control. This
is a good idea for newbies. It does leave the keystrokes active,
though, and I've seen newbies accidentally hit ctrl-alt-left or
ctrl-alt-right and wonder where everything went and why it had all
gone blank.

Believe it or not, this really is a problem.

The desktop-cube animation helped a little, oddly.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk • GMail/G+/Twitter/Flickr/Facebook: lproven
MSN: lproven at hotmail.com • Skype/AIM/Yahoo/LinkedIn: liamproven
Tel: +44 20-8685-0498 • Cell: +44 7939-087884

More information about the ubuntu-uk mailing list