Ubuntu: Linux for Boneheads

Those of you that follow the development of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx might be caught by surprise regarding some of the new design decisions being made by Canonical. Their Ayatana project was created to revitalize the Ubuntu desktop by trying to resolve usability issues. While a lot of the approaches have shown merit, some have been downright stupid.

I’ve been particularly critical of the decision concerning the removal of functionality in libnotify. The Ayatana group decided that allowing interactive notifications was against their master plan, guaranteeing a thousand solutions to the problem and forcing new paradigms on the user. Their decision to use pop downs for the update manager simultaneously annoys the advanced user while opening serious security holes for the noob.

But these pale in comparison their latest faux pas. They have decided in their infinite wisdom to change the control layout for the windows in the gnome desktop. That’s right, they have moved the close, minimize and maximize to the left side of the window just like the mac. Little mind was apparently paid to the disruption of the existing users. Even less paid to the users that have to work in two desktops, the other 90% likely to be in Windows. And none whatsoever to individuals thinking about transitioning, again most likely from Windows.

I have great respect for the work done by Canonical. They have added stability to the chaos of open source. But it’s apparent that they are starting to believe there own press releases. These changes smack of a group that thinks it’s visionary, but in reality isn’t sufficiently open to listen to reason. This current design choice will kill any possibly of poaching market share from Microsoft while annoying current users. I’ve spent considerable time championing their cause, but it is obvious to me that they are going a different direction. I think it’s time to look at the competition.

One thought on “Ubuntu: Linux for Boneheads

  1. VirtualBox allows you to run an enirte operating system inside another operating system. Please be aware that you should have a minimum of 512 MB of RAM. 1 GB of RAM or more is recommended.Many websites have tutorials on setting up dual-boots between Windows and Ubuntu. A dual-boot allows you, at boot time, to decide which operating system you want to use. Installing Ubuntu on a virtual machine inside of Windows has a lot advantages over a dual-boot (but also a few disadvantages).Advantages of virtual installation The size of the installation doesn’t have to be predetermined. It can be a dynamically resized virtual hard drive. You do not need to reboot in order to switch between Ubuntu and Windows. The virtual machine will use your Windows internet connection, so you don’t have to worry about Ubuntu not detecting your wireless card, if you have one. The virtual machine will set up its own video configuration, so you don’t have to worry about installing proprietary graphics drivers to get a reasonable screen resolution. You always have Windows to fall back on in case there are any problems. All you have to do is press the right Control key instead of rebooting your enirte computer. For troubleshooting purposes, you can easily take screenshots of any part of Ubuntu (including the boot menu or the login screen). It’s low commitment. If you later decide you don’t like Ubuntu, all you have to do is delete the virtual hard drive and uninstall VirtualBox.Disadvantages of virtual installation In order to get any kind of decent performance, you need at least 512 MB of RAM, because you are running an enirte operating system (Ubuntu) inside another enirte operating system (Windows). The more memory, the better. I would recommend at least 1 GB of RAM. Even though the low commitment factor can seem like an advantage at first, if you later decide you want to switch to Ubuntu and ditch Windows completely, you cannot simply delete your Windows partition. You would have to find some way to migrate out your settings from the virtual machine and then install Ubuntu over Windows outside the virtual machine. Every time you want to use Ubuntu, you have to wait for two boot times (the time it takes to boot Windows, and then the time it takes to boot Ubuntu within Windows).

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