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5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 1: Unity Dash usability issues

by Russell Barnes

Ubuntu 12.04 has a number of challenges to overcome before we think it’s ready for the planned LTS release later this month. We kick off a irreverent list with a few gripes about Unity and the Dash…

Picture the scene. Wendy Windows is taking the plunge with Ubuntu 12.04. She boots the live CD, installs the operating system and arrives at the fresh, gleaming new Ubuntu desktop.

'The scene', yesterday (and by that we mean yesterday, 1998)
"When I press the button, Ubuntu 12.04 appears here."

Being the ‘90’s throwback she is, Wendy promptly connects to the Internet with a view to configuring her email accounts for both home and office. The default email application can’t be found in the launcher, though, and there doesn’t appear to be a drop-down menu called ‘Applications’.

No matter… She does what any Windows user would and looks to the bottom left icon for ‘Start’. Instead she finds a trash can – not a problem. She looks to the top left – the Ubuntu logo…

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 1: Unity Dash usability issues
"Err… Click?"

What Wendy Windows sees next is an entirely blank window overlay with a search bar at the top.

And nothing else.

At first glance she doesn’t see the Lens icons at the bottom of the window at all, but even if she did would she recognise which represents applications? Should she take her chances she would eventually be met by a list of applications, but it needs to be expanded and cycled through before she’ll get the result she’s looking for.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 1: Unity Dash usability issues
An application lens icon, yesterday.

All she wants to do is access the email client, so being the computer literate person she is she simply types ‘email’ into the search bar. Whether she likes it or not, this is the 21st century – how hard can it be?

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 1: Unity Dash usability issues

Nul points.

Does Wendy persevere from this point or does she decide that the Windows tax she’s currently paying is a necessary evil? We can almost hear one of one Redmond’s richest residents rubbing his hands together with glee. At least that’s one interpretation…

It’s okay – we know – Wendy made a multitude of mistakes in the way she was using Ubuntu. Silly Wendy.

Firstly, Wendy  neglected to realise the name of the email client as ‘Thunderbird’. Had she searched for that (or even ‘mail’ as it transpires) she would have scored a hit on her search of the Dash.

Wendy is now ‘doing it wrong’ in full Olympic 2012 style. Surely everybody knows what Mozilla Thunderbird is, but that’s Wendy for you – you really couldn’t make it up.

The more glaring mistake, though, is that she neglected to spot the small envelope on the top right of the screen, just next to the battery and network indicators. It’s a drop-down menu that would have got her moving in the right direction.

Why didn’t Wendy see it at first glance? In this instance we feel compelled to stand to her defence – the better question should probably be: “why would she see it at first glance?”

Ubuntu is one of the few operating system slash distro derivatives that treats email and messaging in this fashion. No big deal, but does that excuse the lack of a shortcut in the launcher?

Just about every operating system slash distro we can think of that features a dock or launcher has a full gamut of default applications in it, including the email client. Close your eyes and imagine a dock – the chances are you’re seeing File Management, Web Browser, Office, Email, Audio/Video and graphical editor. In, or around, that order.

Obviously there’s a very good reason there’s a shortcut to LibreOffice Impress in place of a shortcut to the default email client. In fact it’s probably such a good reason there’s no need to go into it now.

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 1: Unity Dash usability issues
Let’s not get into it now

Join us next time as Wendy Windows (having successfully configured her email client) attempts to check the coming month’s meeting schedule using Ubuntu 12.04’s calendar integration.

We’ve already had a sneak preview and – we can assure you – it’s Wendy at her best…

5 problems with Ubuntu 12.04 part 1: Unity Dash usability issues
It's Wendy at her best

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    • Jim Henley

      On a netbook the old “Netbook Remix” was a delight to use. The user experience of Ubuntu 12 on a netbook (Acer AspireOne 110A) is horrible. I’ve been using Ubuntu for many years, and praised it to the heavens, but 12 is awful, just awful. Bye bye Canonical… I don’t know what I’m going to do with all the Ununtu servers at work but apparently I’m going to have to find something else. Damn shame because the company relies on Firestarter and MySQL running on 10.04 boxes and they have been flawless.

      But on the netbook, no worries, Android X86 (Ice Cream Sandwich) runs smooth as butter on the AspireOne (actually runs better than my tablet) and is much more intuitive than Unity. Android is moving in the right direction with the ability to easily create desktop folders that allow you to organize all your apps right at your fingertips (as opposed to having to hunt for them in Unity)

      Android is actually much easier to use than Ubuntu 12 on a netbook, which speaks volumes…

    • honestann

      To be honest, this is a complex issue. In forming an opinion, we all must accept that different users have “different tastes” and “different levels of experience”. Nonetheless, I believe certain aspects of the issue are simply facts that are worth considering.

      The problem being discussed inherently has no solution that is fully satisfactory, since many people are now habituated (if not addicted) to bad-to-horrific but extremely common user-interface practices. To solve these problems would necessarily induce hassle-to-panic for a great many people. Nonetheless…

      It is a FACT that many aspects of comuting REQUIRE entering text. The notion that we can do everything with a mouse is absurd — unless you propose clicking the mouse cursor on a virtual keyboard on the screen (a horrible solution), or you propose entering text by voice (an excellent solution if you can make it reliable and every aspect intuitive and convenient, including editing errors). Therefore, the notion that the user-interface must be entirely mouse-or-touchscreen-centric is unrealistic.

      Personally, I wish the development of GUIs had been primarily if not entirely keyboard based. However, the facts of history made all of us habituate moving our paws back and forth between keyboard and mouse-or-touchscreen. And we’ve all had to accept the inherent risk of pressing a keyboard key at the instant some dialog appears, thereby causing something (who knows what, sometimes) to happen that we did not intend, and could not prevent or forsee. Sometimes I wonder if this is how WW3 or WW4 will begin. Nonetheless, at this point in history, it would be supremely difficult and commercially risky to attempt a keyboard-only GUI system.

      I’m a software developer with decades of computer experience, but little experience with the many electronic gadgets so many people buy today. Nonetheless, it seems sensible to attempt to unify the user-interfaces of computers and electronic gadgets to the extent possible without limiting the utility or efficiency of desktop and notebook computers. So the general concept makes sense to me, even though I have no skin in this game.

      What seems completely clear to me is the following, even though I personally can certainly figure out how to operate ubuntu 12.04 with some futzing around. ALL common applications should be instantly visible when the computer of device powers-up and the desktop appears. There is simply no justification to make people stare at a nearly blank desktop devoid of common applications. Zip, zero, nada, none. I haven’t futzed around with 12.04 enough yet to know whether the desktop can be configured to satisfy this requirement, but without a doubt the post-install experience should display all common applications in some obvious, intuitive way-shape-or-form — as in “icons” of some sort.

      The real problem of the unity interface is that it REPLACES a more obvious, visible, intuitive paradigm. There’s nothing major wrong with the features and operation of the unity interface. What is wrong is omitting the more visible, intuitive, expected way to run common applications. Fix that or suffer a great many complaints and a substantial loss of potential fans.

    • Bernie

      Linux has a small but dedicated following on pc’s.

      Trouble is pc’s are old hat. Apple has shown the way with great hardware and brilliant user interface.

      Everyone, including ubuntu folk want a piece of the action into the future.

      The linux core is tight, stable, secure and fast and open source. Contrast Microsoft. So linux is in with a chance.

      BUT why break a perfectly fine user experience on a linux pc by forcing unity, when all we really want on the pc is continued refinement of what we know? Leave the new fangled stuff for the new fangled hardware. Feel free to make unity interface an (experimental) option on the pc.

      Tablets etc are fantastic at many things and are all many people need, but not a substitute for pc/keyboard/mouse for many tasks.

      As a 30-year user of computers I could not, after six hours, sus out Unity. It just felt wrong/dumb/stupid. Fancy needing to know the name of something to even find it. That’s reverse logic! On the other hand it took me about five minutes to appreciate the joy of using an iPhone and iPad.

      If the problem is that Unity is not quite a finished work then again I say make it an option not the main game.

      It took some years to completely wean off MS. Sadly it appears 11.10 may have to be the last Ubuntu for me. The search starts over.

    • Zia

      I find Unity much better on Ubuntu 12.04, but if you need an interface like Gnome Panels or Windows XP, then you need the Xfce interface.

      How to steps:

      1 – install xfce4 and xfce4-goodies packages.
      2 – at Ubuntu logon screen, select the Xfce session.
      3 – you will have a Windows XP like interface with all the apps from a standard Ubuntu install and no doubles.

      It works like on Windows 8 where you can choose the Metro interface or the Classic Windows XP interface.

    • Axl Laruse

      1. Ubuntu is forcing their users to be beta testers. Every update bring a full pack of bugs which makes me remember how ‘buggy’ was Windows 95.

      2. Unity is not designed to be intuitive. An intuitive GUI should allow a user without any previous knowledge to take full advantage of the system. Unity is designed towards high technical level end users. Users who have previous knowledge of the applications available in Ubuntu.

      3. Unity goes around the philosophy that users should get used to it.

      4. If the users doesn’t like it, too bad! There is no undo. There is no going back. Just go an suffer.

      5. Ubuntu doesn’t respect previous settings, it just override them as they please. If the user had fixed a previous problem by changing the settings, those changes are going to be undo in the next update and the problem will show up again.

      6. The most common hardware problems when updating Ubuntu go around the wireless, keyboard, and touch-pad.

    • Cawkie

      In the 35 years I’ve worked as an IT proffessional, how many have been wasted searching through menus for that function I know is there, but can’t remember where?

      With Unity all I have to do is type 3 or 4 keys and I’m there.


      I wonder if some people are trying to work out how they attach the horses to their new Mercedes…

    • WindowsDumper

      I have 20 Yrs experience with Dell/Windows/frustration. I dumped vista on a Dell D610 + loaded up; having already found an easy solution to get wireless working. in 12.04 Win 7 / 8 are too bloated and resoucre hogs for my tastes, my first thrid party app was always a tweaking tool.
      All tweaks I made were minimal – Install Synaptic, remove software center, a few Desktop shortcuts, disable java, detail view for all folder views, etc
      Biggest frustation is temps soaring near 70 C when playing flash video and the lack of fan control (I always set mine to full speed with IK8fangui in Vista and temps were 45 C or less) . So I do not play flash videos!
      I need simplicity and found it here. I used to get frequent lockups with FF open and opening Dash or HUD, and was about to move to another distro but found a work around (kernel roll back) that has me totally lockup free for 2 weeks. As stated above size 16 fo launcher icons would be GR8.

    • Nick Murtagh

      Not my first time trying Ubuntu, 12.04 is definitely my last.

      Loaded and was using it along side Windows for couple of days, sorted problems, downloaded some apps, only 50% of which seemed to work.

      Computer will now not boot, yet again, enough !.

      I dont need a Rubiks Cube PC, just one that starts and works.

    • GuiMaster

      This is an excellent article, and I’m glad someone took the time to really analyze Unity this closely from a new user’s point of view.

      The problem with Canonical’s “User Testing” is that Canonical already decided what the desktop should look like before they did any “User Testing.” So then after Canonical recieves some well deserved backlash, they decide to pay people to tell them what is wrong with it (rather than listen to what users think is wrong with it, advice which they would get for free).

      That’s not really what user testing should be used for, to help you go around and fix your mistakes. Probably asking new users what they would like to see different in Windows 7 or Mac OS would be a good start to building a great Desktop Environment, not thrusting crap upon people and paying them to help figure out what’s wrong with it.

    • GuiMaster

      I posted this for another article, but I think I need to post it here also:

      One very interesting point I want to add is that using the old Gnome 2x Desktop, you could pin applications to the panels for easy launching. You could pin tons of applications to the panels, as many as you’d ever pin to the launcher in Unity. So what is the benefit of the launcher? The fact that it sits on the left side of the screen and that it’s fatter? Any panel in Gnome 2x could be enlarged and placed along the left side of the screen as well. So what is the benefit of the Unity Launcher?

      Then there is the Dash compared to the old Applications and Places menus. Is the Dash really easier to navigate than the Applications and Places menus? I certainly have not found the Dash to be simpler, in fact I find it much more difficult to get where I want to go. I suppose that if I found typing easier and more enjoyable then clicking, the Dash might be useful. But I prefer to use my mouse to do the work. But then I I guess preferring to use my mouse makes me old-fashioned…

      Logically speaking, and logically comparing, I just don’t see any significant advantages in Unity to make it more useable than Gnome 2x. In fact, I find the opposite to be true. XFCE does a much better job using a Launcher than Unity does. Move the Launcher in XFCE to the left side of the screen and you’ve got a Unity clone that just works better.

    • Alejo

      I can not believe I run into this post :) I did exactly the same when I first installed Ubuntu 12.04. I used to be an Ubuntu user when I was in my 20’s … Ubuntu 6.10(edgy) as I remeber. But as I growed up I got tired of going online for an hour to solve every little issue I had and I wanted to see if things had changed. Now I am happy of paying WIndows what they deserve to make a OS easy (and intiutive) to use. If Ubuntu is the most user-friendly OS the free-software comunity can offer, Linux will never be able to charm the regular computer-user.

    • Good stuff, thank you for this. As a contractor this really helps keep me fresh…. Thanks Again…

    • Ralph Dratman

      I’ve been creating software since 1969, and I’m with Wendy. If I can’t figure out simple things in a reasonable amount of time, I will use something else. I say that, not because I’m a snob or a nasty person, but just because I have a limited daily quantity of personal energy, all of which I want to apply to the difficult parts of the project I am working on.

      Many of these startup problems, like the email example, could be alleviated with a relatively small set of desktop shortcuts. After all these years, why hasn’t someone put in such a set of starter icons? The lack of such guideposts shows disrespect toward the user.

      And please don’t bash Wendy Windows. She is probably a nice person with a lot on her mind.

    • Pingback: Ubuntu 12.04 review |()

    • I used Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my laptop for about 3 years. One day the HD died and it time to install the OS again. The current version of Ubuntu had the Unity desktop. I spent better than 15 minutes trying to find the command line. After doing sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get installing most of the apps I needed, I could not find them either.

      Then when I closed the terminal window and realized I needed it again, I could not recall how I got it.
      I had work to do and could not afford to take all day figuring out the simplest things. I threw my hands up and downloaded Linux Mint, and was back to being productive in under an hour.

      Later on I went through LMDE, Debian, Elive, and finally Bodhi Linux. I did have to invest a little time learning the ins and outs of the Enlightenment desktop, but I think it was worth it.

      This year I got hold of an extra couple computers and had a few hours to kill, so I installed Ubuntu 12.04 to see if maybe I was just in too much of a rush the first time. Same result. I could not find the command line in the first ten minutes, and it seemed to take more than a few clicks to find whatever I needed. And now, compared to the performance of Bodhi, to which I am accustomed, Ubuntu seems intolerably slow. I won’t be going back.

      Unity seems to be designed for tablets and touchscreens. When I want one of those, I’ll look at Unity.

    • Jimbo

      Here’s my two cents. I moved to Ubuntu from Windows three years ago. Frankly, I did not want to delve into the esoteric command structure. I just wanted a graphic OS that made intuitive sense, and ease of use, that would replace Windows. I was sick of anti-virus updates, security bugs, bloated system requirements. 9.04 served my uses, although as a first time Linux user, I would have appreciated some tutorials. I no sooner got a little bit familiar with the OS, and GRUB broke with an update. It took another 6 months to get running again. I’m not stupid. I had a Linux expert assist me, and even he couldn’t figure it out. So anyway, I barely got up and running, and I kept getting messages to upgrade. Finally, with UNITY everything was broken. Where are my drive partitions.? Where are my DVD drives? Where are my thumb drives? Where is the terminal? Where are all the administrative tools? Where are the Apps? Not a nice way to treat new people.

      Now people in the new think this is all foolish. Apparently, I should know how to launch a browser, when there are no icons on the screen. Finally I figured out by moving my mouse cursor HARD left (and I mean HARD left) a bar with icons would pop out. Half of them were unresponsive!! The “DASH” icon goes dead all the time. I can click on it over and over and it never responds. I keep hearing about some “magnifying lens”. Where the heck is it?

      Supposedly I can dump the Unity interface and get the old interface back. But I’ll be damned if I can figure out how. I’ve read that it is NOT an easy propoosition.

    • shane

      my 2c worth.

      Just installed the desktop on a server so my client can use a gui virt machine manager.

      can start a thing.

      i have 32 years computer experience, have been using linux since caldera debian 0.6 rc, have used everything from dos to win8, and apple euro ii os through to latest lion. I can tablet in android, windows and ios but I cannot get this stupid PITA to find mail or the installed virtual manager app. I cannot create desktop icons, I cannot find the linux version of the contorl panel, I cannot create desktop short cuts, I am inundated with f’ing adds for books (advertising on linux? come on what the hell has the world come to?/??!!!??)

      This fails.
      Uninituative, a million clicks to do something simple, the F button short cut to the bash shell is gone, not even a log off button for crying out loud.

      I totally agree with this article – what idiout thought removing functionality would be a good idea? How the hell do I launch aps tyhat are installed (yes i typed their name into the stupid box)

      this is a large step backwards.

      MS OS has gone way down the track of maing you take 5 clicks where one or two used to do, so has the office suites. Please pleaser please dont do this to linux.

      sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop

    • I would say that for me, figuring things out on my own – or using the internet is very much part of the fun of Linux, and ubuntu in particular. I was a Windows user since 3.11. I have paid and paid and paid. I decided, (suprisingly so, given the fact I just got a touch screen pc, which would (work) for Windows8), to move to ubuntu.
      certainly not no fuss, and sometime aggravationg. I had been dual booting for years, but frankly was lazy and always ran Windows. I decided to revive an old Windows Me laptop, and the os was Puppy Linux. Thay in itself opened my eyes as to how powerful Linux can be, even on more than modest hardware specs. The notebook dies, so I bought a newer (not new!), Mac. I got used to using the Powerbook, and found it simpler to use and much faster than my Windows 7 box. So, the week Windows 8 came out , I went down to teh store and quite frankly was under impressed. Within days I ditched Windows 7 and moved to ubuntu 12.04 (with full Unity)

      I love it and its fast and ts really quite beautiful, I am a tinkerer and am always amazed at all the customoization, choices etc there is with Linux and in my case ubuntu.

    • Mike

      Wendy Windows is a slut

    • Unquestionably consider that that you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to
      be at the net the easiest factor to have in mind of.
      I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as folks
      think about worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as smartly as defined out the entire thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks. trustworthy organization today i want to cheap and easy.
      One way to buy real twitter followers is to get celebrities attract any write-up to suit your needs.

    • Lufferov

      What people need to remember (especially Ubuntu/Unity developers), is that first impressions count! My first impression of 12.04 having just installed it on my laptop was not good. It’s confusing, unintuitive and messy. I don’t like that I can’t get the launcher off the side of the screen, it’s the first thing I tried to do… move it to the bottom. I can’t, that alone is enough to prevent me from ever looking at it again!

    • aman parihar

      as i on my laptop i have to turn off the bluetooth which i don’t like and the second thing is that as the power supply breakout my laptop goes shut down with in as 10 seconds wether my laptop battery is having charge enough plz suggest me any solution

    • Edwin Pujols

      The very first thing you wanted to do was move the Launcher?? Seriously, it’s funny how many different people are in the world :P

    • Edwin Pujols

      If you are using Ubuntu, consider asking this on

    • Lufferov

      I had good reason, my laptop screen isn’t big enough. I have a sidebar on my browser which uses a chunk of horizontal space, the launcher used even more meaning not enough space for web pages. The solution is to have the launcher at the bottom of the screen.

      It’s also true that I’m a Windows user and old habits die hard. The Taskbar is always at the bottom for me (even though it can be moved if desired) so that’s where I instinctively look or go to with my mouse.

      Why is it so unreasonable to expect this basic customisation?

    • Edwin Pujols

      Your second statement (if true) makes the following ones irrelevant :)

    • Edwin Pujols

      No, I just thought it was actually funny, no second thoughts. I mean, the strictly first thing I would do is to find a way to run apps (a web browser maybe).

    • r huson

      Not quite relivant to just 12.04 but as a new comer to linux I loaded a version of ubunto 12 onto my desktop. It asked to upgrade to 13.04. What I got is a pinkscreen with moveable cursur. Having scanned for solution, and remember I am a complete beginner to linux I got to the point where I could change the background. The total lack of disinterst from the forums and a sense that we cannot be bothered with this I moron who does not know his way around the system has left me with that lovely warm feeling one gets knowing that cosiderate help is at hand. Cannot imagine why ubunto is not the main os in use today. For sale one plug in desktop decoration tastefully imitating a computer.

    • James

      I knew a ‘wendy’ and the first question she asked was not ‘where is my mail?’ but it was, ‘can you install windows instead of Ubuntu?’ To be honest I was glad to see gnome go, it was hideous. It was the only reason why I did not install Ubuntu before. I have been using it for the past year and it is stable, good looking and ‘FREE’. I love unity. To be honest most peoples issue with unity from reading posts is that they don’t want to learn the new way because they were happy with the comfy armchair of gnome and windows. I think they should build a bridge and get over it to be honest or don’t install ubuntu I installed out of the box and everything worked, I had no issues finding anything in unity at all. Don’t look the gift horse in the mouth because the horse might take it back and charge you for it.

    • Rean

      Unity on Ubuntu 12.04 is a nightmare – u mean it was even bad before???

    • Rean

      IMO, Unity developers are cloning a Win GUI – esp the grouping of windows, auto-hiding of main-toolbar etc etc- the most hated thing. Most of the users I know hate it but forced on us (a paradox of ideology wherein the real freedom is being taken away) telling that it’s the best method.

    • Rean

      working with a lot of hard core developers, I’ve seen all of them googling to find out a command in this yucky UI – u need to type in the name of the command to get it – so stupid!

    • Rean

      Even my eyes always drift to bottom of comp to see open apps – Win$, many other distros etc put it there or give us an option to move it there. That’s not the first thing, but it surely is one of the most wanted thing.

    • Edwin Pujols

      Unless you run several desktop environments at the same time, that’s a moot point. Unity is simply consistent in itself, there’s no need for all desktop environments to be “compatible” with one another, you just need to be able to do efficient work (in the DE of your choice).

    • 3r0s

      To open the Terminal:
      1 – Click on Dash > Type Terminal > Click on it.
      2 – Keyboard shortcut “CTRL+ALT+T”.

    • 3r0s

      OS X history repeating itself with Ubuntu.

    • Lycanite

      I typed ’email’ into the unity launcher and, oh, there’s Thunderbird Mail, ready to go? I didn’t even know it was installed by default, Windows 7 doesn’t come with an email client anyway!

      Both my parent use Ubuntu after they had to reinstall windows, again (so many viruses and of course windows always clogs up after a few months) and lost the CD Key and were thus forced to pirate or pay. I explained to them that they had to use the launcher at the top left instead of the bottom left and that’s it, they’ve been using it for about a year now and my dad has not downloaded a single virus (there were so many on windows) and both laptops boot and shutdown like lightning!

    • Аляксей Ігнатовіч

      You could install cairo deck environment

    • 3r0s

      At the beginning Unity was strange, alien, misunderstood.

      Then it has becaome much better.

      I, at work and at home, use Ubuntu 12.04 with Unity and I finally understood the goals of this new UI.

      This link explains a lot:

    • Andy Tom

      Agreed. Completely and utterly.
      INTUITIVE is what it’s supposed to be. A computer is a tool for doing things with. I do not want to learn how to program in order to use it.

    • Roger Greenlaw

      it’s obvious the author didn’t play with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and the DASH. If the dash is clicked and one types email or e-mail in the search bar thunderbird appears at the top left of the window. One click and Thunderbird opens. Could it be that Wendy was complainig because she mistyped email? I typed “ema” and thunderbird was there, I went back and tried again, this time I typed “e-” and thunderbird was there! I don’t like the pay-for-me applications mixed in with the free. I’d like to see 3 categories, 1. completely free (default) 2. trial ware (try first buy later) and 3. Pay first ( then regret decision after bank account is depleted). Other than that Ubuntu works. I used Caldera until they began charging for everything, switched to RedHat, got frustrated when the free version became Fedora, went through several versions, then Fedora simply didn’t work on my hardware any more. Found Canonical, liked the interface. Was slightly frustrated when Unity came along, but quickly learned to appreiate the design.

      I still don’t like Windows philosophy of “Buy version 1 – it’s ready for the real world” … “1 has problems, buy 2 – it has 1’s problems fixed” … repeat for 2,3,4… each version presenting new problems. I uses all versions from first relese of 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 (did I miss any?) I think XP was the best one created, Don’t like 8.x versions because software I used in XP no longer works (unless I install virtual machine software and run the old software in it.) I can run a virtual machine on Linux with a copy of XP installed and my software works. I just can’t run it directly in Linux because Wine doesn’t work well. As long as VirtualBox works and is free, I’ll be happy with that solution. If I ever have to pay for VirtualBox I’ll need to learn developing applications in C/C++ or some other compiler environment that Linux understands. Anyone missing the command prompt can always press ALT-F1 or install the server version (Server version doesn’t use graphical interface).

    • Daniel Davis

      I’ve never even been able to get Ubuntu to work . . . and I’ve tried multiple times. Current iteration: won’t run as its own program (always wants to copy to a disc), won’t copy to a disc (speaking of Ubuntu glitches, the file is TOO BIG FOR A DISC), and if I zip file it, it fits on a disc but won’t run. Yes, the Windows tax is a necessary evil.

    • Colin Richardson

      I am with @jamesluff:disqus on this. First thing I wanted to do was move it. After some GoogleFu I eventually found Cinnamon (or is it Minty Cinnamon??) I went back and turned all the window options back to Ambiance and ubuntu but the actual main desktop is now useable.