I've been a pretty strong opponent of the Unity interface since it officially replaced the Gnome desktop in 11.04. My dislike of Unity had nothing to do with the supposed issue of Ubuntu abandoning Gnome.
No, my issue was simple -- I did not want to have a mobile experience on the desktop. I especially did not want a half baked mobile experience shoehorned into a desktop environment, and for me, Unity was such an environment.
Unity sparked a huge debate in the GNU/Linux community. Many began questioning the motives behind Canonical (the sponsor of Ubuntu). Their relationship with the community became questionable -- and the tech media had some sensational stories they could produce to increase their ad clicks. One could argue that the subject of Unity re-started the debate of the 'Death of the Linux desktop".
Mark Shuttleworth, more than once, pissed me off with some of his statements. The worst was the statement that users who do not contribute code to Ubuntu have no stake in the future of Ubuntu - I'm paraphrasing here, but I got the message. As a true 'user' of Ubuntu (I'm not developer in any way, shape or form), I was very much offended.
I, like many others, began searching for alternatives to Ubuntu. I tried, Mint (including the Debian build), Arch, Slackware, Fedora and SuSE.
In the end, I stuck with my Ubuntu 11.04 desktop using Classic Gnome desktop. Why? Because, in my opinion:
- It's still the best end user distribution
- it's still got an excellent community
- There are more pre-packaged binaries than the other distributions (either official or private ppa).
- I could continue to use another window manager
Over the past week, Ubuntu 12.04 beta 2 was released. I decided to try it out, as my Natty desktop was starting to feel old. So I installed it onto an external USB HDD and gave it a spin.
I wrote about my impression on the webupd8 blog:
I've been very vocal in the past with regards to Unity. It now looks like I will have to eat my own words. Without a doubt, this is the best release of Ubuntu I have seen -- even with Unity -- and it's just a beta!I finally retired my Natty machine last night and upgraded to Beta 2. It has far fewer bugs (loads of things fixed in the 3.2 kernel), the fonts look far better, I don't keep losing my panel settings and best of all, I can configure quite a bit of the Unity functionality.Mind you I still hate the buttons to the left but the advantages of this release far outweigh the annoyance.It's nice to be excited about an Ubuntu release again :)
So, after a year of complaining about Unity, I now find myself loving it. As 12.04 is an LTS, It won't be long before some provides a hack for the few remaining annoyances.
I'll be writing more soon about configuring the TimelineX 3820tg for 12.04. Overall, it's much better supported now (with the exception of switchable graphics).
P.S. I just realized it's April 1st. The post is not a joke, Ubuntu 12.04 is really that good. :)