Monday, May 02, 2011

Dis-Unity on Linux Monday

Dis-Unity on Linux Monday

We just finished April, and that means a new release for #1 Linux distribution Ubuntu. Big changes mean some controversy with the new version, 11.04 or "Natty Narwhal."

The Ubuntu team has moved away from its longtime desktop interface, GNOME, and gone to the more netbooky "Unity" interface. Some users are finding, on install or upgrade, that Unity is too resource demanding and are advised to use GNOME (called "Ubuntu Classic" in the interface). But that's only a temporary fix since Ubuntu's planning on moving completely out of GNOME in the October upgrade ("Oneiric Ocelot") Another workaround is to disable some video effects and use Unity.

GNOME, meanwhile, is moving into a new 3.0 version, with the assorted growing pains of any launch but some early praise.

As for me, multiple choice is one of the great things about Linux. You're not locked into one desktop interface like you are in Windows with Explorer (that thing that you sometimes disable in Task Manager when IE locks up, and then you wonder why you have nothing on your screen but your wallpaper). There are literally dozens of choices for GUI desktops. (Of course, the purists scoff and use the command line.)

In anticipation of the GNOME vs. Unity battle, I declared a pox on both houses and switched over to low-resource desktop Fluxbox before the launch of the Narwhal. I don't care about eye candy and now that I've learned to edit the menus, all is well. I played with Unity for a few minutes to see what all the fuss was about, then uninstalled it. No need to learn a THIRD desktop.

My own actual upgrade had a bump in the road with the video driver that required a boot from a CD and a little Googling for a driver. I really haven't seen much change... but then, I'm not really using the stuff that changed.

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