Well, it’s that time again, new release rolled out and time to see what all the fuss is about.

Now before I begin, let me start out by explaining that before the release I was totally against the introduction of Unity.
I believe it’s a netbook idea, to make the most of a small screen. Not only that, but considering that after all this time Linux has finally been seen as a real contender and that it’s not as difficult to use as was first thought, they bring in a desktop environment that is largely untested and even veterans have never used.

But, I thought I’d give it a go anyway, here are my findings.

Installation

I have had problems installing Ubuntu in the last few releases, as it tried to use a driver for my Nvidia graphics card, and then either hung, crashed or a mix of the two, but I was always able to get past it.

With 11.04, it was a step further and took some practise to master the art of installation. Once I was able to install, I must say, it was great to see the slideshow while the installation took place and the ability to select mp3 and dvd support was great. I have to say, there were no problems with installation and it was actually quite fun to do.

Unity Desktop

After having installed the driver for my graphics card, which Ubuntu let’s you know you can install, I was thrown into the Unity desktop.

Now this was strange to me, at least for a desktop screen.

The familiar Applications, Places, System options at the top were gone, and instead there was the long unity launcher bar on the left and the Me-Menu, and a small amount of icons in the tray at the top.

When you want to add/remove launchers, it’s no longer a case of drag and drop.
To remove a launcher, you right-click on it and then untick ‘Keep in launcher’.
And to add, you have to open the application, then click on the new icon and tick ‘Keep in launcher’, that seemed a little awkward for me, but I can deal with that.

The removal of the File, Edit etc options at the top of windows is now gone and put on the top bar (aka. Global menu).
While this Apple approach may look nice, it’s unhandy in my opinion. If I have multiple windows open, which I do all the time, I have to select the window, whose option I want to access, and then go to the top bar, where is the productivity in that?!

One thing I do like, is that finding the application you want to run is easier now by either using the Ubuntu button in the top left, on the Unity launcher bar, or Applications icon.

Failures

There are some failures for me, that I have to mention since they bug me.

At first I thought it may just be me, but it turns out that it’s not just me.

Firstly, it’s the wireless internet.
I find that after a random amount of time, my internet is non-existant anymore, but the icon indicates I’m still connected. This can only be resolved by disconnecting, and then reconnecting.

The Nvidia driver that was installed was proprietory, but the wrong driver. Even though I was able to select the correct one, it automatically used the correct one in previous versions, and now it’s wrong again.

Conclusion & What I would change

In all fairness, I am pleasantly surprised by Unity. It looks, and works professional, especially considering this is 1.0.

It takes getting used to, but is not difficult.
I was able to get used to it in under five minutes.

I would personally ditch the global menu, this is utter useless.

I would also ask the developers why they messed with a working network manager, since it’s now broken.

I would like to see Unity being more customisable too.

Is Ubuntu 11.04 worth getting?

Well it depends on your view really, you either love Unity or loathe it, and I’ve grown to love it.
It’s not as stable in my opinion as previous versions of Ubuntu, and the bugs that I have encountered, and there were not many at all, can be a show stopper I think.

But all in all, I do recommend it.

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