I spent some time during the Holiday season to upgrade Ubuntu on my machines. I was shocked by the news in April when Canonical announced that they ditch their Unity desktop environment.
I’ve learned to love Unity. It was not easy as it not worked in the way I worked with Gnome 2 before. It was usual for me to have 10+ terminal window open, with a few of other windows doodling around. Unity thought me that I would be more effective if I close unused windows and work only with those few which really needed and using tabs in a terminal window is a good thing. Well it was buggy and crashed from time-to-time, but it turned to be a productive lean environment. I must say that by 17.04 release it was a real stable and polished thing.
Using Gnome Shell for almost a month now, all I can say it is not ready. You can work with it efficiently, but there are a many annoying UI glitches and un-usabilities that feels unprofessional. So let the whining start:
- “Activities” thingy (menu or whatever): I understand that you can switch and manage between applications and workspaces, though the UI representation is simply confusing. (An icon might have been better.)
- Application Search Launcher just displays the first 15 character of the apps, no tooltip, no descriptions etc. I know there is a plugin for it, but if you need to work with 3 versions of an applications then good luck!
- Multi monitor support.
- Multiple monitors are just does not really fit seamlessly in the workspace concept.
- I can’t get a 3 monitor setup working.
- If I would just use the external display, I can connect it, but when I close the laptop lid the system goes to sleep. (Unity goes to sleep when no active displays left.)
- The top status (whatever) bar is only in the primary monitor.
- The display settings is full of bugs and UI glitches. Like the resolution switcher supposed to be a combo box, but a whole popup menu is displayed with a close button (WFT! Why?). The apply button is not always displayed when you change the setting.
- The greeter is ugly and dumb.
- Waking up from resume results a lot of flickering (2-3), sometimes leaving lock screen results a black screen until I press a button.
- Weird UI experiments placing buttons on the title bar. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is just confusing.
- Active Application “menu” next to the “Activities” is a joke. You can most probably quit the application, usually nothing else is there .
- “Double Title” bar space on maximized applications. Looks a bit dumb.
- Icon spacing on the status bar is not consistent. (It might be just on Ubuntu)
Well Gnome Shell is with us since April 2011,more than 6 years and it still suffers from such issues. The Ubuntu Desktop Team did a great job to do the Unity -> Gnome Shell transition smooth enough, still I think I would do a thing I’ve never done so far since I’m using Ubuntu (since 2005). I’m going to downgrade my system to 17.04, the best Ubuntu release so far.