So I just fired up my laptop today (it really doesn’t get used anywhere near as much as it used to) and during one of my usual passive aggressive ‘update checks’ I discovered Ubuntu 11.04 codenamed: Natty Narwhal (weird right?) is out. So I set off upgrading.

Though I am usually against the practice, I chose to ‘upgrade’ my installation, partially out of curiosity and partially because I simply couldn’t be bothered reinstalling, reconfiguring, etc etc. Now,  for some reason the Optus mirror for Linux was being biblically slow (something I’ve come to expect from Optus servers) and because I’ve never tried it before, I opted to download the ‘Alternate’ image using BitTorrent. Speeds were much improved and I achieved  a consistent 1.3MB/s, which is about what I would expect from BT anyway (due to my rubbish 512k upload I’d say). So I got the image, dumped it on a USB stick and mounted it on the laptop.

From there all you gotta do is either let the autorun do its thing, or cd to the mount point and ./cdromupgrade in a root shell.

Anyways, the point was, it pretty much went flawlessly. The only issue I had was with what I assume was the Nvidia driver not carrying on which caused my screen to be permanently at 640×480. The solution was to simply open up Synaptic Package Manager and install nvidia-current.

After the reboot, the usual Nvidia screen popped up as it was supposed to, and I was immediately upgraded from the classic gnome experience to the new Ubuntu Unity login.

Not having followed the development of Ubuntu, this was a surprise to me. And from where I’m standing, not a particularly good one.

First thing that really bugs me is the way this thing works.From what I can tell, its like a merge of Windows 7’s task bar, and Mac OSX’s dock. In general, I don’t mind the reusing of ideas but the problem is that it completely replaces the menu bars. I guess the first problem is I didn’t like the ideas they nicked from OSX, such as the application taking the desktop thing.

Screenshot of Ubuntu Unity

Screenshot of Ubuntu Unity

Note how when Firefox is on top, it appears on the top bar. And when its in full focus, the FF menu appears where the title is (just like in OSX).

Now I’m sorry, but it’s stupid in OSX and it’s stupid in Ubuntu, more so even, and it absolutely does my head in when it flicks between the application’s title, and the menu bar; Damn it’s annoying.

It seems this Unity thing is around just to save screen space, which in my world, isn’t a real issue.

Now the parts ripped off of Windows is another thing; It is pretty much the same as Windows 7 (you use it as both an application menu and a task bar) and in Windows 7, it works. But here, it really could work, but the fact that it can’t be moved to the bottom, irritates me. It’s like they’re saying “How dare you make your Linux machine look like Windows”. Seriously, if you rip off an idea from somewhere, why not make it work like it was originally intended.

I liked the idea in Windows 7, how it saves space, how it merges the quick launch bar with the task bar. It gives you more choices in less space. But with Unity, it seems to be limiting my choices, rather than giving them. Isn’t the whole idea of Linux Freedom of Choice?

Another thing they ripped out of Windows 7 is the shortcut keys (believe it or not) for accessing task bar items. So Win+1 will open the first icon on the task bar (Unity bar -whatever).

Oh and they also ripped off the searching from the start menu thing as well. Just as in Windows, press the Win button and start typing to search the installed applications (not files -there’s another button for that).

To conclude: I shall be continuing my Ubuntu experience with Ubuntu Classic (you can change this on the login screen), thus my upgrade to 11.04 was completely useless and once again Linux has wasted another few hours of my life and nothing good has come from it.

This is EXACTLY why Linux will NEVER be a reasonable choice for the masses. More time is wasted than is saved from not buying it.

So here’s a top tip for computer users: waste your time making the money (which by the way helps the economy and society at large) to purchase Windows (or hell … a Mac).

i.e. In the long run, Linux will cost you more in time than you could make from money by working.