Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ubuntu tablet interface enjoys success

Ubuntu 13.04 Review: Linux for the average Joe or Jane
The new Ubuntu Linux distribution, 13.04, aka Raring Ringtail, is ready to go, and for most users, it may be all the desktop they need.
True, many hard-core Linux users have turned against Ubuntu in recent years. Or, to be more precise, they turned against it when Ubuntu's parent company, Canonical, switched from the GNOME 2.x desktop to its Unity desktop interface. They have a point. Unity doesn't give Linux experts the kind of control over the operating system that they get from desktops such as KDE, MATE, and, my own personal favorite, Cinnamon.

However, Unity is not a user-experience failure like Windows 8's Metro. Instead, it's very good at what it sets out to do: Provide a user-interface (UI) that's easy enough for an 80-year old to use and provide an interface that's designed to work equally well for desktops, tablets, and smartphones. In short, Ubuntu is not for Linux power users, it's for all users.

That's very clear in Ubuntu 13.04. While this new version doesn't offer a lot of new features, it has done a nice job of cleaning and speeding up the ones it had. In particular, I noticed how this works on a review system, a 2008-vintage Gateway DX4710. This PC is powered by a 2.5-GHz Intel Core 2 Quad processor, has 6GBs of RAM, and an Intel GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 3100 for graphics. Unity itself was much faster than before on the same box.

That's because Ubuntu spent a lot time making performance improvements to Unity. These include: "reduced memory consumption and a great number of small UI fixes to bring a better overall shell experience. Those are like being typo-tolerant in the dashboard when searching for an application, using the mouse scroll wheel on a launcher icon to switch between applications, or better available third-party device handling."

Of course, if you really want Ubuntu, and you really can't stand Unity, there are a wide variety of Ubuntu 13.04 variants with different desktops. These include: Kubuntu, with KDE; Xubuntu, with Xfce; and Lubuntu, with LXDE. [...]
I personally don't like Ubuntu's Unity Desktop. It's a tablet-like interface, similar to Windows 8. But Unity isn't as hated as Windows 8. Why? Because it wasn't automatically put on most new PCs and forced on people, like Windows 8 was.     

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