Mutant World

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Natty Narwhal's Unity, final take

I have previously blogged on Ubuntu's Natty Narwhal Unity shortcomings, and added some additional thoughts on my own configuration.

With a non-hiding Unity launcher that works as an old-style launcher and as a windows list, what I really missed were the applets.

It turns out that there are many efforts to replace those applets with "indicators", for example see this link.

So I installed the weather indicator, the system load indicator and this allowed me to get back to a decent configuration that I find efficient enough for my daily work.

Considering that Ubuntu will drop the "classic" mode for 11.10, I felt it was better to get used to Unity as soon as possible.

I am confident the application indicators will improve over time, so eventually - hopefully - Unity will be as good as the classic mode.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Natty Narwhal's Unity, take two

I have previously blogged on Natty Narwhal's Unity shortcomings, but I decided to give it few more days, and I here are my further comments.

I configured the launcher with 32 pixels icons and disabled auto-hiding.
This basically brought me back an old-style launcher and a windows list that is always visible, allowing to glance at it for visual information regarding running applications.

Unity's launcher seems to be designed to play the role of both an application launcher (via icon clicking) and of a windows list (via small arrows and additional icons). I still think that the two concepts needs to be separated, but I am starting to get used to it.

It's still not like the classic mode; for example, there is one icon only in the launcher for all the Terminal instances, which gives less information on what is the Terminal window you are currently working on.

I discovered that middle-clicking on a launcher icon creates a new instance of the application, so this issue always had a solution.

Disabling auto-hiding made usage of the browser's application tabs easier, since now the launcher does not pop up overlapping the browser's application tabs when you hover with the mouse in the top left corner.

I still really miss the applets, and I hope that Unity will be improved to allow an additional panel (at the bottom, say) to make room for the applets.
This new panel could be missing by default (but could be added if one wants to).
And I am really missing the old date/time/locations applet: the new one is just too bare bones for my taste.

Finally, I noticed that Unity is way slower to start, but that's once in a day pause for me, so it's tolerable.