I’ve been a fan of Ubuntu for a number of years. Over the last month I’ve been playing with version 11.04 which has unity. So here is my take on it.
Being one of those who is a tech person, and always wants to find a way to hook new users onto Linux, I was really curious as to the new Unity interface that Ubuntu was putting out. Could it be something that brings Linux to more people? The answer I found is no. At least not yet.
Unity is a slick looking GUI. It is lacking though. First, there is no menu scheme, access to any software is done off the new launcher bar. This wouldn’t be so bad, except to find any software not tacked to the bar, you need to really go digging. the applications window that you get to can get confusing, and won’t show you everything without at least 3 mouse clicks, and even then things can get missed. Yes, as you get used to a new layout, it becomes more natural, but this is a big deviation from what most people know. Its not intuitive, and really needs a lot of refining. While on the login screen you can switch to a classic mode, for someone new to Ubuntu and Linux, it again isn’t intuitive.
The other issue I’ve run into is with a customized dual monitor setup. Unity doesn’t seem to like it too much. I’ve had nothing but problems with that setup.
The underpinnings are fine, and yes if you know how to replace the GUI with Gnome or KDE, 11.04 is a solid system. Unfortunately for a version that is supposed to be for the everyday person, the Unity interface has a long way to go.