Sunday, 8 May 2011

Unity and which Linux to choose today

Ubuntu adorers may be shocked by the article at lxer that criticizes the dumbed-down new interface in Natty, Unity. I have used Ubuntu for a long time, for its ease of use and flexible GNOME desktop, that I do customize a lot from its default appearance and function. My current choice is Linux Mint Debian Edition, because of its great application menu. This menu allows you to search for applications to run or install, and also browse through categories as in the traditional menu. I add dockbarx for a good application launcher / window list, similar to that of Windows 7 and less toy-ish than that of Unity. I put that on the left side of the desktop. Finally, I use AWN as a notification area. These are both available from the webupd8 ppa. The finished desktop looks something like the attached picture:
We have a more capable application launcher and window list on the left, and a notification area in the top right. We do not have a Mac OS X - like global menu. I dislike that because I have not been able to use it together with mouse focus (sloppy focus / focus follows mouse). It is just incompatible with focusing everything the mouse traverses, which is useful to my workflow.