Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10: The worst Ubuntu ever?

Sad to say, but I think it's true. Ubuntu 11.10 is the worst release ever. It's got tiny little niggles here and there that, while not necessarily big issues on their own, add up to one really annoying experience.

Maybe it's due to all the criticism but Unity randomly tries to resize my app windows. I'll get that orange box that shows up whenever you drag a window to the top, left or right edge of the screen to quick resize a window ala Windows Aero. Well, problem is I wasn't trying to resize a window. I wasn't even moving a window. It just popped up while I was moving the mouse to click something on-screen. And it doesn't disappear until I do drag a window to one of the edges. Annoying.

If you have a discrete GPU you'll probably have at least tried to install the proprietary driver. Installing works fine, but you have to manually uninstall the proprietary driver if you don't want it anymore for whatever reason.

In previous Ubuntu releases, you can install and uninstall the proprietary driver in jockey. Now it helps you install the driver, or break your system during uninstall. When the driver doesn't uninstall cleanly, you reboot into a shell-less desktop. Without hardware acceleration, Unity 2D is supposed to load but it doesn't. Something's broken with detecting the hardware acceleration support.

Unity is slower than Gnome Shell. At least that's my un-scientific perception. Apps take longer to load, the dash takes longer to appear than Gnome Shell's dash, and there's this general feel of sluggishness. Unity has potential, but if we're getting it as the default desktop shell then at least make it fast and stable. What happened to our focus on a snappy desktop experience?

Finally, there's the strange case of the oversized ISO image. On the Ubuntu download page you can see the file size is under 700MB when you start downloading Ubuntu. Downloading using the torrent you can even see in Transmission that it's the same size. But once downloaded, the ISO image is mysteriously ~730MB. I'm assuming this isn't Ubuntu's fault but Gnome 3.

Still, it's unfortunately a part of the Ubuntu experience. The ISO can't be burned to CD. Brasero agrees with the over 700MB file size.

Maybe Paper Cuts isn't doing enough? Or, maybe there's something needed to fill the gap between the big bugs and a paper cut?

Let's hope Ubuntu 12.04 is precisely what we need (and want).