Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Jul 2006 21:16 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu "Canonical's Ubuntu 6.06 LTS is an excellent Linux-based operating system - so excellent, in fact, that it not only earned eWEEK Labs' Analyst's Choice designation but has also become our clear favorite among Linux desktop distributions. This latest Ubuntu release, which became available in June, has won our ardor with a tight focus on desktop usability; an extremely active, helpful and organized user community; and a software installation and management framework that's unsurpassed on any OS platform."
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RE[3]: Oh... my... God....
by segedunum on Thu 20th Jul 2006 20:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Oh... my... God...."
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Gnome will simply be superior in terms of pure simplicity and sleek usability.

Having used Ubuntu and Gnome for several weeks, I'm afraid it's quality compared to other distros, and KDE based ones, is greatly exaggerated. The wireless GUI doesn't even have options for WPA, which makes it pretty useless on the widespread G networks these days - that's an Ubuntu issue there though, and is the merest tip of an iceberg.

I find more than ever that the 'simplicity and usability' argument is used as an excuse for not putting things into Gnome that end up being required, either by ordinary users or system administrators. Withdrawing options from the print dialogue is one, and it has an awful and extremely inconsistent habit of trying to make many dialogues 'simple'.

For example, Gnome's system preferences are put together as a series of small dialogues rather than as part of a coherent and functioning whole. Each dialogue has a 'Close' button on it. OK, I've changed some settings but I just want to cancel and exit, leaving everything as before. Does the close button do this? Nope. It saves everything. Does using the close icon in the top right cancel and exit? Nope. Stumped.

Worse, some dialogues like the desktop background one simply have a 'Finish' button with a green tick that looks like it was pulled off a fifteen year old VB application. Some dialogues like SCIM have an OK/Quit button combo to come out, as does the date/time one. The theme dialogue together with the menu and toolbar dialogue also offer no preview whatsoever of what your desktop and apps will look like, as Windows and certainly KDE do. Good God, it really makes me appreciative of the functionality of KDE's Control Centre. All it needs is some better organisation - and that's probably the easy bit!

The 'Assistive Technologies' dialogue, again has the close button problem, but it then has a button for 'Close and Logout'. Well, why would I want to close and logout? Yes, I know that it says that I need to logout for it to take effect in a text label above, but who reads a text label unless you need to? A better way would have been for me to confirm and exit through an 'OK' button, and then for a dialogue to inform me that I needed to log out and log back in for these changes to take effect. I would then actually be able to read about what I need to do and then click Yes or No accordingly as to whether I wanted to log out right now or not.

Seriously. I am absolutely flabbergasted that no 'usability expert' (and I use that term in its broadest possible sense after the past few weeks) has picked up on this.

I mean, seriously. Is it just not possible to develop a half-decent user interface in this desktop environment? Every single graphical window within Gnome consists of a handful of UI elements, providing you with very limited functionality when compared with other desktop environments. I mean, you can knock those interfaces up in absolutely no time in Visual Basic or Qt Designer.

And these are just the obvious things off the top of my head. Dragging a window around in Gnome is excruciating and you seem to lose both side portions of a window and your desktop icons underneath when you do it. Open the system monitor and try scrolling through the list box of processes and watch thing fall over itself when it tries to keep up. The system monitor also helpfully tells me that the system monitor itself takes up at least 10% CPU time without it doing anything. Funny. I don't recall Windows' Task Manager or KDE's System Guard doing that.

Having used Ubuntu and Gnome for several weeks as a desktop, I never cease to be amazed by how utterly limited it is, and I struggle to believe that this is the enterprise and corporate desktop people shout from the rooftops about.

Ubuntu has a level of quality approaching that of commercial OSes.

From what I've seen, I find that highly debatable at best.

Edited 2006-07-20 20:43

Reply Parent Score: 4