Tag: User Interface

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Why Linux Distributions Will Never Be Mainstream

Throughout the history of software there has always been people who prefer customization over simplicity. In the more modern era of computer software the most evident example of this phenomenon is Linux distributions. A distribution of software cobbled together into one massive bundle that seems to be held together by an elastic band. Normally these operating systems are outdated and are almost always neglected by mainstream software developers. For example, Adobe Flash on Linux seems to only work if you pray to the Adobe gods before loading any flash content.

I’ll admit over the years this cobbled bundle has become more refined and in rare cases Linux distributions like Ubuntu can actually be useful. However, many issues still exist that make it impossible for a mainstream user to ever become familiar with the complexities inherit in all open source applications. This is caused simply by the unorganized method in which open source software is created. Imagine writing a letter, then giving that letter to your neighbor and allowing him or her to edit the letter along with adding their own letter to the same paper. The person who eventually reads this letter might end up being somewhat confused. Now imagine allowing thousands of people to edit the letter and add their own. By the time someone finally reads the finish product it would be total chaos.

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Ubuntu Unity is Going to Fail

In April of next year, we are expected to see the release of the 11.04 version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system.  This version, codenamed Natty Narwhal is going to be like most updates of the popular Linux distribution in the sense that it will have better hardware support, updated applications, a handful of bug-fixes, etc.  However, one thing that is going to be a milestone for 11.04 is going to be the completely overhauled user-interface.  While many will argue that Ubuntu can use a new look, I personally feel that the implementation of the “Unity” interface will be a step backwards for what is otherwise a successful and respectable open-source project.

Many of you may be wondering what “Unity” is.  In short, the Unity interface is a dock-like layout where applications reside on a launcher (located on the left-hand side of the screen), and the workspace takes up the remaining screen real-estate.  While this may sound amazingly similar to the AWN navigation dock that I wrote about yesterday, the fact of the matter is that Unity is no where near as clean-looking as AWN and seems to “dummy down” the entire operating system.  While I have yet to try Unity on a desktop as of yet, I along with many others have tried Unity (and developed unfavorable views towards it) in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

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