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Unity? Feh. Try Xubuntu for the Netbook

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So, as my last long time ago post stated, I wasn’t at all happy with Ubuntu’s 10.10 Netbook OS. Yucko to Unity, sorry. I’m now running Xubuntu on my Dell Mini 9, I think it’s been a few months now, and have to say I’m liking it.

What’s different about Xubuntu? The difference between regular Ubuntu and Xubuntu is that Ubuntu uses Gnome as its desktop environment and Xubuntu uses XFCE.

What is XFCE? It’s basically a lightweight desktop environment that is still very usable. This is why I chose to try it on the mini 9 – being lightweight is uses fewer system resources.

Another difference – a huge one, if you ask me – has to do with the use of Unity in the latest Netbook version of Ubuntu (version 10.10) (and rumour has it that Ubuntu may use Unity instead of Gnome for the desktop as well in its next version, scheduled to be released in April of 2011. If that is true, I may go to Xubuntu on my main computer as well.)

What’s wrong with Unity? I don’t like the interface. It is not intuitive. I find the side panel it uses for quick links is obtrusive and really don’t like that it can’t be made to disappear – it takes up a lot of valuable real estate on my mini 9! It’s slow and the interface does not make it easy to locate programs at all.

Hopefully Ubuntu will go the way of Fedora and openSUSE (two other linux operating systems) and drop major Unity development.

It seems to me that improving what you have rather than creating something new would make more sense for Ubuntu. As Jim Collins says in Good to Great – the companies or people who have moved from good to great are the ones who quietly focus on one thing and make that their priority. Unfortunately this shift in focus from Ubuntu’s main thing (Gnome) to Unity slides Ubuntu from great to not-so-good in my books.

In the meantime, Xubuntu is answering my needs on the Mini 9.

Ubuntu on the Netbook

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I have too many computer-type things. I haven’t been using my netbook much at all since I won an Ipad whilst filling out an Etsy survey this summer. While the Ipad is fun to play with, it is limiting since it works on Apple’s proprietary laden OS (operating system).

Over the weekend, @Linda704 hooked me up with @hellomyavocado who was/is searching for an open source OS for her netbook. She’s been doing as I did last spring, trying out a whole whack of different operating systems.

For some reason I thought I had installed Ubuntu 10.10 (netbook edition) on my netbook when it was released a little while ago but on turning it on I saw the 10.04 interface. So I installed it last night 🙂

Installation went through without any glitches though it took quite a while, a few hours. That did include downloading the updates. While I usually prefer doing a fresh install of new operating systems, especially when there is a huge change like there is between Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 (10.10 uses a new netbook environment called Unity), I was lazy and decided to upgrade instead, figuring that if the upgrade seemed wonky I’d have created myself a report card writing procrastination device in needing to re-install 🙂

I must say that I need to play around with 10.10 a bit more but at first glance it seems too…. restricted in its interface. I want to be able to customize my desktop and haven’t yet found a way to do so outside of the Unity framework (like I said, I need to play around some more. I’ve only barely started to try).

So, at first glance, Ubuntu 10.10 is cute though doesn’t seem very customizable. Not much fun for an open source OS! I will look into the options that are available with 10.10 and if I’m not happy I just may then explore creating my own custom lightweight desktop environment, as explained in this article.