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Desktop irrationality

When Canonical decided to offer the Unity desktop with its Ubuntu distribution, it set off a firestorm. A lot of geeks went ballistic and are still spraying shrapnel all over the place. For instance, see Ubuntu 11.10 without Unity shell shock and its comments.

What happened is that the Gnome menu driven interface was changed. Since the Gnome effort towards this new paradigm was suffering some development issues, Canonical put together Unity. Both of these new desktops expressed the new paradigm of a wide screen display and a search orientation. This meant that application selection was along the sides rather than top and bottom and a search mechanism was used to find seldom used applications rather than a nested menu.

The DeviceGuru post linked above is about how to install and customize the Gnome shell in the latest Ubuntu distribution as an alternative to Unity.

What interests me is the venom.

For those who know enough to not like Unity, it is easy enough to get something different. So why all the venom?

It seems that those who ‘know enough’ would also be interested in exploring options and learning. But the venom is an expression of unrestrained cognitive dissonance more typical of Luddites. What gives?

Unity is forward looking. Canonical is using it in order to be able to plan for new devices, like tablets, and for new underlying graphics support, like Wayland. It may fail but more than likely it will grow. Reasonable feedback, not the venom and trolling and flames, will be heard and will influence the development.

What the Unity intolerant need to keep in mind is that not everyone out there is like them. Some folks are more tolerant. Some are curious about how user interfaces develop and evolve over time. Some just want the computer to get out of the way so they can do what they want to do.

The reality is that most computers these days do have 16:9 screen aspect rations rather than the old 4:3. Most people only run a few programs in their day to day computer use and anything in the way of selecting those (like a deep menu tree) is a nuisance.

What it looks like is that even the geeks sometimes need to sit back and figure out what they really want as an end result.

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