Ubuntu 11.04 Unity – A Big Leap Forward For Linux

Justin Pot 30-04-2011

ubuntu 11It’s here. The newest version of Ubuntu sports an entirely new user interface: Unity. It also includes a much-improved Software Center, alongside the usual updates for the thousands of free programs Ubuntu offers. Download it now at


Canonical, the main company behind Ubuntu, decided to develop the Unity shell to replace Gnome 3 GNOME 3 Beta - Welcome To Your New Linux Desktop Read More ‘s shell; a decision not without its detractors. Having said that, I’ve been using Ubuntu 11.04 for a couple of months now, since the early Alpha releases, and I’ve felt nothing but impressed. Some old-school Linux users may be disappointed, but they usually are. Unity, to me, seems like an interface that’s accessible and efficient. I wish my Mac was more like this.


So what does Unity look like? See for yourself:

ubuntu 11

You’ll notice the dock, of course; everyone does. I think this is the best Linux dock ever made. While it’s not as attractive as it could be, it’s very functional. Drag a file to it, for example, and the programs that can open that file are highlighted for you:

latest ubuntu


Of course you’re wondering: how do I access all the programs not in my dock? Easy. Just click the Ubuntu logo in the top-left corner, or press the Super key (the “Windows” key on some keyboards.) You’ll then see the main panel:

latest ubuntu

Here you can explore the applications by clicking, or by searching. Searching is the fastest way to find what you’re looking for, and used to be the main thing I’d miss in Ubuntu over Windows 7 or OS X. Not anymore: I find the programs I need quickly:

latest ubuntu


This also works for finding documents, which is really nice.

To save vertical space, and to reduce clutter, the traditional program menu is integrated into the top panel. It’s hidden, until your mouse moves over the panel, at which point it looks like this:

latest ubuntu distro

The result: every program looks more tidy. I really like this, but I realize there will be detractors.


I’ve mentioned a couple of times that Unity is very keyboard-friendly, which is a must for Linux users. Find out more by reading this list of Unity keyboard shortcuts; you won’t be disappointed.

Software Center: Now With Reviews

Ubuntu’s easy-to-use collection of free software, which gives access to thousands of programs, is better than ever. Not only is it (much) faster than before; it also now includes user reviews of every program.

For example: here’s a couple of reviews for Calibre Calibre - Mighty eBook Management Software Read More :

ubuntu 11


If you like discovering new free software (and if you read this blog, you probably do) I highly recommend checking out the Ubuntu Software Center 5 Great Tips for the Ubuntu Software Center [Linux] Read More on a regular basis. The latest free apps are always a couple of clicks away.

Other Changes

There are a few other changes, of course. Here’s a brief list:

More changes outlined here.

Classic Gnome?

Think Unity is cute, but want Classic Gnome back? Simple. When you’re logging in, simply select the “classic Gnome” session. You can feel comfortable here, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. Be warned, though: classic Gnome will not be included in Ubuntu 11.10, and most of the the major distros will be using Unity or Gnome 3 very soon.

This Is Awesome

Some argue you should always try to keep Ubuntu up to date Why You Should Always Keep Your Ubuntu Installation Updated [Linux] Read More , for a plethora of reasons. Up-to-date software is a big one, as is access to the latest features. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the new features are with Ubuntu but not this time. From the first time you start this system up you’ll notice the differences. Some people won’t like these differences, which makes sense. Change always upsets people in the technology world.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been using Ubuntu 11.04 since the second alpha. It was buggy at first, but got better very quickly. So I have to say that a few months of using Unity leaves me loving it. There’s no desktop out there – not Windows, KDE or even OS X – that feels this well integrated and consistent. I can launch any program in just a few clicks, but default, and everything looks beautiful.

Granted, I’m not an expert on UI design, something I’m sure I’ll be told in the comments. But that’s not the point. The point is this: the Ubuntu team is seriously thinking about how to bring progress to the Linux desktop, and every Linux users will eventually benefit from this.

Think differently? Share in the comments below; I would love to have a conversation with all of you. Also feel free to share things you like about the new Ubuntu, because not every comment needs to be negative.

Related topics: Linux Distro, Ubuntu.

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  1. Frank M. Eriksson
    June 5, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Big leap? Uh-ha!?

    Not really, I have to click twice to dismiss every box - like the menu. And It does not respect the mouse, say I open the menu in firefox and wants to scroll the webpage a little bit - no-no, I can't! I have to click with my mouse twice on Firefox to dismiss the menu - then I can scroll to read whatever...

    Unity is soo clunky, not customisable, unstable and quite frankly not anywhere near ready for mass deployment... *Sigh*

  2. Anonymous
    May 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I really can't stand Unity. I can't work with it. I understand it's good for some people, but the lack of customizability  just kills me. I need a panel of open windows, like th gnome panel (and all windows) have. It's not a big thing, but I can't work without it. And I have yet to find a way to make one in Unity.

    Why is that? Why is it so rigid? Since when is Linux about "we know what you need better than you, so we won't let you change anything"? Since when is Ubuntu against diversity? That's the Mac motto, and that's why people consider them evil.

    Please don't tell me I can just use "Ubuntu classic". I am. But it won't be supported next release. And I can't use Unity.

    • jhpot
      May 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Basically: Unity is rigid because it's brand new. They were more concerned
      with making it stable than with making it customizable. Now that it's been
      released, third party groups are doing all kinds of hacks. I'm sure one of
      them will be a window list, just like you're looking for.

      So suck it up for now, or wait and see what kind of hacks are added. Know
      that, if a window list hack comes out, it will be featured here.

      • Anonymous
        May 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

        As far as I can tell - right now Unity has no features at all. It has a side "dock" panel and a text based search for apps. Oh, and the "mac style menus". That's all I can find in tutorials, in reviews, in feature lists, everywhere. It's empty. It's pretty and (maybe) stable but not convenient for people using Linux for work.

        The retracting side dock - a horrid UI feature that was long abandoned by anyone doing a "work oriented" interface. It adds seconds to every operation.

        The whole UI screams for your constant attention - breaking your train of thought every time you have to use it. Preventing you from concentrating on your work instead of enabling you to work more efficiently.

        Example: I want to run something from the dock (what it's made for!). I can't just move my mouse to the app I want because the dock is retracted! I have to first move the mouse to the left, then wait for the dock to appear and find my app (the location can change, since it depends on the current scroll state) and then go press it. You might think that's "negligible" time, but that extra attention needed really slows down work. You now have to pay attention to something that used to be automatic.

        Example: I want to do something at the left of the screen. Press the back button on my browser for example. I now have to be "very careful" not to move the mouse too far left or the dock will appear and hide the "back" button. If that happens I have to move the mouse away, wait until the dock disappears (a few secs) and retry. Again, more attention and more time needed to do a simple operation. Again, having to pay attention to something that used to be automatic.

        Example: I have a big screen with several windows open one next to the other (non-overlapping). I want to go to the menu of a window. I can't do that now - I have to first focus it, and then find the menu I want, doubling the operations and attention needed.
        Worse, I can go to the menu, select, e.g., "file/close", only to realize I was in the menu of the wrong window! Now every menu operation one does will be accompanied by the nagging "am I in the right window?" voice, again breaking your concentration. This will be especially bad for people with slight OCD - as they will have to perform the check repeatedly for each menu operation "just to make sure".

        This might be a great UI for touchscreens. Not all Ubuntu users have touchscreens.
        This might be a great UI for people who only use facebook and gaming apps. Some people use Ubuntu for work.
        This might be a great UI for people with tiny screens where you can only have one window at a time. Some people have huge screens with several windows one next to the other.
        The whole idea of Linux is the customizability. The whole idea is that everyone can change it to suit their needs, as opposed to the "we tell you what you need" of, e.g., macs.

        Whoever designed unity did a great job - for the specific uses it's designed to handle (tiny touchscreens for entertainment computing). Whoever decided to make it the default and to (eventually) discontinue support for the classic gnome has no idea about what is important in UI other than the "new" and "eye candy" factor.

  3. Owen
    May 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, start everything mouse-free is a cool idea. Being cool is very important for linux geeks~~~ ;-p

  4. Syncdram
    May 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm

     Your dating yourself when you say "old school Linux users" This Might Make you a new school linux user of today's younger generation. Ubuntu Studio Has Proudly and Boldly pronounced today with a official press release that they want nothing to do with Unity. This holds some very big weight because this is the first derivative of Ubuntu  that understands unity's repercussions and do not have the" we will use gnome 2 for now " attitude. They have listened to the open source community and are leaving gnome 3 for XFCE.  This is also a very pivotal  point in Linux Mints history as well. They to know the repercussions from its user base if they switch. Mint is on a wait and see attitude as well. They know this because of the Awesome amount of users they picked up from ubuntu. Unity does have a place, but not on desktop pc. The " I know you, you know me" Barney type app does not sit well for a ubuntu powers user such as myself and a sea of others.

  5. Libby
    May 15, 2011 at 12:46 am

     Help....My biggest problem is I cant live without a program that works the same way as "Windows Explorer". I need the sub-menus on the left side and Linux seems to not have this. They have a simelar program but it wont show sub-menus on the left columb.

    • jhpot
      May 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      You can in PCManFM; just switch the side-panel to directory tree mode. Same
      thing with Nautilus, the default browser in Ubuntu.

  6. jud
    May 14, 2011 at 2:07 pm

     its not the design people have problems with its the bugs

  7. Tony_gr8
    May 14, 2011 at 5:17 am

     It would be great if Ubuntu comes with Vlc media player and .Mp3 plugins Preinstalled

    • jhpot
      May 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

       I don't think VLC will be default anytime soon, but you can install MP3 compatibility  and most other codecs by checking a single box during setup; it's on the first screen of the installer.

      • Tony_gr8
        May 15, 2011 at 3:12 am

        But all it needs internet , It is good if ubuntu comes with some Media players as in lubuntu , Pc linux os which can play .mp3 , .avi and others

  8. Tony_gr8
    May 14, 2011 at 5:14 am

     Ubuntu 11.04 comes with all new look and feel of Linux now linux has its own Genuine look earlier edition looks(user interface) like Mac but now Ubuntu has its Own Look (UI).And this edition of Ubuntu works Fine with my system Earlier edition of Ubuntu results in Keyboard and Mice Freeze like problems. 

  9. Chrisupshaw
    May 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm

     Gahh, just installed 11.04 and Unity is bugging the hell out of me.  I want to give it the benefit of the doubt, but so far it looks pretty but would massively mess up my work flow.  Not being able to get to the menus with applications and settings while running a a program in full screen is terrible. and settings while running a a program in full screen is terrible.

  10. Anonymous
    May 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I'm sticking with Maverick. Unity has no place on my dual monitor desktop. I'm happy with AWN and Conky where they are. Mint and Pinguy RC's have both shunned Unity, apparently for the same reasons that I do. I tried Mint in the past and will probably upgrade to that when they release a final version.

  11. John
    May 8, 2011 at 5:20 am

    I don't like Natty. I tried both Ubuntu & Xubuntu with wubi and USB. There are lots of bugs that shouldn't be. I don't understand why Ubuntu released these before fixing the bugs. I created a Ubuntu USB with a 3 GB persistence. I couldn't even open the firefox browser. I like every version of Ubuntu since hardy. Now it is all gone. All I can hope is wait for another 6 months.

  12. Elijah Yakimyuk
    May 7, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I'm a new Ubuntu user, and i dislike the new 11.04. I was using the 10.10 and liked it alot, because everything was neatly organized. Being new to Ubuntu, 11.04 is harder to explore than 10.10, i liked 10.10 because i could easily navigate it using the bar on the top. I really like the dock on the newest version and i think it would be best if 10.10 had the dock for shortcuts, it would be much better!!!

  13. jhpot
    May 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Windows is moving away from the Windows-style interface. In fifteen years what people now call familiar will seem as dated as the DOS prompt does now. For Ubuntu to strive to copy a platform that is dying would be madness.

  14. Jochen Fromm
    May 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

    A big leap backwards. I don't understand why Canonical does not listen to the community. The majority of users and developers is used to operate with a Windows-style interface. The trend to move from a Windows-style interface towards a Mac/OS-X style interface (without the nice design of MacOS) is a very bad idea.

    • Luke Matthews
      May 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      It feels to me like they mixed parts of windows 7, osx, and a notebook interface. The result is garbage that makes any window management work I want to do take more time. Tried it for 3 or 4 hours and ended up switching to linux mint debian edition. Couldn't be any happier with my decision. I just grew too tired of Canonical's deaf ears.

  15. Krakissi
    May 5, 2011 at 2:17 am

    I love Unity, it's fantastic (and that's coming from a hardened veteran of Gnome 2). At first I didn't think it was a step in the right direction; I tried gnome-shell and was immediately turned off. A couple days tinkering made it painfully clear that the Gnome team doesn't care about function, they care about style. Options have been stripped and hidden, themes are all but gone, and customization of bars is non-existent. If that's progress, call me old-fashioned. Unity brings a fresh and new interface to Ubuntu without crushing customization. It works great out of the box, and a little customization lets you really get it just how you like it. I don't like the menus for every application being in the top panel Mac OS style, but it's not the end of the world. When I really want to get something done I just Ctrl+Alt+F1 anyway.

  16. Bob H
    May 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I didn't like unity, so upgraded to gnome 3, big mistake, fortunately I like kde so as I don't have the classic option anymore, it's now kde or change to another OS, trouble is tried all the rest and have always come back to ubuntu as I need a "work out of the box" system as my main OS

  17. Darkduck
    May 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    My review of Ubuntu with Unity

  18. Darkduck
    May 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm
  19. Thor
    May 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    It's a stretch to say that Unity will not be included in the next release. Unity has serious defects, particularly working with multiple monitors. It's nice eye candy but my operators have all said it was functionally a pain in the.....yeah. Moving a window seems to require two hands (one keyboard and one mouse). Not good design.

  20. Austin Beatty
    May 2, 2011 at 3:58 am

    I'm boycotting Gnome 3 and Unity, at least for a while until they mature (did they same for KDE 4.0, I like that now), sticking to LXDE, XFCE, and other light WMs until further notice :) They just don't work well for me yet (especially Gnome 3, which doesn't work with my ATI card)

    • jhpot
      May 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      I'm checking out the new Lubuntu right now. I think many people could be very happy with it!

  21. frodo wiz
    May 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    huh..i thought this of gnome 3 too.. but then i woke up and entered ubuntu reality land.. i didnt do all the work to create ubuntu for everyone to use for free. i didnt contribute to any design, write any software or help with any documentation. note the last point..

    what kept you from volenteering to document? what kept you from blogging about how this or that works? even before 11.04 was officially released i found sites weekly posting new hacks and tips..

    ubuntu wasnt arrogant but some users have unrealistic expectations.. is it arrogant to offer a 2d version for those wishing to use the free drivers on a card with no 3d support- like gnome shell is demanding?

    grow some nancy boy.. learn vala and contribute or move on but either way, i doubt very much ubuntu will worry about you kicking them to the curb..

    • Anomaly
      May 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      I can only assume you are directing this at me.

      If I spent the time making something I would definitely spend the time to create the proper documentation so people could fully appreciate what I had made. It would be a combination of arrogance and stupidity to put what I made out there and expect people to jump through hoops to use it.

      As for what kept me from volunteering to document? What a stupid question. I wasn't involved in developing Ubuntu. How can I document what I don't know about? Unity is new to me thats why I want some documentation. I can assure you of one thing. If I was involved in developing Ubuntu I would have made sure a user guide was released with it.

      • Scutterman
        May 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm

        In a perfect world all software would be released with full documentation. In a perfect world said software would also be released bug-free, on time, and 100% secure. In the real world... software developers often don't make good documenters. I know I see the world differently to a lot of people and if I were to release a piece of software it would be difficult for me to release docs that general users would understand. The understanding needed to create the code is a world apart from the understanding needed to teach someone to use it.

        Add onto this the fact that Ubuntu has probably some of the most static release schedules I've ever seen, and that it's free, community supported software, I don't see how anyone has the right to demand documentation. The community will document it but they are giving up their time to do so, so please accept that it may be a bit behind the release of the software.

  22. frodo wiz
    May 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    "Better than the OS X interface? I doubt it, but could you explain why you think this?"

    it runs linux under the hood :)

  23. Jdroost
    May 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    The first thing I did was change from Evolution to Thunderbird,so I could right click on a page and send a link or what ever from Thunderbird.I don't care for the panel at all,but I very much like that all functions are grouped on the top of one side,unlike MS 7.Still have much to find and try and so far so good...Update was excellent..

  24. Anomaly
    May 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Hey Justin! Why don't you stop playing God and censoring post you don't agree with. You deleted a post of mine that didn't deserve to be removed. Does that make you feel like a man or what?

    • Tina
      May 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm


      Justin did not remove your post, he is not a moderator. So if it was removed by a moderator, it was not for personal reasons.

      PS: None of your comments was removed from this thread. Maybe you didn't see your previous comment because Disqus wraps up the comments and you have to click the Load More Comments button to see them all.

      • jhpot
        May 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

        I only play God with my special Biblical action figures, and yes: it does make me feel like a man.

        Seriously, though, I've no control over comment moderation. I bet this comment will be removed.

      • Anomaly
        May 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

        I did post a comment that is no longer there. Something happened to it. I shouldn't have assumed it was Justin and apologize for that.

  25. Anomaly
    May 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I find it extremely arrogant that Ubuntu would radically change the UI and not provide any detailed user guide on how to use it. Arrogant is an understatement, it was asinine of them actually. I don't enjoy having to blindly stumble through and figure out how things work. I also don't like having to spend hours searching through blogs to piece together all the changes. I have kicked many programs to the curb because the developers were idiots and couldn't be bothered to release info on how to use their product.

    • jhpot
      May 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      I respect your opinion, but documentation is traditionally provided by the community. The good folks at OMG Ubuntu have stepped up, check it out:

      11.04 is just the first step for Unity; more such documentation will come. Don't early adopt an open source project if you want people to hold your hand.

      • Anomaly
        May 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        I don't want my hand held. There has to be some info released so the user isn't going in blind. Besides providing documentation isn't hand holding it's just common sense that you will provide info on how to use your product.

        I maintain many computers and have busy life so I can't and don't want to go on a search mission for info on the new UI. They should release a thorough user guide which I would read every word of.

        I had already read that info from OMG Ubuntu. It's very basic but gives you a starting point.

  26. sanozen
    May 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I lost a whole day trying to get the new version to work with my nvidia card, trying any and all "solutions" I could find. I'll stick with the 10.10 version for now.

  27. Scutterman
    May 1, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Last time I tried Ubuntu I installed it on a laptop. The Hibernate didn't work (always required a hard reset to start up again after it was used), and a few months after using it the partition corrupted. Luckily I was saving everything, including emails and firefox profiles, on my Windows 7 partition, but I'm a bit wary of trying Ubuntu again.

  28. Ashish Kumar
    May 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I am going to wait for Ubuntu with Gnome 3. Not interested in Unity interface. They should give a choice to user, if I want to use Unity and Gnome 3.

  29. Gochoa3664
    April 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Ok...I got my Ubuntu a couple years ago and its working great..Im new to upgrading stuff--Im a "if it aint broke dont fix it" kind of gal but this newer version seems super cool....Can I just upgrade from 8 (or is it 9..cant remember right now which one I have) to the latest version or do I have to upgrade to one version at a time? Thank you as well for this great site, nifty How To and other cool info!

    • jhpot
      April 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      I don't think you can upgrade to 11.04 directly; I'd highly recommend trying a fresh install instead of jumping from version to version (which might take days).

  30. unity no joy
    April 30, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I am new to Ubuntu, having come over with 10.10, and immediately fell in love. Everything worked great, and I was left wondering why I waited so long.
    I just updated to 11.04, and have had nothing but problems with the Unity dock. I click on a lot of icons, and nothing happens quite frequently. I enter applications into the search box in the main panel, and nothing happens. I am also finding that It takes much longer than before to find some things that were easily accessed before, and to top it all off, I find that it loads much slower on my machine than any other operating system I have ever had, including Vista, and is very unresponsive, taking forever to open files, programs, or windows. Even Google chrome went from being super fast to open to taking a loooong time.
    So, I went back to the classic desktop without unity, and was immediately transported back to the wonderful Ubuntu experience that I fell in love with.
    I really wanted Unity to work, but at least on my machine, no joy!

    • jhpot
      April 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      It's a shame it didn't work better for you, but I'm glad you found something that works.

  31. Anonymous
    April 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Better than the OS X interface? I doubt it, but could you explain why you think this?

    • jhpot
      April 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      I like it better than OS X because it's a great deal more keyboard friendly. The way the dock is always on screen until you put a window in its way is something I'd love to have in OS X, and the notification area is quite a bit more usable.

      I switch between OS X and Linux all the time; I prefer Ubuntu's interface right now.

      • Anonymous
        April 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm

        System Preferences > Keyboard > Press Tab to move keyboard focus between: > All Elements

        fn(on notebooks only?)+ctrl+F2
        fn+ctrl+Eject key
        Also, hold Option when you're in some menu bars. Cool feature, you'll see what I'm talking about.

        I just learnt that in one second, I'm sure there are more. I need clarification on what you mean by keyboard friendly to be more helpful.

        "The way the dock is always on screen until you put a window in its way is something I'd love to have in OS X"
        What, you mean windows are over the Dock, rather than below it? That sucks, IMHO!

        "the notification area is quite a bit more usable." Yeah, I think the notification area needs work on OS X. One of the few areas where Windows is better. When the menu bar items are too much, it covers some menulets. I wish they'd fix that. However, I need more clear explanation. HOW is it more usable? I've used Ubuntu(I have it in a VM to play around with it), but not this latest version with the Unity shell, so I don't know the difference between the two notification areas. Please keep that in mind.

        • Anonymous
          May 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm

          I think it's a matter of taste. Unity is very keyboard friendly, it's true, but there are people that prefer the mouse. When it come to mouse friendliness, unity is not bad, but it's not as fast as old menu driven desktops. But that's obvious, because of the way Unity is designed.

        • jhpot
          May 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

          The dock isn't under windows; it disappears when windows overlap to it. Move your mouse to the left and apply pressure, however, and you've got your dock back. This is the best way for a dock to run I've ever seen; I just wish it looked nicer (11.10, I'm sure, will).

          I can't explain why I like the notification area better; ultimately, you're just going to have to try this out and see for yourself. It's an opinion. I like how unified and clean everything looks, and how I can move my mouse from one icon to another quickly to see different menus.

          Regarding keyboard shortcuts: the Mac interface seems geared more for mouse users. There are Mac keyboard shortcuts, but having more experience in Linux I find the Linux keyboard shortcuts preferable. I really love pressing Super, then typing the name of the program I want to run in order to bring it up. I also love that I can press Super, followed by a number, to launch one of the programs on the dock.

          But, like I said, this is ultimately an opinion. Try it out yourself in a virtual machine or from a live CD to see if you agree.

        • Anonymous
          May 1, 2011 at 9:06 pm

          "The dock isn't under windows; it disappears when windows overlap to it."
          If it disappears when windows overlap it, then it IS under windows. Although, I've got to say, I prefer my dock over the windows, that way most used apps are always accessible. The Mac is really good with accessibility.
          "Move your mouse to the left and apply pressure, however, and you've got your dock back."
          Mmm, sounds like a cool and original idea. May change my opinion above.

          "I really love pressing Super, then typing the name of the program I want to run in order to bring it up."
          I don't know what Super is, but Spotlight provides this functionality and works with mail messages and all sorts of files, PLUS can search for specified metadata. And is live. There are also loads of apps to extend this, such as Launcher, QS, Alfred and more. I've only used Alfred. Spotlight is also a calculator.

          "Regarding keyboard shortcuts: the Mac interface seems geared more for mouse users." I think this is true, the Mac's method of drag+drop makes things extremely easy, but keyboard shortcuts are also much faster. I don't know how good with keyboard shortcuts OS X is, but I'll get back to you if I find anything out either way.

          "I can't explain why I like the notification area better; ultimately, you're just going to have to try this out and see for yourself."
          I've downloaded the ISO and am going to install it in a VM right now. Nice article!

        • Anonymous
          May 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm

          I've installed it on a USB flash drive. It's almost finished. This is gonna be cool!

    • frodo wiz
      May 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      i could.. it runs linux under the hood

      • Anonymous
        May 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

        Under the hood is different from the interface. Mac and Linux are actually very similar "under the hood".

  32. Chris Baskind
    April 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Gnome 3 is pretty radical, but I already prefer it to Unity. While I appreciate Canonical's work on Unity, the dock is a tired metaphor. On the other hand, Gnome 3 has a lot of potential for reordering my workflow in a positive way.I'm gonna rock that for a while and see how it goes.

    • Anonymous
      May 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      I love Gnome Shell as well, but I prefer Unity. I'll use both on 11.10 ;)

      What I don't like about Shell is the looks and the fact the user needs one extra step in order to open apps. The Shell dock is pretty useless as well, Unity's Launcher has a few features that make it very cool like, highlighting of compatible apps when drag n dropping files, overlay progress bars and counts, the keyboard shortcuts, lenses and the fact that it's easier to access than the Shell counterpart.

      Another thing I don't like about Shell is that it forces users to use multiple desktops and that there's no desktop overview like Compiz' expo plugin.

      These key differences make me prefer Unity over Shell. Other than that I think Unity and Shell are too similar, at least the initial release. I think the small details are the factors that make users prefer one from the other. There are people that love having many desktops, there are people like me that prefer using less desktops.

      I'm looking forward to the next releases. Linux has the best desktops available and Shell and Unity are driving innovation forward. Love them or hate them these Shells are the future of Linux and don't be surprised if Mac and Windows adopt a few ideas from them.

  33. The Old Sarge
    April 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I like it, I just wish it would work with my wireless card. 10.10 worked but 11.04 doesn't seem to like it.

  34. mvario
    April 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I'm kind of old school, fairly minimalist in my interface preferences, I don't like docks and big toy-box icons, or the AppBar (I prefer my application menus on the application window). I don't agree that change is necessarily the same as progress. It appears to me that Unity (and Gnome 3) are moving away from a Windows-style interface towards a Mac/OS-X style interface. I've never really liked the OS-X interface. I plan on cross-grading to Xubuntu rather than have an interface I'm not compatible with forced upon me. One of the many wonderful things about Linux is we have choices.

    • jhpot
      April 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      Choice is great. Let us know how Xubuntu is; I plan on writing up Lubuntu soon as well.

      • mvario
        May 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm

        So far I like it a lot. It needs a menu editor though.  Otherwise it's similar to running gnome 2, a little lighter on resources.

        I also have a 10-year-old Thinkpad I just put Lubuntu on to play around with.  I haven't done much with it but it is also pretty nice.

        I look forward to your write-up.

  35. G
    April 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Looks great - but they still haven't fixed the crucial atheros wireless chipset bug that has been around for years... :(

    • Anonymous
      May 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      That's not their responsibility, if it were their responsibility they would have fixed it.

  36. Zden?k Hejl
    April 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks for summary. I love Unity panel, it is like Win7 panel. I like this functionality.

    • Keithh2009
      April 30, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      Did they fix the Nvidia Flicker ???

      • Zden?k Hejl
        April 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

        Don't know. I don't have Nvidia card.

  37. Oldgoat1957
    April 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I have been using Linux Mint for a while, and as it is based on Ubuntu I am curious to see what they will do with their next release (which is usually fairly soon after the Ubuntu release).

    • jhpot
      April 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      I think Mint will start using Unity eventually, but they may wait a couple of releases.

      • Anomaly
        May 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

        From what I have read they are sticking with the classic Gnome 2 desktop they use now. I have also been reading that they might actually move away from using Ubuntu as the base in future versions.

        • Diogo
          May 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

          Mint will have Gnome3 is this new release already

        • Anomaly
          May 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

          Yes, you are right about Gnome 3. I meant to say it won't be Gnome 3 Shell so there won't be a radical remake of the UI. It will be very similar to 2 from what I've read.

  38. Anonymous
    April 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    good review , thanks "Justin Pot"
    I can say that unity is success for canonical they did a good job.