Linux Windows

Unity vs. Modern UI: Should You Choose Ubuntu Or Windows 8?

Danny Stieben 06-08-2014

For a good amount of people, Windows and Linux can both do everything that a user needs Making Linux a Genuine Windows Replacement With Windows 8 casting a long shadow over the PC industry and Valve committing to create Linux-based gaming PCs, there's never been a better time to start using Linux. For many users, the Linux desktop... Read More . For those who this applies to, the choice between Windows 8 and Ubuntu can primarily come down to the user experience, which is largely attributed to the desktop environment.


Windows 8 uses the Modern UI, and Ubuntu uses Unity Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux It'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. Canonical decided... Read More . Let’s compare the two to see which one is better for you.

Desktop Requirements

A desktop environment needs to do the following:

  • Allow you to manage your windows easily and efficiently
  • Allow you to launch other programs that aren’t currently running
  • Search for other functions on your computer such as system settings
  • Search for information online and present it clearly
  • Be well designed and look great

Manage Windows Efficiently


Windows allows you to manage your open windows using a taskbar that’s along the bottom of your screen by default. However, you can move it to any other screen edge that you want. Ubuntu does something very similar, but it’s stuck to the left edge of the screen. Both also allow you to automatically hide the taskbar/panel which allows you to access these features while maximizing screen space.

Winner: Windows 8


Launching Applications

Launching applications is also pretty similar between the two operating systems. You can pin favorites to the taskbar/panel on both. Unity shows recently opened applications by default in the Dash, and the start screen shows all installed applications. In Unity, it is possible to see all installed applications, but it’s a bit hard to find the “See all applications” button.

Winner: Windows 8

Searching Through The System


Searching for things like system settings should be easy too, as you might need to access them to enable some hardware or make it behave the way you want. In Windows 8 you have to open then right charm bar and choose Control Panel, or open up the start screen and type out “control panel” in order to get to the settings. You could also right click on any system icon in the icon tray (such as WiFi) to access those specific settings. In Ubuntu, you can access the system settings from the power menu, or you can search for specific settings within the Dash.


Winner: Tie

Search Online From Desktop


Being able to search for information online straight from the desktop can make life a whole lot easier. Ubuntu does this extremely well, as you can just search for anything straight from the Dash, and a number of different lenses offer functionality to turn all of your search queries into actual results. Wikipedia, Amazon, the weather, and so much more can be looked through straight from the Dash. Windows 8, on the other hand, doesn’t really have any of this.

Winner: Ubuntu


Design and Looks


Both Windows 8 and Ubuntu look pretty great, so it’s hard to say whether one is “prettier” than the other. As far as design goes, I believe that Ubuntu’s makes more sense. In Windows, the start screen separates you completely from the desktop, and Metro apps do not integrate very well with regular desktop apps at all. All Ubuntu apps integrate well with each other, however, and the Dash doesn’t take you away from the desktop.

Winner: Ubuntu

The Results: Unity Vs Modern UI

So after five rounds, it’s still a tie. And I think that’s deserved, because both desktop environments are pretty good. Sure, there are a lot of people who gripe about them too, but overall they’re fairly equal. If you choose either one out of these two choices, you won’t have anything to worry about. If you aren’t happy with a tie and need an absolute winner, then consider the winner to be Ubuntu’s Unity primarily because you can get it for free.


Additionally, don’t forget that Unity isn’t the only choice for a desktop environment on Linux — there are plenty of other Linux desktop environments to check out The 12 Best Linux Desktop Environments Choosing a Linux desktop environment can be difficult. Here are the best Linux desktop environments to consider. Read More .

Which do you like more, the Modern UI or Unity? If neither, what then? Let us know in the comments!

Related topics: Ubuntu, Windows 8.

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  1. Sinclair
    January 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    There is a lot to be said for both OS's I use both. For me Windows in whatever flavor is everywhere thanks to savvy marketing and some very aggressive sales strategies. I'm a bit geeky so I use Linux at home simply because (besides games) it's a thousand percent more versatile. With regards to the 90% market share comments I would say it's hard to measure the market share of something that's free but most of you will already know that the fastest research machines in the world run some kind of Linux distro more often than not.
    I think the truth is if you aren't particularly computer savvy then Windows is great. It has virtually no learning curve and even a monkey can use it. If you want a fully customizable OS that's free and can be made as simple or as complicated as possible then Linux distro's have to be your bag baby.
    My partner uses windows almost exclusively knows nothing about computers but can jump on my Linux machine and do what she needs just as easily as she can in Windows.
    My conclusion would be if you want an idiot proof box (and most of us do) then Windows is for you.
    If computers are of interest to you and you want to push out all the boundaries you can't beat Linux.

    • Anonymous
      September 20, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      If someone jumped (literally) on your machine, it'd be smashed to smithereens.

  2. Rupert Taylor
    September 5, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I do not like either of the options presented here, instead through my investigations, have found LinuxMint 17 Cinammon Edition to provide a beautiful desktop experience which allows me to create, explore and archive all my work equally if not better than the options presented here. What is the #1 exploited operating system and most at risk for probable compromise? Windows is. If you really care about your privacy and security, Windows is the last operating system you would want. But I guess it's hard to leave the slums when all your friends are there too, huh?!!

  3. masoud
    August 26, 2014 at 11:26 am

    i will choose modern ui not because of the ui itself. i will choose it because i can run applications i need on it but i can't run them on ubuntu. i wonder if i see any photo editor as powerful as photoshop.
    and not only photoshop but many other apps i need and they are not available on ubuntu and the alternative apps are socks.

    sorry for my bad en.

  4. Masimus
    August 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    I have used windows from windows 95 until 8.1, it evolved and it is a good OS with many aplications, and very good for gamers, multimedia and browsing, But so has become linux lately and Doesn't cost a penny! However as many say, when using Metro on "not touch displays" ... it is more dificult! Navigating windows has become more difficult due to Metro! Metro is for touch and not for "Mouse users"! I personaly like my desktop with big and multy display's so when i passed from Win 7 to 8 was a bad experience!
    Linux was hard to settup in early versions, but recently it is "out of box", some little adjustments here and there, diferent from sistems(bumblebee for Nvidia Optimus for example)! But isn't a pain in windows when the message of error apear that your driver is not compatible with a game and the new one is bugy for the one that worked flawlesly before???!!!
    I personaly dont like Unity, so i use KDE or Cinnamon(those i like most).
    Personalizing the workspace, linux is a pro! Stability and almost no crashes go for linux, sory windows lovers, windows crush alott for me when i have most fun in games and i have to be carefully to save my work every 5 minutes not to lose hours of work because of the bugy OS! Conections stability and speed again goes for linux, windows disconect always and the speed is better in browsing or downloading in linux! Linux has same speed always even after an year or more of use, windows goes slowly every day and after 6 months for me it is at 50% from when i started using it! When talking about programing i like linux more for it's stability and even speed of manouvering the datta in many cases! Viruses and trojans, backdoors ... here i guess windows has more because it is more "popular"(microsoft must have some aranjements with the PC producers or just with the maketing managers) ... let's not judje, business is business. Speaking of it, making your desktop from parts and using linux gave you the possibility to buy better hardware with the monney you would normaly have to pay for OS, sorry windows , Linux is still FREE!
    In the end i like more Linux, lately has no problems with graphic incompatibility as before, many windows programs even work on linux more and more(thanx to Wine and other same programs). Lately i use windows Only For Games! When there will be no problem for those to work well on linux, i will pass completely to linux!

    This is my opinion and every one can use wethever they like and do werever they want!
    Sorry for my bad english, as you can guess i am not a "native english"!

  5. hotshot1
    August 9, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Just my 2 cents worth for anyone that wants to try linux:

    I recommend that you make an image of your drive in case you do not like Ubuntu or want to try other versions of Linux.
    Restoring your drive from an image file is much faster than doing a complete install from scratch.

    You can burn a DVD or create a bootable flash drive to run or install linux. (You can make a bootable flash drive with several different small standalone programs. You run the program and point it to the iso image. I like using my desktop because the files are easy to find)

    NOTE: You can run the live dvd or bootable flash drive without installing linux.

    I first let Ubuntu install as a dual boot system alongside of Windows.
    Later I took the plunge and did a FULL install of Ubuntu.

    I actually did the install at a coffee shop on the wifi. It was a flawless install.
    Ubuntu also downloaded all available updates during the install.

    My laptop is an older 2Ghz Dual Core machine
    (It's fast enough for anything I wish to do)

  6. Billybob T
    August 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Let's face facts. Both interfaces really suck. I have to use Windows at work and feel extremely fortunate that the government is still stuck on Windows 7. At home, Linux Mint Cinnamon is my flavor of choice, simply because Unity is the most difficult thing to navigate for someone that got used to Linux with a Gnome desktop.

    • Paul
      August 9, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      "Unity is the most difficult thing to navigate for someone that got used to Linux with a Gnome desktop."
      And doesn't want to spend an hour learning Unity or lacks any ability to adapt.
      One day you may have to.You won't always have out of date tech to fall back on.

  7. Bruce Barnes
    August 8, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I think this article was somewhat biased towards Windows and I've used Microsoft since DOS 5.
    Here are what I consider to be major advantages for Ubuntu:

    1. The Software Center makes it super-easy to find and install apps.
    2. System and app updates all covered in one update app.
    3. No real need for anti-virus software and the weekly scans.
    4. Doesn't slow down over time.
    5. It's FREE and easy to install and it's even compatible with Win. in that it can read its partitions and Wine can run a lot of Windows programs.

    • dragonmout
      August 8, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      And when a user installs Ubuntu, as well as all popular Linux distros, all applications that an average user might need are installed for FREE. No need to purchas an Office suite, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc.

  8. Ehab
    August 8, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I have been using Windows ever since I was introduced to a computer. Last school year, however, I had to use a Mac for a full semester. I did not like Mac at all. It was slow, and felt like you had to be really familiar with it in order to navigate it sufficiently. Around the same time, it was announced that Windows XP was not going to be supported anymore. On its last day of support I switched to Ubuntu. It was a huge improvement! I did not think my computer could be so fast. Its booting time improved a lot, and was super easy to use. And that reaction was from ~10 days of usage, as opposed to the full semester of Mac usage. Keep in mind that I have never used both of these systems before. Right now, I have a windows 8.1 Laptop along with my Ubuntu computer, and even though I feel that they are both equal, I think that Linux is much better.

  9. Bobbie Sellers
    August 8, 2014 at 1:43 am

    Hah! Both suck majorly for me.
    KDE is the way to go and specifically the KDE using distribution using the old Mandriva
    style Computer Central Control usually called by mcc in terminal or menu with root
    The 'buntus hate root and use sudo to try to get around that hatred but the setting
    are widely distributed in Canonical so that the program you need to correct a setting
    may be unknown to the users. Lubuntu is the best of the main 'buntus.

    I am using Mageia 4.1 now after a tussle with Kubuntu which ended in a loss of
    KDE though lets you have multiple virtual desktops or only one which was the setup
    I used on a 15 year old Dell Inspiron 4000 with 8 megabytes of video ram. I went to the
    one desktop because it was an old XP and I figured it could not handle a heavy graphics
    KDE has similar control of Virual Desktops thru a pager on a task bar with the icons named
    or numbered. You can start programs as mentioned from a virtual terminal or a menu bar.
    You can have up to 4 task bars which you can learn to move around as you please.
    Currently I have two vertical invisible bars which only show the icons and other widgets
    floating to either side of my screen.

    But the read reason that KDE is great is its programs like Dolphin the file manager
    which can have multiple panes and tabs. Kate the advanced text editor suitable for
    programming or other work. I could go on ranting but I am old and ready for supper.

    • Dale M
      August 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Sudo use is to keep your system secure. DON'T use root directly to keep your system secure. With sudo you issue the root command then root goes to "sleep". Any other way of administering your system and your asking for trouble.

    • dragonmout
      August 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      "Sudo use is to keep your system secure. "
      Yeah, real secure. If somebody cracks your user password, they have access to root functions through "sudo". Considering that many *buntu users set up an autologin because they can't be bothered to type in a password, cracking the password is not even necessary. Anybody walking by has immediate access to root through "sudo." *buntu's "sudo"setup is pseudo secure.

      OTOH, if a distro has a real root userid with its own password, a hacker has to crack two passwords. Even with user autologin, a root password still has to be supplied to access root function.

  10. Max
    August 8, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Suddenly (after test another HD) my computer no longer accepts the grubii have to use F12 and select the drive manually to my MB GA-H81m-h, identify the Lubuntu.
    Gigabyte said they do not support linux!

  11. Mary Brady
    August 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I like the fact that Ubuntu is free. Anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge can set up and use Linux. Thus far, I have installed a Linux distribution on an old 40 GB hard drive computer which previously had Windows XP. On my laptop w/ Windows 7, I have dual booted Ubuntu 14.4 Am now taking the edX free course to learn how to use the Linux command line and graphic interface. The only caveat to a great experience w/ Linux is that some certain printers and scanners do not have drivers compatible w/ Linux. (Although this also occurs w/ older hardware's drivers and Windows). Am a 60-something Granny, so anyone can do Linux.

    • Dale M
      August 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      I like to hear this. As they say "Even an old dog can learn new tricks".
      Agreed on the older hardware drivers issue.

    • Robert B
      August 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      If you have a printer that you cannot find a driver for when using Linux there is a possible solution, if you have a Brother, Canon, Epson or HP printer there is a company called ZEDOnet that started out many years ago writing printer drivers for the Commodore Amiga and since around 2000 or so for Linux.
      Their program called TurboPrint 2 has many printers that it supports and if your model is listed you can use a trial ware version to see if it will work before you purchase the program that currently costs $40 USD. I still use it because they have a driver for my fairly new Canon Pixma Pro 100 printer, and it is better than the windows driver that Canon provides. They have been working on a Windows version that is called PrintFab Windows that is currently under a free Beta test. I have both this driver and the official Canon driver installed and have found the color reproduction to be far more accurate with the PrintFab for Windows driver. They even have a color matching service that I think costs around $20.00 that you can use to receive a custom color profile for use with your printer. You print out a special test page that they send you when you purchase the service on there store, print it out on the paper that you normally use with your printer and mail it to them. They measure the colors that are printed and if they vary from their known values they generate a custom profile that is emailed to you that you add to your TurboPrint or PrintFab Windows to get you the most accurate results. They only deal with printers so if you have an all in one they will most likely have the driver but you are on your own with respect to getting your scanner working.

    • Robert B
      August 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Oh I also forgot to mention that if you have an older printer that is no longer supported by say Epson with newer drivers PrintFab Windows may have one that will work. I had an older Epson 1220 wide carriage printer that Epson stopped providing drivers for at Windows XP and this driver is on the list

    • techno
      August 8, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      This is the exact experience I think most people would have and I am glad it worked for you. Computer novices running anything Ubuntu based are probably not going to have a terribly hard time using it. Most everything has been thought out. I personally would recommend something like Zorin, Kubuntu, or Mint as an entry point so that the experience is as familiar and non-frightening as possible. I really think that the software centers of the different distributions are their main selling points.

  12. WEC
    August 7, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Modern UI is not for me, I installed ClassicShell to feel W8.1 comfortable for my needs.

    Unity brings the OS X like desktop to Linux, which is great and I like Ubuntu. It runs quick (14.04.1 - x64) on my old laptop purchased in 2007.

    Let's compare the software update process.

    - On Windows, all application has its own updater and runs in the background taking up resources. If you have MS Office 2013 installed, you will likely download 1~1.5 GB on every update Tuesday.

    - In Linux, there's only one updater which updates all your installed app. This approach is looking better to me.

  13. Karan
    August 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    If you are a computer enthusiast, check both OS else choose Windows. Linux apps are free but there are lots of other applications which are better, stable and free (for Windows Operating system).

  14. Robert B
    August 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I hate both of them and would not use either of them if they paid me to use them! For me my last windozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I will ever use is widows 7, as for Linux the desktops I will never use are Unity at the top of the list and then closely followed by Gnome 3. For now I use KDE, I am puzzled as to why you make it seem that Ubuntu is the only choice for Linux, it too is the last distro I would ever run! There are many that are far better than Ubuntu, with their too quick release schedule, I think it is now every 6 months. You the end user are doomed to always be running Alpha grade software and at the very best an early Beta release. For a very new Linux user I suggest using Mint Linux, preferably the one based on Debian, there are other very promising distros geared to the new Linux user however I am the most familar with Mint Linux. I quite frankly do not understand how and why Ubuntu is rated as the most popular, perhaps it is because of articles like this one which makes it seem that it is the only one that you should use and most Windows people are either too inexperienced to explore and are so used to not having a choice, especially when it comes to the UI that is presented by an OS. Perhaps instead of this type of article you could spark interest in exploration when it comes to Linux and show just how easy it is to install and to use many different desktops all from a base install of Linux say Mint Linux or Debian or Sabayon Linux. I currently have E17 or is it currently E18, KDE, LXDE, Fluxbox, and a custom desktop based on the Openbox window manager that I am working on. You might want to explain to the many new Linux users just what makes up a desktop environment and that if we are willing to put in a little effort that we do not have to be satisfied with any of the canned Desktops and by selecting our favorite window manager and other various utilities for example, ones that draw icons on the desktop, wifi and bluetooth configuration, multimedia apps (VLC is a good choice even on Windows), clipboard utilities etc. By learning of all the various different elements and using many of them you quickly find that there are many that work far better than the ones provided in a pre canned desktops like Gnome, Kde and Unity for example and when you are all done you will have a desktop environment that is uniquely yours and usually far less demanding on system resources than the other environments currently on offer.

    • Dale M
      August 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Robert B, you do realize that Mint is a Ubuntu variant?
      I will agree that Unity and Gnome3 suck.
      I prefer LXDE or Gnome2 (Classic).

    • Robert B
      August 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Yes I am aware that some of their offerings are based on Ubuntu, however I recommended that you use the Debian based Mint not the regular Mint. One of the things I also do not like about Ubuntu is that their search engine phones home (back to Canacol sp?) everything that you search for, even if it is only when you are looking for something that is on your local system. And they share it with Google so Google can send the end user targeted ads and send money to Canacol. Ubuntu used to be based on Debian, how ever a few years ago they began suffering from the need to reinvent the wheel and diverged from the base Debian so it is a hit or miss proposition that a .deb file made for Ubuntu will probably not work with Debian and vice versa. I feel strongly that they should not have the right to use the .deb extension on their packages.

  15. Matthew
    August 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Modern/Metro versus Unity?

    One thing they share, is that they are both an acquired taste.. Ubuntu's move to Unity was not popular, but then Linux gives you the freedom to choose one of many that suit you better.

    If Microsoft had listened to users wanting the traditional start menu on their desktop, Windows 8 would have gained momentum as a desktop upgrade

  16. Troy Laquerre
    August 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Well Ben that is contingent on if you already have the file downloaded and the software to unpack it. I'm saying is Linux will go and find, download, install, and update, all from command line with just two commands.

  17. Troy Laquerre
    August 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Steps for installing software on Windows 8 vs Ubuntu.
    Windows 8:
    1. Find a download link somewhere on the net and hope it just the software and not just a bunch of spyware.
    2: Find the DL on your drive and update Antivirus before you scan sated download.
    3: If program is not in a .EXE format locate and install/update whatever archive manager its packed in.
    4: Now you can install it!
    5: Update program
    5: Send install file to the recycle bin and then dont forget to empty it.

    1. Open console and type "sudo apt-get install (name of program)
    2. Type "sudo apt-get update" Your done =) No desktop needed
    I was a loyal windows user from the days of Windows 3.1 until i made the switch. Im never going back.

    • BEN
      August 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      wrong. I can install an exe windows program in just two steps
      file explorer press file
      and install pop up yes or no
      press yes and installed package and installed successfully where as crappy unbuntu does not, gives too many packages becomes an invalid file and it refuses to install, what a crappy os. so your point is flawed

    • Rusty Raptor
      August 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

      actually you can just open the software center or synaptic package manager and find the program. This beats windows because all the software in the repo is safe and you can trust it. where as donloading from the web like that is dangerous,

  18. Uvarias Ur
    August 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    There is a MAJOR difference between Windows and ANY distribution of Linux.

    Windows gives the user ONLY 1 UI.

    Any LInux distribution allows the user to choose from several UI. These UIs currently consist of:
    • Gnome,
    •Gnome Classic,
    • Gnome flashback (Compiz),
    • Gnome flashback (Metacity),
    • KDE Plasma 4
    • KDE Plasma 5 , and
    • Unity (on Ubuntu).

    So on Windows there is ONLY 1 possibility, whereas on LInux there are 6 (or 7 on Ubuntu).

    That being said, referring to the Windows UI as 'Modern' is an obvious bias.

    Unity and Gnome (and I suspect KDE as well) are designed to work on ordinary CRTs, flat screens (of all aspect ratios), and touch screens. Can the Windows UI do all that?

    • Ja V
      August 8, 2014 at 12:53 am

      You forgot my favorite, Cinnamon. And I like Enlightenment too. Although on an old machine, LXDE flies like XP did (without the malware), and MATE is light too.

      Unity? seriously?? That's the worst Linux desktop for some people, although some like it. Thing is, Windows gives you little choice.

  19. James
    August 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I am steering clients that had XP to Zorin - very similar look to what they are used to.

  20. John
    August 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Windows 8 is awful. It simply continues the tradition of Microsoft releasing alternating good and terrible versions of Windows. Hopefully, Windows 9 will continue the cycle and be really good.

    I'll grant that there are improvements under the hood, but the UI is obnoxious, at best, unless one spends all one's time in the desktop, as I do. Given that, there's no reason to have moved off of Windows 7.

    The attempt to make a UI that works on every type of device is a dismal failure. The best that can be said is that it sucks less on some devices than others. There's a reason why Windows 7 is still available on new PCs and why Windows phones and tablets are barely a blip on the mobile device radar.

  21. Antonio N
    August 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Here are my thoughts. I like Windows 8. It does everything that you could ask for in a computer OS.

    I also want to tell people that having a Windows 8 computer and changing it to look like Windows 7 is not a good idea. I think that the earlier that they accustomed to the new interface the better off they will be. Windows 7 will last a few years yet, but I think it's going to be important for people to bite the bullet, learn the differences (Which aren't many) and go ahead with Windows 8. I'm hoping that Microsoft can keep the cost down, but only time will tell.

    Just my 2 cents.

  22. Vincent
    August 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    There is an error in the article. It tries to point out that internet searching on Ubuntu is easier and returns more results than in Windows 8. The author might not be aware of the Search Hero function in Windows 8.1, which only appears when you hit Enter on a charms bar search. This is tightly integrated with Bing and can be done from the Start screen just by immediately typing.

  23. Vincent
    August 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I am so tired of hearing people complain about the changes made to Windows 8. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be just a teensy bit unjustified in judging Windows 8 so quickly just because it's different?
    I think the quick judgement of people against Windows 8 is due to it being unfamiliar. It's just that you're scared, because there's something new that you don't understand. You don't like change, because you've been seeing things change so quickly for the past 25 years and you're just tired of it all. Give it a chance, and if you really don't like it, don't just assume that the changes are all bad. Changes are good, and in the case of Windows 8, they are for the most part.
    I would personally have Microsoft scrap the desktop and the old windowing system. The new windowing system that is used by Windows Store/Metro Apps is better:
    1) No overlaps. Overlapping windows do not make sense. Metro apps can be viewed side by side (albeit on smaller screens it is limited to two, which should really be fixed). Metro apps in this "windows" that automatically adjust size are much more powerful compared to the old desktop windowing system of overlapping windows that you have to resize manually and waste space and hide content below them.
    2) The Start Screen is good. I don't know why people hate it. It's just a full-screen start menu. Just ask yourself: what's so great about a little windowed menu pop-up? Nothing. But it's familiar. The Start Screen is so much better. It shows a greater number of apps, is more customizable, and although the horizontal orientation thing is weird, is by far easier to navigate. Your apps are listed from left to right. No stupid popup menus and hidden lists.
    3) Tiles are better than icons. They're basically widgets. Okay, so they're too big. But get the update and you can make them smaller. And leave in a few larger ones to show you live updates that are really helpful. I am hoping tiles will gain more interactivity in future, becoming more like widgets, but so far, so good.
    4) The charms bar is great. It's contextual and it's always there. It's much like the bar on top of Ubuntu ( I don't know what they call it) and its options change with the app. There are improvements that have to be made, like showing more clearly which app the charms are showing options for; or making it easier for keyboard and mouse users to access the charms bar; and adding more charms! But the separation of UI for in-app functionality and functionality bridging the app and the system is a logical and ultimately helpful choice.

    And those are just the UI side. There are tons more improvements--not just changes, but I would argue, improvements--in Windows 8.x. And until this day, Ubuntu still cannot beat the software selection, user-friendliness (and when I say user, I mean normal people who have never seen a command line interface and never want to; at least, not to install everyday software), and service-integration built into Windows.

    • techno
      August 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Interesting that you think linux users would be afraid of GUI change since there are myriad desktops people use in linux. We already more choices than Windows. It's not that we're afraid of it, we just don't like it. Most users apparently feel the same way. From a sysadmin perspective it's a nightmare, it's actually harder to administer and takes more clicks to get done what you were able to get done with less. The start screen is actually really significantly harder to use for non-touch users with lots of applications. Having to scroll through hundreds of applications to get to one, where a nested folder structure in a start menu made it far easier, is not a selling point to someone like me.

      The tiles like functionality has been available in widgets on every major operating system for a very long time. Applications such as conky or rainmeter, plasma and even windows desktop widgets provided that functionality before killing the product off due to lack of interest. Think about that, Microsoft themselves admitted people didn't use them willingly.

      It really sounds like you haven't used linux in a very long time and are afraid of it. I literally just did an install of Kubuntu, a variant of Ubuntu with a more standard desktop, without a single terminal command, all point and click. They even have a software center that brings the software to you. On top of that, you can run a very large amount of windows software on linux pretty easily, either directly through WINE or through an application called playonlinux which has a large number of games and applications already prebuilt, including Office, Photoshop, Acrobat, and Hearthstone. Is it the exact same number of supported applications? No, there are often some gaps if you're totally bought into MS or Apple ecosystems, but I don't think most casual users are there.

      I personally loathe the charms bar, I find it unnecessary and and a terrible interface with not enough context clues. Plainly, it doesn't fit into my already established workflow.

      Windows 8 has been out for years now and the adoption rate has been terrible, especially amongst enterprise, which is the bread and butter for MS. Most users do not find it more user friendly, and quite a few have found it significantly more difficult to use. While I won't begrudge you for your obviously supportive position of the GUI, the fact that Windows phone, Windows RT, and Windows 8 sales have all cratered, so much so that vendors are in an uproar, speaks to the fact that you may be in the minority in enjoying the features of the metro gui. I hope that they don't take the option from you to continue running it, if that's what you enjoy, but please don't knock an operating system that you're obviously unfamiliar with and have come into with preconceived notions. Linux as it is, is perfect for advanced and beginner users. I'd say that the hardest group to get adoption from would be intermediate users. People who are clever enough to hack on their systems, but not patient enough for the learning curve that comes with new software.

  24. Joel
    August 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

    All time windows user, been using elementary os for a few weeks, loving it!

  25. Violet Lightning
    August 7, 2014 at 7:11 am

    In Windows 8, I prefer using Classic Start Menu. On Ubuntu, I nix Unity and install GNOME. I doctor GNOME's UI w/some extensions that are a 'throw back' to GNOME 2. So, for me, GNOME (altered) is better than Windows 8 (altered). Unity is a no go. Ergo, between Metro or Unity; Metro is the winner.

  26. Burhan
    August 7, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Windows 8 UI maybe better than Unity, however Windows is not a better OS than Linux. I personally don't like both Unity and windows UI. I prefer more simple desktop and linux gives me such a choice, where windows doesn't.

  27. Shiva
    August 7, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Troubleshooting Windows OS is most friendly and English based....... In Linux, we need to search for the articles every time for the same problem... becoz, no one can remember commands for each problem..... I vote is for Windows, even if it is affected by virus... I have my steps to solve them safely even though there is no internet connection.....

    • Stefan
      August 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      well, if you use linux once a year, of course you can't remember each command, but if is your daily desktop, you'll always remember all you need. But Linux of 2014, especially ubuntu works out of the box without needing anything. There was a time when Linux was hard to fix and you could spend hours and even days for a solution, but not these days.
      Also when is about really hard bugs from the OS, in windows mostly all you can do is wait for Microsoft for a fix, but in Linux you can ask on a forum and fix it right away in some cases.

    • Stefan
      August 7, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      From a programmer point of view, Metro UI is painful and if you're working on a 15.6" laptop you're going crazy on windows. Workspaces, global menu, fast switch and moving windows between workspaces, hide/show terminal(Guake), lots of key combinations for shortcuts and others that I can't remember right now are some features that I can't live without not even to use my laptop for basic stuff. And on top of that add how hard and buggy can windows be when it comes to set a development machine. I must say that Ubuntu is doing a good job on this so far with Unity and no other UI is offering more working area than Unity unfortunately, at least for my needs.
      Also these days when you buy a laptop or computer with doesn't have windows preinstalled, you're forced to search on the producer website up to 2G of drivers and know all your computer components pretty well, while on linux all I had to do is to install bumblebee and bumblebee-gui to make nvidia work with optimus.
      All I'm using windows for these days are some games and compared to my linux desktop is very annoying (maybe because I'm used to press 2 keys and open/do what I need).
      But of course not everyone has crazy needs and need all kind of features, so each OS and UI is good for different group of people.
      The truth is, such posts of these, which is better, are just garbage. Each OS and each UI is the best for different groups of people. After all because of these needs we have so many OS and so many UI; at least for linux. Windows is closed source, so you get only what Microsoft wants (sorry windows guys), but even so are ways to make it look the way you want :D

  28. Mike
    August 7, 2014 at 5:47 am

    The advantage for me in using Linux is NOT having to use Unity. I can choose from Unity, Gnome, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, LXDE, XFCE, Enlightenment, etc., with just a few clicks. Every single element on the screen can be pretty easily customized, removed, or swapped out for something completely different. You can't do that nearly as easily with Windows 8, and definitely not with Microsoft's blessing. You have to use 3rd party hacks. With Linux, it's designed to be as flexible as you need it to be.

  29. a
    August 7, 2014 at 5:31 am

    I must say both are great UIs. I don't have any problems with either, but I must say Ubuntu kicks the crap out of windows for this reason: I can get a install a new UI if I want to in just a minute or two. Bam! Just like that I've got lubuntu or something.

    And on the subject of the metro: just like everyone says it's great for touch screens and crap everywhere else. It just isn't useful on my non-touch laptop with my mouse. The menus take up way too much space and have way too little information. No right clicking slows you down too. Windows 8 was a huge step backwards in the UI department. The menus in 7 just had way more information and gave you way more options. Take the network panel for instance. On 7 it took a little corner of the screen and had plenty of info. On 8 the panel takes a quarter of my screen and only has three buttons and a list of networks. 3 BUTTONS! One for airplane mode, one for WiFi, and one that brings me into the settings in that stupid full screen mode. Even that settings thing isn't as good as the little panel in 7. And why does anyone want to open settings in full screen?

    I hope M$ got the message and will bring us a more useful windows 7 like UI. Oh wait, Linux is kicking the crap out of everyone as of late. M$ is already dead, can't wait for the coming golden age of Linux.

    • BEN
      August 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      sorry Microsoft is alive and well. its not dead. Linux golden age never existed. Linux is still stuck at single digit marketshare lol. 90% still WINDOWS.

      • Anonymous
        September 20, 2015 at 2:55 pm

        You sound like those sheep who, if most people jumped of a cliff, would jump too, while saying:

        "Sane people is still stuck at single digit marketshare lol. 90% still JUMPING. Therefore it is BETTER LOL."

  30. appledan
    August 6, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Windows 8 UI is much better.

  31. dragonmouth
    August 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Inasmuch as I do not like Ubuntu, I would award it a landslide victory over Windows if only because of its security. Windows has a long way to go to match the security of Linux, let alone of BSD.

  32. Pieter
    August 6, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I'm using Windows 8.1 at home and Windows 7 at work. Out of those two I prefer 8.1. Compared to Unity (which I have used a little) I'd still prefer 8.1, mostly because I think it looks better and I absolutely hate it when the taskbar is to the side of the screen in stead of the bottom (or top).

    People who say Win 8.1 is only good for touch screens haven't used it enough. In Win 7 I don't use the start menu at all (except for the search function), in Win 8.1 I not only use the start menu, but I find it to be quite useful. I would like it if the start menu didn't fill the entire screen though.

  33. Howard B
    August 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    " Unity vs. Modern UI: Should You Choose Ubuntu Or Windows 8?" Neither; Windows 7 and Gnome Classic/MATE/Cinnamon are great, and already familiar.

  34. bben
    August 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    In my own experience, Windows 8 is the best reason I have found to switch to Linux. I have been working with windows since the very beginning - I recently helped a friend set up a new computer with Win8.1 - the word that occurs to me to best describe the experience is painful. It hurt to see just how badly the MS developers had shot themselves in the foot. I won't be getting Win 8 on any of my computers. I am steering anyone who asks about a replacement for WinXp directly to Ubuntu.

    Win 8 may be better for a touch screen pad or phone - but it was obviously never intended for a desktop environment. I have always liked Windows as an OS. I hope they come to their senses and make a better Win9.

    • Dark V
      August 6, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      I currently have win 8 and I like it - it's alot faster than 7, extra features etc... even installed it on my Lenovo Ideapad S10-2 -> netbook with 2 gb ram, and it works flawlessly, while win 7 is horribly sluggish (and before you say linux works faster - i know - i however use Visual Studio - which only works in windows)... my point being that win 8 is, for me, a great improvement to the OS

    • BEN
      August 7, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      from your experience, shows that you don't know how to use a simple UI, which is windows 8, which is fast and easy to use. Windows 7 is getting stale, Unbutu is one hopeless useless OS with lack of programs compared to the windows library of programs. So I rather stick to the computers of the 90% majority not the minority with 0.1 marketshare Linux.

      • Anonymous
        September 20, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        The majority is NOT always right.

    • zexxx
      August 9, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Ben, you dont know shit about computers do you? lol linux useless.. your phone running some kind of unix, your car, devices and home are smarter because of unix and only thing unix is still worse is gaming. But after steam that would be no truth also. visualstudio?lol lol lol trolololol

  35. Mahdi
    August 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    > Manage Windows Efficiently, Winner: Windows 8

    Really? All you said about Unity is what launcher is overall, but you know, you can switch between windows using
    * Alt-tab with Windows for each application — in Ubuntu, alt tab is not all about applications, it's about windows. You can switch between different windows' of an application.
    * Scrolling on Application Launcher
    * Double clicking on Application Launcher
    * Spread Window (Super+W)
    * Alt + ` which is an alt tab for the current Application

    And a lot more.

    > but it’s a bit hard to find the “See all applications” button.

    Can't say a thing about it, what's hard about it? Super + A, click on "Installed", there you go, was it hard?

    • Rusty Raptor
      August 9, 2014 at 11:34 am

      in Linux you can set the keys to do whatever you want. Your argument is invalid.

    • Lies
      November 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      also, you can cycle through windows, even tabs of an aplication on windows by using ctrl + tab

  36. Mathew P
    August 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I somewhat prefer Unity, but it still feels sluggish compared to Windows 8 on the same system.. :(

    • Dark V
      August 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      you could try LXDE or the one xubuntu uses (forgot how it's called :) ) - it should fix the sluggish behavior to being faster than win 8 :)

    • Zack McCauley
      August 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Try ElementaryOS. It's a fork of Ubuntu, and it runs great compared to it, while looking better in my opinion.

    • sanjay srikonda
      August 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Application support? Seems look and feel only get you a pretty desktop, but not if you can't run most applications that you'd use every day. Which one runs more common applications?

    • Mathew P
      August 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Most app I use nowaday are web-based, so one OS or the other doesn't really matter.

    • Ja V
      August 8, 2014 at 12:47 am

      Application support? Most Linuxes already come with most of the apps you need, and you can download others, usually for free, with a click of a button from the distro's repositories, which you know are safe.

    • Joe
      August 9, 2014 at 12:22 am

      My vote is without a doubt Gnu/Linux .

    • kamhagh
      November 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      I don't like this review! Its about simple stuff and not good!

    • Mat
      February 4, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Both are great, but Windows 8.1 is so beaultiful. I think there is something to do with the window format. There is no border and separators, it gets much cleaner.

      But I'm pretty sure this can be done in Ubuntu. Actually, I'm thinking about doing a new design myself, with this kind of window, in Unity.