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Ubuntu's Unity Still Crashes A Lot, Usability Problems

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  • #46
    Originally posted by deanjo View Post
    Rubbish, those same people adapt to other OS's as well. There would be a whole generation that would be stuck in MS-DOS if that was the case. XP worked, did the job and had a whole crapload of other users to help support it.
    People don't adapt to other OS's, have you seen the market share numbers for Windows? People instinctively react negatively to change, regardless of whether the change is positive or negative. Take website design, for example. When a big site changes the design, it almost always gets hit by a wave of negative response by users. People are used to navigating one way, and all of a sudden they have to stop and think to get anything done. Fast forward a month, and everyone loves the new design and can't figure out how they lived without it before. MS went through the same thing - everyone hated Vista, and then a few years later people had gotten used to it by the time Win7 came out.

    Now XP did work reasonably well. But you can't ignore the fact that it's extremely hard to get non-technical people to move away from what they are used to.

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    • #47
      ^ Nope, even after all these months, I still hate win7 UI and the new phoronix forums design.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
        Well, a few things:

        Look at the specifications for the test system that Canonical used for this study. This is a typical Lenovo business laptop with fairly high-quality components, but the IGP is an Intel "HD Graphics". This tells me it's in the G45 family most probably, since the i3-370M is not a Sandy Bridge CPU. So this Intel IGP is in its prime right now: Intel has had years to work on the G45 generation's drivers; Intel IGPs continue to be immensely popular; and it has all the hardware features you could want for supporting something like Unity. It's a much more advanced chip than the 965G generation that preceded it, and it's been on the market much longer than the Sandy Bridge chips that, if they had used those, I'd have understood the crashiness to be a driver problem this early in the SNB game.

        But, I've been running Fedora 15 Alpha using Gnome 3.0 and Gnome-Shell on my Lenovo ThinkPad X61T for close to two weeks now. The only things that have crashed are the Humble Indie Bundle games, and PulseAudio. Gnome-Shell has never crashed, and the PC has been on and in-use 8 to 20 hours per day. I'm using the open source graphics drivers on the 2.6.38 kernel, just like Ubuntu Natty would do. What's the difference? No Unity, no Compiz -- Gnome-Shell and Mutter instead.

        The performance is also fantastic, even with the X61T's aging 965GM chipset. Transitioning from a maximized browser window to a gnome-shell window present (tap the Super / Windows key, similar to Unity) is smooth as silk. Now on my Radeon HD5970, the same transition does lag a bit sometimes, but I chalk that up to performance issues in r600g yet to be resolved :P

        But on both chipsets, with Unity, I can get the same rate of crashes, drops in FPS (noticeable lag when hovering over icons), and lag when viewing the "Present" view of open windows, as reported in the usability study. So I'm basically one more person able to confirm the problems with Unity, and I've tested on both r600g and i965 classic.

        And don't think the binary drivers are any better, either. ATI's support for Unity in Catalyst is still pretty rough around the edges; they made a release specifically to get it minimally working on Unity, but they admitted that there are still defects and crashers present. I've tried the same Catalyst driver on Fedora 15, and while still being woefully proprietary, it does indeed work well with Mutter and Gnome-Shell.

        I can't speak to the NVidia binary driver as I don't own an Nvidia card.... but if the Nvidia binary driver is the only driver that works well with Unity, that's still a really big problem. The percentage of people who (a) have an Nvidia card and (b) know how to get the proprietary drivers working is probably about 20 - 30% of all Ubuntu desktop users, conservatively. Don't believe me? Look at the past Phoronix Linux Graphics Surveys, where some 80% of users just run whatever driver is installed by default in their distro. What's that for Nvidia cards? Nouveau, am I right? How well does Nouveau cope with Unity? Fermi cards?

        All that aside, I 100% agree with you that Unity can rock. Any software can be trivially said to have the potential to be excellent at some point in the future, because no software is ever barred from the possibility of future enhancement, refactoring, etc.

        And indeed, Unity is already doing things that would predispose it to rock in the near future. But will it be near enough for Natty? I still have my reservations!
        Hmm, guess ur right natty might not be a very shiny release after all, but the development rate will help unity to be super polished by 11.10. Natty may be a forgettable release like karmic where they introduced a lot of changes under the hood but was a disaster in terms of hardware issues, but look at lucid it really set the standards. I think 11.10 will be a release where unity would shine.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by deanjo View Post
          XP worked, did the job and had a whole crapload of other users to help support it.
          Then go away and use XP if you love it so much.
          You're obviously too young to remember that nice Lovesan virus. Oh, that was great: Distributing to XP computers without any user interaction. Fresh XP install and before one could even download any updated, boom! PC shuts down.
          The only two workarounds were either to record a new XP installation CD and manually slipstream released updates to that medium or to download the updates via an unaffected OS, record them on CD, unplug the wired network connection and reinstall XP from scratch. Neither is user friendly in any way.

          I've seen lots of people talking about Win2000 like you do about XP. XP was perceived as downgrade to a sluggish and crash-prone Fisher Price OS while Win2k was the OS that “just worked”.

          It took MS many years of bugfixing, Service Packs, and hardware evolution (faster CPUs, more RAM) to get XP from completely crap to somewhat bearable.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Awesomeness View Post
            It took MS many years of bugfixing, Service Packs, and hardware evolution (faster CPUs, more RAM) to get XP from completely crap to somewhat bearable.
            And yet it has 30% of the Desktop market in the US and 47% globally...

            http://www.winmatrix.com/forums/inde...-market-share/

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            • #51
              So? Feel free to use it if you think it's any indication of a good OS. Linux hat ~1%, so it must be bad then……

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Awesomeness View Post
                Then go away and use XP if you love it so much.
                You're obviously too young to remember that nice Lovesan virus. Oh, that was great: Distributing to XP computers without any user interaction. Fresh XP install and before one could even download any updated, boom! PC shuts down.
                The only two workarounds were either to record a new XP installation CD and manually slipstream released updates to that medium or to download the updates via an unaffected OS, record them on CD, unplug the wired network connection and reinstall XP from scratch. Neither is user friendly in any way.

                I've seen lots of people talking about Win2000 like you do about XP. XP was perceived as downgrade to a sluggish and crash-prone Fisher Price OS while Win2k was the OS that “just worked”.

                It took MS many years of bugfixing, Service Packs, and hardware evolution (faster CPUs, more RAM) to get XP from completely crap to somewhat bearable.
                Maintenance of the system has nothing to do with the overall user interface and usability of the system. I don't care how easy the system is to maintain, if my day to day productivity is hindered by crappy design it's a crappy os. The inverse is not true; a system that is difficult to maintain but very easy to use will catch on because most people don't care about maintenance, let alone do it daily. The (unfortunately) dive into the car analogies, people aren't going to skip buying a car simply because it takes 12 hours to replace brakes.

                XP was not popular when it came out because most users were still on 98/ME and skipped 2000 (rightfully so, because 2000 was not intended for a casual home user). People were delusional that their 3 or 4 year old PCs could upgrade to with the same speed a new OS, let alone switch from a DOS based OS to an NT based one, which always had steeper requirements. 2000 users derided it as a "Fisher Price" OS because the biggest additions over 2000 were Cleartype, the "fancy" themes, and more brightly color icons. XP's increased crashes were from the consumer items it picked up from the 98/ME lines; 2000 users had a more bug free experience as their hardware had been supporting the NT driver model for several years.

                At any rate, as you said, it took years for Microsoft to perfect XP. Canonical decided LAST FALL that "Hey, we're going to ruin 11.04 by building a GUI for which we don't even have specs for yet." Some might call that admirable, I call that a failure to understand the software development process. KDE 4's first release was in January 2008; they had their first alpha release in May 2007. That's 8 full months of actual testing; 8 months ago nobody even knew Canonical was going to do this! And even after that, KDE 4 was wrought with bugs that tooks years to get ironed out.

                That's what's wrong with Canonical. It might be considered ambitious but it reeks to me of amateurism.

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                • #53
                  Yep, they are ruining things every single release yet putting out awesome products that are getting more and more widely used - growing at rates no other Linux-based OS has ever seen on the desktop (and fairing not too poorly in the cloud and home/small business servers, while at it!).

                  Real amateurs, they are.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Vadi View Post
                    Yep, they are ruining things every single release yet putting out awesome products that are getting more and more widely used - growing at rates no other Linux-based OS has ever seen on the desktop (and fairing not too poorly in the cloud and home/small business servers, while at it!).

                    Real amateurs, they are.
                    You're extrapolating their use of and growth under Gnome 2, which has almost a decade of refinement and bug fixing, to a homegrown 6 month old project that hasn't even seen version 1? Tell me, what other DEs have they authored, maybe I missed this. The closest thing they have done is MAYBE the notification popups, and that's magnitudes away from an entire DE.

                    What part of amateurs am I missing?

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                    • #55
                      Are you saying that the already-released Gnome 3 that has had zero usability studies done on it, compared to Unity's which is going head-to-head with it and has had already two performed, is amateur UX work?

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Vadi View Post
                        Are you saying that the already-released Gnome 3 that has had zero usability studies done on it, compared to Unity's which is going head-to-head with it and has had already two performed, is amateur UX work?
                        Nope. Gnome 3 dev group wrote Gnome 2, right?

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                        • #57
                          That's the point. They also performed no user testing, and their DE is on equal par in all discussions so far on the net. So why exactly is one way worse than the other in terms of development quality?

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Vadi View Post
                            That's the point. They also performed no user testing, and their DE is on equal par in all discussions so far on the net. So why exactly is one way worse than the other in terms of development quality?
                            Because they're not packaging Gnome 3 as the default desktop environment for the distribution with one of the largest user bases when two weeks before the final release it's still in alpha shape.

                            Ship Unity now as an opt in, not opt out choice. Label it as beta, which it is. Target it for full release in the next LTS. It is Canonical's first attempt at anything like this. Forcing something clearly flawed on users is something people do when they know it won't be taken up en mass on its own merits (See Explorer, Internet).

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                            • #59
                              Okay, get back to me two weeks after the shipping with user feedback on Unity.

                              I've actually been using it consistently, and they have been making by-daily progress on fixing a lot of things, and listening to user and usability feedback. For those who are in the "in-testing" crowd, your current stance reflects the community's as it was about... two or so weeks ago. Things, today, are much different and I myself have no doubt they know what are they doing with their go-ahead on this awful, downright forced, paradigm shift that everyone has been waiting for.

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                              • #60
                                Breaking: Beta software crashes, news at 11

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