Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Ubuntu's Unity Still Crashes A Lot, Usability Problems

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ubuntu's Unity Still Crashes A Lot, Usability Problems

    Phoronix: Ubuntu's Unity Still Crashes A Lot, Usability Problems

    A week ago a discussion began on the Ubuntu development mailing list whether Ubuntu 11.04 should ship with Unity or the classic GNOME desktop as many people are concerned about the state of the Canonical-developed desktop and shipping it too prematurely. While it looks like they'll continue using Unity since they went ahead and released Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 2 yesterday without any change, they have some published some rather frightening results from their user testing...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTMzMw

  • #2
    Originally posted by phoronix View Post
    Usability Problems
    No, no, no.
    Ubuntu fanboys always tell us Canonical is the only one who understands usability.

    Comment


    • #3
      I might switch back to Debian with the direction that Ubuntu has been moving... I installed beta 1 and not only did my desktop look like shit when I first booted up (lots of graphic corruption), my whole desktop crashed within 5 minutes. I thought that I would give it a chance and switch over to using the propriety drivers (AMD), but the situation was worse, the crashes happened right away. Fortunately, I was able to figure out to switch back to using metacity, and my system has been much more usable.

      If Ubuntu pushes ahead with releasing Unity, I will be forced to tell the numerous people that I provide support to to not upgrade to save me the hassle. Go ahead and release a buggy product Mark, and watch your user base disappear.

      Comment


      • #4
        This was my first thought: http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/stickers/327b/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Awesomeness View Post
          No, no, no.
          Ubuntu fanboys always tell us Canonical is the only one who understands usability.
          Yeah, that's nonsense. This news clearly shows Canonical has no idea how to improve usability. They rather shouldn't do these kind of tests, so nobody learns about the usability problems unexperienced users run into, so nobody can complain. It works out for gnome-panel, gnome-shell and KDE after all.


          Originally posted by sandain View Post
          I might switch back to Debian with the direction that Ubuntu has been moving... I installed beta 1 and not only did my desktop look like shit when I first booted up (lots of graphic corruption), my whole desktop crashed within 5 minutes. I thought that I would give it a chance and switch over to using the propriety drivers (AMD), but the situation was worse, the crashes happened right away. Fortunately, I was able to figure out to switch back to using metacity, and my system has been much more usable.

          If Ubuntu pushes ahead with releasing Unity, I will be forced to tell the numerous people that I provide support to to not upgrade to save me the hassle. Go ahead and release a buggy product Mark, and watch your user base disappear.
          Yeah, I completely agree. I've tried Ubuntu 5.04 Alpha 2 six years ago and it crashed, so I really can't recommend Ubuntu to any of my friends.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is *some* FUD here

            I have been following unity development for a while now, and with an nvidia card crashes has almost disappeared in the last few unity updates. I guess most people use mac osx to compare usability in other interfaces, let me tell when I first tried mac (it was just leopard) it took a lot of time to find my applications menu.

            I think with some more bug squashing unity can be made crash free, and some changes to the applications lens it *can* rock.

            Comment


            • #7
              Here is what the participants of the usability test had to say about unity https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ub...il/002973.html its mostly positive

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by babai View Post
                I have been following unity development for a while now, and with an nvidia card crashes has almost disappeared in the last few unity updates. I guess most people use mac osx to compare usability in other interfaces, let me tell when I first tried mac (it was just leopard) it took a lot of time to find my applications menu.

                I think with some more bug squashing unity can be made crash free, and some changes to the applications lens it *can* rock.

                Quote me the FUD.

                Unity does not work for me as of Beta 1. If I get the chance to futz around with my desktop some more, I'll try it again with Beta 2, but don't hold your breath.. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say.

                My experience with Unity says that it is not ready for prime time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As i said above that unity has improved a lot on getting rid of the crashes in last few releases, after the beta 1 there has been i think atleast 2 unity releases. Install the beta 2, update to the newest and see for urself. I'm not saying the crashes have gone, but they have certainly removed a lot of serious bugs. There is also two weeks left, hope they can get rid of most of them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Luckily Kubuntu 11.04 has been quite stable since Alpha 3.

                    I suspect Xubuntu and Lubuntu are the same way. The main experimentation and breakage seems to have been around Ubuntu. Due to strange/improperly unexplained decisions starting with 10.04's UI, I've been behind Kubuntu instead for a fully featured Desktop Environment as it finally stabilised with KDE 4.5.

                    Kubuntu 11.04 is FAST and snappy. Largely thanks to the 2.6.38 kernel combined with KDE 4.6.2 which has fixed most of the issues I've had with KDE 4.x in the past. One nice thing about Linux - if you don't like the Desktop Environment switch. If the distro has reached the "bad" tipping point, switch. Lot more flexibility than Mac or Windows where for better or worse you're pretty stuck with whatever comes out that year. Some years are good (Win7, XP) some years bad (Vista, WinME).

                    Ubuntu Gnome all the way to 10.10 was making nice/steady improvements overall (except for the decision around the buttons moving to the left in 10.04). I understand having to do something (with Gnome 3 being the next KDE4 release), but I would have preferred if they had switched to KDE and applied the same level of effort to helping KDE fix issues and add features with the now stable KDE. Particularly since Ubuntu is going the QT route anyway.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have been using ubuntu 11.04 since beta 1 and its been nothing but problems with this damned Unity interface, from crashes to bugs, i already knew it was going to be a problem for new users who upgrade or do an install but keep their /home folder intact when upon login there was no Unity interface just the mouse cursor and the desktop wallpaper, turns out Unity doesnt like you upgrading or doing an install with your previous saved/custom settings and so doesnt play nice and just drops you into Ubuntu with no panels etc.
                      So i am not surprised with this result, 11.04 is a beta test for 12.04 and possibly 11.10 you should only use it because of the switch to the new interface and you will need to be familiar with it and to force Unity on us they plan to do away with gnome 2 which isnt such a loss as gnome itself has already done away with it but the fact there will be no fall back interface if Unity dies on you, by default in 11.04 Unity 2D is not installed so you dont even have that if Unity3D dies or doesnt work.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by d2kx View Post
                        Yeah, that's nonsense. This news clearly shows Canonical has no idea how to improve usability. They rather shouldn't do these kind of tests, so nobody learns about the usability problems unexperienced users run into, so nobody can complain. It works out for gnome-panel, gnome-shell and KDE after all.
                        That they performed the study is extremely useful -- as a reference point for future versions of Ubuntu. That they didn't publish it prior to making a decision about Gnome 2 or Unity for Natty? This greatly diminishes the value of the study. Particularly because many of the usability issues that are genuine defects will have been fixed by the time we need to make the same decision again for Oneiric.

                        I have the sneaking suspicion that this study was done and reported internally within Canonical in the days prior to the open discussion on the lists about Unity vs Gnome2 for Natty, but they deliberately withheld it from the public because they knew that the results would damn Unity in the eyes of the public and make it very difficult to proceed with Unity in Natty.

                        Of course, I could be wrong, and maybe they literally just finished the study mere days after the closing of the discussion on the lists. This would just be a matter of unfortunate timing. I can understand the desire to conduct a UX study using relatively stable software beneath (to get useful results, you know), but if you conduct it so late in the ballgame that its worth is greatly diminished, then why do it?

                        Unless those crashers are 100% reproducible on all systems and completely obvious, chances are good that they won't be fixed before release. Two or three weeks is not a long time in software engineering. Not to mention that quite a lot of enhancement requests could plausibly be filed in response to the data gathered from the study, and without those enhancements Unity would seem quite "rough", and you see where I'm going with this.


                        Originally posted by d2kx View Post
                        Yeah, I completely agree. I've tried Ubuntu 5.04 Alpha 2 six years ago and it crashed, so I really can't recommend Ubuntu to any of my friends.
                        But what does the sarcasm add to the table? I agree that we all need to just keep trying Unity over and over, even if it breaks, because we're enthusiasts and the distros rely upon us to provide our honest feedback. But if that honest feedback is negative, it shouldn't be interpreted as childish or invalid. Sometimes software really does suck, and you have to face it down and decide if it's a good idea to release it like that. I would say not, but apparently Canonical thinks otherwise.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Good thing Gnome 3 did zero usability studies.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Fantastic :-)

                            Canonical must be just about the only Linux distribution that has the guts to carry out these tests and publish the results (even if they are bad). :-)

                            I do not believe that Unity is ready for the general public, yet. But I am sure that, thanks to the results of this study, Unity is the right way to go. Developers need this kind of feedback.

                            I would like to see the same happen with KDE, GNOME, Enlightenment, etc ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by babai View Post
                              I have been following unity development for a while now, and with an nvidia card crashes has almost disappeared in the last few unity updates. I guess most people use mac osx to compare usability in other interfaces, let me tell when I first tried mac (it was just leopard) it took a lot of time to find my applications menu.

                              I think with some more bug squashing unity can be made crash free, and some changes to the applications lens it *can* rock.
                              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!

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X