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What's new in Ubuntu 19.04 (linuxuprising.com)
244 points by logix 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 283 comments

And here again, of course, they are going to change the behavior of default shortcuts in a totally unnecessary way (Alt-Tab, really?) and move settings in different places so that all of stackoverflow's answers become obsolete.

They also mention a "better" multi-monitor support. that scares me. I have a multi-monitor setup that works. I could do with a few more options but it works. Every change of behavior has required me to whack down some quirks. I am pretty sure the behavior when booting/rebooting with our without the screen connected, with or without the power plugged, is going to change in a way they found "logical, practical and intuitive" and that will waste me a few hours of correcting.

>(Alt-Tab, really?)

Yeah, but they're changing it _back_ to the way it should have been, and the way it used to be. Which is wayyyyyyyy better.

>They also mention a "better" multi-monitor support. that scares me. I have a multi-monitor setup that works. I could do with a few more options but it works.

I share your fear, but I have a multi-monitor setup that doesn't work. Half the the time I disconnect the monitor, all my windows get stranded in never-never land and I have to come up with some arcane way to rescue them from the desktop that isn't really there. So I don't think they have a particularly great framework with the status quo.

If you're running under Xorg, alt-f2, 'r', enter will get you your lost windows back.

For harder freezes I've been seeing where I can't interact with the GUI anymore, switching to a tty and running 'killall -3 gnome-shell' gives the best chance of recovering without losing all my processes.

Not excuses for the bugs, but best workarounds I have so far.

Funny, I read the "Alt-Tab" change and said "Finally!" I have a "scratch box" that I noodle around with and that I'm just running the stock desktop, and the alt-tab default was driving me crazy. It's unexpected, as someone who doesn't use it very often. (My normal desktop is i3wm).

As far as better multimonitor support, one of my coworkers has had a lot of problems with his third monitor, some kernels are working and some aren't. I have no problems with my 3 monitors, but again I3...

It really bears repeating and pointing out that a lot of the really awesome things about i3 "just works" in a way that Gnome has lost many years ago.

Considering its 'rough-hack-a-text-config.file' roots to make changes I really am impressed with it. I've used i3 for many years, (I recently moved to sway but I'm going to move back) and I am so impressed with how it gets out of my way.

I hadn't heard of sway, it looks interesting. But, you are switching away from it, so I guess not? I'm a little bit stuck, but it looks like sway has "gaps" support, in that my new monitor has a bug where the very left and right edges have a parallax issue with the backlight: so you can't read the left or right ~8 pixels of the screen. I'm using an undocumented feature of I3 to work around it.

Don't want to change to a different monitor because otherwise I love this "cheap" 4K 42" panel. I had gone around and around about a new monitor, and don't want to open that process up again. So I'm using a kludge.

I have one dislike of a 'Feature'; window-resizing, and one bug (related to window-resizing).

Using keyboard+mouse: To resize you bring the mouse to the vertical or horizontal frame that you want to adjust, hold down the meta key (Win in my case), and right-click+move to adjust it. In i3: you only adjust that single frame. In Sway: you adjust the whole vertical & horizontal window size. This effects all other 'attached/touching' windows and unintentionally screws up some formatting for me.

Like I said, 'feature'.

I am using this on a cheap 42" 4k AOC monitor. I get 4k@60Hz.

> they are going to change the behavior of default shortcuts in a totally unnecessary way (Alt-Tab, really?)

Well, in this case I believe they are changing defaults back from when they were last changed in a "totally unnecessary way" (I believe it was unnecessary when Gnome changed it originally, I'm sure others that prefer this mode disagree). At this point complaining about it just a roundabout way of stating your preferring window manager application switching mode.

> Alt+Tab handling now switches windows by default. Switching applications by default can be done with Super+Tab

So if you have multiple windows of the same application, it will now switch between them? that's a good thing and that's how it used to be a while ago

+1 from someone who -despite multiple attempts - cannot reprogram his brain to accept anything but "alt-tab switches windows".

(And I think it should be configurable so people who prefer weird alt-tab behaviour won't have to suffer the way I had to ;-)

I don't understand what the problem was. Alt tab to get to the program, then alt tilde to get to the window. It was a very natural feeling action.

It's the difference between MacOS or Windows default behavior. Alt-tab between windows has always been the default on Windows, and it was the default for most open source window managers for a long time too. I believe Gnome changed their default to follow how MacOS worked a few years back. Now it seems Ubuntu is reverting back (or is this a Gnome change again?).

Different people prefer different defaults. Personally I can't stand the MacOS version, and for the few years I used MacOS, it drove me nuts. That said, I don't use Ubuntu, so this doesn't matter to me either way.

Every once-in-a-while I go on a Googling spree to see if there's a way I can switch Mac OS to the Windows/early Gnome style. I cannot fathom the Mac OS style being better. Maybe if you only had one monitor, one desktop, and minimized all windows not specific to your current task?

Are you looking for Hyperswitch[0]? I've been using it ever since I needed to start using a mac.

[0] https://bahoom.com/hyperswitch

Yes! This is great, thank you!

I don’t understand the problem though. Alt+tilde for windows, alt+tab for applications. I intentionally will use one over the other depending on what I want to switch to, and it has become second nature. I find the OS X approach way more manageable when working with many windows/apps.

For me, the problem is I have to alt-tab to get to the right window, pause, remember that alt-tilde exists, alt-tab to get to the right program, pause, alt-tilde to get to the right window in that program.

I've only got a half-dozen or so things open. For me, it's just faster to have one shortcut (alt-tab) let me cycle directly to what I want, instead of having to bounce between multiple shortcut commands.

I recently saw Mozilla was looking into what benefit people gain from Electron as opposed to just running stuff in a browser tab. I can answer that for Mac users quite simply: If you run Slack in a Firefox window, and want to switch to Slack, this is how to do it in Mac OS:

* If you have a Firefox window focused, press alt-`

* If you have anything other than Firefox focused, press alt-tab

If you have Slack running as an Electron app, this is how you switch to Slack:

* Press alt-tab.

When I want to switch to the last window I had focused, the decision should be to press the "switch to the last window you had focused" key combo, NOT "figure out which application you currently have focused, and press a key combination based on whether it's the same or not".

Having multiple windows and multiple desktops makes it worse. One thing I hit far too often:

Monitor X has vscode on Desktop 1, Firefox window A on Desktop 2.

Monitor Y has Firefox window B.

I want to switch from Firefox window A to vscode. I press alt+tab. It works -- monitor X changes to Desktop 1 and vscode is the active window.

I now want to change batch to Firefox window A. I press alt-tab. FAIL: Active window is Firefox window B on monitor Y. (Subsequently pressing alt+` to switch doesn't help. there's only one Firefox window on the current desktops, so nothing happens.)

Thus, I can switch OFF of a desktop using alt-tab, but I can't switch back to it without some other key combo I don't know. (I end up having to just use the mouse.)

An additional example that isn't strictly alt-tab / alt-`, but related to how it's implemented:

I have two Firefox windows open. If I alt-tab to one, they both come up to the front, including the one I'm not using -- which may now be obscuring another window I was using.

Monitor X has vscode + a Firefox window A I'm not currently using.

monitor Y has the Firefox window B I am using.

When I alt-tab from vscode to the Firefox window B on the other monitor, the other Firefox window A also moves to the foreground, obscuring my vscode window. They could fix this while still using the alt-tab/alt-` system. It's just a related issue.

I'm sure I could get around this by aggressively minimizing whatever window I'm not currently using, but it's aggravating that I have to do that for, as best I can tell, no benefit whatsoever.

I will say that pre-Windows 95 I was on 3.11 and switching wasn't "last-focused" based. It was simply in the order of when your applications were opened. At the time I thought the change to last-focused was stupid. (I think today I'd probably still be okay with the old method, but it does make less sense when you have a lot of windows open at once.)

However, I'm now about four years into Mac OS as my only environment, so this isn't doesn't seem to just be about what I'm used to. I'm not quite to the 10k hour mark yet, but I'm well past the halfway mark.

That was me as well until I got back to safety ;-)

That and:

- ctrl and fn being swapped on the laptop keyboard (but not on the full size keyboard), with no way to fix it in settings or bios.

- movement and selection key combos varying wildly between apps.

Rumours has it both can be fixed now. Meanwhile Windows is now less annoying to me than it has been since XP was fresh and KDE has left the 4 series behind so, all while Apple fans are raging furiously everywhere about the new keyboards, so I'm not asking dor a Mac bext time either it seems.

I use alt-tab, I get a window that looks a bit like this: https://i.imgur.com/mtynAgC.png

However most of the time I switch focus by pointing my mouse to another window (mouse focus / click to raise)

As a user, I don't think in terms of applications, I can think in terms of workflow which spans applications. I might be switching between certain browser windows, a terminal etc and I shouldn't be having to think "wait, this is an app switch vs a window switch".

I don't think it's too different than switching between browser tabs.

    - Ctrl + Tab: within window
    - Alt + Tab: between windows
    - Alt + ~: between applications
I think the main problem is that these shortcuts are difficult to learn. For example, I didn't know about Alt + ~ until this thread (!), and I'm confused at how users are meant to learn shortcuts like that.

One difference between ctrl-tab and alt-~ (or alt-`, depending on your keyboard layout) is that tabs within a window are very close to each other, and obviously distinct from windows in their own right, whereas it's frequently not immediately obvious whether two windows belong to the same application.

and this is the reason I don't use tabs in browsers. To me, there is no "app x is a web page, I need to alt tab to browser then ctrl tab to the right tab". I don't use tabs in browsers, so it's always just aLt tab to get where I want

Situation: have three iTerm windows (let's say X/Y/Z) and two Chrome windows (C/D).

X/Y are running some stuff I'm not interested right now. Related stackoverflow answers are in tabs in C. Z is in the left part of the mornitor: I'm currently working on it. D is on the right side showing some dashboard.

Was looking at D, pressed Alt-Tab to go back to Z.

X and Y pop up from behind, completely obscuring D. Disgusted, press Alt-Tab again, and watch C covering Z.


Yes, yes, I know, a true developer should be able to afford enough monitors to spread all windows evenly. Or use a tile-based window manager and memorize 12 hot keys for each mixture of task. Sigh.

My thoughts exactly. I actually prefer the alt-tab alt-tilde because it feels more natural to me. Thumb positioning is less accurate than finger (at least for me).

I do dislike the constant changes, but I also think there's far more exciting things in the post to praise :-)


- takes twice as long time,

- forces me move your hands around

- and forces me to think

I get the other two, but how does moving your finger from tab to the key right above it qualify as "moving your hands around"? I hit tab with my middle finger, which reaches ~ quite naturally. I'm really happy to find out about this, it works on macOS, so I'm going to be using it!

Staying with the LTS release is a perfectly valid choice if you want a slower pace of changes.

The way Linux distros have no conception of separating "system" from "application" ensures that anyone sticking with an LTS release will have a much harder time getting new software installed.

Is it really so crazy to want a stable platform on which to run current applications? In the Linux world: yes.

Canonical's Snap system is intended to solve this. Snaps are packages that bundle their dependencies, so they are bigger, but they run successfully on most modern versions of Linux.


AppImage solves the problem in a different way, although AppImage doesn't have a concept of automatic upgrades like Snap:


I suppose one could put an appimage in a snap, leading to either the best or worst of both worlds.

One of the problems with these systems - maybe they've solved it by now? - is that they bundle up virtually everything for a running system, including the GUI - so any custom theme you have outside of the "package" doesn't translate over.

There are other downsides, too.

At the same time, the upsides of such systems are really nice; they are very much reminiscent of MacOS apps - and that I really like. If the whole theming and such can be fixed - it would be perfect.

Unfortunately they have to do that, because there the only thing you can count on being present in any given Linux system is the kernel.

They don't really need any new system for that, apt can perfectly handle that.

For example, they could have an optional "recent applications" repository that you add if you want up-to-date applications. This way Firefox, LibreOffice, etc would be up2date but the system would be stable.

If you install Chrome on an LTS by the way, it will come with the Google repository and be always up2date.

> although AppImage doesn't have a concept of automatic upgrades

It does: https://github.com/AppImage/AppImageUpdate

Thanks, I had no idea. I don't know how to update the AppImages I use except by downloading new AppImages manually.

I really really wish AppImages were embraced by more of the Linux Desktop community.

> although AppImage doesn't have a concept of automatic upgrades like Snap

And that's a good thing. If I wanted my system to force software updates on me, I'd use windows.

Users should always have the ability to control updates. Always.

I use snaps at work and they are damn slow at opening, insomnia takes a got 30 seconds to open and viscose takes 5-10.

I7 4/8 16gb and ssd. Laptop isn't a slouch

I think snaps magnify developer mistakes. These are probably really badly written nodejs apps.

I have tons of snaps and the only one that is really slow is Cura.

thanks so much for saying this. It has always baffled me. On a desktop I want to run up-to-date applications with a stable system, I don't want a feature freeze. Ideally the OS is a platform where software runs on, not in, with a standardised, backwards-compatible surface.

I'm only an occasional linux user as a developer, I never dove into the history or the design. Is there a particular reason why linux distributions couple the system so heavily with the application layer?

When I ran Gentoo Linux, a rolling release, I came to appreciate exactly what's going on in the Linux desktop ecosystem. I enjoyed the new features that came with new releases of libraries and apps, but it was shocking to see how often library releases had new ABIs. Sometimes I could get away with running apps on old ABIs, but more often than not I would see stability issues, and those stability issues disappeared when I recompiled the apps. I learned that there are simply a lot of improvements happening at every layer of the system, all the time, and there is no one in charge.

The proprietary solution to that instability is to appoint people who ensure ABIs don't change. Microsoft is a great example of that strategy. Many apps made for Windows 3.1 still run today on Windows 10, almost 30 years later.

The typical open source solution to ABI instability is to freeze library ABIs and build all the applications on those temporarily frozen libraries. Applications are built for a particular release. While it would be possible to keep updating the applications during the release cycle, it appears no one has yet figured out how to do that economically.

An interesting exception to the rule is web browsers. Firefox and Chromium get regular feature updates in major Linux distributions. That's probably because browsers have a very large attack surface, yet people use them all day long, so they deserve extra attention from software distributors.

I think this is a very reasonable complaint from a user. I get a lot of arguments against thing like this from an admin and os perspective.

In any case Things like ostree and flatpak seem to be heading in this direction.

There are snaps and PPAs for this.

At least the PPAs are actually a better solution than a platform like Windows (whose "system" is separated from "application"), where you download binaries for upgrades, since you have visibility of the source code and build process.

I have around two dozen PPAs for the software I need to keep up to date. In the past, I used to upgrade Ubuntu on every release; now, I barely do it on every LTS.

As a quasi-fanatic Linux user, I can say that the one thing I envy from Windows is installing things the Windows way.

Half of the time, PPAs don't work. Snaps and Flatpaks are a step forward, but they still require a central server for fetching dependencies.

AppImages are good.

> Half of the time, PPAs don't work

I don't believe this, and I suspect you're doing something unorthodox with your apt sources (it wouldn't be the first time I hear a story like this).

PPAs build from source on a vanilla platform for the given configuration, so they're guaranteed to have standard output (binaries etc.) and dependencies. When there is a problem with a certain configuration, such build won't be available to the user.

Can you list the PPAs that don't work?

I hate PPAs, and the entire repo model, because it's just so much overly complicated bullshit for a simple task. And they don't cover everything.

Example: recently I had need of the of the DOSBox debugger, which you need to enable at compilation. On Windows this was as simple as finding some zip file from someone who'd done it and extracting the executable. On my Lubuntu system though, it wasn't in the repo for my version, nor was there a PPA. It was, however, in the very newest repo for Ubuntu and required up to date dependencies and I didn't want to upgrade my perfectly working base system.

Ultimately I had to manually download the package and its dependencies, extract their contents, and use LD_LIBRARY_PATH and the like to get it to run out of a self-contained directory.

That's what's fascinating to me. All the technology is there to distribute portable self-contained applications on Linux, but basically no one does it, or they pull a flatpak and still tie it into the horrifically silly repo model (and still aren't portable!). Only AppImage makes any sense, but hardly anyone embraces it.

There's an interesting project from Fedora recently. I haven't used it yet, but I'm really curious to try one day: https://silverblue.fedoraproject.org/

It seems essentially to be what you want - separation of "system" and "apps". An immutable containers host with custom things running on top.

I don't think I've seen any software for many years that would target the latest non-LTS release. If anything, it's more typical that proprietary apps fall out of date and require obsolete packages from an LTS that's no longer current.

> The way Linux distros have no conception of separating "system" from "application" ..

That's a novel concept if you don't mind me saying so ;]

This is working well with nixOS: have a stable channel for the system and the unstable channel for the user.

Wake me when I don't have to learn a new language to use it or compile anything from source.

If you want immutability with a normal distro, like Ubuntu, use Darch.


With a very brief look, it seems like I still have to manually putz with a text configuration format (learning a new language) the same way I would with Nix.

The configuration is a shell script with regular "apt install" commands.

There is a config.json for defining inheritance only.

edit: Here are my recipes: https://github.com/pauldotknopf/darch-recipes/tree/master/re...

The secret to making this more bearable is to install your OS on a partition separate from /home - put home on it's own partition (ideally, different drives).

I did this - and it saved my bacon recently.

I had a 14.04 LTS install, from around the time that that Crunchbang "went away" (just before Bunsen and CB++). At the time, it was my upgrade (completely new system). I decided to make it look as close to CB as I could; in a large part, I was very successful and happy with the result. But when I installed the OS, I decided to put in on an SSD (with certain partitions done as ramfs, so as not to kill the SSD). My /home went on another drive.

All was good and happy, but over time, things became more and more difficult to get newer software, etc. Over the years I really buggered my system; the nearly final blow was doing a "hand-upgrade" to the latest gcc so I could get certain features needed to compile some stuff for a Udacity course I was taking (also got CUDA installed and working for that course as well). Doing this upgrade, though, ended up breaking a portion of the standard "upgrade" process to the point where it would fail if I tried to move to say, 15.04 LTS or similar. Even simple installs of software from the repos would sometimes throw errors in the logs. It was really messed up.

Then one day last year, I decided to try to upgrade my NVidia drivers, and in the process fubar'd the whole system; all I could do was land to a console. Ultimately, I ended up switching over to the FB drivers just to get X back so I could do some research easier with a browser, and to see what I could recover to. I decided that since my /home was still ok - that I would attempt to just upgrade the OS and see what happened pointing /home at the old drive.

So - I bought a new SSD and pulled the old one (so I'd have something to fall back on), and then tried out a variety of distros to see what things had gotten up to in the years I'd been away. I had considered just moving to Bunsen, but as I started to think about things, and research stuff, I decided that I wanted something less compact.

Ultimately, via a series of steps which I won't delve into, I settled on Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS.

The install went perfectly, and it had no problem picking up my old /home partition and such; I ended creating a new user instead of going through the rigamarole of trying to get the old user and such all configured with the login system (I've been there and done that, and it's a damn pain); besides, that also allowed me a "backup" of my old user directory in /home - a good thing, I could move over what I wanted as I needed it or such, and keep the old one around for a while.

It turned out to be a fairly easy and painless upgrade. Since then, I've decided and stuck with the idea of not using any software that isn't from a repo, or .deb file or such. No more compiling from source and wondering where/what I have on my system. Instead, I either do without, or install it on a VM, or build a .deb package myself, or try a snap or appimage, etc. Basically, I'm trying to keep my system clean and "uncontaminated" so I don't fall into this issue of a broken upgrade system again.

Now I need to see if Ubuntu Budgie 19.04 LTS is available yet - when it comes out, it's supposed to have all the newer features of the latest Budgie desktop; I had played with that and the distro (I forget the name), but I didn't like the package manager that distro used; it felt too limiting since most things out there are distributed as .deb or .rpm packages, etc.

Except that these changes will eventually be part of 19.04 LTS and then what? As someone who stayed on 16.04 LTS until apt-get update started reporting "can't find respository, ignoring" on the Canonical servers, I can attest to the fact that this strategy only works for so long :-).

There is no 19.x LTS, next LTS release would be 20.04.

Which itself is not obvious to many users. I made the mistake of installing 17.04 and it was a major headache to upgrade it after support was dropped.

I don't remember how long it's been the case, but these days LTS is the first option that they show you, and it's clearly marked as such: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

LTS releases also don't offer upgrades to non-LTS versions unless you explicitly enable that via the "Software & Updates" tool.

My first Ubuntu install was 8.04 LTS - I'm pretty sure it was made clear then how it worked and that it was a more preferred install for "stability-over-time" reasons.

It was also a revelation to me - easiest install ever. Prior to that I was running some version of Mandrake (and prior to that, Woody).

I've been running Linux in some form or another since around 1995; I started with Turbo Linux 2.0 (ok, ok - my first Linux was Monkey Linux over DOS, but it was more a plaything). I'm not unfamiliar with the intricacies of installing Linux (and I've compiled my own kernel before just to get certain things working - did that for a 486 laptop just to get everything on it working - sound, modem, PCMCIA, ethernet card, video, etc).

Being able to just "point and click" - while Mandrake allowed it, and SuSe also to an extent - it wasn't anywhere near as clean as what Ubuntu allowed for. I've pretty much stuck with Ubuntu since then (though not with their wm/desktop - blech at times).

The Linux world has a lot of conventions you just 'need to know about' in order to navigate. It works very well for experienced people, but it isn't helpful for newcomers. When I was first starting out I didn't understand the versioning system or what it meant. Were releases named something like "Ubuntu Standard 18.04", or "Ubuntu Preview 19.04" it would have helped clarity. LTS doesn't mean anything to average people.

Small things like would help me convince family members to switch

> Were releases named something like "Ubuntu Standard 18.04", or "Ubuntu Preview 19.04" it would have helped clarity.

They should be just “Ubuntu 18.04” but “Ubuntu Preview 0.1810”, “Ubuntu Preview 0.1904” etc.

The non-LTS releases are really not for everyone, and should not even attract the normal users with the "bigger" number. They should really warn the "normal users" that only 18.04, 20.04 are somewhat "safer" for them (I've personally had significant problems with 17.10 which used "wayland" as default even if a lot of applications just didn't work correctly under it, then 18.04 thankfully changed that default. And even 18.04 had initial issues which were removed only some months later -- so who wants less issues shouldn't install 20.04 before, let's say, September 2020).

I've also actually tried to keep up with upgrading every 6 months, and it's... such a waste of time when something breaks... and it will. Once the breakage was such that eventually the answer was "oh, you upgrade in place? We don't test it much like this, you should back up your home partition, install clean, copy back your home partition, then it will work."

That being said, given that I haven't paid for it, except with my time, sometimes the price is right. But sometimes, once can actually decide to trade money for the time spent debugging the OS... unless it's just about programming. Linux has some advantages there.

Additionally, to me it seems that KDE is still easier to use, so most users should start with Kubuntu and only LTS.

I split my /home partition off from the root - separate drives, in fact. This helped save my bacon (I posted elsewhere here if you want to read about it). Basically, it allowed me to "upgrade in place" by using a new drive for the OS, after I totally fubar'd my 14.04 LTS (long-in-the-tooth) system...

Ubuntu could try to make things clearer - but one would think that "LTS" would be clear enough. "Long Term Support" - and they give enough other warnings about things...

I've been running Linux in some fashion since 1995; if installing Ubuntu isn't easy enough, I don't know how you could make it much easier (that said - my latest install was Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS - and that was probably the best install experience I've ever had).

> The Linux world has a lot of conventions you just 'need to know about' in order to navigate. It works very well for experienced people, but it isn't helpful for newcomers. When I was first starting out I didn't understand the versioning system or what it meant. Were releases named something like "Ubuntu Standard 18.04", or "Ubuntu Preview 19.04" it would have helped clarity. LTS doesn't mean anything to average people. Small things like would help me convince family members to switch

Are you posting from some parallel universe, I've sat Windows users down in front of this Ubuntu desktop and they can't tell the difference. What's complicated about clicking on 'software Updater'?

While I understand what you're trying to say; Software updater isn't available pre-install. The context of the quoted post seems to be based on the pre-install experience of choosing which version to install without previous knowledge of Ubuntu's versioning system.

It should be noted that while the website typically steers you towards LTS; that's only if you find your own way there and aren't linked to a specific image by someone else. I think it's entirely understandable why some people might get confused.

NinjaEdit: Also of note is people brand new to linux probably won't know anything about Ubuntu being based on Debian or what that even means, so the idea of Stable, Testing, Unstable is a wildly new idea to them.

> The Linux world has a lot of conventions you just 'need to know about' in order to navigate. It works very well for experienced people, but it isn't helpful for newcomers.

The Windows world also has a lot of conventions you just need to know about that aren't friendly for newcomers.

If you are dealing with the version number, it means you are installing the system. How many everyday Windows users do you think have ever had to install their own system?

You could take a non-advanced user, sit them in front of the first step of the Ubuntu install procedure, and I can guarantee you that they would make it to the end and boot into a perfectly working system. Do the same with a Windows install procedure, and if you are lucky they will make it to the end and boot into an absolutely useless machine that doesn't even connect to the internet because it's missing drivers. Now good luck sending your user on a drivers scavenger hunt over the internet. 30 seconds in they will have installed some ad-ware "Driver Doctor 2019 Express Deluxe TM" and will require a new install anyway.

The reality is that the Linux world today is really not bad at all. I would argue that Linux major distros today aren't any less friendly than anything else on the market. The article mentions Jason Evangelho's article, and I would encourage anyone who thinks Linux is not user friendly to go check out his articles and his Twitter feed. He also recently started a podcast called ChooseLinux, where they talk about the challenges and experiments in having a complete newcomer (himself) approach Linux from different angles (gaming included).

Go to ubuntu.com, try to download it and you'll get to this page: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

- The LTS is the first one listed, on the top, and it is actually the best choice for anyone who doesn't know what to pick

- The meaning of LTS is explained pretty clearly on this page

I don't know who they could make it any more explicit.

Totally understandable. Basically, even.04 are LTS releases and odd.04 are beta/experimental/very early rc's.

wait... do all versions end in .04?

No, there are two releases every year; a <year>.04 in April and <year>.10 in October.

Ubuntu releases a new LTS release for the first release every two years. Ubuntu usually has two releases a year, one in April (.04) and one in October (.10). So 16.04 is a LTS release, as it was the first release in an even year. 16.10, 17.04, 17.10 were all regular non-LTS releases. 18.04 was an LTS release. 18.10 and 19.04 are regular non-LTS releases.


16.04 is still supported for two more years. 14.04 support ends in 12 days (or longer if you pay Canonical).


This page also shows a nicely presented table with Ubuntu versions and expected support dates:


Slower is not the same as not moving. Long Term Support is not Infinite Term Support.

I think you mean 20.04 LTS.

Agreed, but in this specific case Gnome had some performance issues that are addressed by the 18.10 / 19.04 update that really help with quality of life. Hopefully 20.04 will be snappy enough that I can use the huge support window for longer.

I am a huge GNOME fan (the interface, the ideas behind it, the look). But I made my peace with the fact that I need stability and performance so Kubuntu 18.04LTS it is (edit: and Gnome hasn't achieved UI coherence yet despite being 10 years in the making,so...).

Performance issues shouldn't appear between LTS-1 and LTS. Ideally LTS should be the polished and stable version from all that came before it and not a rushed testbed for DE that aren't battle-tested.

Hmm. I run Xfce, and have all important key bindings explicitly written in one of its config files. For last about 10 years I just carried these files between machines, upgrades, and different distributions, and had all my binding, and most other desktop settings, intact.

Is something similar possible with Gnome? That is, once you explicitly configured something, even if your setting is the same as the current default value, would it be preserved?

That sound pretty nice. For the life of me I can’t figure out how to override certain key settings in KDE like “windows” key pulling up the kde menu. Gnome I think might allow that but then the other 99 other shortcuts seem hard coded. Much less have those changes persist for years. How does xfce commands interact with bindings in gtk/qt based apps? Can you set commands actions that work in say Firefox?

On a side note, Windows key in Linux should map to meta and behave like command key in OS X so I can use GUI commands without screwing up emacs/vim/etc. Super/Meta are all over historical Unix programs but modern x11/guis/distros seem to refuse to allow you to actually bind keys to them.

P.S. OS X has similar feature to xfce to setup key commands and have them just keep working across os updates for years. It’s easy to setup emacs like key binding for alt-f, ctrl-e, etc and have almost every text widget just inherit those commands. You just need to use the terminal/finder to set them.

> For the life of me I can’t figure out how to override certain key settings in KDE > like “windows” key pulling up the kde menu

Do this from a shell:

    kwriteconfig5 --file ~/.config/kwinrc --group ModifierOnlyShortcuts --key Meta ""

    qdbus org.kde.KWin /KWin reconfigure
Pulling up the KDE menu was added at some point, but I also find it annoying. It's redundant with Alt+F1 too. I guess it's nicer for newcomers from Windows thought.

> Windows key in Linux should map to meta

That's what KDE does. But for emacs it's Super, with Meta on Alt. It's likely fixable, but I'm used to it now so just leave it like that. What's nice with KDE is that you can use the application window settings to force passing all keyboard shortcuts to the apps. So for example KDE shortcuts don't override emacs ones when emacs has the focus.

Thanks! That `ModifierOnlyShortcuts` works great for disabling the kde menu. It's annoying as otherwise the windows key is switched to the `alt` key for most things but randomly pops up that menu.

> What's nice with KDE is that you can use the application window settings to force passing all keyboard shortcuts to the apps. So for example KDE shortcuts don't override emacs ones when emacs has the focus.

Oddly I want the opposite, at least for 95% of the apps. That's where I find the MacOS command-key as a generally a superior solution. `Ctrl-F` and `Cmd-F` don't conflict.

As mentioned before on MacOS (OS X) you only need to add a couple of text files to the key-bindings subsystem to add broad support for "emacs like" keybindings to every (default) text field [1,2]. So shortcuts like `Ctrl-Y` does replace-yank, `Ctrl-P` does line up, `Alt-F` word-forward, etc. KDE has shortcuts for those but they don't affect Firefox or Chrome, etc. It's _really_ annoying now that I have the muscle memory for those basics Emacs ops, but can't use them in Jupyter notebooks or similar in Linux, or the email client, or whatever random app comes up. Sure the shell uses them, but typing a message in Slack doesn't.

I had hopes the "Pop! OS" people would do something similar to the OS X/Cocoa sub-system, but they seem to be stuck in the same mode of copying the inconsistent mishmash of Windows and old-school Unix shortcuts. Seriously, that one MacOS feature keeps me switching back to my MacBook despite having a much faster Linux desktop, bigger screen and all of that.

1: http://simonganz.com/2013/06/add-emacs-key-bindings-to-mac-o... 2: http://ttscoff.github.io/KeyBindings/

How well can you control your xfce desktop with keyboard shortcuts? One of the main reasons I use gnome is how easy it is to avoid touching my mouse.

Outrageously easy. I just discovered its full tiling ability in start->window manager -> Keybard tab, then scroll to "tiling". You can tile a window to left, right, top, bottom, top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right. Alt tabbing works just like windows.

I recommend using the Xubuntu distribution. It's has been much more stable with respect to the UI: https://xubuntu.org/

The Xubuntu has significant drawbacks, which need to be considered.

Primarily, they have very low resources (and/or skills, it's unclear), which is a problem, since resources need to be distributed between bug fixes, improvements, and chasing library updates (see: GTK3 updates).

A few days ago I've booted the 19.04 beta Xubuntu live image, and it was showing minuscule fonts on a 3000x2000 screen. This is a bit embarrassing for a stable DE.

I don't discourage it in an active way, but one should consider it very carefully (there are alternatives nowadays, that are equally lean, but more stable and flexibile).

Not sure about 19.04. But 18.04 xfce runs great on my 40 " 4k monitor/Samsung tv

I no longer bother with Alt-Tab, I just use jumpapp[1] to switch between windows quickly.

[1]: https://github.com/mkropat/jumpapp

Funny, I do the same, but without a separate app: pressing Super+1 does that for the first application on the launcher, Super+2 for the second one, etc. By default.

So many complaints here. I just want to say that I love Ubuntu. It's the perfect combination of the sturdiness of Debian combined with easy access to a sprinkling of proprietary apps that I need on a regular basis. Thanks Ubuntu!

We don't say thank you enough :( Thanks Ubuntu!

Thanks Ubuntu!

(heading to their gift shop to support them by more than words... )

I understand how hard it is to improve an open source software to get to be on the same level of proprietary ones, but it seems that Gnome took multiple steps backwards, or rather maybe the ubuntu adaptation of it.

I saw multiple UX hiccups and small missing functionalities that makes me wonder when would a DE reach the full maturity to stay as it is with small improvements and doing what's intended to be done. For the time being I think KDE is a more stable and functional DE than Gnome, hope Gnome returns to its glorious days soon though.

I understand why Ubuntu doesn't switch the default to KDE; there's too much history and people would recoil at such a big change. That said, I always run Kubuntu rather than the default Ubuntu desktop and I'm really happy with it. Switching to KDE is almost as smooth as it can possibly be: once I have Ubuntu installed, all I have to do is "sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop" and then choose KDE at login.

Some of the reasons I really like KDE:

* I have keyboard shortcuts for switching desktops; I feel much more productive with 9 easily accessible virtual desktops. I use the "windows" key, sometimes called "meta": meta-Q, meta-W, meta-E, meta-A, etc.

* I've added rules for automatically changing the window title bar colors to make it easier to distinguish between very similar-looking windows. My Sublime Text windows in particular have a different bar color for each project. Sometimes I have as many as 4 projects open at once.

* I can lay out and enhance my screen any way I like. KDE doesn't quibble and even encourages it.

For anyone like me who loved KDE 3 and then was profoundly disappointed by the big changes and rewrites in 4, I have to say KDE 5 is back to being brilliant.

It's also the only desktop I know with a Fuzzy Clock that can be set to "accuracy=halfling" so you know when second breakfast has turned into elevenses.

It hadn't occured to me until now to try going back to kubuntu though (having been on Arch since KDE4).

Try Manjaro. Based on Arch with KDE Plasma desktop. It's awesome.

Thanks. I'm currently using Antergos, which I understand is roughly the same thing, with the difference being whether or not you use Arch's repos.

KDE is honestly amazing. My environment is exactly they way I want it, every shortcut does exactly what I want.

I used Gnome before it for a while. I remember writing extensions for it and fixing other people's extensions. I remember logging in to some crash message every day, possibly because of the idiotic way extensions work: they just monkeypatch the actual DE code (?!?!??!)

KDE provides all the functionality that I need without extensions. Nothing crashes, ever.

I think Gnome is fine for people that are OK with default settings. For anyone that needs more, Gnome just doesn't suffice.

I currently run Budgie Desktop (specifically Budgie Ubuntu 18.04 LTS). IIRC, it's based on Gnome (not sure which version) - but it doesn't feel like it.

Maybe this isn't what you like - but to me, it's the closest I've come to having a "MacOS"-like interface on my Linux desktop.

I've heard a lot of grief people have on MacOS (maybe it's just the people I hang around with?) - but I honestly like it, for the most part. It has its quirks, true. But overall, Apple did a helluva job in making it "just work".

Ubuntu Budgie seems to come closest to that experience, without the Apple tax (ie - the hardware - stuff is expensive).

I have long stayed away from KDE because it used to require better hardware than Gnome, which requires better hardware than Xfce. I haven't even kept up with KDE's performance and hardware usage on older systems. Does it still need better hardware compared to Gnome (for a machine that's, say more than a few years old)?

I am running KDE full time off of a 6 year-old laptop featureing an i54xxu and an integrated HD4400. I'd say anything older and not intelish might be problematic but I have no problems running all the bells and whistles of those sweet animations and wobbly windows.

Gnome still leaks and Nautilus is still an old asthmatic tractor though. Nautilus is 50% of the reasons why I switched to kubuntu and I still keep on using awesome-wm when sysadmining. edit: Now that I think about it I also upgraded to an SSD some months after switching to KDE so maybe gnome is way snappier on that same machine and I wouldn't feel the same about it.

Frankly, I seem to remember the KDE harware thing is like 15 years old.

I've had an impression that the slow computer I've used worked better by default playing videos in Kubuntu than either Lubuntu or Xubuntu. If some internet sites are to be believed, something something compositors video players hardware acceleration whatever:


And all that problems still appear strange to me, as the computer is not too old, it just has slower processor, whereas I've had better experience playing videos on the notebook bought in 2000, in Windows XP (using open source mplayer!)

And using some of the "lighter" editions apparently doesn't mean "plays better" just... something (as some don't even have an official goal anymore to be actually better on older hardware).

Maybe someone here can explain what is the best way to play videos on slower (from a perspective of the developers who probably have 500 W graphic cards, because "who doesn't"?) machines. I have, more or less, accepted that I still can't expect that from Linuxes:

Relevant: https://xkcd.com/619/

Just one data point but compare the RAM usages in this comparison: http://archive.fo/eB8If

I think I read somewhere that kde has improved even more since tha.

> rules for auto color change top bars

Is this specific to KDE? This sounds like a really nice feature for when I’ve got tons of windows floating around. I’m a big fan of obvious tells so you can get your bearings at a glance.

KDE was always brilliant in functionality, but unprofessional looking. I've settled on Mate, but it could use some more KDE-style functionality.

What distro do you use for kde5?

Funny, I'm thinking the opposite about Gnome. That, much thanks to Canonical, it is finally getting much needed optimizations for better performance. I'd agree more with you 3-4 years ago than today. I'm also happy they finally stopped holding back Nautilus just because of the desktop icons... They should have just used a Gnome extension like now for that all along. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the performance of Ubuntu 19.04 and have enjoyed working with it since the beta. With the OpenWeather and Dash to Dock extensions, I find myself pretty much set with a nice looking desktop.

It's nice that you give credit liberally, but most of the performance work you mention was done by Endless and Red Hat desktop teams.

Most if this reads more like a "What new in Gnome". Well I don't like Gnome. If I don't plan on using Gnome, it because very hard to tell if I can use most of the new Ubuntu feature, or if they are essentially Gnome features.

I can understand that GNOME wanted to migrate off of C for the non-core things, so they cut down features. Now if you need something you can write a plugin in JS.

It has advantages, and of course disadvantages too. (The expressiveness of the plugin API is naturally lacking compared to possibilities of built-in features, but with time that can/will change.)

Right now the main disadvantage is that GNOME Shell is single-threaded, and handles not only those JS extensions, but also essential tasks like window compositing. This means that a misbehaving extension can freeze the whole desktop, which is especially bad on Wayland where that includes the mouse cursor and input processing.

I still prefer GNOME for the rest of its UX, but if you ask me, the next rewrite can't happen too soon.

Edit: I noticed that some of the new improvements seem to be addressing just this, so what I'm saying may be out of date in regards to the latest version.

From a UX perspective I haven't really seen much of an issue with KDE/Gnome in the past 15-20 years. The problem to me has been consistency (this app uses GTK so it behaves like this or you have to install it this way because it uses apt instead of rpm), administration, and support for apps/games you want to run. The few dealbreakers (GPU, Wifi, trackpad, power management support) weren't related to "the desktop" outside of multi-monitor or hidpi support. I had a few non-technical people use Linux in the early 2000s and loved it. My public library at the time was running Linux for their Book Catalog (on much older hardware than Windows would support). In general Linux Desktops were all reimplementations of Window's UI concepts (Desktop, Launcher Menu, Task Bar, Status Bar, etc).

It seems like Gnome's game plan was to intentionally remove a bunch of stuff for the sake of simplification. Then Linux Desktops actually started innovating (macOS style app launcher, fast search to launch, ditching status bar and desktop). Windows seems to have made their own UX missteps as well.

I love modern KDE. I've been running Kubuntu for the last year or so and just adore it.

Do you have specific examples?

Updating is going to be a huge pain. It always is, for one reason: Nvidia. I need CUDA for ML, and nouveau is so bad anyway that 18.10 wouldn't even boot on my machine when I tried to install it.

It's guaranteed that if I upgrade right now I will be troubleshooting black screens, hangs, and compiler incompatibilities for hours if not days in an attempt to install a working set of ML tools including up to date drivers and CUDA.

It's sad that one required proprietary component ruins the whole experience. But there's no other option for ML research. AMD just isn't investing enough.

If you are using it as a working environment, you probably should stick to LTS releases.

In theory, things should be better[1] (I have an nvidia card too, I will probably hold off for a few weeks).

1: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2019/04/15/ubunt...

We've said "things should be better" since GLX became a thing. The real problem is that every Linux-based OS is too stupid to realize when something in the windowing system is broken. Every time I upgrade Ubuntu, I run into a login loop where Xinit refuses to work, gets sacked, then redirects me back to the login screen. The fix is a simple one liner. I see the solution to my problem has 11k upvotes. The solution is 5 years old.

It's been like this for almost a decade, and I haven't even gotten into Laptops with Integrated/Discrete "piggyback" setups. That nut still is not cracked.

It's kind of sad.

I have one of those laptops with integrated and discrete cards. Really, it works way better than you'd think; the official discrete GPU driver is a part of the kernel and gets better with each kernel release and requires no weird proprietary blobs, and running a program on the discrete instead of integrated GPU just requires running it with `DRI_PRIME=1` in the environment.

The main issues with GPUs in Linux rests squarely on nvidia's shoulders. Intel has worked flawlessly for ages, and after AMD actually started upstreaming their drivers, their cards have been a dream to work with.

Thing is, I need NVidia because of CUDA. It's so frustrating to be put in a situation where I have to deal with the sucky drivers because, where else am I going to go? For some silly reason, AMD still has a reputation of "sub-par" to some science circles, and to this day I have no idea why that is the case. I suppose it's hard to market "OpenCL", which is why Khronos is rolling it into Vulkan very soon. NVidia showed up with just as much marketing as they did a useful product.

And (please correct me if I'm wrong) OpenCL support in NVidia drivers is still in the "consideration" phases as far as I understand it.

Yeah, it's certainly an issue, because people do have nvidia cards and they don't work as well as they should have on Linux. I'm just pointing out that it's in large part nvidia's fault, not really Linux' graphics stack's. I myself have an nvidia card in my desktop, and while it's _mostly_ fine with the proprietary drivers, there are occasional graphical glitches which just don't happen with other cards. (The nouveau drivers just don't work at all, which is also largely nvidia's fault from what I understand, due to not providing many docs and forcing the nouveau folks to reverse engineer everything.)

Coincidentally, I decided to try getting into OpenCL a couple days ago. I've just used the Intel OpenCL runtime, but Arch Wiki's GPGPU page mentions opencl-nvidia: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/GPGPU#NVIDIA

I don't understand why CUDA is that big, when it's locked down and supported by only one vendor, and OpenCL exists and is open and supported by all vendors. But then again, there are probably some market forces I don't understand; I also can't really grasp why Direct3D is that big when it's locked down and supported by only one OS vendor and OpenGL exists.

I upgraded my notoriously obnoxious NVIDIA GTX 970 with 4 GB VRAM and different RAM speed for one of the GB's with no hiccups here, and that was from 18.10 to the 19.04 beta. :) But of course, something always need to be said about backups before upgrading installs involving proprietary drivers. Next time I'm going either AMD or Intel for the GPU. This crap is on NVIDIA so as I'm planning full time Linux later this summer, I'm removing them from the equation.

Strange. For me, it was the installation and setting up of CUDA on my long-in-the-tooth Ubuntu 14.04 LTS box that led to me upgrading to 18.04 LTS (along with a hand-munged version of the latest gcc, plus an ill-advisde NVidia driver upgrade after both of those that hosed things).

That said, while I do have the latest NVidia drivers now (albeit on an old 750 ti/sc card), I haven't tried to re-install CUDA or other ML tools that I had before (it was done for Udacity's "Self-driving Car Engineer Nanodegree" - to compile code for the assignments, and to utilize my GPU to the fullest, I needed to do a bit of a mashup that subtly broke things - but it worked well enough for the course).

Maybe doing that might show something similar to what you describe?

I know when I did it the first time, I was kinda surprised at how easy it worked out; I had CUDA working with Tensorflow quickly, and it all played nice with the GPU rendering at the same time (we had to do things like train a model using data from a Unity-based 3D driving simulator, so when you ran the model to drive the car, it had to use both CUDA for the model and GL for the graphics, and amazingly it all worked on that poor 750 - and had a decent frame rate!)...

you could burn it to a USB drive, boot from that, and verify before you go crazy upgrading....

Looks great!

The screenshots really made me pine for the days of using Ubuntu as my daily driver circa ~2010, right before the (IMO detrimental and pointless) switch to Unity instead of Gnome 3.

Giving Unity up and switching back to Gnome was such a step in the right direction. Look how big that feature list is because they can lean on Gnome's development! This represents open source at its best.

Does anyone still use good old Unity? :)

I liked it a lot, really didn't understand the community hate for it. At first it was not nice but it was pretty nice before it was deprecated.

When it came out it was a substantial UX regression from Gnome 2 and it took a few releases to even reach feature parity.

The same thing has been seen with KDE 4 and 5, Gnome 3, and how long LXQT has taken. Users hate experience regressions passionately, and will actively hate projects that depreciate or replace their workflows, sometimes for years, and sometimes forever.

When Unity first became the default DE on Ubuntu, it was unusably slow and buggy on my computer. (This was actually an improvement -- in the previous release, Unity would immediately crash, so I had only seen it in pictures and videos.) Gnome 3 Classic was still available as a fallback, but it still wasn't the same (to many changes, to much CPU), so I switched distros. (I didn't know enough at the time to install a DE myself.)

At the time, I was quite unhappy at Canonical for making their OS so difficult for me to use. I felt that I was being totally left behind, with a machine that was just old enough that it wasn't worth it to them to support it.

1 or 2 years later, I tried a newer release of Ubuntu on that machine. Unity was definitely more stable than before, but it was still frustratingly slow, and had sprouted the weird, unwanted amazon search feature. I continued to be disappointed that the default install of Ubuntu had become so needlessly graphics-intensive, and haven't played with it since.


One other gripe with Unity -- I really didn't like how it thought that applications were more important than windows. It was difficult to switch between 2 or more windows of the same applications on the same desktop. The icon on the taskbar just showed a tiny arrow for each window. You had to hover over it before it would show buttons (icons? previews?) of each window that you could select. Alt+Tab was the same. You could only rotate between applications, but if you held it down for a moment, it would show the windows of that applications, and there was some way to pick between those on the keyboard.

I really didn't like that. I would often have 2 or more terminals open, or text editors, or file browsers, and I would want to switch to the one that I had least-recently used, and I would have to do this whole dance of pulling up the application, waiting to see the individual windows, and finally picking the one I wanted. The 2-3 seconds that took were very frustrating, since I knew that I had used to be able to hit Alt+Tab a couple of times to go directly to the window I wanted.

I have the same frustration every time I have to use an apple computer. It bugged me enough that I read through the keyboard shortcuts settings and learned about Cmd+Tilde, which helps, but is still very frustrating. I want a window! Why does it take two different kinds of keyboard shortcuts to get to the window I want!


Between those two troubles, I am happy to have avoided using Unity.

Never had any qualms with the design, it was just too heavy for most machines I run ubuntu on. Felt like a laggy remote desktop connection.

I think it was too simple and non-customizable for Linux user's taste, but it was that same simplicity that made it a perfect OS for a public computer or for parents who only use simple apps.

I can't understand any of it. Its looked the same to me for years and years. Other distros look a little different but nothing substantive is actually different that I ever notice.

Agree. The last versions were pretty and (still) very stable.

Was because of the slow screen refresh, and the shitty metro look that announces "im like windows, but poorer".

Weird to see anyone talk about "good old" Unity.

I'm getting old enough to belive you.

For me however while I can believe it I really really cannot understand it: it broke my workflow in a number of ways by default and unlike Gnome 3, Unity was next to impossible to reconfigure to something I could use productively.

It is actually somewhat of a learning experience for me to see something I almost despised be missed by a number of people.

I think two easy conclusions should be "different strokes for different folks" and "make your software configurable".

After discovering Cinnamon, I haven't been able to go back.

Question: do you ever feel like Cinnamon isn't as responsive as it could be?

I was using Cinnamon (first on Linux Mint and then on Manjaro) for a few months before the release of Gnome 3.32. I've switched to Gnome 3.32 and it feels much more responsive than Cinnamon. In particular cycling windows and doing anything while a notification is being displayed.

I really wish Cinnamon didn't stutter as much. It's the right amount of "desktop" I need.

IIRC Cinnamon still does compositing, so maybe you've gotten stuck on the software only path? This can happen when drivers get blacklisted for example. I use it on one of my laptops and it's been pretty smooth for me.

I sense it too - it's just sluggish enough for me to notice.

Cinnamon is a truly underrated DE. I don't use it anymore (now that I have most of the Gnome 3 shortcuts memorized, I love it) but Cinnamon took the gorgeousness of Gnome 3 and mashed it up with the classic functionality of Gnome 2. Why the community rallied around MATE and not Cinnamon I will never understand.

Even though the switch happened a long time ago, I still have a strong dislike for Gnome Shell. It might be irrational at that point since I've had plenty of time to get used it and I can't pinpoint an exact reason why I dislike it so, but it just irks me. I think the default theme deserves part of the blame. How can it still be so ugly? Unity was beautiful and behaved more naturally IMO.

I do and have no plans to switch from it.

The constant UI flux is the worst part about using Linux.

This is why I personally like MATE. I remember when they switched from Gnome 2 to Unity, and I just stopped using Ubuntu until I discovered Mint, which I installed with MATE and the rest was history.

I've moved on from Mint, but the fact that the MATE dev community took the tried and true paradigms learned from Gnome 2 and made kept them alive in spirit won me over. I installed Ubuntu MATE to a box just the other day.

Ubuntu MATE is a phenomenal distro. For VMs and lower resource machines it is always my go to.

Not to imply that it isn't valuable on high end machines (it is), but I personally really like Gnome 3 these days once I got used to it's way of doing things.

I remember the switch. That's when I switched from Ubuntu to Xubuntu, where I still am.

Never got this complaint. Just because something different is installed by default doesn't mean you can't install something else (or use one of the many _buntu's to make life a little easier)

A constant window manager is actually one of the strong points of linux. Lot of people still use twm.

When someone complains that they enjoyed using DE X, and the distro switches to DE Y, they get told that they can just install and keep using DE X. When they later come asking about issues they're having related to DE X, they get told that it's not officially supported and that they should probably switch to DE Y.

Both responses on their own are perfectly reasonable, but it's understandable if users get a bit frustrated.

They aren't just changing the default, they are dropping it entirely. The GNOME port is noticeably different. Apparently some other company is going to continue work on the original Unity and I hope that works out.

To give another example, one upgrade my Xmodmap stopped working, and I had to stop everything to learn how xkb worked. If there is some package I could install to just have Xmodmap work again, that'd be great, but I wasn't able to figure it out at the time.

Yes, I still use it on ubuntu 16.04. I Will stay with this version until the eol

I'm using it on 18.04, works perfectly.

IIRC 18.04 is supposed to be an extra extra extended release, so it's a good one to get comfortable with.

Me too, I spent 3 days with 18.04 and promptly downgraded again.

I do and I have no plans to switch away from it. If/when it won't work on Ubuntu anymore I'll probably switch to Plasma, but for sure I'm not going to switch to Gnome. I have a desktop i7-7700 with 32 GB of ram and an RTX 2060 and Gnome still feels sluggish

Interesting, I have almost the same system (slightly different Nvidia card) and Gnome feels very quick and responsive to me. Maybe I need to try out unity again

Unity is still available but needs to be installed explicitly (apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop).

which version is available? unity8?

Its still the smoothest DE on my old Acer laptop from 2012. It never misses a frame and gets out of the way maximizing the space for the applications.

Out of the box its not very configurable, but install compiz settings manager and its very good.

yep on 19.04 works fine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRmJPjfenEo

sudo apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop

I do. I haven't upgraded from 16.04 because I like Unity.

Of course. Fractional scaling.

GNOME 3.32/Ubuntu 19.04 allegedly adds fractional scaling for Wayland sessions but it doesn't work for me (doesn't show up in settings).

Old Unity? No. New Unity (Gnome Shell), yes.

>new Ubuntu 19.04

Oh sweet, did they make NetworkManager not garbage?


Cool, cool.

I do appreciate some of the other updates though. A little user-friendly support for Nvidia cards is a welcome add, and the latest Gnome is looking sexy.

> Tracker is installed by default

And is a dependency of Nautilus – cannot remove tracker but keep Nautilus :-(

What is "Tracker" -- it does not sound good...

Did not know either.

"Tracker is installed by default with Ubuntu 19.04. Tracker is a filesystem indexer, metadata storage system and search tool"

So no real privacy issue here or anything. But load on the system may be annoying. Boloo should be the KDE equivalent and I don't like it.

PS: Yes, this stuff can be annoying: " It wasn't installed by default until now due to performance concerns, but those issues seem to have been resolved."

> PS: Yes, this stuff can be annoying: " It wasn't installed by default until now due to performance concerns, but those issues seem to have been resolved."

Even more annoying if by "solved" they mean "everybody has SSDs now so we don't care". Windows 10 does that and it can become extremely painful to use on old spinning disks. I've seen machines where average seek times go over 1 second because Windows won't leave the damn disk alone after a few updates.

Unfortunate name

Isn't the KDE equivalent named Baloo?

Yes, and it is annoying.

For finding stuff I use recoll. Not sure if baloo has also other uses.

Its not that annoying because you can go into the Search settings page of system settings (or just search for "search" in any of the various launchers) and turn it off with a checkbox.

Filesystem indexer for faster full-text search in Nautilus. But if I'm not using Nautilus to search for files or in files, it's just extra memory bloat and extra IO

Tracker also enables GNOME Shell's search feature, which provides search results for applications and files, and returns values from supported applications (e.g. GNOME Calculator) and extensions.


Tracker is GNOME's analogue to Spotlight (from macOS/iOS) and Windows Search.



Equivalent of MacOS's spotlight

It's a good thing with a bad name

Tracker is typically bundled with Gnome. You can disable it via settings...

systemctl --user mask tracker-store.service tracker-miner-fs.service

one does not need to _remove_ software to make sure it's not impacting you.

You mean it wasn't in Ubuntu until now? I remember running it on Gentoo years ago. It was slow, but I was running on spinning disk with an AMD CPU.

I'm actually excited to try the new version.

Did not know about tracker.

I use recoll and it has literally saved my hours of work.

apt-get install recoll

Every design choice the Ubuntu team makes hints that I am not their target audience...

Gnome is A LOT snappier after the update. Update was very simple and quick too. I especially appreciate being able to set the flag to avoid disabling every PPA.

I really hope that some day Ubuntu will have enough power&steam to attack the Clipboard Problem. It is the #1 issue that makes me dislike working with a Linux desktop.

Consistent system-wide clipboard behavior with consistent keyboard shortcuts. Look to Mac OS for an example of how to get this right. And I don't even need graphics/media support in the first iteration: just get me basic plaintext copy/paste.


I never realized there was a problem with clipboards on mainstream Linux desktops?

Edit: after a couple of minutes of thinking I have found one single thing that isn't consistent: when copying and pasting from/to a terminal I have to use ctrl + shift + c or ctrl + shift + v (understandable since ctrl + c is used to terminate running programs).

Personally I guess cut, copy and paste should have been moved to Super + x/c/v since they are global os-level shortcuts, but it would break the habits of many of us so I guess that should be configurable as well.

> I never realized there was a problem with clipboards on mainstream Linux desktops?

Highlight, middleclick, job done

Except that doesn't work sometimes on Gnome Terminal. I've never been able to pin down exactly what causes it to break, but I have some machines where I have to do the key combo to make the copy and paste work and it's really annoying. Also, annoying is if you highlight something, then hit ctrl-shift-v and it puts in the text from the other cut buffer.

But the GP might be referring to the fact that copy and paste with anything but straight text is an outright shitshow on X. Compare to the copy and paste facilities from even ancient MacOS 6 it's downright stone age.

This. The MacOS and Windows users have been missing on that powerful shortcut for years and now complain for a CTRL-SHIFT-C /V in terminal? Boohoo :)

That's the problem, I don't care about whatever they do, but when they remove stuff that the rest of us have been using for decades because windows doesn't do it, that is a problem.

Improvements shouldn't break things.

Tell that to the gnome team whose main design philosophy is to remove things people love then fight really hard to justify it.

I haven't used gnome since about 2000. Englightenment, IceWM, fluxbox, blackbox ring a bell, but it's been xfce for the last decade (well just the panel and the window manager)

Wasn't it right click?

I think that’s copy on some terminals, but I think the parent is talking about paste.

Yes, most people do not realize there is a problem. You have to use a different OS (Mac OS in my case) to discover how nice a working clipboard can be and to feel the pain when going back to Linux.

I use Mac OS and (K)ubuntu about an equal amount nowadays, what's wrong with the handling on Linux DEs?

If anything I find OS X more annoying, as things like screenshots into the clipboard work far less reliably.

> and to feel the pain when going back to Linux.

Used Mac for almost three years.

Was enthusiastic when I got one and after close to three years enthusiastic to get back to Linux or even Windows.

I realize Mac users experience it to be much better and I guess with a different workflow it is.

I tried hard to pick it up. I failed miserably.

Going back was a relief for me.

Not sure if you're joking. So many programs are broken on OS X. Mostly Electron ones like Teams.

That's the fault of (A) Electron and (B) developers who use Electron who (B.A) erroneously think that because Windows users don't mind having no menu bar then everybody else feels the same and (B.B) don't reimplement what Cocoa/Carbon give developers for free.

It's not macOS' problem if people seem to prefer writing mediocre cross-platform apps than proper, native apps with full support for macOS-specific features like system-wide automation, proper integration with the system pasteboard, Quick Look, accessibility features, etc.

Is it Gnome's fault that XTerm has shonky cut-paste behaviour? gnome-terminal works wonderfully.

Or is this the projector problem again: when you plug a mac into a projector and it doesn't work, people blame the projector. When you plug a linux machine in, people blame linux.

Of course it isn't GNOME's fault if xterm has shonky cut-paste behaviour, but that really only serves to back up my point — don't blame the system if one (or a handful of) apps happen to behave contradictorily to its conventions.

I'd never heard of the projector problem, but given Linux's unreliable track record with multiple monitors, I'm not surprised people blame Linux. The problem as stated doesn't define whether or not the projector is actually at fault or not, so we can only really start diagnosis where intuition leads us.

What problems do you have? I have been using KDE for the last few years and I never had a single problem with the clipboard.

Regarding the terminal, on Gnome-terminal it is possible to rebind copy-paste to ctrl-c and ctrl-v. If you do this you need to start using ctrl+shift+C for ^C

I dunno man, I regularly copy partial screenshots and paste them into my gmail of all things and it works perfectly. Also pasting into GIMP, or pasting into Telegram. Similarly I paste text from the terminal into other programs.. honestly, where is the problem? My computer doesn't even have a middle-click button (trackpad) so I don't even remember about the X clipboard most of the time, it's a complete non-issue these days.

> consistent keyboard shortcuts

Apart from the terminal which obviously needs an alternative to Ctrl-C (same as Windows, and shift-ctrl-C beats shift-insert or whatever any day), and Emacs which is, you know, emacs, I can't think of any programs that do not consistently use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. So what are you referring to here?

Uhhg, this pisses me off; I had to write my own terminal emulator to get one that handled Cc and Cv correctly[0].

0: Also to get working (not blurry) fonts and a couple of other assorted improvements.

Still working on killing that damn line discipline, though.

Not exactly a solution. But I use this: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/779/clipboard-indicat...

Ha, I use Kubuntu and just installed Win 10 on a computer for games (for the kids). Main thing I miss using it is my clipboard (klipper, IIRC) from Kubuntu.

Linux (really X Windows) has the best clipboard: select text to "copy", middle click to "paste".

Yes, I also had this smug attitude, having used the X terminals (the real ones, as in physical X terminals) back in 1994 or so, and then using X11 on various machines and operating systems since then.

Then I started using Mac OS X and I realized that it's actually nice to be able to select text and NOT have it auto-copied obliterating my clipboard, but instead be able to replace it using Command-V. And it's a pretty cool invention that the same shortcuts work in all applications, consistently. And that I can copy text in any application and paste it in any other using the same shortcut. And that I don't have to use the middle mouse button, which is a scrollwheel these days and is difficult to hit without invoking the scroll functionality. And it's pretty nice to be able to paste to where the cursor is RIGHT NOW without carefully positioning the mouse pointer and making sure it doesn't move while you carefully try to hit the middle button (otherwise your text will get inserted wherever the mouse moves in the meantime, if you are in a browser edit window).

I could go on. There are so many things which can be done better if we drop the "the way X11 did this is the best way, ever" attitude.

And then, eventually, once we get text copy/paste right, we can get to copying images, which again is a totally solved problem on Mac OS X.

> it's actually nice to be able to select text and NOT have it auto-copied obliterating my clipboard

Can't you just use ctrl+c and ctrl+v and ignore the other clipboard?


> the other clipboard

"The other clipboard" is part of the problem I'm describing. Why would you have "the other clipboard" in your system?

But you know what: I've read the replies in this discussion and I rest my case. It seems that most Linux users are OK with the current situation and do not even want to hear about the possibility of a better solution. This is why things will not change.

I'll just use OS X for development, happily paying Apple a premium for getting things to work for me.

> It seems that most Linux users are OK with the current situation

Most people are saying they aren't even _aware_ of the problem, and you've completely failed to describe it here. No one even knows what the hell you are talking about, maybe give it a rest?

A solution to what? In my opinion, it’s quite convenient to have access to both. Sometimes I need to copy from a webpage but then realize I could speed up by middle click pasting a few other things, and then using ctrl-v for the first copy. I like having them separate.

do not even want to hear about the possibility of a better solution

We really would, but no one in this thread is clearly describing this better solution.

Why should things change just because you want them to? We're a community of hackers who built our own operating system. You're very welcome to join us but unless you're willing to pay us what you're willing to pay Apple you're going to have to implement what you want yourself. But you're free to implement it yourself. That freedom is what we value.

This seems like an overly personal take from someone who cannot possibly claim to represent all Linux users.

There are plenty of Linux users with gripes about the UI and various aspects of the environment, hence why there are so many bloody Linux apps that basically do the same thing, so many desktop environments, and more being made every day.

An idea about the user experience is worth paying attention to even if they can't implement it themselves. To brush off the idea with a "well, if you like it so much, make it yourself" is churlish and dismissive. It's not an attitude that helps advance beyond the status quo.

It seems like closed-mindedness to constructive criticism, alarmingly similar to the mindset GNOME's developers have towards basically everybody, stubbornly refusing to accept that other peoples' points of view can have merit and value.

Ironically, it's a very closed, Microsoftian value for a Linux user to hold: Not Invented Here.

It's nothing to do with not invented here. It's just not my itch, so why should I scratch it? If you want someone else to scratch your itch you have to pay them.

My point is only to highlight that these are very different worlds. Apple decides what you want then charges for it. We say, here, this is what I want, but feel free to make it what you want. There are always going to be pros and cons.

> It's just not my itch, so why should I scratch it?

But why must you put it down?

It may not be your itch, but equally, Linux is not your OS. It's everybody's. Other people may happen to share the same sentiment about certain things. That's how things change, evolve, develop, improve.

You cannot be dismissive on everybody else's behalf.

> Apple decides what you want and then charges for it. We say, here, this is what I want, but feel free to make it what you want

First, who is 'we'? I still feel like you're trying to represent the feeling of a lot of people whose opinions may differ wildly from your own.

Aside from that, not everybody who uses Linux does so for this factor of openness and flexibility. There are plenty of Linux users who wish it would Just Work™ — but, again, their contributions to the discussion shouldn't be poo-pooed just because they don't have the time or resources to reimplement that with which they're familiar.

Some people can only contribute ideas, and that's just fine; it might turn out that only when some developer with some free time on his or her hands sees those ideas that they might then be implemented.

I don't think I "put down" anything. I can say "we" because if it hasn't been done yet then clearly nobody wants it enough.

I use Gentoo and it really does Just Work for me. My definition of working is clearly a world apart from others', though.

X has the manual clipboard as well, though. It's always worked for me. Do you have any specific examples of where it fails?

> is a totally solved problem on Mac OS X.

It's solved there because it's a walled garden. It's essentially a different problem that they've solved. The problem here is making that work while still being the free software operating system we love.

I wish there was an option somewhere to disable this. I middle-click-paste by accident way too often. I hate having two separate clipboards that I have to think about what's in each.

please tell me there's something like ditto https://ditto-cp.sourceforge.io/ for X. i've got mine bound to C-` on windows 10 and can't work on a desktop which doesn't have it installed.

KDE has a clipboard manager app, I think its called Klipper.

I never used it because I don't like having a history of my actions.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/clipboard#Managers there are many clipboard managers for X

I wouldn't be surprised if there is. I spend much of my life in emacs and it has a very similar thing called the kill-ring.

It is really nice when using mouse, but with trackpad, it is unfortunately not as convenient.

Installed this last night a couple of hours early. Compared to 18.04, boot times and the ui seems a lot snappier because of some gnome updates. This was the reason I did the upgrade so I'm pretty happy. Haven't tested on my laptop yet though.

I dunno what Ubuntu did, but Filesystems tab in gnome task monitor is now completely useless. It's filled with virtual file systems from packages that I will never ever care about accessing in this way, and they can't be hidden.

Why? Whyyy why why.

Might those be snap packages? It sounds like a similar annoying I had, where df would be filled with /dev/loop entries, multiple for each snap package, to the point where 20% of the lines were actually useful. That was enough for me to purge every snap package from my install and remove the snap core altogether.

This is exactly what it was. It has since been purged from my system. Thank you!

I have been using Windows and Mac for years now, and Ubuntu on servers. Yesterday I made a dual boot between Windows 10 and Ubuntu 19.04 and I have to say... It's been pretty awesome, almost everything was configured out of the box, I have 3 monitors and this works almost as good as W10 (Maybe the way to arrange windows could improve). For now I will use it as my main Desktop OS and I will just change to W10 for the games.

Very happy with it, good job Ubuntu and Linux teams! :D

Default python3 version is now 3.7. Upgraded and found python performance improvement over py3.6 to be quite significant.

Does anybody know why this happens when I try to do-release-upgrade 18.04 in WSL? I didn't have trouble going from 16.04 to 18.04...

  $ do-release-upgrade
  Checking for a new Ubuntu release
  Get:1 Upgrade tool signature [819 B]
  Get:2 Upgrade tool [1,243 kB]
  Fetched 1,244 kB in 0s (0 B/s)
  authenticate 'cosmic.tar.gz' against 'cosmic.tar.gz.gpg'
  extracting 'cosmic.tar.gz'
  [sudo] password for $USER:

You have to add a flag to get off of the LTS brach, Maybe '-d"? Both 16.04 and 180.04 are LTS. the next LTS will be 20.04

Thanks, but nope that's not the issue, I've already done both. It's just failing to do anything for some reason.

  $ do-release-upgrade -p -c
  Checking for a new Ubuntu release
  New release '18.10' available.
  Run 'do-release-upgrade' to upgrade to it.

I'm not sure if do-release-upgrade supports skipping releases, except for going from lts to lts? In other words, it might either: 16.04 -> 18.04 -> 20.04, or 18.04 -> 18.10 -> 19.04. But not 18.04 (lts) -> 19.04?

I think it should: https://askubuntu.com/a/240189

Actually, that answer seems to imply that "skipping" is just for lts>lts?

I guess so. In my case I'm not skipping anything. It's set to normal and clearly trying to get 18.10.

Ah, I missed your original comment. I see you hit a bug with missing depencies.

IIRC, do-release-upgrade won't upgrade between LTS releases until the .2 release.

Yup but I've already turned off the LTS setting.

Sorry, brain fart – you have to upgrade between non-LTS releases sequentially, as far as I know there's no supported way to upgrade to 19.04 from anything but 18.10. (in general, to get to release n, you must either be on release n-1, or n must be an LTS and you must be on the previous LTS.)

Yeah but that's what it's trying to do too, and that's exactly what's failing: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19693284

Sorry, totally missed that. Looks like some other people have had similar issues with upgrading to previous versions: https://github.com/Microsoft/WSL/issues/3489 (though the issue is for (I think) 16.04->18.04, someone mentions that it also affects 18.04->18.10)

it's strange that that's all the output you get, though. Apparently it puts logs in /var/log/dist-upgrade/, is there more there?

AHH, thank you! /var/log/dist-upgrade/main.log explains why! It's indeed another instance of a bug I already saw when upgrading another system [1] and couldn't figure out -- there's a missing dependency in some Ubuntu package:

  sudo apt-get install python-distro-info python3-distro-info
EDIT: Do yourself a favor and don't upgrade to 19.04 on WSL. VSCode and google-chrome-stable can't start on it. I had to roll back.

[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubuntu-release-upg...

I never liked Unity nor Gnome. I use KDE but also like enlightenment distributions like Bodhi Linux. Would someone explain why to use Gnome? Just a habbit?

It's better-looking and more consistent than KDE and more actively-developed than Enlightenment (which feels at best half-finished).

Moksha Deskop, based on a previous E version, is actively developed.


I’m used to the exact setup it offers me. I built a keyboard with custom macros to interface with some shortcuts that the desktop offers and I’m very particular about having them all available.

That alone isn’t a deal breaker, it’s not very difficult to replicate all the tweaks that I prefer, but I also have a 144hz monitor and Gnome has some of the best support for that that I’ve found. I don’t like having my window manager lagging behind, and the combination of the two leave basically only Gnome in the intersection.

Besides, in my experience, there isn’t a huge benefit in changing either. I try new options now and then and never feel like I’m missing out.

Well, some of us do like GNOME.

I particularly love the Overview mode when you press the Super key.

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