There are lots of other very able distributions out there, many of which not only have better privacy features but also are technologically superior in one way or another.
In no particular order, these are all very capable operating systems for a variety of needs:
This list is non exhaustive. They are all free. They all work well in different places. There are others too.
We've all had ample indication that Ubuntu was headed for the pits. It's time to move on.
-- a proud gentoo dev
SuSE has a big focus on the enterprise level - I didn't realize that until earlier this year when I talked with a SuSE dev. So enterprises have options other than Ubuntu for standardized & supported Linux.
List of Enterprise Linuxes:
And so forth...
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
You keep the benefits of the Ubuntu package repo, kernel patches, etc.
What i get is only a black screen.
Even though i restarted my laptop, still black screen.
How can i return back to Unity?
All of them are used in production, search engines (at least FreeBSD (Google backends and DuckDuckGo) and DragonFly BSD), space crafts (at least NetBSD (ISS)), internet service providers (all of them), resarch agencies (all of them), US government/military (well, I am not sure about DragonFly BSD in this case).
The other distros might work well technically, but imho they don't look as good and they require more tweaking, which is a hassle for me.
Not true - plenty of distros ship pretty default themes (ArchBang, Mint, ElementoryOS, etc). And themes are just that - a theme. They can easily be installed on any distro - even ones that look "ugly" out of the box.
> Ubuntu was the first Linux distro I used that did not look like a donkey's ass (back in 2008~).
They key bit there is "I used" - ie there's been plenty but you're unaware of them. Ubuntu wasn't the first to place emphasis on aesthetics (I remember being wowed by Mandrake back in 2002) and it's certainly not the only distro to care about that at the moment. Ubuntu is just the distro that shouts the loudest because Shuttleworth has deep pockets.
> Even today's Gnome Shell does not look as good as Unity.
Subjective. Personally I think Unity is the ugliest of the heavyweight desktop environments. And Unity is certainly the least attractive part of Ubuntu (the colours, icons and font rendering is what makes Ubuntu look good, in my opinion)
Ubuntu was the first one to really nail ALL of those problems. By 2008, others may have mostly caught up, but by then the word was already out that Ubuntu was the distribution of choice for users who just wanted good linux desktop OS but didn't want to spend any up-front time tinkering with it. This also made it the first choice for windows users switching to a linux desktop.
It wasn't just a matter of shouting the loudest. It was word of mouth that did it. Linux users (developers, sysadmins; not necessarily linux desktop power users) were chosing Ubuntu and recommending it to their peers and family.
Where the parent poster gets it wrong is that there wasn't one thing in particular that all the other distros were doing wrong (eg "design"), it's that each one had something thwarting users trying to use it as a desktop OS. Whether it was spotty driver support, strict "free software" mentality, minimal base installs missing key software, or bad default settings, there was something.
And I certainly wasn't recommending Ubuntu back in 2008. I'm sure some developers and sysadmins may have been, but I wasn't (but then by that point I'd been running Slackware and FreeBSD for a few years, so I definitely wasn't Canonicals target audience).
Please don't expect me to be able to list every single potential fault that might have been relevant. I used several distros during that time and have a decent memory but there's no way I can really prove my point without actually walking you through some typical user experiences and contrasting them with a typical experience on Windows and OS X.
For example: with a randomly selected machine from New Egg: install OS, configure a user, change the screen resolution, connect to the internet, install two non-developer productivity applications (musical score-writing, and audio production, in my case), configure MIDI, download some mp3s and start playing them, use a flash webpage, use a page with a java applet, download some image files, make some simple modifications (crop/resize/etc) and share them via email. Transfer them to a USB stick. Set up a printer and print a travel itenerary. Download + Install a free indie videogame from the web.
Most of that was possible with various distributions in 2003. But how many bumps could a random casual user expect along the way? Maybe I'd have no problems mounting a USB drive but maybe setting up MIDI would be a pain. Maybe there would be no driver issues but after trying to change the screen resolution I'd break the X configs and be unable start the X server on a reboot. Maybe the screen resolution configuration would work but there was no package for an app I wanted and I had to compile from source and manually track down every single dependency after reading the README. All it takes is one or two issues for someone like me to just go back to Windows and actually get stuff done.
I knew a guy who favored slackware. He had a tricked out Pontiac Grand Prix that he'd customized in his own garage and he treated his Linux machine the same way, configuring his own desktop themes various personalized features. Stuff that I just don't care about (and neither do most users).
Linux is still rubbish compared to Windows for music composition and production (speaking as a former music producer) and has only just started to be taken seriously for gaming, so your examples are moot.
> Maybe I'd have no problems mounting a USB drive but maybe setting up MIDI would be a pain.
Setting up MIDI properly in Windows was a pain back then too. And depending on the complexity of your MIDI gear, it's still a pain now - even with devices moving over to USB. So that too is moot.
> Maybe there would be no driver issues but after trying to change the screen resolution I'd break the X configs and be unable start the X server on a reboot.
That would be down to you doing something really dumb there as changing the screen resolutions shouldn't break your X config. In fact even when I used to hack about in Slackware, screen resolutions wouldn't affect Xorg.conf (which is a good thing too given how nasty Xorg.conf was to configure)
> Maybe the screen resolution configuration would work but there was no package for an app I wanted and I had to compile from source and manually track down every single dependency after reading the README. All it takes is one or two issues for someone like me to just go back to Windows and actually get stuff done.
Never had that problem in SuSE nor Mandrake / Mandriva. You absolutely sure you were running stuff through a package manager, as even back then SuSE and Mandrake would support installing stuff via RPM.
Honestly, the more you post, the more I'm convinced the problem was with your choice of distro and you're blindly accusing all desktop distros of making the same mistakes as whatever you were running; which clearly wasn't the case. The very reason I warmed to Mandrake was because it was massively simple to set up an easy to use point-and-click interface.
I wont lie and say Linux was the perfect desktop back then; most desktop apps looked ugly and were buggy. There wasn't much good documentation about and the desktop environments were still looking like something from the 90s. But the only time I ran into problems with the OS was when I got a bit carried away with blindly changing settings I knew I shouldn't be (however no OS -not even Windows- will protect users from breaking thing themselves). Thankfully it never took more than half an hour to figure out how to reverse the setting I'd made (and that was around the time I decided that I'd be better off with Slackware since I liked to tinker)
> I knew a guy who favored slackware. He had a tricked out Pontiac Grand Prix that he'd customized in his own garage and he treated his Linux machine the same way, configuring his own desktop themes various personalized features. Stuff that I just don't care about (and neither do most users).
If you properly read what I posted, you'd see that I wasn't advocating Slackware for most users. In fact I specifically stated that running Slackware made me different from most users and I made that point because you implied that all developers and sysadmins preferred Ubuntu - which is complete and utter BS (as exampled by me).
My point regarding distros as capable as Ubuntu was regarding Mandrake and SuSE, not Slackware. And the stuff you described could as easily be done in Mandrake (and later, Mandraver) as it could in Ubuntu.
Many people forget about Mandrake, but it really was a competent desktop long before Ubuntu burst onto the scene; and I should know, Mandrake was one of the first Linux distros I ran - and I managed just fine with zero UNIX/POSIX experience and the lack of end-user orientated communities to walk noobs through.
In fact if there's anything Ubuntu should be credited for, it's the support Canonical offered in conjunction with Ubuntu. Their forums and wiki's are a fantastic resource if you're stuck. There's few Linux distros / UNIX-like OS's out there which are better documented. But that doesn't mean that Ubuntu was the first desktop distro that ticked all the "user friendly" boxes (and in my honest opinion, no distro ticks all the boxes you've listed - not even in 2013)
What WAS it good for? Software development and anything command-line or terminal-based. Anything else? LaTeX perhaps. Gimp. Web browsing. Some Math and Scientific applications. In other words not much.
Honestly, the more you post, the more I'm convinced the problem was with your choice of distro and you're blindly accusing all desktop distros of making the same mistakes as whatever you were running; which clearly wasn't the case.
I used: SuSE, Red Hat (soon to be Fedora), Debian, and Knoppix. At least. Also several non-linux Unixes (Solaris, AIX, System V) but only for work.
No, I never used your favorite, Mandrake. It's possible that was The One True Distro. But still, a single competitor being superior but sadly overlooked doesn't really change the overall point I was making that Ubuntu stood out from the pack in real ways it did not simply "shout the loudest".
What changed around the time of Ubuntu wasn't Ubuntu, it was the rest of the Linux ecosystem.
I agree that it was primarily maturity of the linux ecosystem that allowed Ubuntu to flourish. By 2008 most linux desktop OS's were converging on KDE or GNOME and shared many similarities. But Ubuntu still had polish that many others lacked.
That was around 2008, again, it's completely irrellevent to my point about SuSE and Mandrake. Plus you're also invalidating your point about sysadmins and developers recommending Ubuntu if "power users" (which are less competent that devs and sysadmins) are considered too technical to have issues with less user friendly distros.
> What WAS it good for? Software development and anything command-line or terminal-based. Anything else? LaTeX perhaps. Gimp. Web browsing. Some Math and Scientific applications. In other words not much.
Regardless of whatever assumptions you want to make about my usage, that's still more than the average user does with their PC. So I don't really get the point you're trying to make.
> I used: SuSE, Red Hat (soon to be Fedora), Debian, and Knoppix. At least. Also several non-linux Unixes (Solaris, AIX, System V) but only for work.
So you didn't try Mandrake yet here you are lecturing me about what Mandrake was like. Nice one.
> No, I never used your favorite, Mandrake.
It's not my favourite - not by a long way. It just the happens to be an example that counters your ridiculous statement that other distros couldn't get user friendliness right before Canonical came along.
> But still, a single competitor being superior but sadly overlooked doesn't really change the overall point I was making that Ubuntu stood out from the pack in real ways it did not simply "shout the loudest".
Well actually it does change that point, because you're claim was that Ubuntu was the first - which I'm claiming it was not. Thus it's absolutely fundamental to your point.
The real question you should be asking is what differentiated Ubuntu from the other user friendly distros that preceded it? Timing and the ecosystem is definitely part of the answer; but an answer that Canonical deserves no credit for. So what did Canonical do differently to the other distros? The answer is simple: they had more money to throw at their baby.
> I agree that it was primarily maturity of the linux ecosystem that allowed Ubuntu to flourish. By 2008 most linux desktop OS's were converging on KDE or GNOME and shared many similarities. But Ubuntu still had polish that many others lacked.
I'm glad you've now said "many" because previously you were claiming Ubuntu was better than all of the others - any that's the point I'm disputing. Ubuntu wasn't the first nor only distro to get the desktop experience nailed. It was just the one with the deepest pockets to shout the loudest. And the fact that you haven't heard of, let alone tried, Mandrake proves my point. But you are right that Ubuntu was better than most - it just wasn't the only distro out there getting things right.
It's not a question of capability it's a question of willingness and desire.
> So you didn't try Mandrake yet here you are lecturing me about what Mandrake was like. Nice one.
Based on my knowledge of the linux ecosystem in 2003, I am skeptical of your claims about Mandrake's usability. And of course I've heard of Mandrake. But I haven't tried it, and it's true I wasn't thinking of it when I made my original generalization.
'Privacy' be damned. At least as long as one can configure settings as easy as is the case here. (Privacy quoted as I cannot see the problem here, compared to e.g. google or facebook which are able to build up a whole profile of you (and me)).
(would love to try out gentoo once, but time...)
I like both distros, but would you say there's any significant reason to switch back? Noticeable speed/stability difference?
Gentoo did fork udev, but I'm honestly fine with systemd for my desktop.
I've moved on to Linux Mint and Crunchbang. Can't say I miss Ubuntu at this point. If they decide to pull their heads out and pay more attention to the wider community, I may eventually use a distro again. I wish them well, but I don't feel that their priorities intersect with my interests.
Haha, fwiw I actually love that move. I work on a laptop 99% of the time and just maximize all my windows and alt-tab among them.
Moving the window buttons as they did saved an entire toolbar worth of vertical space and enabled them to create a highly responsive top left menu area:
Normal use: Window Title & Description
Holding Alt or Mousing Over: Switches to window buttons and menus
Saves space, works seamlessly. Of course, I keybind literally everything to Vim binds so I almost never use the mouse, which I think is where a lot of hate is coming from - right-handed mouse users feeling like they have to move the mouse further now to hit the window controls.
I mean, it works, it's pretty, it's used... plus there's something in Unity which I like, it just gets out of the way (most of the time).
Of those distros you've posted there, I'd consider OpenSUSE, Mageia and Debian. OpenSUSE and Mageia are KDE-Centric and I'm not a big fan of it, and Debian is OK although had problems with it in the past.
I'd stay with Funtoo if I could, but honestly I don't have the time anymore.
Disclaimer: don't use either, I use CentOS on the serious work machine and Debian (non-free) on the playpad.
Linux Mint uses Cinnamon.
Cinnamon is listed first, but Mate is much more of an equal player here than something like xubuntu is compared to ubuntu.
1) It's a search box. Stuff not typed in the search box never leaves the machine (unless you count things that do by design, such as web browsers and email, obviously).
2) It's plainly obvious the first time you use it that results are coming back from the Internet. No real user is going to be misled into believing that searches are local. This makes it no more a privacy violation than the default Google search box in Firefox.
2b) There is a prominent notice saying so. If you don't think it's prominent enough, see point 2.
3) It's a search box that didn't exist previously. Canonical invented it. I think it's reasonable for Canonical to create a "search the universe" mechanism on the desktop. Fair enough if you don't like it, or don't want to use it. It's trivial to turn it off (there's even a global Privacy Settings dialog) or to use other searches. But that doesn't suddenly make it a privacy violation; nor the results of your search "ads".
Edit: I should have expected the downvotes. I notice, though, that the downvoters are unable to actually respond to my argument.
1) Yet. When boiling frogs it's best to turn the heat up slowly. Canonical isn't providing a service for free here, they make money mining your searches and sending them to 3rd parties like Amazon. Compare this with its parent distribution's Social Contract.  Especially the phrase "We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software community. We will place their interests first in our priorities." Note the lack of a profit motive as compared to Canonical's continuous search for monetization schemes.
2) Real users may not realize they have a choice, or that sending searches to 3rd parties is NOT normal in the GNU/Linux world. Ubuntu has intentionally made itself a "My First Linux" distro so many of its users are new to the idea of software freedom and are in need of guidance.
2b) EULA's are no excuse. Did you know that using Adobe Flash prevents you from working on GNU Gnash? It was in the EULA you agreed to.  Everything's confusing during your first *nix experience, the average person probably has a mental list of a dozen things that don't make sense, that's a questionable time to get people to sign off on privacy compromises.
3) Blurring the lines between local and global is interesting. Blurring the lines between Open Source and spyware is not. 
 - http://www.debian.org/social_contract
 - http://www.gnashdev.org/?q=node/25#eula
 - http://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do
> 1) [profit motive]
The Mozilla Foundation's main source of income is making money through Google searches. If you accept Mozilla in the GNU/Linux world, then you accept this motive on your own terms.
> 2) Real users may not realize they have a choice, or that sending searches to 3rd parties is NOT normal in the GNU/Linux world.
This is a philosophical argument about foisting your own beliefs onto new Ubuntu users. Ubuntu has always been the pragmatic distribution. It gained popularity by making non-free codecs and proprietary drivers easily available. This pragmatism has not changed.
And this still doesn't have anything to do with a claimed privacy violation.
> 2b) EULA's are no excuse.
Which is why I had my point 2: that it is plainly obvious that the search is a global search, and that the query was sent out to the Internet. You don't need to read any notice to see this.
You have not shown that there is any spyware present. That would require some kind of privacy violation.
If Apple felt the need to monetize me every time I typed "Terminal" into Spotlight I'd switch platforms fast.
I think collecting, mining and sharing information about your user-base for money is deeply troubling. We may not have a good word to describe this type of activity but spyware at least gets us in the right neighborhood.
4.5 No Modification or Reverse Engineering. You shall not modify, adapt, translate or create derivative works based upon the Software. You shall not reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the Software.
Exactly why they're afraid this would be binding I don't know, IP law is beyond me.
Canonical is providing the operating system for free.
Why should Amazon know what programs and files I'm using?
That still doesn't make it a privacy violation, since you know where your searches are going (as does any other user, since it's obvious based on the results).
> Why should Amazon know what programs and files I'm using?
It makes the normal user's life more convenient since he doesn't need to figure out which box to type something in. You think that's ridiculous? Users are well known for typing web addresses into any box available. They cannot tell the difference. Having a single box for everything makes for a better experience,.
Amazon doesn't know what programs and files you're using, since Canonical anonymizes it. If you don't like it, or you don't trust Canonical, and you still want to use the "search everything" search box, then adjust the settings to do what you want.
On my mac, both spotlight and alfred (the 3rd-party application launcher I use) are capable of searching both my computer and the web, and neither send my file searches to the internet.
OTOH, such users might not be aware that their Amazon searches are collected and data-mined.
You're using the wrong search box if you want to search exclusively for local content. Try hitting Super-A, Super-F or clicking on the applications or files tabs to search locally.
The Unity Dash search box is placed where every user would normally expect a local-only search to happen. There is no reason whatsoever for me to expect the Unity Dash search to return results from the Internet, just like I wouldn't expect the search box in Windows 7 Start Menu to do so.
This kind of behavior that plays with users' expectations is common in UI dark patterns.
Your example with Firefox is misleading, because Firefox is a browser, which automatically creates different expectation of privacy: it is quite normal for a search box in a Web browser to search the Web.
Also, note that you're essentially saying that there is no privacy violation past the first time it happens. This is more or less the equivalent of saying that once you've fallen for an advance fee fraud the first time, it's not a scam anymore.
I disagree that it's prominent enough. So do many other users and you know it, otherwise you wouldn't have bothered to write that second sentence.
None of the dark patterns or privacy violations seen elsewhere existed before they were invented. The fact that they didn't exist before has nothing to do with the intentions behind them or the effects they have. It might be new, you might like it and it might be trivial to turn off, but none of that makes it any less of a privacy violation.
In short, you're using misleading and circular arguments: there's no privacy violation because Canonical changed the behavior of the search box and you should learn to expect it. No wonder you state that the downvoters are "unable" to respond.
This is the default behavior in W8.1, however.
The OS that we all love ^_^ .
Seriously though: from my perspective search results from the internet aren't the problem. Advertisements are.
Linux Mint with it's forced custom search in combination with Ubuntu Unity have the potential to turn the populatiion of 'casual' Linux converts back into Windows users. The question of how a free OS can be free is answered: they show you advertisements, and they put your personal data at risk.
The point is they try to move away from "browser search" to "Oh I need something quickly and I just need to press ctrl/command-F search this". If they do have a button to disable the feature (and assuming they do this properly) there is no violation of privacy. Of course I am sure I would be much happier to opt-out during installation process. That's a topic you have to raise to ubuntu dev. With enough people say fu they will introduce this opt-out.
I think you are wrong about this.
The distinction between local & remote search isn't something that is apparent to many users. Additionally, it isn't at all clear that there should be a distinction.
Many users don't understand the distinction between "applications" and "data" at all, let alone the difference between applications. They just want to find something!
Imagine the scenario where you >search< in a >box< (term) with `grep -inr "pattern" /random/path` and you get results like:
Take it even further. Visit amazon or c@n0nical's site and be welcomed with your hostname. Great, eh? And while you're at it, send all patterns to NSA as well, because, ummm, it's a "search box".
Do you still think that this is not a privacy violation?
C@n0nical has become a pimp.
Seems that many people erased POSIX and privacy from their dictionary.
Is this even an argument? If the box isn't used (crippling the user interface) there is nothing to discuss. You may also argue that if the pc is powered off there aren't privacy problems.
> 2) It's plainly obvious the first time you use it that results are coming back from the Internet.
So discovering that you lost your privacy after the fact is the correct way to be informed?
> 2b) There is a prominent notice saying so. If you don't think it's prominent enough, see point 2.
I think it's not prominent enough, see the answer to the point 2
> 3) It's a search box that didn't exist previously. Canonical invented it. I think it's reasonable for Canonical to create a "search the universe" mechanism on the desktop. Fair enough if you don't like it, or don't want to use it. It's trivial to turn it off (there's even a global Privacy Settings dialog) or to use other searches
Let's break it down
> It's a search box that didn't exist previously. Canonical invented it.
How can this give rights over the users' privacy is beyond me
> I think it's reasonable for Canonical to create a "search the universe" mechanism on the desktop.
Sure, as long the users know beforehand that they are "searching the universe"
> It's trivial to turn it off
Would you like a bath that by default stream what you do over internet? But ehi, "it's trivial to turn it off", so what's the problem? It should be _obviously_ an opt-in
> Edit: I should have expected the downvotes. I notice, though, that the downvoters are unable to actually respond to my argument.
The downvoters are able to respond. Are you unable to read?
The expectation of privacy is the problem here. I don't find omnibox or the unity bar bad per se, I find it a privacy issue if the users don't clearly understand what is going to happen with what they write.
Clear positive opt in - Good
Opt out (even if fairly easy) - clear privacy violation (bad)
The snide comment in your edit earned you a downvote from me.
Moreover, I don't particularly feel like spending time & effort examining Unity Dash source code to figure out if and how my information might be shared with Canonical and/or other third parties. Canonical should make an unambiguous promise not to transmit any data to anyone, right there on the privacy settings screen, whenever that slider is set to the 'off' position. I would trust such an unambiguous promise.
So thank you for submitting this website here -- I've bookmarked it for when I upgrade my desktops from 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS next year.
Edit: Added second paragraph.
If it turns out that searches leak out despite the setting, I'm sure you'll hit the front page of HN. Since this hasn't happened, and Canonical have been under considerable scrutiny about it, I think it's safe to say that your conspiracy theory doesn't hold up.
I see connections to "...golem.canonical.com" in Etherape when using Lubuntu 13.10.
Here are some resources with more people reporting the same:
All the resources you pointed appear to be people who have found a setting and do not understand that it does not do anything.
Like my posts elsewhere on this thread, it's open source. Take a look for yourself, or ask someone who can.
Do you have any source for that? If it is vestigial, why would it need to suck up so much ram? Unless I explicitly activate it, what is point of draining the power and filling up the ram by default. Not everyone does and know how to inspect the crash dump, they are mostly useful to the OS manufacturer and the developer of the crashing application.
> currently the crash reports sit on the server awaiting (local) examination and do nothing.
So Ubuntu (Canonical) doesn't collect any crash data from servers but only from desktops despite having the technology built-in and activated? Highly unlikely.
Yes. "apt-get source whoopsie". What other source would you prefer? Canonical, who it seems that you don't trust and won't believe anyway?
> So Ubuntu (Canonical) doesn't collect any crash data from servers but only from desktops despite having the technology built-in and activated?
Correct, because the server end is not implemented. A summary of the gathered data is at https://errors.ubuntu.com/. You may see "server" packages there, but if this is true then this is only because you can install these packages on the desktop, too, and desktop users can agree to send crash reports for crashes on server packages. But the numbers on this site speak for themselves. Clearly server crash reports are not being reported there.
Aside eating up 8GB of RAM on one file server I'd built. I couldn't believe it when I saw that.
Wooopsie is just one of many reasons why I always recommend vanilla Debian over Ubuntu Server.
What's with the ambiguity? Does it disable it or not?
I feel silly for asking, but the question was about ambiguous language, so the reply was ironic.
It's what it was designed for. If there is a bug that is preventing it from working properly, I would like to know about it so I can make sure it gets fixed.
Shuttleworth changes his strategy more often than his underpants but I recollect that there was a 'business edition' of 12.04 that cut out all the Web 2.0 integration stuff. Might be worth checking if a similar edition was made for 14.04.
This is all I can find now, no ISOs for 12.04 any more
Be careful, this is pretty rude and may break stuff - it is also not complete but some dependencies are too entangled. Only geoclue and indicator-datetime still annoy me. The idea to poll the internet regulary to check for the timezone of the machine is beyond me.
apt-get purge ubuntuone* # I don't use it
apt-get purge unity-lens-music unity-lens-video unity-lens-photos # I don't need the integration
apt-get purge friends* # I don't use this either
apt-get purge telepathy-logger telepathy-indicator telepathy-salut # pidgin is enough for me
apt-get purge unity-scope-musicstores unity-scope-openclipart # No need for that in Unity
apt-get purge oneconf # I don't want to sync my settings
apt-get purge empathy # pidgin works fine
apt-get purge software-center* # synaptic is enough
apt-get purge evolution-data-server evolution-data-server-goa evolution-calendar-factory # thunderbird and lightning for me
apt-get purge unity-scopes-runner unity-webapps-common xul-ext-unity xul-ext-websites-integration # my browser is enough - no integration for me
apt-get --purge autoremove
apt-get install pidgin synaptic
apt-get purge friends
It removes Unity and switches to gnome-shell, removes nautilus and other stuff and replaces it with nemo, geany, etc.
I do have some additional tweaks to improve wifi, etc. but the base install brings my RSS with firefox (I consider that a minimum) to about 500 mb on 12.04
Regarding swap compression:
I'm happy with zcache¹. zramswap is out of date and buggy for me (I'm not exactly sure here). There is also zswap². I'm running Linux 3.11
To enable zcache edit /etc/default/grub and add zcache to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT
To enable zswap add zswap.enable=1
Both can't be running at the same time.
However, I primarily intended this setup for someone like me - who sets up a default ubuntu install and then finds himself slowed down. So these steps are intended to be run safely from a fully working ubuntu install.
I'm curious, what do you use Geany for?
EDIT - just checked on my phone and it seemed ok. Could you detail what you are seeing and what browser.
<p>This setup should take less than 400 mb RAM on startup.</p>
<pre style="overflow:auto;margin:0;padding:0;border:1px solid #DDD;"><!DOCTYPE html>...
zeitgeist takes care of your used documents and applications?. I tried to get rid of it but the dependencies here are quite entangled and it's useful to have often used applications and documents at hand in Unity.
goa is GNOME online accounts. The dubious idea to connect your online account with your desktop. Some like it. Not sure how to get rid of it.
mission-control is probably part of the telepathy framework. The idea behind telepathy is probably pretty nice. However there is no OTR for telepathy and I'm happy using pidgin. It's probably safe to remove along the rest of telepathy if you don't need it.
It's a shame that modern desktop Linux has no decent manpages for most of this stuff. If you want to learn something about your system install apt-file and use apt-cache or Google to learn about all the stuff that is running.
I completely agree and double so for things that destroy a running system because of lack of documentation. In some ways Unity has really jumped the shark on the good aspects that ubuntu was bringing. I wonder if anyone from the debian project has considered rolling their own Unity version with all the crapola ripped out. Now that's a DE I would start using in a heartbeat.
Removing Unity and installing Gnome (which is far more configurable because of http://extensions.gnome.org) has turned out to be really lean for me.
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4M
incidentally, don't type the above.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
!!! ALERT !!!
Do not type or paste the above, unless you wish to
destroy your partition!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The mindset of the time is reflected in an announcement  of the /Ubuntu Foundation/:
"It's important for us to distinguish the philanthropic and
non-commercial work that is at the heart of the Ubuntu project, from
the commercial support and certification programs that are the focus
of Canonical Ltd." said Mark Shuttleworth"""
These new pushes to monetize the home user is what is really annoying.
The alternative (well polished, reasonably easy/user friendly) is apple and windows. No more free.
I think much criticism is shallow.
It was an apt-get remove --purge .. to remove the things I didn't like. The things I like I can download from everywhere, much much more difficult with Mac/Windows (how would I e.g. get XCode other than through iTunes?)
They should offer a ad-free system, which you pay $10 for, or a free version, supported by ads.
I feel like we're in a weird transitional period where the "free internet" in which all major apps and services we used were VC funded and growing, completely free with no ads and nothing you have to pay for, and are suddenly starting to realize that they have to make money. So they start selling data, serving tons of ads, etc and then people get angry that their data is stolen, they are being showed ads, posts from people they don't follow are getting injected into their streams, etc.
There's nothing to be angry about here, it's just this now gigantic company putting in work on something you love and use all the time trying to get the funds to continue working on it.
I understand that a lot of people just won't pay for things no matter what, and you know what, that's fine - they can use the versions that are packed full of ads and sell your data. But what I would really love to see is when you use a service for them to give you an option between the two. You can either use this for free and we'll sell your data and show you ads, or you can pay us and we won't do any of the above. At least that way it's clear, and if you choose to use it for free then you are conscious that they are making money off you somehow.
I think the closest model I've seen to this honestly is in the app store - a lot of apps release 2 versions, a free and a paid version. The free version is somewhat limited and has ads all over the place, and the paid one has none of the aforementioned flaws.
We are just so accustomed to not paying for anything, and I feel like when reality comes crushing down that oh wait, now that the VC funds have dried up and the company needs to actually be profitable, the money has to come from somewhere.
tl;dr pay for the things you use, because they are worth it. and if not, stop using them.
Also, is it just me or do most HN users now do not know what spyware means? Openly conducting a search that is clearly sending that data over the internet is not a covert way of collecting data, quite the opposite it's very much in your face.
Personally I'm partial to openSUSE, but I certainly don't fault Canonical for the way they choose to do business.
It's an interesting theory, but with something like a Linux distribution I don't see it working too well. Of course you will have a small percentage of fans who will be happy to pay, but everyone else will just use the free version. Of those who want the paid features, they will just find command strings like this to toggle the ENABLE_PAID flag (remember Linux users are usually quite savvy). Unless the paid features are closed source...
There's no way to make software un-stealable really, the best you can do is offer an easy, inexpensive, and convenient way to pay for it and make stealing it difficult and make you feel guilty for it. I feel like spotify/rdio took over music piracy in this fashion.
I'm in India - and I cannot afford a Mac (and maybe dont want to). Build this system on top of SteamOS or Android or something (for hardware compatibility) and you will get my money.
I think Canonical should be more honest that they need money. People would gladly pay for stable OS that is supported long enough. I think the combination of Stable OS, lots of Apps that is close to the current upstream relase, and good hardware support is the winning formula here..
My dream is that I want Ubuntu to be essentially the equivalent of OSX, but I can install it on as many hardware configuration as possible, not just Mac
Do you see the amounts of complaints they are getting from who paid $0? Imagine the outrage they will face when people who paid $10 start asking for their money back because they don't like feature X of the new release.
Software Freedom is a highly regarded aspect of software (users want it, developers want to provide it), but we can't find a way to monetize its development without destroying the product. This has always been the problem, and it's worth recognizing it as such.
But it is a mistake for Canonical to hook Amazon, which can be very intrusive, into practically every interaction with an Ubuntu desktop. It's jarring and objectionable to find a vendor who would aggressively data mine you wired in to an OS you used to be able to count on to be security-oriented and non-intrusive.
It isn't even right for Ubuntu Touch devices. When I use a Google-logo Android device, I make a knowing bargain, trading information for convenience and capabilities. The only thing Ubuntu does better than Android is to leave me alone.
Ubuntu has lost quite a bit of share to Mint. I have not been cranky enough about Unity to switch, but if I do find search data leaking despite the "privacy" settings that would about do it.
Furthermore, there's plenty of choices out there. The best of which (IMO) are openSUSE, Fedora, and Arch/Manjaro. Mint is terrible - like a buggier version of Ubuntu or unstable Debian...
Furthermore, Canonical puts alot of work into Ubuntu. They deserve to get paid. Maybe consider actually using Amazon through their app as a way of contributing?
Personally I've used http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/questions to contribute.
Affiliate site for when I am searching for products to buy, yes no problem, and link Rhythmbox in as well so Amazon can suggest music.
Pointless, intrusive and potentially embarrassing (slow Internet) automatic searching of Amazon for random desktop searches, no thanks.
Similarly, you have to know you want to remove each of the items - fixubuntu hits a bunch at once. It doesn't require as much a priori knowledge.
I'm using arch (rolling distro) as my main OS. I do EVERYTHING on it.
The rolling release schedule is too much for me to manage there.. but for my daily-driven workstation, I find it to be a fantastic OS.
And Testing doesn't get fixes for contrib and non-free:
I checked the security site listed in the Testing area in the Debian FAQ and don't see the recent SSH fix or the recent Linux kernel fix.
I do see them on the Ubuntu site:
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not defending Ubuntu. I think it's gross that they include this at all, and extra-gross that it's on by default. But let's not get too carried away with the hyperbole and conspiracy theories.
Just read the source! Or if you don't trust the source, just examine your network traffic. Pretty easy to verify whether the button does what it claims...
EDIT/PSA: Don't copy/paste things from a website directly into your terminal. See http://thejh.net/misc/website-terminal-copy-paste, for example.
"This site criticizes Canonical for certain privacy-invading features of Ubuntu and teaches users how to fix them. So, obviously, the site is not approved by Canonical."
"And our use of the trademarked term Ubuntu is plainly descriptive—it helps the public find this site and understand its message."
I disagree. askubuntu.com already exists and is officially sanctioned. From domain name alone, I think it's reasonable to assume that users will believe that fixubuntu.com is also officially sanctioned. Traffic generated by users being misled into going there is not legitimate in terms of the trademark.
OTOH, ubuntusucks.com is obviously critical commentary. I don't think that would (or should) be a trademark violation.
FixUbuntu is a very very very very clear case of nominative fair use.
I can't think of a less close case in recent memory.
They are using the trademark as it should be used - to describe the product they are talking about.
The fact that Ubuntu may not like what they are saying makes no difference.
The disclaimer makes clear it's not associated, and they don't pretend, anywhere, that they are associated.
Using the name Ubuntu to describe and criticize the product Ubuntu is fine. Appearing to be an official website to lure visitors in is not. That's passing off.
If walk into a branded store only to find a notice that it isn't actually that brand, it's still passing off.
> The disclaimer makes clear it's not associated...
This was only added in response to the "stop doing it" request.
2. Nominative fair use, as I mentioned, is a complete defense to trademark infringement (including passing off), and most other related things, including dilution.
If FixUbuntu claimed or implied they had a business relationship/etc, there would be an issue.
Trademarks do not give you the ability to stop others from using certain words, they give you the ability to stop others from confusing consumers about the source of goods.
Plus, you know, criticism of products is among the most protected speech possible when it comes to trademarks ...
This guys use of their mark clearly falls under the nominal use exception of fair use.
On my current Linux Mint install (which is less than a year old and not heavily customized), my /etc/apt/sources.list.d has the following line:
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ raring-security main restricted universe multiverse
I'm going to say this person's working with outdated or incorrect information, and/or security.ubuntu.com somehow got removed from his local installation.
Then I go back to Linux for something and everything I used to know is now completely useless.
I admit I haven't gone to Windows 8. I owe myself a new laptop and I just have this feeling of dread about that.
Also, clicking on the "volume" icon should not bring up a spinning blue circle, not even for a millisecond.
I just might get chased into a MacBook or whatever they are called these days. And I don't like Apple very much right now so that's something.
I had to expend a lot more mental energy last time I tried to use modern Windows, and has OS X got a maximise button yet?
--edit-- I'm not trying to say "My OS is better than your OS" because we all know where that leads. I just don't think anything is perfect and it likely comes down to what you're used to.
Gnome configs are only an issue if you still use gnome :)
In general things are moving to a more "it's all done for you" way of doing things, with less reliance on config files and unix file permissions and more dbus, service-oriented stuff. Personally I'm not a fan of because when things go wrong they go wrong in very, very opaque ways (try using the 'slim' display manager on Ubuntu 12.04 if you want an example).
At some point someone will probably come up with "CurmudgUX" for people like me that think the new levels of system-component integration will only lead to future pain, avoiding systemd, dbus et al. Guess we'll see.
See, that's the problem. The old system is abandoned and I have to decide "is it worth learning the brand new system?" Keep in mind this brand new system will not be used in 5 years, either.
I also don't sit around watching the forum discussions so when someone says "oh you need to uninstall gnome and install farknootz" I just say huh.
On Linux at least we have choice.
For starters, it needs to work out of the box with the average user in mind. I don't think I've ever had a smooth install that didn't require searching the Ubuntu forums to get basic stuff running. If Ubuntu wants to compete with Windows, it can't ship an operating system that can't wake from a suspend on most laptops and requires using a terminal (which most people don't even know what it's for) to perform basic tasks and configuration. The experience for a novice computer user, however terrible you think Microsoft is, has always been excellent on Windows in that it suits their needs of requiring only little knowledge of how software works.
However, I also have the problem with small, minor things either only partially working or being completely broken (e.g. when I updated to 13.04, it started hiding applications on me, but it 'fixed' itself some time ago).
I think it would be a double-edged sword if the 'year of the Linux desktop' did occur. On one hand, more people would be using a great set of OS's and we would probably get more updates and flashier new features. However, with more people understanding the Linux kernel and how it operates, more 'black hats' and 'script kiddies' would have the tools to damage Linux systems, create Linux-based viruses, etc. In my opinion? I'm OK with where Linux is right now.
Prove that it hasn't. When I bought this machine I booted Windows 8 because I'd read that I had to do some stuff to fix it so I could install Ubuntu, it didn't work so I booted an Ubuntu LiveCD and wiped the disks then installed Ubuntu. The point being that somewhere Microsoft now may count this machine as a bought license even though I don't run Windows 8 on it. There are probably many machines out there like mine.
Of course, I don't even change the background. "Canical crap" is mostly mythical or takes a single toggle to turn off.