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Solution: stop using Ubuntu.

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:

* https://fedoraproject.org/

* http://www.centos.org/

* http://www.opensuse.org/

* http://www.mageia.org/

* https://www.archlinux.org/

* http://www.gentoo.org/

* http://www.sabayon.org/

* http://www.debian.org/

* http://www.linuxmint.com/

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



Yep! I've moved to using Debian for production machines and gentoo for personal/development machines. I've been quite happy with the move.

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.



Or use Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu or Ubuntu GNOME. None of these use Unity as their default desktop, whose default behavior is really what this complaint is about.


If Unity is the problem, Ubuntu has the Gnome Shell already in its repo. Its quick and easy.

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

You keep the benefits of the Ubuntu package repo, kernel patches, etc.


Yes. This is true for all the other Ubuntu flavors, too. Either way will get you to the same system, since all the flavors share the same Ubuntu apt archive. Using a flavor directly just gets you your chosen desktop environment by default.


I tried this and run startx.

What i get is only a black screen. Even though i restarted my laptop, still black screen.

How can i return back to Unity?


"benefits"


Okay, this will make me sound like fanboyism (I guess it is, but I am an Arch user - with our company running their servers on FreeBSD), but you might also like:

* http://www.slackware.com/

* http://www.freebsd.org/

* http://www.netbsd.org/

* http://www.openbsd.org/

* http://www.dragonflybsd.org/

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 problem with other distros is the lack of a design. Ubuntu was the first Linux distro I used that did not look like a donkey's ass (back in 2008~). Even today's Gnome Shell does not look as good as Unity... it also does not scale well for my display's 1600x900 resolution (top bar icons are way too small).

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.


That is completely subjective. A lot of people hate Unity, the same way people hate every DE that exists. So much so that some do not even use a DE. Using a DE as an argument for Ubuntu's advantage is weak as they're usually ambiguous. I say usually because it tends to be that Unity, like Mir, isn't really adopted into any other distribution in official repositories. Even more so after Mir's release, since it'll be dependent on it.


Reporting in from the "I hate Unity" department. If I wanted to use something that looks like a mac, I would just get a mac.


Favorite "bonus" feature: annoying semi-transparent blurs you can tweak but not turn off. Gratuitous fades. Choppy animations on an underpowered GFX.


Aesthetic and taste are subjective, effective and coherent visual design is not.


However, the distinction between "aesthetic" and "design" is once again subjective.


> The problem with other distros is the lack of a design.

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)


I realize you're just responding to the previous commenter but what Ubuntu did before all the other distros was get all the common desktop devices (network/wireless/video/etc.), apps(browsers, multimedia, pdf-readers, office, mailreader, etc.), and tools installed and working with no need for tinkering. It wasn't missing fonts or video codecs. The UI defaults were familiar to windows and mac users. Boot times were fast. Installing new apps was easy and since it was based on debian there were tons of packages available.

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.


I've been using Linux for more than 10 or 15 years and I'm fairly sure Mandrake nailed most -if not all- of those things back in 2003. As did SuSE (things went downhill for SuSE desktops after Novell signed a deal with Microsoft which meant Novell went all purist about removing non-free and patent encumbered libraries from their repositories)

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).


I've been using Linux for more than 10 or 15 years and I'm fairly sure Mandrake nailed most -if not all- of those things back in 2003.

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).


> 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.

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)

What changed around the time of Ubuntu was the overall quality of desktop Linux applications; KDE3 had been around for a little bit by then and was looking polished. GNOME had finally started to compete with KDE in terms of user experience. GTK and Qt were finally being taken seriously - what that in itself did loads for improving the look of desktop apps. But add to that the fact that developers were focusing more effort in fixing buggy applications and tidying up their interface. What changed around the time of Ubuntu wasn't Ubuntu, it was the rest of the Linux ecosystem. Canonical was just in the place at the right time (and with deep enough pockets) to promote themselves as the next generation of Linux desktop - when in actual fact it was no more usable (in terms of the quality of the work that Canonical invested verses other distro maintainers) than SuSE nor Mandrake.

> 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)


My point about slackware is that it suggests that you are probably a power user who doesn't even notice when he has to solve OS problems that would turn away most other 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.

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.


> My point about slackware is that it suggests that you are probably a power user who doesn't even notice when he has to solve OS problems that would turn away most other users.

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.


What I mean by "Power User" is someone who tinkers and significantly tweaks and optimizes their own system. Someone who loves having a sweet desktop. Most developers and sysadmins I know don't care that much about a fancy desktop. They optimize the few important apps they rely on to do their job (editors/IDEs/terminals/DVCS/debuggers/vms), they configure dual monitors, and that's it. Maybe email and web browsers as well, but usually the defaults are fine.

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.


I don't like Canonical's privacy trips, but I do prefer Unity because of it's most refined interface and modern look in comparison to others. Looks clean and consistent on any display. I have dual 1920x1200s.


But Ubuntu looks good (imo) and is comparatively easy. Hope many Apple/Windows users switch to it. Big step in the right direction. Apps 'uncomplicated' software and I think it is very necessary that there is a mainstream Linux distribution which focusses on 'uncomplicated' computing.

'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...)


Plenty of other distros are easy and look good too. Gentoo isn't one of them, but a few others on that list are pretty okay...


I know, but Gentoo is by far the most interesting. - The others feel like a downgrade/hassle from Ubuntu (I love unity, 'pretty okay' is not good enough). Tried Debian (which we use for servers) but had problems with my labtop, Suse I used before Debian, Fedora/CentOS ok but has the 'wrong packet manager', Mint, mmh, another fork). Maybe Ubuntu does some compromises but I don't see pits.


If you've got the time, Gentoo is very rewarding indeed.


I used to use Gentoo, but I figured Arch follows the build-your-own philosophy and has the added benefit of not having to wait for everything to build all the 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 like USE flags and disabling at compile time code I don't want. Keeps dependencies way down. Fewer packages, leaner system. I don't mind compiling. Hell, on my Ivy Bridge, compiling/emerging most packages is faster than apt-get in Ubuntu!


Yeah, it's quite sad to me, I thought I would never move on from Ubuntu, it was really great until Unity and all this other crap they started piling on it. And now with the corporate fear-mongering over their trademark, that's the last straw for me, I'm going to try moving upstream to Debian and recommend companies I work to do the same.


Same here; I was a huge fanboy of Ubuntu for years, but Canonical seems hellbent on introducing change for change's sake. At first, it was mildly annoying but easily corrected: the nonsensical decision to move window maximize/minimize/close buttons from right to left is an example. But Unity was a bitter (and buggy) pill to swallow.

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.


>the nonsensical decision to move window maximize/minimize/close buttons from right to left is an example

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.


Yeah, I switched to Debian a while back and it was surprisingly frictionless.


I used to be an elitist and dump sh*t in Ubuntu, but lately I've been running it on my Desktop.

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.


Linux Mint? Isn't that essentially the same thing as Ubuntu or am I missing something? That is, is it the lens search that is the problem or are there other privacy concerns about Ubuntu?


Mint is based off of Ubuntu, but also has a version based off of Debian, as zx2c4 has pointed out. The biggest difference is that Mint uses the Cinnamon desktop environment, as opposed to Unity, which was forked from Gnome 2. Also, they use Nemo, which was forked from Nautilus, which has more functionality and features as opposed to Nautilus.


I thought MATE was the Gnome 2 fork, and Cinnamon was based on GTK3?

Disclaimer: don't use either, I use CentOS on the serious work machine and Debian (non-free) on the playpad.


You are correct: MATE is the GNOME 2 fork that uses GTK2. Cinnamon is a modified version of GNOME3 that uses GTK3 and provides extensions to the GNOME3 desktop so that the default desktop looks and feels like a default GNOME2 desktop.

Linux Mint uses Cinnamon.


Linux Mint also uses Mate.

http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2366

Cinnamon is listed first, but Mate is much more of an equal player here than something like xubuntu is compared to ubuntu.


I think they've got an edition based on Debian.


You are correct, sir/madam/whomever....

http://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php


It's only the Unity lens, that's why you see people here recommending Ubuntu derivatives like Kubuntu and Xubuntu.


Problem is that none of those distributions, except for the bloated mess that is Linux Mint, has adequate support for PPA's. Hence, I'm sticking with Lubuntu.


Most of those distributions have mechanisms comparable to PPAs for similar functionality.


No thanks, I am fine.




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