Unity? (was: What's your favorite distro, and why?)

Olli Ries olli at olli-ries.com
Wed Dec 11 16:23:53 MST 2013

On Sat, Dec 7, 2013 at 9:06 AM, Michael Torrie <torriem at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 12/07/2013 07:30 AM, Olli Ries wrote:
> > On Sat, Dec 7, 2013 at 1:18 AM, Dan Egli <ddavidegli at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >> On December 5, 2013, Michael Torrie wrote:
> >>
> > [...]
> >
> >>> Mint seems to be gaining in popularity because 1) it doesn't have Unity
> >>
> >>> and 2) it gives other desktop environments like LXDE and XFCE and Mate
> >>
> >>> more first-class attention (KDE used to be supported but that's now
> >>
> >>> forked off into its own distro, SolidXK.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Okay. I guess that shows how long I've been out of the game, but What is
> >> Unity? From what I can gather it seems to be a display
> environment/window
> >> manager ala KDE/Gnome/XFCE/etc... but if is, why is it so hated? What
> was
> >> it intended to do that it's apparently not doing?
> >>
> >
> > Unity is a Desktop Shell which was designed to work on desktop, phones,
> > tablets and other computing devices through different modes that adapt to
> > the environment Unity is running in. This will become especially
> important
> > when we will be able to use our overpowered smartphones as desktop/laptop
> > replacement by hooking it into a display and attaching a BT keyboard, aka
> > "device convergence"
> I disagree. Why do we need to have the same interface kludged to
> different interface paradigms?  There's absolutely no reason why we
> couldn't have a mobile UI on the phone and then when we dock it with a
> monitor and keyboard we get a normal desktop UI.  In fact that's exactly
> what Ubuntu for Android is.  On the phone's screen it's standard
> Android.  When docked it's a normal desktop (well, Unity in this case).
> and that's what you should anticipate to happen in ~1y, Unity on a phone
will give you an interface that's tailored to the needs of such a user,
plug in some glass and other peripherals (or not) and you will get the
TV/tablet/younameit mode. I think the key message which I didn't express
well initially is that key UI/UX elements or patterns will be retained in
an adopting style across the various form factors, but it won't just be one
same UI for all of the form factors. The designs are there, just not the
code ;)

> > <snipped excellent summary of Unity's features>
> > Unity will ship in version 7.x in 14.04. That version is based on a
> toolkit
> > Nux that Canonical has sponsored/developed. Going forward (Ubuntu Touch
> > 13.10 and ongoing, Ubuntu 14.10 and ongoing) Unity will ship in version
> 8,
> > a rewrite and rearchitecture to address earlier concerns (speed, resource
> > consumption, design/usability) which is based on Qt/QML, Ubuntu's toolkit
> > of choice.
> You missed the biggest and most controversial change: Mir.

Mir does have nothing to do with Unity

> Unity isn't all bad by any means.  I think part of the problem is
> Canonical's decisions to go their own way in terms of Desktop
> technologies (Mir, for example), instead of working with the community.

well, there is a lot to be said (and it was back in March when Mir came ou

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