Unity is an embarrassing blemish to Ubuntu.

Asked by Mark W on 2011-05-03

I used to look forward with anticipation to new Ubuntu releases, but I feel strongly that the last few releases have not had the same care and foresight as previous versions.

Unity was an incredibly poor software choice for the default user shell in such a great operating system. It's confusing to new users and technical experts alike. (And I'm not just talking the "new things are confusing" factor here)

I'm getting rather sick of removing it after each install. Yes I know I can roll out off an image instead, but it's not the point.

The shell is the most important aspect of an operating system, because it's the one thing the user sees first, and interacts with the most. Speaking for at least myself, who has fought in the battle to make Ubuntu popular and encourage it's use, enforcing Unity as default has been nothing but a slap in the face.

Bug #1 will not be able to be closed if those who care most about it are driven away.

It saddens me that this issue is one that is forcing me to re-evaluate where I stand on supporting Ubuntu.

Is Unity as the default shell set in stone for future releases? or was this intended as a method to gauge user reactions? does the community still have some level of influence over it's final outcome?

Perhaps put even simpler: Should I give up now, or is there still hope it won't suck so bad?

Question information

English Edit question
Ubuntu unity Edit question
No assignee Edit question
Last query:
Last reply:

Just log into gnome classic and unity won't load.

Why not just stick to the point instead of all the emotional waffle which takes time and effort to wade through to get to the crux of what you are saying.

marcus aurelius (adbiz) said : #2

1. your subject line makes no sense and you don't provide backup to what it says in your text
2. you can change unity to something else at the logon screen
3. i'm sure there's an equal number of people who love unity

i sense we're the testbed for canonical moving ubuntu to mobile devices, so that's why the emphasis on unity and replacing xserver with wayland.

digitalcrow (digitalcrow) said : #3

He's right, you need many clicks to find what want or you must write it !

It has zero customization , it would help if you could create menus like the Applications and Files menus at the end.
But its cool i admit it.

David Mawdsley (dm-madmod) said : #4

My take is that your best choice for dependable day-to-day use is Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop. Use that until it dies!

An alternative you might want to try is Kubuntu 11.04 Desktop that has some people pleasantly surprised.

I share your concerns and use Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server--and will use them until support goes away.

I tried Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop on an eMachine sitting around that is about 5 years old as an experiment. Unfortunately, the Unity desktop wouldn't load and it reverted to the Gnome version available as the default. Apparently the eMachine didn't have advanced enough graphics even for the simple version of Unity, so I couldn't even try it out. (Perhaps just as well.)

anuraw (anuraww) said : #5

i upgraded to 11.04, unity desktop was not loaded, i tried to load as per all the methods explained under Desktop guide, i failed, then i had to go back to gnome desktop, any body could explain how to set-up to get unity desktop?

anuraw (anuraww) said : #6

i upgraded to 11.04, unity desktop was not loaded, i tried to load as per all the methods explained under Desktop guide, i failed, then i had to go back to gnome desktop, any body could explain how to set-up to get unity desktop?

Mark W (jedimark64) said : #7

Thank you to those who actually have a clue what I meant. I didn't mean to be non-constructive here... This is a genuine flaw I am deeply concerned about.

To those others.. Your quick to defend, without thinking of why your defending. This wasn't an attack. This was a wakeup call.

The subject does have a lot to do with it, because it was a divisive decision to include it as default.

Yes, I can change it.. it's easy for me.. not for the hundreds of other people I've pointed to Ubuntu.

And if there is an "equal number of people" who like it, a choice should be VERY clear during install.

A lot of things are easy for me too and hard for others, that's why I post on here and advise in #ubuntu on irc.freenode.net so that statement has zero value.

A choice would be a good thing. You can suggest this on


Your question also assumes ALL users use Gnome, which isn't true. XUbuntu and KUbuntu do not use Gnome and so Unity is not even installed. Are these users diverse from the Ubuntu community? No they are an equal part.

Mark W (jedimark64) said : #9

XUbuntu, KUbuntu & Gnome aren't the issue here.. Ubuntu is the core product, the flagship if you like. The other fantastic flavours wouldn't even need to exist separately with a more flexible installer.

Brainstorm very likely is a better place to bring it up, however it does not change the fact that removing user choice is not a good design path to go down.

I'm a developer, and I can back up any statements I make with code.

[ A little Story by Mark W

A Ubuntu user is happily plodding along one day in April, and suddenly out of nowhere, up pops a message asking if they want to upgrade to a shiny new version.. "wow.. great.." the user thinks.. "that's choice.. fantastic.. of course I am going to try it, because it asking so nicely, and the new version looks ever so shiny and wonderful. Maybe they will even fix that thing that was broken last time."

But then, after the upgrade is complete, the user reels in horror to find their computer system is near unusable because somebody decided to unleash a terrifying unfinished product on them without their consent.

The user struggles ever so hard to like this terrifying monster, but in the end has no choice but to open a terminal and slay the horrifying software... making a huge mess with entrails everywhere..

The user emerged from this mighty battle, scarred and tired. And loving Ubuntu a little less from that day onwards.

The End.

Story sounds stupid right? However, this has happened to me, and everyone else I know who uses Ubuntu each time over the last 3 Ubuntu releases.

Wouldn't it be a better if the needs and concerns of current users were considered as well as those of new users?

The choice is at the login screen. Users whom are not aware of the choice ask in the usual channels and we inform them where the selection is.

Mark W (jedimark64) said : #11

I am quite aware of that.

It does not change the fact that unfinished software is still being installed on my machine without my consent..

Grub2 says it is still beta, I'm not seeing you bashing that anywhere too.. or do you pick and choose..

There is a lot of software installed in a default OS which I hate too (especially Firefox), and I have to take similar steps to take it all off. Same deal but I am mature and don't post useless posts like this. If you want to customize your OS more freely then use minimal and build your OS up from there and you can install what you desire.

Mark W (jedimark64) said : #14

Grub 2 is at least configurable..

There is a large difference between beta software and unfinished software.

Now you are just being petty. I acknowledge you have a different view. Each of us is an individual an is welcome to their own opinions.

Implying someone is immature because they hold a different view is not constructive.

Its still unfinished and installed without your consent. Grub legacy and Lilo are also available as alternatives so exactly match what you say.

What is the actual question here or is it just a rant to achieve very little?

Mark W (jedimark64) said : #16

ActionParsnip.. I don't wish to engage you further on this matter. Arguing solves nothing, and it certainly wasn't my intention to come here to start an argument. Have a nice day.

John Doe (b2109455) said : #17

Unity is influenced too strongly by OSX, and does not provide a good user interface and is confusing to disable.
Everyone I have managed to convince to use Linux has asked me how to turn off Unity after upgrading.

For now Unity can be disabled, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before this is deprecated and no amount of complaining about Unity seems like it will change anything.

As a developer, I will not develop software for Unity as in my testing it provides a poor user experience for my target market that is not made up of Apple sycophants. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have to start looking at other distributions.

There are other desktops to Gnome, you should look into those too.


I personally feel that maybe the issue is a lack of documentation or advertising that you can stay with the 'classic' desktop if you don't like the unity. For me, the unity is simply something you had to get used to. I found it a bit frustrating at the first, but after a day I had the strong hang of how to make it work for me.

Then, when I wanted to, I simply changed to the classic mode. I don't understand that you think there aren't choices..there seem to be more choices with 11.04 than earlier versions.

Thanks, that's my 2 cents worth.

Then log a bug with the site so that users can see there is an option.....


I'll do that.


Hi all,

I have created a bug report #789339, stating there is no explanation during install.

Please edit or add to it as appropriate.


digitalcrow (digitalcrow) said : #23

unity sucks gnome 3 is the heaven !

HAHAHAAHHA Jokes on you. Unity isn't a desktop, so you cannot compare Unity to Gnome3. It makes no sense at all.

It;s as intelligent as saying:

Conky sucks, pidgin is the heaven !

It's a completely different thing

Digital, I think you're just trying to stoke the fire...give it a rest mate.

Can you help with this problem?

Provide an answer of your own, or ask Mark W for more information if necessary.

To post a message you must log in.