Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal - More Reactions from Users


The debate is not over yet. Ever since we published the Ubuntu 11.04 review, feedbacks from readers have been pouring in. And I have to concede that a good majority of those responses are really critical of Canonical's Unity strategy. Though I really liked the new Unity approach to desktop, frequent crashes are starting to really frustrate me. I wonder how a first time Linux user is going to feel like after installing the 'latest' 'stable' Ubuntu 11.04. We have already featured a bunch of reactions from users before, here are some more.

Ubuntu 11.04 Reactions from Users
"I think Canonicals biggest problem is the 6 month release cycle, every other problem is related to this, its bug number one for Canonical if you will. If Canonical are really aiming for the mainstream market do they really expect an average user to do a major upgrade every six months? Should they instead stick to the LTS's and be left with massively outdated software? Windows XP (a 10 year old OS) users have more updated software available to them than Lucid users, this system cannot work. 

If they truly wish to 'cross the chasm' into the mainstream then a different model needs to established, a release annually makes more sense with update packages being released throughout the year (sort of like Apple with OS X e.g 10.6.5,6,7 or Microsoft with its SP1,2,3 updates to Windows) so that the software shipped (e.g. firefox, libreoffice, GIMP, Inkscape) doesn't become outdated. The yearly update should be when the major updates happen e.g new libraries, updated versions of GTK or the Kernel and so on as well as new features or applications. The average user doesn't want a 'Linux Distribution' in the traditional sense (i.e. a collection of software that the developers of the distro feel works well together) they want an Operating System the sooner Canonical realise this the sooner they can get 200 million users.

Also it seems that Ubuntu's biggest selling point is the fact that its free, this just will not work as most people think that because they got a computer with Windows pre-installed on it Windows is free and most people never pay for a copy of Windows. Recently Apple announced that their sales of Macs increased by 66% in Q1 2011 from last year, Apple have done this by creating OS that has a unique selling point, one that Windows cannot compete with. Macs are used heavily for Graphics and Multimedia. Apple makes products like iLife, Aperture and Final Cut Studio, these applications cannot run on Windows and there are few alternatives to them on Windows so they can attract users with them. 

If you take price out of the equation what does Ubuntu have? No viruses, well neither does Mac and Microsoft are finally trying to deal with the virus problem and how many people have actually got a virus in the last few years? 

Its free software!!! Yes it is but most of the free software on Ubuntu is also available on Windows (Firefox, Banshee, Libreoffice, GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Audacity, Pidgin, Chromium, Midori and VLC). Also if the free software alternatives are worse than the free propriety alternatives (Safari, iTunes, Windows Live, Garageband, Quicktime, Windows Media Player) then few people will care whether its open source or not and choose to use the best applications, many of which are not available on Ubuntu either.

Free upgrades, now here is one that neither Windows or Mac can compete with. But Canonical have ruined this by realising upgrades every 6 months (which is way too often) and by providing a bad experience when upgrading. Many many people complain about upgrades going wrong and their system becoming unusable. Many users advice noobs to do a clean install which means they will have to backup all of their data, start with a new system, lose all of their applications and settings. How people will actually bother upgrading if they have to do that every 6 months? It seems that the one advantage Ubuntu does have isn't being exploited at all. If upgrading on Ubuntu was a slick and perfect experience then it could realistically be used as a selling point for Ubuntu, that you don't have to fork out £200 every 2-3 years to ensure your computer has the latest version of the Operating system."
"From the perspective of a very long long time user, I think Ubuntu made a very big mistake in thinking that everyone was going to want a GUI that looks more like a netbook or a phone; those of us that are extremely long time users find the arrogant move - well, just arrogant. For all that they believe this is going to "catch new fish", especially in the backend support area, they're chasing away many of the long time users.

Gnome3, as well, has made the assumption that even the most hardcore Gnome user wants something that looks like Android or a mobile phone on their desktop; very bad move. Overall, this shift in paradigm is frightening, and it's going to polarize the linux community into "the old" and "the new"  which is not necessarily a good thing to be doing when you're trying to solidify a community at large and also "catch new fish"."
"Actually there is no problem for Canonical to solve. By problem I mean the so called "6monts release cycle problem". Why ? Because we decide whether we use it or we stick with the LTS version and wait for 3 years to upgrade to another LTS. So the argument about solving the 6mnths cycle exists only in our mind. What they do is pretty smart... they release every 6months an Ubuntu version that has pretty big changes and until  the next LTS, the code matures and becomes the LTS.

So for Unity, they did a good move by releasing it early 12 months before the next LTS (12.04). Most people I know, are waiting eagerly for Ubuntu 12.04 because for them there is no such thing as 6 months release cycle."
"I agree too. Ubuntu needs to find stability once again. For me, 10.04 and even 10.10 are nice and stable. Ive not had problems with installs or use of these. Natty is a another story. Ive been in the middle of some important tasks only to have Natty go back to login screen, or completely freeze making everything unusable. Its easy for Unity haters to switch to Classic Mode like Ive done, but we cant get away from the instability problems. I agree with one commenter whose dad uses Windows and likes Unity on a netbook. Unity for a netbook is a great idea. For a full size screen, Im not a fan of it.

Ive noticed many Ubuntu Members (I am one) and Ubuntu Council members are unhappy with my comments. I am starting to get the feeling that they are just zombies, worshiping Mark Shuttleworth. Forget the worship, lets make Ubuntu better. Cutting edge is meaningless without stability. And who wants to go back 3 steps to an LTS when we all want to enjoy updated versions of the software center, a more refined and sophisticated Ambiance theme, etc. Its us, the community that makes Ubuntu. Its our job to speak up what we like and what we dont like.

With Android and ChromeOS surging forward with a lot more capital than Shuttleworth has, I think that will overtake Ubuntu in a few months. Entire countries like Russia are switching to Ubuntu, but they may go to another distro if Ubuntu isnt stable or changes too much, too fast. Without countries jumping on the Ubuntu bandwagon, I dont see how Shuttleworth will reach his goal of 200 million users in just then next few years."

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