Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal - Reactions from Users

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is probably *the* most controversial Ubuntu release to date. Tech Drive-in reviewed Ubuntu 11.04 few weeks ago and we felt that, even after accounting its share of bugs and rough edges, Natty Narwhal is not as bad a release as you think it is. But one thing is sure, a lot of genuine hard core Ubuntu users absolutely hate the latest Ubuntu release. Here are some of the responses we received from our readers through our feedback forms and comments on brand new Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal - Reactions from Users

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal - User Perspective
"I initially met Unity with much resistance. However, after actually using it for a couple weeks it has grown on me to the point where I can now say it's actually quite enjoyable. It's the first distro that installed on my Sony Vaio VPCF11S1E/B straight out of the box (I had to connect to the Internet and tick the "install third party software" at the very start of the installation procedure for this to happen). With 10.10 I had a nightmare with the ALSA drivers and nVidia 330M. Not even Windows 7 will install on my laptop without requiring installation of a handful of third party drivers.

I wouldn't exactly class myself as a "power user", I just need to use a computer to get things done (I use Eclipse and the Android SDK, do some LAMP stuff, mess about with the GNU C++ compiler to create small binaries, browse the web, email etc). Ubuntu ticks all the check boxes for me, and personally I find Unity makes the experience more enjoyable.

I also find myself being more productive now. I love the launcher on the left-hand side, as I can immediately see where all my favorite apps are, click on an open app to navigate to it (no matter which desktop it's on).

I have tried Gnome 3, but couldn't "gel" with it. Gnome 3 is very pretty, but it just wasn't for me. I'm going to stick it out with Unity and Ubuntu 11.04 for now simply because it works for me. Based on my experience with it, I would definitely recommend Ubuntu 11.04 (Unity and all) to other users. Canonical is taking a huge gamble with Unity, and I for one hope it pays off."
"I've been using it for a week or so. My thoughts so far: a usability nightmare (disappearing menu bar, disappearing dock, disappearing scroll bars that require high-precision mouse work to operate, access to applications and settings isn't obvious); the Dash is slow and buggy and offers little advantage over using the command line or Run dialog box to launch an application by name; and some nice features but nothing revolutionary, mostly just change for the sake of change and style over substance. I can live with it, and once you get the hang of it it does some cool stuff, but I'd be VERY hesitant to recommend the new Ubuntu to someone thinking of switching from Windows just because the interface so different and non-obvious, as opposed to the old Gnome where everything is plainly presented to the user."
"At first it was a bit slow using the Unity Launcher but after moving my applications around on the Launcher dock and getting accustomed to it I must say I'm impressed with this release of Ubuntu. Some things I don't like is that (as far as I'm aware) there is no option to keep the Launcher visible when windows are maximised. I don't like that it takes a few seconds for the Launcher to appear when I move my pointer to the left side of the screen. Though I realised if you move your pointer to the top left where the Ubuntu icon is the Launcher appears immediately.

Ubuntu is becoming a very, very viable alternative to Windows. The Unity Launcher probably isn't for everyone; it's a big departure from the usual GNOME desktop with the bottom bar and menus embedded into individual applications but I personally think it's the best release of Ubuntu yet."
"Things I hate about Unity,

1. It is much harder to find a application. For example in Gnome 2.x there was System menu and I could easily find some admin application. Now I have to remember the name to find it in Dash.

2. Global menu is excellent idea when application is maximized. But when you have for example two application tiled horizontally then bottom application has a global menu - this is not a nice design, especially for new users (or Windows users). You have to move mouse over to global menu.

3. I don't like idea that global menu is not displayed. It only displays on move over. This is time consuming because I have to move mouse over the global menu and then search for first menu like Edit, View etc.

4. The biggest problem I see is a lack of any kind of settings. I would not care for first three steps if there is something to change/configure, but it is not, just not now. Probably it will be in couple of releases, but Unity now it look little bit for users that do not change a think."
"I find both Unity and Gnome 3 clumsy to use and more about eye candy than a major UI improvement. Needless to say, I'm either running Ubuntu Classic or Xubuntu on my PCs until major improvements or a total redesign are completed on Unity or Gnome 3."
"I can cope with the changes. But I cannot stand the global menu. The global menu increase the mouse movement, and all that gymnastic is just to save 20 vertical pixels on the application window? OK if you have a cell phone but not on a normal computer. Unity must offer a setting to fine tune the configuration (disable Global menu, icon size & spacing, windows buttons on the left/right, disable the Application to Download, etc.). As it is right now, it's interface is too rigid. I see Unity as GUI gimmicks but definitely not something revolutionary."
"This is a good release because despite the challenges of the new interface, no major technical glitch. No show stoppers. Installation went well. Beta went through a flurry of last minute bug fix. I was worried about the freezes in Compiz, that they wont be able to stabilize it. The freezes are gone. The only surprise for me is the non-support for applications that need the systray. There's a tool called dconf-tools to allow application to show their icons in the panel plus functionalities."

Love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal may not be a good release for many among you, but as far as Canonical is concerned, Ubuntu 11.04 marks a major shift in strategies and Unity might just be Ubuntu's shortcut to the future. If you like Unity already, here are some of the things you could do after installing Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.