Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ubuntu developers make their first MAJOR mistake with 10.04

You've all been reading over the months of what a fan I've become of Ubuntu... well, I'm trying out the new release, 10.04 Beta 2, and I must say, though it loads SUPER FAST, I have to throw my two cents in now... I HATE THE DECISION BY THE CORE UBUNTU DESIGN TEAM TO MOVE THE LOCATION OF THE WINDOW BUTTONS!!!

The main reason many of us are looking to Ubuntu is as a Microsoft Windows replacement. However, the design team has decided to change the location of the main window control buttons, Minimize, Maximize and Close, OVER TO THE LEFT, like they do in the Mac world, as opposed to Windows and EVERY PREVIOUS UBUNTU RELEASE, where they normally reside on the right.

This one's a BIG deal for a whole lot of people in the Ubuntu community. I've been reading complaints all over the place, and the design team has decided to shut down debate and stick with the left hand placement of the buttons.

Bad move guys... I hope you intend to make it easy for most of us to customize it back, because I can promise you this, it's one of the first things I'm gonna have to do with each and every install I do.

Or it may cause me to not bother with the install. I'm seriously debating whether or not to bother putting this one on my laptop. I was already debating it, having just updated my laptop with the FREE copy of Windows 7 Ultimate that Microsoft provided me with a little while back. (yes, they're trying to woo some of us back into the MS fold)

While I know most people will just look at this as a cosmetic thing, it's not. It's a BIG DEAL, since a lot of us are constantly switching back and forth between the Ubuntu and the Windows worlds. I've even been thinking about putting together proposals on how we can use Ubuntu within our organization, but now, I'm having a rethink on that. YOU try and teach dozens of older nurses a totally new way of doing things with a new OS, and then telling them that the folks who make the decisions have decided to make things more complicated for you by moving the three buttons that are used CONSTANTLY. The main menus being at the top are easy to adjust to... moving those little three buttons IS NOT.

One PARTIAL fix is to run the following command, which will move them to the right side, but will leave the MAXIMIZE and MINIMIZE buttons switched... which I can live with. (to change the order of them breaks the aesthetics) To run the command, press ALT+F2, then enter the following:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string "menu:maximize,minimize,close”

Did that, and now I'm a "little" more at peace with the new Ubuntu...

UPDATE: If the above command breaks the button order, try adding a comma after the "close" option... like so:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string "menu:maximize,minimize,close”

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  • At Fri. Apr. 09, 03:55:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Miss Fitz said…

    ah, the left-brain, right-brain, left-hand, right-hand debate rages ever on. i always drive my IT guy nuts because i have my work windows set to drop everything down from the top (just like my mac :) ) because all our file, edit, etc. menus are up there. figure if i have to go top left (because that's where we start reading) might as well make it all start from the top left. but those are my choices. YAY to driving everyone else nuts who uses my computer. :P

  • At Fri. Apr. 09, 04:35:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    LOL... ;-)

  • At Fri. Apr. 09, 05:44:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger The Christian Heretic said…

    Did they say why they did it? It took a little getting used to when I switched to the Mac world, but now I find the Windows style annoying (well, now I find the Windows anything annoying. :P ).

  • At Fri. Apr. 09, 06:00:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous tottinge said…

    It is changeable, so I don't see it as a big deal at all. Though you use it as a windows replacement, there is much more flexibility here. It is absurdly customizable.

    I've been putting buttons in custom positions and orders for years. I like the minimize and maximize as far from Close as possibe. I recommend the same for users with less than ideal hand-eye coordination!

  • At Sat. Apr. 10, 07:16:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Ants said…

    Oh come on man! Deal or don't deal, it took me 2 days and I was used to the change, and personally, I prefer it.

    It's not hard, and if you ultimately can't deal, Microsoft will be happy to have you, them and all of their security holes.

  • At Sat. Apr. 10, 10:02:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Boabawhales said…

    LINUX is about being able to customize the system to your liking. So if you don't like it, change it.

    Canonical is just providing you with some defaults. It as a company likes the buttons on the left on this release, so it has no reason to put it on the right. (Apple likes it on the left and Window-to-Apple users seem to have little complaint on this matter.)

    Ubuntu is not designed as a Windows replacement and it should not be. There are plenty of people that work with a Mac and Ubuntu on a daily basis. Why should they be the ones getting used to switching from side to side? (If they can do it, you probably could, too.)

    If people are only willing to accept what they are used to, there will be no innovation and creativity in this world.

    Give it a try, you might like it after you get used to it. If you don't, customize it.

  • At Sat. Apr. 10, 11:39:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Shuttlesworth has made statements that he's an Apple fan (Ubuntu Music Store anyone?) so I see this has his little dig at the Gnome organization as a whole. Btw, Apple has the WORST UI ever. What a great thing to try and emulate! Brilliant. Funk it, I'll build Gnome myself then. :p

  • At Sun. Apr. 11, 01:28:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger ארקדי ויינר said…

    I like the new order very much!

  • At Sun. Apr. 11, 03:12:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Billy said…

    I don't understand the obsession with the buttons, I use them and I liked them. Unless all the millions of Apple users are idiots. I just see the whole thing as a theme. I usually change theme every ten days. I'll change it and that's all. Please give a break to the developers, they work for us.

  • At Sun. Apr. 11, 03:20:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Nils said…

    You say you are trying out Beta 2, but I'm afraid you are mistaken...

    Because that screenshot is NOT from Beta 2! The buttons are still on the left, but the order has changed to Close/Minimize/Maximize, like on the Mac. In fact it has been that way in the daily builds for the last 10 days or so.

    Even if you don't like the new button placement/order, you can change it to anything you want. Try that with Windows! And Windows costs money, while Mark Shuttleworth is paying for all of this out of his own (fortunately very deep) pockets. So even if the buttons move to the bottom center of the window, as long as Ubuntu is free and works as good as it does now, I couldn't care less.

    Why not focus on the things Ubuntu does right? This release is even better than Karmic, which was already very good. It boots bloody fast, nice readable fonts, installing software is super easy and so on. Installing codecs to listen to music or watch videos is much simpler the Ubuntu way than the Windows way.

    And hey, if you really don't like the way Ubuntu handles things, there are a zillion other Linux distros! But none are so polished and easy to use as Ubuntu.

    A few years back I didn't like Ubuntu that much and used every distro under the sun from Arch to Zenwalk, but right now Ubuntu is simply the best there is. Every 6 months a new and better release completely free of charge. Wonderful. Can't wait to try out the first Alpha of Maverick!

  • At Sun. Apr. 11, 04:10:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Johannes said…

    @ Christian Conservative: yes I agree with you. I am taking care of a bunch of people using Ubuntu, and some of them (many 60+ years old!) would have a bad time adapting to the new button position.
    I'll have to custom installations even more, and lose more time.
    Bad move, Canonical, really bad move.

    @ Ants: the author is not complaining because of himself. Read and think before posting:
    "YOU try and teach dozens of older nurses a totally new way of doing things with a new OS, and then telling them that the folks who make the decisions have decided to make things more complicated for you by moving the three buttons that are used CONSTANTLY."

  • At Sun. Apr. 11, 06:23:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger mikerhinos said…

    I get used to the left placed buttons , and now i love it , i hope they won't change their mind , or leave the choice to the user.

  • At Sun. Apr. 11, 07:12:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just move your hand to the left instead of right... I can't see the big "deal" :-s
    Or use shortcuts like alt+F4 and such...

  • At Mon. Apr. 12, 09:15:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger LinuxCanuck said…

    When you switch themes they now offer to change the buttons in Beta 2. You can also easily change it back with gconf-editor or use a utility such as Ailurus which will do the editing for you.

    I suggest that you wait because they have plans for using the vacated space on the right with 10.10 Maverick. It is most annoying for people like me that use both GNOME and KDE. I changed it back to keep it uniform.

  • At Tue. Apr. 13, 01:02:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow... chill out.

    Go to Appearances > Themes > and Choose

    whew... that was tough, wasn't it?

  • At Tue. Apr. 13, 02:01:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Innocent ByStander said…


    You can install Ubuntu Tweak which has an option to allow you to set window buttons positions by a few drag & drop.

    I have tried Lucid beta2, after 10 minutes, I lost patience and put the buttons back to the right side.

    Personally, I am flexible and I can adapt to new GUI. The window buttons on the left is not a big deal actually. But b/c I am not convinced that they could do any good my mind is just not ready to adapt. For now, I consider this as cosmetic change like the default wallpaper or GUI theme. Just change them to fit your personal preferences.

    What I am afraid is actually for the future. What Ubuntu is going to do with the space on the right side. I hope they won't move the windows title or application icon there b/c it would be really hilarious.


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