What's wrong with Unity?

A good roundup of the various problems with Unity as it stands today, which I have been pointing out as well.

  • No single menu access. You get a number of “Dashes” (the dash, applications dash, places dash) with varying and overlapping levels of functionality. And typically, none of them work very well. And we can do better, much better. Synapse and Gnome-do readily come to mind.
  • Staying on topic about the Dash, finding applications (even with the Applications dash) barely works for me. I’d appreciate actually being able to find apps that exist on my computer instead of being shown apps available for download. Also, seems to me the Unity shell wants to make changing system settings as difficult as possible. At least, that’s what I thought until the Session menu got a “System Settings” entry. Which brings me to my next point…
  • What is “System Settings” doing in the session menu? It’s as if someone thought “we need to put a control center somewhere.” A piecemeal design approach if I ever saw one. Things don’t exactly make sense and feel at home. In short, Unity seems to lack a cogent and unifying approach. And there’s still no UI to actually customize the Unity launcher itself. Are users expected to install CompizConfig Settings Manager? I hope not. We shouldn’t have to.
  • The Unity launcher scales very badly. The icons get squashed towards the bottom of the panel in a badly-executed effect. The vertical panel already does not afford much space to start with. Icons really should resize automatically as more apps are opened.
  • Whoever came up with the idea of making users drag an app off the launcher and back onto it in to reorder the launcher?

The post describes other issues, but these stood out for me. These points may sound harsh (“it’s not even a beta yet!”), but I want Ubuntu and desktop linux to do well. Maverick was a fantastic release. And we can do better. Despite the conflicts, I truly believe that with Gnome 3, KDE 4 and Unity, it is a very exciting time to be a linux user. However, when I see such great work, having to drag an app away from and back onto the launcher disappoints me.

Some of these can certainly still be fixed (we’re still over a month away from release), but it will require looking at the entire desktop, than components in isolation. Having said that, nothing can and should diminish the fantastic work that has been done in such a short time to get Unity to where it is today. Now let’s all do our part in whatever way we can and put out something awesome.