Problems & Headaches

One of the annoying things about the launcher is that it’s not very configurable right now. Beginners might not notice or even care about that, but more advanced users could find it very annoying. I hope that Canonical builds in some customization options for the launcher in the next release of Ubuntu.

My experience with Ubuntu 11.04 was quite good in terms of performance and problems. I didn’t run into any noticeable instability, slowdown or other burps while using it.

The only thing that slowed me down briefly was adding the Guest Additions to get Unity to run in VirtualBox. Beyond that, my experience was very positive. This isn’t surprising though, Ubuntu has usually run well for me so I didn’t expect to run into much in the way of headaches with this release. Your mileage may vary, however, so please take a moment to share any problems (and fixes) you might have encountered so that others can benefit from your experience.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Ubuntu support page for documentation, answers, training courses and free community support.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It

Ubuntu 11.04 is probably best described as a “love it or leave it” type of distro. If you like Unity then chances are you will really love Ubuntu 11.04. However, if you are one of those who dislikes Unity then it might be time to leave Ubuntu and find another distribution for your desktop use.

I’m in the latter category as I find Unity to be suffocating and unnecessary. For me it adds little value and seems to be in the way most of the time; so I would definitely not use Ubuntu 11.04 as one of my regular distros. I tried to like it but I just couldn’t warm up to it. Some have called it very “Mac-like” but, oddly, Mac OS X’s interface doesn’t seem to annoy me as much as Unity’s. Say what you will about Apple (and there’s plenty to say, pro and con) but they don’t seem to have made Mac OS X into an annoying experience the way that Unity feels to me.

Perhaps I’m just a dinosaur? Maybe netbook type interfaces will be the wave of the future in all desktop operating systems. If so then I suspect I’ll be one of the luddites booting into “classic” interfaces or simply opting to use a distro with a slimmed down desktop environment instead. Eye candy and “coolness” can sometimes be more trouble than they are worth so if feeling that way makes me a fossil then so be it. If I wanted a netbook interface, I’d buy a netbook instead of using a desktop computer.

Your mileage may vary, however, so I urge you to keep an open mind and give Ubuntu 11.04 a shot and see if you like it. I did not penalize Ubuntu 11.04 for Unity in the scoring below. Despite my own dislike of it, I know that there are some folks out there who might really like it and more power to them if they do. It’s just not my cup of tea.

If you need an alternative then I’d consider Linux Mint, Bodhi or one of the many other Ubuntu derivatives that don’t use Unity as their desktop environment. Of course you could also stick with Ubuntu 11.04 and simply use the classic GNOME interface instead. You can choose that on the login screen if you like.

Ubuntu 11.04 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users. Beginners should be aware that Unity is significantly different than previous Ubuntu desktops and should bear that in mind accordingly if they decide to try out Ubuntu 11.04.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Ubuntu 11.04
Web Site:
Price: Free
Pros: New Unity interface; user ratings and reviews in the Software Center; easy install routine that includes the ability to upgrade from the Live CD.
Cons: Unity interface is a “love it or hate it” affair that will either bring people to Ubuntu or drive them away, the jury is still out on that and we won’t know for a while which way things will go.
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
Rating: 4/5
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