Kind of a rant. I’ve put this off for a while hoping to see some improvements in the Unity Desktop, but with 12.04 about to release, it’s time to change.
I’m a Desktop Linux user. I’ve been using Linux for 15 years at least. I started out with every distribution that I could download or install from a magazine. The Internet was slow back then. Then I ran Mandrake till it started to suck (Mandriva). Then I started using Ubuntu. Windows 2000 was the last dual boot on any of my computers (2006), and that was just because I needed to play games. Since then the Wine project has made some great progress and can play all my favorite games. Thanks again @WineHQ
I’ve been running my main Desktop with Ubuntu 11.04 64bit, and it has never ran anything but Ubuntu since I built it in 2006. This computer does any downloading, transcoding, regular coding, mythtv backend, music server, virtual machines, and wine gaming that I need. It’s my workhorse, and I love it. I have other computers around the house running Lubuntu and Ubuntu Studio. They have their uses and place. But my main Desktop needs to be more like the 11.04 that I’ve been using for the last few years.
It’s not that I don’t understand Ubuntu and Unity’s current direction, it’s that it doesn’t suit my needs. The desktop environment is changed. Things are being taken away. Unwanted things are popping up in their place.
So I have tried Unity, and am not interested. No. So yes, it is obvious and I know that I can modify Ubuntu to be the way I want and /or try to hold on to Gnome 2 (for now, fallback? cinnamon?), but as I’m making a change here, I want a new desktop environment I can get used to again, like I did with Gnome 2, and that will be there in future releases. I don’t use 3d on the desktop, I use it for games. I don’t want flashy things, and I don’t want to be told what to do. I tell computers what to do. I want simple things that work, and with less overhead so I can load this computer up doing work. Really, isn’t the reason you choose a distribution so you don’t have to spend the extra time dicking around? I must have less extra time. I pick the distribution that is closest to what I want so I have less dicking around. I want to be doing stuff. So, for the first time in 8 years, I am trying to find something closer to what I want to start with for my main desktop.
I started with Lubuntu 12.04 64 bit. Still *buntu. Good. I uninstalled some stuff and started loading on my stuff. It didn’t feel right. I still love Lubuntu, but not for this computer.
I tried Ubuntu Studio 12.04 64bit, and it is close. but there is a bunch of stuff installed that I don’t need, so why use that as a starting point. That stuff belongs on my studio computer.
As a detour, I tried Debian 6.0.4 64bit. It was looking really good, and Gnome 2 was looking friendly, but it ended up being a bit far behind in packages so I couldn’t run some of the same programs. Iceweasel instead of Firefox and hacks to replace it but not the current versions. Wine 1.4 is a hack from a different repository, and in the end it just didn’t work for me. I was hoping Debian would be like going to the mothership, and instead it really felt like going back to Ubuntu of a few years ago. So, I just want to run a more current system. It was still a fun afternoon. Send it to VM’s!
I tried Linux Mint. It looks pretty. But some how came in a close second. I will try this one in a VM as well.
So finally I download Xubuntu, having come full circle and still searching for a home. XFCE is my second choice to Gnome 2, and having the *buntu base is still a comfort to me. So maybe I start over with a new desktop environment. It reminds me a lot of the studio computer downstairs.
Everything looks great. XFCE Terminal, Leafpad, XFburn, many of the default programs are just what I like. Simple, fast, and get the job done. I uninstalled a few programs that I don’t use and installed my favorites. It didn’t take long and I didn’t run into any of the usual annoyances. Pretty good for a beta 2.
So I am feeling pretty good about this update. I am really starting to like XFCE after a few days, and since the only change is the desktop environment, I stay current with *buntu and keep doing what I like. Now to get back to work!
Update: After almost a month, I can’t complain about XFCE. She’s a giver. It’s a good fit.
Update: After two months, it’s just getting better. Upgrading my other boxes around the house to Xubuntu. My advice is not using Gnome2 forks but just to move on to a new DE. Thanks @xfceofficial!