Updating from Ubuntu Maverick to Ubuntu Natty and the Unity factor

I have been one of those who have "raged against the machine". The machine in this case being Canonical and its founder, Mark Shuttleworth, a man I have the greatest respect and admiration for. For one thing he has given me Ubuntu and thus allowed me to comfortably and happily turn my nose up at other OS's (especially Mac's) knowing that I have (IMHO) access to the best and fastest OS in the world. The whole Unity thing perplexed me, I give you my honest word. It made no sense - why would they (the whole gang of smart people at Canonical) embark on this seemingly self-destructive path. More the point - what the devil was I to do - as ab-initio I really HATED Unity. It seemed to put me at the point where I was a few years ago where I despaired of Windows but, seemingly had no options - until Ubuntu. I started to do the research as to the why - and see if there were any alternatives to this problem.
The first light in the tunnel was the rediscovery of Linux-Mint. Katya is a marvellous offering and that gave me hope. I'm back as a Linux-Mint disciple PERIOD. It's one hell of an OS - Ubuntu with finesse. However this did not solve the problem - it seemed a short term solution to a huge problem. The problem being the fact that Gnome in their infinite wisdom or stupidity, have taken the decision to exclude Compiz from the next generation of Gnome kernels. I have no idea what they have in their long term plans but, for me a Linux desktop OS with no composting especially one as sophisticated as Compiz is not one I would consider using. The shot is simply not on the board for me there. I simply cannot imagine my workflow without the desktop Cube - FDT4, Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird and Chromium all in their separate desktops - eliminating confusion from my life. I definitely cannot live without the Ooohs and Ahhs that people ejaculate when they see the desktop spin. Well that decision by Gnome gave Canonical no choice but to migrate to Unity which uses Compiz and pretty much bringing Compiz development under Canonical control. Its a fantastic and marvellous move that ensures the long-term survival of this composting engine that all Ubuntunistas have grown to love.
Having armed myself with this information and allowing a month and a half to go by so all the Natty release bugs would have been fixed - I decided to take the plunge and upgrade one of my Maverick Laptops - an HP 8710w mobile workstation - to Natty. The fail-safe was if I spent a few days with it and I still hated it - I would install Linux Mint.
The upgrade was painless. and with fear in my heart I saw the dock that has become the recognisable hallmark of Unity. I detested and still detest the taskbar that displays the active programme links on it. Its too Applesque for my liking and I do not think I will ever like it. Having said that I started to navigate around the system trying to customise the system. Hey presto after some fiddling I got my 3dCube back and spinning :). From that point on I have to say the expetience has not been bad. Its a new way of doing things and perhaps not necessarily a bad way. I feel that over the next 2 or so offerings a lot of the feedback from the community will go to improving the look feel and performance of Unity. For the moment I am still discovering things and so far well... so good. I would recommend upgrading - but - I would warn that you need to give it some time and have some patience. Its actually not so bad. I believe my trust and faith in Mr Shuttleworth and his Canonical crew has been restored. If on the other have you find it unbearable then I strongly recommend Linux Mint or Ubuntu Studio, both of which simply KICK BUTT!!!


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