Gwibber vs. Choqok

And why I’m going with Choqok, even in Unity.

I upgraded to the new Gwibber.  For the most part, it’s great.  BUT, there are some really niggling issues I have with it.  List time!

  • I can’t access my lists.  Or, I don’t see an easy way to do this.
  • Slow.  So so so slow.  Once it starts up, it’s not bad, but it sometimes will hang my entire laptop.  I thought the updates were supposed to remove these issues.  Although they’ve been fewer recently.
  • Two clicks to reply to a notice.  Not a huge deal, but now I have to click on the twitter/statusnet icon and then click reply.

Now, only to be fair, onto what I like about it:

  • The new look.  Wow, looks great!
  • Ubuntu integration.  This couldn’t be better.
  • Speed improvements (note that this is under the issues as well… It’s in both because it’s better than it was, but not where it really shoiuld be.).

Now,even with all of the KDE libs, Choqok seems to run faster and easier on both my netbook and my laptop.  It has decent integration with my Unity desktop, goog.l shortening, pictures inline, and the ability to have my lists open so I can see what’s going on.  Oh, and now KDE apps seem to integrate better with Gnome because of QT, so that’s nice.

I really miss the easy-to-see lists feature that the old Gwibber had.  I wish they’d bring back the interface they had becuase it was awesome, and almost perfect.  Not necessarily the prettiest, but it worked really well.

I’m not saying “bring back the old interface” because that’s pretty much impossible right now, but maybe the devs could bring back some of its functionality.  I’m not sure what they wanted to accomplish with making the lists feature more hidden, but it’s made me kind of frustrated.

Now, I’ll go back to Gwibber.  For sure.  I’ll see if there are updates, and definitely give it another go when iti does update.  I’d love to have it working again the way I need.

For now, I’ll be using Choqok.

Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Dash takes shape for 11.10 Unity


Oh. My. God.

So. Pretty.

Now that my Ubuntu fangirling is out of the way, I wanted to post this to my Posterous, so I actually have something on it.

Well. I see what Mark is getting at here. The idea of “scopes and lenses” is a brilliant one. I’m looking forward to the new panel, the new dash, and this whole glassy look. I like simple clean styles like this, and this is a really nice evolution from what Ubuntu was in 6.06 when I was using it (more) regularly (I used 5.04 or so, but not as much as Dapper).

Some people may not like this new way of dealing with the desktop, but I think an integrated search and inherently simple interface is a great way to differentiate Ubuntu and Linux from Windows.

Yeah, it’s kind of Mac-ish, but Apple has some nice things going on with it’s interface. Bring the best things over from Windows and from Mac and make Ubuntu better than both of them.

I’m just completely wowed by this picture. It’s amazing. Don’t forget to read the link under the picture for what Mark Shuttleworth thinks.

Looking at 11.04 Natty/Unity – Good or bad? « OpenBytes

Certainly more so in the past, I’ve seen a select few regarding Ubuntu for “newbies, newbs, lamers” et al.  In todays Linux world I think this elitism exists only in rare circumstances.  Its completely silly too, just because Ubuntu wants to assist in setting up your system and get you up and running as quickly as possible does not make it “for newbs” I know many very experienced Linux users who favour Ubuntu purely because they have better things to do then mess about with their OS just to become functional.  Anyone can install proprietary drivers, its simple, but if Ubuntu takes that task away by automating the process, I’m all for it.  There was a time where I enjoyed the challenge of getting one of the more “exotic” distro’s functioning on my system, but now with several projects on the go, what I want in a new distro is to be up and running as quickly as possible.  I’ve deployed (and used off and on) Ubuntu since 8.04 and can happily say that this has always been the experience I’ve had.

This is one of the reasons why I use Ubuntu. Granted, there are always going to be issues with software ($deity knows that I have plenty of issues with Windows), but that’s not always the underlying issue with the OS.

I guess I just want my blankity-blank stuff to work. Ubuntu “just works” and I don’t have to mess with goofy drivers, or strange software, or anything else. Especially now, since I’m running hardware that was designed for Ubuntu in mind.

Anyway, I just want stuff to be decently configured so I don’t have to spend a ton of time getting everything the way I like it. I used to spend lots of time “tweaking” my desktop, but now I’m more than happy with the default configuration of Ubuntu and Unity. Ambiance and Radiance are both beautiful and come with Ubuntu.

More Thoughts on the Natty Beta

I just read this article from The Register.

The author brings up some important points about Unity, but he has to realize that this is a beta.  If it was full release, then harsh criticism would be warrented, but I don’t think it is right now.

I’ve run into some bugs.  Specifically; xorg seems to (randomly) take up 20 to 60 percent of my CPU, compiz likes to crash, and Empathy likes to crash (though it hasn’t today, knock on wood).  I’m not sure if these crashes are caused by issues with the actual programs, or if they are issues relating to the way the OS is working with those programs.

No, Unity is not completely polished, but I can hardly compare it to the KDE4 debacle.  KDE4 was beta software released as stable.  I tried it, and was wholly unimpressed, partly because Plasma crashed.  All the time.  I can actually use Unity; I could not use KDE4 when it came out.

I haven’t completely tested all of my software yet, but from what I’ve seen, things seem to work really well.  I like having everything from each workspace accessible from the launcher; I can click on that program and go right to it.

I wasn’t sure how I’d deal with searching for programs I want, but I’ve found that it’s faster than going to a menu and looking for something.  For instance, gpodder is in the “media” category in the menu system, but I tend to search for it in the “web” category, because it makes sense for me there.  I got tired of this, so I added gpodder to web, so it appears in both categories, but the user shouldn’t have to do that.  With Unity, I just search for “gpodder”, click on it, and I’ve launched the program.  Much faster than clicking on the menu, going to the right category, and then moving the mouse to where the program is that I want, then clicking.

This idea could also help with tech support.  Linux, by nature, allows you to customize your desktop.  This can make it difficult for someone to give tech support.  It’s easier to tell someone to “click on the Ubuntu logo in the left corner of your screen, then click in the search box and search for ‘x'”.

The author brings up adding programs to the launcher as difficult; if you’re using the program anyway, you can easily add the program with a right click.  I usually don’t add a bunch of stuff to the launcher without running it first anyway, but that’s just my use case.  

Regarding applets; I love them, so I’m not particularly unbiased.  I think I get more information from them, and there’s a lot of drive to make new ones that fit the new way the panel works.  Please see OMG!Ubuntu for evidence of this.

I was skeptical when I saw what Maverick offered as Unity, but I can safely say that the Maverick and Natty experiences are completely different.  I still would like to be able to move the launcher to the bottom and keep it’s auto-hiding goodness.


Ubuntu Natty, First Impressions

This release of Ubuntu is probably the most ambitious release of Ubuntu.  Ever.  This release represents the roll-out of Unity to the regular desktop user.  It also is the merging of the Netbook and Desktop environments, so there’s only one distribution of Ubuntu.

I installed beta 1 last night and was unable to actually use it until this morning.  There are bad and good things about it, and most of these problems will be fixed by the full release.  This is the first beta, and is not really fit for standard consumption.

That said, here are the issues I have:

  • Compiz crashes.  About 3 times, mostly when doing alt-tab or trying to deal with windows.
  • Gwibber crashed twice.  Not sure if this is related to me running Natty or running the daily build of gwibber.
  • Empathy crashes.  Seems to crash mostly when I’m trying to interact with the program via the indicator-applet.  It’s segfaulting for some odd reason.
  • No clock.  I think this was a problem with the install, as I had to install indicator-datetime after the upgrade.
  • No weather applet.  I installed weather-indicator and I’m good.  It crashed once.
  • Having a second monitor makes it wonky to work with the launcher.  It’s hard to explain, but I run the second monitor to the left of my main laptop, and the launcher is on the left of the screen.  I have to try to hit a certain spot on the main monitor to get the launcher to show.  This is because of the way I use my monitors, I’m sure.

I’ve filed three bug reports already, and that’s the reason I’m running the beta.  They need all the help they can use to get this working properly.  I’d rather have a couple of issues (which DID NOT bring down my machine, by the way) and help make Natty an awesome release.

Note that two of my issues were taken care of after installing two packages.

Now, the totally awesome things:

  • Clean.  This desktop is devoid of any clutter.  I like having an auto-hide launcher.  I should have done this with Docky.
  • Speedy.  They’ve improved Unity enormously from Maverick netbook.  I really really really see the speed improvements.  Some are from using Compiz, I’m sure, but some are from squashing bugs.
  • Indicators.  I love them.  ‘Nuff said.
  • LibreOffice.  Finally.  I’ve turned so many people onto this software package, it’s insane.  They’re all like “it’s free?!?” and I’m like, “yes!!”  Then we install it and it opens almost everything under the sun.  It’s awesome.
  • I really love the way you switch desktops.  It’s a little bit different from what I’m used to, but, it’s very slick.  It looks really cool.
  • I love the auto-hiding of the launcher.  Oh, I mentioned this already?  I really love it.
  • I’m loving the global menu.  Yeah, I might be crazy, but I do like it.  I didn’t think I would like it.
  • The blue envelope icon for new messages is different, and I think I like it.
  • Compiz settings.  There’s a default setting that allows for the window snapping like you get with Windows Aero.  Now, I’m sure Ubuntu will be accused of copying, but hot damn, that’s one of the most awesome things from Windows 7, and I’m quite pleased that it’s default in Ubuntu now.
  • Firefox 4.  It. Is. Awesome.  (Though I’m still using Chromium; I go back and forth.)
  • Network Manager Applet has gotten a revamp and it looks great.

How about a screenshot?  Yes, I think that’s a good idea.


This is the whole screen including both of my monitors.  Notice the launcher in the middle.  It’s actually on the left on my laptop screen, but I have my second monitor off to the left.  This is a clean desktop.  I’m using the Radiance theme with the standard icons.  The art team has done an awesome job with the look of the main themes (Radiance and Ambience).  I love them both, and I go back and forth between them depending on what wallpaper I have.  The wallpaper is from SimpleDesktops.  I’m running the aforementioned weather-indicator, empathy, and gwibber.  I’m also running Tomboy Notes (which I cannot live without), as well as Chromium, gpodder, the movie player (I’m listening to podcasts), BOINC, and Xchat.  My panel has been extended across both of my monitors.  Not sure if I quite like that, but it makes it easy to deal with windows on each monitor.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The system settings have all been added to a “program” where you can get at everything.  See here:


Control Center.

Overall?  This release of Ubuntu is pretty exciting and different.  I would not advise using the beta right now, unless you’re interested in filing bugs.  If you want to upgrade, either go get an iso here or hit alt-F2 and type:

upgrade-manager -d

and let it run through the updates.

BE WARNED: I got an error after I upgraded to Natty when I ran:

sudo apt-get update

The error is:

GLib-GIO:ERROR:/build/buildd/glib2.0-2.28.4/./gio/gdbusconnection.c:2279:initable_init: assertion failed: (connection->initialization_error == NULL)



You’ll have to use the Software Center OR Synaptic to do updates.  I don’t know what this error means, but it’s documented here.  So, just be forewarned about that.

Go out and upgrade if you’re game.  Enjoy this release, and report some bugs!


Ubuntu Unity

This post is kind of a response to this post on OMG!Ubuntu.

What is wrong with Unity?  It’s a question with a lot of different answers.

For me?

Speed and ease of use.

Those are the most important things.  An operating system should allow me to do what I want without bugging me.  Without making it difficult to get to my files.  Without making me relearn where everything is.

That is where Unity is a problem for me.  Maybe I’m used to my dock-and-menu setup in Ubuntu, or my taskbar-and-menu setup in Windows, but making me think about where my files are, or making me type up a search (while handy in some respects) can make me irritated, as I can’t get to my files and programs faster.  If I wanted a search metric, I’d be using Gnome-Do or Launchy or something.

I’ve grown used to the menu structure of Gnome.  I like it and it’s comfortable.

I also don’t want to have to wait for my operating system to chug and think about getting my file structure.  I’m particular about where I put things, and I have a special way I do it.  If I were to just throw everything in /home without a thought, then this searching metric might work for me, but I don’t.

Unity seems to be aimed at someone who’s never seen a computer before.  This is fine, but the further we go on in time, the fewer people will have not seen a computer before (anyway, speaking from my white, middle-class, college-educated, engineering background).  I mean, everyone in my community has access to computers either though their own houses, a public or private school (for students), a university, a community college, or the library system.  I’d be shocked at anyone under the age of 60 who hasn’t seen a computer in their lives.

Also, most of these people who have seen computers will have seen a Windows or Mac-based system.  It’s just a fact of life because of the market share Windows and Apple have.  Ubuntu and other Linux-based operating systems are trying to change that, but with Ubuntu and Gnome3 going to the “shell” model of things, many people are going to see it and reject it.  Which is unfortunate because there are a lot of good ideas that have come out of Unity.  For instance, the dock.  I use a dock (Docky), but at a different location than where Ubuntu puts it.  If Unity wants to win me over, they can do the following:

  • Make the dock movable; to the right, top or bottom, as I please.
  • Make the dock re-sizable, which I think they’re working on (this is not available in the version I’m running on my netbook).
  • Allow me to change the size of the icons on the dock and make sure Unity respects that.  I’d like a smaller dock on my netbook, as the screen is very limited.
  • Allow me to use the regular file system easier.  When I click on the folder in the dock, I expect a Nautilus window to open; this does not happen.
  • Give me better categories and whatnot when I click on the applications button.  Seriously, having a list of my applications is not helpful if they’re not sorted better.
  • Make the dock expand to hold the icons, instead of expand the whole side of my screen.  This is similar to the behavior of Docky.
  • Use Compiz (this is in the works; Mutter was found to be unstable, so the Ubuntu devs have moved to Compiz, which is more stable.  I remember when it wasn’t, and I was unsure of why anyone would use Compiz.  Now I can’t live without it.).

I will be looking forward to the improvements in Unity.  Hopefully with the inclusion of Compiz, the speed factor will be taken care of (my netbook can handle Compiz, which is pretty cool).

The Natty release looks to be interesting at the least.