Mark Shuttleworth Admits That Ubuntu's Unity Interface Was a Mistake

Well, not directly about Ubuntu MATE, but still: Mark Shuttleworth admits that Ubuntu’s Unity interface was a mistake five years ago. Well, rejoice Mark, Ubuntu MATE is now repairing that mistake! :wink:
Obviously Mark also highlights the fact that now that Ubuntu touch is out, having Unity on the desktop is justified by the continuity of interface between desktop, tablet and phone, whereas 5 years ago the context was different.
Personally I still believe that things using touchscreens (phones, tablets) are aimed at consuming content and things using trackpad or mouse (laptops, desktop computers - netbooks might be a different case) are aimed at creating (next to consuming) content, and therefore still deserve different interfaces / desktop environment. But I can understand that others think differently and are pleased with the continuity idea which from an aesthetic point of view does make sense.


Yeah, I think i have to agree. It will be extremely difficult to find an interface that I would feel comfortable with on all devices. You just have different needs in different scenarios. On the other hand, I do like what Ubuntu are doing. You know, someone at least has to try or if it is possible we will never get there. So I give cudos to Canonical for being brave enough to tread those waters. Is Unity my favorite? No. But it’s not that bad. They have done a decent job. It’s just not my cup o’ tea.


The bottom line is that a tablet interface, both in terms of how the user navigates such a device, plus the demographics of user-needs on tablets versus dekstops, means that they will, for at lest the forseeable fture, require quite different methods of interaction. Hence, a desktop machine, used for producing content as much as it is for consuming it, requires a panel based menu and fine-resolution pointing/editing devices, whereas a tablet does not need these things and, indeed, whose portability is encumbered by their presence.

These interfaces for these two different kind of machines with their different user-need profiles, need to be developed on entirely different, but parallel lines. and I cannot believe it is beyond the ken of developers to make a software system such that the user can switch between one OS interface or the other depending on which device the system is placed.

Unity, much like Windows 8, sought to push all users onto a tablet like interface. Presumably on the basis of believing that the vast majority of users could be bamboozled into accepting this. Windows 8 crashed and burned and Microsoft have belatedly conceded this fact with a return to a more sane interface in windows 10. If Cannonical are also beginning to see the light, then thank god for that aswell.


I have to agree with you guys… I left Ubuntu because it turned too… eh, Microsoft.

First they brought Unity… okay, I hated it, can’t deny it. If you add to that the fact it was buggy as hell. The first impression was pure reject. Every 10 seconds I would get “Ubuntu reported a crash…” I felt like using XP with “Report to microsoft” kind of thing.

The UI one fits all… to me is utterly annoying. Why? because a mouse is not a finger… and scrolling, having big buttons is more or less the same reason why I left Ubuntu at that time.
Crashes that would end up with either zombie processes or applications like Clementine stuck at 100% CPU use on my laptop. [This bug was reported ages ago].
Following my logic they left GNOME 2.x to move to Unity a new UI full of bugs. I tried to adapt but left. I went to OpenSUSE which up until today I wonder if I should be on that boat.
But then again Ubuntu-MATE came along and was like that distro I left, that “just works”, the interface is clean, and its blazing fast.

One fits all, is like Windows 8.1, bizillion bugs once again. Maybe my granny doesn’t care, I need my computer for work otherwise i’d be at the movies.


I read the article and basically what he said is that it was a mistake to release unity without any explanation to the user community, but as far as it stays he still think the unity is great and more people are like it every day. I tried to give a Unity a fair chance I used it for 2 years and now look here I am as UM user who’s not planing to return to Unity ever again . I don’t own a tablet and my cell run on Android. I don’t need the same Interface for devices i don’t own or OS i don’t use. With Unity i felt like I’m loosing the freedom to do stuff even creating a simple app launcher is more complicated. Anyway Unity is for glance to show off but i believe any technical person who want to use Linux doesn’t care for appearance as much or at least not fancy one. It has to be nice but it has to be functional and meaning full with Unity a don’t have the last two. I believe Ubuntu and Unity has the power to steel people from other platforms, those people who want to write blogs, use social networks and play some flash games on the web those should be the target for Unity. For the rest there is Mate.