Monday, October 24, 2011

Un-Terrible-ize Ubuntu 11.10

Oh my god. After years of being a great, easy-to-use Linux distribution, Ubuntu finally has failed me and may need to be dumped. I just upgraded to 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) and they have made it more difficult than before to return to a not-terrible window manager. I think the idea behind Ubuntu's new "Unity" interface are cute, but is just god-awful for people who want to use their computer for things and don't like desperately trying to hunt them down. What was wrong with an "applications" menu that had an "Office" tab under it with office-related applications? Now, you open the side panel overlay bar thing and it takes up the whole screen but presents you with almost exactly zero useful information. It has something like 3 applications along the top and then says "fuck you, go figure it out" if you want anything more. Alt-F2 doesn't work to open a launcher to launch an application. Alt + middle-click doesn't resize windows any more. Just getting out of my damn way and letting me use the computer like I have for years doesn't even close to work.

GNOME 2 was just fine. Why did you have to take something which worked, in a non-terrible fashion, and remove all of the useful, discoverable, productive parts of it? I've spent a couple hours at this point trying to get back to the level of non-uselessness I had with Ubuntu 11.04, which was not useless. I even tried installing GNOME 3 in the hope that it would have a "stop doing stupid bullshit" mode, but it only kind of does. I've gotten close, but the "system" menu is AWOL, and I can't figure out how to get it back. It doesn't seem to want to let you customize the theme at all or even have something as simple as focus-follows-mouse. Yes, I've opened gconf-editor and set /apps/metacity/general/focus_mode to mouse, which seems to be the closest thing to focus-follows-mouse available, but it doesn't do it.

I'll post what information I've found to get it to the minimally-crappy state it's in now, but I'm still searching for how to de-terrible-ize it further. Alternatively, I might just dump Ubuntu altogether until it gets some sense beaten into it. I hear Linux Mint is supposed to have remained safe from the "enshittening" of Linux user interfaces of late. Also, I could try Xubuntu, though I've never really been a fan of XFCE. It's a heck of a lot better than Unity or GNOME 3.

No, nevermind. Not using XFCE.

Okay, after a few more hours of wasted time, I'm going to bite the bullet and back up all of my documents, wipe 11.10 off of my computer, and go back to 11.04, aka "the last sane version of Ubuntu". It really sucks because I used to recommend Ubuntu to my relatively non-technical friends, but with the crap they're pulling now, there's no way I'd let their first Linux experience be with this trash. Sad day.