Ubuntu unity and classic

I’ve just switched to the Ubuntu classic view because I got fed up with the navigator bar, or whatever it’s called, at the left-hand side of the screen. This is a shame, because I like the unity interface. But the launcher keeps popping up when you’re trying to go back on an internet browser or close a file or such like. There’s been lots of discussion about this. The comments on this page are just a small example.


I for one would much prefer my navigator bar/ launcher thingy at the bottom of my screen, where it’s out of the way of other functions. I looked up how to move it – as this is Ubuntu, and so it should be possible. The reply to this question from askubuntu.com was worthy of a Mac designer:

“I remember reading lots of forums and rationales about why it is so, and tons of people complaining about it.But… think for a while… it truly makes sense for it to be on the left and not at the bottom. 99% of todays monitors are widescreen. Meaning lots of extra horizontal space (mostly sub-used), while vertical space is premium.

Most apps and websites do not use your whole screen width (check the large vertical background bars in both sides of screen of askubuntu, for example). But they DO use the full vertical length (actually, they scroll 3, 5, 10 times yout height). Meaning lots and lots of scrolling. And then you subtract titlebar, menu bar, favorites bar, tabs bar, etc, all of them sucking up your precious vertical space. So adding the launcher on top/bottom would make things even worse, While theres [sic] plenty of extra, “idle” horizontal space.

True, windows panel is a well crafted one… but the design choice of unity to put it at side and not bottom is a wise one, once you get used to it. And its [sic] worth doing so. Your mouse wheel will say thanks ;)”

Most of these are valid points, but it seems to me that the author, whoever he is, and the designers of Ubuntu 11.10 etc, have missed the point, succinctly put by someone else – ‘if I’d wanted a Mac, I’d have bought one.’

It’s not about where the best place for your toolbar is. It’s about choosing where it can go. One of the delights about Ubuntu is that it’s less bossy and more user-empowering (sorry to use that dreadful concoction) than Windows or iOS.  Windows is a mediocre micro-manager; iOS is a smug know-it-all whose taste is oh-so-much-better-than-yours. The reply above sounded so much like a Mac man.

Please, Ubuntu developers, if you read this (which you probably won’t), give the choice and the responsibility of how to use a computer back to the user. Don’t drive a wedge between provider and consumer. Don’t become a dictator, however benign.


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