The post you are about to read is my opinion and my experience. I’ve been told in the past, ‘You’re just the end user.’ So that’s the perspective you are going to get. In addition, it is neither my ambition nor goal to become a programmer/developer/packager.
I came to Ubuntu looking for a change and a better experience. I’m currently running Ubuntu 12.04 on my every day laptop. I have friends – they are like me – daily ‘end users’. I also released an Orientation Guide to Ubuntu 12.04. I have a real soft spot for new people (end users) coming into the Ubuntu community and understand first hand the learning curve they will need to take on. My curve was steep – hard, and I stumbled a lot. Knowing that I can help another person lessen this curve really makes me happy.
Everything sounds just lovely doesn’t it? So what is up with the title of this post?
Well, since May 5 – the day Ubuntu Vancouver choose to do a documentation editing jam for the 12.04 documents – I was told something that has been eating away at me.
I was told that the version of Unity that was released on 12.04 had already changed by May 5. What does this mean exactly? Well, it meant the documentation that was in final draft at the end of April was now out of date. The screen shots that you see in the document, may not match up with your experience with Ubuntu/Unity.
Unity was going to have its own version number and it changes midstream between 12.04 to 12.10. I’m ok with updates and fixes and improvements. I’m not ok with having to check my Unity version number constantly so that I can ask my friend a question because an icon has ‘disappeared’ or moved or??
I’m not a happy ‘end user.’
Maybe I’m wrong about this, maybe this was a one time thing. However, the last thing I want to have to do is say to friends, I’m running Ubuntu 12.04/Unity Version XXX.
There are things that worked in April that are not working consistently and reliably. Here are a few things that myself along with my friends have found:
-Wifi – I have to use dongles to get wifi. As an end user, I should not have to worry about driver issues. Within same house, windows computers will stay on line, Ubuntu ones will drop the connection without warning. The wireless router is within 10 feet of the computer.
-MP3s – Tunes sounding like damaged cds occasionally – never had a problem till 12.04 although it seems ok now.
-Shutdown Button – Often 12.04 will not shut down from the shutdown button . I have to kill it with the power button. Has never been a problem from 4.10 till 12.04, now it is.
-Software center – Will or will not install software at its discretion. I occasionally have to revert to Synaptic to install/uninstall software.
-Track pad – Right click working fine in April after updating in May can no longer right click
-U1 – syncing, syncing and syncing. U1 never seems to stop syncing and goes on for hours. Slows my internet to grinding snail’s pace so I constantly need to turn off U1 sync. Have been using the web portal versus the U1 folder in Home because its faster to drop/pull files via the web.
-Snapping – Sometimes it does sometimes it doesn’t.
-Frozen Windows – Several of my libre word docs got frozen and the only way to get out of it was to reboot the whole computer.
Now I know what you are going to say, ‘Have you filed those bugs into launch pad?’
Why Not? I personally find it a pain each time to open up a browser, log in to launch pad, search to see if has been reported, add my comment or start a new one.
If there was a button on the panel I could push and just log it quickly, I would do it more often. Generally when things don’t work, I’m in the middle of my ‘task’ and I need to get it done now so that I can get on with my ‘non-computer’ life. I’m not thinking at the time, ‘Oh! Time for some bug reporting!’ I just tolerate the annoyance – knowing that I should report it but later. Turn off my computer and the next day it happens again. Argh…then I think to myself I should report it but then even if I do report it, I still have to wait for it to be fixed.
I don’t want to be known as an ‘end user complainer’ and thus will report these bugs this week.
I’ve been thinking to myself what has happened here? Why was I so happy with 10.10 that I shared it will everyone – friends and family.
And now? Well I don’t recommend it and I can’t in good conscience. It’s not reliable or consistent for me and I would not want my friend to have ‘bad’ experience.
I’m starting to get the feeling that Ubuntu/Unity has turned into a developer’s playground at the expense of the user.
I understand software needs to be tested by users that’s how it gets better but when I dread turning on my computer each day because I don’t know what’s going to work today and what’s not – that ‘s bad. That’s not going to help Ubuntu get 200 million users.
I’m the first person who hates to hear a person complain and I hate it when they don’t even try to come up with a resolution. So here is my suggestion – it’s only that. Have a stable release where updates, fixes are sent out periodically. Keep Unity stable – ie don’t change it mid-stream. Give this stable version the big fanfare and focus on selling it to the everyday user like me. Then have another version – the developer’s version for 12.04 where Unity versions can change and you can play in your playground and those who download it are given the big warning: Tomorrow your experience could be different! You are probably thinking it’s already this way. We are in Quantel Quetzal.
Ok so then why is the document that was completed on April 29, 2012 out of date by May 5, 2012?
I volunteer my time to create documentation for end users. As a volunteer who started on that document in March 2012 only to find out, before its released on May 5, that it needs to be changed and it could change again after I’ve made the changes. This does not impress me.
Now what? I’m playing with some Ubuntu variants Kubuntu and Mint. Why? Because so far, they have been delivering the consistent experience that I’m not currently experiencing with Ubuntu/Unity.
I am by no means saying I would slander Ubuntu’s good name but I won’t promote it until I feel its a ‘positive’ experience that I would be happy to share with friends.
The only thing a User wants is a consistent and reliable experience day in and day out. Simple.
Everything else is just glitz and ‘nice to have.’
Remember as I stated at the beginning of this post – this is my opinion and my experience -with my limited knowledge and understanding of how things work.
What do I know anyways? I’m JUST the END USER.