The man in the brown suit.
Dec 9, 2017 7 min read

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful What the Fuck Aardvark Did anyone test this thing? - Written by Lord Lansdowne

On my trusty desktop I like running Ubuntu's LTS (long term support) version.

This means that while I don't get the latest lame-assed eye-candy or that my icons don't go bouncing up and down in the cutest of cute ways, when I need to get shit done I can get shit done because things will consistently work and stay out of my way. Try doing that with Windows 10. Yeah, I didn't think so.

I know this may come as a total shock in an era where the personal computer is fading and everyone is using smartphones and tablets, but let's be perfectly honest here: handhelds are locked-down consumer devices used by idiots to make their idiocy public on Lamebook — special thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page for turning the Internet into a giant pile of shit for personal monetary gain. If you have had to urgently remote to a server and the only device available was an SSH session via a smartphone, you know how brutal that is. I'll take a real computer with a real keyboard any time. Handhelds are for people who contribute nothing to the world.

Since I was done testing Windows 10 — the Facebook of operating systems, if the advertising, tracking, and privacy breaching are any indication — I wanted something on my testing laptop that I wasn't afraid to use. I opted to try Ubuntu's awkwardly named Artful Aardvark which, among other things, promised good riddance of Unity and would also give me a good preview of the atrocities to come. I was not to be disappointed.

Did anyone actually test this?

I make my USB stick, boot up, follow the prompts, discover I can't do RAID 1, proceed with the install thinking I can do a manual conversion to RAID 1 after the install, but post-install Ubuntu won't boot. I redownloaded the ISO and tried again, with the same result. I ended up switching to the server version which not only allowed me to set up RAID 1, but completed the install and booted.

The advantage of using the server install is that it still uses Debian's old installer which is feature-rich, fast, and speaks RAID. On the downside, then you have to apt install ubuntu-desktop which is almost 2 GB of packages. After that you'll discover that systemd-networkd is managing your ethernet port and Network Manager is managing your wifi. This creates all sorts of amusing issues if you try to just have one of the two managing everything. SystemD does not like to play nice at all, in fact it is such a dick that after trying to unsuccessfully untangle this mess you'll just say "fuck it" and carry on. Well played, SystemD. Well played.

As you use the system you eventually discover that drag-and-drop no longer works, resolved by typing gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences use-experimental-views false (what the fuck were they thinking?). You'll get accustomed to systemd-networkd-wait-online.service doing lots of that. Or, best of all, that every once in a while your desktop rotates... just because. I haven't figured this one out yet.

The first thing I did...

The first thing I did was figure out how to remove the Amazon icons. One was pretty simple, the other took a bit of work. I'm certain there is some kind of financial gain for Canonical for offering these icons — look how many Firefox 57 throws at you on a blank tab — but as a courtesy, maybe a degree in computer science should not be a requirement to uninstalling them.


When Ubuntu came out with Unity it was like they tried to reinvent the wheel, except they made it square and told people to like it. For some reason the masses were left unimpressed. A quick Google search will remind you of just how shitty Unity was when Gnome was doing a fine job. I think that Canonical was using Apple as an inspiration to give Ubuntu some kind of identity people would recognise at first glance.

How does Canonical decide to do this? By copying – poorly – Apple’s Dock but sticking it to the left so it didn’t look like plagiarizing. The result was a large lump of buggy shit that ate a chunk of your desktop and all of your RAM. Did I mention Gnome worked just fine?

What a terrible mistake to use Apple as your inspiration. People who use Apple products are idiots. Never mind that they overpay for underpowered products that do not offer longevity and cannot easily be upgraded (if at all), but they also forfeit all their data freedom by leaving it trapped in a proprietary system that won’t let them leave with it. And if that’s not bad enough, do you really want to model yourself after a very profitable billion dollar company that does the best it can to avoid paying a few million dollars worth of taxes?

In 17.10 you'll discover Unity isn't entirely dead. The look is still there, but it's all Gnome under the hood. You can configure it to have it move out of your way, but it won't crash or do any other stupid shit you're accustomed to Unity doing. Maybe by 18 it'll be entirely gone. Maybe.

I’ll say this, though: now that Mozilla unfucked their Firefox browser from the sluggish piece of turd that it was and made it work like it was Chrome without the Google bullshit, side-by-side with Gnome, Ubuntu barely uses 2 GB of RAM. And everything is super-fast and my computer isn’t even that new. Did I mention Gnome works just fine?

Breaking my habits. Again.

The window buttons are back on the right side. I don't understand this kind of shit but if there is one thing Canonical is consistent with it is extreme changes like these from one version to another. Maybe Unity’s failure has taught them some kind of moral lesson? Don't build square wheels? Don't try to make something when someone has already made it better? Don't fix what's not broken? Who knows.

You can change the buttons back if you really want to, but I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t even change the background picture anymore: everything is default.


I may have ranted about this before, but why does Canonical insist on turning hot corners off? You still give me a million shortcuts I will never use, but the one feature I want, THE ONE FEATURE, and I always need to figure out how to re-activate it.

Unfortunately CompizConfig no longer works when you ask it to turn on the hot corners. You can enable the default Gnome behaviour by typing gsettings set org.gnome.shell enable-hot-corners true in your shell. This kind of works with the way I like using my computer, but it's definitely not the way it used to be. That's fine, I guess: it's not like anyone ever listens to the user.

In conclusion

My desktop computer has been running Ubuntu since pretty much it came out. It has migrated from version to version, from computer to computer, from RAID 1 disk to RAID 1 disk without issue, retaining most of the features I liked, even maintaining the wobbly window option Ubuntu offered a decade ago. Regardless of some really stupid ideas, it has just let me do my work whenever I needed to. This is a strength that very few commercial operating systems can claim to have. That should be Ubuntu's focus and strength. With Unity disappearing, there may be some hope that's where they are heading. Let's see what happens, maybe I'll get my hot corners back one day. Maybe.