When I complain about Windows or OSX, I feel somewhat justified: I opened up my wallet and paid some pretty hefty cash for an operating system that more often than not has me scream what-the-fuck-were-they-thinking -- really, Apple, you had to make the Home and End keys behave differently? Really? How's that better for the user? As if using COMMAND-C to copy instead of CTRL-C wasn't a pain in the ass enough.
But it's hard to complain about operating systems like Ubuntu when they're absolutely free. A bunch of people I will never (care to) meet, sweat hours to give me, without charge, a perfectly usable piece of software that makes my computer do stuff. And yet...
Ubuntu 12.10 is out and, like the good lemming I am, I immediately upgraded. You'd think that by now I would know to wait until the major bugs have been worked out. Oh no. Upgrading Ubuntu has become a bitter pill I now just swallow the moment is out. This way I can get angry, scream what-the-fuck-were-they-thinking a few times, resign to the "features" and get back to work right away. The sad thing is that I really only use a handful of applications on my machine. God only knows (and probably even He regrets knowing) what else is lurking under the hood.
You know how when Google or Apple update their mobile's OS you quickly go check what cool features have been added? It's kinda like that with Ubuntu, except that you go look for the latest fuck-ups that will not-quite impede but make your tasks that much more tedious. And, just like any of its predecessor since the advent of Unity, 12.10 does not disappoint with the what-the-fucks. Let's begin.
The Gimp 2.8 No Longer Saves As Whatever You Want.
Sometime in 12.04 The Gimp started to require two clicks to access the menu -- this thanks to Ubuntu adopting Apple's Finder style menu. For whatever the reason, some options would deselect the image you were working with and if you didn't right click on the image to activate the menu and still went for the toolbar, the toolbar would not appear until you re-selected the image. I broke my last mouse screaming at my computer wondering who the fuck designed this stupidity.
Now, for whatever the reason, you can't just save as, you need to export an image. Wait, what the fuck, what? WHY? WHY ARE YOU BREAKING MY HABITS? Okay, fine, you can consider Export kind of like a Save As, except that then you have to go through the trouble of closing the image you were working with and have to click "NO I DO NOT WANT TO SAVE THIS IMAGE IN XCF THANK YOU" each time. You're right, that's so much better. I'm sure there is some dipshit developer with a superior smug on his face who thinks this makes all sort of sense -- meanwhile the rest of us are calling him a dipshit.
I get it that the developers wanted to make sure that you could only save in high quality formats, but do you know how often I save a file in XCF? NEVER! Not once. It's either PNG or JPG -- because that's what works on the web. I'm not even given the option to go back to the previous way it saved files, even if I AM TOTALLY OKAY WITH MY INFERIOR FORMATS. Thanks for that, you assholes.
Amazon In Your Unity.
This one left me feeling almost violated. As you start your Unity and type the command you want AMAZON SEARCHES APPEAR IN YOUR LENS! WHY?! Ubuntu's creator, Mark Shuttleworth quickly defended the idea, and just as quickly instructions on how to remove the "feature" came online.
Remember how Windows 95/98 came with that stupid "Online" folder that featured links to popular commercial Internet providers -- like AOL -- and the first thing one did when installing Windows was nuke that folder? I guess the same will be true for Ubuntu.
By the way, I get it that the goal of Unity is to give you fourteen million keyboard shortcuts that are technically faster than using a mouse. But do you know how often I use the shortcuts? NEVER. I always end up using the mouse to access the menu, where I then have to type the name of the program I'm looking for... which reminds me:
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
The best part about using Unity is when I can't remember the name of a piece of software I hadn't used in a while. You sit there trying to think of its name and everything but that program shows up. Brilliant. In Win 3.11 I would've already loaded the program, did what I needed to do and moved on to surf for midget goat porn (after loading Winsock.dll and launching Netscape of course).
Desperate, you load the Software Centre, search for a keyword of what the software does and, hopefully you find it. At that point you go back to Unity and type the program's name. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Do any of the developers that make this operating system actually use it? And we used to make fun of Windows ME -- compared to this system, WinME was a champion of ingenuity and intuitivity. I'm sorry I laughed at you, Bill Gates.
STOP TURNING OFF MY MISSION CONTROL!
If you've used Macs, you're familiar with their mission control. Really cool feature: swipe the mouse to a hot corner and either your desktop, windows or windows you're working on, appear. Ubuntu has the same features, hidden in CompizConfig: enable them and you'll discover a level of functionality behind your computer you didn't think was possible. It's so fucking awesome that you will stop and ask yourself why Ubuntu doesn't have this feature turned on by default. It's like not putting cherries on a cake or not giving a cute laugh to a baby.
I'm starting to think Ubuntu hates this feature: each and every-time I upgrade Ubuntu, it immediately turns some or all of the hot corners off. I guess Mark really wants me to swipe my mouse on the side of the screen to activate the Unity toolbar, then click on the little Wall icon to show my desktops... why? What's wrong with keeping the built-in functionality rather than resetting it every time? EVERY TIME!
The Screenshot Tool: Same Bugs, Now With One More!
I take a ton of screenshots for the stuff I write on this site. You press PRNT-SCRN, your screen flashes white and you're left with a handy little window that asks where you want to save and name the file. It was pretty damn awesome. That's right: WAS. Somewhere between version 11 and version 12, someone took a shit in the source code.
To start, the screenshot tool no longer remembers the last location you set, so each time you need to tell it that, no, the home directory isn't cool, please save the file on my desktop. I know! It's minimal! But it worked before! Why remove that functionality? Oh, wait, if the constant stripping down of options in Ubuntu is any indication, it seems that extra functionality is a sin. My bad.
But it gets better: it used to be that once you selected where to save the file yet-again, you could just type the name, hit enter and you were done. No more: now you have to click on the field where you type the name, which immediately will de-select the made up name. You'll have to delete all that and type your new filename. Thanks. That's so awesome. Dipshits.
Empathy Is Now Nearly Without Options.
Empathy always seemed like the stumped little brother to Pidgin, you know, the disappointment of the family that you couldn't strangle and bury in the backyard because it's illegal. Still, I used it because despite the insane amount of bugs it constantly shipped with -- never mind the lack of plug-ins -- it was nicely integrated within the operating system. That's right, Ubuntu: I had faith you'd make this shit work eventually. In version 12.10 you'll wonder if you've been had. Was removing 90% of the options a way to fix the bugs? Pssst, hey, guys? YOU MISSED SOME.
If you are upgrading and had MSN, Google Talk and Facebook set up, you have to delete your accounts and re-add them one by one in order to re-validate them. It won't actually tell you, it'll just complain that your password isn't cool. Fine.
Someone messages you while you're away, the computer goes to sleep and you come back? The messages-waiting icon will be there but if you click on it, it won't actually show you the messages that were waiting. Lost to the oblivion. Uh? I'm sure Mark is typing a blog entry on how that's a very important feature, right?
And if you liked a compact list of all the users you had added, kiss that goodbye. You're now forced to use Ubuntu's super huge listing. Really, was removing any of those features AND STILL HAVING BUGS worth it? The last version kinda sucked, but you removed the 'kinda' in this version. Oh, I'm so pissed.
Ubuntu 12.10 will piss you off in its own special way, just like the previous versions did. And yet, I will keep on using it. It's akin to hating what George Lucas did to Star Wars, but you still love it. Despite the issues, the what-the-fucks, the ineptitude behind its execution, Ubuntu is still the best thing out there... and that's terrifying.
|Using Supercomputers to Predict Wars, Revolutions and Armed Robberies|
|Band of Geeks Play iPhones, Not Instruments|
|Flat UI Colour Picker|
|The 10 Most Annoying Habits of Technology Companies|
|Internet Archive Releases Historical Software Collection|
|“We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years.”|
|“There are over a billion people who have no access to energy what-so-ever.”|
|“How do you communicate wirelessly with WiFi using only plastic?”|
|The 24 Carrot Cake|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“Facebook is a declining power.”|
|“What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?"|
|“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars.”|
|"Automation will disrupt millions of Canadian jobs, not far in the future, but in the next dozen years."|