Goodbye, Unity. Hello Xfce

March 22, 2013 at 14:15

What is Unity?

From the project’s About page:

Founded in 2010, the Unity project started by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical has gone on to deliver a consistent user experience for desktop and netbook users alike. Putting great design at the heart of the project, Unity and its technologies such as Application indicators, System indicators, and Notify OSD, have strived to solve common problems in the Free Software desktop while optimizing the experience for touch, consistency and collaboration.


My experience

Please, read it again. Consistent…Well, if I should define Unity, the last word I’d use would be consistent. I approached Unity for the first time in the Netbook Ubuntu Edition. At that time, I looked at the desktop and I felt surprised. Good-looking interface, clean. But after I installed Ubuntu 12.04 with Unity as the default desktop environment and using it until now, I’d say that I feel depressed. Unity is not mature, is not consistent (try to integrate any application in the notification area), 2D and 3D versions hang and freeze when I use any molecular visualization tool, random crashes, double monitor issues and I won’t talk about the user experience. Well, I will. I understand that switching from one environment to another is not a painless process and some adaptation time is required. But, come on, Canonical, Unity is slow, configuration options are hidden, minimizing and maximizing windows is a survival horror game and, most important, why a new UI?


Looking for alternatives to Unity

After my divorce with Unity, I looked for new options. I’m not a KDE boy, I didn’t understand the Gnome affaire…I used fluxbox in the past, so I decided that the time for a lightweight desktop environment had come. And then I rediscovered Xfce. I love Xubuntu (Ubuntu flavor with Xfce as the default desktop). I installed it in a different machine and I checked it was a perfect fit for me.

Good guy Xfce

Good guy Xfce

Highly customizable: themes, icons, panels, almost everything. Maybe it is not as pretty as Unity, but I really don’t care. No more random crashes, no more pain and suffering. I didn’t want to re-install everything on my working desktop machine to enjoy a fully Xubuntu experience, but only one command line was separating me from Xfce:

Goodbye Unity, hello Xfce!