Categotry Archives: Natty


Second look at Ubuntu’s Unity Interface (for Natty Narwhal) 11.04


Usually when a new release of software comes out, I am game for giving it a fair trial.

I downloaded the iso for 32 bit Natty (Ubuntu 11.04), put it on a flash drive and took it out for a test drive.

Within 3 minutes, I had broken Unity, without trying. The livecd does NOT give you the choice of Gnome or Unity. You get Unity, like it or not!

I said, well it could just be my hardware (an acer aspire netbook). So I begin to monitor things on irc (#ubuntu on

The horrors I am seeing! Problems with Nvidia Graphics cards, breaking Unity, menus disappearing, screens going dark, and a boatload of grub issues. And the release has been out for just over a day now.

This is absolutely the most seriously “quality challenged” issue of a major release I have ever seen.

Here’s how to change from Unity to classic Gnome in Ubuntu 11.04, just in case you have already taken the plunge.

Bottom line: If you haven’t installed Ubuntu 11.04 (natty), DON’T! You will be happy you didn’t!

At this point, I’d recommend staying with what you have already installed, or at least going to back to Ubuntu 10.04, which is an LTS (long term support) release.

Debian Squeeze (6.x) is an alternative, but it is NOT recommended for a n00b, or someone that doesn’t have a good year or so of using Linux behind them.

As always, YMMV (your mileage may vary) applies.

“And oh Auntie Em! There’s NO place like Gnome!”



First Look: Unity for Natty Narwhal (Ubuntu 11.04)




Screen image 
from Ubuntu 11.04 Unity


Wow! If you remember my First Review of Ubuntu’s Unity interface, I was very critical.

While it still needs some work, vast improvements have been made. As you can see from the image above, I was able to customise the background, and change am/pm, and put the buttons on the right hand side. NONE of which I could do in the 10.10 netbook remix. USB Flashdrives also mount correctly.

Remember we are running off the livecd here. So nothing we do here remains, once we reboot. But this is a way to look at Unity without installing.

Here’s the magic (courtesy of trism on #ubuntu+1 freenode irc channel) on how to enable Unity. (By default, you get gnome)

1. In the Synaptic Package Manager, under Settings/Repositories, I had to enable the universe repository.

2. Trying to get a terminal window was a little tricky. But if you click on the button top left, and search for “terminal” you will find it.

Alternate method: alt+f2 opens up a run window, and type in:


and you are all set.

3. Next get the updates, so:

sudo apt-get update

4. Install the Unity interface:

sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental

5. Logout/back in

and you will have the Unity interface.

6. Note that libreoffice (which IMHO is NOT ready for Primetime) comes installed standard, instead of Open Office. Firefox 4.0 is here. I could not get empathy to work, but that’s primarily due to my unfamiliarity.

This is vastly improved over what I saw. It will require a lot of patience to learn where things are. The Applications/Places/System is all gone. Instead you click on the Ubuntu Icon (top left) and navigate to the folder with the magnifying glass. NOT the magnifying glass with the square, the magnifying glass with a plus (+). There you will find most of the system/administration tasks. The one thing they did NOT change: the icons are still cryptic!

One of the most frustrating things I noticed with Unity is that the application menu: File/Edit/View/Search (see photo) is no longer a part of each application. That’s now moved to the top task bar. (you should be able to see the terminal window Menu in the photo). Not certain if I like that.

Still like they say: “There’s no place like gnome!”