(The introduction to this series can be found HERE, and DAY ONE can be found HERE.)

Day Two.

Unlike when I used Gnome Shell for seven days (That series starts HERE) I have had no need to go back to my regular Gnome interface. Neither do I feel tired at the end of the day like when I was working with Gnome Shell. One of the strengths of Unity is that it does not get in the way. Much.

Again, today will be updated as I go along…

Memory use

Unity uses less RAM than Gnome.

Have a look below, first up I did ‘free -m’ when I ran only bash:

total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          3925        319       3606          0         45        106
-/+ buffers/cache:        167       3758
Swap:         1609          0       1609

Then with Gnome2 (‘Regular’ Ubuntu Interface)

total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          3925        762       3163          0         51        245
-/+ buffers/cache:        465       3460
Swap:         1609          0       1609

And finally, Unity:

total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          3925        541       3383          0         48        199
-/+ buffers/cache:        294       3631
Swap:         1609          0       1609


No Home Folder

Where is the home folder? WHERE IS IT?! (click to enlarge)

Finding the above output in three text files that I dumped in /home/quintin/ raised an interesting problem: You cannot get to /home with Unity!

You can get to OTHER areas on your home directory, but the actual HOME is not available, nor are the files stored in it.

Look at the picture above for an example of that.


No Home Folder...

SUGGESTION: Put HOME as one of the options in the top bar that has shortcuts for Documents and Folders etc.

And before you point out that your home folder is available under “Folders”, note that it only appears there after you have accessed it at least once, since “Folders” lists recently accessed folders.

This is also the case with the Folders shortcut on the Unity Launcher, I used this image yesterday, here to the left it is again, but zoomed into the actual area of the launcher referred to:

The Day So Far

Today with Unity is going okay so far. I had one minor hiccup when the whole desktop disappeared for a few seconds, but Unity seemed to recover that fine. I am still using it after that crash and unlike with a Plasma crash I have not needed to log out or reboot to get a working environment.

One thing that I have noticed with Unity so far, is that heavy usage seems to have a greater impact on the performance of Unity than with Gnome or KDE.

This is a highly subjective impression though, so until I have found a way to definitely test it you shouldn’t take it as gospel.

Till later.

Flattened IconsUnity Launcher Quirks.NUMBERS!

(I am using a lot of vertically sized images in this post, if it is fugly formatted bear with me while I rush to get the content up and beautify the layout later K?)

I mentioned yesterday that if you press the SUPER key the Icons on the launcher get numbered from 1 to 0. To the right is a screenie of that.

What to do with more than TEN open programs, which I regularly have? Clickit. Yep, I think my suggestion of binding the UP and DOWN arrow keys together with SUPER to highlight the item you want to open is quite nifty.


Another nice feature of Unity Launcher is that the icons for open programs will swivel and lie flat, look at the image to the left. I am unsure, but it seems that this happens for the topmost or bottom icons in the launcher, depending on if the active icons are on the active virtual desktop or not.

This is not foolproof yet, and sometimes an icon that is active on your desktop will be flattened in this manner. Sometimes it works, othertimes not. Nice feature, a little work needed though.

As soon as you hover your mouse over the Launcher the icons all “Stand Up.” If you move your mouse up and down the launcher the icons that cannot fit slide into view depending on where your mouse is.

Scrolling the mouse when your pointer is over the launcher also scrolls the icons. But irritatingly if you scroll all the way down, it will hover there for a moment, and then scroll back by itself. You cannot scroll back YOURSELF, noooo, you have to WAIT FOR THE LAUNCHER TO DO IT FOR YOU!


Okay so it is a minor irritation.

Back with more later…

Nearing the end of Day 2 and lets recap our wishlist

I have been thinking of some things I would like Unity to have, and thought it pertinent that I make a list of ALL of them just to keep track.

Here they are in no particular order:

  • Minimise/Close all button on the Unity Launcher – or just a “view desktop” button. Come to think of it there is not much going on on the desktop. If the desktop becomes available as horrible icon city it might be more practical. Meh, have to give this one more thought…
  • A way to add new launchers to the Unity Launcher. The current way of adding program launchers to the Unity Launcher is convoluted. A simple button with an “Add new launcher” feature would be great.
  • On that note, why not allow you to right click an icon when in the icons menu (I have to find out what the proper name for the applications area is) to click and say “Pin to Launcher.”
  • Ability to display date and seconds in the clock. Also, ability to switch time format to 24hr format.
  • Ability to add applets to the top panel. There are some nifty applets that I use, and now I can no longer use them :(
  • The ability to click on a Program Launcher and open a second program from there. Very helpful for terminals. Right now you need to go to FILE>NEW TERMINAL in order to do that.
  • Bind the SUPER+ARROW keys to scroll launchers in Unity Launcer, pressing enter on the highlighted one will launch the program or open its window.
  • Better notification of pending action on a program. Right now the tiny triangle next to a Launcher that requires attention turns blue, but it is a bit too tiny. The more I use Unity the better I get at noticing those.

I will finish off this post later tonite after dinner.

Now it is hometime from work, till later…

Summary Day 2

I may be wrong, but it seems that using Unity affords Ubuntu a longer battery life. I will have to measure this properly when I do my 24part test for Unity VS Gnome2.

The Unity Launcher exhibited some weird behaviour three or four times today, all the icons in it scrolling way down to the bottom or top – leaving only a few of all the icons visible.

I discovered that you can drag the launchers out of the Unity Launcher and place it somewhere else on the Unity Launcher. Except for the bottom four that is, they are fixed in position.

If you take a launcher and drag it completely off the Unity Launcher it gets removed from the Unity Launcher altogether.

Remember my issue with the access to /home? Well I got around that by launching Nautilus from command line and telling the Launcher to stay in the Unity Launcher. I now have a nifty shortcut to /home.

More tomorrow. In the meantime, tell me what you think of Unity in the comments, and vote in the poll below.

Good Night!


Will you switch away from Ubuntu because of Unity?

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Related posts:

  1. Using Unity – Day One
  2. Using Unity – Another 7 Day Challenge!
  3. Using Unity – Day 5 How Does It Compare to Gnome Shell?
  4. Using Unity – Day 4 Custom Unity Launcher Colors and Patterns
  5. Using Unity – Day 3