Monthly Archives: January 2014

Ubuntu 13.10 Review

So in order to get mdframed working in pdflatex I decided it was time to upgrade from the trusty 12.04 to something else.  So far this has turned out to be a mistake 😦  Let’s look at the pluses and minuses of the new distribution.  The plus points:

  • mdframed works as the Tex Live installation is much more up-to-date.  This does mean I have some of the world’s most pretentious handouts now:Screenshot from 2014-01-29 00:09:12
  • The Font problems I have been having with LibreOffice have disappeared and my Open Document documents look better!
  • the log-out boxes are larger

The negative points are longer:

  • Printers now magically appear – how do I know which is which?  I now have a list of every printer on the network….  Printing also seems much slower – but that might just be subjective bias on my part.  It also seems to be more flaky.
  • The menus have moved on a random selection of applications.  So Evince and Nautlius (now called files) have icons in the top right of the screen with a confusing array of icons from to click on like a monkey  whilst you search for things that have been in the same place since the 1980s!  I am not a fan.  This is Evince, what exactly is the difference between the spanner and the gears?  You have to click to find out!!!evince Screenshot from 2014-01-22 13:04:05
  • Nautlius has been renamed files and has a much poorer user interface.  The “Connect to Server” dialogue has been gutted and you now basically have to type in a command to connect to the server.  There is no longer support for the nice tick icon which shows you whether your files have been synchronised with Ubuntu One or not.  Finally the menus have moved to a selection of gears and arrows like Evince – expect they are are different so again you have to guess and click to see what they mean!nautlius Screenshot from 2014-01-22 13:03:36
  • The new interface is not particular consistent however – as gedit for example still has menus.  So as a user you are a bit confused about where to look for things.  Why this is an advance is a mystery for me – but I’ve never had much of a desktop vision.
  • Multiple desktops have disappeared.  This may not be a bad thing as the previous implementation in 12.04 was a bit buggy.  You can enable them quite easily and the when you do the bling factor has improved the desktop quite a bit.
  • I’ve also had problems with Ubuntu One synchronisation – but that might well be unrelated to the 13.10 upgrade.  There is now a much more meaningful widget thing that sits near the clock to control Ubuntu One.

Overall my impression is that the focus of Ubuntu has moved away from the traditional desktop onto touch interfaces.  I think that is pretty exciting but it does mean that there isn’t very much exciting going on in the latest release of Ubuntu and the current release lacks polish.  This is of course not an LTS release so I am looking forward to 14.04 where hopefully some of the rough edges will be knocked off.