Ubuntu 15.04 review, from a Plasma user’s point of view


Ubuntu 15.04 is finally here. I am a known KDE Plasma user so my reader may assume that I don’t run Ubuntu (with Unity) on my desktops. Which is not true. I love technology so I use almost every possible technology, which I can afford or use (including Mac OS X and iOS). Using different technologies put me in a better position to evaluate the advantages of GNU/Linux or a particular distros or DE in comparison to the rest.

I am actually a heavy Ubuntu user. I run three Virtual Private Servers (all powered by Ubuntu 14.04 LTS) which host my cloud services as well as my web sites. I also run it on my home server because Ubuntu does a great job as a server.

My desktops are not totally Ubuntu-free; I do run Ubuntu in a virtual machine to keep an eye on the current development. I use it on a regular basis so as to ensure I am not disconnected from that reality and that my views don’t lack experience with the OS.

So what do I think of the current release?

I am genuinely impressed!

Bringing back the goodies

I used to be an Ubuntu user before Unity happened. There were many reasons why I avoided Unity, despite being an early adopter of Unity in the hope that things will get better with time. And the biggest reason was lack of customization. Unity started to come between me and my work.

One of the biggest annoyances was moving application menus to the top bar. It wasn’t that bad. What was really bad was that these menus would auto-hide. So every time I had to access menus I had to guess where an item would be. What good is a system bar if there is nothing on it? Imagine if your are driving a car and the dashboard of your car autohides.

The good news is: Ubuntu developers have paid heed to user’s complains and have started bringing back the goodies that made Ubuntu a great OS. With the latest releases Ubuntu devels have added the ability to ‘Always Show’ the menu.

You can change the auto-hide behavior of menus from dconf-editor
You can change the auto-hide behavior of menus from dconf-editor

Another notable change with the latest release is the ability to show menus either in the top bar or within the app windows. So, depending on my monitor set-up, I can choose where to show the menus.

These two have been my biggest criticisms of Ubuntu since Unity was released and they have been taken care of. Another major issue I had was related to online search in Dash which will be addressed in Unity 8.

As a result I am full of praises for Ubuntu 15.04!

  • Marc van Geel

    I fail to see the where Unity stands out from any other DE. Out of the box I find it plain ugly and the Amazon icon made me raise my eyebrows. When opening the Dash things just don’t get any better. Showing weid and sponsored online search results is the way to finance a distro? Almost makes me think of adware plagued Windows… Ubuntu is great however, some really good distros are based upon it and with another DE it’s a lot better.