Unity in Natty: update
2 months ago, I wrote about my experience with Unity in Natty. At that point, it was far from suiting my use-case, but yet, I somehow felt positive about its future and I kept using it. What was troubling me then was the release schedule. With all the remaining crashers and feature gaps 8 weeks before the long fixed release date, I had serious doubts about the final state of Unity in Natty. Now that it (Natty) has been released, and that developers spent a week at UDS and are now either taking some days off or writing blueprints, it’s a quiet period with almost nothing moving, a good time to see what has been achieved.
I must say that I’ve been impressed by the rate at which the unity and compiz crashers have been fixed, especially in the last 8 to 10 weeks before release time. Kudos to the developers and packagers. I was very concerned about those earlier in the Natty cycle, where crashers and major usability bugs have been ignored and kept pilling up, while the developers focused on adding new features. It made Unity totally unusable for more than half of the (dev) cycle, at least for me (but from what I remember from other fellow devs, I was not alone). The problem is that besides the frustration, it prevented us from seeing and reporting other bugs early enough in the cycle to have them fixed. A direct result of that is that many good mockups appeared in the last few weeks, post release, showing interesting ideas that should have been considered by the DX team much earlier in the Natty cycle. I sincerely hope that from Oneiric onwards, the developers consider spending enough time at all milestones of the dev cycle to nail those showstoppers, so more people could provide feedbacks early enough.
Where are we now?
For weeks, I didn’t experience a single compiz/unity crash (I really had my share before). Some of the issues I mentioned in my previous post have been fixed, so I can now work with Unity. There are still many oddities but nothing showstopper for me.
Here are a few things I’d still like to see fixed or improved:
- Compiz re-organizing the workspaces (this one is really annoying).
- Unity/bamf not raising some apps when it should (liferea, slightly off-screen chromium..)
- Indicators for stuff that used to be gnome applets and that have no equivalent in Unity (cpu/load, netspeed, a stable weather indicator – indicator-weather is really not ready…)
- (dynamic) quicklists for some apps (nautilus for the bookmarks, evolution/xchat/…)
- more badge counts and progress bars like we now have for Chromium (any app that download stuff could benefit from this, like nautilus and transmission)