Ubuntu 10.04 Button Rearrangement Becomes Hot Topic

Mar 19, 2010

The new window buttons in the next Ubuntu release are creating a lot of hot heads and much misunderstanding. The issue has gone way beyond just the button arrangement.

It's not a bug but a feature: in the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 the buttons to minimize, maximize and close the window are on the left hand edge of the window. Even though the arrangement can be reverted to its original right hand design by using a simple script, the nervy redesign has led to a hot discussion in the Ubuntu bugtracking system, in which Mark Shuttleworth himself is now involved.

While opponents of the rearrangement bring up arguments such as touchscreens, where an imprecise click on the left hand side when trying to open the Applications menu can accidentally close the window, the proponents side is not providing too many concrete counterarguments. Even the question of how the redesign would work with the GNOME Shell under GNOME 3.0 remained unanswered. Shuttleworth, nonetheless, stays firm that the design is solely that of the design team's: "No. This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions."

Shuttleworth defends the change just before the LTS version with the example of Firefox 3.0. Ubuntu 8.04 was released with a beta version of Firefox 3.0 that caused a lot of furor. But in the end the decision was exactly the correct one, seeing that Firefox 2.0 was no longer supported for quite some time. Likewise, the left hand button arrangement is the correct one (and should be carried through with all upcoming versions) to keep the LTS version from becoming stale. There are also plans for the area to the right vacated by the button move. What exactly they are Shuttleworth didn't reveal. To be sure, Ubuntu 10.10 will likely have a few more tricks up its sleeve.

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  • Buttons

    In the newest release of Ubuntu, the buttons have been moved to the left, and have been rearranged. This decision has caused quite a bit of controversy, a majority of users initially becoming very angry at the change, which accompanied the introduction of a new theme – Ambiance – which broke (the consensus is, for the better) the long tradition of the brown Ubuntu desktop. By the way, now I have a link to my ink store http://www.tonerscartridges.com/ on my desktop at hand. After the initial resistance, mostly caused by users’ gut reaction to fight change, a solid argument was put forth by some users explaining why buttons have been always set on the right side of the window. I won’t bore you with the many diagrams and formulae, but instead offer you an analogous situation.
  • Back to new

    I changed my desktop theme and the buttons went back to the right. I wasn't happy; I like them on the left. It didn't occur to me that gconf could make it better. So thanks; my buttons are on the left, where I like them.
  • Buttons

    Mine also magically reverted back to normal when I switched themes via Preferences->Appearance.
  • Moving to another distro...

    well, indeed the remark about democracy wasn't too nice, but after all, with the buttons on the left or on the right, ubuntu still remains a good distro. and no need to fork off some new distro since you can easily rearrange the buttons to the right (through the gconf-editor/apps/metacity/general > button_layout ) or if you're already decided to give up on ubuntu, one can move to Linux Mint - the same good old ubuntu only in a mint flavor.
  • Big Deal

    Big Deal button changes to the left. You'll get used to it. Mine magically reverted to the right anyway when I changed themes. WHoop-de-do
  • Design vs Real World - fail

    This change to me sums up everything that is wrong with the Linux community.

    And I'm speaking from a supportive position - ditched M$ a couple of years ago and running Ubuntu on desktops at work and home, and on an "unsupported" old Toshiba M200 tablet.

    Sure, there's a script that will change the location of the buttons. But that is NOT THE POINT. There is absolutely no reason, no justification, no thinking behind such a seemingly trivial and yet important change.

    Think of it like this. Suppose Nissan on their next car, decide to swap around the order of the clutch / brake / accellerator pedals because the "design department think it's better". How much kudos do you think that will earn them? About as much as this particular change will earn Ubuntu.

    If you want people to feel happy and comfortable using a desktop environment, then for goodness' sake work out - in order of importance - what SHOULD change, what CAN change, and most of all what SHOULD NOT change. And leave the last lot well alone.

    I'm absolutely flabbergasted that anyone could even attempt to justify this ridiculous change. The arrogance of certain individuals never fails to astound me.

  • Stupid buttons on the left hand side!

    O.K. Guys, stop being so technical. Plain and simple. I'm right handed and this is B.S.! I installed Ubuntu 10.04 and there was no place to change those buttons back to the right hand side. So, I uninstalled and reinstalled Ubuntu 9.10.

    Till Ubuntu 10.04 comes out with a simple, remember, I said simple way to change this I will not be using Ubuntu 10.04.

    I'm not a Mac user and am not interested in simulating their world anytime.
  • Why change for the sake of change? and get over yourself Shuttleworth!

    Making a decision and standing by it would be admirable and respectable if the decision had anything to do with important issues such as security, stability, and functionality of the system. Change for the sake of change is ridiculous. It seems more like a test to try and win over some Mac users to me.

    Regardless of the reason, Shuttleworths attitude stinks of M$ Gates disease. How far will this attitude go in the future of Ubuntu? When someone in Shuttleworths position makes such a arrogant and jerky response I think it's time to start looking at other distros because this one is probably about to start the downhill spiral.
  • Moving to new distro

    Mark Shuttleworth mentions that "It's not a democracy", but the spirit of Open source is that we can "vote" by going somewhere else. Shuttleworth has lost his connection to users, which is sad, since Ubuntu was the best distro out there. Off to a better one... Perhaps someone will fork off?
  • Why The Buttons Issue Became A Hot Button

    IMHO, there are at least two big reasons for the "furor":

    1) The change is apparently arbitrary, just for the sake of change. No good reason for the change and no acceptable explanations were offered, and
    2) Shuttleworth's "macho" attitude ("I am the boss here!"blunk.

    Of course people will be upset. Ubuntu is great not only because of Canonical, but also because of the support of its users - myself included.

    Well, no more. I've been watching the path Canonical is taking and I don't like it a bit. I'm moving to some other distribution as soon as practical.
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