Unity on Ubuntu 14.04

Unity – Nice but only for newer hardware?

On my PC I am using Ubuntu 14.04 to work and develop software. Generally, I like Ubuntu, the update features and the long-term support of the LTS versions. Up to now, it was no problem for me to upgrade my ubuntu versions starting from 8.04 up to 12.04. All was working fine.

Since Unity was introduced in Ubuntu to replace the old Gnome2 desktop, I was first skeptical. But I quickly got used to the new look, the nice features of the desktop, I especially liked the search (pressing the „Windows“ button) and the clean panel with grouped symbols for open applications.

However, already in 12.04 the Unity desktop isn’t working great in its natural 3D configuration, however, there was an option to switch to the 2D version of Unity. This worked well although a bit slower. Using my „old“ PC, I sometimes had problems or crashes in the 3D version, so I usually switched to the 2D version of Unity.

Recently, I upgraded to 14.04 and, surprise, everything was working – at first. My experiences in the first weeks using 14.04 severely damaged my opinion on Unity. Not only is there no 2D version of Unity to switch to on the login screen, but my desktop reacted very laggy and froze. Additionally I experienced a missing password field on the login screen after locking my PC, at least once a day.

The missing password field seems to be a feature, if using a multi-monitor setup. I found it useful to switch to the terminal with C-A-F1 and type „unity –replace“.

Sadly, I haven’t found a solution for my freezing desktop, other than switch to a 2D desktop. Fortunately there are plenty of desktops, which support „old“ PCs like LDXE (lubuntu). Yet, I would have expected more support of Unity.

Unity – you could have done better.