Gnome Shell versus Unity on Linux Mint 15. What I think about the two competing desktops.
Posted: June 26, 2013. At: 10:43 PM
The Gnome Shell desktop on Linux Mint 15 is a pretty good desktop environment for any Linux user, but after typing sudo apt-get install unity on Linux Mint 15 and trying it out, I actually think that the Unity desktop is the faster of the two. Despite the Macintosh styled interface. The ability to quickly search for what you are after and then hit enter to run it is shared between the two desktops, but the Unity desktop does it better. The Gnome Shell desktop has the extensions website that allows anyone to create and use extensions to give more capabilities to the Gnome 3 desktop. Unity has addon lenses for the search function. It also requires the use of the Gnome Tweak Tool to set themes, that is not built into the desktops yet, only the ability to set the wallpaper. Gnome has been around for a much longer time than Unity, the first ever Gnome release looked like Windows `95. Then it got the twin panels layout with the Fedora distribution, and that was also used by many other Linux distributions such as the venerable and still good Ubuntu 8.10. Then the Macintosh desktop craze kicked into high gear as well as the preponderance of tablet computers, this is why we got the Gnome Shell desktop with the touch inspired desktop layout that we see today. The Unity release in Linux Mint 15 has giant icons to click when you are about to shut down the computer.
But I think that these look quite cool. But it is down to personal preference which desktop you prefer. The Gnome Shell desktop with the many extensions available to customise the layout or the Unity desktop with the cool new interface inspired by a Macintosh computer. These desktops do behave quite well on a dual monitor system, the Unity launcher bar appears on both screens, but this does not really get in the way of your workflow. The only annoying thing is that the mouse cursor sometimes gets stuck on the junction between your desktops and you have to move it quite fast for the mouse cursor to cross the boundary. Very strange indeed. That is the only annoyance that I really could find when trying out the latest Unity desktop. The Ubuntu 13.10 version should be even better. Since Linux Mint 15 uses Ubuntu Raring Ringtail as a package base, it has the latest versions of the Unity and Gnome Shell desktops. Linux Mint 15 is supported until January 2014, this is plenty of time for an upgrade to the next version. If you wish to try out the Ubuntu 13.10 distribution, then the daily builds are here: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/. If you remove the Amazon spyware code from the distribution then it becomes a lot more secure if you are using the distribution in a sensitive work environment.
How to remove the Amazon spyware in Ubuntu 12.10. This should also apply to the 13.04 release. The best way to avoid problems would be to use a distribution such as Fedora or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. They have more security. Or the installation of the KDE or Xfce4 distributions that do not have the Amazon tracking code. At least the Ubuntu distribution does not track your every move like the iPhones and iPads that people carry around with them all of the time.