Desktop Linux: Has Ubuntu's Unity Surpassed the Mac?: Page 3

Shuttleworth claims to have made good on his challenge to provide a better desktop than OS X. Can his claim survive a close scrutiny?
Posted September 18, 2012

Bruce Byfield

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Evaluating Success

Chronology alone makes Shuttleworth's claims for Unity hard to accept. When OS X is eleven years old, and Unity less than two, how likely does it seem that Ubuntu could have developed into something better? Compare the relative resources of Apple and Canonical, and the idea seems even more implausible.

Something, too, seems ungracious about claims to have surpassed software that you have modeled your own so closely upon.

All the same, Shuttleworth's claims are harder to dismiss than skeptics might expect. Although many of Unity's design innovations are mostly minor and some are controversial, Unity does have more original features than many admit.

However, what you think of Unity's innovations is apt to depend on your ideas of what a modern desktop should be. On the one hand, if you think a modern interface should be aimed at new users, and equally at home on a variety of software platforms, then probably you will regard Unity as every bit the success that Shuttleworth claims justified -- perhaps not resoundingly so, but legitimately all the same.

On the other hand, if you value an interface for its configuration options, and its ability to meet the needs of users with varying degrees of experience, then you are more likely to conclude that Unity still has a ways to go before it can match, much less overtake OS X.

Choose your assumption, and the conclusion soon follows.

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Tags: Linux, Ubuntu, Apple, desktop linux, Mac

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