What I Think of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, as an ex-user of 12.10

I know it’s a few months late for me to say something about Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr, since it was released by Canonical on April 17, 2014. I’m almost 3 months late. And it’s even much too late for me to upgrade from Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quentzal, released 18 October 2012, to this new version. I’ve skipped 3 Ubuntu releases until this one.

A few months ago, when Ubuntu 14.04 LTS was released, I read on OMG!Ubuntu that Ubuntu 12.10, the version I was using at that time, will not be supported anymore, which means that I wouldn’t get upgrades for Ubuntu and all of my apps. I know that I could upgrade to a newer version (the newest version I could upgrade to was 13.10) easily, by running the Software Updater, but it would need to download a large quantity of files and it would take hours to upgrade, so whenever I was notified for a newer version, I thought, “Meh, I’d rather wait until they roll out an LTS version.”

I should’ve stayed with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

I ran Software Updater last Friday, downloaded the upgrades for Ubuntu 13.10 (an one-hour long process), then watched impatiently as it installed the upgrades one by one.
After 15 minutes, an error message appeared. It said that it had downloaded, but failed to install the upgrade. I clicked ‘OK’.
Another error message appeared. This is not good, I thought.
And yet another error message. I began to get nervous.
And when the progress dialog has reached ~75%, an error message appeared, saying that the installation has finished (huh?) but there were too many errors. I clicked ‘OK’ and the error message, along with the release upgrade window, disappeared.
What now? I thought. I’ve upgraded to a newer version of Ubuntu only once (12.04 to 12.10) this way, and I’ve never get these kind of errors.
Thinking that there was nothing I could do, yet completely sure that I’ve ruined my Ubuntu installation, I rebooted my laptop. The GRUB still works, so I booted to Ubuntu. The boot animation appeared, but it froze up before it arrived on the login screen, and my caps lock light kept blinking for some reason. I realized that the only thing I could do right now to repair it is to write an Ubuntu image file to a flash drive and install it from there.
I still had my 12.10 image file on an external hard drive, but I thought that it would be repetitive to install it and then upgrading to a newer version, so I booted to Windows, downloaded Ubuntu 14.04 via torrent, wrote it to my flashdrive using UNetbootin, and installed it. During the installation, I decided to set my partitions manually instead of choosing the pre-configured ‘Erase Ubuntu 13.10 and install Ubuntu 14.04’ after finding out these bug reports.
It’s quite amusing that the contents of my home folder are still intact, and some of my apps are still there. All my PPAs are missing, but fortunately a few month ago I have installed Aptik and created backups of my sources list.

Appearance

As usual, Ubuntu’s desktop (with Unity Desktop Environment) looks beautiful:

This might be subtle, but I noticed that I now could view both battery percentage and remaining time. I usually could only look at the battery status at my dock to see the percentage:

The apps’ menu bar were placed on the top panel by default, but I could move them to the title bar of their windows from the Appearance settings:

I prefer it this way, since I won’t need to move my pointer to the top of the screen when I’m working with a window that is not maximized. And whomever had the idea to put the menus on the title bar to save space is a genius. There’s also an option to add the ‘Show Desktop’ button to the dash, which I usually would use often.

The Dash

I like the dash, but I don’t use it often. I don’t use the online plugins often, and I prefer the good old-fashioned dropdown Applications menu to find an application in a particular category (which are available by default from every desktop environment other than Unity). I usually uses Synapse to access my apps and folders, although there’s really no difference in speed of using them. Besides, Synapse is accessible from every desktop environments.

That might change in this version of Ubuntu, though. They have loaded the Dash with a bunch of online plugins:

Here I used the online plugins to get the definition of coconut (my favorite search query placeholder) on Wikipedia:

One thing I noticed was that searching for something using the online plugins was just as slow as searching for a file or app. I’m not impressed.

The Apps

Rhythmbox is the default music player in Ubuntu, and I always avoided it (and stick to gmusicbrowser instead) Why? When I used Ubuntu 12.10, Rhythmbox never opened without being followed by freezing, and always ended up with me having to force-close it using the system monitor.
It was the contrary in 14.04, because Rhythmbox never froze at all when I use it, even after I imported my 2600+ songs into it.
Given a few plugins, I might would choose Rhythmbox as my default music player.
Talking about default apps, Evince is my default app for viewing PDF and comic book (cbr/cbz) files. It looks a little different, but nothing has changed inside.
And here’s Nautilus:
I like the ‘new’ design, with easier access to switch between views, but it looks like they’ve simplified the right-click menu as a compensation:
Now I have to go to View to sort items by name/modification date, which is something I do often:
The dual pane option is missing, too. I love that feature. When I first use Ubuntu on my laptop, I like the tabbed browsing and dual panes that I downloaded Q-Dir, a Windows file explorer replacement with tabs and panes, to get the same usabilty.
They also disabled the recursive search feature,  which makes searching much, much faster:
Oh, and they’ve updated the Sofware Updater, too:
I love it that Software Updater now collects updates not only by the states (security and other updates) but also by the apps. It tells the user what packages are included in the update for an app. It’s more easy to the eyes, too.

Conclusion

This release of Ubuntu adds some features I would like it to have ever since I use version 12.04. I don’t like it that it removes some very useful features on Nautilus, but it’s not the reason to hate Ubuntu as a distribution.
This release of Ubuntu also made me consider to use Unity as my default desktop environment again. It loads faster, looks nicer, more functional than it used to be (especially because I could move the menus to the title bar), and it doesn’t seem to drain my battery quickly; it’s the main reason why I switched to XFCE. I’ll install it soon, though. And as usual, I will use Cairo-Dock/Docky/DockbarX as a replacement for the panel; not that I don’t like it, but its placement on the left side of the screen made it difficult to access on my laptop.
When I wrote this I have re-added my PPAs, installed almost all of my apps, and tweaked my desktop to make it more familiar:
Yeah, I really love Linux and all its derivatives, but I also like to trick my friends into thinking that I use Mac OS.
Now listening to Flim by Aphex Twin
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