A Look at Desktop Environments: UNITY
Unity, probably the most universally debated DE in the GNU/Linux community; despised by some, yet absolutely loved by others. Unity was created by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, for Ubuntu. Itâ€™s possible to install Unity on other systems, but 99% of the users you see using Unity are running it with Ubuntu.
Itâ€™s also Ubuntuâ€™s home interface on the pure Ubuntu flavour; there are many other editions of Ubuntu but if youâ€™re installing the version from the main Ubuntu website, youâ€™re getting Unity.
Iâ€™ve used Unity for all of about 15 minutes in my life, where as others swear by it, so letâ€™s get right down to it so you can form your own opinions.
The machine I used for this has the following specs:
Ubuntu 16.04 64bit
Customization and Default Appearance
Unity canâ€™t really be customized as much as other Desktop Environments, however thatâ€™s not to say you canâ€™t still make it attractive. By default, I think itâ€™s not the worst thing Iâ€™ve ever seen (MATE default in my opinion takes the cake on that one), but itâ€™s definitely not KDE gorgeous either. However, there are some beautiful themes out there like this one I discovered on DeviantArt.
So, there is the potential to theme Unity a fair amount. Thankfully the Appearance menu is quite straightforward and there are at least a decent little selection of wallpapers to choose from.
Much like Cinnamon, Unity doesnâ€™t really have itâ€™s own collection of software being that it is simply a distant fork of Gnome Shell, so it uses the GNOME software. Unity does however itself utilize a different approach in itself. Unity features a bar on the side of the screen that acts as a sort of dock and launcher. When you click the topmost button, it opens a search window where you can search your PC either by typing or by clicking around the interface to find your software, rather than through a traditional kicker menu.
This way of doing things is quite similar to the Gnome Shell way of doing things, but if I had to pick between the two Iâ€™d actually take the Unity style.
It seems more organized and easier to navigate in my own opinion. However, I REALLY donâ€™t like that the software is simply grouped by â€œInstalledâ€ and not broken down into categories like other DEâ€™s such as Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, or LXDE etc do. Itâ€™s such a hassle to have to scroll down through a list of things searching for the application you want. Sure, you could just type and search for it, but in the spirit of clicking itâ€™s an annoyance personally.
Unity is heavy. With Firefox open with a singular tab, and LibreOffice open, nothing else running I had Unity vary between 1.7GB at the lowest and 2.2GB of RAM usage, with a CPU utilization of 5% on average. While CPU wise thatâ€™s not terrible, that is a LOT of RAM to be used when youâ€™re barely doing anything. I definitely wouldnâ€™t recommend you use UNITY unless you are sitting on at least 6GB of RAM personally, just to make sure you donâ€™t run into issues and having to rely heavily on Swap space (if you even included a swap partition in the install...)
Unity would be likely useful for touchscreens (I played around with it a little bit using my touchscreen and it seemed decent), or for those of you who enjoy a tablet-like interface; but I personally am not a fan. Iâ€™m not going to hate on it, I can see how it would appeal to some users; I know users who absolutely adore it.
I really didnâ€™t like how RAM heavy the system was by default though, I hadnâ€™t even installed any software in the system, but usually I have Firefox with multiple tabs, at least one terminal window doing something, sometimes three or four with one or two connected to servers I own, Spotify with music going etc...I imagine Unity would crush any machine that was underpowered if you used it like I usually use my systems.
However, if you have the specs to handle it, then by all means have at it!
What about you? Whatâ€™s your view on Unity? What DE do you use? More clicky clicky overviews to come! If you are interested