Why I changed to Ubuntu GNOME Studio at 16.04

I use Ubuntu GNOME on all my machines. I write and maintain my quick install scripts here:


After the new 16.04 LTS, I knew some things could change. Some did, some didn’t. I will update this as the developers fix any problems.

KDE I still can’t stand.

Ubuntu (Unity) is a yeah-yeah-yeah-boo.

Ubuntu GNOME is great with mods.

Xubuntu is robust and delightfully boring as always.

Ubuntu Studio (Xubuntu-based) seems to have gotten a face lift. (a change for the better)

[rant] Before I get into these by item, I need to say: If the repo gods can get xscreensaver updated in time for 16.04 after two weeks of boot nags, what the hades is wrong with ownCloud and their grabastic version-named client repo URLs that have no 16.04… in April of an LTS year!? Only ownCloud rejected me on a GitHub bug fix pull—they wanted the bug, they said. ?? So, I made my own server script to fix their bug every time it updates—which it doesn’t always do. 😛 Great product, ownCloud; run by tardy, disorganized asocials. I feel like MacGyver—ownCloud server instructions: run with ductwork tape. Sure beats Pydio’s pre-req mess, though. I’ll blog and Tweet up a storm when/if they change. Love y’all. [/rant]

KDE: Kubuntu

I love the apparent road map and flat concept of KDE 5. But…

  • I can’t enable double-click open actions in Dolphin.
  • No favorites come pre-installed in the menu.
  • It doesn’t play well with ubuntustudio-menu like KDE 4 did.
  • I couldn’t even get it to use my hidden WiFi network after installation.*
  • It’s still unstable.

All these were problems back in 14.10 with the intro to KDE5. I thought a new LTS would help, but no.

Sometimes, I wonder if they the folks at KDE are in love with their own ideas to a point where they forget the need for options and stability. Too much eccentric chrome-plating; not enough spine. Not fixing it for an LTS cashed me out for another two years. I just don’t have the time. And, anymore, I don’t need an alternative.

That said… Amarok is the ONLY player other than iTunes that can get my password-protected podcast feed for Rush Limbaugh. When they want to, KDE does great things.

Ubuntu Unity: Base Ubuntu

If you use the flat theme and the Unity Tweak tool, it kicks. But it has a few hiccups…

  • Notifications linger long, loiter on hover, and don’t disappear on click.
  • That home screen overlay thing that fuzzes the background—It hides the native Chinese input, fcitx. So much for searching for stuff in Chinese. Dunno if it’s a Unity problem or an fctix problem that the alternative gcin could solve. The native Chinese selector should be hidden by the OS’s own menu overlay.
  • There is NO WAY to get the icons in GIMP and Inkscape back—NO WAY! Frankly, it should be a Unity Tweak option, or no problem at all.
  • My hidden WiFi network can’t retrieve the password before login.

All those new Ubuntu users that you are trying to court will need those icons in order to know what the graphic design tools do. Seriously guys, how hard is it to throw the stuff you already know between a single pair of curly brackets?

That said, it really is robust and installs beautifully and hardware works correctly. It’s title-bar/top-bar integration is bar-none, great for small screens. But, I can’t tell Asians to use it if they aren’t allowed to type on the app home screen.

Without the icon and Asian input problem, Unity and GNOME would be a toss-up.

Ubuntu GNOME

It has none of the problems above. Hidden WiFi works great. Chinese input doesn’t hide on the home screen. Everything just works… except:

  • The power button can’t be controlled.
  • Icons don’t show in GIMP, Inkscape menus, etc—but it can be fixed with a line of code (below), but should be handled in Tweak.
  • Window titles are WAY too fat—workaround (below), but should be handled in Tweak.
  • Xscreensaver doesn’t blank the full screen. It’s a GPU driver issue that Xfce solved in 15.10. :-/

I guess GNOME wasn’t counting on non-native, not-updated-for-a-decade xscreensaver to get updated like others did. Maybe they need to update their driver schema like Xfce did.

GNOME Tweak has no control over the power button. Ubuntu (Unity) gets the proper interactive response. Dunno if GNOME needs to port the drivers from Unity or if the Tweak authors need to update. Seriously, who sleeps their computer other than closing the lid. Unity has it going on: Power button = dialogue.

Again, I wonder if GNOME lags behind the others on their drivers.

Then again, it seems to control many things better. If I’m not connected to WiFi, it shuts off the radio. This extends the battery life on my notebook 100%! (WiFi and screens are the big battery hogs.) I don’t even get that control in Windows where I have to shut WiFi off manually, lest it keep searching. In Ubuntu, I have no WiFi control. But, in GNOME, I don’t need it… I’m either connected or my batter lasts longer. Best I’ve ever seen.

Lots is good… Window edges don’t resize via Alt+RC, but they don’t need to with a larger resize area and they can be made to in Tweak Tool.

There was an error reporting at every boot after 16.04 installation. About midnight April 30 (a week after release) a GNOME base update came out and the problem was fixed. Way to go guys!

Aforementioned codes:


gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.xsettings overrides "{'Gtk/ShellShowsAppMenu': , 'Gtk/ButtonImages': , 'Gtk/MenuImages': }"

Note: may need re-entered if changing too much in the GNOME Tweak Tool. Run as user, not root.

Fat title bar:

sudo apt-get install maximus


Xfce: Xubuntu

What’s there to say? It’s simple, installs correctly, robust. The Dropbox icon is working again. 🙂

It’s super simple and therefore works. Icons render in menus. Chinese input is happy out of the box. Maximized title bars are a problem (they probably already considered the Unity-style integrated title bars for the future, then, of course, I could try the maximus work-around.)

But, I like GNOME-Unity eye candy, especially on my mobile machines. I’m a writer, developer and graphic designer who needs quick access that can be visually explained. If I were in a sound studio, however, I’d want just the wiring… I plan to use Xfce when I get a real sound studio.

Speaking of which…

Ubuntu Studio

It works this time! The installer sets GRUB correctly. They still haven’t fixed the startup plymouth spinner to center properly on multiple screens like Ubuntu, GNOME, and Xfce do… but, eh…

I would be a huge fan of Ubuntu Studio and Xfce merging projects. Their strengths cover their weaknesses and, IMHO, Xfce is useless without Studio.


This is a follow-up to my 15.04 article on Xubuntu Studio. I basically switched to GNOME at 16.04. Studio made improvements.

(And, 50 coolness points to me for not comparing Unity’s integrated title bar to OSX in the article. I let Unity be the standard to be likened to. Apple is smart to follow in Unity’s footsteps… others might be also. Let’s remove the need for maximus, shall we?)

I hope that GNOME can get integrated to Ubuntu Touch. Xfce probably won’t become pretty enough to. And, KDE getting robust and option-friendly enough for ARM tablets??—I’d betcha a Frapp if you wanna go in.