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Shell Dock Vs Unity Dock

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When a day starts bad

I thought to give Ubuntu 13.04 a try, and I thought to install it in parallel with Fedora 19, just to try the dual boot. To be honest, I had no other option/other disk to try it. I downloaded Ubuntu from daily builds, I connected my USB and started UNetBootin from Fedora 18, to burn the ISO in USB-Stick.

UNetBootin was refusing to discover the USB, no matter what. So I end up to burn it with “dd” which I am usually avoiding since a time that it actually “burned” my USB-Stick. The command is:

dd if="input file (ISO Path)" of="output file (usb ie /dev/sd5)"

Note that USB should be unmount at the time, and if you don’t know the device path, you can check with GNOME Disks Utility. DD worked fine, but when a problem comes (UNetBootin), more are going to follow.

Ubuntu Installation

Ubuntu installer has no match, or anyway is a really good installer. Next, Next, Set A Partition, Done! In the end of installation Ubuntu also installed GRUB and discovered all my other OSes (I suppose). These were, F18 in another disk, and F19 in the same disk.

I reboot full of confidence ..but I just saw my F19’s Grub with my old options. I was scared to death cause I thought I installed Ubuntu over my F18 or something -it has happened before! Lucky me, I realized nothing bad had happened, other than a broken  Grub2 installation.

Thank you Arch!

My system is a UEFI M/B with SSDs and Grub2.  After some reading.. Multi-booting in UEFI systems it is a really hard procedure. As I hadn’t -almost- a clue how Grub2 and UEFI works, I got started do some more reading, because in this particular issue, it isn’t something that you can Google, find a solution and copy ‘n’ paste it.

I managed to solve it in around 1,5h mostly thanks to Arch Docs.


Hint: Whatever distro you are using, if you have an issue go in Google and write “your issue Arch”.

So finally I managed to setup my boot-loader correctly using F19′ Grub and enjoy Ubuntu 13.04, isn’t it Ironic? ;)

Ubuntu 13.04 ‘n’ Fedora 19

First, both environments (GNOME (F19) / Ubuntu (Unity) 13.04) are in pre-beta versions and they have many weaknesses. Weaknesses that they won’t go away when stable releases will land. Both environments looks super cool, from the very start to the very end.

However, please allow me to say  that GNOME 3.8 (but not Fedora 19) will exert a lot of pressure to Ubuntu. The work that has be done in GNOME 3.8 is so enormous that looking at Ubuntu , you are starting to think ..what Ubuntu engineers are doing?

Ubuntu’s Magic

I was about to write a post comparing some aspects of both environments like Notifications, Work-Spaces, Task Switching etc. I realized that  Ubuntu has nothing better to offer, I couldn’t find nothing better in Ubuntu, other than HUD and some more details, and GNOME was much better to almost everything (in my personal work flow, I am used to GS) so that post would end up like just an “Ubuntu blaming” article.

Lets put aside for a moment the super support that Ubuntu has from everyone, lets put aside the amazing USC and all the codecs/drivers/proprietary utilities that come out of box; besides you can get all these by installing Shell in Ubuntu.

Then the magic comes. While Ubuntu can’t beat Shell almost to any single point, Ubuntu with some “trick” manages overall to offer a equal quality and a so different and so same good user experience as Shell. How does that? Just Magic!

The real question however is, if calling Unity equal with Shell is something that flatters Shell or Unity. The real difference that flatters Shell, is that Unity does it better in details, where Shell does it better in basics, Shell has enormous potential. Details can be easily fixed, and in Shell’s case will be fixed with extensions.

Unity misses a lot in basics and first off in Workspaces. Unity right now has the worst Workspaces implementation than every single OS out there, including Windows 8, Mac OS X, Android, Shell, Cinnamon, Elementary.

Workspaces situation in Ubuntu 13.04 is so bad that they decided to hide them. Yeap, Workspaces in 13.04 are off by default.. First time ever in a Linux Desktop(?)


The “beyond interface” tool of Canonical is so amazing that makes me wondering..


HUD not working perfectly the same people that created HUD, created also this awful Workspace management? It is really really hard if you get used to Shell to go in Unity. HUD in my opinion is the only serious reason for someone to make the switch. However, I don’t know how the other way around feels.

Shell Dock Vs Unity Dock

As I said, I think that the real beauty of Ubuntu is hidden in details and the most perfect example is its Dock Bar.


While the default GNOME first screen seems like a bad rainy English weather, Unity first look is shiny and colorful with all these pretty icons on the left.

What I really love in Ubuntu is that you can set the bar in auto-hide and set the sensitivity for opening it! The default value, doesn’t work for me and proved impossible to open the dock.I will definitively fill a bug about it in Gnome.Bugzilla, even if pressure sensitivity is okay there.

The other thing I like is that you can open the Dock by triggering all the left edge of the screen and not just the top left. Something that I would also like to see in Shell.

Jump lists in Unity are also a benefit overs Shell’s one, but anyway Dock Shell mechanism is quite different than Ubuntu’s, so you can’t really compare.


I did enable Workspaces, but what a disaster.. It would be a surprise if anyone from inside Canonical would be proud of them..


Have you ever heard of Ubuntu WebApps? It isn’t something important but is a really nice feature. When you open a web-page that supports a WebApp a menu will be show up in the dock.


To be honest, I was hearing so much about WebApps that I was expecting some extraordinary cool. Nop, nothing special here but still a nice feature.

Windows Overview

This is something that many people have asked from GNOME to implement. If for example  you running two (or more) instances of an Application and you hit on the Dock bar AppIcon, Unity will focus on the running instances in an Overview Mode, so you can easily pick the one you want.


For some reason that will work only for instances in the current Workspace. In the above example if I was running a Chrome Instance in another Workspace, it wouldn’t be visible in Overview Mode.

There are many many nice things in Ubuntu 13.04, like an awesome animation that places an App into DockBar after installing it with USC.

Ubuntu surprisingly has a bonus over GNOME when we come in Privacy.


Yeap, Ubuntu’s privacy Panel is better than GNOME’s with many many options per application. We expecting something better for GNOME 3.10 in there!

Ubuntu’s Experience

I am not that much in Ubuntu, and I am not aware at all what they are planning to do next. However I have to admit that at least Ubuntu users will be very pleased with this release. Except all the improvements this release is super fast.

A drawback for them, is that Ubuntu is going to use an older GNOME (3.6), so they won’t get benefit from all the new features in GNOME Apps, like the amazing GNOME Disks 3.8.


Dash.. Dash.. It can’t find my favorite band (although there is in Amazon), but when I type GNOME it brings me some weird music albums. Useless Lenses, Legal Notices (on bottom right), wrong results, bad ads, endless filters. Ubuntu (bug #1) Dash, all of it ;)


GNOME does better in basics, Ubuntu does better in details (plus it has HUD)  and overall they are equal (but not same) in a default installation. With Shell’s Extensions the balance is changing to the side of Shell and my opinion is that GNOME will give really hard times to Canonical. But healthy competition is always on the service of consumers ;)

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  • alex285

    Question to anyone that has used Dash in Ubuntu. Why Dash has more search filters than Google?

    • Michael Mistretta

      Do you not enjoy your Amazon purchase suggestions when trying to launch ‘The Gimp’ .. ?

      • alex285

        I don’t remember about Gimp, but I enjoyed some others. Instead of linking to Amazon, they should link to KickAss Torrents. Imagine that ;)

  • Adrià Arrufat

    Did you know you can use GNOME Disks to burn iso files into USB sticks? Gear Menu -> Restore Disk Image…

    • alex285

      I have seen this, but I didn’t know that it could actually burned iso, I thought it was only creating ISOs… Thank you!

    • Bilbo

      Well very nice tip…thank you!! UnetbootIn its a nice piece of software but it doesnt look right and is not that smooth integrated in gnome environment.

    • gutigen

      Just noticed this… oO Nice tip, thanks :)

  • andreas gustafsson

    Unity works better for me than Gnome Shell, but I think they’re both awesome. And 13.04 is really snappy here aswell. I’m impressed.

  • JJ

    >what Ubuntu engineers are doing?
    They are interested only in the mobile space it seems. They are moving to a 2 yr release cycle from the current 6 month one (they call it rolling release!!!). I am losing my confidence in ubuntu on the desktop.

    • Bilbo


    • alex285

      Since you mention it, I would love a Gnome Ubuntu rolling release. I hope they will do it! I also hope Fedora follows!

      • Michael Mistretta

        I would like this too, I tried Arch out the other night and I got it running (sorta) but holy crap it sure is a lot of work and sifting through documentation.

        • Wolframium

          really? when i went to install arch for the firts time i expected something extremelly complicated but it was just follow the curses prompts > sudo pacman -Syu > sudo pacman -S gnome-desktop and i had a 100% working gnome installation.

          • Michael Mistretta

            perhaps I made it harder than it really is, I was able to get my gnome desktop working but I was missing a few bits here and there (had to launch wireless manually via terminal)

          • Wolframium

            I ran the installation script, yes, but it was on a desktop with wired internet connection, so i didn’t need to config any wireless card.

            You were probably misguided by the arch wiki, normally people read the installation guide, but the best one and most complete is the beginners guide'_Guide.

            But no, you didn’t do it the hard way, only the safe way ;)

          • Michael Mistretta

            lol i had my nexus 7 on my desk the whole time, i would like to give arch a spin again, i most likely will this weekend with that guide, thank you!

    • Elvis Dominguez

      Are you sure you understanded right waht’s going on in the Ubuntu world?
      I don’t think so.

      • alex285

        Can they do all these, (Mir, SDK/IDE, Unify Unity in all devices) in a year from now as they say?

        • Elvis Dominguez

          I think so, yes. Why not?
          I don’t understand (one time more) the bad reaction to MIR. Finally someone will bring some fresh air in X world. I’m waiting to replace the X server from long time ago.
          Wayland could have been an alternative, but nobody take it seriously. Yes, now GNOME, after Canonical announced MIR, GNOME said they will port to wayland as soon as possible. So: thanks to Canonical’s move others start moving too.

    • IsacDaavid

      Ubuntu roling-release? LOL

  • gutigen

    Any news about Ubuntu 13.04 Gnome Remix beta release? Or do we have to wait for final 13.04 release?

    • alex285

      Let me ask, I ll come back as soon as I have an answer :)

    • alex285

      Okay, first from now on Ubuntu Gnome Remix is called just Ubuntu Gnome, without the Remix. There will be some details in the next few days!

      • gutigen

        Cool, thanks :)

  • Reda Lazri


    The workspaces feature is inherited from Compiz /me thinks, so you can’t really blame them.

  • Teemu Kielinen

    I was really impressed by the speed and stability of Ubuntu 13.04 when I tried it a couple of weeks ago. It felt more stable than 12.10 – being only pre-beta! “LTS + rolling-release” combo would be perfect. At the moment I’m still going to stick with Fedora + GNOME though.

  • gutigen

    Why there is no HUD for Gnome yet?!?!? :P
    Is it hard to do or just no one tried yet? Tbh HUD is the only cool feature of Unity (except pixel perfect design ofc).

  • Mathias Rudolf

    I just hope, they will get everything right for the 13.04 release…

    In my case Evolution doesn’t start, Clocks doesn’t start, Documents doesn’t start, no OwnCloud in Accounts and no Printer Panel in the Settings and in some 20 days everything should be stable with Gnome and in two month in Ubuntu…

    Design is okay, but I hope they will be just in time

  • Vincent O’Neil

    For me, Unity’s dock is superior to Gnome-Shell’s dock. When you add more shortcuts to the Unity dock, the icons fill up the entire dock and then the dock becomes scrollable if there are too many icons. When you add more shortcuts to the Gnome-Shell dock, the icons and the dock shrinks until the icons become too tiny to distinguish. Now, whose bright idea was that? I think there is a shell extension that can alleviate (but not fix) this behaviour so I hope the Gnome guys fix this at some point in the future.

  • IsacDaavid

    >”Ubuntu surprisingly has a bonus over GNOME when we come in Privacy”

    I don’t think GNOME sends your shell searches to Amazon or any other third party by default without even telling its users. I suppose you’re referring to GNOME shell when you compare GNOME vs Unity, cause desktop environments and desktop shells aren’t the same. Strictly speaking, Unity is just another shell for the slightly modded GNOME that Ubuntu uses.

    • alex285

      > I don’t think GNOME sends your shell searches to Amazon or any other third party by default without even telling its users.

      It has this legal notice inside dock -at least in this version ;)

      • IsacDaavid

        I know.

        Why don’t they show the notice before or during installation/upgrade and let you decide if you want it since then? Canonical only added a tiny advert last minute after concern was raised by angry users and prominent entities, but otherwise they could have pretended a total disregard.

    • gutigen

      sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping
      Fixed :)

      • IsacDaavid

        Actually it’s easier that that, it can be disabled from system settings without any removal but that doesn’t make it better, because it constitutes a potentially insecure means of surveillance that many users won’t even notice.

  • Zorg

    Personally, I like mixing Cairo-Dock with both Unity and GS; it’s a great tool that adds all the missing features I need.