Ubuntu 20.04 My First Look

Ubuntu Desktop 2020-04-29 22-18-33
Ubuntu 20.04

So, Ubuntu 20.04 just released, and there are a ton of Youtube videos reviewing it. After the debacle of file sharing between Linux Mint 19.3 and Windows, I decided to make a VM [Virtual Machine] with Ubuntu 20.04 to see if it had fixed the problem. The short answer is, alas, no. Guess Ubuntu will get the fix when it’s ready, and I’m sure the fix will be back ported to LM 19 when it releases.
Years ago, I used Ubuntu for a time, before Linux Mint came out. It was pretty clunky, but a lot less clunky than SUSE which is what I started with years ago. Things have come a long way. Of course, Mint is based on Ubuntu, but they are very different experiences. This is a diary of sorts of my experiences while I was testing the file sharing problem and setting up Ubuntu to my liking.

First Things You Notice

The first things you notice are the different placement of the “Iconography” around the screen. I’m not clear on why these changes were made, except that the designers wanted to be “as different as possible from Windows as possible”. At least that’s the impression. First of all if you click on the desktop picture above to zoom in, you’ll notice that the “Power Button” and “Login” and network / sound icons are at the top right, rather than the bottom right. In my case I have switched the “Panel” to the bottom. It’s normally on the left side.  I find the side panel annoying. And less efficient. My eyes and mouse start at the bottom of the screen. Not the top. Maybe this is because I use “Progressive” eye-glass lenses, so the top of the screen is less clear unless I tilt my head up. Since the glasses focus on distance at their tops. Anyway, the panel is easy to move.

Start Menu 2020-04-29 22-38-35.png
Finding Apps from the “Start” menu or Hamburger Menu

The “hamburger” menu – the nine dots – is the start menu. Why is it all alone at the other end of the panel. Away from everything else? Since it’s like the “start menu” why not “start with that” rather than “ending with that after a long wasted gap?  In the default case it’s at the bottom left, just as far away from the search box. Who knows. If you click that, then the search box shows at the top of the screen about 1/2 was as far as possible from your mouse as possible. The Windows Start menu and Linux Mint are more efficient with your mouse motion since the button and the search box / menu items are near each other. Oh well.

On a positive note, I love the dark theme. And it’s easy to set. Settings Appearance.

“Simple Exercise” Change Cursor and it’s Size

One of the first things I do these days is change the cursor and it’s size on the screen. I like the Oxygen cursors, a bright happy blue, and make them very large. Let’s see how easy that is on U 20.04.

I looked in the “Ubuntu Software” briefcase and it didn’t find Oxygen Cursors, at least for the 30 seconds that I was willing to wait. Finally after a google search the following steps were required:

  1. In a terminal window, install manually, the Oxygen Cursor theme.
  2. Install dconf-tool and tweak the settings tool. Neither are installed by default.
  3. Use the dconf-tool to change the cursor size.
  4. Use the tweak tool to change the cursor theme to the Oxygen cursor.

In Linux Mint, these changes are all made in Settings panels that are already there. No dconf-tool or tweak tool required. Mouse pointer style and size are in the Mouse settings.

I’m happy to continue to use Linux Mint. But like I said, I do like the dark theme of Ubuntu.

Using Java

You may know, from following me here that I’ve been developing a Java app to chain together Impress slide shows. Let’s try it out here on Ubuntu.

Java did not come pre-installed. But a helpful message indicated that I could install it. Java is built into Linux Mint. The name of “impress” is soimpress on linux mint. An ancient name for “Star Office Impess” I guess. I never checked to see if loimpress works on LM. But soimpress does not work on Ubuntu. That’s ok. My program can deal with changes. And once openjdk was installed, the program ran fine repeating a simple test slide show.

File Sharing with Windows

So, file sharing works from Windows looking into Linux Mint or Ubuntu. The problem is looking from Linux [either] into Windows shares.

  1. So, Samba was not installed on Ubuntu by default. But when I tried to share a nice box popped up to install it. No terminal and arcane commands to type. Great. But the installer hung and I had to kill it. But it did complete properly. Just had to kill the file browser window with the (x) button. No big deal. Sort of.
  2. Then I tried to enter some of the ways that the workaround suggested. At first I typed these into the “Search Box” at the top of the window, and it just buzzed forever. Then I saw the “Connect” field at the bottom and it worked right away.
  3. Logging into the share caused the Key-Ring password prompt as expected.
  4. A book mark in the file manager makes it easy to get back there the next time you need to.

One Funny Thing Though

One funny thing I’ve noticed though is that if you share a folder from your home page, like Pictures or Downloads, the share name needs to be different from the normal name for that directory. Not clear why. For example for Pictures use Pix or Downlds for Downloads. I had trouble with shares if the names were the same. For sure, if you share your whole username, make the name of that sharename different from any username on the system.

Bottom Line

So bottom line: Ubuntu works well and the theme is attractive. But it’s not efficient to use, mouse travel wise or head movement wise. And too many things need to be installed to do the simple things I do to set up a new system.

I’ll happily use LM 20 when it comes out. Although I’ve heard rumors that LM 20 will be based on Debian. We’ll see.

Hummm… Maybe I’ll go check out to see if Debian has the File Share problem that occurs in Ubuntu based systems. Oh. Ubuntu is based on Debian. Hummm Never mind. I’m sure they have the same File Sharing issue and will fix it everywhere. Maybe I’ll check out Fedora instead. And maybe it’s time to see how far SUSE has come in all these years.