Today, I installed the Daily Build of the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 in VirtualBox and gave it a try. This was supposed to be the first one that replaced Unity Desktop with GNOME. After having used 16.04 LTS for a long time, I felt that this version is quite stable but still lacking in some respects from what I consider to be a proper Ubuntu OS. Below are my observations:
- Slightly Higher Memory Consumption in Idle Mode: One of the first things I’ve observed is that Artful eats a bigger chunk of memory than its predecessors. The 16.04 LTS typically consumes in the range of 400-450 MB at rest, whereas Artful consumed a good 639 MB which is slightly higher. The gnome process itself accounted for more than 300 MB at rest, which is a bit higher when compared to the original GNOME Desktop. Maybe, they’ll fix this in the final release version.
- Shortcuts Dialog Missing: In the Unity Desktop, I very much depend on the “Shortcuts Dialog” which is a dialog that pops up when you long press the Super key on the Desktop:
As you can see, this gives a good overview of various shortcut keys and comes in very handy for many Ubuntu users. Perhaps, the devs have forgotten to add this feature when they transitioned Ubuntu to the GNOME desktop.
- Many Shortcuts Missing: There are many actual shortcuts too which are missing in this version. One of the important ones for example is HUD which is a quite well known feature. Another one is the “Super+Tab” shortcut which allows you to cycle through the dock menu in Unity.
Again, this important shortcut is missing which contributes much to the usability of a typical Ubuntu user. Maybe, this is all right from a GNOME user’s perspective but we are talking about Ubuntu here and not Ubuntu-GNOME, so the features of the former should have a priority and not the latter. If this turns out to be just another clone of Ubuntu-GNOME, then what’s the use of having Ubuntu, people can already use the Ubuntu-GNOME Desktop for that.
- Stable Performance: Other than the points described above, Ubuntu 17.10 seems ready for the prime time. But having said that, I haven’t come across any drastic feature addition to 16.04 LTS yet, so I’m not going to switch just yet. If Wayland improves over the years and makes a drastic improvement in performance (as they had originally promised), then lets see! Until then, its just wait and watch.