Ubuntu 10.04 Button Rearrangement Becomes Hot Topic


The new window buttons in the next Ubuntu release are creating a lot of hot heads and much misunderstanding. The issue has gone way beyond just the button arrangement.

It's not a bug but a feature: in the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 the buttons to minimize, maximize and close the window are on the left hand edge of the window. Even though the arrangement can be reverted to its original right hand design by using a simple script, the nervy redesign has led to a hot discussion in the Ubuntu bugtracking system, in which Mark Shuttleworth himself is now involved.

While opponents of the rearrangement bring up arguments such as touchscreens, where an imprecise click on the left hand side when trying to open the Applications menu can accidentally close the window, the proponents side is not providing too many concrete counterarguments. Even the question of how the redesign would work with the GNOME Shell under GNOME 3.0 remained unanswered. Shuttleworth, nonetheless, stays firm that the design is solely that of the design team's: "No. This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions."

Shuttleworth defends the change just before the LTS version with the example of Firefox 3.0. Ubuntu 8.04 was released with a beta version of Firefox 3.0 that caused a lot of furor. But in the end the decision was exactly the correct one, seeing that Firefox 2.0 was no longer supported for quite some time. Likewise, the left hand button arrangement is the correct one (and should be carried through with all upcoming versions) to keep the LTS version from becoming stale. There are also plans for the area to the right vacated by the button move. What exactly they are Shuttleworth didn't reveal. To be sure, Ubuntu 10.10 will likely have a few more tricks up its sleeve.

( Marcel Hilzinger)

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