First of all, thanks to the Budgie and Ubuntu Budgie devs for their good work. Here’s my short story. As a geeky teenager, back in the 2000’s, I used to tinker a lot on Linux. Then I moved on to other sources of entertainment, and nearly a decade passed. I returned to the free world last year, on more serious ground, and things had changed quite a lot. In particular, when I saw there was a new Ubuntu flavor called Budgie, I was skeptical at first. I thought, what’s its purpose on the (quite crowded) desktop scene? What’s Budgie’s identity compared to other desktop environments ?
Then I tried Ubuntu Budgie 19.10 on a virtual machine and was quite favorably impressed. It runs well, seems lightweight and stable enough for what I could see, looks good, and is quite customizable. In a way, it looks a bit like what Gnome 3 could have been, had it not opted for a seemingly touchscreen-as-default approach, and gone for minimalism at the expense of user choice.
So, again, Budgie was a pleasant surprise. And as such, Ubuntu Budgie is in the roster of distros I may settle for when the next batch of LTS is delivered.
Now, I have a couple questions…
To what extent does the team commit to supporting applets ? Are they mere goodies, offered but not actively supported, or genuine parts of the experience, tested before each release ?
For instance, I’m a pixel-saving maniac, and as such I’m really fond of my Unity-style top panel, with a global menu and window control buttons replacing the titlebar of maximized windows. As it happens, Budgie has a global menu and a pixel-saver applet, so it passes the test. Only MATE and KDE compete in that regard. However, since I’d have to rely on additional applets to achieve this outcome (and Budgie pixel-saver requires enabling backports), I’d be afraid to suddenly seeing my layout breaking after an upgrade. This is a problem with, say, Gnome 3’s extensions ; meanwhile, Ubuntu MATE officially supports and advertises alternative layouts, so I can have some level of confidence in it regarding future maintenance of the required panel applets.
What’s Ubuntu Budgie’s take on the question? Do you maintain applets listed in the Budgie Applets application?
I read somewhere that Budgie 11 was supposed to get a workspace overview similar to Mac OS X’s Mission Control, Gala’s Multitasking View, or Gnome 3’s Activities overview. Or Xfdashboard, for that matter. That is, not just a windows overview (like the Preview feature currently available), but a combination of this plus a workspace switcher with the ability to reallocate windows across workspaces. Right now, this is the one missing thing in Budgie, and in my opinion one of the best innovations of “modern” desktops, whatever their flaws may else be. When you get used to that workflow… it’s difficult not to miss it.
Is this feature still in order, and if so is there an ETA? Like the next LTS, or 20.10, or later…
And then, here’s a couple of remarks to polish an otherwise great distro…
When using the Icon Task List applet, Windows-7-style, and when there’s no more room to show additional icons, the applet simply doesn’t show excess icons. In my opinion, this is not a desirable behavior. I’d suggest having icons being automatically downsized to accommodate more and leave room to all of them. Alternatively, the taskbar could be scrollable, like the Unity dock.
Applications could be more clearly sorted within the Budgie menu. For newbies, there’s nothing worse than seemingly duplicated entries whose name wrongly suggest identical functions. Or the converse: thematically close features scattered across various entries. Xfce settings, in my opinion, exemplify what not to do in that regard, with separate entries for the window manager, appearance, windows tweaks and yet again something else in that vein, that you need to go through to adjust your theme layout.
In the case of Ubuntu Budgie, some categories in the menu largely overlap at first glance: System Tools, Administration and Preferences (I’ll take it that their being so named is a Linux convention, though). As a result, it is difficult to know in which of these categories a given item is located, unless you already know that, say, Preferences corresponds to items in Gnome settings. I’d suggest merging these categories, or at the very least, the first two (System Tools and Administration). Or, going the other way, you could create a sub-category for Budgie-specific stuff (like Budgie Desktop Settings, Budgie Applets…) and rename Settings (the Gnome one) into System Settings so that it’s clear for new users which Settings application controls the desktop and which one controls the rest.
The French localization has a number of “rough edges”. For example, in Budgie Welcome, some text that is too long to fit in the dark left-panel spreads to the light central part of the window and turns green: https://imgur.com/GVuaUIQ
Which, as you can see, does not look good in the welcome screen that people first explore upon discovering the OS. Besides, at times translations feel awkward, some are missing characters such as accents, and there’s a lot of English text still popping up.
I certainly don’t want to sound rude or demanding; I’d simply like to point out what Ubuntu Budgie would need to look really professional. In fact, I could help with translations… I’m no software engineer and I don’t know anything about the development process, but I certainly could help with text entries here and there.
And… that’s about it. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for taking some time to reply!