Thoughts on UB for 19.04

IMHO, emerging products such as UB should define their target audience and their competition and a strategy for both.

Target Audience:

  1. Ditro Hoppers – these are the folks that have used linux for a while and are shopping for something new.
  2. New to Linux – Coming from Windows, Chromebook, or Apple products.

I would select xubuntu, and Elementary. With xubuntu, folks that are looking for a step up to a clean modern interface. With Elementary, folks that don’t like the rigid desktop and need desktop icons and folders.

Using for the last 30 days, the key download ranks are:

Elementry 2
Ubuntu 5
Lubuntu 11
Xubuntu 27
Ubuntu Mate 32
Kubuntu 37
Ubuntu Budgie 48
Ubuntu Studio 54

So, how do we spread the word and get more people to try UB?

Curb Appeal:
I would like to talk about “curb appeal”, a reference to the U.S housing market and drive-by buyers. How the for-sale home looks from the curb can make or break the selling of a home or at least draw then in for a walk through. The same goes for Linux distributions.

I have always been surprised at how drab and basic the *ubuntu distribution are in terms of curb appeal. The default desktop background are all so basic and unattractive. I have never understood this, perhaps it’s a requirement of being part of the ubuntu distribution world?

Anyway, if I compare UB to Elementary it’s obvious that Elementary more curb appeal – great desktop background and application dock at the bottom. UB has the ability to be just as attractive out-of-the-box as Elementary plus we have desktop icons and folders.

So, my questions are: Why not use one of the more attractive backgrounds for the liveCD and initial install? Second, having the application dock on the left makes no sense to me. Are we trying to mimic gnome? Be bold, put the app desktop on the bottom and use the transparent Theme as opposed to the Gtk+.

I am sure your already trying to get as much exposure as possible for UB in the trade rags, blogs, etc. However, IMHO, without a marketing strategy there is nothing to draw them in for a first look. I would position UB and an upgrade for Elementary users and go head to head with them. It will draw attention and any publicity is good publicity.

Hope I have not offended.

I’d say it’s the opposite : Xub is the one with desktop icons and folders. Elementary is the one with an empty useless desktop :wink:

Maybe abandoned Unity users are a good target too ?

I think a good target would be Mac users that want to change to Linux. UB looks really good and modern, and it’s very customizeable.

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grrr … really dont use distrowatch for comparisons. We find that all Ubuntu flavours are under represented by distrowatch due to its “click” stats. From our website visitor figures we can see the vast majority of users come from Google by standard searching. Distrowatch is pretty non-existent.

Dock at the bottom / Ubuntu Budgie without a dock at all has occupied our thoughts from budgie-remix inception.

Dock at the bottom is associated with a Mac … and XFCE. So are we trying to mimic other desktops? Dock on the left is better from a monitor placement - most people use widescreen monitors - so placing at the bottom will impact most apps since the vertical resolution is much smaller than the horizontal.

Open to the idea of a transparent dock.

The plank dock was only put in place at the beginning of budgie-remix 16.04 because the icon-task-list applet was pretty awful back then. It is significantly better now - but has issues I personally do not like like pin issues for various apps - icons not reflecting their apps.

Background - constantly random backgrounds on release do not work - I would contend - from a consistent marketing point of view. You need to have something consistent across releases that increases recognition. I’m not saying the current default is the best that there is - if someone wants to " have a go to evolve" the wallpaper based on the current then happy to promote these efforts.

Marketing is important - we are definitely want someone to come on-board as part of the team who is willing to put in the effort week-in-week-out.

Anyway - the above is my personal tuppence thoughts.

The counter argument to “vertical dock because it uses less space” is “horizontal dock because you get more space for icons”.

The task list issues are annoying. I love Plank’s flexibility. I have quite a few edited .desktop files on it, providing effectively editable custom fly-out menus. You can even just dump some .desktop files in a folder, then drag the folder to the dock and you have an instant menu. And if you want to change DE you can still have Plank.

Distrowatch is Not really a good source to compare UB with other distros. The count only the clicks.

UB and its derivates is Not really pushed by press, blogs or reviews.

But maybe we could change it? YouTube , Insta, Twitter with more posts?

It’s actually just a matter of theme ( Adapta here ).

Is this really an issue with Plank or rather with packaging format of such app’s ( snap, flatpak, AppImage ) ?

I’d prefer more customize options for panels instead of Plank by default.

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So, which one looks more attractive, Elementary on top or UB on the bottom. What I am saying is that first look is important.


Now, with a minor tweak to UB, we have – better curb appeal?



I would prefer pic no.1+3 because pic no.1 would be attractive for Mac-Users.
Pic no.3 is another possibility to change the dock. :slight_smile:

Hi, all

if I can say, I’d prefer upper dock in dock mode by default.


Perhaps with the new statistics that Canonical obtains there is better data available?

Perhaps a different comparison. Curb appeal? BTW, the background in elementary is Antelope Canyon here in Arizona, great place :slight_smile:


Hehe, think this is a windows 7 wallpaper. ^


Maybe we could integreate Antelope Canyon from elementary?

Mmm… not convinced. But it is a matter of taste.

If you show me a desktop with a trash icon on it, I vomit, so no go here…

Trash icon in panel or in dock is very ok, but NOT ON DESKTOP which is a place for works in progress ( files, folders, reminders… then tidy up when job is done ).
Seriously, in real life do you put the trash-bin on top of your desk ?

Regarding background picture, well that’s most probably the first thing any win/mac/linux user wants to change. Just keep a way for easily doing that change. Maybe a default « wallpaper » folder somewhere where it’s easy to add pictures or where pictures end if chosen from another path… something in the reach of the user which does not require root access, which allows to create sliding / diaporamas, or set a gif or a video as a background.

I have been reading through this thread a couple of times before commenting. And I think there’s some good stuff in here. I’m just going to quickly summarize what I would change.

  1. wallpaper. This one has been around for some time, and I tend to agree with first impressions. all the current one is not bad at all, I just think it needs to be modernized a bit. Kind of updated as the default theme has been.

  2. icons. I would love to see those brought up to a point where maybe they match the default theme a little bit more. Feel a little tighter.

  3. plank. While I personally do not use plank, I do agree with David’s statements regarding and bottom and side. I don’t think anyone will be entirely happy with this one due to the fact that it is a personal preference. There are pros and cons to each.

  4. trash. But a fan on the desktop, but the trash applet is a must for ease of access (or auto purge).

  5. transparent dock. Yes! If you use plank.

Wallpaper note - as much as I don’t use a photo diff my wallpaper, I do feel like photos appeal to more people.

Personally, I prefer the horizontal dock, I think usability is better and is more harmonious.

In my opinion vertical dock is only useful for those who have very small monitors.

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For me its very important that all icons are of the same size and design. Numix Circle in my opinion is the best as they have quite good guidelines. Unfortunately with snap packages its a bit harder to control.

Design: I agree, a nice looking distro sells, but more often than none, I hear complaints about Gnome and its slow/bloated/restrictive interface from users. Market how Budgie (I use Budgie on Debian so no UB for me) is stable and faster than Gnome, which it is. Users are always looking for Gnome alternatives…and those are your targets.

Plank: I have used Plank for years. Before that it was Docky, but that had a huge memory leak which is why I switched. I love the many themes Plank offers, and even though it makes sense to use vertically for widescreens, it always feels more natural at the bottom horizontally. Not to mention, you can’t get as many icons on it vertically…and I have a lot of icons.

Theme: Transparent themes are always a showstopper, but I tend to use dark themes, like Arc-Dark. Apple has even came out with a dark theme, and Google is in the process of switching all their smartphone apps to include a dark theme option …albeit slowly. It is all the rage…and easier on tired eyes…and just as stunning as transparency.

Promoting: Marketing also means getting on the pages of all the Linux news sites. That is what I read every night. This includes Linux youtube and podcast shows. I am always posting Budgie as an alternative on Reddit, where most are saying use XFCE/MATE/Cinnamon, mostly because it is all they know. Exposure fixes this issue.

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