Jason's Blog

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Anger and Project Management: Ubuntu's Moving Window Controls

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I’ve been reading about the drama playing out regarding the relocation of the window control buttons, (such as minimize/maximize, and close window) to the left side of the title bar in the coming Ubuntu release.

Strong feelings have been expressed on both sides. On one hand, we have users feeling as though their preferences are being ignored by the designers pushing a change they don’t like (sounds like conservative health care rhetoric), and on the other are designers wanting to experiment with new ideas. Apparently, there are some plans coming for the freed space on the right, but Canonical isn’t telling yet what they are.

I fully believe that this entire controversy will be quickly solved by some drop-down in the layout configuration indicating which side you want your menu bar things on. A quick Google search indicates that this can already be easily accomplished via the command line although it apparently isn’t a perfect fix.

Personally, I prefer the right side. Its next to the scroll bar, and the whole convention appeals to my nature as a righty. I agree with comments from others have said that since menus for the gnome toolbar are by default on the top left, there would be increased risk of clicking the wrong option are valid concerns as well.

The outcry by users especially miffed that this experiment is being conducted with a so called long term service (LTS) release is in my opinion unreasonable, when in fact, the actual release is still a month away. If this were suddenly sprung at release, people’s anger might be justified.

Experimenting is the purpose of pre-releases. I have confidence that in the end product, Canonical will give the (largely negative) feedback of their testers some consideration.

In summary, the sky is not falling. Your freedom of choice and software is by no way affected even if this does end up as the new default. Stop whining, you’re clogging my blogroll.