Ubuntu 19.04 Review: 5 Concerns

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Ubuntu 19.04 desktop

Ubuntu 19.04 has been released and you probably already know what is new in this release. But what Ubuntu 19.04 means for you as an average Linux user, you will find out in this review.

You probably already know all the new features of Ubuntu 19.04. So, I am not going to stop too much on them. In this review of Ubuntu 19.04, I would like to discuss my 5 concerns about this Ubuntu release:

  1. Ubuntu 19.04 vs Ubuntu 18.04 vs Ubuntu 17.10.
  2. Ubuntu 19.04 performance.
  3. Improvements and lacking features of Nautilus file manager.
  4. Snaps.
  5. Yaru dark theme.

Also, let me know your opinion on these points in the comments section at the end of this post.

Ubuntu 19.04 still has problems of Ubuntu 17.10

If you have seen my review of Ubuntu 17.10, you probably know my major complaints about GNOME desktop in Ubuntu. Most of these complaints were valid for Ubuntu 18.04 and they are still valid for Ubuntu 19.04. Let’s have a look at them in the light of Ubuntu 19.04.

Minimize to dock doesn’t work

If you click on the app icons when it is open, it will not minimize. You have to use the minimize button. Luckily, you can activate this feature as I showed in my 30 Things to do After Installing Ubuntu. But I wish it was activated by default. I think this is a regular and expected behavior of any desktop

Clicking on the File manager icon won't minimize it to dock
Clicking on the File manager icon won’t minimize it to dock

Apps are mixed between desktops

When you move some application to another desktop, that app stays active on the current desktop too. If you click on it, you will be moved to another desktop. In my opinion, this completely ruins the concept of multiple desktops.

Fortunately, Alt+Tab switch works correctly now and shows only the apps from the current desktop. In Ubuntu 18.04 Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut mixed apps from all desktops.

No show-desktop button

I also do not like that there is no show desktop button. So, you cannot minimize all application at once. The only was to add the show-desktop button to the dock seems to be to create a shortcut icon and add it to the dock manually.

Activities behavior

When you click on activities, you must select any app to leave the activities view. Clicking on empty space does nothing. This issue is present since Ubuntu 17.10.

Clicking on empty space does nothing in Activities of Ubuntu 19.04
Clicking on empty space does nothing in Activities of Ubuntu 19.04

It is really annoying because I am used to clicking on the empty space if I only what to see what apps I have open. This works as expected in Plasma 5 desktop, for example.

Application button at the bottom

This complaint is a little subjective but I do not like that the application button is still at the bottom. It is not ergonomic because if you need to open an app with your mouse you have to move it to the very bottom while all other control parts are at the top. If you also do not like this location of the application button, you can move it to the top.

Some improvements

Of course, it is not fair to only complain in this review. Ubuntu 19.04 brings some improvements too. I have mentioned the Alt+Tab fix. I can also say that the account setting window was laggy in the previous releases. Now, it is fast.

Account setting window in Ubuntu 19.04
Account setting window

Actually, Ubuntu 19.04 feels a little faster overall. Not that Ubuntu 18.04 was slow. But some animations like opening the application menu and activities just feel little snappier in Ubuntu 19.04.

This feeling is also supported by benchmark tests as you will see in the next section of this Ubuntu 19.04 review.

2. Ubuntu 19.04 performance

It is expected that newer Ubuntu performs little better than the older releases. Ubuntu 19.04 indeed has some performance improvements over Ubuntu 18.10. Unfortunately, I do not have an opportunity to run benchmarks myself yet, so I would like to show you the results of benchmarking from www.phoronix.com. It is a great website to check the performance of Linux distros and hardware running Linux.

I have read the results and description of all Phoronix benchmark test for this Ubuntu 19.04 review. In general, Ubuntu 19.04 is not much different from Ubuntu 18.10, but it little ahead in some test. Below, you can see the summary of all test.

The geometric mean for all tests performed by phoronix.com.

From this mean score of all benchmark tests performed by phoronix.com, you can see that, obviously, Ubuntu 19.04 is better than Ubuntu 18.10, but it is behind Clear Linux.

3. Nautilus File manager

Speaking about speed, I would like to say that Nautilus file manager is noticeably faster. I especially like the improvement in speed. There are also interface improvements such as all buttons are now placed on the title bar and there is almost nothing left in the desktop top panel.

Nautilus file manager in Ubuntu 19.04
Nautilus file manager in Ubuntu 19.04

However, all this doesn’t overweight the major issue of Nautilus: you cannot set Nautilus to show a different view for different folders. Actually, this was the first things I checked for this Ubuntu 19.04 review and I was very disappointed.

If you do not understand what I mean. By default, you have al folders set to icons view. However, when you change the view style in any folder, this setting will affect the view mode of all other folders. You cannot have a Picture folder in icons view and files folder in list view. This is one of the main reasons I do not switch to GNOME full time.

4. Snaps

To my surprise, Snaps were not much covered in other reviews of Ubuntu 19.04 I have read while writing this one. But it is worth writing a special section about Snaps in this review

Mark Shuttleworth is pushing Snaps very hard. In his interview about Ubuntu 19.04, he talks a lot about how greats snaps are. And he is right…. But all the greatness he describes is primarily related to application developers and not the end users. Let me demonstrate you an example.

Mark Shuttleworth speaking about Snaps
Mark Shuttleworth speaking about Snaps

Right after the installation, Ubuntu suggested me to install some popular apps. I installed Audacity because I use it to record audio for my videos. When I opened it, Audacity looked really ugly.

Audacity Snaps in Ubuntu 19.04
Audacity Snaps

I was surprised and even a little shocked because I knew that Audacity looked fine in Ubuntu 18.04 which is installed on my computer and I use it occasionally.

It did not take me long to realize that the version Ubuntu suggested me, was a snap version. There are two Audacity apps available in the software center. When I installed the second one, it appeared to look normal.

Regular Audacity app in Ubuntu 19.04
Regular Audacity app

So, Snaps is a great concept. It helps to avoid dependencies mess for developers, but the end user doesn’t care much. When the end user sees this different look of a snap version and a regular version, guess which one he or she will choose?

This is a problem not only for Audacity. I used Audacity only as an example. Of course, snaps apps can look good. For example, such pre-installed apps as Calculator, System monitor, Logs are actually snap apps. I do not see the reasoning to use snaps for these applications but they look fine and it is ok.

Pre-installed Snaps in Ubuntu 19.04: Calculator, System monitor, Logs
Pre-installed Snaps in Ubuntu 19.04: Calculator, System monitor, Logs

According to Canonical, more than 2,000 software publishers now distribute applications as snaps. This is very encouraging, but until this theme issue persists, I doubt many users will use them a lot.

5. Yaru dark theme

Yaru theme formerly known as Communitheme is a really nice theme. I covered it together with other Ubuntu themes in my Ubuntu 18.04 themes post. That post is still valid for this version of Ubuntu. If you want to change your desktop theme, go and watch the instructions there.

Yaru theme now covers more applications. It is a complete theme now. I was not able to find any missing icon during my work on this Ubuntu 19.04 review. Great job on that!

However, you can not change this theme by default in Ubuntu. This limitation is a drawback because, for example, dark themes became very popular recently. And It became a standard to have both light and dark themes pre-installed in menu Linux distros. However, to enable a dark theme in Ubuntu, you need to install Gnome Tweaks and enable it.

Yaru dark theme and Calc Snaps is light
Yaru dark theme and Calc Snaps

But even after this effort, you will face a small problem: pre-installed Snaps will look bright-light and thus out of place.

Conclusion

Although I might sound negative in this review, I do appreciate the progress of Ubuntu development. Ubuntu 19.04 is a step forward. But it is a small step that also not problem free. So, I would recommend upgrading or installing Ubuntu 19.04 only if you suffer from some performance issue right now. Otherwise, all new features are not worth upgrading and can even hurt in some ways. For example, if you want to use some dark or custom theme. Personally, I would stick to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

You may also find useful my posts on Ubuntu Themes, Icons, Layouts, and Things to do After Installing Ubuntu.

5 thoughts on “Ubuntu 19.04 Review: 5 Concerns

  1. Sujith

    Ubuntu 19.04 is a good release (overall) but there is not much improvement as compared to Ubuntu 18.10, except for GNOME 3.32, Linux Kernel 5.0 and a few other upgrades. Except these few changes, Ubuntu is still Ubuntu.

    Reply
  2. LJ

    Hi, nice review. Keep the good work !!!

    Regarding ¨Apps are mixed between desktops¨ as a workaround you can set, via dconf or terminal, the property /org/gnome/shell/extensions/dash-to-dock/isolate-workspaces to TRUE.

    Reply
  3. Paskud

    I really liked your review, mostly because I have the same set of annoyances.
    The thing is, I am new to Ubuntu, and Linux in general and some of the things you are describing are baffling to me, because community answer to them is “install additional software”.

    Do you want dark theme – install additional software
    Do you want some wlight customization – additional software
    Do you want to add folder to the sidebar – open a magic text file of stuff, create something, sign with blood, and pray to good the effect is just a little less wonky than you wanted.
    Do you want to set wallpaper? Easy. Lock Screen walpaper? Banal. Login screen wallpaper? SO..after you do the blood book, additionaly sacrafice your firstborn to the dark gods.
    Do you want to install a snap application? No? Have it anyway. Is there a way to filter this bullshit in the store?NO. And from my experience, they suck. They start up way slower than those installed with geb files. Ubuntu is the first system (after android and a few windows) that made VLC feel sluggish and unresponsive. I click video and nothing happens…then I have 3 windows open at once.

    For me, the problem with Ubuntu – having no real previous ubuntu experiences – is that it does not care about it’s users. It looks like they decided that a few, admitedly pretty, wallpapers will suffice as a means of improving user experience.

    But overall, it works great, so I am mostly complaining about small stuff, that just gets so annoying over time 🙂

    Reply

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