Mark Shuttleworth’s response to left side button criticisms

Mark Shuttleworth's response to left side button criticisms.

The default position of the window controls will remain the left,throughout beta1. We're interested in data which could influence the ultimate decision. There are good reasons both for the change, and against them, and ultimately the position will be decided based on what we want to achieve over time.

Moving everything to the left opens up the space on the right nicely,and I would like to experiment in 10.10 with some innovative options there. It's much easier to do that if we make this change now. I appreciate that it's an emotive subject, and apologise for the fact that I haven't been responding in detail to every comment -- I'm busy moving house this week. But the design team is well aware of the controversy,your (polite) comments and more importantly *data* are very welcome and will help make the best decision.

When we have a celebrity bug report like this, it's a real exercise for our values of communication, civility, and ubuntu. Thank you to those who have pointed to the code of conduct when things get heated. And thanks even more to those who FELT heated but didn't let it show 🙂


Please centre the window title like in previous Human theme, and also re-order the window controls in classic order, positioned on the right side (menu -- title -- minimize, maximize close).

==== Workaround ====
To revert to old layout, enter in terminal:
$ gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/general/button_layout --type string "menu:minimize,maximize,close"


Use this PPA:
This option will also fix the graphical appearance of the buttons.

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49 Responses

  1. Colinux says:

    Hey! This is linux. The thing is you can have the buttons on whichever side you like. Try moving them in Mac OSX or Windows!

  2. Foz says:

    Up till now, Ubuntu has been an excellent choice.

    People who are use computers sparingly only know that to close a window you press the “X” in the top right. You try converting people from Windows with this new layout and it’ll be thrown straight out of the door.

    Sure I can change the settings, but do I really want to do that for everyone’s PC with the new Ubuntu? NO! It shouldn’t even be an issue!

    I was really looking forward to settling down with 10.04, but now… I think I’m gonna have to look elsewhere.

    When people ask for a Windows replacement, it most definitely *won’t* be Ubuntu any more.

  3. bj says:

    I am trying very hard to put ubuntu into the school I work for. My vote is to put the buttons on the right by default.

    If you want to make it more appealing set the panels to 30% transparency by default. And have a link to open the compiz settings manager from the appearance screen.

  4. matti s says:

    I am sure many users share my view that the three buttons at the top right corner are what window navigation is mostly about. Moving them to the left edge and shuffling them around is equivalent of a car maker deciding to shuffle the position and location of the foot pedals.

    I’ve tried to learn to live with it and at least tolerate it with no success. There are appplications where the buttons on top right are hardcoded and will not switch over whatever Ubuntu does, adding to confusion.

    Having the close button on the left for everything except the top menu is way too inconsistent too. I find myself unnecessarily scrolling the mouse from left to right and back for no good whatsoever.

    Let’s just face it, as a default, the menus belong to the left and the expand, minimize, and close buttons to the right. I know there are ways to get it back but forcing the user to do that is just as idiotic as a phone responder in an English speaking country announcing in English: “Press ‘1’ if you wish to continue in English”.

  5. paulo says:

    I just install 10.04 over my 9.10. My wife first question: “How to minimize this window?”

    Just it.

  6. Johan says:

    One problem is that quite many double boot with win or run win in virtualbox as i do. Then working in a mixed environment like that it confusing to close some windows to the left and some to the right.
    I don’t know that Mark Shuttleworth plan for the right upper corner is, but it has to be dame good to make me upgrade to 10.10 then, as i understand it, it wont be possible to have the buttons on the right side. Could make me look for another distro…

  7. GZ says:

    If you’re going to make a change in 10.10 lets get it all done in 10.10 rather than one change now and one change later. The current left layout looks unbalanced. I don’t like it from a design or usability standpoint. Besides, any interesting things that can be done on the right, can be done on the left as well. It’s still pretty interesting over there. 🙂

  8. Rockabye says:

    I agree with GZ. Moving the buttons is a pretty drastic move which only annoys people and causes trouble. If you have something new and interesting planned sometime down the road, stick that on the left instead of the buttons.

  9. Leon Hook says:

    i like the change as it makes ubuntu different from windows, it doesn’ take that much getting used too and if you go to the wrong side it hardly take your whole day up to move to the other side of the screen.

  10. Tim G. says:

    I’ll roll with it. There’d better be some fun stuff over on the right for 10.10! 😉

  11. Patrick Hampton says:

    Did you take a hint from microshaft? Their real great at deciding to change the gui every single version. And I believe there is this standard that you are supposed to change the gui once you set it up. If you really want to make a change, why don’t you make your own version of GNOME and call it something else, and allow everyone to choose to install it instead of regular GNOME. And its really bad when all I get as an answer to why… “there going to be a button placed to the right” … ooooh thats really a good reason. (sarcasm for you boys and girls)

  12. Dougle says:

    Changing the position is one thing, but not giving people the chance to change back! especially as the new stuff Mark mentions is not in the top right yet, what are they trying to do warm us up before they fill up the right-hand-side. Not impressed Ubuntu! it is a small change, but the fact it has been forced upon me makes me want to switch to mint or arch. Please Please don’t become as arrogant as apple or MS and start thinking you can tug the users this way and that, we are a fickle bunch and will drop you like a hot rock.

  13. Stu says:

    Well I noticed like everyone else that the buttons changed side and thought it a bit odd, so I went looking to make sure there was not a problem and found it was introduced deliberately, but it changeable.

    I noticed ppl “threatening” to chuck out ubuntu as the OS of choice.

    Well guys, kinda extreme don’t ya think, do yo divorce your wife for failing to cook a perfect roast once? Maybe you do.

    More importantly though, you got the pile of insecure bloated rubbish that is Windows, because you insist on everything being done for you. 🙂

    I’ve had my share of problems with Ubuntu, but as long as I have T’interweb they are all quickly resolved.

  14. Ed Patterson says:

    I entered the suggested code to move them back to the right hand side and lost the close gadget.

    What ever happened to the old adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Any ideas on how to get the gadgets on the right hand side AND have a close gadget too?


  15. Pyry says:

    Just use the string “minimize,maximize,close,spacer” and you’ll get close again. For whatever reason, it just ignores the last thing in that string.

  16. David King says:

    I whole heartedly embrace the change – looking at the way the notification area is evolving I can see that placing the window controls on the left allows a rather nice division of the screen:

    Left for action
    Right for information

    Ubuntu wasn’t created on a whim, it was created with a clear goal and I for one trust the teams decision!

  17. Shawn says:

    I’ve upgraded two machines at home to 10.4, and tried to make this change, with no success. Is there a log to check why the change is not being applied?

    As a network admin for 300+ PCs (XP only, no linux desktops yet), I can say this change would not be popular – this is something I’d expect from Microsoft. If it’s going to be default, at least make it easy to change back.


  18. Josh says:

    “Moving everything to the left opens up the space on the right . . .”

    Moving everything to the right opens up the space on the left…

  19. matti says:

    There are a bunch of applications, mostly those running under Wine, which are totally ignorant of any theme level button layout changes you may wish to impose on us. The complexity then becomes that the uniformity is lost and those poor buggers that are forced to use Wine apps will have to put up with “Sometines they are on the left, sometimes not.”

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