Goodbye Menus?

On the 26th April, the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu was released. There are many tweaks and improvements included in version 12.04 (again, sporting one of Ubuntu’s traditionally silly code names, this time it’s ‘Precise Pangolin’), but one that’s garnered the most attention is the HUD, or Head-Up Display, that is meant to eventually replace the use of menus in Ubuntu.

The key idea behind this proposed change is, finding something on a menu requires you to know which menu to check, which can result in wasted time while you look for the right menu. The HUD removes this need, as you can just press the ALT key to load the search bar, and then type in whatever you are looking for, without any need to know where it’s located.

As with many recent desktop changes in Linux, this seems to be a further move towards a more Mac-like environment, as it’s essentially very similar to the ‘Spotlight’ function in OS X. The current version of Ubuntu retains menus for the moment, but the eventual aim is to remove menus entirely. Whether this move to a menu-less desktop is generally accepted, or greatly reviled like the switch to the Unity desktop, remains to be seen. Certainly, some early adopters seem to have become enthusiastic converts and evangelise about the ease with which you can now search for anything. But, only time will tell if Mr Shuttleworth and the developers at Canonical have really taken the first step towards killing off the menu on the desktop.

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