Ubuntu Is Killing The Menu Bar With New Tech That Is Part Alfred, Part Siri

Ubuntu Is Killing The Menu Bar With New Tech That Is Part Alfred, Part Siri

Meanwhile, over in the Linuxverse, the next release of Ubuntu looks set to try something pretty radical – ditching the top-of-screen Menu bar in favour of a type-what-you-need HUD panel. Rather like Spotlight for menu items, mixed with some Alfred and some Siri.

Instead of hunting around with a pointer, you’ll just call up a text input box and type the thing you want to do. Resize, or Delete, or Move, or Cut, or Send Mail, or whatever. Don’t want to use your keyboard? No problem, you can just speak it outload, and the system will understand what you want to do.

The traditional menu system will still be there in the background for those who want it, but Ubuntu boss Mark Shuttleworth said on his blog today:

As a means of invoking commands, menus have some advantages. They are always in the same place … They also have some disadvantages: when they get nested, navigating the tree can become fragile. They require you to read a lot when you probably already know what you want. They are more difficult to use from the keyboard than they should be…

Hmm. Maybe he has a point. Anyone who’s a keen user of Alfred (or LaunchBar or Quicksilver) will know the joy of setting up custom scripts or actions that execute otherwise complex commands with a few keystrokes. Maybe the menu bar has had its day.

Would you like to see something like this for your Mac? Or will they be prying the Menu bar out of your cold, dead hands?

Related
  • Leslie Martin

    I presume there is supposed to be a screenshot in that big blank space at the top of the article?

  • Don Pope

    I love Alfred, but menus have the advantage of being discoverable.
    You can learn a lot about an application by looking at the menus.

  • prof_peabody

    This sounds like a complete fail to me.  The whole point of the menu bar was to make a version of Linux that was actually accessible for the average person instead of the “CLI geeks.”  This is a giant step backwards.  

    On the other hand, the number of people using iOS on the iPad was *double* the number of people using all versions of “Desktop Linux” (SUSE, Ubuntu, Red Hat, etc.), even when the iPad 1.0 was out, and is far far in excess of that now.  So basically “desktop Linux” has already failed completely anyway.  

  • MirrorMM

    Isn’t this basically what the help menu does in OS X? Sounds like a good idea to me, stripping away the clutter, but maybe it should be something that you enable manually once learning the app’s main functions.

  • Bruno Gama

    i use the search menubar a lot when I don’t know where are the exact action I want to do for any application. the idea is good.

  • ddevito

    yeah but Linux on servers is kicking a$$ and will have 75% market share by 2014.

  • ddevito

    It’s nice to see an OPEN operating system INNOVATE. It does happen iSheep.

    Just sayin

  • Shaunathan Sprocket

    second derogatory message which ends with “Just sayin”  as though this shields you from the responsibility of what you type.  Does he qualify as a troll yet?

  • gilest

    yes, apologies – we’ve been having some problems with getting images to stay where they’re put. Someone’s been doing some tinkering behind the scenes, so hopefully it’s fixed now.

  • ikeahloe

    this is the fault of the article not to mention that discoverability is still on the roadmap, in the meantime it will co-exist with global menu so that users can discover all they want

    This is from the original official article on mark shuttleworth’s blog…
    “There’s still a lot of design and code still to do. For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD; the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it. And all the other patterns of interaction we expect in the HUD remain to be explored.”

  • ikeahloe

    menu will still be there until/if they come up with a solution to discoverability. 

    This is from the original official article on mark shuttleworth’s blog…
    “There’s still a lot of design and code still to do. For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD; the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it. And all the other patterns of interaction we expect in the HUD remain to be explored.”

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , |