Are Ubuntu and LibreOffice becoming Windows-like?

Upgrading from Ubuntu 12 to Ubuntu 14 was a painless business except for one notable feature: Nautilus.
The loss of some very useful features in the new version of Nautilus has reduced my productivity and caused considerable irritation to both me, my elderly Linux friends and to many others, if the complaints on the web are anything to go by.

When I first ventured into Linux, it (and associated s/w such as Mozilla’s) was touted as being very user-friendly and simple to use – and so it turned out to be. I shall never return to Microsoft products. But over the years, and successive versions, I have had a niggle at the back of my mind that Ubuntu (and Mozilla’s offering) is becoming more Microsoft-like at each iteration – remember the Unity desktop?

Of particular note is the increasing disappearance of optional keyboard commands and their replacement with mandatory use of the mouse to point-&-click on uninformative icons. The first intimation of this was Firefox’s Refresh facility. Alt+v / r did the trick nicely but this has gone, replaced with a tiny refresh symbol in the address bar. OK, so one doesn’t need to do that often, but the point is that having to grab the mouse, aim it at a (very) small icon, click it then move back to the keyboard is wasteful of time and an unnecessary irritation. Further, an elderly friend with serious rheumatism finds mouse operations very difficult and painful, although she can poke at a keyboard with the best of us. There are facilities for disabled users but have you tried using them? Life isn’t long enough!

Although the recent Thunderbird version encourages us to use icons rather than a menu bar (it was hidden by default at first) the menu bar is still available as are its keyboard short-cuts. But Nautilus 3.10 has not only swept all this away but has reduced functionality still further. The default view is widely-spaced icons – and it always defaults to this mode - and the list view (obtained only by an icon-click) is very widely spaced by default, requiring yet another operation to reduce the size/spacing (Ctrl±). LibreOffice, similarly, displays huge images of recent documents’ first pages rather than the earlier simple list from which to choose. How is this useful? Whilst large, the images are not big enough to read the text to choose between similar documents, and the ever-present file-name is all that one needs anyway.

But why should I complain when I am getting some wonderful software for free without contributing any effort to its provision? (although I am able to contribute money). There is in any case no obvious way of feeding back comments to the creators. Fortunately, there are others who feel the same way as I do but have the skills to provide similar software that keeps the productive functionality of earlier versions – at least this is so for file manager.

I am aware that the mere suggestion that Linux/Mozilla may be mutating towards a Microsoft format may cause howls of anguish, but in the meantime, I have installed the Nemo file manager which, for my requirements at least, is a great improvement on even the earlier version of Nautilus, and I recommend it heartily - it’s in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Having lit the blue touch paper I shall now retire.

Yeah Gnome have dumbed down Nautilus WAY too much, hence why Mint forked it with Nemo … and why we chose Nemo for Peppermint.

AFAIK the Firefox “reload” shortcuts have always been “Ctrl+R” or “F5”

[EDIT]

You have to think that the larger icons are to do with touch screen convergence … not something I’m a fan of, but it’s there :-\

Ah! Ctrl+r. Thank you for that, Mark.
I loaded Peppermint 5 onto a few friends’ computers some time ago and they seem very happy with it, although it’s been a long time since I’ve used it myself.

EDIT

You have to think that the larger icons are to do with touch screen convergence .. not something I'm a fan of, but it's there
I hadn't thought of that. And don't have such a device!

Only Peppermint SIX uses Nemo :wink:

Five still used PCManFM which we pretty much concidered dead in the water with LXDE moving towards Qt … IMHO PCManFM was aging badly anyway and was missing some functionality so we switched to Nemo

In that case I shall consider upgrading them if their respective PCs are up to the job.
Is P6 OK for non PAE?

NO … but then neither was Peppermint 5

If their PC’s can run Peppermint 5 they can run Peppeprmint 6 … they are both based on Ubunu 14.04 (though Peppermint 6 moved to 14.04.2)

[EDIT]

You could always wait till Peppermint 7 next year … it’ll still be using Nemo and will be based on the next Ubuntu LTS (16.04)

Awaiting P7 sounds like a good idea, partly because I am moving house and there’s no rush to upgrade to P6.
It would be good if my friends could upgrade to newer 2nd hand PCs as their old ones are on their last legs.

Many thanks for the advice, Mark.