App Access on Ubuntu: Am I Doing it Wrong?

My experience with Ubuntu is broken up into two eras, if you will. I first used it before Canonical introduced the Unity environment, and for a brief time after. Then I fell in love with the Mac, and wouldn’t hear of using anything else. For the next five years or so, I wouldn’t touch a machine that didn’t run OS X (which is what they called it at the time, and should call it forevermore), at least at home (at work I had to use Windows.)

In 2016, however, when my iMac finally decided to lay down and die, sadface, I didn’t buy another Mac. Instead, I took an old HP computer and put in some spare parts, and switched to Windows 10 (May God Save My Soul). I hate Windows (though I’m trying to like it more) for many reasons, mostly because after using a Mac for so many years, Windows looks fugly to my eyes. It’s too flat, and every app looks the same at the top, and so on and so on.

So, that is what inspired me to start using non-enterprise Linux once again. Installing Ubuntu, which I talked about here, on my Lenovo laptop was something that I really wanted to do.

The thing is, Unity is just not functional for me. Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but I don’t seem to find a way to just bring up an alphabetical app list. There doesn’t seem to be a real app switcher. There seems to only be two ways to get to all of your apps: search, and through the “installed” tab in the Ubuntu software app. Both of these are unacceptable to me. I like to be able to search for apps, but I don’t want to do it all the time. Especially given that the “dock” only accepts just a few pinned apps. I never thought that I’d say this, but when I got to using Ubuntu once again, I missed the Start Menu on Windows.

I’m sure that there is a nerdy way to get around this problem, but I haven’t really looked for one yet. I really am trying to use this as a non-nerd for the first time to see if Linux would be viable for someone who didn’t know anything beyond the basics of computing. I haven’t been all that successful.

My solution is that I’m moving to another distro for now. I’ll probably try Mint, though what environment I’ll use, I don’t know.

Now, I just have to see if my Lenovo laptop hates installing Mint as much as it hated installing Ubuntu.

Update: There seems to be a third way of getting to apps, and that’s in the search app along the bottom. But still this is at least three clicks instead of one. That’s too many.