Left or Right?

Every new release of Ubuntu brings with it something new. Sometimes the users like it, sometimes they don't. Most of the time, the changes aren't so drastic that people don't really notice too much.

Not this time, though. The Ubuntu folks, through a newly formed usability team, decided to try something really radical in 10.04: they moved the window control button from the right to the left.

I know, I know, it shouldn't be that big of a deal, right? After all, they're just window control buttons. You know, the ones you use to minimize, maximize, or close the window. But it does.

I would guess this stems from a bit of Mac-envy, as this follows the convention used by Apple. But not too many users, myself included, like the change. It just throws me off.

It would have been great if the placement of the controls were part of a theme, but no; for the Beta, anyhow, the control placement is global, applying to all themes.

Luckily, the fix is easy enough (though hidden under layers):

1. Start gconf-editor from the terminal
2. From the branch, select Apps->Metacity->General
3. Modify button_layout to read: menu:minimize,maximize,close

After that, the controls should be back to where they are. Lucid is still on Beta, after all, so I hope the Ubuntu team come up with a reasonable solution for the ordinary users. You know, the human beings.