I've been using Ubuntu Linux for the past six months, and today I finally ditched my Windows partition. As a previously loyal Windows user, I've been all but converted by Ubuntu - it handles most of my desktop exactly the way I want it to. There are, however, a few exceptions. I decided against writing this article six months ago, knowing that most of my quibbles would be invalidated after gaining some experience with the OS, thus the wishlist below inclused only those which remain a problem for me.
Please feel free to add your own points in the comments.
Mouse Navigation Buttons in Nautilus
In the last decade, browsers began to support the use of navigational keys on mice, most commonly back and forward buttons.
This feature quickly became a part of the file browsers in Windows, almost as soon as they gained back/forward control buttons - however Nautilus in Ubuntu has never supported these navigational keys.
An arcane tweak to enable such behaviour is possible using xbindkeys, however having this feature enabled in a default install would surely be preferable.
Windows' device manager is one of its redeeming features: a nicely categorized list of hardware, with easily accessible information on current driver versions, the ability to update, uninstall and even roll back drivers on demand.
The best substitute I could find for Ubuntu was gnome-device-manager, an arcane list of devices with no obvious tools for controlling drivers.
What Ubuntu needs is an improvement on Windows' device manager; all of the previous options, plus a package-manager like ability to download and install updated drivers, on the fly.
Interaction with Notification Windows
I'm a huge fan of the new notification windows Jaunty Jackalope was bundled with, but the one thing that seemed lacking was the inability to interact with the notifications.
I continually find myself wanting to click on the volume change notification to fine-tune the level, or use one of pidgin's notifications to open the chat window in question, just like messenger in Windows.
Nautilus File Address Bar
When I first used Ubuntu after Windows XP, I was extremely impressed by Nautilus' file address bar, allowing one to quickly switch between folder levels without select-delete-editing the address itself.
Windows Vista went one up on this. In Nautilus, the above behaviour had to be toggled on and off with a seperate button; Vista's file explorer allowed the user to simply click in an empty area of the address field, in order to manually edit the location.
Not only this, but using Vista's location bar, it is even possible to select subdirectories of the lower levels of the current path, making navigation a matter of absolute ease.
I love the fact that I can browse through locations using tabs in nautilus; it is a nice way to group similar windows together in a controlled manner. However I am very used to the control offered by firefox tabs, especially with the Tab Mix Plus addon, and often find myself trying to perform actions like middle clicking on a tab to close it, or using the undo-close-tab feature.
Nautilus would do well to offer more tab control - even if it is not enabled by default.
Activities Requiring Permissions
Whenever permission is needed for an activity in Windows, the user will be prompted for a password. In Ubuntu, often the user is simply reminded that they lack suitable permissions. The classic example of this is when trying to copy files between two locations in Nautilus, one of which the user does not own.
In such a scenario, the user must either use a terminal to complete the transfer, or use the terminal to open a nautilus window with root permissions. Either method is cumbersome compared to simply asking for a password.
Refresh Available Connections
In Vista it is possible to re-scan for wireless networks, on the fly. In Ubuntu, there is no obvious way to do this immediately, and while the available connections do automatically update on the fly, having control of this is helpful when searching for wifi hotspots.
Nameless Desktop Icons
I find icon names on the desktop unnecessary; I know what the firefox logo looks like, I can recognise a folder icon - yet there is no way to completely remove the name for an icon on the desktop.
Select Default Network
At Uni, I often connect to the internet through two seperate connections, one ethernet, one wifi. However it seems that there is easy or obvious way of controlling which connection should be used by default, on the fly. This means that if I want to switch, I often have to physically disconnect one connection, that being the fastest way.
Group Offline Contacts in Pidgin
Pidgin offers a variety of tasks which can be performed with relation to offline contacts, including queuing messages and viewing message history. Unforunately, unlike Windows Messenger, there is no easy way to find offline contacts, since it is impossible to categorize them all into one group - the only option being to clutter up the groups containing online contacts with those that are not signed in temporarily.
Show and Hide Desktop
In Windows, the show/hide desktop button performed a relatively simple task very well. If any windows were not minimised, it would minimise them and show the desktop. If the desktop has already been switched to, it would perform the reverse action.
The same button in Ubuntu seems to become de-synchronized when any windows are restored in between showing the desktop and restoring the previous state. It is impossible to tell whether this is by design or not, but it seems to serve no useful purpose other than forcing the user to push the button twice to show the desktop again.