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GNOME GUI Open Source Software Upgrades Linux

GNOME To Lose Minimize, Maximize Buttons 797

Posted by timothy
from the aren't-you-taking-this-a-bit-far? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When GNOME 3 arrives in a month, users might be surprised to see old UI staples 'minimize' and 'maximize' buttons gone and replaced by... nothing, in the case of minimizing, and either drag-up or double-click-titlebar for maximizing. Says Allan Day, GNOME Marketing Contractor: 'Without minimize, the GNOME 3 desktop is a more focused UI, and it is a UI that has a consistent high level of quality. Yes, moving to a minimiseless world might take a little getting used to for some, but the change makes sense and has clear benefits.' Some users already welcome the change, while others are in an uproar, swearing to wait for GNOME 3.2, switch to KDE or even Windows. What do you think? A better, simpler interface for new times, or a case of making something simpler than it should be?" I like minimize and maximize buttons, but I'll admit to liking the look of GNOME 3 .
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GNOME To Lose Minimize, Maximize Buttons

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  • by Laebshade (643478) <> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:58PM (#35389462)

    Running Ubuntu 10.10 with a gnome-shell build from the git repository, and I have to say, I love the change. The minimize and maximize functions themselves are not gone; as the summary says, you can still double click the title bar to maximize. If you want to minimize, you can right-click the titlebar, then click minimize, or using ALT+F9.

    I think this is a great design change. In Gnome 2.0 and less, like windows, you would minimize windows to make room/less clutter for windows you're actually using at that top. Now, instead of minimizing, a better method is to move it down a screen (right-click, move to workspace down), or zoom out to activity view, drag the screen from one screen to another. I find when I have a lot going on -- multiple browser windows, terminals, ftp client -- I use this a lot. It comes in handy being able to separate each website you're working on, each server, into it's own workspace, free from intrusions and other unrelated stuff.

    Good job Gnome devs!

  • IceWM FTW (Score:5, Informative)

    by dabadab (126782) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:59PM (#35389476)

    It seems like both the KDE and the GNOME folks have decided that they need to reinvent this whole desktop thing. KDE decided that icons are unnecessary, now GNOME deems maximize/minimize buttons unneeded.
    Guess I'm lucky to use IceWM which still works the way it worked ten years ago - and I find that a good thing.

  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:09PM (#35390100) Homepage Journal
    I acknowledge that some applications benefit from more horizontal real estate in a single window. I was merely pointing out that word processors and web browsers usually aren't among them.
  • by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:37PM (#35390308)
    This is bullshit. Mac users have been hammering Apple with criticism all the way since Rhapsody, and a lot of things you see now are the result of Apple listening to that criticism. I know this sounds strange to you, but that's because you have no idea what you're talking about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:44PM (#35390372)

    Well, let's be clear here, Ubuntu is only replacing Gnome-shell for Unity, not any gnome based applications ( except maybe those that depend on gnome-shell) Also, gnome-panel will be available for users that don't want, or can't run Unity on their machines due to lack of driver support for 3D acceleration.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:45PM (#35390386)

    "Gnome still will not have fixed 5 or 10 year old basic usability bugs..."

    The timezone chooser is horrible as well. Please, just let me choose a timezone without sifting through a lengthy but not comprehensive list of cities that does not include mine. Guessing which city is in my timezone is *not* easier than just choosing my timezone.

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:10PM (#35391106) Homepage

    When are we going to get an interface that is totally configurable to user preferences?

    You mean like FVWM or IceWM or WindowMaker or E or any of the other WMs that experts love and newbies hate? Gosh, I don't know--when will we get something like that? :)

    I actually find FVWM's eight separate configurations for a window border (the four sides and the four corners) to be a little bit overkill. I can't really imagine wanting the left edge to act differently from the right. Fortunately, my editor does copy-and-paste, so it's not a big issue. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @06:49PM (#35392396)

    * Corba
      Well, that was maybe not such a good decision. The intention of using Corba was to get a programming language agnostic communication framework for the desktop, and at the time the first experiments with Gnome were made (we're talking about the late '90), Corba was hyped for exactly that purpose. In hindsight Corba was just to complicated and unwieldy to use. Yet the Gnome team learned from their mistake. The shortcomings of Corba in plain view, the need for a more simple and extensible framework led to the creation of D-Bus. And D-Bus is nowadays even empowering KDE, creating a first class bridge between the two frameworks.

    * XML
    I fail to see how the Gnome devs can be made responsible for the creation of XML. Gnome was started about thee years after the first release of the first XML specification. Also, XML was created by Tim Bray et al., non of which have anything to to with the inception of Gnome.

    * GConf
    The horrors of the Windows registration lye in its binary format, its inaccessibility, its cryptic structure and keys as well as the fact that it tries to do multiple jobs at once. The only way in which GConf could be compared to the Windows registry is in that they both store configuration settings and that they both work with hierarchical namespaces. But GConf and the Windows registry differ in very important ways; GConf's configuration files are human readable and can be manipulated by the unix command line tool tools. GConf even comes with nice command line tools itself, so scripting is easily achieved. Try to do that with the Windows registry.

    * C# and Mono
    C# is a Microsoft product, so I fail to see how Gnome ought to be at fault here. Mono also was not created by an active Gnome dev (although Miguel de Icaza is a founding member of Gnome), nor was is a Gnome foundation decision to create Mono. That said, although I tend to avoid Mono applications, it offers a very slick programming environment.

    * Umpteen window manager changes, none good enough
    Gnome changed window managers from Enlightenment to Sawfish, from Sawfish to Metacity. The next planned step, Mutter, is just a branch of Metacity relying upon the Clutter library. There were very sound reasons for those changes; Enlightenment was its own desktop project and used a different toolkit. Sawfish was written in Scheme, which non of the developers was willing to maintain anymore. As for 'none good enough', that is oppinion.

    You fail to see the reasons for dropping those buttons; the Gnome developers are willing to innovate and go beyond the desktop paradigms of the last 25 years. Most of the GUI interaction concepts used today stem from those early years and even many of them provide adequate, some are just plain wrong and even hurtful. We may be using them everyday and thus they seem to be working, but many times we're just working around them. I could name many problems but they mosty center around the theme 'force me to manage my applications instead of letting my do my actual work'. Do you're research and you'll find many topics.
    The current drive in the OpenSource community to innovate in desktop paradigms (KDE 4, Unity, gnome-shell) shows that this is a real hurt and I hope that the most obvious flaws of the current GUI metaphors will be addressed soon.

    Try to be open and accept that the ways we've been doing things in the last 25 years may not be the final answers to graphical computer interaction. We've gathered a lot of experience, maybe it's a good time to try out some new things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:41PM (#35393224)

    ... from the very beginning.

    I lost track of all the "cool" but horrible ideas which made it into gnome.

    - GConf (the horrors of the windows registry re-implemented by monkeys)
    - C# and Mono - embracing Microsoft technology! /---/

    GConf [] have only superficial similarities with the MS Windows Registry. It is more similar to Mac OS X plists (they both use xml-files and deamons that report changes in them, the most important difference is that GConf actually works) and good old fashion unix configuration files. Actually, it is good old fashion unix configuration files, but in xml-format and with a deamon that alert associated application when one of them change. GConf also has an editor to make changes in those files (superficially resembling the Windows registry editor that is used to edit the the MS Windows registry database (one very large file)) and a set of command line tools, if you don't like those tools you can use any text editor you want to change your settings (look in the ~/.gconf directory, it is ... gasp!... full of plain text files).

    The Windows registry is a really, really bad idea that has gone far to long. A big and fragile blob of a database that crashes everything once corrupted. To liken gconf with the Windows registry is not fair at all, if you like to compare it with anything, compare it with Mac OS X:s plists, both systems consists of many small separate xml configuration files (only plists are ususally larger and sometimes clash with other configuration files in unexpected ways, it also has (undocumented) deamons that take values from the plists and transfer them to parts of the system that use "classic" unix configuration files, but those parts of OS X become less with time, there used to be many of them but the only one I can think of that is left in 10.6 is CUPS, the time space between a change in a plist and in the other config file used to be a huge source of crashes in Mac OS X). I bet you will find the comparision favorable to GConf.

    That said, XML is not very human friendly. They could have picked a simpler to edit/read file format in GConf.

    Mono seem like a very bad idea. In my experience, the Mono platform encourage application makers to make really horrible user interfaces and when I have to run a Mono-application, even for the simplest of tasks, my otherwise cool and silent computer is transformed to a very noisy space heater. Most script languages produce applications that run faster and the crash frequency is just horrible.

  • by donscarletti (569232) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @11:01PM (#35393946)
    You know, when they announced GConf, I thought like you, because I had bad experiences with the registry and back then I was an arrogant 20 year old programmer who didn't like any framework for anything, especially not tasks like configuration. However, I have warmed to it as Gnome 2.0 slowly became an OK system. Configuration should not be something that needs to be re-designed and re-implemented in every application. Things like policies, handling multiple instances of the one program, external configuration tools, etc. should work on a layer below the app. When I am writing an application, I want to be able to say, "OK, I have these options, make sure they are stored somewhere and tell me when the user wants to change them" and it works really well. It's no harder to use than libconfig or libxml2 but it has the addition that it notifies the application when a variable changes. It is a shitload easier than writing a custom parser by hand or with bison.

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan