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GNOME GUI Software Upgrades

GNOME 3.4 Preview 144

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the needs-more-wasted-space dept.

A couple of days ago, GNOME released the first beta of version 3.4. Designer Allan Day has posted a tour of the major interface changes. Some of them seem good (everything looks shiny and clean), but some of them seem questionable. The big thing to take from this release cycle appears to be improvements to the underlying technology that might help other window managers take advantage of the GNOME 3 infrastructure (leading to a world where hackers, tablet users, and grandma can all get along).

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GNOME 3.4 Preview

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    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:46AM (#39198587)

      Not bashing, exactly... more a question of logic...

      Why would they make "major interface changes" in a minor revision number update? Isn't the point of a minor version to be bugfixes and usability improvements, and keep the "major" changes to the "major" revision numbers?

      I don't use gnome, I use e17, so I don't think I'm qualified to pontificate on how awful gnome is. It doesn't work for me. If it works for you, great. So happy for you. I don't like it, but that doesn't make it automatically bad.

      • Well if you read the article it's not exactly as "major" as you'd think. It's major relative to, say, adding a couple new buttons to the UI, but it's not full-on "Firefox 4/Office Ribbom"-style changes in that it doesn't completely change everything. Also, GNOME's major version numbers have only been incremented about two, three times in the project's lifetime. Each time, there have been really, REALLY major changes. From 1 to 2 they adopted a lot of new usability guidelines and simplified the UI. From 2 to

    • by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:15PM (#39199045) Journal

      Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing

      Any time now.

      No, bash is still fine.

      • by sqldr (838964)

        No, bash is still fine.

        I switched to zsh years ago, but everyone else said it was a tablet OS.*

        *On a more serious note, I still don't know why more bash users haven't discovered zsh. It's designed with interactivity as its focus rather than getting dogged down in scripting correctness (although does have a very compatible ksh mode). We were getting date globbing and programmable tab completion when bash was still struggling with floating point numbers :-)

        And now I work for a company where builds are all a

    • by 21mhz (443080)

      Odd, it's only 3.4 and the comments are fairly docile compared to what GNOME stories got only a few weeks ago.

  • Application menus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LizardKing (5245) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:18AM (#39198217)
    Can't say I'm happy about the global application menu that they've half-inched from OS X. It's one of the annoyingly unintuitive aspects of the OS X interface, and I'm disappointed to see it here. The other changes look sensible though.
    • In Ubuntu

      sudo apt-get remove appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-gtk appmenu-qt
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wahaa (1329567)
      And this is sad:

      Nope it’s not optional and more and more apps will use it in the future

      (This quote is from a comment in the tour [wordpress.com])

    • by pholus (127383) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:25PM (#39199163)

      Actually, it appears to be the final nail in the coffin as far as my love-hate relationship with Gnome goes. Yup, I tried it like everyone said and after heavy configuration 3.2 kind of works so-so for me if I hold my nose. I was hoping it would get better with a few more extensions or through cinnamon. Now this. I use sloppy mouse focus as a work-related feature in my image processing work. To lose a valuable work related feature just to get a serial-number filed off OS X clone desktop gets me off this train for good.

      It now raises two other questions:

      Is gnome software going to work outside of gnome if it looks for this top bar to place a menu all the time? If not, too bad for open source in general.

      Is cinnamon going to be able to work around this? Obviously their alternate top menu bar will have some problems.

      • First of all, GNOME is far from an OSX clone. Unity or any old third-party dock is closer to OSX than GNOME 3 is. Sure, it shares some UI design elements, but every UI shares elements with others.

        Second, the point of open-source software is not to make software that's completely interoperable across devices and desktops. It is simply to create software with, as the name suggests, open source-code that can be freely examined, studied, and modified. You wouldn't expect an open-source Windows application to wo

        • by pholus (127383) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:24PM (#39200017)

          As far as clones, my local Cult of Apple members spent a lot of time teasing me by placing the Gnome 3 "System Settings" panel side by side with the OS X "System Preferences" panel. I certainly could not defend against the assertion that that feature at least was a wholesale ripoff. Perhaps you could have done better. The categories are the same, the icons look the same, only difference in the end is that the OS X panel seems to offer more options for customization. If you're keeping score I wouldn't count that as a win for Gnome either....

          It does reinforce my initial impression after reading about Gnome 3.4 that after trying to adapt to 3.2 has resulted in nothing more than a massive waste of time I could have otherwise spent being productive had I jumped ship immediately upon the first performance hits. The "one task at a time" idea makes me feel like I am performing surgery with ski-gloves on when doing image processing where you are constantly flipping between an image window and menus/terminals which manipulate it. On a 30" monitor I have been fighting how silly it seems that a terminal dragged too far up becomes a 30" wide terminal. It feels unnatural to have to check the motion of the terminal and drop it several tenths of an inch from the top bar, wasting as much space as I was supposed to be saving. I guess maybe it's supposed to be fun -- goof it up and it's just like the guy's nose buzzing in Operation. I used to be able to balance my thoughts using the desktop as a way to keep an overview of my various tasks in minimized windows or iconified desktop switchers (which to me functioned kind of like a heads-up-display) but in the new Gnome, out of sight is out of mind without hands on the keyboard. I tried, with an open mind, to get with the program on the advice of Gnome advocates and out of a loyalty to Fedora which I've used since RedHat 4. But after seven months it still doesn't feel right --it's awkward and keeps me from getting things done.

          Now the user experience demands that applications start placing the menu on the top bar? I guess if you run one application at a time that's a strength but I don't nor can I. I see people worried about how sloppy focus pays a penalty for this happening and I believe you've just told me that this concern is a price you're willing to pay for a user experience. In essence this is a big warning that I will end up rewriting code if I wanted to stay with gnome. I was paid to write the code, I am most certainly not going to be paid to rewrite it. I am currently paid to produce with it.

          YMMV obviously, but it's a warning I cannot ignore about what Gnome's future will mean for my work...

          • I'm really sick of all this "layout copying" accusations. In design you will do things the way they fit
            your needs best. In digital, making carbon copies of UIs is the easiest thing in the book. Creating
            similar UIs on the other hand is either a: functional design or b:targeted design. Both of these are
            OK; completely fine!

            Get over it.
            Yes somebody did it first! Well done! Just remember that as long as others want and can, they
            will follow, either through their own evolution or through mimesis.

            How do you think m

        • by unixisc (2429386)

          One Ubuntu based distro called Comice OS (previously Pear OS) takes the GNOME 3 shell, and modifies it to look exactly like OS-X. So while GNOME is itself not OS-X based, GNOME 3 can be made to look like it. I'm not sure whether that was true about GNOME 2.

          But I agree w/ the GP's headline (the content is irrelevant, since I prefer both KDE & GNUSTEP) on changing the name, but for a different reason. The reason being that GNU Network Object Model Environment - I don't see how GNOME does any of that.

      • by spitzak (4019)

        I believe the global menu bar can be made to work with point-to-type (what you call "sloppy focus"). The answer is to not switch the menubar except when an application is "activated", which involves mouse clicks that raise the windows (as well as a few other actions). Just pointing the mouse at a window moves the keyboard focus there and lets you type, but does not "activate" the application. Shortcuts I think should still go to the pointed-at window (so you can ctrl+c copy selected text).

        More of a killer i

        • Actually on OS X you can click on anything in a window in the background, without raising it, if you hold down the command key. It's always been this way.

          • by spitzak (4019)

            Interesting, I did not know that and use macs all the time, so it is apparently non-discoverable.

            Does it act like a plain click, or like Command+click? In either case some set of possible actions are not possible.

            I still feel that clicks should only raise the window if they otherwise serve no purpose (ie clicking the title bar or blank areas in the window). This would be easily discoverable, easy to use, and would not prevent any kind of interaction with a non-raised window.

            • It acts as a plain click. None of the other modifier keys make it act any other way, they simply raise the window.

              • by omfgnosis (963606)

                It doesn't always act as a plain click. If you cmd-click a link in a background Safari window, it'll open a new tab like a foreground cmd-click, for instance.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Despite all the usability studies to show a global menubar is more intuitive, and easier to use.

      • by LizardKing (5245)
        Really? Whenever I use OS X, I regularly find myself with the menu bar of a different application than the one that is currently foreground on the desktop either because I've minimised all the windows of the app the menubar's for, or closed them (closing all the apps windows doesn't close most apps on OS X, another counter intuitive aspect).
    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      How is it unintuitive? It's different, yes, but different does not mean unintuitive. I've always preferred it over every window having a redundant menu bar. (Now I wonder what it would be like if they put the menu bar in the window, but only in the active one.)

    • by SyntheticTruth (17753) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:09PM (#39199815)

      I actually like my application menus at the top of the screen; it's actually very intuitive for me and past studies have shown it to be as well for others. BUT -- and this is a huge ass BUT -- it's not right for Gnome apps or Linux apps over all.

      See, Mac applications are different from how pretty much all other OS' handle their applications. MacOS is *document* focused where Windows and Linux is *application* focused. On Mac, the windows represents a single document within that application (or is supposed to be; some apps break the paradigm) where on Windows and Linux the window represents the *application* itself.

      It's a subtle, but huge difference. It's one of the old beefs with MacOS that when you close that last window, the application is still actually running. But it made sense to have a unified menu bar for the entire application and the top of the screen made the most sense.

      And really, ergonomically? Relax your eyes, which way do they go? They go up. It's same reason I don't even like my Win7 task bar at the bottom. To each their own, though.

      But, back on point, Linux applications are not like Mac applications and the window represents the app, not a single document, so the unified menu bar is not part of that paradigm.

      • MacOS is *document* focused where Windows and Linux is *application* focused.

        <blinks> Wow, somebody gets it. This is one of the most basic things people misunderstand when comparing these systems.

      • Re:Application menus (Score:4, Interesting)

        by supersloshy (1273442) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @02:45PM (#39201097)

        I agree with you but GNOME is taking a different approach than what you suggest. Instead of cloning Mac and moving everything to the top of the screen, it only moves application-centric functions there. For example, if you wanted to access your program's preferences dialog, you'd use the standardized "application menu" (no more hunting in "Edit" or "Tools" anymore!). If you wanted to zoom-in on your document, however, you'd use the "view" menu on the window itself because it only affects that window. From a glance this might sound like it makes searching for options even more confusing, but once this becomes standard it should be even easier than the current method.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        When I relax my eyes, they go down. By your argument, it would be better if the location of the common element was customizable. You can do that in Windows (and move it to either side, but I find that not too useful). But on a Mac, I don't believe you can move that bar to the bottom of the screen even if you wanted to.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dannys42 (61725)

      Well it's consistent with GNOME's approach to things since about 2.0. Copy the bad features of other UIs and make sure to do it worse.

    • by nahdude812 (88157) *

      I'm running Gnome 3.2 currently, and I don't have the global menu. I think you're thinking of the Unity overlay from Ubuntu.

      • by LizardKing (5245)
        As the article title and summary makes clear, this is a 3.4 feature, not something that's currently in 3.2.
        • by nahdude812 (88157) *

          Aah, I assumed you were upset about Unity's global menu (I know that bugs the crap out of me, but then so does a lot of things in Unity). The new Application Menu makes sense in a way, it's not a replacement for window menus, it's truly an application menu. So each window has menus which are relevant to that window's context, while you have a separate menu for the whole application. Contextualization like that seems like a win to me, but I guess we'll have to see if apps use it the way it's intended (a m

  • GNOME 3.4 team (Score:2, Interesting)

    by omar.sahal (687649)
    Thanks for all the hard work, but Ubuntu will just ruin it, because they have some crappy new interface chages they been working on and they insist that it be used instead of your efforts
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then don't use ubuntu. Problem solved

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by omar.sahal (687649)
        That will sort my problem's out but what about ubuntu being the most popular linux version! People will try it, see the interface problems, think this is linux (they dont know what Gnome is necessarily) and go away thinking its very unprofessional.
        • by diegocg (1680514)

          And, of course, you haven't considered that, maybe, people uses Ubuntu because they like their interface changes, and switching to plain Gnome would scare them off.

          • There is NO need to consider that option. We ALL hate its guts.

            One major problem is the removal of the words under Icons in an interface that is completely icon dependent, yet uses icons which are new, and not recognisable. This effectively disguises your system as a POS.

            The fact that, dependent on the situation the icons are either too small to recognise, or so huge you only get 6 on a 2048x 1440 screen definitely does not help.

            Lesson 1: Words (and by extension, hierarchical menus) are a great way t

        • by armanox (826486)

          But Ubuntu isn't the most poplular Linux version, at least not from what I've seen (and quite a few other people). Red Hat is. People see RH (CentOS, SL, Oracle, etc) far more then Ubuntu. Where? Business and government.

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          Maybe it's popular because Unity is better then Gnome. I prefer unity to gnome.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for all the hard work, but Ubuntu will just ruin it, because they have some crappy new interface chages they been working on and they insist that it be used instead of your efforts

      X team, Thanks for all the hard work, but Gnome will just ruin it, because they have some crappy new interface changes they been working on and they insist that it be used instead of your efforts.

    • Linux Mint [linuxmint.com].

      I've been long time (K)Ubuntu user on the desktop but I'm not liking some of their recent direction with regards to UI and such. I've been playing with Linux Mint in a VM for a while now and really like it. It's Ubuntu but with a clean and polished Gnome / KDE; none of the Unity stuff.

      I had been thinking about going back to Fedora or some other distro, but I think I'll be putting Linux Mint on my desktops next time I upgrade, probably in May / June when Linux Mint 13 will be out (new releas
      • by SpzToid (869795)

        Try Pinguyos, it is my new best Ubuntu-ish friend. Comes in two flavors. The 1.1Gb deluxe Original flavor comes with all the apps installed nicely as if your uncle gray beard took the time and patience to give you a Christmas present. It is so good, that by popular demand a newer 2nd flavor was introduced, more like Ubuntu itself is, just the few basic apps setup nicely, (but not everything, certainly not everything, because that's the Original Pinguyos).
        http://pinguyos.com/ [pinguyos.com]

  • Think Different (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dimwit (36756) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:28AM (#39198321)

    GNOME 3 is the first desktop I've used in a long time that actually tries to do something fundamentally different and better, and, you know what? They've more or less succeeded. I'm glad to see the open source community actually try something different, interesting, and better.

    Yes, GNOME 3 is wildly different from the traditional WIMP interface, but once I got used to it, I really think it's the best desktop experience I've had since my NeXTstation days.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My thoughts exactly.

      It's not perfect -- far from it -- but it's better than the alternatives and seems to have a lot of momentum *in the right direction*.

    • Re:Think Different (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pausanias (681077) <pausaniasxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @11:54AM (#39198727)

      I hear this said a lot, but would you care to back it up? What problem does it solve; how does it make you work better? The only things I've read so far from GNOME 3 supporters are statements are about how things like status notifications and multiple windows up at the same time are unnecessary distractions and that I need to change my work flow to fit this style.

      I know I can download this or that tweak to make GNOME 3 behave like GNOME 2, but I'm interested in hearing arguments about how exactly these interface changes have improved the way you work over the old style.

      • Re:Think Different (Score:5, Informative)

        by supersloshy (1273442) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:01PM (#39199679)

        Here are some reasons from somebody that uses both GNOME 3 and Windows 7 on a daily basis:

        * In Windows, if I want to switch to an application that has multiple windows (like a chat application) and I used Alt+Tab, it only brings up one window and I have to use Alt+Tab multiple times in succession to get all of the windows up. In GNOME 3, application windows are grouped by default so if I switch to my chat window, it also brings up my buddy list. If I want to switch to a specific window only, it lets me do that too with minimal effort.

        * In Windows I feel like the Start menu is hard to navigate properly. Applications are sometimes grouped into folders and some aren't. There are no categories whatsoever. In GNOME 3 I not only get the same, handy "search" function that Windows 7 has, but I also get a much more intelligent application list which groups them by category and sorts them alphabetically without them being shoved into pointless folders.

        * In Windows I feel like my application launchers are a distraction from my work. GNOME 3 helps me stay focused (yes this is an actual problem for me) by keeping the icons on the Activity overview, which is just as easy to open as the Start menu (Windows key).

        * The clock is in the center of the top bar instead of useless white space. This isn't huge but it feels like a much better place for a clock than being shoved in the corner with a tiny font. This way it's larger easier to read from a distance and, since it's white text on black, it's also easier to look at in general.

        * I just love the default theme. It has a lot of unnecessary padding, but it feels silky-smooth and "proper". The applications integrate well with it, too. Windows 7's Aero theme, while nice, feels somewhat pretentious and hacked-together. Also I don't really need glass-like transparency everywhere I look.

        * Chat integration! I used to be a Pidgin fan when it comes to IM, but I tried Empathy and, while it has less features than Pidgin, it has just enough for me and it makes up for the lost features by being extremely simplistic and easy to use. No matter what window I have brought to the forefront, I can quickly respond from the nice little pop-up at the bottom of the screen without switching windows. Changing my availability from the status menu in the upper-right corner is also very nice since I don't have to hunt for a program icon in the "notification tray" or whatever people call it.

        * It creates multiple desktops on-the-fly. I used to be the kind of person who had 4 desktops in a square formation, each for different programs, but with the new Alt+Tab functionality that has become rather outdated to me. In the event that I do need another desktop and I drag an application to another desktop, it makes a new, empty one right below it. My desktops dynamically adapt to my workflow instead of the other way around.

        * I can click the application name in the top bar and close every single window owned by the application instead of hunting them all down.

        * No minimizing ever! While most people rely on minimizing, I find no need to with GNOME 3. The desktop is uncluttered and simple, reducing distractions and removing the need to organize your icons and widgets and whatever else for it. The only times I'd ever feel like minimizing a window are obsoleted. Maximizing is also easier (though less straightforward at first) because, instead of hunting down the maximize button, I can just double-click the title-bar. This leaves more room for the close button in the corner of every window.

        I could go on and on about the little things I love about it but I think I've made my point pretty clear by now. I can still use other desktops just fine but if I could replace them all with GNOME 3, I would in a heartbeat. Honestly the only reason I ever use Windows is for Steam games.

        • Re:Think Different (Score:5, Informative)

          by supersloshy (1273442) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:08PM (#39199803)

          Oh I almost forgot to add one very, very important detail that really sets it apart: one-click extension support! If you go to extensions.gnome.org [gnome.org] while running GNOME 3, you can click any extension you want, slide an on/off switch, and it's installed! You can change lots of different aspects of GNOME with this, like adding buttons to the User Menu in the corner, removing things you don't need in the UI, making the behavior more like that of GNOME 2 or other desktop environments, and whatever else you can code in javascript. Nearly any major problem you may have with GNOME 3 can be remedied with an extension, and there have been some very comprehensive ones released so far! I only use one extension, the "Alternative Status Menu" one, but I could easily live without it.

          • by swilly (24960)

            I really, really love the extension support. Vanilla GNOME Shell is annoying and doesn't fit me very well, but with a few extensions I have something that is much better for me than GNOME 2 ever was. And it look like extensions are pretty easy to create too, though I haven't played with this yet.

            The one click enabling of extensions only seems to work in Firefox. Last time I tried them in Chrome, it would complain that I wasn't running a valid version of GNOME Shell. Hopefully they will get this fixed so

        • by Bambi Dee (611786)

          * In Windows I feel like the Start menu is hard to navigate properly. Applications are sometimes grouped into folders and some aren't. There are no categories whatsoever. In GNOME 3 I not only get the same, handy "search" function that Windows 7 has, but I also get a much more intelligent application list which groups them by category and sorts them alphabetically without them being shoved into pointless folders.

          I just wish the initial Applications view already grouped applications by category. Then I'd no

        • by trevelyon (892253)

          Here are some reasons from somebody that uses both GNOME 3 and Windows 7 on a daily basis:

          This is not meant to be a slight in any way but I suspect you did not use GNOME 2 very much. Several of the things you mention are in G2 already. I note them below. I should mention these were also present without being hostile to new or power users. To me G3 is just not good for either of those groups which begs the question who IS it targeted at?

          New users don't know the "magic keys" and struggle to get basic tasks done. It is very unintuitive in this aspect. I support and have rolled out G 2.x to more than 20 users. Every single one of them could get up to speed within 10 - 20 minutes on their own. When I tested G3 with 4 "average" users none of them were using it on their own within 20 minutes. The fact that this page exists : https://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/CheatSheet [gnome.org] shows exactly what I am talking about.

          Power users have simply been crippled in G3. For them the one app focus is the death knell of productivity and the an extra keystroke or 2 to launching apps, changing desktops, getting anywhere is just insult to injury.


          I organize your comments into a couple categories.

          New G3 functionality:

          * In Windows, if I want to switch to an application that has multiple windows (like a chat application) and I used Alt+Tab, it only brings up one window and I have to use Alt+Tab multiple times in succession to get all of the windows up. In GNOME 3, application windows are grouped by default so if I switch to my chat window, it also brings up my buddy list. If I want to switch to a specific window only, it lets me do that too with minimal effort.

          * It creates multiple desktops on-the-fly. I used to be the kind of person who had 4 desktops in a square formation, each for different programs, but with the new Alt+Tab functionality that has become rather outdated to me. In the event that I do need another desktop and I drag an application to another desktop, it makes a new, empty one right below it. My desktops dynamically adapt to my workflow instead of the other way around.

          * I can click the application name in the top bar and close every single window owned by the application instead of hunting them all down.

          G2 functionality that was already there:

          * In Windows I feel like the Start menu is hard to navigate properly. Applications are sometimes grouped into folders and some aren't. There are no categories whatsoever. In GNOME 3 I not only get the same, handy "search" function that Windows 7 has, but I also get a much more intelligent application list which groups them by category and sorts them alphabetically without them being shoved into pointless folders.

          * Chat integration! I used to be a Pidgin fan when it comes to IM, but I tried Empathy and, while it has less features than Pidgin, it has just enough for me and it makes up for the lost features by being extremely simplistic and easy to use. No matter what window I have brought to the forefront, I can quickly respond from the nice little pop-up at the bottom of the screen without switching windows. Changing my availability from the status menu in the upper-right corner is also very nice since I don't have to hunt for a program icon in the "notification tray" or whatever people call it.

          Poor justification for removing features (i.e. they could be done in G2 with ease):

          * In Windows I feel like my application launchers are a distraction from my work. GNOME 3 helps me stay focused (yes this is an actual problem for me) by keeping the icons on the Activity overview, which is just as easy to open as the Start menu (Windows key).

          * The clock is in the center of the top bar instead of useless white space. This isn't huge but it feels like a much better place for a clock than being shoved in the corner with a tiny font. This way it's larger easier to read from a distance and, since it's white text on black, it's also easier to look at in general.

          * No minimizing ever! While most people rely on minimizing, I find no need to with GNOME 3. The desktop is uncluttered and simple, reducing distractions and removing the need to organize your icons and widgets and whatever else for it. The only times I'd ever feel like minimizing a window are obsoleted. Maximizing is also easier (though less straightforward at first) because, instead of hunting down the maximize button, I can just double-click the title-bar. This leaves more room for the close button in the corner of every window.

          So did G3 make your tasks get easier requiring less windows open at once or did you not have enough desktops before?


          Preference or esthetics:

          * I just love the default theme. It has a lot of unnecessary padding, but it feels silky-smooth and "proper". The applications integrate well with it, too. Windows 7's Aero theme, while nice, feels somewhat pretentious and hacked-together. Also I don't really need glass-like transparency everywhere I look.

          I could go on and on about the little things I love about it but I think I've made my point pretty clear by now. I can still use other desktops just fine but if I could replace them all with GNOME 3, I would in a heartbeat. Honestly the only reason I ever use Windows is for Steam games.

          Basically, there are a couple new functions G3 brings but most of what you listed IMO was doable in G2 easily (and not necessarily popular for the bulk of users) or just happened to be esthetically pleasing to you. For this new users need to learn "magic keystrokes" to make basic functions work and power users a just screwed. I think the grandparent post was making just this point. Little improvement with big cost for many users.

          • What "magic keystrokes"? All I ever mentioned was Alt+Tab and the Windows key; hardly complicated. Almost everybody I know of knows these keys and what they do. Also GNOME 2 did not have chat integration nearly as well as GNOME 3 does. GNOME 3 has notifications that you can use to respond to chat messages without switching to the chat window and your availability status is a part of the shell itself; GNOME 2 did not have this. Also I don't think that removing the need to minimize should be considered a bad

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ohnocitizen (1951674)
        Sure. I used to spend time customizing my desktop to work just the way I liked, look just the way I liked, and feel like an extension of my workflow. With Gnome 3's cornucopia of options available to the user, I no longer spend time tweaking my desktop. Its very zen.
      • by sqldr (838964)

        What problem does it solve

        I can list a couple actually.

        1) The taskbar. It's a throwback to windows 95 and didn't work very well then. Once you have too many windows open it gets too cramped, and they move around, so you can't get used to it. The "winkey-type about 3 letters" has the advantage that a) I don't have to reach for the mouse, b) it's way quicker to bring up the window you want, c) doesn't use real estate, d) takes advantage of the whole screen to show you big enough icons for what you're looki

    • by LtGordon (1421725)

      I'm glad to see the open source community actually try something different, interesting, and better.

      I'll give you two of those three. GNOME 3 is certainly an interesting concept and different, but I have yet to see it justify itself as an "improvement".

    • Re:Think Different (Score:4, Interesting)

      by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:27PM (#39199197) Homepage

      Problems:

      1. I want to make changes that are difficult if not impossible
      2. The mouse interface requires wild movements to go from one app to another
      3. Probably other things too....

      I can work in Gnome3. I can. I've used it enough that I can use it. I don't like it better than other things and I fail to see how it's better than other things. It's a lot of "get in your way of doing things" from where I sit. To add to item #3, getting to run your applications is a PITA when you have to do a "search all>search category" thing all the time. Menus are essentially the same thing but faster.

      Gnome3 does a LOT to get in the way of the user accessing his applications. Gnome3 needs to get the hell out of the way.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Personally I wasn't too convinced, but after using certain extensions [tigress.co.uk], I found it to be on par with gnome 2.

    • by bytesex (112972)

      Agreed, but
      - there's too much focus on the 'tablet' experience. I use a workstation, not a tablet.
      - it's defenitely not versatile and configurable enough. Unity's dumber than MacOS and that's saying something.
      - Its first release on Ubuntu (and many consequent releases since) has been plagued with bugs. So much so, that I'm back to xcfe, until someone can point me out that Unity will not abandon me anymore for some reason.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      My workflow is to have shitloads of windows open and often cut and paste stuff between the windows. That's why I've liked most of the *nix window managers up to now and why the new gnome annoys me.
      Others like everything in the single window they are working in - gnome versus the rest is really the photoshop interface versus the gimp interface argument manifesting itself as a window manager.
      I really cannot understand why gnome is heading in that direction now that even a lot of MS Windows machines are opera
  • by Anonymous Coward

    All the screenshots show tiny text with gigantic margins around it. Sure it may be pretty, but for people who have to use the interface all day long, couldn't they have chosen something easier on the eyes?

    • i have to agree here. most of the demos and screenshots i've seen include too much white space.

      • by evilned (146392)

        To be honest, thats why I like it so much. Almost all of the UI is hidden normally, but available quickly with a quick click. There is definately room for improvement, but its minimalism under normal circumstances is one of the big selling points.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cyclomedia (882859)

      Yeah, but never mind the colors specifically, this is something I noticed a few years back and seems to be getting worse, Gnome at 1280x1024 now looks like it's only 640x480 because everything is so massive. Maybe it's related to the increasing age - and therefore long-sightedness - of the chief devs.

    • by Krojack (575051)
      Agree. The look or theme is horrible. I've come to like the Windows 7 look myself. If you tweak some of the themes and use a 3rd party app such as Rainmeter [rainmeter.net] you can get some pretty [deviantart.com] sweet [deviantart.com] interfaces.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry people I don't understand all the bashing on Ubuntu. I been using since 2001 linux desktop. Red Had, Mandrake/Mandriva, Debian, Mint, Ubuntu.

    I first thought Unity was a big problem, certainly after using it and reading all the bad comments.
    Well guess what since I use 11.10 I think the new Ubuntu interface makes me super productive. It is actualy great. I don't know what you guys see in the old interface but unity is far more productive. I work about 10 hours per in it and very happy about it. Yes it c

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When people tries to push crap onto you, you shouldn't be grateful.

      Granted, the definition of "crap" is relative. Some people perceives that as "gold", others not.

      Whatever. As long as Mint and Cinamon devs are here to fix broken things (IMHO) there's no point to expect anything from Gnome devs.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In fact, it is shiny and suited to some of my use cases, but in other cases something more like old GNOME, XFCE or KDE works better. I think the big problem with GNOME 3 has been more that it basically abandoned the most popular desktop environment in Linux (and the break was much bigger tha even KDE 4's), and suddenly there was nothing that exactly fitted the niche. Maybe Cinamon or MATE will fill it, but I think a little dismay is understandable. Personally, I ended up going back to KDE 4.8, which seems t

    • by marsu_k (701360)
      Regarding KDE 4 though, the changes between 3 and 4 were much more fundamental than between Gnome 2 and 3. That is not to say that KDE 4 was not a mess initially, it certainly was; I personally switched around 4.2, and it was seemingly functional then but very much not ready. But now at 4.8 it rocks, kwin is really fast nowadays. The only thing I'm missing from 3.x is the ability to drag-and-drop file(s) from Ark to Konsole and have them extracted there, but with all the new features that is a minor irritat
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I really really wish the Gnome control panel had an advanced settings pane built in, instead of having to download and install gnome tweak tool. Every version of Windows, OSX, OS9, just about every thing else out there let the user change the UI appearance, why has this been removed and relegated to a third party application in Gnome.

    I like Gnome 3, nice design, easy to extend via JS, it just desperately needs a BUILT IN appearance customization pane.

  • "Questionable" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supersloshy (1273442) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:02PM (#39198833)

    but some of them seem questionable

    I know that it's considered traditional here on Slashdot to rant on GNOME 3 and how "awful" some people think it is, but can we at least keep that in the comments section? The article summaries should just say what's new, not whether or not you like the changes. I'm sick of hearing things like "maybe it's time to move to KDE for me" or "when will the GNOME developers listen to the community?" or similar things in article summaries here on Slashdot. Unless there's someone you're quoting who says that, please keep your comments in the comments section.

    Anyway I'm really looking forward to GNOME 3.4! I'm really enjoying 3.2 on my desktop and I might just put it on my netbook too with this new update. The only real problems I've ever had with it are a couple problems with the notification area, to be honest. If they could improve that then I'd be willing to give it my full recommendation to nearly anybody... Well, excluding the people who like to really customize their UIs. I've grown past that and I'll just try to use what I'm given now, and this is honestly making it really easy for me instead of being really frustrating.

  • Does anyone else have problems with 3rd party apps looking like crap in these new desktop environments? I tried Unity, and I think the latest GNOME I messed around with with 3.2 Things like Netbeans and Eclipse just didn't seem to fit and looked and acted awkward. The Unity sidebar was clumsy, and the unified menu in GNOME didn't work right. I always end up going back to GNOME 2.

    It would be nice to feel like I'm not stuck on a Windows 95 based desktop, especially since everything seems to be going forwa

  • wobbly windows? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by edmicman (830206) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:05PM (#39198885) Homepage Journal

    And when can I get wobbly windows back on GNOME3?

    • It was never there to begin with. That was Compiz, a third-party project that was never really official. Metacity never had wobbly windows.

  • by Per Wigren (5315) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:06PM (#39198889) Homepage
    Too much whitespace.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this!

      Gnome 3 is ugly, and they keep saying it's beautiful, but it just isn't. There's loads of unused, empty, undesigned space. It's like a desert.

  • Tablet UI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:27PM (#39199195) Journal

    (leading to a world where hackers, tablet users, and grandma can all get along).

    And that's the problem. When I'm on a tablet, I want a tablet interface. When I'm on a desktop, I want a DESKTOP interface.

    Stop trying to make one interface to rule them all. When I can use a keyboard and mouse on a tablet, I'll consider having a desktop interface. Until then, KEEP THEM SEPARATE!

    • Re:Tablet UI (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sqldr (838964) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:01PM (#39203367)

      How many tablet interfaces do you know that allow you to move windows around, have drop down menus from the top bar, or open chat sessions in the notification bar? It wouldn't work on a tablet in its current form and isn't a tablet interface.

  • The only interface change I saw mentioned in the article was provisioning for a top-of-screen style menu bar.

    Everything else is tweaking widgets and pickers, not adding functionality or new features.

    It's great that they're taking the time to polish and tweak the UI, but I didn't see a single thing mentioned that would be worth the hassle of an upgrade unless it were automatically done by my distro's update service.

    i.e. If I had to work to install the upgrade, like rolling my own build, I wouldn't bot

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:20PM (#39199969)
    Now with five toes!!
  • "The big thing to take from this recycle bin appears to be improvements to the underlying technology that might help other window managers take advantage of the GNOME 3 infrastructure"

    Huh? That was radically unexpected.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @03:53PM (#39202037)

    This is a shoutout to all the KDE developers. All you have to do to win is DO NOT SCREW UP. Don't change KDE radically. Just keep is slow and steady. I had to switch from Gnome 3 to KDE, and I like KDE. Many will be abandoning Gnome 3 in the months to come. KDE is fine just like it is. All you have to do is not screw it up! That's it. Just don't mess up the user interface like Gnome, Unity, etc. Don't make KDE look like a tablet, Mac, Windows 8, etc. Just keep it the same. Don't screw it up, like I said already.

  • Like many out there, I'm surviving the recent GNOME "upgrades" by running fallback mode which mimics GNOME 2.x. That's the only means to maintain sanity and a semblance of productivity. Going at this rate, keep an eye for a GNOME branded one-button mouse, because right-click is for pussies.
    • I tried on four or five systems to get gnome fallback mode to work without success (the bar never worked in a similar enough way) so eventually had to roll them back to an earlier gnome or a different window manager entirely (eg. KDE + Compiz to make it act like the previous gnome). If all else fails you can fallback to twm, but that's a pretty long fall :)
      On my home system with fedora 15 or 16 (not sure when I tried it) gnome wouldn't even start at all from a fresh install. I couldn't be bothered working
  • by Osgeld (1900440)

    Please hold your breath while I find the time to figure out your new stuff.

  • Have they fixed so it's easier to disable the static workspace on the non-main screen if you have multiple screens?

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

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