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GNOME GUI Open Source Software

GNOME 3 To Support a "Classic" Mode, of Sorts 197

Posted by timothy
from the classic-coke dept.
An anonymous reader writes "LWN.net is reporting that GNOME developer Matthias Clasen has announced that, with the upcoming demise of 'fallback mode,' the project will support a set of official GNOME Shell extensions to provide a more "classic" experience. 'And while we certainly hope that many users will find the new ways comfortable and refreshing after a short learning phase, we should not fault people who prefer the old way. After all, these features were a selling point of GNOME 2 for ten years!'"
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GNOME 3 To Support a "Classic" Mode, of Sorts

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  • Good decission (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saxa (792531) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:14AM (#42065761) Homepage Journal
    Lets see what classic will mean :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:18AM (#42065781)

    GNOME is paying attention to what their users say and are listening to what the users want?

    Hell must be freezing over!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:22AM (#42065793)

    Too little, too late. The project has already run off too many power users and influential people within the FOSS community. The top-down, change for the sake of change dictate has led many to question the project's leadership.

    News Flash: They were faulting people who preferred the traditional way. Those who wanted a minimal and unobtrusive workspace were told to stop being stodgy luddites and get with the Metro/OSX times.

  • Pfft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:26AM (#42065819)

    "we should not fault people who prefer the old way"

    Oooh, how generously big-hearted and inclusive of them!

  • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:28AM (#42065827)

    Gimp and a bunch of other projects seem to be headed the same way - what is it with ripping out a decade of refined workflow for massive amounts of white space and fewer exposed configuration options? This trend for dumbed down interfaces has become disturbing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:35AM (#42065873)

    As the marketroids would say, Metro and OSX both "boldly threw off the old paradigm of desktop computing to embrace a synergistic experience 2.0".

    Windows did make major changes to their UI because the old one was, well, old. People who use computers as more than consumer appliances weren't having problems, but that was not convincing enough for the marketroids and design majors.

    GNOME did take the everybody else is doing it mentality.

    People were told to get with the times and replace their simple menu of useful applications with a goofy launcher/search to open all their pointless "apps"

    Sadly, most people see newness for the sake of newness as cool and exciting.

    GNOME wanted to go smoke behind the bleachers with the rest of the cool kids instead of accomplish things in chess club with the rest of us nerds. Their descision, their loss.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:39AM (#42065889)

    Answer is simple: no. They were all gung-ho for a new experience (yes I went there) while faulting all the old-timey users who were used to Gnome2. They were content with losing them until MATE/Cinnamon/whatever showed them there were more than a 'vocal few' who didn't like the new interface. Now they want all those users back.

  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:46AM (#42065933)

    FTA: "And while we certainly hope that many users will find the new ways comfortable and refreshing after a short learning phase, we should not fault people who prefer the old way."

    Translation: "We've lost so many users and had so many complaints that we have to do something, but we're not willing to totally capitulate, so we'll toss them something that looks like a compromise and see if they swallow it."

    FTA: "After all, these features were a selling point of GNOME 2 for ten years!"

    Note the exclamation point. I'd expect that from someone who's been fighting all along to keep some of GNOME 2's legacy intact - I don't expect it, and don't trust it, from someone who was, and possibly still is, ready and willing to throw all of GNOME 2 under a bus.

    I'm glad they're finally making some concessions to their users, but I'd be more convinced of their sincerity if they'd been more responsive to criticism earlier on, instead of covering their ears and digging in their heels for so long.

    For the time being I'm just fine with XFCE, and regardless of GNOME 3's newfound tweakability, I don't think I'll be looking to move back to the GNOME fold any time soon.

  • by TuringTest (533084) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:51AM (#42065975) Journal

    Keeping tight control is a *good* think in user interface design strategy; it provides a more focused structure and simpler environment, which were their goals.

    The mistake the Gnome developers made was calling the new desktop "Gnome 3". Had they presented it as an experimental new environment and named it "Project Harmony" or "Desktop Zen", or something like that, they would have stepped on less toes and met less resistance to the radical changes, and people would have seen it in better light.

    Of course they would have had less audience, as distros wouldn't have adopted it so quickly. That trade-off was their choice, but I think "Linux is awesome! There are three good major desktops now!" was a better selling point than "They've updated Gnome, and it sucks".

  • by Junta (36770) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:52AM (#42065977)
    The obvious question in terms of 'why not just let gnome-shell be tweakable answered with:
    <quote>We still believe that there should be a single, well-defined UX for
    GNOME 3, and extensions provide a great mechanism to allow tweaks
    without giving up on this vision</quote>

    I don't understand how this remotely makes sense. I'll preface this by commending the extensible of gnome shell, it allows changes that most other environments cannot offer. However, it's maddening that even the most trivial options mandate extensions to fiddle with. The two sides of the argument are pro-configurability and pro-single UX. What this solution offers is the worst of both worlds. For pro-configurability people, the configuration is not discoverable and its really hard sometimes to find what you want. On top of that, popular extensions break version to version. For pro-single UX people, extensions mean gnome can be anything. This is a single sentence that isn't internally consistent, which can be rephrased as "we don't want configurability because it can create too varied an experience, that's why we think its great that we provide a trivial mechanism that can be used to vary your experience all day long".
  • Backpedaling much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by partyguerrilla (1597357) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:56AM (#42065999)
    I'm guessing the exodus of users scared the hell out of them. What's the point of a "superior" desktop experience that nobody will use [haiku-os.org]?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @10:56AM (#42066011) Homepage

    The industry has "matured." "New isn't better" any longer. Now we just want to use what we have, not "experience" it.

  • by digitalaudiorock (1130835) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @11:10AM (#42066113)

    OMFG!!...Some of the quotes etc in the essay from the GNOME folks are utterly beyond belief. I'm serious...I had no idea their attitudes had reached that state...and all the talk about "our brand"...WFT?? They've essentially become Microsoft FFS. After reading that I don't see how anyone who cares about Linux or open source would want anything other than to totally abandon, even boycott those folks...simply amazing.

  • Not Thankful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @11:44AM (#42066315)
    I am not thankful for Matthias' condescension. A little more humility on his part in admitting Gnome 3 is bad design would be appropriate.
  • Why I like gnome 3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:12PM (#42066457)

    I'm a developer, and I have tried just about every windows manager out there. Ultimately, gnome 3 remains my choice for a few reasons.

    Gnome 3 works in the most pleasing way of all the WM's without any configuration. With minimal configuration it gets a lot better. KDE is awesome after intense and sustained configuration, which also goes for a lot of the more classic WM's. But, I don't want to spend very much time configuring at all, even though I have the ability to read manuals and get what I want. That's because what I want most is to focus on my work, not on my work tools. This is coming from someone who almost obsessively learns hotkeys and configures them in any window manager, the default behavior should still be coherent and reasonable.

    Gnome 3 also has the most superior window switching I've seen, and it has a very responsive flow to starting new applications. Its alt-tabbing with the way it shows you windows in other work spaces, the way it arranges windows when you hit the windows key, the hidden ribbon bar, the sensible default hotkeys (most of them inherited from gnome 2 I recognize) and the way the window manager seems to just try to get out of the way most of the time...

    I want minimal, pretty, and fast. So, yes I have some seriously powerful hardware to run this on, and maybe if I were on an older machine I would want a more efficient WM, but from a user interface perspective, Gnome 3 is exactly what I want in a window manager. Task switching and window arrangement is just vastly superior to the other WM's pre-configuration.

  • Re:Good decission (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:21PM (#42066523) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure the MATE people can update their code to use the version 3 libraries with or without GNOME's "official" help. That's pretty much how FOSS works.

    I think this is a good move by GNOME. I have to say I've been bothered by the reports that the fallback mode is going to be removed, I'm not a fan of Unity or GNOME Shell, but at the same time I'd like my desktop to be modern, supported, and able to run modern software without it appearing to be be a hack.

    This sounds like the start of the right approach to get a proper desktop back for GNOME users who want one.

    More-over, it also provides the GNOME project with a way out. They've kind of painted themselves in to a corner with GNOME Shell. I'm finding it very hard to believe that there's a significant contingent of people out there who prefer it, or Unity, to a desktop. An officially supported set of "extensions" can, over time, turn into an official GNOME next generation desktop project, without having to admit that maybe GNOME Shell was not quite what was needed right now.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:38PM (#42066645) Journal

    The mistake the Gnome developers made was calling the new desktop "Gnome 3". Had they presented it as an experimental new environment and named it "Project Harmony" or "Desktop Zen", or something like that, they would have stepped on less toes and met less resistance to the radical changes, and people would have seen it in better light.

    The Gnome devs went out of their way to make it difficult to impossible to have Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 co-exist, due to the library naming/incompatibilities. The way they manoeuvred, users were forced to use Gnome 3. Calling it "Project Harmony" or anything else wouldn't have made any difference, because they basically nuked Gnome 2.

  • Re:Not Thankful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by don.g (6394) <[zn.gro.sid] [ta] [nod]> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:21PM (#42068201) Homepage

    Arguably you could use some too. Not everyone hates GNOME3 with a passion. Yes it's different and not what you're used to, but that doesn't mean it's bad and wrong and that this needs to be "admitted".

  • Re:Good decission (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@@@earthlink...net> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:45PM (#42068345)

    Indeed, it certainly wasn't good enough to replace Gnome2. Whether your graphics drivers were hosed or not. Gnome3 is, itself, a hosing of the system.

    I doubt that I'll go back to a team that has proven to be so unreliable a supplier. That would require that nearly EVERYONE else to be equally unreliable. Better at the moment are KDE, LXDE, and xfce...possibly others I haven't examined. I'm not considering specialty things like blackbox to be competitors. I haven't evaluated Mate or Cinnamon, because when I was changing away from Gnome, they were in early beta. (I'm not happy with the changes from KDE3 to KDE4 either, but it's better than Gnome. And I'm talking about UI design, not bugs caused by a premature release.)

  • by Pausanias (681077) <pausaniasx@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday November 23, 2012 @03:47AM (#42071727)

    Funny, then now after the GNOME 3 and Windows 8 disasters, Max OS X offers the most "classic" desktop experience of all.

    On Max OS X You can still right-click on things, you still have a launcher, a trash icon, etc. You can display live system statistics in the launcher, you can have as many freaking windows as you like tiled however you want them, and CHOICE of whether you want an old-school launcher or the "overview/LaunchControl" style. You can move the taskbar around etc...

    Need I go on?

    How did this happen? How did APPLE of all people remain faithful to the classic desktop while the Linux and MS devs are ditching it.

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