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GNOME GUI Software Linux

Giving GNOME 3 a GNOME 2 Look 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-change-by-any-means-necessary dept.
nanday writes "GNOME Shell Extensions have done more than any other set of features to make GNOME 3 usable. Nearly 270 in number, they provide a degree of customization that was missing in the first GNOME 3 releases. In fact, if you choose, you can use the extensions to go far beyond Classic GNOME and re-create almost exactly the look and feel of GNOME 2 while taking advantage of the latest GNOME 3 code."
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Giving GNOME 3 a GNOME 2 Look

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  • by MrBandersnatch (544818) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @05:42AM (#44235849)

    I dont understand the problems that people have with it. I spent an hours learning it, I kept an open mind and ended up really liking it.

    That said - 90% of what I do requires a shell so maybe Im missing something....

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I personally must say the same, it gave me a lot less problems than gnome2. All in all, it just worked. I didn't feel the need to configure much, if anything (made middle mouse click be minimize windows).

      • by greenfruitsalad (2008354) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @08:53AM (#44237591)

        What about the fact that, by default, widgets are so thick, you can barely see any content? When I tried Gnome 3, Gnome 3 was pretty much all I could see. Nothing else would fit on the screen. In Gnome2 and KDE3, vertical resolution of 768 points was still perfectly usable. Now, unless you have >= 1080, you're suffering.
        Do people with gnu/linux not use their computers to consume/create content? I do. I'm not interested in flicking through dynamic workspaces just to prove I don't need to minimise windows.

        Therefore, in my opinion - anybody using Gnome 3 and liking it, is insane.
        (Yes, my middle name is 'insensitive clod'.)

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          What about the fact that, by default, widgets are so thick, you can barely see any content? When I tried Gnome 3, Gnome 3 was pretty much all I could see. Nothing else would fit on the screen. In Gnome2 and KDE3, vertical resolution of 768 points was still perfectly usable. Now, unless you have >= 1080, you're suffering.
          Do people with gnu/linux not use their computers to consume/create content? I do. I'm not interested in flicking through dynamic workspaces just to prove I don't need to minimise windows.

          Therefore, in my opinion - anybody using Gnome 3 and liking it, is insane.
          (Yes, my middle name is 'insensitive clod'.)

          The original Gnome 3 theme did have a large title bar and extra padding, but that was resolved long ago. Besides, there are a myriad of themes with different sized title bars and widgets to choose from.

          As for dynamic workspaces, you can turn those off and use fixed ones, if you like and you can even add back the maximize/minimize buttons. In reality, Gnome 3 is pretty flexible. It's a shame it was released when it was because of outside pressure. If it had matured a little longer so more of the pieces were

          • by HiThere (15173)

            1) KDE4's issues over KDE3 were fewer and smaller than those of Gnome3, and they still drove me to Gnome2.

            2) KDE4 is still not as good as KDE3 was, but I'm now using KDE4 to avoid Gnome3.

            3) Given the problems I have with both of them, I'd prefer to be using xfce, but my wife doesn't like it as well. (I'd really prefer KDE3.)

            4) I don't really like fidding with my machine. I have other things I want to be doing. And Gnome3 gratuitously breaks adaptations between versions, so I would need to WANT to be cons

          • http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2013/07/08/fedora-19-review-schrodingers-cat/2/ [linuxbsdos.com]

            Based on the pictures of GNOME 3 on that page of that Fedora 19 review, it looks like GNOME 3's GUI is still fat. It looks pretty much exactly the same as it looked a long time ago... ugly and with tons of wasted screen space. I still see that "title bar and extra padding" you mentioned that's supposedly been fixed.

            GNOME 3 is a disaster. Hell, KDE4 was too for that matter, but I'm pretty sure after this much time of it being officia

            • GNOME 3 is a disaster. Hell, KDE4 was too for that matter

              And Windows 8.

              I think our planet is passing through a cloud of gas or region of space that makes developers want to crank up the stupid in user interfaces.

    • Well personally I ran screaming in horror after the first two hours of flailing around trying to regain something approaching my old workflow. To each his own I suppose.

      • regain something approaching my old workflow

        I know, it took me ages to get back the spacebar heating feature. :P

        (But yeah, random UI redesigns can be annoying as hell. Personally, I kind of like the gnome-shell desktop - and at least it's better than freaking Unity - but on the other hand I'm not over gnome-terminal losing transparency. Currently I'm holding on to the old version as long as possible.)

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Well personally I ran screaming in horror after the first two hours of flailing around trying to regain something approaching my old workflow. To each his own I suppose.

        That's strange, because apt-get install xfce or its equivalent usually only takes about 10 minutes unless you have a really slow connection.

      • Well personally I ran screaming in horror after the first two hours of flailing around trying to regain something approaching my old workflow.

        So you're one of those old fashioned types who thinks computers are supposed to be useful for something?

    • by miknix (1047580)

      For starters, the quality of the extensions is lower than Gnome 2 applets - specially the system monitoring extension. When a single extension crashes in Gnome 3, the whole panel goes MIA, unlike Gnome 2.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        What finally did it for me was the "you shouldn't even be allowed to have widgets or themes" attitude of the Gnome devs. I'd tolerated Gnome shell despite its flaws up until then. With that kind of vision, we're eventually going to be very much at odds eventually, as I think Linux is all about options, and I like configuring my desktop to look and work the way *I* want. It's the same as iOS. If you think you'll be always be happy with someone elses' design, then by all means, stick with it, otherwise, get o

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

          What finally did it for me was the "you shouldn't even be allowed to have widgets or themes" attitude of the Gnome devs. I'd tolerated Gnome shell despite its flaws up until then. With that kind of vision, we're eventually going to be very much at odds eventually, as I think Linux is all about options, and I like configuring my desktop to look and work the way *I* want. It's the same as iOS. If you think you'll be always be happy with someone elses' design, then by all means, stick with it, otherwise, get out as soon as you can.

          I moved to KDE and wish I'd done so earlier. It's fantastic, and doesn't get the attention it deserves from the Linux community.

          I've heard that complaint about the gnome devs, but have yet to find actual evidence of it. It seems that if they really thought that way, they wouldn't have made gnome-shell extensible so that one could change widget and themes. The fact that they didn't build the initial tool to make those changes, while frustrating, is understandable as changing themes was not as high a priority as getting the rest of it working.

          As for KDE, yes, it is very good and extensible, too. However, if you had switched earlier, b

          • by HiThere (15173)

            Sorry, but I've tried Gnome3 repeatedly. (Really don't like KDE4 either, and I kept hoping they'd make it usable.) They didn't. They actually kept making it worse.

            I'd use xfce, but my wife doesn't like it. I'd prefer to use KDE3. Gnome2 was a good alternative. Now I've got KDE4, which is sufficient, if not good. (KDE3 was good leaning towards excellent.)

            I originally assumed that there were underlying technological problems that caused the change, but apparently the designers just decided they didn't

    • by lvxferre (2470098) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @07:24AM (#44236349)

      The hate against GNOME 3 has mixed origins. Some are natural, as "they changed now it sucks" reactions; the fact GNOME 2 was/is great also doesn't help at all. Some are because the software is new and nowhere mature. But some are genuine complaints from the users for GNOME 3 not actually improving their experience, but getting in the way to do common tasks - the devs confused "simple" with "simplistic" and are completely deaf for users' requests (some as simple as putting back in 3.7 a background configuration already present in 3.6 [gnome.org].

      As for me, I just moved to MATE when the whole thing happened and I'm quite happy with it.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        In all fairness the Gnome 2 userbase was not the desired userbase for Gnome 3. So being "deaf" was part of the design. Gnome wanted to shift its target market.

        • by Ignacio (1465) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @08:27AM (#44237227)

          So then they shouldn't have called Gnome 3 "Gnome". Just like Microsoft shouldn't have called Windows 8 "Windows".

          • by jbolden (176878)

            I agree with you on Gnome 3. When you want to shift user bases you should rename the product. The problem is the developers see "Gnome" as not being the desktop but rather the GNU Object Model which has been updated. The users of the GNU Object Model are the developers not the users of the desktop.

            Microsoft wants the Windows 7 community to migrate to Windows 8. On the other hand I think there would be a lot less friction if they had called it "Metro OS the successor to Windows" and had made it clear Win

            • by TWX (665546)
              Heh. I'm no developer nor have I ever been and I loaded Linux for the first time in many years over the weekend for a new box. When Gnome loaded, my first though was, "What the hell is this?"

              My second thought was, "Maybe KDE still looks a little like HP's CDE and will actually make sense". When I have a chance I may give it a shot.
          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            So then they shouldn't have called Gnome 3 "Gnome". Just like Microsoft shouldn't have called Windows 8 "Windows".

            Not really. After all Gnome 2 is open source. If the the target base for Gnome 3 was different than Gnome 2, there was nothing stopping somebody from picking up the Gnome 2 base and continuing it. Which is what the Mate desktop basically is. The same thing happened with KDE 3 and there is Trinity. However, Trinity has a very small user base compared to the original KDE 3 base and only time will tell if Mate is successful in keeping the Gnome 2 interface alive or not.

            Gnome 3 is the third iteration of the Gn

            • Gnome 3 is the third iteration of the Gnome Desktop Environment, there is no reason for it not to include the 3.

              The statement was never that the "3" should not have been included. The "Gnome" is the misleading bit, since it's apparently intended for an entirely new "market."

        • Gnome wanted to shift its target market.

          That's a good insight. I wish the governors of the major linux desktop distros would have realized this much earlier (or even today in some cases) and either not gone along with GNOME 3 or relegated it to a niche spin (which it does deserve as an interesting alternative technology).

          • by jbolden (176878)

            On both KDE 4 and GNOME 3 the distributions have done a bad job of communicating with GUI designers on a rollout strategy. At the same time GUI designers have done a bad job being unambiguous enough in their communications to communicate effectively. Both projects suffered horribly for these mistakes and they won't likely be repeated but it would have been a lot better for everyone if they hadn't.

            The big issue with GNOME is that RedHat understood the strategy and Ubuntu understood the strategy. But Ubunt

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wiredlogic (135348)

      These are the people who think that Win95 was the apex of UI design. Leave them to their retro revelry.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      /. has become ultra conservative when it comes to interface changes. Any substantial change of a piece of software is going to involve some things getting worse in exchange for more things getting better. Which means complex existing workflows likely will have to change. They don't like that even though existing workflows usually stifle innovation.

      • by Shark (78448)

        I may be naive, but I think adapting the workflow to the interface is backward. The interface is there to allow you to work, it should adapt itself to *your* workflow. With Gnome 2, if you wanted a pannel on the right side of the screen, you put a pannel on the right side of the screen. If you wanted a taskbar on the left side, you put a taskbar on the left. If you wanted the notification area in a specific corner, you put it there.

        People cling to Gnome 2 because it at least granted them the freedom to

        • by jbolden (176878)

          The ability to modify where things appear like that is an example of the sorts of changes I was talking about. It isn't integrated for the sake of integrated, it is integrated because it is much easier to genuinely engage in design when you can lock things down. Your car would be much more complex if it optionally let you reverse the brake and acceleration pedal or drive from the right front seat. What you get from locking things down is a far better default design.

          As for how configurable something shou

      • /. has become ultra conservative when it comes to interface changes.

        Interestingly, that conservatism also leaks over into 'vendor' loyalty. Rightly, GNOME 3 should never have been integrated into the major desktop linux distros. The idea that "we like what upstream has done with v2, and now they're going to v3, so we need to go to v3" is a degree of loyalty that ought to be proven, not granted.

        It's probably a hard lesson to learn, but perhaps a necessary step for the ecosystem. Given the decision again,

    • by Lisias (447563) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @10:41AM (#44239249) Homepage Journal

      I dont understand the problems that people have with it.[...]

      Ergo, you don't understand the way people uses computers. :-)

      I *create* things on my computer. Each "task" is done using a Code Editor (for code), an Text Processor (for requirements), a bunch of Browsers (for references, searches when in doubt and task and bug tracking) and sometimes a graphical editor (for, imagine that, graphics processing).

      Some tasks need a subset of all above. Some others, need them all. And having a workspace based on applications is the very dumbest idea of all times - producing content is a multi-hole, multi disciplinar, task.

      Gnome 3 tried to force down end-user, consumer solutions into professional's throat. Bad idea - not even Microsoft succeed into this (see Windows 8.1).

      My solution to the problem? I just switched for Mac OS X. I found it was easier to work there than to wait 1 or 2 years until Gnome realize the huge mistake they did.

      (And NO, I WILL NOT USE KDE - I don't like Windows-like environments, or I would use Windows at the first place!).

  • I've installed Ubuntu with gnome-shell for 3 computer illiterate friends.
    Once I've explained them that they should always work with the super key (on most keyboards windows key) and if they want to start something just type it into the startmenu (I also installed gnome-do on F4, because it's a little faster and I like it better), then they didn't have any problems with it at all.
    (One of that friend actually tried out unity too and even liked it!)

    I remember when I first upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10 (I think it w

  • why bother? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:02AM (#44235937)

    I know this will invite a flame or three, but the proper response here is Mate [mate-desktop.org].

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:36AM (#44236087)

      I know this will invite a flame or three, but the proper response here is Mate [mate-desktop.org].

      Mate http://mate-desktop.org/about/ [mate-desktop.org]
      "MATE is a fork of GNOME 2.
      It provides an intuitive and attractive desktop to Linux users using traditional metaphors."

      Cinnamon (although same as Gnome 3 with extensions) http://cinnamon.linuxmint.com/ [linuxmint.com]
      "Traditional layout, advanced features, easy to use, powerful, flexible."

      Can you not see the difference. The real question is why use Mate.

      • Cinnamon and Gnome 3 still are missing one vital feature from Gnome 2 and Mate. That is the key feature of showing window previews in the pager. This is a powerful feature that helps make virtual desktops a bit more easy to use. Seeing a bunch of boxes with numbers in them is far less useful. This sort of thing has been available in old X11 pagers for about 20 years or more. Why can Cinnamon not do it too? I rely on this feature to mind me what apps are running where.

        • by IANAAC (692242)

          Cinnamon and Gnome 3 still are missing one vital feature from Gnome 2 and Mate. That is the key feature of showing window previews in the pager. This is a powerful feature that helps make virtual desktops a bit more easy to use.

          Maybe I'm misunderstanding... I get this feature with Gnome3/Gnome Shell, although I installed an extension to get a better version of it, called Workspace Navigator. It actually provides a better overview than Gnome2 did for me. If I forget what's where, I just hit the super key and can see what's running on each virtual desktop.

          Truthfully, I like the idea of having extensions. I only install the functionality I need. I also like that I don't have to deal with Compiz in Gnome Shell. While it was fine wit

          • by caseih (160668)

            No that's not what I'm talking about. Workspace Manager does not appear to be related to this at all, if I'm reading its description right. I'm talking about the pager itself. It's the little display that's always on the screen in the tray or menu bar. It's like what Cinnamon has, but instead of just boxes with numbers around to represent the desktops, it has little thumbnails of the running apps, including the app's icon if the window is big enough. Either way this little bit of feedback is essential f

    • by HiThere (15173)

      IIUC, Mate is only a short-term solution because the underlying applications are no longer being developed. Cinnamon is the better long-term solution.

      Unfortunately, when I've tried either Mate or Cinnamon they've been too unresponsive to continue using. I'm not entirely sure why, but they are much less responsive than Gnome2 was, and are even less responsive than KDE4. Still, either is far better than Gnome3.

      My real hope is that xfce will develop a bit. Or possibly LXDE. (I'm not really after Lightweig

  • Mate is really popular, and Trinity is a forked build of KDE-3.x both desktops i liked a lot back when Gnome-2.x and KDE-3.x were being included in Linux distros, i have Mate on a Debian Wheezy desktop, and it works great, have not tried Trinity lately so i dont know the status of it but it seemed to be along the same lines as the KDE-3.x build,. seems like those two third party desktop environments would be more popular, and even built as portable as possible so a Linux user can untar in ~/ and fix up an ~
    • by armanox (826486)

      TDE ran fantastic when I used it last on an older laptop (P3 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM, Fedora 16). I think the team needs some more manpower, since it's slow to support newer operating systems (F17 is the last supported FC, for example), and needs a lot of documentation (I'd build from source if they had some instructions, but it's a mess).

      • by fnj (64210)

        Why do you suppose that the Trinity team needs to "support" newer distro versions? The job of the DE team is to develop and maintain the DE code, period. It is the job of the distro to package it and put it in their repo. I would rag on the distros for ignoring Trinity and supporting failed acid-trip experiments like Gnome 3.

        • by armanox (826486)

          As of right now the project is very geared towards Ubuntu. I just posted on Fedora Projects G+ page about supporting it, but I feel like they're going to say there isn't enough manpower on the TDE team to keep up with newer backend requirements (systemd, firewalld, etc).

  • Lubuntu Fan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by misfit815 (875442) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:23AM (#44236023)

    Gnome 3 is why I switched to Lubuntu (LXDE) and I've been very happy with it ever since. But if you have to jump through so many hoops to make your software behave like you want it to behave, then something's fundamentally flawed.

  • Gnome 1 rocks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by water-and-sewer (612923) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @07:02AM (#44236223) Homepage

    Just for fun last week I reinstalled one of the first distros that really got me cooking on Linux: SUSE 8.0, running KDE3.0 and Gnome 1. And you know what, I think Gnome 1 is the version that worked for me - sawfish windowmanager,hugely tweakable, some cool themes, and so on. Yes, the apps were in an earlier and less-useful state, but as a desktop, it was pretty cool.

    I had a fun time going down nostalgia lane with apps like Balsa and Spruce and even the early versions of Nautilus file manager (long before they went nuts on the "spatial" metaphor etc.) and even early version of the Pan newsreader.

    Maybe it's nostalgia, but that was a pretty good desktop. Gnome 2 never really floated my boat. And Gnome 3 can wither and die, as far as I'm concerned. It makes me so unproductive it drives me to turn off the computer and go read a book or something.

    • by bug1 (96678)

      Ive been tempted to try this, i remember early gnome as being really responsive... so how is it on new hardware as far as latency goes (app startup etc) ?

      • I installed it in a Virtual Machine, since my modern hardware would be unrecognizable to a distro from 2001. But it's freaking FAST. Imagine all those fat libraries that used to be thin, from the era when your distro came on a set of CDs instead of online repositories, and you accessed the 'net over a telephone line.

        To be clear, I like the modern apps better - things like clementine and kontact and I guess even evolution. But as a desktop, Gnome1 was tweakable and useable and interesting and geeky (and g

    • I'm on GNOME 2 (Ubuntu 10.x), but I still use Sawfish and Balsa, and I used Galeon until a few years ago when Firefox's plugins finally caught it up (and passed it) in terms of desirable features.

      I've upgraded Ubuntu to 12.x LTS on two laptops. One one I installed Mate and got things more or less working like I've had for a decade or more, though I'm not 100% happy with it. On the other the upgrade hosed itself, and I'm going to have to do a complete reinstall. For these reasons I haven't upgraded my mai

  • So the greatest accomplishment of GNOME 3 is to be able to look and feel like GNOME2. Doesn't sound like an improvement to me.
    • So the greatest accomplishment of GNOME 3 is to be able to look and feel like GNOME2.
      Doesn't sound like an improvement to me.

      Yet is does show how *flexible* Gnome 3 is. It also allows those who prefer a Gnome 2 look can have one without installing a replacement, and the pursuit of better interface can continue without punishing users in the transitional period.

  • The look doesn't matter, breaking the old applications before they were replaced does.
  • This issue is moot. Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE all offer the ability to regain your old functionality and work-flow . Maybe there are needs I don't understand, but all three of these alternatives have worked really well for me, particularly XFCE.
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @10:30AM (#44239089) Journal

    It will be default in RHEL 7, so it will be supported going forward. Gnome extensions seem to break with every other release.

  • TFA doesn't tell the whole truth. You cannot get Gnome 2 Look and Feel with Gnome 3. You just cannot. You cannot have workplaces in a grid, you cannot move and place your applets way you want, you cannot even have sensible task bar - one that is from applets doesn't even have context menus on buttons to allow one to move application to different workplace. It's like you spend couple of days tuning Gnome 3 and still get 'something' that is very far from what you've already had in Gnome 2 for many years. Bu
  • Right now, I have 3 systems. An aging dual core Dell D620 laptop with Intel graphics, a new dual core Lenovo E430 laptop with i3 chip and Intel graphics meant to replace the Dell, and a HP Pavilion p7-1233w Fusion A8-5500 Quad-Core 3.2GHz with builtin Radeon graphics that replaced 2 other desktops that went belly up.

    The Dell is stuck at Fedora 14. Anything newer brings in gnome3 and the system crashes when a 3D operation is done. I've tried Fedora 15 and 17, and could not get it configured to avoid th

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