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GNOME GUI Open Source Software Upgrades Linux

GNOME To Lose Minimize, Maximize Buttons 797

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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  • Maximizing a window is such an uncommon thing to do, that few will be annoyed by the much smaller target surface that a window border makes up?

    With that out of the way -- why are they removing them?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:59PM (#35389478)

      Tested in the real world? No, not at all. But the developers have done a lot of reading of theoretical papers, so how could this go wrong?

      • by justsomebody ( 525308 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @05:03PM (#35391500) Journal

        actually, i just tested live image. and boy... it rocks like hell. as much as i was skeptical about minimize, maximize removal... in 1 minute i started wondering why were they there in the first place. managing maximization like in gnome 3 fells so much more natural. and minimize? when you have smart desktop managing, there is actually no point in having it. and automatic desktops... ROCK

        so... in 1 minute it felt natural
        in 5, i started wondering how dumb interfacing with desktop was before shell

        now, just give me good session manager and i'm willing to forget every single pain with interfaces as they were. don't know if i like docked dialogs copied from apple though, but fortunately they can easily be set off to standard behavior with settings manager. although i don't plan to do that first second, i want to be sure i have it right.

        p.s. the version that came with fedora 14 annoyed the hell out of me and i went back to standard after 1 day

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by devxo ( 1963088 )
      Eh, maximing window sure isn't an uncommon thing to do. I run my browser and pretty much every other window maximized, it just works better. Only windows I keep small are something like instant messenger and setting panels. Granted I've learnt to double-click the title bar instead, but many people use the maximize window button.
      • by CAPSLOCK2000 ( 27149 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:54PM (#35390460) Homepage

        Maximize all your windows by default, that's what I do.

        I got rid of the minimize and maximize buttons a long time ago.
        All windows (except for dialogs) are started maximized.
        If I don't want a window maximized I double-click the title bar.
        I've bound "minimize" to mouse-wheel down on the titlebar.
        This way I can scroll through my windows by positioning my mouse on the titlebar and scrolling down. (remember, all windows are maximized, so the title bars are perfectly aligned).

      • by SETIGuy ( 33768 )

        I rarely maximize and frequently minimize windows. Rather than remove these buttons I'd rather see an additional "a maximize vertically" button that doesn't change the left and right boundaries of a window. I'm hoping that panels, and having a window list in a panel are still allowed, and that clicking on a window button in the list will alternately minimize and restore it.

        I'll reserve judgment until forced to upgrade during as OS upgrade. But if I don't like it I have no problems with changing to someth

    • On a day to day basis I rarely use any of the titlebar buttons. I double-click the titlebar to maximize/restore, click the taskbar or dock to minimize, usually just punch Alt+F4 or Alt+Q to close.
    • People on low-end laptops (I have a couple) with limited screen resolution use it a lot more than those with a nice big monitor with lots of real estate. I frequently run my browser and email clients in maximized mode. Granted, in these cases I don't tend to leave maximized mode either.

      In general, I'm willing to give it a try, especially since there will still likely be keyboard shortcuts for the operations and a way to restore the functionality if you don't like it.

    • by dejanc ( 1528235 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:15PM (#35389594)

      With that out of the way -- why are they removing them?

      Minimize is removed because the concept doesn't make much sense in GNOME Shell. Minimize only has an intuitive function when used with a panel, while in GNOME Shell all it does is make the window disappear. The last time I tried GNOME Shell, minimizing did prove to be a frustrating habit acquired by years of having a panel.

      Maximize on the other hand is removed because... well, because this is GNOME we are talking about...?

    • They're arguing that minimizing is an uncommon thing to do and also one that doesn't work well within the general interface ideas behind Gnome Shell. So minimizing is, basically, deprecated. OTOH, they're not at all saying that maximizing is infrequent. What they are saying is that you should maximize in other ways: primarily by dragging the window to the top edge (that'd be the same as in Win7; the mouse gesture might be different, I haven't really tried Gnome 3); double clicking the title bar will also still work, I assume. Mouse gestures are supposedly more "gratifying" or some similar thing that will undoubtedly get a lot of hate on Slashdot.

      FWIW, it's true that I only really use the close button on the title bar. I rarely minimize windows, and I invariably maximize by double clicking the title bar.

    • So now we have a title bar which is completely blank, a menu bar which is mostly blank, and a button bar which is also mostly blank. I'm going to need another monitor just to hold all the blank space.

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:55PM (#35389430)

    The world becomes more and more like satire every day.


    • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:08PM (#35389534)

      Odd that they have a GNOME Marketing Contractor, when the GNOME Devs themselves seem to be doing such a good job of contracting their market (share).

    • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:26PM (#35389710)

      Fortunately, it was well planned, not just a result of someone changing their mind while writing an email. [lwn.net]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheLink ( 130905 )

        It might seem a bit strange to make a big change based on only reasonable certainty, but more than that is hard to get. User studies can be informative, but in this area, we're really interested how experienced users work with a lot of windows, so the most basic approach of paying people off the street to sit in front of of a computer for an hour to do predesigned tasks wasn't going tell us much.

        Yeah hilarious. Are they really interested in how experienced users work? Or have they been paid by someone to sabotage GNOME (just looking at the stupid ideas they've been coming up with).

        Not sure if I count as an experienced user but the way I work with lots of windows (e.g. 30+) is, I use Windows (2K/XP/7) and have all the task buttons ungrouped and in two rows, so that I can click directly on them to raise the window I want. I also have a utility I wrote called LinkKey[1] so that I can quickly bind alt-

        • "GNOME or KDE don't suit me for handling lots of windows"

          No, this isn't the point. Your problems with Gnome/KDE are that, as it usually happens in other usability realms, you being a kind of "power user", have invested a lot of time doing things in some particular way that fits proper in some particular environment, then you try to export your way of doing things to a different environment -and fail.

          "they order task buttons vertically first then horizontally"

          No, they don't. They do that, maybe *by default

        • On Windows, my task bar is on the left. It leaves me the full height of the screen for windows, plus gives me a single huge column for the task buttons. Only once have I gotten close to filling the thing. It's set to auto hide if I have one monitor, but not if I have two.

          I'd like to do the same thing in Gnome, but the panel widgets don't behave correctly when the panel is vertical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:56PM (#35389448)

    Windows: focus groups, study users, never get it quite brilliant but basically give people what they want.

    Apple: try to think about what will appeal to the user, deliver to maximise experience.


    • by Heliologue ( 883808 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:42PM (#35389860)
      Let's be honest, though; both Apple and Gnome have pretty much the same design approach. The only difference is that when Apple does it, all their douchebag fanboys call it a design win, but when Gnome does it, it's a terrible, uninformed, arbitrary decision. It's stupid either way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shin-LaC ( 1333529 )
        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.
      • as far as i know, apple does not remove useful buttons just because "They don’t make sense within the current shell design. There’s nothing to minimize to, like a dock or window list, and it’s potentially confusing, since users will not know where their windows have gone."
        my advice to mr allan who wrote tfa: if minimize does not make sense in the current design and you dont have anything to minimize to, your ui sure needs a lot more work!

    • Someone from outside (Ubuntu in this case) is applying pressure for us to change/move something to emulate Apple, so we'll remove most of that feature instead.

      It's called taking your ball and going home. Ha! That'll teach em!

      KDE would do the opposite: Make the feature user-relocatable and put little black arrows on each widget turning them into drop-down menus. They would also add a new section to the browsing tree in Konqueror allowing you to browse windows that are minimized/maximized and to save 'favorit

  • by fishlet ( 93611 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @12:57PM (#35389454)

    For ubuntu to drop Gnome for Unity.

  • by Laebshade ( 643478 ) <laebshade@gmail.com> 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!

    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:38PM (#35389824) Journal

      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.

      All things you could already do with any decent X11 window manager. How is it that GNOME's removing easy access to these features, and cluttering the context menu making them much harder to access, only to come back around and make them easier again, is a positive feature? Hell, if GNOME/KDE weren't trying so hard to imitate Windows all the time, they wouldn't have to remove the normal options, to FORCE people to kick their Windows habits, which GNOME/KDE have been encouraging, while all other X11 WMs used a different and superior model to Windows.

      I use blackbox based WM's because they make it this quicker and easier than anything else. Mouse-over the title-bar and wheel-up to shade, wheel-down to unshade. Mouse-over the maximize button, and middle-click to maximize vertically-only, or left-click for horizontal-only maximization, in addition to the normal left-click. Right-click on the titlebar and the top entry is "send-to", select the workspace and it's gone. Don't need to mouse-over a tiny "switcher" applet to switch workspaces, either, mouse-over any blank area on the desktop, and wheel-up/down to go next/prev. Or you can middle-click for a list, or you can always use the toolbar (but you don't NEED the toolbar at all, if you don't want it).

    • KDE is much better (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mangu ( 126918 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:48PM (#35389914)

      In KDE you still have the minimize and maximize buttons. "If you want to minimize, you can right-click the titlebar, then click minimize, or using ALT+F9"??? WTF, I have been using computers since 1975 and find that difficult, how about n00bs?

      In KDE, if you are a "power user", you can middle-click the maximize button to maximize the window vertically while maintaining the horizontal size, or right-click it to maximize the window only horizontally. Nice, easy, simple, and keeps working what has always been working.

      In other words, you can always improve something, but ***IF IT AIN'T BROKEN, DON'T FIX IT***

    • by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:27PM (#35390230) Homepage

      If you want to minimize, you can right-click the titlebar, then click minimize, or using ALT+F9.

      There's no better way to say it: This decision is asinine and incredibly arrogant.

      The change to the maximize function is ... well, minimal. Double-clicking the menu bar is something that can be learned (although certainly confusing if you expect it to windowshade the window).

      But killing miminize? Minimize is an important, frequently used function for anyone who does real-world work with multiple applications. Multiple screens are NOT a substitute. Anybody who thinks right-click/pick is an adequate substitute must not use a laptop. Clumsy, oafish interface.

      I wasn't bothered when Ubuntu moved the close boxes around, because Gnome traditionally has followed a path of encouraging user customization, and I could easily move the controls back where I wanted them.

      But if Gnome 3 removes the minimize button, it's dead to me.

    • by cOldhandle ( 1555485 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:49PM (#35391414)
      Yeah, I agree, this is a great change. Before, I always wanted more blank space on the title bar, and it was a bit boring and unsatisfying to just maximize windows with a single input event. Minimizing windows to organize them with a single input event was always a bit unsatisfying too, your approach seems much more logical, and only requires a few dozen extra input events - I'm glad the choice to work either way has been eliminated. Yeah, dragging and dropping is very enjoyable, I always try to incorporate that into my workflow.
  • Such that it can be used vertically?


  • 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 mpyne ( 1222984 )

      KDE decided that icons are unnecessary.

      Icons have been allowed on the desktop even since KDE 4.0 (where the equivalent Plasma widget for a desktop link was automatically created). Mapping a filesystem path to an icon view on the desktop has worked since 4.1 and in fact is far more flexible than it was in 3.5.

      I should know we use icons everywhere, as I had to write KSharedDataCache just to keep icon loading from slowing down the entire desktop!

    • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @05:11PM (#35391594) Homepage Journal

      ...what they're doing.

      If they did know, then they'd realize A) a GUI spec is pointless unless it forms part and parcel of a holistic OS platform, otherwise they might as well be trying to reinvent HTML; and B) being a *nix coding geek imparts a natural INferiority when it comes to GUI expertise, not the superiority that most of them obviously feel; and C) Personal Computing is a consumer culture with certain basic use cases and expectations that must be fulfilled, so you shouldn't be surprised that putting 'candy' on everything doesn't work when you expect people to operate their computers in some profoundly different ways.

      What are those profound differences? Here's a few:

      1) Leaving users to grope in the dark WRT hardware compatability, instead of marketing your software to hardware vendors by offering a simple test suite and standard, trademarked icon that shoppers can readily identify on the package. Leaving it to each distro to define hardware compatibility lists was wrong: They all sucked and were half-hearted at best. HCLs should be the Linux Foundation's job because hardware compatibility is the kernel's role.

      2) Leaving budding programmers and power users without an SDK or standard IDE that allows anyone to get their feet wet and share their work with confidence (as in, it will actually run on another novice's machine instead of going down in a dependency flames). If you think this is stupid or off the mark, consider that Linux is doing really well on handhelds and both Google and the Linux Foundation have their own SDKs. No one will do a Desktop SDK because of the old-hacker politics involved and their loathing of vertical integration; LSB does not go far enough and doesn't even define a way to install software packages (all it has is the package format, but no procedures or interfaces are defined).

      3) Leaving users to fight-it-out with their device settings. There are still some influential (old people) who behave like Linux video was good enough with VGA framebuffer support and /dev/dsp output for one audio app at a time. Yet others treat video and audio as simplistic and beneath their concern. This has lead, for example, to subsystems like X11 that could not support the use case of 'Change the display to these new parameters and if the user indicates they work, save those setiings'. Instead we got a situation where every distro had to write their own display settings code, and they all did it badly because the assumption that display settings were just too 'simple' for X11 itself to manage them just wasn't true.

      Also, what most PC programmers and techs refer to as 'OS components' (libraries, services, etc) are astoundingly referred to as 'applications' in the Linux world. This distorts the way Linux techs relay help and tips to novice users to the point where the distinction between OS and application tends to disappear.

      4) Relating to the "platform" primarily by its Kernel, a piece of software that is formless/invisible to most non-programmers. Suffice it to say that if Google were marketing a handheld "Linux" to phone users, their offering wouldn't be a tenth as successful as Android and there would be all kinds of negative politics involved that called for Gnome and KDE versions just for starters. The whole community is guilty of this misstep, which amounts to a sort of mass geek delusion. Note that Firefox didn't play this game and it succeeded because people knew how it looked and behaved by default, and any third parties changing the Firefox code were forced to change the name of their offering to something other than 'Firefox'. OTOH, "Linux" defines an almost formless sea of non-kernel alterations that we geeks expect users to become familiar with.

      5) Inserting the OS people between the user and the app authors, ensuring that only the biggest enthusiasts and coder-types make an effort to interact directly with the authors. This is part of what I call 'distro culture' which itself has many ill effects. Contrast this with the App Store concept where authors upload their wares themselves, and get a communication channel to/from users.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Whilst the parent post has plenty of valid points, I wonder if there is an underlying issue about the way people think about Linux.

        Some people seem to think that the goal of Linux is to become as popular as possible, and to beat immediate-term "rivals" like OS X or Windows. So "Linux on the desktop" is important. On the other hand, some may think that trying to produce a flashy UI to make this happen is not a good use of time.

        Some people think the goal of Linux is to create the best possible OS and to hell

  • when kde-4 came out i hated it, i still dont like it and i keep trying it hoping it will improve, it took me a long time to tolerate gnome-2.x after switching from gnome-1.4 (which i loved) anymore i prefer using xfce, icewm or openbox, with rox-filer drawing desktop icons & wallpaper, and i like keeping an eye on the lightweight window mangers anymore, the Gnome/KDE environments are just too busy and try to be too much for me to like anymore.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:01PM (#35389492) Homepage Journal
    Dragging is more stress-inducing to the hand than simply clicking mouse. we do countless minimize-maximize actions over the course of a normal workday.

    I cant risk more potential for RSI, just because a few people think that is better to do so.

    Excuse me gnome, but you are losing me.
  • by occamsarmyknife ( 673159 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:02PM (#35389500)

    I like clean interfaces, but seriously, what does this help? It doesn't save space, the title bar is still there. Ignoring those buttons costs nothing, and replacing a button with a non-graphical multiple-action like double clicking isn't making an interface simpler, it's making it more complex. I understand the confusion about a minimize button with no taskbar, but this doesn't seem like a particularly well thought out design change. We got rid of feature X, so action Y isn't the same anymore. Okay, just get rid of it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:17PM (#35389636)

      It improves job prospects for so-called "usability" geeks who can sell themselves by writing pseudo-intellectual crap about how they improved things. See also the removal of the status bar, protocol string and other such stuff from web browsers.

      Most people can't be bothered to learn how to use software applications so everybody should dumb-down to their level! Of course Gnome was a real innovator here with v2 when everybody stopped using it. And hey; I hear mobile devices are the new coolz so no matter how limited you find mobile apps, desktop software is now going to copy the UI.

      You just know these usability bastards are going to show equal contempt when, having fucked-up desktops, they set their sights on the command line.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by equex ( 747231 )
      Seems to me Gnome 3 screenshots had their titlebars eating like 20% of the vertical space. Plenty of room for _more_ buttons in the title bar, actually. This is bull.
    • by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:35PM (#35389792) Homepage

      Nothing. It's just the latest from the Department of Stuff Nobody Asked For.

      Who exactly is supposed to be the target audience for these inanities? On the one hand, you have people who have already being been using computers for a long time. They already know how to work a standard Win/Lin interface. What's the need to present a "baby" interface?

      For children? 5-year olds can (and do) run current versions of GNOME without a problem.

      Meanwhile, how many mod points do you want to bet that Gnome still will not have fixed 5 or 10 year old basic usability bugs in the file chooser, etc., as opposed to creating whole new ones with shiny, fancy stuff?

      • 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 VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:02PM (#35389506)

    Drag-to-snap is more enjoyable than pressing a button to resize.

    UI tasks enjoyable? What drug is this blogger on?

    A UI's purpose isn't to be enjoyable, it's to let the user do what he wants/needs to do and otherwise stay out of the way.

    Case in point: Clicking a button is going to be a lot quicker and require me to do less thinking than dragging a window around.

    Having said that, I like snap and would like to see several of its features included, but not as the primary replacement for the maximize button.

  • I don't care so much about minimize or maximize buttons. I just need two things: a way to get the window as big as physically possible for when I'm working in one app and need the screen real estate, and a way to get windows that I need open but don't need to pay attention to at the moment out of the way. Example the first: I'm working in a graphics app, don't expect to be doing anything but drawing and working in it while I've got it open, and want as much of the screen for the image as I can get. Example

    • by dingen ( 958134 )
      Exactly. I never ever use the minimize function. What I do use are the functions to hide windows and I don't need a button in the top of the window for that.
  • Somewhere a million Microsoft employees are smiling.
  • I like being able to expand my windows for more acreage - and put them aside when I need to focus on other things. Just how does that complicate the UI? Two little buttons - is that too much to ask for?

  • by mfnickster ( 182520 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:08PM (#35389530)

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

    Someday, I'd love to sit down at a computer, point it to the URL where my interface preferences live, and presto - it instantly becomes the desktop I'm most familiar with.

    Think of it as the GUI equivalent of setting your shell in .profile.

    • That would be way too logical... give us a ..... choice? what would we complain about then? this happens every time developers try to be progressive. It's like why don't they just make it an option? or a simple UI plugin to change it back.
    • KDE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirstead. o r g> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:52PM (#35389942) Homepage

      Sounds like you want KDE.

      In KDE whether or not you want minimise or maximize buttons is a simple click in the control panel.

      • But can I load a configuration in one step, without having to click through control panel options every time?

        I hope KDE takes that direction, it would be a joy to use.

      • Next to a mountain of mountains of other simple clicks in the control panel....

    • 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 VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:09PM (#35389544) Homepage Journal
    The hope is that the developers will put more attention to the meat by fixing the numerous bugs that are lurking into the GNOME suite.
    Otherwise they'll end up with a new KDE 4.0 fiasco.
    Anyway, hiding buttons is not a real great advance in my humble opinion.
  • I didn't read the article, but clicked on the link to the Gnome 3 page. Seems like an incredibly massive overhaul with loads of changes. Is this really the best article that could be come up with to start a discussion on slashdot about Gnome 3?

    Personally, I like the sound of it, but the website is extremely ambiguous. I can't tell what's going on in any of the screenshots. Some screencast videos or something would be helpful. The text descriptions don't really help, either. I might have to try it out - kudo

  • by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:12PM (#35389572)

    I haven't used Gnome 3 so I don't know if I like this change. But I have one request for the devs: ***PLEASE*** make it *easily* possible to retain the Gnome 2 look and feel if a user prefers that. TFA wasn't clear about whether this would be possible.

    You become comfortable working in a particular way. Then you upgrade ---all your reflexes are wrong and you have to waste time relearning the interface. If I'm productive, let me stick with what I know. For a developer to alter the UI without a downgrade path (as MS did with the Office ribbon) is the height of solipsistic arrogance.

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:15PM (#35389590) Homepage Journal

    I love Linux, but it's like everyone mutually agreed to abandon desktop sanity. KDE never met an option they didn't like, and Gnome never met one they did. I've used both extensively and recently but both make me spend more time cussing at the screen than I want to. I've held on to Linux (and FreeBSD) desktops for over a decade but I give up. It's not going to happen. I'm still going to work on a Unix all day, but I'm switching to the pretty one.

    • You would also be switching to the OS that traded the zoom to fit button for maximize, added a minimize button on version 10, put back icons on the desktop after users revolted, and now just like MS Windows you can resize the windows from any side of the border.

      It might not be a bad change for most people.

      The only thing that scares me is the drag to top to maximize. I flick my windows around my desktop, so having them do that when I brink them to the top on a small screen drives me nuts.

    • Try Xfce4.

      Besides, this is not a Linux issue because Linux is just a kernel. It's a UI issue, mainly GNOME's issue. Whether you're running Debian or FreeBSD, it's the UI you're interfacing with, and that's more or less the same on the mainstream unix-like OSes.

      • I've tried XFCE and it was pretty great on an old laptop I have. I like the heavier desktop environments, though, and I'm not fond of any of the Free options. I wholeheartedly agree about the difference between UI and kernel, but given that I can't use OS X's interface on a Linux distro, the choice of IU is strongly affecting my choice of OS.

  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:15PM (#35389592) Homepage

    This is such a drastic step of changing a UI paradign that's existed for the past 25+ years, and the only justifications I see for it are completely theoretical ones. Where's the usability testing by actual users to see if the theories hold any water?

    Both sides can argue about what THEY think the user will prefer. The arguments can sound extrodinarily convincing, but what actually matters is how it performs in the real world with actual users. The solution to this problem seems to be "just put it in the next release and see if people revolt enough" rather than conducting actual controlled tests. IMO this is an extrodinarily flawed approach. A controlled test gives you non-biased opinions rather than political ones. This approach only seems to create a rift between the two opposing sides rather than finding out what's the best UI experience for the user.

  • by xded ( 1046894 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:18PM (#35389640)
    ... always worked as an alternative for maximize/restore on MS Windows. Just like double clicking the top-left corner closes a windows since Windows 3 at least.
  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:33PM (#35389764)

    So they took a button on the screen you could click and turned into a keyboard shortcut, and one of the benefits listed in the article is that it is more touch-friendly.

    It is nice that they took them out and used that space for nothing. I'm not sure how replacing useful buttons with more pixels that do nothing and convey no information helps.

    Another argument given is that there's no dock or windows list to minimize to, but if you want to switch to a different window, you go to the overview, which is exactly like a windows list or dock, but less convenient.

    Reading Owens explanation was painful. He starts with revealing that he never minimizes anything and then speculates randomly on why people would use it (missing nearly all of the reasons I use it), then bases everything on 2 peoples opinions who he had work without minimize buttons for a while.

    The reasons for getting rid of the maximize button is they though it emphasized the title bar as a way to resize the window (WTF?) and that the new way is more enjoyable (WTFFF?)

    I haven't found a single reason that wasn't based on incredibly minor aesthetics or really screwed up views of "emphasis" or "mental models."

    Can anyone give an actual reason for doing this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward


    • Please list some of your reasons for using maximize.

      Personally, the only reason I find myself using maximize is to get around some braindead ui design that basically requires it, but doesn't just take up the space anyway. For instance, web sites which specify obscene widths for their layout....

      I'm not saying there's no other reason, or that getting rid of it entirely makes sense, just that I'd like to hear some of these "other reasons" that keep getting referred to without ever being mentioned.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:33PM (#35389768)

    ... from the very beginning.

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

    - CORBA after it had long died
    - XML
    - GConf (the horrors of the windows registry re-implemented by monkeys)
    - C# and Mono - embracing Microsoft technology!
    - Umpteen window manager changes, none good enough

    The sad part is that the other DE's are not in a good shape either. KDE 4 has come out of the woods recently. Enlightenment is still not out. XFCE does not have that traction. GNUstep is like HURD, barely alive.

    May be writing a good GUI is beyond something that can be accomplished by a mainly volunteer community...

    • by Pecisk ( 688001 )

      1. CORBA wasn't dead when GNOME 2 was created, t.i. in 2001. It died few years later, sure, but guess what, D-BUS was created and CORBA was deprecatated;
      2. What's wrong with XML?
      3. You really don't know what GConf is, do you? It is nothing like binary spagetti of Windows registry. In fact, it's the best thing GNOME has delivered and afaik dconf - next generation of XML registry - will be adapted by KDE too. Now you can start running and screaming;
      4. C# and Mono - and while you refuse to embrase it, huge par

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @01:57PM (#35389980) Homepage Journal

    It does NOT make the UI easier to use. Cleaner looking, yes, but NOT easier. A button sits there, visible, inviting you to click it. You see that the option is exists and if you care to find out what it does you can click it and see what happens if you're adventurous or you can RTFM if you're not. Either way, you know the option exists. Double-clicking the title bar, however, is completely non-discoverable except by accident. Look at the screenshot [gnome3.org] at the top of the screen. The title bar has the title, a close button, and... NOTHING ELSE. Just a bunch of wasted space. Gnome devs are doing their users--present and future--a great disservice by removing these buttons.

    I think they're trying to copy the super-clean look of iOS, but iOS looks super clean because it works differently, not because it is clean for cleanliness' sake. There is no close button because you press the home button to leave the app. There is no minimize/restore because that's not how iOS apps work. There are no scroll bars because you scroll by dragging anywhere. Steve didn't just say "I'm going to throw away all these controls," he said "I'm going to change the UI" and as a result of THAT those controls were no longer needed. Gnome has not changed its underpinnings--it just threw away all those controls.

    Double-clicking the title bar to change the window is a great shortcut for power users who know it's there because it's a nice big target [asktog.com] and sometimes it's easier to double-click a part of the screen close to where the mouse is, rather than going after a button. But that shouldn't be the ONLY way.

    Decades ago, as a kid, I absolutely HATED the original Mario games on the NES because there was all this totally undiscoverable crap where you had to jump in just the right spot to mash your head into an invisible block to get points. I thought it was the dumbest thing in the world--how could you possibly know to do that? I didn't think it was a good way to make a game back then and I'm positive that it's not a good way to make a UI now. Gnome devs are ON CRACK if they think this is a good idea.

  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @02:45PM (#35390390)
    Real windows managers give the user and theme creators complete control over the buttons, not just on the titlebar but on all parts of the border.

    I've added buttons for:

    • full-screen (like a borderless maximize)
    • vertical maximize toggle
    • take window to next desktop
    • take window to previous desktop

    When I get around to it I might add a button to move the window and the cursor to the other/next monitor. I also have complete control over the right-click titlebar menu which I've heavily modified.

  • by TheABomb ( 180342 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @03:31PM (#35390778)

    Dragging UI elements used to suck back in the days when you had to use those touchpads to navigate around the screen. Those buttons that you only had to click once were a great kludge for that situation, but now that people finally have computers so big they fill up a desk, with a device that sits on the desk for clicking stuff, this will totally make ergonomic sense!

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot@@@davidgerard...co...uk> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @03:44PM (#35390890) Homepage

    Whereas KDE policy is "If you disKover some empty spaKe, add an useless feature or somethinK very very irritatinK. The iKon must be shiny, rotatinK, and Kontain at least one K.", the GNOME policy is the opposite: "If you find a feature, it might confuse a user, so remove it."

    The alpha 3.0 release, Project Topaz, will be the perfect GNOME's desktop, as it will have absolutely Gno features at all. It will simply use excessive amounts of system resources, and do Gnothing but sit there. This final version will contain only a single button. When the user pushes it, it pops up a beautifully anti-aliased text box on a white screen telling the user to use a pen and a piece of paper to do their work and to shut their computer off.

    GNOME 2.30 will be renamed to 3.0 because it will require 3GB of RAM and a modern graphics card with OpenGL 3.0 support; the graphical debugger requires a 128-bit processor, which has Gnot yet been invented, and a 3GB video card with optional 5-D rendering capability.

    GNOME's logo is a huge footprint, but it is Gnot clearly established whether it is a huge memory footprint or a huge disk footprint.

    (from Uncyclopedia [wikia.com])

  • by aok ( 5389 ) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @05:33PM (#35391734)

    The GNOME developers clearly don't surf for porn or they don't do it in an environment where they could get caught :)

    It's like there's a unified anti-porn conspiracy. First Ubuntu makes me lose the ability to quickly cube rotate to another workspace, now GNOME prevents me from quickly minimizing. I hope they at least retain the ability to set the mouse scroll-wheel on the titlebar to shade windows! :)

  • by Mystery00 ( 1100379 ) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @12:57AM (#35394402)
    "Next up we're removing the top border completely, you don't get to move your windows around the desktop, we will decide where your windows are going to be. You might not like it at first, but trust us, this will allow for a consistent level of quality as to how the windows are positioned and take up less space! Damn we're brilliant. What's that? Year of the Linux? Maybe next century when our potential users no longer need monitors or a keyboard and mouse. Then we can decide what gets downloaded into their brains!"
  • By all means change the GNOME UI - drop whatever you want - but please give it as much configurability as possble (even if these are hidden as "advanced options"). Firefox 4 makes the blunder of removing the status bar (which is fine if they want that as a default) but has no way of configuring it back without an extension (bad move). It sounds like GNOME 3 are going the same way - removing stuff and not letting users configure it back.

    Also, make configurability obvious - one late-in-the-day GNOME 2 change was to make GNOME Terminal flash its cursor by default (which I hate because it's very distracting) and then remove the "flashing cursor" option from the preferences of GNOME Terminal! GNOME devs claim it was because they intro'ed a global config option for flashing carets/cursors so where is that config? It's in the *Keyboard* config tool would you believe it - nutty beyond belief.

    BTW, drag to top of screen to maximise is an *appalling* UI decision 'borrowed" from Windows (whenever I'm in Windows, I keep accidentally maximising dragged windows because of this brain-dead default action). Next we'll see the "jump to top or bottom of document if you drift left or right when dragging a vertical scrollbar button" (another disastrous UI feature of Windows that I always get hit by when in Windows).

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan