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Linux Mint Developer Forks Gnome 3 314

An anonymous reader writes "Clement Lefebvre, the Linux Mint founder, has forked Gnome 3 and named it Cinnamon. Mint has experimented with extensions to Gnome in the latest release of their operating system, but in order to make the experience they are aiming for really work, they needed an actual fork. The goal of this fork is to use the improved Gnome 3 internals and put a more familiar Gnome 2 interface on it."
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Linux Mint Developer Forks Gnome 3

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  • Long-Term? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:22PM (#38454586)
    How long can he keep it up and what about long-term compatibility with GNOME 3 apps? Eventually I'm sure their "lineage" will drift far enough apart that you're either pulling in multiple families of libraries that do the same thing or you get GNOME 4 apps that don't work on Cinnamon 4 and vice-versa.

    Anyway, I'm typing this on Arch Linux 64-bit with GNOME 3.2.1 and a few (needed!) shell extensions. I find it fine and I thought I would be a GNOME 3 hater but I'm actually not.
    • The extensions are what's really needed. The hidden bar at the bottom is a very silly idea as a default. I keep ranting about not having a persistent visible notification for Thunderbird messages. With a handful of extension that have already added, Gnome-shell is getting close to acceptable, but there's a few very important things that are missing. Unity is still buggy and slow.
      • In Arch (from AUR) I have "gnome-shell-extension-icontopbar" installed which does exactly that. My "system-tray" icons are always visible and on the top-right of the screen on the top-bar!
      • I love Gnome 3's concept, and I tried really hard to get used to its current limitations. But in the end I gave up and searched for a more usable setup. I made a Frankenstein composed of LXDE with Compiz and Nautilus. It is significantly faster than Gnome 3, and has all the keyboard shortcuts I'm used to for handling a 3x3 workspace grid (mapped to Ctrl+KP_n).

        • I've got exactly the same config as a backup, and yes, every once in a while I ask myself why I'm trying to adapt to what is effectively a less usable interface.
    • Re:Long-Term? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:30PM (#38454666)

      The goal of this fork is to use the improved Gnome 3 internals and put a more familiar Gnome 2 interface on it.

      TFA actually says that it is a fork of the Gnome shell rather than the entirety of Gnome. Presumably, it would be built against and installed along with the official libraries and applications. Just a single component being replaced; a bit like changing the default browser to Firefox.

      • Which makes perfect sense. Gtk3 and other developer-side stuff is not broken, and so long as they keep it as is, apps written for Gnome will work. The problem with Gnome 3 is the UI design of the desktop itself.

    • Re:Long-Term? (Score:5, Informative)

      by EdwinV ( 87210 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:32PM (#38454688)

      Unlike what the summary suggests, it's not a Gnome 3 fork but just a Gnome Shell fork. With the whole back end untouched, they should be able to keep compatibility issues to a minimum.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Does it really matter? You pretty much have to mix libraries already on a desktop Linux system. If you want the best file manager, Krusader, you have to load KDE libs. If you want the best spread sheet, Gnumeric, you have to load Gnome libs. Thankfully RAM is cheap and this is not a real obstacle in practice.

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Absolutely. I always thought that only an idiot would use gnome-terminal and gedit when the vastly superior konsole and kate were only an apt-get or yum install away, even under gnome.

    • Re:Long-Term? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:46PM (#38454812) Homepage

      If no one tries, it never happens. GNOME3 with its GNOME shell sucks ass and turns a desktop into a netbook candy toy interface. Perhaps if they are successful at giving it older/better functionality, then after the public appreciates it, they might merge it in with GNOME3 in some way.

      GNOME3 shell extensions need to be better managed and maintained. My second attempt at using Fedora... this time 16 is still a failure as far as I'm concerned. The extensions idea is nice but it doesn't inherently manage the options. What resulted was a GNOME3 shell that wouldn't load unless I kept shuffling extensions to try to get what I want. GNOME3 and its extensions interface does not account for or manage the extensions which are present and running. (It seems kind of obvious to me that when a UI element is being manipulated in some way by an extension, a 'lock' preventing other extensions from acting on it should be created and enforced.)

      I have heard there is now some sort of central extensions repository and I hope it alleviates the extensions mess I experienced but I think over this holiday time, I am going to load CentOS 6.x instead of Fedora.

      Lately it seems software projects are refusing to listen to their users and it shows. GNOME3's shell, Firefox and SME server are three that have affected me in a large way and none of them seem interested in listening to the feedback.

      • you would do well to try the latest mint. it has a hacked version of gs3 and still works pretty good. its very usable, the top-right hot-corner thing works amazingly, minimize works (mostly), multiple desktops works, you also have a traditional 'start' menu and its much, much faster than unity. oh, and i can't seem to find any obvious bugs either. there are plenty of customization options too.
        one thing i completely hate is the custom icon for firefox, its really irritating. but it can be changed by a simple

  • I liked the look of Gnome 3, but missed the functionality of Gnome 2...

    Cinna-Mint, anyone?
  • Excellent idea, stupid name. But, excellent idea. Mate is the way to go for LM12 (IMHO), and I'm sure this will be a very popular decision.
    • by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:35PM (#38454714)

      Stupid name? Cinnamon vs GNOME? Come to think about it all these years I've been telling people "I use GNOME", I wonder how that sounded to them. Maybe I should have been putting emphasis on the G or something and made it sound like a rapper name. "I use gee-nome dawg".

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:56PM (#38454914)

        My mother overheard a conversation I was having about a certain linux distribution. After the conversation she asked "who is Debbie and why are you talking about her open sores?"

    • Agree. Mint and Cinnamon together? Yuck!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:27PM (#38454636)

    Whatever they do, they need to make sure that they do everything in their power to keep away the self-labeled "UI designers" who have fucked over GNOME, Firefox, and numerous other major open source projects lately.

    These people may think they know how to create a usable UI, but experience shows that they have no fucking idea what they're doing. Just look at how damn unusable Firefox is these days. The menus are gone, the status bar is gone, the protocol in the URL bar is gone. It's hard to get anything done in Firefox. Sure, I can dig through the settings to re-enable those things that should never have been disabled by default, but that takes far too much effort. It's easier to ditch Firefox. The same goes for GNOME. The "designers" fucked up its UI, and now it's unusable. Now we see real software developers trying desperately to fix the situation.

    It's more harmful to an open source project to let them contribute than it is to constantly shut them down. Do not respond to them on mailing lists or IRC. Do not let them get any sort of commit rights. Close any "usability" bugs they open. Do not let them participate in any way.

    Only let actual software developers create UIs. They may not be pretty, but at least they'll be functional and much better than anything "designed" by the "UI designers" that have ruined GNOME and Firefox.

    • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:49PM (#38454844)

      Firefox (unlike Chrome) still has options and addons to undo just about all the fucked-up changes, but yeah, the new defaults are stupid, and Gnome3 as intro'ed is just stupid through and through. You can take all these UI self-appointed experts and give them a boot in the ass.

    • by smash ( 1351 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @09:05PM (#38455376) Homepage Journal
      Here here. If i want to get rid of the UI, that is what the F11 key is for.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Firefox is at least copying an interface that hundreds of millions of people use in Chrome, maybe it's not for you but it certainly seems to work for a lot of people. I'm using Chrome on a 24" screen right now and I can't say I miss any of the things you mention much. Mozilla is quite deluded if they think that's why I use Chrome though. GNOME on the other hand choose to go their own way, really their own way. Which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't constantly collapse the path behind them, if you liked it

    • by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Thursday December 22, 2011 @10:20AM (#38458980)

      I'd have no problem with self-proclaimed UI designers as long as they'd respect the following very basic "rules of thumb":

      * Every command can have a keyboard shortcut.

      * Issuing a command immediately provides visual feedback (always and with absolutely no visible delay, even menu items should blink).

      * While a command is issued or visual feedback is given other commands can be issued without delay, provided that processing has not become very slow and the queue becomes long (the latter must be avoided at all costs by using suitable programming techniques and data structures but of course sometimes a machine is just doing too much work).

      * Important commands are no more than one mouse click away, less important ones 2 or a maximum 3. There is really no need for an UI where you need to click or open 3 different menus/views/buttons/windows to get anywhere.

      * All visible GUI elements such as toolbars, panels, buttons are freely configurable both in their content and their spacing and place.

      * All interface elements can be selected and used with the keyboard or there are equivalent keyboard commands.

      * Windows and interface elements always remember their settings such as position, size, etc.

      * Modal dialogs are avoided as much as possible.

      * Instant/live update of the results of search fields is welcome, but then it must be instant--no delay.

      Voila! A working least in my opinion.

  • by CruelKnave ( 1324841 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:39PM (#38454746)
    . . . was already forked. Yeah. I'm pretty sure Gnome Shell "forked" it up proper.
  • Awesome. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @08:06PM (#38454976) Homepage Journal

    The components of GNOME3 are mostly great, but the overall experience is terrible; the thing feels like it's designed for tablets, or as part of a blue-sky interface experiment. They took out most of the options that would've let people make it usable again, and have showed hostility to existing apps and user priorities (screensavers are so 90s? Really?). Compatibility with apps written against GNOME3 libraries is great, especially if we can get most of the good stuff from GNOME2 back.

    If the GNOME Foundation doesn't want to deal with this, they should get rid of a lot of the people who made the poor decisions that led them to release a terrible, constraining product.

    • Re:Awesome. (Score:5, Funny)

      by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @09:26PM (#38455494)

      "the thing feels like it's designed for tablets,"

      YOU WILL WORSHIP TABLETS DAMMIT and YOU WILL WANT A TABLETACEOUS INTERFACE on everything which is not a tablet!!!!

      Yours in Unity,
                                                  The GNOME Foundation.

  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @08:10PM (#38455016)

    I have converted all of my systems to XFCE. It feels like an older, simpler and leaner Gnome to me and some of the applets even have better functionality.

    • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

      XFCE is good, but i'd prefer an environment that's cross platform. They've gotten linux centric in the last few releases.

    • by Arker ( 91948 )
      E, *box, and even the venerable WindowMaker are viable alternatives as well.
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @10:23PM (#38455786)

    The community has beating Gnome over the head for months now. But Gnome stubbornly refuses to go back to their less FUBAR interface.

    What the hell is wrong with them?

    Oh well, at least there's forking.

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