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GNOME 3.4 Preview

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the needs-more-wasted-space dept.


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

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Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (2)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 2 years ago | (#39198213)

Any time now.

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198293)

Don't you mean Canonical and Unity bashing? Gnome is OK - it's Ubuntu that's the problem.

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (4, Interesting)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39198363)

Don't you mean Canonical and Unity bashing? Gnome is OK - it's Ubuntu that's the problem.

Probably not for much longer [linuxinsider.com] ... both the Internet and open surce have ways of routing around the damage.

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (2)

unapersson (38207) | about 2 years ago | (#39202947)

I'm not sure I'd trust opinion articles from LinuxInsider to be anything other than anti-linux trolling. Weren't they constantly talking up SCO during that whole debacle years ago?

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (3, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#39198587)

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

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

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

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39198909)

Well if you read the article it's not exactly as "major" as you'd think. It's major relative to, say, adding a couple new buttons to the UI, but it's not full-on "Firefox 4/Office Ribbom"-style changes in that it doesn't completely change everything. Also, GNOME's major version numbers have only been incremented about two, three times in the project's lifetime. Each time, there have been really, REALLY major changes. From 1 to 2 they adopted a lot of new usability guidelines and simplified the UI. From 2 to 3 they took inspiration from mobile UIs and completely changed the way you interact with your desktop, somewhat similar to how Windows 8 is changing relative to Windows 7.

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39198927)


Err, I mean "ribbon". I need to look at spell-check more...

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 2 years ago | (#39200423)

Don't you have a spell-check icon on your ribbom?

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (5, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#39199045)

Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing

Any time now.

No, bash is still fine.

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (1)

sqldr (838964) | about 2 years ago | (#39203153)

No, bash is still fine.

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

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

And now I work for a company where builds are all automated. I stuck zsh into the default package list 6 months ago and have now changed my shell in ldap to zsh, and don't have to worry about not being able to log in because it isn't there. FINALLY I get my whizz-bang tell-me-everything right-hand-prompts alerts-n-stuff shell on the whole network!

Will it...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39199701)

Will it suck^H^H^H blend?

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (1)

21mhz (443080) | about 2 years ago | (#39201661)

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

Re:Aaaaaand cue Gnome bashing (0)

HiThere (15173) | about 2 years ago | (#39201869)

Because people who don't like Gnome3 have lost a lot of interest in Gnome news. E.g., I'm using LXDE after using Gnome2 after using KDE3. Each step was a downgrade in functionality, but better than the alternatives. KDE4 *could* eventually become useable. Gnome3 would require new hardware...and it's "fall back to Gnome2 mode" is unusably ugly...and not easily customizable. (Besides, why should I trust them not to break things again after they broke it without warning last time. KDE4 at least had the decency to give an option to NOT make the change, even if there wasn't any way back.)

So, why should I care about Gnome3.4? I doubt that my opinions are uncommon. You don't see me bashing MS much anymore, either. I no longer deal with it in any way, so I don't have much interest in what they do. (I haven't even read any of the articles about MSWind8.) With Gnome, well, I'll get new hardware some day, and maybe Gnome or KDE will be usable again by then. So I keep following their news, but with much less interest than when it directly affected me.

Application menus (4, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | about 2 years ago | (#39198217)

Can't say I'm happy about the global application menu that they've half-inched from OS X. It's one of the annoyingly unintuitive aspects of the OS X interface, and I'm disappointed to see it here. The other changes look sensible though.

Re:Application menus (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about 2 years ago | (#39198659)

In Ubuntu

sudo apt-get remove appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-gtk appmenu-qt

Re:Application menus (3, Informative)

wahaa (1329567) | about 2 years ago | (#39198783)

And this is sad:

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

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

Let's rename Gnome -- how bout GnOSXme? (4, Insightful)

pholus (127383) | about 2 years ago | (#39199163)

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

It now raises two other questions:

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

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

Re:Let's rename Gnome -- how bout GnOSXme? (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39199359)

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

Second, the point of open-source software is not to make software that's completely interoperable across devices and desktops. It is simply to create software with, as the name suggests, open source-code that can be freely examined, studied, and modified. You wouldn't expect an open-source Windows application to work on most Linux-using desktop environments, would you? GNOME's applications are built to take advantage of GNOME's unique features and making them completely interchangeable with other applications would make the user experience suffer as a result.

Thanks for the additional warning. (4, Interesting)

pholus (127383) | about 2 years ago | (#39200017)

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

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

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

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

Re:Let's rename Gnome -- how bout GnOSXme? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#39201597)

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

But I agree w/ the GP's headline (the content is irrelevant, since I prefer both KDE & GNUSTEP) on changing the name, but for a different reason. The reason being that GNU Network Object Model Environment - I don't see how GNOME does any of that. At one time, it was supposed to have an OpenDoc like Object Model, but once that got dropped, it would have been better to change the name. I'd say keep Cinnamon for those going w/ GNOME 2, and for GNOME 3, just keep the OS-X look-alike here, calling it something else - maybe Comice, if the Pear OS guys are willing.

Re:Let's rename Gnome -- how bout GnOSXme? (1)

spitzak (4019) | about 2 years ago | (#39201565)

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

More of a killer in Gnome-land is their inability to realize that they have screwed up point-to-type with their insistence on raising windows on click. This is WRONG. There is absolutely no argument for automatic raising windows on click, because an application that wants that can raise *itself* on click, therefore there is NO UI CHANGES!!!!!! However drag&drop will work, and the user can select text to paste into the foreground application.

Gnome has got to realize this and fix it. Removal of unavoidable raise-on-click I think will be *the* killer feature of Linux that will make the desktop much much more usable than Windows and OS/X. It worked this way 20 years ago in original X11 window managers and it was amazingly easy to use overlapping windows! Nowadays nobody uses overlapping windows because they are useless, since you cannot interact with the rear windows.

Re:Application menus (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39199357)

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

Re:Application menus (0)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#39199379)

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

Re:Application menus (4, Insightful)

SyntheticTruth (17753) | about 2 years ago | (#39199815)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Application menus (2)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 2 years ago | (#39200451)

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

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

Re:Application menus (3, Interesting)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39201097)

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

Re:Application menus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39201155)

This is all very true, although I'd point out that just as there are paradigm-busting apps for OS X, some Linux apps break the local paradigm too and stay running even when all windows are closed (to say nothing of "notification area" apps). Interestingly enough, the global menu bar is also dramatically quicker to use with a mouse than per-window menus (yes, of course all us "real geeks" use keyboard shortcuts, but most mainstream users still mouse their way through menus almost exclusively). With per-window menus you have to hunt for a very narrow space on the vertical axis as well as the horiontal axis, which lengthens the time it takes to "home-in" on any particular top-level menu entry. With global menus (ala OS X, Unity and now GNOME) you can just slam your mouse upwards to the top of the screen and only have to "home-in" along the horizontal axis.

Re:Application menus (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 2 years ago | (#39203297)

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

Re:Application menus (2, Funny)

dannys42 (61725) | about 2 years ago | (#39200793)

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

Re:Application menus (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | about 2 years ago | (#39201357)

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

GNOME 3.4 team (1, Interesting)

omar.sahal (687649) | about 2 years ago | (#39198231)

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

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198277)

Then don't use ubuntu. Problem solved

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (1, Insightful)

omar.sahal (687649) | about 2 years ago | (#39198749)

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

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (1)

diegocg (1680514) | about 2 years ago | (#39199301)

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

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#39200019)

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

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

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

Lesson 1: Words (and by extension, hierarchical menus) are a great way to interface with people who are literate. Illiterates do not actually need a GUI on a computer at all. (They need an iPhone).

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (1)

armanox (826486) | about 2 years ago | (#39200561)

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

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198555)

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

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

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198669)

Are you comparing X + Gnome to Gnome + Unity? Srsly?

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#39199321)


Have something against vowels?

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39201071)

The vowels were busy Occupying Letters; it's a vowel movement.

(captcha: outbound)

X has an interface? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#39198789)

And there was me thinking Xwin was just a graphics drawing subsystem , but no , according to Mr A. Coward its got a GUI built in! Who knew?

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (1)

sqldr (838964) | about 2 years ago | (#39203189)

X was broken in the first place. There's been talk about coming up with something more streamlined and less... well, have you ever tried programming in raw X11? *shudders*

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (2)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about 2 years ago | (#39198823)

Linux Mint [linuxmint.com] .

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

I had been thinking about going back to Fedora or some other distro, but I think I'll be putting Linux Mint on my desktops next time I upgrade, probably in May / June when Linux Mint 13 will be out (new releases follow about a month after new Ubuntu releases).

Re:GNOME 3.4 team (2)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#39198917)

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

Think Different (3, Interesting)

Dimwit (36756) | about 2 years ago | (#39198321)

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

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

Re:Think Different (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198471)

My thoughts exactly.

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

Re:Think Different (4, Insightful)

Pausanias (681077) | about 2 years ago | (#39198727)

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

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

Re:Think Different (-1, Flamebait)

icongorilla (2452494) | about 2 years ago | (#39199165)

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

And what do you gain by having all of the desktops functioning exactly the same? This is the first desktop on Linux that actually uses the application paragrim at its base. You're going to have to pry it from my cold dead hands since ther is NOTHING else similar to switch to. At least you can always go to XFCE or KDE or something else similar.

Your words are hollow.

Re:Think Different (5, Informative)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39199679)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Think Different (5, Informative)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39199803)

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

Re:Think Different (2)

swilly (24960) | about 2 years ago | (#39201237)

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

The one click enabling of extensions only seems to work in Firefox. Last time I tried them in Chrome, it would complain that I wasn't running a valid version of GNOME Shell. Hopefully they will get this fixed soon (if they haven't already, can't check right now).

Re:Think Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39202337)

the best thing to me: everything is two clicks away. Applications show you all your desktops, windows and favorite applications in the first click, then one more click shows you all the possible applications in fullscreen (instead of hunting down a small menu) and it completes the keyboard, so everything is two keys away. Brilliant!

Re:Think Different (1)

error_logic (1160341) | about 2 years ago | (#39200265)

Pidgin IM Integration works reasonably well. The status integration hasn't worked for me, exhibiting a bug in the selection menu, but chatting works perfectly with the notification-mouseover-to-respond system. I really didn't want to switch to Empathy (I'm running shared profiles for Pidgin, FF, and TBird with Windows), and haven't had to for the most significant part. I am rather heavy on the use of extensions compared to you, though, with windowNavigator, Music Integration, Battery Percentage Indicator, Weather Indicator, Advanced Settings in UserMenu, Pidgin IM, Evil Status Icon Forever, Auto Move Windows, Connection Manager, Windows Alt Tab, gTile, Places Status Indicator, Workspace Navigator, and Overlay Icons... Yeah, I'm extension happy, but they all address little quirks that resolve all the little things that bugged me about GNOME 3's default setup and featureset. :)

Re:Think Different (1)

Bambi Dee (611786) | about 2 years ago | (#39200271)

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

I just wish the initial Applications view already grouped applications by category. Then I'd not feel so tempted to install the Mint menu. As it is, I get a huge confusing blob of unsorted icons, dominated (in my case) by a zillion start menu entries installed by a game via WINE.

I like seeing everything at once by default without manually drilling into categories, but it'd be so much more usable if there were a "paragraph" each for Graphics, Office, Development, etc.

Otherwise I'm quite fond of Gnome 3/Shell. I switch between flexibility and immediacy of KDE and the minimalist elegance of GNOME 3 about evenly.

Re:Think Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39200417)

I just wish the initial Applications view already grouped applications by category. Then I'd not feel so tempted to install the Mint menu..

do you know how to find the application categories after pressing super?

Re:Think Different (1)

Bambi Dee (611786) | about 2 years ago | (#39200649)

The list on the right? But I mean without additional keypresses/mousework. Just a simple, grouped-by-category list of everything popping up all by itself.

Most Gnome3 criticisms are factually incorrect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39199953)

I've heard complaints from the time gnome3 was released that it broke the traditional GUI model, and the changes get in the way of the user. It baffles me where these criticisms are coming from; it took me 5 minutes to configure gnome 3 so that it behaved exactly like my gnome2 interface did. Multiple windows, menus, configuring panels etc are all supported out of the box.

Re:Think Different (2, Informative)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#39199999)

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

Re:Think Different (1)

LtGordon (1421725) | about 2 years ago | (#39199139)

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

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

Re:Think Different (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#39199197)


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

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

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

Re:Think Different (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39199613)

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

Re:Think Different (2)

bytesex (112972) | about 2 years ago | (#39201329)

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

Re:Think Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39201773)

The problem with Gnome is the problem with just about every windowing system out there from GEM to Windows to Unity to MacOSX. All of them try to dictate how one *should* work, rather than conforming to how one actually works. The excuse is that they used studies that indicate people find something more intuitive that another interface, but that's nonsense. For example, think of a steering wheel. We turn the wheel clockwise and the car moves right. It seems perfectly logical, right? Well, that's just because of convention (and of course, safety). But is it really intuitive? Not really; just consider how an airplane yoke works or a boat rudder...

Without the ability to customize, a window manager is doomed to behave how a programmer thinks it should behave. For example, if I place the action bar (i.e., the menus, the icons) on the left side of the screen then it takes much longer to access it from a second monitor. Maybe a 'right-click' menu is the answer... Alas, some window managers have taken away the ability to add custom entries to the right-click menu (and I mean right click in the "secondary" button context, which is telling because I'm left handed).

Why is it that I can only choose one icon size for my entire desktop? There are some less important items that I keep in one folder.. It's fine if they are smaller, then no problem, but I want the important things to just jump out at me especially since the windowing system decides to re-arrange icons when the screen size changes (e.g., when I start a game that changes the screen resolution).

Re:Think Different (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 2 years ago | (#39202565)

Turning a steering wheel right to go right is intuitive, because the wheel is on the end of the pinion of a rack and pinion [wikipedia.org] steering system, which directly (perhaps power-assisted) moves the wheels relative to the chassis. Yokes and rudders work by directing airflow and water flow respectively, hence appear reversed in comparison to a steering wheel.

The difference, of course, is that windowing systems are generally metaphors rather than extensions of concrete concepts, so could be arranged any way we want. I'm not sure studies are "nonsense", though, clearly there are metaphors that make sense to the majority of people and therefore stick, and it makes sense to build windowing systems around those metaphors. Like, most people can understand putting files into a trash can, which stay there until you empty the trash and then they're gone forever. Most people can't understand the concept of a page file and a page fault, even though in computer science terms they're not really any more complex than a trash can.

Gnome (-1, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#39198345)

Did they remove the suck?

Re:Gnome (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198755)

No, but luckily they've decided that everyone who thinks it's bad is just not being logical, so they did a perfect job in their own minds.

Re:Gnome (1)

Korin43 (881732) | about 2 years ago | (#39199779)

No, but luckily they've decided that everyone who thinks it's bad is just not being logical, so they did a perfect job in their own minds.

Or they decided to not pay any attention to people who aren't their target audience.

Re:Gnome (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#39199989)

Or they decided to not pay any attention to people who aren't their target audience.

Yeah, life's much easier if you ignore anything the users say until they stop using your software.

Re:Gnome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198921)

Indeed. KDE is superior to Gnome in almost every way. It amazes me that anybody still uses such a bloated, barely-functional system as Gnome. They're such zealots about it, too, like they're totally gay for Gnome or something. People should just get over it, stop being fagets and come to their senses. There's no defensible case for continuing to use Gnome.

Re:Gnome (3, Funny)

redneckmother (1664119) | about 2 years ago | (#39198931)

Did they remove the suck?

Nah, just replaced it with BLOW.

What's up with all the white space? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198381)

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

Re:What's up with all the white space? (1)

atomic brainslide (87546) | about 2 years ago | (#39198553)

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

Re:What's up with all the white space? (2)

evilned (146392) | about 2 years ago | (#39199005)

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

Re:What's up with all the white space? (2, Interesting)

cyclomedia (882859) | about 2 years ago | (#39198599)

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

Re:What's up with all the white space? (2)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 years ago | (#39198953)

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

Re:What's up with all the white space? (1)

mugurel (1424497) | about 2 years ago | (#39199459)

I think the problem is that the fonts are too small, that's why there appears to be too much white space.

ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198511)

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

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

I think we have here a case of people having difficulty with change. It says to me we getting an old user base. Also it great that a guy like Mark Shuttleworth has vision and sticks his neck out, takes risk in doing what he believes in. Give it some credit for this.

Just try the new interface for 2 weeks. I also used gnome 3 and this also looked very good. So please look at the positive side of things. And what people are doing for you...

Re:ubuntu (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198767)

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

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

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

Re:ubuntu (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198775)

This is literally the very first praise I have ever encountered of recent Ubuntu and Unity. Good luck getting the other 99% of the Linux community to agree with you.

Mark Shuttleworth is not Steve Jobs. He can't make users love something simply by saying it's awesome and paying a few guys like you to post positive reviews.

Is it self-removing yet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198641)

Is it self-removing so we can run something else? sheesh between Gnome and KDE it's truly a race to the bottom.

GNOME 3's not so bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198661)

In fact, it is shiny and suited to some of my use cases, but in other cases something more like old GNOME, XFCE or KDE works better. I think the big problem with GNOME 3 has been more that it basically abandoned the most popular desktop environment in Linux (and the break was much bigger tha even KDE 4's), and suddenly there was nothing that exactly fitted the niche. Maybe Cinamon or MATE will fill it, but I think a little dismay is understandable. Personally, I ended up going back to KDE 4.8, which seems to have *finaly* matured (although the whole Akonadi thing is still a little buggy). Still, GNOME 3's a nice UI(and yes, Unity's ok too), and they've squashed a lot more bugs in a lot less time than KDE 4.

Needs a BUILT IN appearance customize pane (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198731)

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

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

Why so much empty space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39198765)

I haven't actually used the Gnome Shell yet - I don't want to upgrade my machines to Debian Testing, and the one time I tried to run it in QEMU it refused to even try to run the shell and just used the fallback mode. But from the screenshots there seems to be lots and lots of empty space around every bit of information, with every menu entry or filename floating in a sea of emptiness. Why all that waste? Isn't that a bit counterintiutive for an UI that is designed to work with small screens like "tablets"?

"Questionable" (5, Insightful)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39198833)

but some of them seem questionable

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

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

Re:"Questionable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39199111)

"Well, excluding the people who like to really customize their UIs. I've grown past that and I'll just try to use what I'm given now"

Congratulations on giving up I guess?

Re:"Questionable" (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39199215)

I mean that I'm more tolerant with UI design than I once was. I used to take GNOME 2, remove all the panels, use some third-party dock and a bunch of third-party customization programs to make it look and feel nothing like it used to, for example. But the GNOME designers, IMO, have done such a stellar job with GNOME 3 that I'm willing to put up with some of its flaws in order to experience it the way it's designed.

Anyone use dev tools in (not for) GNOME3 or Unity? (1)

edmicman (830206) | about 2 years ago | (#39198839)

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

It would be nice to feel like I'm not stuck on a Windows 95 based desktop, especially since everything seems to be going forward with these new ideas. But it all seems so clumsy compared with what Apple and Microsoft are doing with their interfaces.

wobbly windows? (4, Interesting)

edmicman (830206) | about 2 years ago | (#39198885)

And when can I get wobbly windows back on GNOME3?

Re:wobbly windows? (2)

supersloshy (1273442) | about 2 years ago | (#39201411)

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

Fist impression (2)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 2 years ago | (#39198889)

Too much whitespace.

Re:Fist impression (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39199273)

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

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

Tablet UI (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#39199195)

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

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

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

"Interface changes?" You mean one change (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39199793)

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

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

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

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

An even better Gnome (3, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#39199969)

Now with five toes!!

From the recycle bin? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 2 years ago | (#39200115)

"The big thing to take from this recycle bin appears to be improvements to the underlying technology that might help other window managers take advantage of the GNOME 3 infrastructure"

Huh? That was radically unexpected.

Looks Mac-ish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39200203)

Is that the goal?

Gnome3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39200845)

Will it ever run on real operating systems like FreeBSD or only on Linux?

Shoutout to KDE developers: Don't screw it up! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39202037)

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

Fallback mode (2)

saratchandra (847748) | about 2 years ago | (#39202411)

Like many out there, I'm surviving the recent GNOME "upgrades" by running fallback mode which mimics GNOME 2.x. That's the only means to maintain sanity and a semblance of productivity. Going at this rate, keep an eye for a GNOME branded one-button mouse, because right-click is for pussies.

Menu bar at the bottom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39203219)

Is there a way to get the top bar to be at the bottom of the screen? I could not work out how to do that with the latest versions of Ubuntu, so I stopped using it.

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