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back to article GNOME emits 'head up the arse' desktop update

The GNOME Project has updated its desktop barely six months after the controversial introduction of version 3.0. GNOME 3.2 has a new online accounts manager for accessing web-based services and data storage and integrating this with the browser and other software. The new code also has a viewing application dubbed Sushi, which …

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head up arse

nice soundbite. However, Linus' desktop preferences aren't the measure of everybody's needs.

I dumped Natty Narwhal's "Unity" for Fedora and Gnome 3 and i'm happy with it. One simple thing is a god-sent: in addition to the usual "Alt+Tab - switches between applications" you get this: Alt+[key above Tab] - Switches between the windows of the same application. I find that much more useful than the huge list of mostly identical icons I get to tab through on Windows' "Alt+Tab - switch between windows"

BTW, for while I'm at work, is there a keystroke to do that in Windows: switch between apps, switch between current app's windows?

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Anonymous Coward

Optional

Control-Tab normally moves through the current app's windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Linus...

Yes, specialist IT guy in not dealing well with change, shocker!

In other news sky still blue, etc. etc. etc.

Personally I stuck with it, worked out how to undo some of the silly (in my opinion) changes they'd made, such as icons on the desktop, and I really like it now. There are still a few annoyances, but these are on a par with the previous version of Gnome. All in all, a pretty good update.

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Anonymous Coward

ctrl-tab

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switching windows in windows

It's application specific, unfortunately, but many apps implement Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab to cycle backwards and forwards. Firefox and Komodo also use Ctrl+PgUp/PgDn (Ctrl+Tab takes you to your "previous" tab)

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Not the same thing. If you launch 3 windows of an app such as Nautilus or Firefox, ctrl-tab doesn't cycle the windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Sticking with it...

That you had to work out how to undo some of the changes they made in order to be comfortable with it is a good indication that you were not happy with it, and that the developers don't want you to mess with it.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 1507

I have to change every OS and every windowing environment that I use to be happy with it. For instance I can see why a default Windows installation doesn't show the "Computer" or "Network" on the desktop, it doesn't mean that I'm not happy with it, just that I need to configure it for my preference.

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Happy

you don't "get" Linux

Agree with first point that having to make changes counts as a negative vote.

However your last statement is entirely untrue and against the nature of Linux in general.

The fact that he CAN make these changes says the the developers DO want you to be able to "mess with it". In fact I would say that is the very nature of Linux in general, that the user is free to make changes and tailor the environment to suit what they like (as opposed to want M$ or Appull say you must have). Don't like Unity? Use Gnome or KDE, Like Gnome but not some things about it? Simple, just change it.

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Silver badge

[key above Tab]

The technical term for that key is the "Squiggly Key"

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Anonymous Coward

[key above Tab]

Not on all keyboards.....

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Linux

Yes you CAN make the changes... but..

When things are hidden, undocumented, not communicated, or deliberately made a pain in the arse to do, it presents as a barrier; an 'abandon all hope ye who enter here' sign.

Yes, the developers can claim that it is configurable, much in the same way that the plans for the bypass through Arthur Dent's house were claimed to be 'on display'. However, having to do the equivalent of taking a torch into the cellar to dig the information out of the bottom drawer of a locked filing cabinet that's been ferreted away in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door that says "beware of the leopard", is, IMHO, not the "nature" of Linux in general.

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Anonymous Coward

Waste of time

For a start, I prefer Dolphin over Nautilus anyway; it annoys the heck out of me that I still can't find the way to make the sodding thing work the way that I want it, rather than the way they want me to use it.

Folders in teh "places" section vanished in to a "bookmarks" area that I don't seem to be able to easily edit.

Gnome has become so difficult to work with that last week, I actually gave Unity another try ... it lasted ten minutes.

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Unhappy

I'd rather they fixed the Compiz integration first...

Whilst I'm not totally averse to change on the desktop, the Unity desktop on our Ubuntu Natty-powered "nettop" PC has proven anything but positive.

Compiz in particular is a patience-tester of Job-ian proportions. If I do anything as "rash" as, say, expand a drop-down menu on a Web form, the desktop chokes and everything on-screen vanishes for 5-10 seconds until returning. And it KEEPS doing this, often as you're trying to close down the offending window. It's like playing "pin the tail on the donkey", except someone keeps moving the picture.

The last few months of updates, appear to have brought no resolution to the problem. I know the Ubuntu and GNOME development teams aren't the same, but I have reached the point where I'm seriously considering switching the nettop to another distro like Lubuntu, or repurposing the machine as an XBMC box for our telly.

Believe me, I'm grateful to get a whole OS for free - I just know Linux can do better than this... (Ubuntu pre-Unity, Arch, almost any other distro, really :-( )

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Anonymous Coward

Compiz

Gnome shell doesn't run atop compiz, it uses mutter.

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Facepalm

And I thought I was badly off!

Having spent a couple of hours on Compiz eye-candy (11.04, Gnome 2 "Classic") this evening (and nothing that 10.04 wouldn't have coped with) I was pretty pleased with the visual result (as pleased as I could be without Emerald, which seems to have been taken from us unless we want to compile it ourselves) --- until I found that I could not move windows around the desktop without lagging, dragging and tearing. I was able to back it all out in a few moments (Thanks, Ubuntu Tweak!) but it was a disappointing waste of time.

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Linux

How about a link to the release notes?

http://library.gnome.org/misc/release-notes/3.2/

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Facepalm

Oh dear.

The screenshot titled "Viewer for Certificate and Key files" under "But Wait, There's More…" is showing DigiNotar... Surely a better choice could have been made?

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Flame

+1 what Torvalds said

Being an upgrade monkey, I installed a F15 on my own laptop when it came out.

I ran with gnome3 for about two months and eventually it just drove me mental, and reverted to LXDE instead.

I ended up installing my purchased SLED11, but it is far, far slower (to boot) and uses more resources, but hey, its better than gnome3 so I'll live with it. The wife still have F14 on hers and is happy with it.

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> The GNOME Project has updated its desktop barely six months

> after the controversial introduction of version 3.0.

Not the best choice of lede, IMHO. Gnome has been on a six month time-based release cycle forever. There was never any doubt about when 3.2 would be release, nor is there much question about when 3.4 will come out. Or 3.6, or 3.8, etc.

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Linux

"The GNOME 3.2 release builds on the foundations that we have laid with 3.0 and offers a much more complete experience"

so basically they laid some really dodgy foundations, and Gnome is still functionally incomplete.

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FAIL

Gnome3 sucks serious balls

Torvalds was right, I can rarely bring myself to boot into Ubuntu.anymore. Well that and the fact using Wifi causes a kernel panic.

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Ubuntu uses Unity

Unity is not what Linus was complaining about. You can install GNOME shell on Ubuntu (it's what I do) but the default is not that.

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Happy

true but,

Since Unity is the default and he was already altering the install to use Gnome instead, and then went to xfce, I would say its safe to assume that Linus gave an implicit "No" vote for Unity as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't that because of troubles with broadcom chip based wifi adapters?

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FAIL

And people wonder why Windows still owns the desktop?

For now, anyway...

The problem is, I have seen a lot of this sort of behaviour - screwing up a perfectly good user interface, and designing systems for bigger and bigger idiots. I do not want my desktop to end up looking like someone's mind map diagram.

Microsoft is also guilty - as is the KDE project. To be honest, the fact that Apple has been the least guilty party in this regard (at least as far as OS X is concerned) is tempered by the fact that I think they're scum and hate their guts. :)

With tongue firmly in cheek, I want a user interface that is like a Yorkie bar: It's not for girls.

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FAIL

Time to Stop!

I'm a firm believer that some software has just reached it's pinnacle, and developers just need to stop. Whether it's big ticket applications like Photoshop or Office, or web apps (anyone remember Mambo?), there just comes a time when developers need to step away from the keyboard, and stop developing.

Strikes me that Linux has long since reached this point - look Linux is great - now stop fucking around with it. Please. It's brilliant, or it was until you screwed it for no good reason. Make it faster, more efficient, but stop adding features that are ill thought out, badly implemented, and that no one will ever use.

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The bigger they are...

Its ironic actually..

Its /the/ big problem for software companies. Some people want change or even thrive on it while others simply want to have an ongoing experience. However, in order to make money you need to do something since you can't sell the same product over and over again (sorta). You need to apply some changes and improvements. Stuff people would want to buy.

So here came the open source movement; doing things right. And in the beginning that was just what was happening. Several window and desktop managers which all had their own specific look and feel and maintained those while slowly (but steadily!) working towards a more mature interface.

The problem I see is that some projects became so big that they actually think to be calling the shots. While in fact they're not; their users are. That is; the users who are in it for the product experience and not because its "cool" to use that certain product.

Gnome suffered from this, KDE suffered from this and there are several other examples too. Windows? At least they try to remain backwards compatible. I can easily make my Win7 look like Win98 yet only with a 'double sized' menu. Still, still a small change considering the life span of 13 years.

More and more people complain about drastic change without any means to go back to what they want. Think FireFox, think Thunderbird's mail tabs, etc, etc. There is a growing part of the market which doesn't /want/ big changes in short periods of time.

And what does Microsoft do? They're about to enforce Metro onto their users, where the desktop users will most likely suffer dearly wrt the system being user friendly.

Why do I get the feeling that Apple is going to end up being the company with the last laugh here?

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@Time to stop!

I agree wholeheartedly. Ain't broke don't fix. It's like KDE. I stopped using it when 4.x came out. What was wrong with version 3.x? I now use XFCE and have not looked back.

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Bronze badge

Indeed. One of the (many) things that drives people from Windwoes is changes that do nothing to improve the system and generally make it worse. Why the fuck should Linux do the same thing?

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Facepalm

Web2.0 ....

Ever since the Ximian "Let's make the file manager a browser and put EVERYTHING in it - it worked for Microsoft" days, Gnome has lost the thread of the story. Instead of focusing on the really good ideas: object based system using CORBA, small sharp modules that play well with each other, etc., they are now making big globs that don't play well, and making more crap "online". They are making my desktop look like my phone, ignoring the user pleas that keyboard/mouse/big screen(s) require a different user paradigm than touchscreen/no keyboard/small screen. They take working things like Totem's ATSC support, and summarily drop it in favor a a video daemon that only speaks DVB (let's ignore the third largest country in the world, shall we?) Rather than focusing on Parrot and Python for cross-platform support, they fawn all over CLR and C#, opening the system to risk of attack by Microsoft whenever it becomes convenient for Microsoft.

And Canonical isn't helping - all they want is a good way to "monitize the consumer into a revenue stream", and if making all my files live "in the cloud" and creating an app store does that, so be it.

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Cononical supoprt for GNOME 3 ?

"Other Linux builders were also less than impressed, but this software is being publicly supported by Canonical and Red Hat"

.....you sure ? I thought Canonical had moved away from Gnome to an inbuilt solution, ie Unity in the latest 11.04 release

For me, I moved away from Ubuntu and onto Fedora 15 because of Unity, and I think Gnome is much better,

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Nope. Ubuntu uses Gnome with Unity over the top.

Gnome Shell is the travesty that most people are on about...

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Anonymous Coward

I moved away from UBUNTU

Before Unity (unity just steels my resolve not to use UBUNTU) and moved to Fedora 13. Now with the Gnome silliness I'm sticking with F13 & F14 and looking for something with some measure of stability with evolutionary improvements.

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I moved from 11.04 to 10.04 LTS.. I believe in my heart that Canonical is doing the best job it can with difficult situation of Gnome and Unity being their only logical choice.

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Flame

Just give me the bottom panel back! I can't work without it, ever since its introduction with Windows 95, the taskbar or bottom panel is how I navigate between my open applications.

Please, please let me have it back?

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Linux

choices

Linux: choices, XFCE, OpenBox a la crunch bang, Gnome 2 with years of support with centos/scientific linux. Debian stable + dwm and thunar for me. Really good on a larger screen for the desktop. XFCE4 for the netbook with one panel at the bottom so it looks like a computer desktop to other people who use it now and again.

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Thank you!

Thanks Gnome team! Thanks to Gnome 3 release I discovered KDE and you know what? It is damn good! :)

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Why why why?

"a viewing application dubbed Sushi, which previews the contents of the Nautilus file manager and can display previews of images, text and PDFs."

As though there are not about 10 million of these already for Linux/X11. So another re-invention of the wheel with another forgettable name.

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Coat

I hate overyly-complex UI's

Maybe it's just my 46 years computer experience, but I've grown to absolutely hate UI's that want to anticipate my every move , make easy things complicated and complicated things nearly impossible. Minimal, "stay out of the way until I need it" UI's work best for me. Hence I like Xubuntu with its XFCE4 with its minimal screen real-estate Windows Task bar running along the top and its CDE (remember that?) hidden-until-you-put-the-mouse-pointer-at-the-bottom icon bar for my most-used applications.

Of course, I'm one of the two or three people outside of Bell Labs who actually LIKED the User Agent on the pre-GUI AT&T 3B1/7300 if that tells you anything. :-)

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Pint

Potato

I had this discussion with a couple of colleagues recently. I have to put up with various Windows UIs at work with all their wizards and stuff, yet I used RISC OS for many years which, with only a few exceptions related to specific software installation and configuration, is completely free of this pre-emptive mallarkey. It basically meant that if I wanted something to happen, I had to make it happen myself rather than try to do something in the hope that the UI wouldn't try to second-guess me and possibly guess wrong, doubling my work.

The argument came down to this; while that might be OK for me, there are others out there that wouldn't survive without this second-guessing regime. Maybe that's one reason why so many folk use Windows rather than RISC OS (after all, with RISC OS, you had to *think* about what you wanted to do).

The same thing is true of Linux - and I should not need to remind folk out there that Linux is NOT Ubuntu - Unity aside, this whole mess is more about the doings of GNOME's developers rather than what Canonical are doing, whatever we might think of Unity. Linux is not RedHat either. They can support whatever they like but the ultimate decision is what the end user is going to want to use. It's for that reason that I once stated that Microsoft needed to take more notice of what its users wanted rather than try to push unwanted new features down the user's throats, and for that same reason, the various developers in the Linux arena need to be a little more attentive too.

After all, there are reasons why I still use KDE 3.5.10 rather than KDE 4, even on the latest version of openSUSE, just as there were reasons why so many people ignored Vista and kept on using XP. If GNOME can't or won't learn the lesson, then they are doomed to obscurity.

However, one other analogy that I could bring forward was the result of my discussion with my colleagues in that the reason why AOL became so popular back in the day was because it held the user's hands. It effectively represented a dumbing down of the whole experience, something which WIndows' wizards, Unity, GNOME 3 and so on could also be accused of. And just as with AOL, all it meant to me was another computer with a bunch of useless code that needed removing but to the ordinary person who probably thinks that the ECDL is the ultimate height of achievement, it's probably a godsend.

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Still looks pig ugly

I know Linux is all about function over form. But no matter the GUI it still looks pig ugly to me.

If Apple can design a decent looking UI ontop of unix why can't the linux community.

I like to get back to a nice looking desktop after being burried knee deep in unix terminal sessions

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Stop

@ Fenton

May I refer you to Cairo Dock.

All the Apple-esque shiny you'll ever need. ;o)

HTH.

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> why can't the linux community.

Community - there is you answer. Very similar to a committee. We all know anything designed by a committee is flawed (to put it nicely) or shit (to put it truthfully).

Sometimes just sometimes dictators do have their use. Heck didn't Greenpeace even admit that under democracy they'd never get through all the green measures needed to save the earth? Sometimes you just need a dictator. And Apple have/had one of those.

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Bronze badge

compiz surpassed both apple's and windmond's eye-candiness once and for all

To me both Apple and MS UI don't look as good as Gnome2 or KDE, or even enlightenment. Plus how much control do you have over them?

Tried expose on the Win7 desktop -- so lame awkward and slow even with good hardware. Aero and Cocoa are no match to the beauty, sleekness and power of compiz.

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FAIL

Because...

They probably didn't use Adobe Creative suite to come up with the designs and mockup and so on...

They probably tried to us the Open Source shite that so many Linux bedroom "designers" (who only ever seem to make websites for their brothers best mate and their sisters hair dressing salon) think that GIMP and Inkscape can even be compared to Adobe's offerings.

You get what you pay for... if you use free crap you produce crap. Also Apple employs and listens too user interface designers... whereas Linux devs go to a designer after producing their crap and think something is still salvageable.. and then decide not to do what the designer suggests because there interface is so complex and the code created by so many people that it is impossible to actually make useable.

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fnj
Facepalm

Bull

Bloated commercial money-grubbing software is the crap, not open source. Commercial is dying. Get over it. There is life after the dinosaur.

Just because Gnome shat a brick, does not mean open source is finished. KDE, Xfce, and others pick up where Gnome dropped the ball on their toe. Your view of linux as some kind of controlled monolith like Windows, OSX, and other commercial turds, couldn't be further from the mark.

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Trollface

If apple can design a decent UI, then why the hell do they continue to use their current crappy one?

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Silver badge

I'm growing to like it

I'm using GNOME shell (in Ubuntu 11.10 no less) and it's actually quite a pleasant experience. Everything is well thought out and relatively intuitive. It feels taskcentric and way windows are scaled and arranged in the launch view is very satisfying. It's also incredibly slick thanks to hardware acceleration & clutter / mutter. That's not to say it's without faults. My major gripes would be:

* Favourites / launcher are only visible from a a separate screen. There should be a way to see it on the main screen permanently for those who want to.

* The "corner activates stuff" paradigm used to see notifications and the launcher really needs to be improved for multi head desktops and VMs where jamming the mouse into the corner of the screen isn't always possible.

* Nautilus needs be in charge of the workspace so icons and folders can be plonked on it. This is configurable from gnome tweak and it's bizarre that it's not on by default.

* Nautilus needs a way to see the directory path which is easier to remember than Ctrl+L

* Virtually all of the buried settings which you can only see through gnome-tweak-tool need to be in the UI somewhere

So lots of room for improvement but my experience is generally positive.

I've also had plenty of time to play with Unity and it really is pretty sorry by comparison. In some ways it's a more traditional experience but it simply doesn't work on large screens. The global menu is bloody annoying, the hover scrollbars are bloody annoying, the Ubuntu store suggestions peppered through the app menus are bloody annoying. I think Unity is fine for a netbook but it's not addressing the needs of people with large screens. And like GNOME shell it needs to expose some settings so it can be configured.

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FAIL

Xubuntu

XFCE.

There, I said it. Inevitable really.

Gnome 3 and Unity both completely disregarded what users actually wanted and set about dictating what users should have. Swayed by trendy hip touch screen mobile devices, they've done their upmost to drag the desktop in that direction.

In the interim, Microsoft & Apple continue to innovate by seperating the Desktop & Mobile OS, because they are aware these are two separate paradigms.

Software development rule one - don't piss off your user base.

It's the concept of familiarity - whether the current accepted desktop interaction is the best or not, it's what people are familiar with. The Dvorak keyboard layout is arguably a better solution, but everyone knows qwerty. Qwerty wins.

By dramatically changing the way the desktop works, Gnome & Canonical (unity) have effectively forced a 'Dvorak of the desktop' upon unwilling users, assuming their desktop reshuffle is actually any better of course, which arguably, it's not.

Those users voted with their feet (or fingers) and switched desktops.

Yet Gnome & Canonical continue forward, convinced they've got it right and the rest of us are wrong. So answer this then, if your direction is the right one, why are Microsoft and Apple not following a similar route? Simple. They know it leads to a dead end. But hey, Gnome, Canonical, this is you:

"La la la la la - I'm not listening, I have my head up my arse...."

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