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back to article GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

When the GNOME 3.x desktop arrived it was, frankly, unusable. It wasn't so much the radical departure from past desktop environments, as the fact that essential things did not work properly or, more frustratingly, had been deemed unnecessary. Fast-forward three years and while GNOME 3.12 – released Wednesday – still isn't the …

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Could you post of screen shot of...

...A fresh boot with Firefox open and top running? I want to see how much RAM it uses.

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Re: Could you post of screen shot of...

Why? You planning on installing gnome 3.12 on a machine form 1990?

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Re: Could you post of screen shot of...

I'm not planning on installing it on a machine at all. I was going to install it on my pet goldfish, Mittens.

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Re: Could you post of screen shot of...

I was going to install it on my pet goldfish, Mittens.

No, no, no. Always use a scratch goldfish.

Kids.

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Hmmmmmm

Looked at it

Tried it

and

Immediately back to MATE and Xfce

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Nope

"For example, imagine you want a shortcut..... All you need to do is edit the application's desktop file...define a "Desktop Action", ...Save your file in ~/.local/share/applications and you're done."

Yep - it's easy for me. But I think this highlights why my gran will never ever use Gnome (or anything Unixy/Linuxy for that matter). These devs STILL don't get it, do they?

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Re: Nope

But how long before someone comes along with a little application to add these easily?

Also, as mentioned in the article, it allows developers (or "packagers") to define these in advance, or bundle the editing into the programme.

Generally, such a feature needs to be implemented before it is exploited. When Firefox, for example, adds an "Add this bookmark to the quicklaunch menu" option, it starts becoming really useful.

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ql
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Linux

Re: Nope

In XFCE, that's right-click, and choose "Add launcher", easy even for a gran. A bit rough to conflate a reviewer's choice of a file edit, and which may show that gnome has a way to go for usability, with a perceived lack in two entire classes of operating system.

I'm still not likely to try gnome for a while, though, but the review is a reminder that Things Change.

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Re: Nope

Is it really for someone else to finish this feature by providing a decent user interface for it? Think of the kicking Microsoft gets for Windows 8, even though there are several third party apps to add the start menu back. The reason is that it is not someone else's job to fix something that should simply be in there from the start.

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Re: Nope

Isn't it rather the point that some people don't want a computing experience that's been designed for their gran? Just like I wouldn't want to wear my Grandad's clothes?

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Re: Nope

"my gran will never ever use Gnome (or anything Unixy/Linuxy for that matter"

Can your gran drag a bookmark from the browser to the desktop ? That will create an icon for launching the page of the bookmark or at least it will in KDE. How would your gran do it in Windows ?

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Re: Nope

<Disclaimer> I've not used GNOME is years so the following comments are purely based on the article and other comments. </Disclaimer>

I've got no problem with the view that some users may want a more complex environment - although personally I do like common operations within my GUI to be fully usable within the "G" context (i.e. without the need to manually edit a config file)

However.... if you want a something within a main stream distribution then you need to accept that being main stream they aren't going to include an interface which is only really useable if you're up to admin grade tech skills.

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Re: Nope

It's not just "Add Launcher". It's knowing the right command to perform a specific action, and then having all those actions available from the same icon instead of having lots more icons. Your Gran won't be doing that, she has a desktop full of shortcuts, folders and documents instead.

Some devs have embraced the Ubuntu version of this. Firefox and Chrome launchers have options for normal or private browsing windows, Screenshot lets you grab the screen, window or a selected area straight from the launcher (or just use PrtScrn). Libre Office is an obvious candidate for a single launcher, but doesn't. I created one for it a while back but after a reinstall I've not bothered - it's not straightforward even to find out what the right folder is (there's conflicting info out there, and default options versus personalised setups, whereas Google's launchers seem to go somewhere else entirely, with really odd names). The Ubuntu Tweak app has something which looks like it should manage launcher options but it doesn't work for me (I tried to set up something for Libre Office). So an official GUI for this would be good, but still your Gran isn't likely to use it.

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Re: Nope

@Chemist

"Error while copying. There was an error getting information about “gnome_3_12_review”. HTTP Error: Method Not Allowed"

Easy in Chrome: Tools > Create Application Shortcuts.

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Re: Nope

@ Craigness

Well I did say at least in KDE - that's desktops for you. I was using FF BTW and dragging from the bookmarks menu

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Re: Nope

I agree and I use Ubuntu all day, every day. Not because I'm especially a Linux geek but because I develop LAMP websites and it makes sense to do so. For as long as a terminal or text editor to change a config file is needed for anything then Linux won't go mainstream. Look at OSx - the average user would never know it's BSD Unix underneath, but if you want or need the raw power of a command line then it's still there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nope

"But how long before someone comes along with a little application to add these easily?"

Well it's been about 5 years so far!

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Re: Nope (@Chemist)

"How would your gran do it in Windows?"

The same way as you describe for KDE - drag it from the browser to the desktop.

(Tested with Firefox and Windows 7)

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Re: Nope

I think people (grannies included - even those mythical ones who use linux without any problems and can rebuild the kernel in their sleep) have been using such implemented features like creating a schortcut on other OSs for decades... just sayin' ;)

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Re: Nope

lmao ;) danke

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Linux

Re: Nope

> But how long before someone comes along with a little application to add these easily?

It's been too long already. On the other hand, this is something that should be in the base product. The fact that it isn't is just blatant disrespect for the actual users. It's a big fat FU from the developers to the rest of us.

It's little wonder that no one has chose to "showcase" this.

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Re: Nope

Not to burst any Microsoft egos here but my Gran cant get her head around making windows shortcuts

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Re: Nope

The thing is, making shortcuts isn't something you need to do in Gnome Shell, so of course it's hard to do. Shortcuts aren't a thing because the interface doesn't work that way. It's like complaining that your new motorbike doesn't have a very good cup holder.

Once you start using search-based interfaces as search based interfaces rather than trying to use them as menu-based ones, you wonder why anyone would want to use anything else. I can barely remember the last time I launched an app by anything so old school as locating an icon onscreen and clicking on it.

Creating Shell dock entries, if you like that sort of thing, is two clicks once the app is launched. Can't imagine how that could be easier.

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Re: Nope

my Gran cant get her head around making windows shortcuts

I hereby propose the "gran" as the Register standard unit of computer-user capability (aka, unfortunately, "computer literacy"). One gran is the amount of knowledge required to create a desktop link to a web site in a single consumer GUI OS using the most straightforward method available.

10 grans for doing it by editing a config file. 50 for doing it with a pipeline of commands in the shell via a remote ssh session. 300 for doing it in ISPF for zOS.1

1Someone must have ported a text-mode browser to TSO by now. I'd do it myself if I didn't have real work to worry about.

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Re: Nope

OK, so you have to edit a config file. Not ideal, obviously.

But OTOH, do you want a dancing paperclip popping up saying "I see you're looking at a web page, would you like me to help you create a short cut to that?" and then proceeding to create a widget that plays a tune every time you mouse over it, tells you the time of day in the web site's locale, adds it to a semantic map of your browsing habits, emails all your friends to tell them what a great site you think it is and posts to Facebook, Twitter et al. just for good measure, before suggesting where you can get discount vouchers, signing you up to the web site's spamletter and prompting you to create an account?

There's a balance to be struck here. In my view it's about at the level of right-click and select "create a desktop link to a web page". Unfortunately, 99% of GUI designers seem to have convinced themselves we prefer the "paperclip" approach. So kudos to Gnome for going the other way, but it's still not right guys!!

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Re: Nope

The average Linux user is unlikely to need change a file in a text editor however even if they do it will usually be something minor.

All operating systems can have problems and it is very much a myth that Windows is easy all the time, what about arcane registry fixes and bizarre command line fixes that are sometimes required for unexplained (to the user) bugs.

Windows has improved a lot over the years and Windows 7 finally made some decent progress, however Windows 8 has made a step backwards in reliability in my experience - I've had more users ask for help with Windows 8 installations than Windows 7 despite 8 being the minority.

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FAIL

Re: Nope

"Can your gran drag a bookmark from the browser to the desktop ? That will create an icon for launching the page of the bookmark or at least it will in KDE. How would your gran do it in Windows ?"

Well you could drag it from the book mark to the desktop...or to the task bar if you want. Been around for quite a few years now.

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Re: Nope

I need more clarification on the 'grans' system.

Is it metric? How many daft uncles to a gran? Is one gran at sea level the same as one gran 50 london buses in the air?

How many grans fit in a football pitch. How many olympic sized swimming pools is that?

We need perspective here.

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Desktops

It is a bit shocking that the minimalist desktops seem to have overtaken the big lads. Linux users generally gravitate towards MATE, XFCE, LXDE and so on. I have gone from KDE to XFCE. Gnome and the other behemoths go on releasing self-indulgent albums but nobody is listening.

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Re: Desktops

I think there are two reasons for the switch:

1.) Gnome and KDE no longer run well on old hardware or in a constrained VM.

2.) In some ways the complexity of the large desktops violate the Unix design philosophy of "Programs should do one thing and do it really, really well." This causes things like systemd to go from optional to manditory.

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Re: Desktops

>It is a bit shocking that the minimalist desktops seem to have overtaken the big lads. Linux users generally gravitate towards MATE, XFCE, LXDE and so on. I have gone from KDE to XFCE. Gnome and the other behemoths go on releasing self-indulgent albums but nobody is listening.

I would go as far as saying that that is probably one of the main reasons for Windows 8 failure, the desktop became too apparent. Although I am principally an MS bod, I always have a VM running somewhere and the machine in my garage running Linux; Mint in its various forms for the last year or so.

I have also not used Gnome or KDE for years because of their general bloaty/heavy/over present feeling, I stick to XFCE, I dont care if XFCE doesn't have feature X or feature Y, the fact that it remains "behind the scenes" and out of my face is what makes it nice, light, reactive and very user friendly.

YMMV but I feel that XFCE just hits the right boundary.

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Re: Desktops

How so? With Windows 8 they're moving away from the desktop in favour of a simplified launcher with no panel, dock, big-mess-of-files-and-shortcuts-you've-not-bothered-to-categorise etc. The most apparent thing people would notice is there's no desktop. In fact, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it!

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Re: Desktops

@Craigness

Everytime you hit the Windows key that damned full screen TIFKAM interface pops up. Personally I call that invasive and way overboard. What people complained about is not the lack of the desktop but lack of the start menu, and I don't mean the start menu button..

Or are you thinking about those W8 "apps" that no-one cares about....in that case yes I agree with what you are saying but does anyone actually use those programs.

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Re: Desktops

I'm STILL running Windowmaker on all my Linux machines and I still can't see any reason to change. I just have ten virtual desktops accessed by the function keys and I've divided the applications I use into ten themes (Art, Web, Office, development etc) and docked them on the appropriate desktop. I change the dock on a desktop about once ever 18 months; possibly less often.

As far as I can see, GNOME desktop is a total waste of developer effort that has never delivered anything of interest to either the power user or the semi-mythical granny user. What actually is it even trying to do?

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I see no mention

Of multiple desktops... probably the thing I make most use of in Cinnamon (and in previous Gnome versions). Have they dropped this support, or do I need to download/run it to find out?

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Re: I see no mention

MATE, XFCE and LXDE all have multiple desktops/workspaces. I thought this was a standard Linux thing? Or is it because they're all Gnome 2.x derivatives?

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Re: I see no mention

GNOME 3.10 user here with multiple monitors. It has an odd behaviour when switching workspaces, only the primary monitor switches, but this can be fixed by running the following command once:

"gsettings set org.gnome.shell.overrides workspaces-only-on-primary false"

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Re: I see no mention

If you install gnome tweak tool you can choose to have multiples desktop on both screens or just on the main one.

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Re: I see no mention

That's been implemented since Gnome 3 was first developed. Multiple desktops aren't static. They grow in number as needed. For example, When you have nothing opened, you have a single desktop in use, that's all that shows. If you open an app, you get 2 desktops in use, one empty and the other with apps on it. The more desktops you use, the more you have available, and you always get one more than you're currently using.

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Linux

3.12 on Fedora 20

One of the fine folks from fedora has made a COPR ("Cool Other Package Repository", seriously, a bit like PPA on ubuntu) for this

https://copr.fedoraproject.org/coprs/rhughes/f20-gnome-3-12/

I'm going to give it a try later. Comes with the usual warnings.

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Pint

Re: 3.12 on Fedora 20

Thanks! Things blowing up here is normal ;-). [Which is why trial stuff is usually just fine. Nothing lasts very long.]

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Give me OS/2 Workplace Shell or give me death!!!

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Pirate

YOU CALLED?

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Anonymous Coward

But if XFCE already does what I need......

......why would I install another gigabyte or two to use GNOME? What am I missing here?

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Re: But if XFCE already does what I need......

'cos Gnome is not ugly as fuck?

I really don't get the appeal of XFCE.

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Re: But if XFCE already does what I need......

Beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder. XFCE as shipped with Linux Mint (including Whisker as a launcher) is a lot like KDE or GNOME before they married Yoko. And it looks just fine to my eyes, I could care less about jumping, dancing, shiny animated buttons or slippy-slidy transitions. I just want it to work without eating up all my RAM and not piss me off. XFCE does that. Every time I check out the latest KDE or GNOME I end up angry and wondering why my hard drive light doesn't go off.

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Ubuntu

I'm sure this will eventually just be an apt-get away :)

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Re: Ubuntu

I wouldn't count on it for mainstream Ubuntu. Ubuntu GNOME OTOH says they'll release a PPA for GNOME 3.12 just as soon as it's ready (they're a bit busy preparing Ubuntu 14.04 ATM).

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Why

Do only Apple understand that Flexibility and Complexity end up as the same thing?

Choice is good, but not when it's a choice of umpteen distributions, each of which can have one of umpteen different GUIs. Makes Windows 8 looks sane (well, almost).

Yes, I'm a Windows user. Yes, saying positive things about Apple hurts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why

I've been helping my grandmother with her ipad which my mother somehow convinced her was a good thing to buy. She's old and partially blind. Apple have helpfully given the option to read things aloud, but she doesn't need that. She needs big text. You can set the text big, but that only works for email contents. Not the message titles, or any other text or icons on the screen. It also doesn't work for most other applications.

Pinch to zoom works for some things but not others. And it doesn't remember that she needs the text large so keeps resetting it to small.

It has worked out that she's female and a pensioner, however, and is happily spamming her with "appropriate" adverts, which of course can't be turned off.

Apple haven't realised that flexibility is the difference between making something usable, as opposed to a £500 useless piece of crap. Simplicity just isn't in their vocabulary.

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