The Fedora 15 beta from the Red-Hat sponsored Fedora Project has dropped squarely into a moment of uncertainty and upheaval for the Linux desktop. The planned new Unity interface for Ubuntu 11.04, that replaces GNOME, is rough start. And while GNOME 3 - Fedora's new default desktop - is considerably more mature than Unity, it's …
I found some gotchas but nothing major
I've been using Gnome 3 / Fedora 15 for a while now and it's not too bad. I posted a list of gotchas on my blog, and I'm slightly concerned that there isn't a more concerted effort from official Fedora sources to help people get to grips with the new interface. There are release notes but they are a bit dry and focus too much on the negative IMO.
The gotchas: http://littlethorpe.net/wordpress/?p=334
Just wanted to say thanks for that. I've yet to try Gnome 3 (I'm running on Linux Mint 10 at the moment but looking at giving Fedora a try this weekend) so something like this is useful and would probably save a bit of hair pulling.
Bloody ivory tower types
What a desktop is has been define. It has been defined for a while. I know it's boring but tough. Try experiments by all means, but don't force them on people. I want to overlap Windows (I often use the "always on top" feature while doing this) for instance when referring to something or playing a movie/tv on the same screen I'm doing something else on. Any desktop I can't multitask on, I'm not even going to try. To me, demanding I do so before you take into account my dismissal is like the creationists demanding you look at their "evidence" before you dismiss them as mad. This is only going to hurt Linux adoption. Stupid ivory tower rubbish I hope fails quickly so we can move on quickly. Friends and family now running Gnome aren't going to learn another desktop, for them learning two was hard (XP then Gnome2).
One more for the crazy meme bonfire!
'You can't multitask on GNOME 3'
Rubbish. It would be utterly useless to any of the developers if this were true. What's been hopelessly garbled here is that GNOME 3 tries to help you focus on whatever you're working on at any given time by avoiding unnecessary distractions from other things that are running. Note: this is not the same as there not _being_ anything else running, and it certainly doesn't preclude the idea of switching - possibly rapidly - between different tasks, which is what we really mean when we say multitasking.
To put it another way: very few people can truly 'multitask', which is doing more than one thing *simultaneously*. What we actually do is task switch, and GNOME 3 is certainly designed with this in mind. Viz the overview. Hell, viz alt-tab.
I'm not sure...
I'm not sure you really answered his point.
Is he right then that you cannot have multiple windows on the desktop (overlapping or not) at the same time? Again, I often use the "always on top" option when watching the progress of something while doing something else. or while coding, referring to another window with a reference in it.
If this is the case, it is going to be a complete non-starter for me. Yes, I am focussed on a single task at any one time, but I often need multiple sources that I can quickly visually switch between to accomplish it. Using a key to rapidly switch between them is not going to be workable.
It does seem that the new Gnome Shell and Unity are focussed on casual desktop users, i.e. media consumers. Developers have rather different and particular requirements focussed on rapid workflow and a particular visual paradigm.
I think by "multitasking" he meant being able to see multiple windows at one time, not simply having multiple applications running. I use that ability all the time in my work, and having to alt-tab between windows would be a huge show-stopper. If GNOME 3 really does not allow you to have multiple windows visible on the same workspace at one time, then it's not for me. (I haven't tried GNOME 3 yet, so I don't know.)
Hang on, no overlapping?
I did not try it, but people seem to say you cannot overlap windows...!?
Maybe *you* don't multitask, but I have seen people writing code while watching a video on youTube. And checking at the same time the stock market minute by minute in a third window. My question is: Can you do all that without alt-tabbing continuously?
With all due respect for Gnome3 dev team
I strongly resent Gnome3 or any other software for that matter to try anything on me. The PC must work for me, not to think for me. What I hate is not the innovation in the new GUI, it is the idiotic idea that Gnome3 should assume the role of a nanny that feels obliged to shield me from any distraction that in her opinion might turn me away from work.
WTF icon because it is needed here.
That is the question indeed. I have a large screen, and usually have the browser open in one half and something else (spreadsheet, terminal, text editor, whatever) in the other half. I also like to have each half of the screen (in another workspace) containing two terminal windows. Now, will these things still be possible with GNOME 3? That was the OP's question, I believe, and it's also mine. If it is possible, great. I'll try GNOME 3 as soon as I can. If it's not possible, then forget about it. Pressing keys is not as fast or as good as moving my eyes left and right...
"Is he right then that you cannot have multiple windows on the desktop (overlapping or not) at the same time?"
No, he isn't.
(if you're wondering where the panel is, that's my second monitor. I cut my primary monitor out of the screenshot because there's nothing interesting on it, just the panel and a maximized evolution.)
Again...the developers of GNOME are developers. They wouldn't develop a desktop environment that developers couldn't use. It'd be a bit silly.
relax. the OP is on crack. you can overlap whatever you like.
@relax: Oh, ok
Thanks for humoring us alarmists!
Look on the bright side
Xfce and Fluxbox may get some credit they deserve .
Right now I'm using Mint with Gnome (with LMDE). If Gnome shell is the way to go, I will have to looking for switch to KDE or Xfce. Xfce started looking really good.
Totally agree those stupid changes have nothing to do with usability. They are nothing but someone come with stupid idea to just copy retarded Apple interface, to try to make Linux more attractive to iDiot.
Apple doesn't change anything on Desktop
Apple just added Dock from the NeXT to Finder, as a seperate application. The other stuff (expose etc) are additions you can ignore. In fact I know some DTP designer old school types that didn't really know Expose exists. They were happily using their dual screens.
If you hate both environments, you can install both of them, install windowmaker and use what OSX should be if it wasn't for general public. Apple even removed their own functionality while making OSX because it would be confusing for their users. NeXT stuff however, can be added by third party sw.
That is how you gain 10% market with ridicolusly expensive prices.
I said this before ...
Oh hell! It is just another way to reinvent OSX! No, it is not bad at all, I have to concede, even on large(r) screens. I for have considered it was high time to do away with those lousy panels and buttons, and had my KDE set somewhat likewise for the last year. Good from that angle.
I don't miss 'minimize'. What's that good for if one can just shove the windows into a drawer to the right?
What makes me puke is that I can't seem to get the 'just full screen' thingy. Always the obtrusive, obstructive and do-no-good-to-me upper ex-panel. I am so used to screen edges to switch between desktops, and I want full desktops, and I don't need any border.
Though maybe I need to find out, how to get the whole crap away, out of sight, and use some (mouse or cursor) action to bring me back to the overview of the applications.
I don't think this will be a big hit with traditional Linux users; though I think, it might be somewhat tempting to touch-screen, small-size display users.
You know there is FSF os named Meego, supported by Intel and lots of big industry.
That is what you should experiment with touch/small screen optimization, not on someones 24" monitor with mouse and keyboard.
I really know there will be some whitepaper from a ms puppet showing the horrible re-training costs for using Linux citing this UI.
Get off my lawn
Think I'll have to go back to fvwm. But then I'll also have to go back to doing *everything* by hand. Guess that's the price one pays for being a luddite.
What about Enlightenment as a windows manager? Very quick on old hardware. I'm a recent convert from Fedora 14 and initially it seems overwhelming but it doesn't take long to adjust. It even can be configured to have all the pretty compiz effects and even a 'taskbar'......
Bodhi is very good - Ubuntu 10.04 LTS under the hood. Comes very minimal but you can install most of what's missing from
Try the live CD.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but...
Doesn't Enlightenment run as part of Gnome 1.x? I sort of remember it doing so from Red Hat Linux 7.
That's why Gnome used ESD right up until Pulseaudio took over in mid2.x?
Correction as requested
Enlightenment is a Window Manager; ESD is / was a network-capable mixing sound daemon (sort of precursor to pulseaudio indeed, only it generally worked without requiring a supercomputer to run.)
They are related, but not the same thing. Enlightenment is very much still around and I've fairly recently switched back to using it after over ten years mostly using KDE.
Gnome 3 is pretty good after a few hours working with it. The workflow takes getting used to but bar a couple of things its actually quicker and more efficient to get things done. It puts more focus on using workspaces and making them easier and quicker to use.
If you don't like Gnome 3 then at least you can fall back to XFCE. I agree Gnome 3 is a radical change but its nowhere near as bad as Unity. As its new i'm guessing the customisation part is still to come.
what a mess
personally i'll be moving to xfce if they keep this up - the desktop environment for many is JUST a file manager + a launcher to the various key applications you are actually working with - it is NOT the centre of the universe.
I've yet to try Gnome 3, but as long as there is a way to avoid things running full screen all of the time then I can probably live with it.
If this were Windows where you are locked into what billwg likes I could see the furor but not on Linux.
On Fedora as on any Linux you can do your own thing.
RH should work harder to make Fedora more of a free alternative to RHL and less of a RHL beta.
Thanks to Will
for taking the time to answer.
It sounds as if that lack of the bottom bar will still be an issue for me - but I'll hunt down a live CD and have a play.
I think there are a lot of people complaining - mostly at Unity at present - who like me don't want to have to change their engrained work habits to accommodate a new UI. One of those things that might not be an issue for a new user, but a big helping of 'why bother?' for long term users.
Well, it depends...
"who like me don't want to have to change their engrained work habits to accommodate a new UI"
I myself don't mind the change, *if it's for better* than what I had. I still don't know whether GNOME 3 will be better, but from the stuff I've heard so far I doubt it. But I'll have to wait to judge later, after I've seen it in action.
But one example of radical change that I *immediately* loved and worked great was the previous Netbook Remix interface that Ubuntu had. It was great for my 10 inch screen, and I was amazed at how well it used the available space compared to a regular desktop. I never used regular desktop on the netbook besides a couple of tests to see how it looked (and sucked on such small space). THAT was a situation where full screen for the app was the way to go more often than not. Then they changed to Unity and, even having being using it for nearly six months, I still hate the thing. That fixed, always visible bar on the left side is idiotic in such a small screen -- and I hate horizontal scrolling. Reaching apps also got much less direct, much slower. I did put the most used ones on the Stupid Bar, but still. So a couple of weeks ago I had enough and searched how to re-enable the old style interface, and did so. It does not look as good and integrated as it used to be, some things look weird, but the functionality is back. Fresh air once again.
So, wanna change? Make sure it is really much better for the situation. Full screen on my 24" (or even home's more humble 19") monitor is kinda ridiculous.
Enough already! Enough!
So, the idea behind innovation on the Linux Desktop front is ...
... to completely change the workflow?
We're talking about a workflow method that's served everyone perfectly well for ... heck, almost two decades.
*why* should I have to change the way I use my Desktop because a GUI team decide to *completely* re-invent the wheel?
Linux Desktop developers need to take a long hard look at Apple & Microsoft and note the *progressive* enhancements made.
For millions and millions of people, using a Desktop is almost second nature - to the point where a windows user who has *never* used a Mac will be able to figure it out with little to no trouble. Imagine someone going from Windows 95 to Windows 7 - they will *still* be able to use the Desktop without any issues at all.
If I had to introduce anyone at work to Unity or Gnome 3, they'd be completely lost.
In fact, they would just hate it - period.
Progress is a great thing, but for fsck sake, make it progressive - slow, steady and stable.
XFCE seems to be the last sane bastion of the Linux Desktop.
In summary, it's not a *crime* to mimic the way that Windows or Mac-OS do things, quite the opposite, it's essential!
you seem to be really over-egging the pudding here. it's not _that_ radical, and OS X really isn't that similar to Windows. GNOME Shell, OS X and Windows 7 are all probably about the same distance apart in familiarity...
GNOME Shell on ATI = fail
I don't quite understand why I don't see more people complaining about this. I have an ATI graphics card, on which the open-source drivers don't support hardware 3D acceleration (whichever part of X or Mesa is responsible falls back to using llvmpipe, which causes GNOME 3 to drop to the fallback session), and on which the proprietary drivers suffer from texture corruption which gradually renders the shell less and less usable the longer it stays open. Am I honestly supposed to believe that every GNOME developer has either an Intel or nVidia graphics card? Is there anything I can do to help, bearing in mind I haven't the faintest clue how to write device drivers?
Also, I'm not sure why they bother providing gnome-tweak-tool with the option to re-enable desktop icons, considering the option doesn't actually appear to work. Not for me, anyway.
I've steered well clear of PulseAudio and NetworkManager for the past few years, having heard lots of complaining about the former and having personally failed to get earlier versions of the latter to work. However, I bit the bullet and installed both along with GNOME 3, did a bit of reconfiguration, and am pleased to say they actually seem to have matured a bit. Hopefully, with time, I'll be able to say the same about GNOME Shell. It would be nice if the distributions stayed away from all these newfangled technologies until they actually work out of the box.
It's just you. really. (well, not really.)
"Am I honestly supposed to believe that every GNOME developer has either an Intel or nVidia graphics card?"
Er...you know AMD has made *more than one* graphics card, right?
3D support is fine on a substantial majority of AMD/ATI cards (in fact, probably more than NVIDIA cards). Yours obviously is buggy, which sucks for you, but it's not the case that we have no open source 3D acceleration for any AMD/ATI cards, we certainly do.
What model is your card? And have you tried a recent F15 live image? There have been improvements to the range of cards supported, there always are over time.
"Yours is buggy' was bad phrasing - I meant 'the radeon driver's support for yours is buggy'.
It's not just you ATI users
On Nvidia cards, The icons were washed out and mostly white outlines with a bit of color on the side. And performance was crap even though the machine I was running the LiveCD from was a Phenom II with dual NVidia GTX260s SLIed (yes, I have multiple Linux boxes).
It's not GNOME3's fault really, it's the fact that neither AMD nor NVidia wants to release proper open source drivers for their cards on Linux and that most distros can't ship them by default because they override part of X with their own proprietary libraries that will render the X installation unusable on other cards. So they ship with whatever open source drivers that happen to be available, which are far from polished.
Beware that meme, too...
> 3D support is fine on a substantial majority of AMD/ATI cards
I've got a whole load of ATi graphics cards. Not a single one of them supports 3D under Linux (and I haven't tried any other OS with them). As my use doesn't require 3D graphics, that's never been a problem for me.
This idea that everyone discards hardware over 5 years old is simply developeritis; many of us use kit that is far older and less capable.
Up until recently, FLOSS has been absolutely fantastic for this approach, but if developers of projects like Gnome actively decide to support only flashy new kit, we suddenly lose the ability to give a potential convert a CD and say "try it". If the CD can't boot to something useful and familiar enough for them to actually give it a go, they just won't bother. Posturing about whether or not that potential user should have tried harder is pointless - until and unless we get a substantial increase in the number of Linux dektop users, we're always going to be an also-ran in that space. Typically, we get *one* opportunity to show users a better way - if we cock that up, they spend the next decade claiming to have "tried Linux" and telling everyone how it didn't work.
I'm very pleased that Gnome3 is being tried, but I think it very irresponsible for Gnome2 to be dropped - both within the Gnome project, and in distros. I guess it's time to start a Fedora SIG...
To be fair, on second reading, maybe my post was a bit overly harsh. I'm disappointed that the proprietary drivers don't seem to work, but also understand that this isn't the GNOME team's fault - I'm not the only one, though; a quick Google search turns up this bug report, amongst others (although a corrupt activities bar is only the start, for me): https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=685691
I have an HD6950. KMS and 2D work fine with the open-source drivers, but not 3D acceleration, and I have to venture beyond my distro's mainline packages to get that far. Admittedly I had to do this to get GNOME 3 at all, but other distributions will probably be making the switch sooner, Fedora being one such example. I use Gentoo, so I'm used to having to fix the occasional bit of local breakage).
I understand that the situation with high-end graphics cards on Linux is often sub-par, because it's a game I've been playing for a while now, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it. If I could get the shell to work with software 3D, I'd happily live with a bit of slowness until one of the two drivers allows me to run it "properly", but it's quite frustrating being simply unable to run it at all! I've been following the shell design & mock-ups for a while, and haven't been entirely convinced by the screenshots & videos I've seen, but I really do want to give it a chance. At the moment I'm left wishing I hadn't bothered, because the fallback session just feels like GNOME 2 with all the useful bits removed.
Annoyingly, I've seen mailing list posts about getting the shell to work with llvmpipe, but they don't appear to have amounted to much - or the necessary work hasn't been merged into Mesa's master branch, perhaps.
Haven't tried an F15 live image - might do so when I get back home later. I have an nVidia card in my machine at work, but I'll be holding out a bit longer before putting GNOME 3 on that one, since ... well, I need it to be stable for work.
I have data!
Check https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Test_Day:2011-02-23_Radeon , compare successes and failures. Also note that most of the 'failure' cases were actually just an over-enthusiastic fallback timeout, and the cards actually run Shell fine (any link to bug https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=679326 or https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=679685 is this).
Very very old cards are a problem, but it has to be *really* old - much more than five years, we're talking pre-Radeon (old Rage stuff), and that's more like ten. Anything with Radeon in its name is intended to be supported, please file bugs for any that aren't.
Oh, further to my other reply on this, several other of the 'fail' listings on the test day were not directly graphics card related and have been fixed. Another big one was https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=677842 , which was actually an odd GCC bug which caused mutter to crash on 32-bit systems.
One other point: remember, if your card doesn't support Shell you don't just get MASSIVE FAIL, you get fallback mode. It's not as if we decided that unsupported cards just didn't matter.
All You Need...
In both Gnome and Unity, they seem to have got some drugs that have guided them to bring all the shortcomings of the AC100 and Android to the Linux desktop computer with keyboard and mouse. Its all wonderfully built with a touch interface in mind, despite there being a close to 0% touch interface availability or requirement. I don't want greasy paws all over my damn screen, thats why I have a keyboard and specificially a mouse.
And a note to every damn Linux developer working on UI. When you make a settings menu, or a systems seetings menu (Fedora 15 take note) - and you fill it with sterile but unclear and especially uncustomising features, I do NOT want the main menu to disappear leaving me with an applet. I don't want to have to go back to Main menu >> settings >>setting icon again and again just because you think its clever to close the previous menu. The same fouls scourge afflicts XFCE in Mint. If I open settings, I want to be there unless *I* close it.
And I swear the next person who says cleverly that 'keyboard shortcuts are XYZ' - No, keboard shortcuts are not a replacement for features you rip out of a UI. I don't want to have to memorise 50 nuanced tricky triple key shortcuts simply necause you could not be bothered to build in a minimise button in the UI, or because you happen to think a clean AKA, stripped down broken UI is a step forward.
Tell me this Mr Smarty pants UI specialist, how are you going to live with shortcomings made up by keyboard shortcuts in your garbage UI when you've tried to build it for Touch? What you gonna do, give them a special button for on screen keyboard so they can do their triple finger key special just to acomplish a cut and paste or something simple like a minimise?
The new desktop window managers are garbage, they are aimed seemingly at non existant touch interface tablets, and they are broken, sterile, worse than previous generations, less configurable, less fun, tedious, boring, and limited.
Have a cookie.
Here. It'll make you feel better. I have milk, too.
What is it with sarcastic developers lately?
Being sarcastic when someone raises what he considers to be an important issue really doesn't help anyone.
It might make you feel better in the short term, but it will cause friction in the longer term, and that doesn't help anyone. remember that this is a publicly-visible forum, and you have identified yourself as being a representative of the Fedora project.
I've had similar encounters within Bugzilla, with developers using sarcastic retorts because they simply couldn't be arsed to treat my report seriously. This really isn't a good way to get people motivated to help out.
> keboard shortcuts are not a replacement for features you rip out of a UI.
Keyboard shortcuts are great. But keyboard shortcuts are *shorcuts*.
If they become the main thoroughfare, you've just added another step to the learning curve, as that feature is unavailable until you memorise the magic incantation.
I use keyboard shortcuts all the time - Gnome2 has excellent support for them. But AFAIK, every single function could also be performed if you didn't know the shortcut. It would just take a little longer...
One, I'm not a developer. Two, there's a difference between raising an issue (note all the detailed posts I've written in this thread in response to people who've 'raised issues') and 'going off on a rage-fuelled bender'.
Re: Two things
> 'going off on a rage-fuelled bender'
Well, that's not how I interpreted the post.
But that doesn't matter - was it productive to be sarcastic? Would it have been mutually beneficial either to answer in a more measured manner, or even not to answer at all?
 If it were truly a rant, then this might have been appropriate. But I, for one, didn't see it as such - just an expression of the frustration many people seem to be experiencing over this significant change.
Productive? Probably not, no. This *is* still The Register, yes? Home of any story involving Paris Hilton and goldfish, preferably at the same time?
From OP: "The new desktop window managers are garbage, they are aimed seemingly at non existant touch interface tablets, and they are broken, sterile, worse than previous generations, less configurable, less fun, tedious, boring, and limited."
that was the point at which I decided 'oh screw it, s/he's not worth it'. It reads like s/he got out Roget's Handy List Of Insults and had at it.
Why is the dock by default on the left?
Most people are right handed and it would be much quicker if the dock is on the left. I'm not saying that there is not any option to put it on the right but it would be much easier if that would be the default.
I don't know why it's on the left particularly, but AIUI, usability studies which have looked into it have found no particular correlation between handedness and accessing either side of the screen - it's not actually any easier on average for right-handed people to access the right hand side of the screen than the left.
hmmm i wonder
Does this mean Ill finally have to stop starting a default install window manager, opening up a terminal or ctl-alt-f1'ing to one and running screen with vi sessions etc for everything?
Joking aside (although most days I end up with screens full of terminals dotted round my desktop with gdb or top, tcpdump etc running in them) enlightenment e17 is pretty cool day to day for me as the UI just ends up as a entity to cater for my underlying terminal access and shortcut keys with a media player in somewhere to justify running a wm, but Ill try gnome3 on gentoo as the ebuild for it has been put in a special gentoo gnome3 overlay, and if I don't like it Ill go back to gnome2 or e17 or whatever else tickles my fancy.
I could be the sort of terminal fiend its aimed at, I for one lament the features removed out of wm's to make them more friendly for "normal users" (yeah I know I can hack the ctl alt backspace back into xorg every install, which I do) so the signs everyone is whinging about lack of buttons and dropdowns suggests I might just be their target market ;)
I like the gentoo way, try it if you like it keep using it. With Fedora I always got the feeling I was there as rh's pet guinea pig beta testers too.
My applause to the gnome guys for at least trying something new. Try it, dont like it move on, like it keep using it. Its a freedom of choice thing you know?
Vic, you need to direct your venom at autocad, not a linux distro. Theyre the people who are ignoring the entire *nix target market base.
> Vic, you need to direct your venom at autocad, not a linux distro.
Aside from the fact there was no venom involved, I wasn't blaming a distro for there being no AutoCAD available.
I was proffering an alternative explanation for the lack of uptake of Linux desktops to counter the proposition that it is the similarity of the Linux desktop to other, successful desktops that causes said lack of uptake.
> Theyre the people who are ignoring the entire *nix target market base.
Yes, I know. But changing the way Gnome works won't alter that.
Okay so I've had a play with the Gnome 3 Live DVD for half an hour (came on the Linux Format DVD which saved me a download).
It appears to be based on Fedora 15 Beta, and I must admit I am quite impressed.
The top bar isn't as big as I anticipated, and there are window controls (minimise, maximise/restore, close) on the right hand side.
Clicking 'Activities' (or moving the mouse over) in the top left hand corner brings up either a list of applications or a view of the windows you have open. There is also a OSX like dock on the side (guess if they put it on the bottom of the screen then Applie might have kicked up a bit of a stink).
I don't think I'll be switching from Linux Mint 10 just yet, I'm going to hang fire and see what the Mint folks do but it certainly isn't as bad as I found Unity.
Next step is to try it on my step-dad who is still running Ubuntu 9.10 and not very computer literate at all (this might even make him more productive and less scared of the computer).
Gnome 3 sucks donkey balls and the Gnome team is a bunch of evil, self-indulgent, egotistical wanker imbeciles for forcing this utter crap down users' throats. It is complete garbage.
I do hope somebody forks Gnome 2 and shows these @$$holes how to do sane maintenance and evolutionary development without gratuitously throwing out all the good, useful features and configurability.
This is particularly galling since KDE recently made exactly the same blunder and took it visibly on the chin with KDE4, yet the Gnome boobs have now gone and done the same thing even after that train wreck.
To the Gnome team: you suck.