If a major Linux desktop falls in the forest and no one is around to use it, does it make a sound? That's a question the GNOME project would do well to contemplate. The once mighty Linux desktop has stumbled and looks like it might be poised to come crashing down after the release of GNOME 3. Here's the problem: the radical …
Me too, on my work VM. Unfortunately updates ceased for 11.04 last week.
Will Developer Ego Keep Gnome From Changing?
Despite the fears of some, Apple has not transformed OS X into iOS. It's now arguably the most conservative consumer OS.
One obvious instance of iOS intruding into OS X -- Launchpad -- can be happily ignored, unlike Gnome 3's enforced use of the Application Overview, aka Big Stack of Big Icons.
What has happened to Gnome reflects the disproportionate influence of developers in major Linux interface design decisions. That's to be expected, given the nature of the thing. But, the Gnome team's insistence that they have delivered the One True Way, that it is the users who should change, not the developers who are supposed to be fulfilling user wishes, smacks of the "If You Don't Like It Write Your Own Stuff" curse that afflicted so many people for so long. Linux and open source are not playgrounds for developers.
I think making *TWO* change to Gnome 3 would improve its usefulness by an order of magnitude:
One, Trigger the Overview display by moving the mouse cursor either to the right edge of the screen (the Workspace sidebar edge) or to the space on the left screen edge where the dock is hidden. The insistence that I need to push the cursor into one tiny spot in the upper left represents design failure.
Two, allow a way to launch non-Favorited applications, i.e., apps that are not in the dock, that avoids the Application Overview. The App Overview is simply another kind of menu, one that becomes unwieldy very soon. OS X users have easy access to an alphabetized listing of the Applications folder. Gnome should just copy that, and it easily could. Don't replace the App Overview, just, gasp, give people a choice. Managing access to lots of apps via hierarchical menus sucks, but no one had a better idea, including Apple and the Gnome team.
Whether it is those changes or others isn't important. What is important is that the Gnome team recognizes the need to make some changes. Gnome needs users, users don't need Gnome.
I don't believe that people run away from Gnome in droves. Are there actual numbers to prove it? And no, counting Slashdot posts that whine about it is not good enough. I love Gnome 3 (I have 3.4, I accept it may have been less finished before). It stays out of the way and lets me focus on my work, until I need to switch tasks, and then it is very slick. My theory is that the criticism in Internet posts only comes from people who've got nothing better to do than configure their desktop environments all day.
This article seems to completely ignore that gnome 3 is not the desktop UI and refers to gnome shell as if were the entirety of gnome 3. It also states that ubuntu and mint have developed their own desktops to avoid gnome 3 but fails to point out that most of these alternatives still use gnome 3 underneath, it is only the UI that is different. In fact I believe it was part of the design brief of gnome 3 that the desktop UI was adaptable, and gnome shell was only offered as one possibility. Were Gnome as an organisation to founder, this would have effects far and beyond those distros using gnome shell.
It's getting rather comical how The Reg needs to put APPLE in every headline to encourage clickthrough.
I'd say it's rather comical taking criticism from a guy on the web calling himself "Anal Leakage" ;-)
Seriously though, obviously not every headline has Apple in it - but it's now such a huge monster in the tech world that it can be hard to avoid.
Once tweaked a little I love it
I find the griping very silly, the desktop we choose is bound to bring its own pros and cons but it is how we increase the pros and eliminate the cons that matter. I was horrified by Ubuntu''s adaptation of Unity and didn't update from 10.10 till forced to with a recurring wifi issue. I tried other Linux distros both rpm and deb before coming back to Ubuntu because of the core values, ease of management, hardware support etc... I did try to get Unity to mould more to my preferences but found it very rigid and difficult to change and installed Gnome 3.
I wouldn't suggest it worked perfectly out of the box but by going to gnome shell extensions on Firefox I was able to change the interface I was able to get everything as I want. The overall look and usability are amazing. Best Linux desktop I have used in 12 years (and I have also used KDE). Shame there is no touch screen
No Unity or Gnome 3 for me...
I've got a MATE that is helping me out --- and allowing me to continue to use the same basic desktop concepts that have worked well for over a decade.
Re: No Unity or Gnome 3 for me...
+1 from me.
Moved from Ubuntu to Mint with Mate and it works/looks exactly the same.
I did install MATE desktop on top of our existing Ubuntu but it all ended up in a bit of a half and half mess.
It really is pretty good.
I like Gnome 3
There I said it. I moved to Fedora when Ubuntu introduced Unity and started making stupid decisions like the recent one to search Amazon when the user is looking for a local file. It works very well on our netbooks and the missus likes it too.
Admitedly on my desktop I run Win7. But since I don't like TIFKAM and with Steam moving to Linux I can see me switching to Fedora & Gnome 3 at some point in the future.
Nobody should really care, but for the lock-in
<old fart alert>
My beef with all this stuff is that it breaks every rule of UNIX design. A window manager should handle windows on the screen. A file manager should handle files. I should be able to slot in whatever my favorite one of each is and have them work. Instead, with GNOME and KDE, I have a gazillion processes running even when my computer is doing sweet FA.
Ladies and gentlemen, less is more. Small programs that do one thing well and use clean interfaces is the gold standard of design. In UI design it turns a religious war back into a personal aesthetic. Which is as it should be.
</old fart alert>
Apple did one thing *very* well..
.. it didn't try to ram the iOS model down every OSX user.
The principal problem with offering something new is that you disrupt people's productivity. As the tablet area was in principle greenfield, Apple could cook up a new UI for iOS and get away with it, but what it did better than all other desktops was that it left the old desktop in place when it tried to offer that same iOS approach on OSX.
It became clear very quickly that the Launchpad idea (as it's called on OSX) did not work *at all*, but thanks to it being optional rather than rammed down people's gullet without a choice this experiment did not turn into the sort of embarrassment that GNOME, Unity or even Metro were. Don't get me wrong, there may very well be a better method of using a computer, but people need time to work that out and the time they are seeking where the %&ç/ this or that function has gone is time they do not get their work done - this is also what makes the MS Office ribbon crap (in addition to making each advanced function at least 3 commands removed from the user).
The main reason I have been stubbornly working with KDE even when Ubuntu was trying to relegate that to second class citizenship by only offering it in another distro that never quite fully worked was because it allowed me Windows users to show an alternative that was *not* operable by aliens.
But eventually you tire. And so I switched to OSX - it gives me a decent enough GUI to get work done with commercial programs, and enough Unix to keep power behind it, and to integrate with services based on Open Standards (something that is still much harder to do with Windows). I have CentOS on a VM because I have a project that uses it as base. I have Linux Mint in a VM to show people, and I may download a bit of Ubuntu again because I need to set up a box with enough of a working kernel to support a Bitnami installer, nothing more. For the rest I have lost interest..
Gnome3 and KDE
For a while after starting with Fedora 16 and Gnome 3 (I am currently testing Fedora 18), I got disillusioned with Gnome3. I started with KDE, and slowly got accustomed to it. KDE is very nice if you have a powerful system, as the underlying architecture is based on QT, the object oriented graphical interface.
My reticence to standardize on KDE (I use Fedora 17), was that some software updates were better done via Gnome. I also felt that it took a lot of cpu cycles after a logon, before I could do some coding.
I will return to KDE with Fedora 19, to spend two days per week with KDE, two days with Ubuntu and Unity, and three days per week with Gnome.
I write software and do testing with 32 bit and 64 bit systems. The two that I use mainly are debian based and RedHat based, My software has to work with all distributions.
I read today, that Torvalds has started to use KDE after some months with the xfce or other distribution.
It does not mean that Gnome is not a winner, but it means that Torvalds tastes at this time are for KDE:
Let me close with an analogy. I like to drive a Mercedes, and after the Mercedes, my other preference is a Nexus. Which do I like better?. It depends on the amount of gas in the tank. I enjoy riding in both.
Equate your Gnome GUI interface with Mercedes, and KDE with the other. Both allow you to get to where you want to go.
I like GNOME 3
It's intuitive, attractive, simple and forgiving. I have no trouble using it in the slightest. That doesn't mean it's perfect and some of its simplicity is *too* simple, but it's still a solid desktop and most of the gripes seem to be around the fact that it's not GNOME 2.
The trouble with "intuitive" ..
.. is that that differs for everyone..
Re: The trouble with "intuitive" ..
Intuitive is obviously a subjective term and I don't need some banal truism to have that pointed out. I certainly think GNOME 3 is intuitive and I haven't seen many complaints that it isn't. Complaints are mostly gripes about missing functionality, not about what's there.
It's Linus, not Linux. :-)
GNOME 3 is fine in "fallback mode"
If you set that option you basically get the old Gnome 2.x. If it weren't for that I would have started looking at KDE or whatever else is available on Fedora. I know that won't be an option forever, but hopefully sanity will prevail at Redhat and they'll abandon the turd that is Gnome 3 before that day comes. There's no way I'll use Gnome 3, if push comes to shove I'll switch to KDE or even switch distros off Fedora if I have to.
When I first saw Windows 8 earlier this year I thought it was rather ironic that Gnome got it's start by copying Windows, and now Microsoft is copying Gnome. Too bad Gnome didn't copy NeXTStep, and Microsoft surely picked the worst possible thing to target (I know, they probably didn't so much copy Gnome as followed the Gnome developers down the same stupid rathole)
The problem with Gnome is...
That silly cashew they keep using for a stupid logo.
I guess it goes downhill from there, but I'll leave it to others to decide.
Re: The problem with Gnome is...
"That silly cashew they keep using for a stupid logo."
Thank you for your useful contribution !
long time centos user for the servers, fedora user on the desktop here. gnome 3 was the end of gnome for myself and the other 3 colleagues who I work with (every linux user in this redhat business). We all run xfce now, and I am looking to move to cinamon next time I move to a newer OS where its going to with just a yum install (not like my current and close to EOL fedora 16).
I agree with the point of this article, why is everyone trying to redesign the desktop? Some kid of 'start' menu, windows with min/max/close buttons and logically arranged drop down menus is dead simple and consistant. The biggest reson microsoft has been able to hold on to the desktop these years has been their lack of and slow (or non-existant) innovation. Win 8 is about to crash and burn along with gnome 3 for the same reasons. Please guys, keep it simple and consistant.
There is a potential upside to this. Perhaps now certain application developers - I am looking at YOU, Mozilla and Oracle - will stop developing their stuff primarily to work with Gnome. I like using Netbeans, but I don't like the lag that gets added when running it under KDE.
I left Gnome behind years ago. The app suite was too immature, there were large chunks of functionality that were simply missing, and the apps that were there had a surprising number of bugs. I moved to KDE and got a much more feature-rich desktop. The widgets and apps that I needed were available, functional and highly customisable. Pick pretty much any task and compare the common Gnome app with the KDE one, and the KDE ones are usually far superior.
This is the great thing about Linux...
If you don't like a desktop...install another one :)
Fedora can be had with KDE, XFCE, and LXDE, besides GNOME, all interchangeable at the click of the mouse :)
I've personally been liking KDE for a while now, even before the changes in GNOME. Sure its been through a couple changes but nothing so drastic and disturbing as GNOME 3. I tried GNOME, and the changes look good I suppose, but it doesn't seem such a great actual IMPROVEMENT.
So I hope the GNOME people can do something to rescue the situation. Maybe just work on the UI and focus on making it better to use until people love it again and flock back. But I will carry on using KDE and trying out others...
The main issue I have with Gnome 3 is performance. My computer runs it without going into fallback mode, but it's laggy. The fallback mode isn't the same experience and, for the admittedly short chance I gave it, felt like an after thought hastily thrown together.
I'd like to have more control over animations and effects (i.e. be able to turn them off). I understand compositing can't be turned off cause a lot of the basic concepts of the desktop require it, but other compositing window managers (Compiz, kwin and xfwm) run much better and smoother (although not always perfectly) than the gnome one on my hardware.
I really like being able to add my Google account and automatically have the calendar show up, I like being able to click a button on the website and have add ons automatically added.
It has potential, but it's just not the best option for me at the moment.
As for me...
I jumped to Xfce when rumours of Mandriva migrating to GNOME 3 came out and stuck with it when migrating to Mageia. However, while I really love the Xfce panel (particularly the Deskbar mode - a practical use for the extra horizontal pixels offered by the wide screens of today) I found Thunar and Xfdesktop a pain in the butt - give me Nautilus any day!
I've now migrated to Arch (Mageia 2 had too many issues / niggles for my liking), currently with MATE but I'll probably install Xfce as well, and try to get some form of hybrid working.
I must admit I like Gnome 3 on my laptop (on Fedora) after getting used to it. I will stick with KDE 4.8 on my workstation for now.
I'm always waiting for every desktop out there to get significantly better, though. That includes Apple, Windows, KDE, Gnome, etc.
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