back to article GNOME 3: Shocking changes for Linux lovers

At five years in the making, and with code contributions from more than 3,500 developers, the just released GNOME 3 is not a small upgrade: it's a radical departure with an entirely new approach. GNOME 3 will no doubt prove polarizing for the GNOME community, at least initially. But, the reality is, love it or hate it, GNOME 3 …

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  1. bamalam
    Linux

    Looks Good

    Seems worth a try, particularly on netbooks. But where does that leave Ubuntu who seem to have pinned their hopes on a very unfinished interface in Unity?

    Also what are KDE doing to respond? Interesting times ahead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      KDE respond?

      KDE4 was ahead of GNOME3 in this respect and included such features 2 yrs back. They took a time to become complete enough for mainstream use, but have been stable and mainstream for a year or more

      1. The BigYin
        Joke

        @AC

        Yeah, but KDE needs a Cray for all it's graphics.

        Let the GUI wars commence!

        Oh, and which Window Manager do you prefer? Oh, then you're WRONG! HA HA HA!

        (See the fun you Windows users miss out on? :) )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          KDE? Cray?

          I've run KDE4 successfully on an old EVO600C which has a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. Hardly a supercomputer is it?

          1. The BigYin
            Joke

            @AC

            KDE is (generally) more demanding on graphics cards than Gnome.

            But I really would have thought that the "Joke Alert" icon would have given the games away.

            KDE users. Tch!

        2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
          Grenade

          WM Wars..

          KDE is too bloated for me,

          And this new Gnome 3,

          is just plain blasphemy,

          Unity? Oh, please spare me....

          XFCE is the way, you see....

          Try it, try it and you will know,

          How good it is and how far it goes....

          Do I win?

          (By the way, windows users can and have had GUI wars, remember classic vs fisher price lol!)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am a paranoid title - there are people out there and they're out to get me

      Your comment is reasonable and positive and asks two good questions. Come on man, get with the program ;)

  2. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The "drag to top of screen to maximize" is also a feature of Windows 7.

    When I met it I assumed it was for the benefit of people who would be using it on a small screen on which the button cluster would be so small and so close together you couldn't reliably pick one without hitting them all.

    Don't blame it on the sunlight, don't blame it on the moonlight, don't blame it on the good times, blame it on the iPhone (and its imitators).

    1. Greg J Preece

      KDE also

      "The "drag to top of screen to maximize" is also a feature of Windows 7."

      You'll also find this in modern versions of KDE, along with the half-screen snap-to-sides behaviour. Personally I use them all the time, especially on multi monitor systems. Grab window on one screen, start dragging, and it comes out of fullscreen to follow you. Drop it on the other monitor and it restores itself. Neat and efficient.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Drag behaviour is 50% useful, 50% annoying

        I sometimes use the drag action occasionally in W7 and it is useful. But at the same time there have been plenty of times where I've inadvertently triggered it by stepping into some invisible area where the OS thinks I want to do when I don't. The result is dragging a window around, often by a few pixels is suddenly 3x as slow.

        So it is useful but it's not perfect. I think it should be implemented as a drag-pause-snap kind of action where you have to explicitly pause a little bit in the right place to trigger it.

    2. Bilgepipe
      WTF?

      WTF?

      The iPhone is responsible for confusing design decisions in Windows and now GNOME?

      You trolls need to find a new subject to rail on - you're starting to sound desperate.

  3. Ceiling Cat
    Grenade

    The linux desktop is doomed!

    To be honest, I didn't even bother reading the article. One look at the screenshots was enough to prove to me that Gnome has gone down the crapper along with Ubuntu.

    Looks like they're trying too hard to compete with DisUnity in order to try to win back Shuttleworth. I, for one, won't touch either interface.

    Quite offputting to see the direction the linux desktop is heading in. I much prefer usability over looks.

    Grenade, as someone needs to have a live one stuffed in their trousers.

    1. revdjenk
      Happy

      Thought the same...

      I thought the same...until I tried one of the live iso's from the gnome3 site. I find that the desktop seems to get out of the way. I find it much easier to work changes in gnome3 using the keyboard, meaning controlling the apps and workspaces with out strange key combinations [these can be personalized], or needing mouse/touchpad input.

      It is also lighter by half on resources, compared to my current system.

    2. Clinton
      FAIL

      Feeding the Trolls

      "To be honest, I didn't even bother reading the article."

      "Looks like they're trying too hard to compete with DisUnity in order to try to win back Shuttleworth."

      Had you read the article you may have noted that Gnome3 has been in development for 5 years, much longer than Unity has been and clearly not around solely to compete with Ubuntu.

      "Quite offputting to see the direction the linux desktop is heading in. I much prefer usability over looks."

      Also if you had been reading you may note that the whole point of Gnome3 is usability via improved work flow and reduced clutter; not looks.

      1. E 2
        FAIL

        Clutter?

        Where exactly is the clutter in a pop-up "Start Menu" style interface?

        There is none!

      2. GatesFanbois
        Gates Halo

        a title

        "usability via improved work flow and reduced clutter"

        Wow, that's the sort of rubbish microsoft usually come out with. Does Gnome3 give us faster access to the internet as well?

      3. DrXym Silver badge

        Length of development is not a meaningful market

        "Had you read the article you may have noted that Gnome3 has been in development for 5 years, much longer than Unity has been and clearly not around solely to compete with Ubuntu."

        Yes and it was the flaws in GNOME shell, and the reluctance of fixing them to Ubuntu's liking which spawned Unity. Now we have the chance to compare solutions we find them both lacking. Unity seems less radical but it still leaves the user feeling lost. I'm surprised how immature Unity feels because it's been in the netbook edition for 6 months now and is lacking even a control panel to configure it or sensible defaults.

        I think both projects will get there eventually.

        "Also if you had been reading you may note that the whole point of Gnome3 is usability via improved work flow and reduced clutter; not looks."

        GNOME 2 was not cluttered. Workflow improvements are laudible additions, and some functions such as window lists / task bar / app menu be combined into a dock but it all boils down to pulling the rug from people's experiences or removing useful functionality. Indeed OS X got a slagging in early incarnations for not offering the same functionality as what came before and tossing out spatial metaphors.

        It appears with GNOME Shell (and Unity) that entire areas of functionality have been dropped on the floor. Things like applets are there at all for example. I hope in time both projects mature but it's kind of sad it's ended up like this.

        1. CollyWolly

          sounds more liek Apple crap to me

          Workflow is one of those unmesarubale ambiguous phrases that Apple fanbois use alot when explainin why their system is "better".

      4. Bilgepipe
        Troll

        Re: Feeding the Trolls

        >>> Also if you had been reading you may note that the whole point of Gnome3 is usability via improved work flow and reduced clutter; not looks.

        You hit the point right there - the trolls don't actually read the articles they post on or learn about the subjects they troll about.

    3. E 2

      KDE3.5

      ... is stil available as add on repo for OpenSUSE 11.x and latest Fedora.

      With any luck the current UI design fad will soon die the death it so richly deserves.

  4. johnnytruant

    Overall, I like it.

    But the lack of a keyboard status indicator for StickyKeys breaks it so much I can't use it as my day to day interface.

    I really hope that will be fixed soon. I rely on StickyKeys due to physical issues I have managing the various twists and finger gymnastics needed to hit metakey combinations. Ubuntu's Unity has the same problem, and KDE4 did when that launched too. Seems odd it slipped through in GNOME 3.0 though, given the prominence given in the new panel to the Accessibility Menu, that they don't seem to have finished implementing such. Ho hum. I've filed a bug.

    The customisation stuff will be back, if maybe not quite so detailed as before - the GNOME team acknowledge that's something people want but it wasn't really a launch goal for them. GKT3 is nice, but it could look a lot prettier than it currently does.

    I do miss minimising windows - it's not something I do often, I tend to just switch to an empty desktop - but it's nice to have the option.

    All things considered, a good first (and big) step, and with a bit more polish it'll be great.

  5. Johnny Canuck

    This is not a title

    I'm downloading it now. I'll give anything a try. Gnome 3 looks like its been designed with a touch screen in mind. For those who like something more traditional there is always Xfce.

  6. K. Adams
    Coat

    Gnome Shell? Not for me...

    I've tried to "love" Gnome Shell. I've really, really tried. But in the end, I just can't.

    GNOME.org has, IMHO, somehow gotten into its head that the whole desktop GUI paradigm -- as it stood before now -- is totally "broken," and that the only way to "fix" things is to completely up-end tried-and-true Human Interface Guidelines (HIGs) that have been developed through years (even decades) of ergonomic and semiotic research.

    I believe that Canonical's Unity desktop environment, which admittedly still needs a lot of work (and contrary to popular belief, is or will be based on GNOME 3, just not Gnome Shell) has some neat ideas behind it, and seems like it could eventually become a great desktop environment. Even so, what Canonical is planning for or doing with Unity is nowhere near as far-reaching and radical as what GNOME.org is doing with Gnome Shell.

    Even the KDE folks, when they started designing KDE 4.0, held certain desktop design and use-case elements sacrosanct, and provided basic controls such as:

    -- -- window maximise/minimise/close buttons

    -- -- a functional taskbar/application switcher

    -- -- a working systray/notification area

    and other familiar desktop features. Granted, when KDE 4.0 was released, it broke a LOT of stuff, and it didn't really "find its legs" until it evolved into KDE 4.3 or so. But on the whole, it wasn't really all that much different -- with regard to its HIGs -- from KDE 3.5.

    Guess I'll just have to head on over to Xfce; pardon me while I get my coat...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Mine's on the hook next to yours.

      User interfaces shouldn't suffer radical new departures. Change should be gradual and slow, and according to real life users, not the crazed egos of idea evangelists.

      I have just incorporated the Compiz cube (Ubuntu 10.04) into my way of working, so I'm not exactly a Luddite, but the menu, and window look and layout that I use owes more to W2000 than to anything more recent. Ubuntu/Gnome gave me the ability to build on that and extend it. From having a top panel with all sorts of useful applets and indicators on it, to having a bottom panel that (main menu moved down there) contains the elements I was used to having Windows put at the bottom of the screen.

      It works well for me, and I don't see why it shouldn't go on working well for the foreseeable future. New stuff, like multiple work spaces and cubes, can be accommodated, and enhance the whole thing. Different themes, to taste, can make it easy in the eye. Changes and improvements should add to what I have, not discard it: if anyone wants to decorate my house, they're welcome, but my way, not there's.

      Unity (Offtopic) is going to become an ego thing for Ubuntu. Making the interface the whole point of the computer. It isn't, and shouldn't be. The people and the apps are the important things.

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    Oh Joy.

    All the bad features of Unity. How wonderful.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Nothing wrong with the concepts

      Just the implementations. I think Unity is terrible and commits the sin often committed by open source projects - it's trying to play the same tune as commercial operating systems without understanding the notes.

      I don't see how they can release the way it is - so many really annoying features and default behaviours. That global app menu has to be toggleable for starters with the default behaviour being off. Of course 10.04 was pretty wretched too when it was in beta and most of the problems got resolved at the last moment. I'm not so confident it will happen this time around.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    Get in gear, boys.

    It's a linux thread about something controversial! I expect a massive flamewar by the time I get done with dinner and put my son to bed. That gives you about four hours to get things going; I expect nothing less than a 'natty narwhal is the worst beta ever' performance.

    Get cracking!

  9. Shadowfirebird

    I refuse to enter a title.

    We seem to have seen this sort of thing before.

    I mean, it sounds a bit like Unity, but that's not what I meant.

    I'm thinking of KDE, which had a radical reworking into something weird from which apparently there is no going back.

    I tried KDE4 six months ago. After ten minutes of "What the F**K is happening?" I gave up and de-installed it.

    Disclaimer: I still use Openbox, which runs in something like 500k and just works...

  10. Anton Ivanov
    Flame

    I knew I was right to move to xfce4

    Call me a troglodyte, but I like my buttons and my workflow as it is. I switched to xfce4 to avoid the kde4 trainwreck and looking at this I am not regretting it.

    By the way - the activity madness was introduced by KDE though it never went so far with it.

  11. Ilgaz

    No Mono dependency right?

    What I care about is, hope there is no Mono dependency at Gnome core. There were some rumors around.

    On the other hand, congratulations for such a radical UI change, not trying to be sarcastic, hope there is a way like "classic gnome" theme or something.

    If UI could be changed that easily, Apple would do it since '84. Or, we would be using joysticks to drive cars etc.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Touch screens influences

    I guess this & Unity are influenced by touch screen devices & the popularity of iOS & Android etc.

    Youthful readers will wonder what all the fuss is about, a bit like the backlash when KDE 4 appeared.

    I have users that don't/won't explore the relatively simple menus in ubuntu, but happily play on their phones. This latest Gnome might be just what they need.

    1. E 2
      Unhappy

      KDE4 Backlash

      The backlash against KDE4 was not because it introduced radical and deeply questionable changes to the GUI.

      The backlash was because KDE4 did NOT change the GUI metaphor very much at all - but it broke or removed almost all the customization options present in KDE3.5.x.

      Even now, with KDE4.6, the only added really new features still are widgets and Vista bling.

      KDE devs explain on the KDE site that a major rewrite was needed, I do not recall the details go look at the site. Some major behind the scenes subsystems were found by the time of KDE3.5.x to be insufficient to go forward. Well and good. Redesigning the guts of the UI did not require the bling blast and gutting of the UI's customization options.

      This is a problem because (for example) I still cannot set the task bar to be a nice easy to read low key non-shiny light grey color with black font. I find the KDE4 black task bar hard to read - which genius dictated that such ergonomic details were not important to end-users?

      1. penguin slapper

        Exploration

        The KDE4 taskbar can be changed to pretty much what you want. It's customisable in terms of colour. Somewhere in the System Settings is the "Workspace" tab - this allows different taskbar themes to be downloaded and applied. If no one's made the colour balance you want - make it yourself - KDE4 does not lock you out of such endeavours.

        1. Zolko

          KDE4 can look & behave like KDE3

          It took time, but now (KDE 4.5.3 for me) KDE became as usable and stable as 3.5.9 was. The only real difference I see is the Kwin window manager, that can use compositing efficiently. The rest can be brought back to look almost exactly as KDE 3

          .... which of course asks the question : what was that all about ? Couldn't they just make a new window-manager for KDE-3 and be done with it ? Well, if the devs thought that it was worth their effort, why not. But KDE-4 turned out to be no paradigm shift at all. Some nice transparency effects, some funky widgets, and that's it.

          .... which again brings the question : didn't the Gnome people learn ? Do they really think they'll revolutionize the UI where even Apple keeps the good ol' desktop ? As Einstein put it: "clever people learn from other's mistake, stupid ones don't even learn from their own"

      2. Havin_it

        @E 2

        "This is a problem because (for example) I still cannot set the task bar to be a nice easy to read low key non-shiny light grey color with black font. I find the KDE4 black task bar hard to read - which genius dictated that such ergonomic details were not important to end-users?"

        What distro are you using? The default KDE theme (I assume it's default, I'm on Gentoo and haven't changed anything) has had a pale-grey (or translucent) taskbar with black text for the last couple of versions (currently on 4.6.2).

        1. E 2

          @Havin_it

          OpenSuSE

  13. Aaron Em

    New configuration system?

    Well, I won't say it can't possibly be worse than gconf -- which is the Windows registry all over again -- but it'd certainly have to work hard to be.

  14. AdamWill
    WTF?

    Ubuntu?

    It seems odd that this article is tagged 'Ubuntu' (a distribution whose next official release will contain exactly no GNOME 3 components), but not 'SUSE' or 'Fedora' (the major distributions whose next official releases will contain all the GNOME 3 components, and which have been working closely with the GNOME project to integrate and stabilize GNOME 3). Sigh.

    1. Chika
      Grenade

      Umbongo

      Indeed. Yet again we see that too many users out there link Ubuntu to everything Linux. As I've said so many times now, Linux is Not Ubuntu.

      Having said that, and comparing Unity, GNOME and KDE, I can see that too many of these projects are being released as betas when, in fact, they are barely ready for Alpha release. KDE4 was unstable in its early versions and, now we have it, 4.6 still has its bugs though it is a vast improvement on versions I tried on openSUSE. I could point the same finger at GNOME, to be brutally honest.

      While I can accept that the various Linux distros are often used as a trial platform for various projects, applications and so forth, there has to be a line drawn between releasing new stuff and maintaining older kit where Linux is in use by people who need it. I can excuse KDE to an extent as 3.5.10 can still be got and does appear to still get some support but cutting the older versions off should never happen until the replacement is stable and usable from the user's POV, *not* just the developers, and especially where such big changes occur as with this version of GNOME.

  15. ArmanX
    Headmaster

    You've made a mistake in your title...

    "GNOME 3: Shocking changes for Gnome lovers"

    There, I fixed it for you! :-)

    Seriously though, I really wish people would not equate Gnome (or, for that matter, any other window manager) with Linux. Depending on which computer I'm using, I use KDE, xfce, or even no window manager at all (straight-up XWindows on my mediacenter, and nothing but a shell on my server).

    It's an easy mistake to make - Microsoft Windows is irrevocably tied to its GUI, so when you see that green hillside as a background, you immediately assume it's Windows XP. Linux is not Windows, though - the GUI doesn't (or at least, shouldn't) define it.

    On reflection, I think I'll make another change:

    "GNOME 3: Shocking changes for Ubuntu lovers"

    Even so, my statement applies - just because Ubuntu is Linux, and Ubuntu by default uses Gnome, doesn't mean that Linux is Gnome.

  16. Kurgan
    FAIL

    A sort of MOVIE OS interface?

    Oh, my...

    This seems to be a sort of "Movie OS" (as in every computer you see in a movie) interface. A lot of "oooh, cool!" but no usability at all. Should I give up graphical interface and move to a text-only shell, to get some usability back?

    Oh, what a glorious FAILURE!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      usability

      >>> Should I give up graphical interface and move to a text-only shell, to get some usability back?

      eh? have you only just realised that? guis are only about eye candy. they're all fucking useless when there's real work to do. for that, nothing beats the command line and a bit of shell and perl scripting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah

        uis are only about eye candy. they're all fucking useless when there's real work to do.

        Yeah, cause everything you can do with a GUI you can do just as easily with some bearded hippie command line. *rolls eyes*

        1. A J Stiles
          Stop

          Tell you what

          Tell you what, I'll race you. You make some 160x120 thumbnails from a folder full of assorted-sized JPEG images by opening them in your favourite graphics editor, clicking and dragging and SAVE AS-ing. I'll open the nearest Xterm and type this;

          $ for BIG in *.jpg; do SMALL=$(basename $BIG .jpg); convert -resize 160x120 $BIG $SMALL && echo "Shrunk $BIG to $SMALL"; done

          For some number of photos, you could have *learned how that works* quicker than you could have done it by hand.

          1. asdf Silver badge
            Flame

            must be some windows (l)users on here

            Only a useless MCSE point and click hack automatically downvotes any comment with the dreaded two words command line in it. Funny if the command line is so evil that even M$ saw the point of releasing the power shell. Of course they made it optional so as not upset their supposed "experts".

          2. Steve Ives
            Linux

            Tell you what - GUI vs. Shell

            Can anyone else see the irony in proving the benefits of a shell vs. a GUI with the example of resizing JPEG images?

            Steve

            1. A J Stiles

              Yes

              Yes, it's a bit of an odd one, that! But you don't really need to be able to *see* an image to resize it.

              Or consider this slightly more complex example, which replaces every occurrence of "Melanie" with "Sandra" in any file ending with .txt in the current folder or any of its subfolders:

              $ for F in $(grep -R Melanie *.txt | sed 's/:.*$//' | uniq); do sed -i 's/Melanie/Sandra/g' $F && echo "Fixed $F"; done

              The point is, if you know exactly what sequence of operations you are going to perform, how to perform them and exactly which files you want to perform them on, and you don't mind not seeing the results, a CLI is almost always quicker. (Or at least frees you up to do other things, while the computer gets on with the hard work.)

              1. Jason Hall

                @ AJ Stiles

                The problem is for 'the average user' who can barely turn on/off a TV without help that is a completely unfathomable line of gobbledegook. There is no way in hell they are ever going to be able to understan that, let alone *do* something like that - *ever*

                A computer is there for the user to *use*. If that user just needs it to write letters/email/browse/music/photos - which I would say would cover 98% (made-up number) of people out there then so be it. All the major OSs should be setup to do that as easily as possible.

                For the rest of the *tiny* community of people who know how - you can still do it however you want.

  17. sgb

    hmmm

    Looks like they've decided that the smartphone interface is the way to go for the desktop. Whether they're trying to create a touch-capable interface that will scale down nicely for the multi-core phones & tablets of the (very near) future or they are just trying to distance themselves from a well-worn interface paradigm, I don't know.

    Well-worn or not, I've got used to Gnome 2 over the years and I think I'm going to have serious trouble with this. This may be the most recent cycle in my KDE/Gnome merry-go-round. I think I've swapped four or five times over the last decade.

  18. Rod 6
    Thumb Down

    It sucked big time.

    I tried Gnome shell yesterday. It sucked big time. Here are the reasons why:

    1. No task bar.

    2. I tried to tab through the open windows, but the tabbed windows were grouped/nested and thus needed more key presses to select the terminal I wanted.

    3. No minimize maximize buttons. wtf?

    4. I could not make new panels to customize my desktop.

    5. As there were no panels, I could not make clickable shortcuts and thus needed more than one click to open a new terminal. (fail)

    6. Everything is animated, I don't want animated menus in fact I don't want animated anything. I just want menus to open so fast I can't see them open.

    7. Where is the system tray?

    8. Where has the weather gone from the clock?

    9. Why has the global time gone from clock? I need this.

    10. Is it me or could I not put files on the desktop?

    11. The clock seemed to be stuck in the middle of the bar on the top of the screen, why can't I move it. Why?

    All in all I found gnome 3.0 to be a total pain to use, fine if you are four years old and the computer is a play thing and you want random animations to impress your friends, but as a power user who needs to do real work and quickly it just does not cut it. It looks to me as if it is a developers wet dream which for some reason got released. All I want is a stable fast desktop which works 100% of the time. No animations, no funky menus.

    Fail.

    Gnome people please do a reality check asap or I will be looking for a KDE distro - and I never did like KDE.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nail hit on head.

      It's fine for the four-year-olds ...or the fourteen-year-olds whose world is defined by their mobile phone (Like ducklings, adopting a football as mother, because it was the first moving thing they saw).

      For those who want bling (there's nothing wrong with being four or fourteen!) let there be bling. Yesterday, I adopted the Compiz cube, and soon saw that, as well as being pretty, it was actually useful. I very quickly rejected the silly stuff like wobbly windows. Let the bling be optional. Even Microsoft, for all their tyrannical do-it-our-way nature, gave us a *simple* 'classic windows' setting for XP --- I don't know if this benevolence extended to Vista and 7?

      1. Ilgaz

        7 still have windows classic

        As you may have guessed, windows 7 does have classic windows theme which is sure the right thing.

        They also removed crazy ui tricks which are useful but shocks newbie from that theme, it is real "classic".

        Hope Gnome guys really thought about it too or business and advanced 2.x users will simply switch to xfce. It could be a bit hard (!) to explain the concept of no close button to business guys.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Thanks for that

          It's good to know. Just in case I ever have to knock on MS's door, pleading to be sold a copy and allowed back into the flock.

          It's not likely, but, you never know!

    2. Mediocrates Silver badge

      Four Letters

      XFCE

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Stop

    Not for me

    I'm another OpenBox user, which over the years I've tweaked to *exactly* what I want. To me, no other WM is in the same league for productivity.

    1. llewton

      e

      'xcept tilers, come on :D

      I used to be an openboxer though, decent WM.

      Never liked Gnome. Wish it success, however.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Tried it, didn't like it

    G3 is the lamest s**t since Windows ribbon.

    LXDE here I come.

  21. Ben 42

    Interesting times

    KDE 4 really starting to stabilize and Gnome about to piss off a significant portion of its users (fair or not, this kind of change is going to upset a _lot_ of people). Ubuntu about to do the same thing. I'm betting the KDE-based distros are jumping for joy right now after taking a beating as part of the KDE 4 release (which was a disaster in its own right).

    While it should be entertaining to watch, it does make me despair for any chance of desktop Linux ever taking off. If the two major UI projects keep up this seemingly user-antagonistic approach to software development they're never going to make meaningful progress. :-(

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Clickable Pictures

    Could we please have clickable pictures to make them bigger so I can actually see what you're writing about?

    By the way, for me both Gnome Shell and Unity seem to make sense to me, on a superficial level for me. I don't like Win XP, but I do like:

    - Win 7's task bar (almost as much as OS X's Dock)

    - Win 7's Windows Key->Search (but not as much as Quicksilver on OS X)

    - Win 7's Aero stuff (but Exposé is still better)

    So some kind of Dock + Gnome Do + Exposé is about right for me. I don't like long lists, or swathes of icons. From what I've read (not yet tried, though), both Gnome Shell and Unity head in that kind of direction.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Umm...its called choice

    I really don't understand the fixation with particular desktop/window mangers. The whole point of Linux, if you want a GUI rather than relying on the power of the command line, is that you just select one that meets your needs, regardless of your particular distribution choice. There are loads to choose from - just relying on Gnome or KDE is as limiting as using Windows. Don't whinge about WMs you don't like, unless you intend contributing to improving them.

    Ubuntu is not Gnome, PCLinuxOS is not KDE.

    For a cut down list of available WMs see the link below. There are many others.

    http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/400461-five-best-alternative-window-managers-for-linux

    and for some real world use, some Archlinux desktops are shown in this thread (by and large, most are not Gnome or KDE based):

    https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=116038

    1. Bilgepipe

      yes but...

      >>> The whole point of Linux, if you want a GUI rather than relying on the power of the command line, is that you just select one that meets your needs...

      Yes, I did - I chose Ubuntu and Gnome. Now Shuttleworths ego is forcing Unity on me. What am I supposed to do, wipe my machine, install a new distro and reinstall all my apps? Great, thanks.

      Even Microsoft is only just as bad as that.

  24. JDX Gold badge
    Flame

    well well well

    I never realised Linux users were as critical about their own OS as everyone else's.

    Sounds to me as an outside observer all these rants are just "I don't like change" btiching, exactly the same as you get when a website revamps it's look and hundreds of old-timers threaten to leave because "the font literally makes my eyes bleed" (http://xkcd.com/725)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      these rants are just "I don't like change" btiching,

      Fine. We'll reorganise your house while you're out. No bitching, eh?

      Change should be reasonable and optional.

      The last change that made a huge difference to my way of working was tabbed browsing. I adopted it immediately and wholeheartedly. Some are still saying it should be optional, and I'd be the last to force it on them (it seems FF-4 does? not sure).

      Ranting and bitching gets things changed. Sometimes it gets them unchanged too, which is equally valid --- so kindly do not bitch about my ranting, or rant about my bitching!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    If you need Gnome or similar, then why ...

    are you using UNIX or its derivatives?

    twm and xterms are all a real UNIX user needs, seriously.

    The idea behind UNIX is a shell, providing access to simple, reliable tools, each doing their job well and efficiently, linked by pipes, filters and redirection.

    Know your tools and be able to type and the world is your oyster, easily automated and enabling you to do simple or complex jobs with little effort in little time.

    Excepting obviously visual tasks, such as GUI web browsers, picture editing etc., if your idea of bliss is click and point, select and drag and snazzy icons, Windows and OS X (in its default GUI form) do an excellent job. All the rest are merely playing catch-up, not very well judging by the market response.

    Personally, I use OS X, appreciating the default GUI for lazy access to browsing, photos etc. and delighted with X (with twm, oh joy) or the terminal application for full UNIX shell access and the ability not only to use all the UNIX tools; but also able to down load even such oddities as Gnome.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Simple reliable tools?

      Most Unix command line tools are utterly incomprehensible to the occasional user. GUI's make Unix accessible to more people by actual making it usable to more people. Almost no-one nowadays can be bothered to learn all the intricacies of the command line tools, and who can blame them when GUI's do all they need. I'm glad you have had the time to learn all the tools, but they are generally overly complicated, badly syntaxed, and a PITA to remember when you only use them infrequently.

      Windows and OS X do a great job. For a price. That's another why people use Unix/Linux as an alternative.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        If you are serious about UNIX then

        it's your job to know them or at least of them and where to find the manual page.

        The syntax is generally easy and consistent (well, the Bugs section on the man page for find(1) used to list bizarre syntax as the main one:) ). There are man(1) pages. OS X is a UNIX based system (more so than Linux).

        If it is too much, stick with Windows or similar; in the end, the cost is not so different and it will save you aeons of time and effort and give you a polished interface well known to almost all your colleagues, employers, friends and customers, even the UNIX ones. Clearly, for your limited use, you do not need UNIX per se (not a criticism nor a "put-down", lucky you to have the same needs as the vast majority of people including most TheReg readers, I am the same with cars, mobile 'phones, MS Windows et al.).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          UNIX?

          Not forgetting of course that OSX is a GUI sitting on top of a UNIX distro.

        2. asdf Silver badge

          UNIX great in 1989

          but the GNU toolset/commands so owns the more traditional UNIXs such as Solaris AIX, etc (BSDs at least a bit better in this regard). No xargs in find command, no gzip flag in tar, wtf is this 1989? Lets all be real old school and only use /bin/sh and ed.

  26. Antti Roppola
    Welcome

    Horses for Courses

    I ran up a new FC15 dev machine last night and it was a case of "same old, same old" until this whacky new UI popped up.

    While I'm giving it a red hot go, I'm with Rod on the need for a UI that meets *my* needs. The iOS style UI will suit many casual users, but I need to be able to launch/access temrinals and I don't wwant vanity effects on GUI events. I have not yet looked at whether I can alter settings to better suit my needs.

    We would not see any progression in GUI without real attempts at change, but I wonder if any of them are all that much better than the OpenWindows environment that I still quite like. I'll give Gnome 3 a week or two and then make a decision (because unlike other OS, I can make a decision).

  27. E 2
    Unhappy

    "...you don't need to open menus or drill through categories..."

    I really do not like the spin about UI from Gnome and KDE. Are they worried about who will 'win' the *NIX desktop?

    Opening menus is a very difficult difficult activity?

    Do I really need power tools or great diligence to navigate categories?

    These things are not difficult.

    Drop down menus survived from 1995 to 2011 because they work and are easy to use.

    Nothing wrong with trying new UI ideas. However all the screen shot of Gnome3 shows me is a full screen list of big icons. What if I do not want all that crap on my desktop?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "you just need to start typing"

      So all we need is a command-line prompt and auto-complete, eh?

      1. CD001

        Actually...

        Actually, if the Windows cmd had auto-complete (for things that you've NOT yet typed) rather than having to use --help or /? to get the sub-command list I'd be quite a happy camper!

        Brought to you by DELTREE WINDOWS.

        1. Anomalous Cowturd
          Stop

          DELTREE WINDOWS?

          format c: /x /y is better! ;o)

      2. E 2

        @Thad

        Hey Thad - about 50% of my Linux time is actually spent using an xterm. BASH auto-complete is my best friend!

  28. E 2
    Thumb Down

    @Greg J Preece

    But I like to manually place a window at the top of the screen or the left side of the screen. It's a radical concept but I use it to arrange windows sometimes.

    I really do NOT need Win7 or KDE4 maximizing the window when I move it to the top. It is an insanely irritating default behaviour.

    Is the top of screen idiom better than double click the title bar to maximize? Fact is it is not - because it mixes the move-window action with the resize action and is confusing.

    First ting I do when I have to use KDE4 is editthe personal prefs and turn off all the "intelligence" of KDE4.

    1. Ocular Sinister
      Go

      Well, that's OK

      In KDE at least - I have no idea about Win7 or Gnome - you can disable this feature. I know I do because I accidentally activate it too often.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        *NIX

        The thing about the popular *NIX desktops I've used is that it's possible to customize their behaviour quite simply. It may be that you want to change the behaviour to suit the way you work, but more likely you'll want to customize it to behave like the GUI you're used to.

        Whatever the reason you do it, it's generally not a problem to choose whether a single or double click opens an icon or to choose what behaviour maximizes a window. MS or Apple, however, tend to dictate to the user much more rigidly in this respect. This is odd given that old sales mantra of "the paying customer is always right".

    2. CD001
      Happy

      Just means...

      ----

      But I like to manually place a window at the top of the screen or the left side of the screen.

      ----

      That just means you don't have a big enough screen ;)

  29. E 2
    WTF?

    I can only conclude the author is being ironic

    "For example, there's no way to quickly open a document in a different program, rename a document, move a file or ..."

    Well those features are the biggest ***WINS*** in 25 years of GUI desktop research!

  30. Wile E. Veteran
    Linux

    Looks a bit like Acme

    Bears a slight resemblance to the Acme combo editor/window manager from Plan 9 (the one from Bell Labs).

    This is neither all good nor all bad, but it certainly is a different way of dealing with the running applications and screen real estate. The original inventors of Unix who have not retired yet seem to love Acme once they get used to it..

    There's a clone for Linux called "wily" if you want to take it for a spin.

  31. Steven Raith
    FAIL

    So what you're saying is...

    ..that all the bad things about Unity are the good things about Gnome 3?

    Yeah, you might want to sort out some sort of editorial policy, guys.

    Having mixed Gnome3 with Unity for some six months, Unity wins - big time.

    Steven R

  32. Uwe Dippel
    WTF?

    Not what I personally want - Do you want it??

    Thanks to ElReg and the link. Downloaded and burned it. And started it.

    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.

  33. Listman

    Not everyone uses a freaking mobile device

    What the heck, ok so majority wins but we all have to suffer? I'm so tired of seeing this kind of thinking in the computer industry. I dont own a mobile device and I don't want one and the computer industry is assuming we all do. I'll never give up my desktop, it took me long enough to buy a stinking laptop. I know i'm becoming the minority but the good thing is Linux is all about choice. We had fun for about 16 years Gnome but its time to say goodbye, enjoy your time with the mobile users, I hope they take care of you.

    Make some room LXDE we're all coming to your house.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Common UI

      True, not everybody has a mobile device. However a high percentage of computer users do and there are big wins to be made in providing a common interface between all the user's devices.

      You are in a shrinking minority. As such you are less and less likely to find any GUI vendor who will pander to you, out of the box at least.

      1. E 2
        FAIL

        @Anonymous Coward - Common UI

        No!

        No no no!

        What works on a 24" monitor+keyboard+mouse does not work well on a 4" touchscreen monitor. That does NOT mean what works on a 4" touchscreen monitor should be the default for 24" monitor+keyboard+mouse.

        Imposing a common UI on vastly disparate user interface *hardware* is a ridiculous, blind, dogmatic, pig-headed thing to do.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Well...

    At least now KDE will have a reason to stop being crap and take over as the main window environment.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Egos

    Throwing LONG established practices out the window is just arrogant and egotistical.

    But then the GNOME devs have long displayed those tendencies.

    It's all a bit depressing and very indicative of the new arrogance that is abroad these days, where what the customer wants is ignored and replaced with what the company decides and all you'll get for your complaint is insulted by some twerp with zero social ability. Functionality is replaced with a groovy new layout, long trusted standards are abandoned, basic expectations are not met, but it's all OK because some 'merchant banker' in the Management Dept has decided that this is "the new direction".

    Hopefully the KDE crew won't hurl themselves, lemming like, off the same cliff.

    Ultimately there's the Off button and paper and pencils.

  36. E 2
    Thumb Up

    @Rod 6

    "I just want menus to open so fast I can't see them open."

    Fuckin' eh! I could not have said it better.

  37. Rattus Rattus

    Ew.

    Time to upgrade my UI, I think - from Gnome to /bin/bash

  38. Tim Bell
    Coat

    Open question: which window manager sucks the least?

    I got started with twm. It had some faults, but was straightforward and easy to customize.

    Since then, it seems everything I try to use Does The Wrong Thing (DTWT) by default. It puts windows in the wrong place. It grabs keyboard focus. Windows pop to the front for no good reason. On and on.

    That is all - the main point is that (after all these years) I do not see any real progress in usability. All I see is change for its own sake.

    Grab a coat, I guess, while I go off and write my own...

    Oh crap - this coat is Maximized on Top, with keyboard focus... how do I get the behavior I want so I can reach the windows underneath? I was actually using those...

  39. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Hmmm...

    Hmm good thing I switched my mom to LXDE and I'm still running with FVWM so really... absolutely no reason to be bothered about this...

  40. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    KDE 3.x and gnome 3, and long term compatibility

    @E 2, if you find KDE 3.x is no longer available eventually, I have KDE4.6 on my Gentoo systems, it can be made to look and behave pretty closely to KDE 3.x (including having vaguely similar resource usage.) Agree w/ K.Adams, KDE 4.x sucked pretty bad until about 4.3 or 4.4. They have not made the mistake Gnome 3.x apparently has of removing flexibility. (My couple other systems have Ubuntu, with the usual modded-a-bit-by-Canonical Gnome desktop.)

    No comment on the Gnome 3.x interface. The still photos didn't look too great to me, but even the review admits they don't do it justice. So, no comment until I've tried it. It sounds like it could be OK, as long as things aren't too sensitive (for instance, I like to place a Terminal in the top-right of my screen, a browser in the top-left, so I want windows to full-screen if I try to fling a window *past* the top, not have gnome randomly decide to full-screen my windows while I'm arranging them). It really depends on how well it behaves itself.

    @JDX, true UNIX users are conservative, they DON'T like change. My college profs in my classes (from 1997-2001) got their blackbelts in UNIX-Fu in the 1980s, so they used twm, vi, troff, and so on. And you know what? It was fine, the distros of 2000 included all of these. now they still include it all except possibly twm (which is in a package.) In the Windows world, a technology will be developed, within a few years it'll be deprecated and replaced with something else, so then (for compatibility reasons) Windows will have the old *and* new libraries installed. Linux and UNIX, a new technology may be in a state of flux for 6 months or a year or two, but then it's stable and could be very similar for 20 years or more, not only there for compatibility but still the official way to get something done.

    I actually built a copy of Mazewar a while ago, ported from the Xerox STAR to UNIX in 1986, with the last modifications made in 1988. I had 2 build errors, I made a 1-line changes to the lines the compiler said were in error, and it built and ran great, network play worked too.

  41. tjdennis
    FAIL

    Congrats on upgrading to the Windows 2.0 interface!

    All those windowing capabilities that Windows 3.0 introduced must have been too much for them. Overlapping windows? How scary!

    Maybe in Gnome 4 they can progress to text mode windows so that we can imitate the DOS shell! Then we can have batch driven menus again.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Jesus wept!

    It's this sort of thing that makes me glad I dumped my Ubuntu desktop O/S, the constant bickering from the people who are supposed to support it. Linux exists on the support of it's users, no one is coming to save it. Give the Apple and Windows lads some due, at least they defend their desktop, to the point of death some of them, but Linux people just spend all their time moaning about theirs never being good enough. When some group finally tries to do something about it, try to get the desktop more usable, you still fucking moan about it not being good enough! Tell you what. don't like it, stop using it and go do something else. Simple!

    You might hate OSX or Windows, but I never hear half the moaning from the fanbois, like I do from the "freetards"!

    ( Hand grenade as I am expecting a ton of downvotes! )

    1. James Hughes 1

      Not downvoting

      But perhaps the reason you don't here from OSX people dissing their OS is that Apple people tend not to (on orders of Steve?) Or perhaps its pretty good? Windows users - hmm - I see a lot of people complaining about windows. I'm one of them Did you not hear all the kerfuffle about Vista?

      Maybe the Linux crowd are more vocal, less sheep like than Windows users - perhaps more educated on computers in general, so have more of an idea on what's possible and what they like.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    I bet

    that 99% of the people posting negative comments here haven't even tried Unity in its current form on the 11.04 beta and probably haven't even tried Gnome3 either.

    I actually quite like both of them.

    Spend a week or so working with each of them and then criticise. Until then you have no basis for an opinion other than a knee-jerk reaction to change and serious case of 'cry me a fucking river'. Now go and use them, until then have a nice hot steaming up of shut the fuck up.

  44. Matt.Smart

    Minimise/Maximise buttons *are* available

    Although Gnome Shell (by default) doesn't include them, gnome-tweak-tool (http://live.gnome.org/GnomeTweakTool) allows you to put them back in. Granted, this is hacky - perhaps what we should take from that is that the developers have a good reason for not putting them there. But hey, it would be nice to have an option.

    Having used it for a few days I quite like Gnome 3 (on Arch). It's quite buggy, though - docky was running previously and that doesn't seem to play nicely with it (it has a number of docklets which Gnome Shell doesn't). Having to hold down 'alt' in the top right menu in order to shut down is quite frustrating. No easy way to put icons on the desktop (?) and a few random freezes.

    But, like the author says, this is a 1.0 release. Gnome Shell needs a lot of time to mature.

  45. Joe Burmeister

    if you don't like it, don't use it, that's my plan

    It's open source, nothing can be forced on you. If there was only Gnome3, and it didn't work the way people liked, it would be forked and developed in the direction people like, and the original would wither and die. I suspect if Gnome3 causes people to start leaving Gnome on mass, either a fork would pop up, or Gnome3 guys would change course. Either way, at the moment I'm thinking of moving to XFCE as I don't want to learn a "new desktop metaphor" or inflict it on anyone who sits at my computer, they can just about cope with Gnome now when they realise it's much the same as they know. They won't even try when it's not.

  46. Nigel 11
    Flame

    I hate it already and haven't used it yet.

    What is it with GUI designers, that they can't do non-intrusive incremental improvements, and instead get this urge to rip up everything that we've learned to use, and start again?

    I hated Windows 7 GUI, not because there was anything particularly bad with it, but because it got in the way of working in the way that had become second nature with Windows XP.

    Now Gnome is going to do the same thing to me on Linux.

    If these people designed cars, they'd have got rid of the pedals and steering wheel, and given us a joystick. If the car didn't already exist, that wouldn't be such a bad idea. But it does, and changing the user interface would be a very bad idea. It would kill people, which is why it'll never happen.

    A GUI change is unlikely to kill anyone, but it's just as gratuitously annoying. A couple of hours of my life down the pan while I learn to use it, and probably another couple of hours and lots of silly mistakes made because I'm thinking about the bloody new GUI instead of the actual work. Multiply by however many million users you have and divide by a human lifetime. That's how much human life potential you have flushed down the toilet, in order to have your ego trip.

    Yes, I hate all GUI designers.

  47. Fenton

    Still just plain ugly

    When is the linux Gui community actually going to work on looks?

    Apple have done a great job in creating a nice polished looking gui ontop of Open BSD.

    I look at the linux Gui's and they look just plain dull (Just like the firefox Icon).

    I'm normally a function over form person, but if you want mass adoption you need the bling (just look at any other apple product).

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five Nines

    I find that something like 99.999% of users take a long time to settle into a new GUI. I'm sure the GNOME 2 faithful will find GNOME 3 hard to live with at first, but if they stick with it they would find it hard to switch back after a year's use.

    Most people have used the same system for years and don't use any other system. Those who switch from one system to another regularly find it much easier to adapt to a new system. I do find, however, that those that do use multiple systems don't use as many features as those who stick to the same system all the time.

    If, like me, you switch GUIs regularly you probably don't think one system is "better" than another. It's just different. I'm certainly puzzled by those who steadfastly defend their particular favourite window manager as "the best". When I hear OSX users rowing with Windows users or GNOME users with KDE users over who has the better GUI I just don't get it. I've never heard people arguing over who's PVR has the best UI.

  49. Cam 2
    Go

    Lots of uninformed rants...

    It's easy to kick off when you see something different but spend a little time trying it instead and see how it actually works for you.

    I've been using the Gnome shell preview for a while and my personal niggles have mainly been addressed in the proper version.

    True Unix / Linux users will see it as a return to fast and efficient ways of working (think keyboard short cuts). Has anyone noticed that instead of the dragging the bar nonsense you can hit F11 for a fullscreen interface? It's much better than a maximised but still decorated window on Gnome 2...

    I don't think it's perfect, I would still like to see some things like a CPU usage applet but maybe that will be covered in future releases...

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
      Alert

      @Cam 2: At the risk of re-starting the Editor wars...

      ...there speaks a real emacs user!

  50. spegru
    Thumb Up

    Smell the Coffee

    Mobile devices, Phones, Tablets and The Cloud are in. Desktops are out.

    It's the desktop idiom that is going to look veerry dated before long

    You can bet that OSX and iOS will converge before long too

    KDE had its problems of course but it's increasingly looking that it was just too early

    People should REALLY get away from the idea that XP defined a desktop interface that could/should not change. Moving the pedals or steering wheel of a car is something entirely different to do with erganomics and human anatomy, A GUI is just a blinkin' screen!

    Does everyone say that all stereos or vacuum cleaners should look the same?

    If you were in charge of OS evolution to gain more market share, which direction would You be going?

    It's a little ironic really: Remember the standard GUI for the original eeePC 701 or Acer netbooks? They were slated as not being windows enough. No though they're starting to look prescient - All they needed was an 'App Store'!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Troll

      Absolutely agree that...

      "People should REALLY get away from the idea that XP defined a desktop interface that could/should not change."

      Right. For me, it was W2K that defined it --- hence all those years on XP with "classic" windows settings!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I'd rather use Windows ME than this.

    Yay, let's blur the difference between apps that are and aren't running, make the replacement for the Start menu take up the whole screen, remove UI features that have been around for over 20 years, hide stuff under additional clicks, and 'search' for everything instead of knowing what I want and where to get it.

    If I wanted an iPad or a Mac I'd buy an iPad or a Mac.

    Getting my coat, because the last time I saw it, it still had two sleeves, pockets in the sides and buttons on the front.

  52. x4zYYvb3
    FAIL

    If I'd wanted a fondleslab UI.....

    ...I'd have bought a fondleslab.

    Another vote for Xfce.

  53. x4zYYvb3

    You want your EeePC 701 with a Start menu?

    "It's a little ironic really: Remember the standard GUI for the original eeePC 701 or Acer netbooks? They were slated as not being windows enough. No though they're starting to look prescient - All they needed was an 'App Store'!"

    http://wiki.eeeuser.com/#full_desktop_advanced_mode - a very popular tweak at the time. It turned the crippled version of Xandros, that the EeePC shipped with, into a usable tool.

    That is before Ubuntu based Eee-distros with the Gnome 2.x desktop became all the rage.

  54. why-can-i-not-just-use-my-real-name

    What is minimize for?

    Nice to read a review of gnome-shell (the part of gnome 3 which was reviewed) which picks up on the positives.

    Anyway, what was minimize for in the first place? What was ever the point of minimizing window A to get to window B? Why not just switch to / click on window B straight away? Can someone enlighten me?

    1. x4zYYvb3

      Hey man, you still using that Alt-Tab sh*t

      "Anyway, what was minimize for in the first place? What was ever the point of minimizing window A to get to window B? Why not just switch to / click on window B straight away? Can someone enlighten me?"

      Well, by clicking on B it gets focus, partially obscuring windows C and D, that you are also referring to and completely covering window E, in which you are actually doing something. So clicking on B and giving it focus disturbs the flow of work. Just minimising window A would have solved the problem in one click.

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @why...

      Because sometimes, after a really hectic day, when I have 30+ windows open (today is a quiet day, I've only 24 windows open) with different terminal sessions (currently 12 different systems on the network), browsers (this one, and a separate window with two Nagios status pages, and two multiple tabbed HMC windows onto 16 different HMCs in the environment - it's a big environment) , document readers, configuration windows, notification windows, mail clients, it's nice (especially with a "Minimise All" button) to clear the desktop without having to worry about loosing your carefully arranged windows positions.

      I appreciate alt-tab, sometimes it's takes too long to work out which xterm is which.

      And yes, I use multiple desktops to reduce the clutter, and yes I have automatic setup of windows when I log in.

      Also, in your case, sometimes window B is completely obscured, so how do you click on it?

  55. NoneSuch
    Happy

    There is some progress...

    At least it is not all gray anymore.

    I still use KDE simply because it works better for me. Will give GNOME a shot the next time I redo a test server.

    Either theme is better than Windows in any event.

  56. A J Stiles
    Coat

    But .....

    Will it be possible to launch applications by clicking on them once, and type in text boxes just by hovering the mouse cursor over them?

    Cos that's how it always used to be in The Olden Days before KDE and GNOME, and how I still have my KDE set up; and that's also why I invariably end up sitting staring stupidly at a highlit icon wondering why the application hasn't opened anytime I am forced to have to use Windows (which, thankfully, isn't often).

    I'll get my pipe and slippers as well .....

  57. Marco van de Voort
    WTF?

    Ubuntu useless, Fedora useless, what next?

    Did I just leave Ubuntu for Fedora to escape experimentalism, if I understood this correctly, now Fedora starts with it.

    Does Slackware still exist?

    1. ponce_
      Thumb Up

      Volk rulez!

      yes, and the good people of gnomeslackbuild.org are providing nice gnome 3 packages for it :)

      looks like Pat is taking Slackware in front of the crowd, still keeping it rock-solid :D

  58. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I'm depressed

    As a long term UNIX user and more recently (13 years seems recent to me) Linux user, and having been taken through Sun View, OpenLook, twm, vtwm, Motif, CDE, fvwm, and various releases of KDE and Gnome, as well as many different experiments with the less well known desktop managers like Afterstep and Elightenment, I'm finding The World moving further and further away from what I want to use.

    All I want is multiple overlapping windows, with a focus policy that I can change to what I want, and a quick way of starting any of the applications I use in a constant and consistent manner that does not conflict with selecting already opened windows. Multiple desktops are nice, and starting up a walking menu, either from a fixed point on the screen, or from a button press over the desktop is all I need. I can cope without drag-and-drop between folders and onto applications, and I can live without using the 'desktop' as a drop area to hold files (all this does is make you messy and uncaring about where on the system your files actually are).

    I'm thinking of giving up completely on computers, grabbing a broom, and applying for a street sweepers job.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    This icon depicts a pint of beer.

    Beer has been around for a very long time with a similar basic recipe. I quite like beer. There are different types of beer, and sometimes a brewer will create a speciality beer with some extra flavour or ingredient.

    However, I would be really f*cking annoyed if the brewer of my favourite real ale decided to turn it into a lager, under the same name and discontinuing the previous product, because a group of shandy-drinking lightweights started buying different-sized glasses.

  60. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What a drag

    OK, I'm using the touchpad on a laptop. Moving the pointer and clicking are easy enough, but dragging doesn't work very well. Maybe it's me, or maybe it's my touchpad, but in order to drag I have to hold down a button and slide my finger on the pad. This is sufficiently awkward that I end up using two hands.

    So a simple click to minimize/maximize/restore a window becomes a two-handed operation. I think I'll give it a miss.

  61. dz-015

    Change at least

    Does this mean they've finally ditched the lame 'poor man's Windows 95' interface with the ridiculous quantity of menu bars wasting all your precious screen real estate?

  62. Martin Howe

    "Mobile devices, Phones, Tablets and The Cloud are in. Desktops are out."

    Not for me they're not - their screens are too small for the things I do and I'd trust the cloud to keep my data safe the same amount I would trust al-Qaeda. Oh and I'm a mostly NON-mobile power user, not a kid hooked on blingy games or a stockbroker updating their share options on the train :P

  63. Ian 55
    Linux

    Why am I the first

    to mention Enlightenment as a viable alternative? Sensible (right click wherever you are) and pretty.

    But yes, this is the huge advantage of *ix - if you don't like how one window manager looks, there are about a hundred alternatives.

  64. HughNoble
    Unhappy

    Not a fan

    I'm not a fan of where Gnome is going. It seems they're trying to dumb it down too much. I can see how it would be good on tablets and netbooks but not on real computers. I also don't like the look of the new Unity thing for Ubuntu (though it looks nicer than Gnome3.

    I think it's gunna have to be KDE for me from now on unless they sort it out. I just can't imagine using a desktop environment in which I can't minimize windows or have a proper menu system.

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