Action Pack

We have been inspired by GNOME.  Moved to act by the ideas, ideals, and opportunities.  Encouraged to stay as we grow ourselves and as a community.  We know that the true measure of strength is not how much you can take but how much you can afford to give.  And we have demonstrated that, by sharing, we can all succeed.

GNOME is a story that continues to inspire me.  And in my eight years and counting, if I have achieved little more than making one person feel hopeful for and empowered to change their future, I will feel very good about the work we are doing.

As we march towards GNOME 3, I feel very strongly that our truest measure of success won’t be the technology, design, or ideology – but simply this: Will we continue to inspire?  I am very hopeful.  The signs are looking very good.  Back in June I asked, “Will a new crop of heroes emerge?”  Well, let me tell a short story and let you decide.

In November and again in early January, we posted some new design proposals for GNOME Shell.  Many of them went into a release of the design document and SVG mockups.  Others came out of discussions on IRC.  Now, nearly all of these changes are complete.  That shouldn’t surprise you too much if you know some of the hackers on the original Shell core team.  Those dudes are among the best we have.  However, that’s not how it went down.  It has been much more interesting than that.

Mockup from 6 January 2010

There are actually a lot of changes introduced here but I’d like to point out a set of exemplary and highly visible changes:

  1. A new linear workspace presentation
  2. Added undo functionality into the core system
  3. New look for App running indicators
  4. Updated presentation of the left dash and App Menu item in the Top Bar
  5. Allow close windows directly from the window picker
  6. No icons on desktop backdrop
  7. Include eject buttons for removable media

All done.  Now let’s look at how, when, and by whom.

  1. On Jan 22, Maxim Ermilov pushed the fix for bug 593844. Jan 23, Florian Müllner pushed a few more refinements.
  2. Feb 5, Maxim Ermilov wrote the fix for bug 608933.
  3. Jan 7, Florian Müllner pushed a fix for bug 606257.
  4. Jan 7, Colin Walters pushed fixes for bug 605491.
  5. In Nov and Dec, Florian Müllner pushed a few patches for bugs 602532, 603691, etc.
  6. Feb 3, Maxim Ermilov pushed the fix for bug 591912
  7. Nov 27, Florian Müllner pushed a fix for bug 602976.

You all know Colin Walters (Debian, Rhythmbox, Fedora, Mugshot, D-Bus, hacker man-machine) but you may not yet know Maxim and Florian because from what they tell me they are pretty new contributors to our community – but hell they sure know how to make an entrance.  Stay tuned.

By no means has the rest of the Shell community been slacking.  A ton of work is going on a bit behind the scenes and on the rapidly evolving Message Tray.  In the next few days we’ll be discussing the the next iteration of UX mockups and designs as well as exciting plan for evaluation of some of the claims we’ve made in our design process so far.  Come be a part of the action.

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14 Responses to Action Pack

  1. Mandeep says:

    Thanks for the great work. looking forward to see gnome 3.

    I hope, New icons will be designed, and improved. Modern looking.

  2. bonz says:

    Very slick!!! I am loving GS! However, I am so worried about the places and recent items section. They look lost because the icons are too small…

  3. mccann says:

    Thanks. Places and recent items will be hopefully receiving some love in the very near future.

  4. anonymous says:

    I haven’t tried GNOME Shell yet, so I have to ask: this mockup is meant to show all the features of GNOME Shell and it doesn’t look like this by default? Because it looks a little busy and design-by-committeeish with half a dozen different types of controls sprinkled all over the screen. Are there preferences to disable the workspace controls or the bottom panel? Also, the info bar is not visible all the time, is it?

  5. seb24 says:

    Good work !
    next step : Zeitgeist integration ?

  6. Alberto Ruiz says:

    That thing is starting to look sweet ineed! :-)

  7. Jeroen says:

    A major problem with Gnome Shell is that you have to zoom out and zoom in to whole screen simply to switch between applications. This is too distracting and takes to much time.
    A solution to this problem is to make the Activities menu behave like to current Gnome menu: above the desktop and the applications. But this has consequences for the workspace…

    A minor problem is the name ‘Activities’ for the menu. With that name I expect to see activities (e.g.’Browse the web’). But the second entry is ‘Applications’. Applications is not an activity but a thing. So change the name in such a way that corresponds with the content.
    Another solution would be change the name of the entry ‘Applications’ into ‘Launch an application’. The problem with this is that you also use the entry for switching between applications.

  8. Jeroen says:

    Where is my comment?

  9. Stefano Teso says:

    Great job! Love to see the shell getting nicer every day!

    I know that this is all still in an experiment/design stage, but nevertheless I have a few concerns I would like to share:

    For small or low resolution displays, the “Places&Devices” and “Recent Items” lists will be very small, and possibly unusable. This is the same problem Nautilus faces, and that’s why (IMHO) GTK+ allows for bookmarking of folders — to allow the user to pick which folders are most important to her. (I know for a fact that machine learning is not yet able to beat human reasoning in terms of decision making, especially about his/her preferences.) Are bookmarks handled at all in the shell? Or are they left to Nautilus (and File Chooser) to handle?

    Furthermore they are not sorted in any way (AFAICS), and not customizable yet (say I want to just show some filetypes there, e.g., photos and music, but not shell scripts or source files). Are you planning to support these features? The same goes for blacklisting some directory contents not to show up on the list.

    Third: the basic issue is still application switching. I assume many users will miss the panel’s window list… (I won’t, since I use Alt+Tab for all my needs, but not everybody is a geeky keyboard freak.) Many have reported that the left-hot-corner thing seems overly complex for this task. Why not a right-hot-corner things a la Mac’s expose? Should be quite easy to implement code wise (as all the functionality is already there.) and experiment with. (Of course, if it turns out that it doesn’t work or is useless, just drop it.)

    Finally, theming. This is indeed part of the plan, but for now I would love to see a light background to the “Find…” box. (And brighter object borders — not that gray-on-black thing.) It really cannot be located easily with this black-on-black color. A small “Search” icon in the right side would be great too (like the old dockbar used to have…) Looked so nice. :-P

    However, all of these points won’t prevent me from looking forward to shell development — I really love the underlying design.

    Thanks, and keep on rocking! I know shell+client-side-decorations will be a very big win for the GNOME desktop! :-)

    OT: I’d love to see Gtk/Nautilus/Desktop icons (or rather, item cells) look like the applications cells in the overview pane…

  10. mccann says:

    It is mostly a reference for the developers so it shows many different things at once. There are also a number of things that are in flux. I encourage you to try it to see how it feels.

  11. mccann says:

    Thanks for your comments. Places and Recent will be undergoing a change soon. They were basically placeholders until we got some of the other issues worked out. Thanks for the feedback.

  12. hills says:

    > Places and Recent will be undergoing a change soon.

    Shell is going to be great, so I would like to browse all my places and files by Shell instead of boring Nautilus.

    Thanks for the excellent job to date.

  13. mccann says:

    There has been some initial discussion of similar things already. http://mail.gnome.org/archives/gnome-shell-list/2009-December/msg00000.html

    Hopefully, we’ll be picking up some of these ideas soon.

  14. harry says:

    It looks perfect ,but I just want to know whether I can use the docky

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