Two weeks ago I erased the harddisk on my Fedora machine and installed Fedora 19 from scratch. I was tempted to give Mageia a try instead, but as it’s my main machine which I also use for work I tried to minimize disruption by not trying out new stuff.
My work (bug management) can be described as constant switching between browser (Firefox) with some custom Greasemonkey scripts for triaging bug reports, email application (Evolution) with many filters sorting mail into folders and tagging it, IRC (xchat), text files (gedit) and some gnome-terminal windows. Hence that’s my main focus of interest.
All in all GNOME 3.8 is really fast (considering this laptop is more than five years old) and looks great even in its details. Compared to the “classic” GNOME2/Windows95 user interface and workflow I don’t face any big differences that would require much relearning (but I’ve ran gnome-shell on my other machines before).
With gnome-panel I had application launchers in the top panel that I clicked with a mouse, now I have them in the dock in gnome-shell and start them once at the beginning of the session. For the rest I prefer using the keyboard: For applications that I don’t have running all of the time it’s faster now to start them, by pressing the Super key to get to the overview, typing the first letters, and pressing the Enter key (in gnome-panel this required cumbersome pressing of Alt+F2 plus additional pressing of Tab for autocompletion). I like gedit’s “Quick Open” a lot which allows typing a filename to open that file, without the need to know its location.
The rest of this blogpost only lists those small problems I encountered.
Evolution‘s connection to GMail is way more stable than it was in 3.2, and local filtering works more reliably and does not accidentially sometimes reset mail status to read anymore. Unfortunately importing my large Evolution backup file repeatedly ignored my account settings so I had to set them up manually.
Evolution’s constant freezing when filtering mail triggering gnome-shell’s “not responsive” dialog was quickly worked around by the developers for upcoming version 3.8.4, together with an ical invitation rendering crash fixed. However, even after setting physical folders for Junk and Trash for my GMail account (and filing a ticket to cover this recommendation in the Evolution user documentation), the IMAP+ account implementation sometimes manages to completely reindex a mail folder from scratch which can take a few minutes when you have 85000 messages in that folder. It also seems like I have lost the ability to close Evolution’s error messages by keyboard. WebKit now renders mail instead of ancient GtkHtml which makes everything feel way faster.
gnome-shell freezing and some graphical artefacts (which implies that it’s not gnome-shell itself to blame) have gone after cleaning my fan, now this only happens after a few days due to high memory usage which means I should identify which gnome-shell extension(s) to blame, and uninstall them.
The idea to have modal password dialogs feels pretty stupid when you might have that password saved in some textfile that you now cannot access (terminals to the rescue!) but some developers disagree. Same for missing IRC notifications in the message tray as nothing is blinking anywhere anymore – I’m forced to press Super+M from time to time to realize that colleagues wanted to chat with me a while ago, on the other hand I get less distracted which is very nice when you actually want to get work done.
Furthermore, something in latexmk seems to be broken so I fall back to compiling bibtex and latex documents a few times by hand to link against each other. And Rhythmbox seems to not play my manually added streams for some reason, but it does not crash anymore when starting it for the first time like in Fedora 16.
All in all pretty happy with GNOME 3.8. From past experience of installing a Linux distribution I expected bigger problems – I guess I need to accept how good and nearly flawless everything has become through all those years.
Same procedure as
lastevery year, this time even in the center of Europe:
See you there?