After reading the 3.0 plan of the release-team I was curious what the end-users would say. It is rather difficult to find out because there is no average end-user. Anyway, I tried to summarize opinions from two popular german computer magazines:

  • Heise-online: The biggest computer magazine in Germany (online and offline). They feature a rather big and detailed article on GNOME 3.0.
  • Pro-Linux News: This is a non-profit Linux News site. Their article is smaller and the Nerd-factor of the readers is certainly a bit higher here.

Apart from some more off-topic posts (GNOME vs. KDE, MacOS is the only real thing, etc.) on the Pro-Linux board the reactions were quite similar with those main points:

  1. Don’t make it a KDE 4.0! People rely on a stable desktop…
  2. This looks interesting and cool! GNOME really needed some revamp…
  3. Hmm, I cannot see why this is better than now – do we need it?

The rest of the comments are mostly based on misunderstandings (heise writes that “Zeitgeinst” will replace Nautilus which is simply untrue). Funny enough though, quite a lot of people comment that they liked our little steps in 2.x a lot which most sums up with point 1. These was much less critism than I expected actually and instead people applaud us for the work in the past years.

Of course this is no representative review about user comments, it is just a small limited summary (only German, people who are really interested in computing). In the end I think we seem to do well, but should mind the three points raised: Make it stable, make it cool, make it useful!

Shaun’s post reminded me that I wanted to show some ideas how GNOME 3.0 could be different, new and better than any 2.0 release. I completely agree with him that releasing 2.28 as 3.0 without any really new features would be ridicules. User’s won’t be very interested if we just removed deprecated stuff and use Gtk+ 3.0 if they don’t see any real benefit. As I already said before I do think that we need to skip one 2.x release to get this done. Of course we can use branches, etc. etc, but be honest, making a release is a huge amount of work and normally stops any development for at least two months.

Part 1: Desktop organisation

The problem of my computer desktop is that is becomes about as cluttered as my real desktop and with the trend to bigger displays it also tends to become bigger and bigger. Try to save a new file to your desktop and afterwards plug in your usb-drive and you will see two new icons in random places. In addition if you now turn of your big monitor and only use the laptop display using xrandr your Desktop does not longer look good at all. Of course all these things would be theoretically fixable somehow but I want to propose a more radical solution.

The idea is to give the desktop a good but configurable structure. The user can define serveral areas, give them names and put stuff in them. In addition there are predifined areas at least for starters and for the drives (replacing the ugly “Places” menu). This could look about like this:

GNOME 3.0 Desktop Mock-up

As you still, the left area with the desktop files still sucks. I have no real good idea how to make this look good for everyone but splitting this up to user-defined categories should make it better (let”s say: “Fun”, “Work”, “Development”, etc.). Of course all these areas can be moved by the user, resized, closed, maybe even organised in tabs, scrolled around with some clutter magic or stcked using a system like the one MacSlow showed some time ago. Note that I don’t think these are similar to plasmoids, this IS the desktop, nothing on top of it.

Something else can would be good IMHO would be to create a gnome-3-list at to collect ideas, discuss things and bring up a general concept of what GNOME 3.0 should be. I hope I will find the time to continue this series, most likely with part two being “The panel”.