Is GNOME 3.0 for users or developers?

This question is walking around in my head for some time now…

I’m the first thinking that the old traditional desktop is that, old. And we need something new.

I like things I see about GNOME Shell and so on, but I’m a geek!

I mean, I do use virtual desktops or spaces, but I like to mess with my system and I always have running my Guake terminal.

I remember when Compiz came up, everyone was so excited with the things it could do. It was so cool, so fancy and that was going to be the right tool to attract normal users to our desktop, because it was a lot of better than Vista

That was cool, but I don’t really see much people using those effects nowadays… Ok, transparency and smoothness on windows stuff, is used, but no much more.

So now people who are thinking on the next release of their distros for non-very-tech-users (like Guadalinex), are a bit afraid to be forced to use a very new concept, which is cool when you are geek or somebody teach you about it.

To upgrade a few thousand of users to a very new desktop concept is a quite hard challenge… Even having a helpdesk services, online documentation and forums.

I just hope those new concepts be really easy to catch or somebody make any kind of “first use lesson” for them.

Actually, for regular end users I think I prefer something like Litl OS or Chrome OS. That is a change of concept, but into something they already know: the web. And also the mediacenter and web interfaces.

Well, it’s just a personal thought…

Anyways, we’ll see next year… I wish the best for my favourite desktop and their hackers, so let’s have a bit of faith 😉

8 thoughts on “Is GNOME 3.0 for users or developers?”

  1. It might be a bit of a challenge to introduce current users to Gnome 3; but OTOH I think the new desktop would be a real improvement. Organizing running applications, or easier finding of recently-used files would be really useful.

    But I still hope that some Gnome-2 like desktop is still available in parallel for a while, so that people can keep their familiar desktop after upgrading and then peek at Gnome 3 when there’s time.

  2. I don’t really know what to think of Gnome-Shell, honestly. I’ve used GNU/Linux-es for ~6 years now (since my 17th b-day), and I’ve come to love the Gnome way of doing things; where tons of cool features were tied together with a minimal interface, and everything was quick and pretty. I switched to Gnome-Shell a short while back to see what it was like, and I’m not a huge fan. I’m all about relearning paradigms, but I don’t know what Gnome-Shell actually gives us, other than slower animations, and a dependency on clutter. It’s got some good ideas, but I’d prefer that some of those good ideas were integrated into already-existing products as plugins, or as options.

    I would definitely prefer that we leave the ultra-beginners to other products, like Chrome OS, and let Gnome serve people who know how to operate a desktop. That’s just IMHO, however.

  3. Well, I was extremely skeptical about Gnome Shell when the first designs came around, because of the whole new way of interacting with computer. I liked Metacity and Compiz (with just the basic effects), and I thought it’ll be very hard to get used to the new thing. I was wrong. At least that’s what my current experience with it tells me.

    I’ve been using it as my primary desktop since Ubuntu 9.10 came around (installed at the day of release. Partially because I really wanted to see if Gnome Shell sucks as much as early KDE4 did). I’ve read a lot about it, so I were quite well informed as to how it’s supposed to work, and how I’m supposed to work with it. And I got the grip of it immediately. Sure, there were some things that were tough to get used to, like the lack of any kind of (always visible) window list, but The Activities button and Overlay really make a lot of sense. I finally started to use my virtual desktops as I always wanted (i.e. extensively because now the desktop itself screams “use them extensively!” to me), I can add them at will, which is a great concept, I have one place to go to for everything, and I can decide how I want to start my apps (keyboard or mouse, and both ways look alike, because it’s still Overlay). Today, when I try to work with Metacity I find myself moving my mouse to the top left corner of the screen or pressing Win-key all the time, because it has just become natural to me.

    Sure, there are some things that need work in Gnome Shell, like the overall speed (It’s faster than Compiz most of the time here, but that doesn’t mean it’s fast enough), stability (again, good, but can be much better) and, most importantly, customization, which is now nonexistent. And I’d personally like to see some more fitting “More” menu for applications, because now it’s just the standard cascade menu. And a terribly slow one too. Also, a way to switch desktops with keyboard when in overlay would be nice as well. But other than that, it’s great and extremely intuitive to me. And, which came as a surprise to me, it speeds up my work.

    Even my mother, who isn’t a very technical person, was capable of getting used to this desktop very quickly. It’s just logical – when you want to do anything out of the current window, just press Activities.

    The one thing I’m very concerned about with the Gnome Shell is that it’s compositing only. And one not always has acceleration available, like on a Live CD on a computer with NVidia video. Also, I sometimes just need to disable compositing for a moment, so when Metacity’s gone that will become a problem. I hope the Gnome team will find a solution.

    Anyhow, I think Gnome shell is a good direction. It’s very different, but also very well designed from what I can tell. Surely there will be people who won’t like it, but if you’re a GTK person and don’t like Gnome Shell, you can always go with XFCE. If you don’t mind QT, you can use KDE4. There’s always choice. The thing that I’m happy with is that Gnome Shell is still very early in development, and it’s already more stable, faster and overall more usable than the early KDE4. That is what I was the most worried about.

  4. I like GNOME Shell, but I hope they will give a lot of thought into polishing the user interface before it’s let into the wild. The current pitch-black-and-bulky-feel can get a little tiring to work in.

    For instance, I don’t get why there has to be a lot of empty space between the icons in the notification area – it only makes it harder to scan for the icon I need. And what’s with writing in all caps? “APPLICATIONS”, “PLACES” and “RECENT DOCUMENTS” – is the computer angry at me?

    I suppose the intention is to give the interface a more Fisher-Price-like happy-feel, but IMO it doesn’t work that well for productivity in some instances at least.

    There’s definitely nice features, though. I, for one, am not going to miss task bar clutter.

  5. @Coppertop

    If they added a software fallback for Gnome-Shell, I’m sure I’d be more ok with it. I just hope the whole thing doesn’t fail like Ubuntu-NR, which you *CAN’T* run without good graphics drivers. (Well, you can, but you can expect .25 fps.)

    … and maybe they could add something to make that zoom-out animation less jarring, but that’s all… 🙂

  6. -1 for Gnome Shell. Not because it doesn’t look cool, but because to me it seems like it brings more harm than good to a user. For starters, any application focusing on how you can have 16 different desktops is missing the point. I rarely use even two desktops and by rarely I mean less than 99.9% of the year, but I still like it for that .1% that I do use it. Most users only use one desktop because people can only keep track of so much in their head. It is then my feeling that the main gui should NOT focus on multiple desktops, but rather just make the one better. I liked what was happening before Gnome Shell when developers were talking about things like the People Menu and such. If this thing pans out and it used in things like Ubuntu by default I’d be curious to see how many people remove it.

  7. Gnome Shell is a change in paradigm, and I haven’t yet made up my mind on whether or not it’s a good one. But it’s a commendable effort nonetheless.

    However, what I *have* made up my mind on is that they are going about it the wrong way. The Gnome Shell people are reinventing the wheel when they don’t use an existing toolkit. Their patched-together toolkit feels unpolished. It lacks keyboard accessibility. It breaks right-clicking. It doesn’t follow your Gtk theme. It feels like something that belongs in a badly designed website, rather than on Gnome’s beautiful the desktop.

    Even if they end up polishing it to the point where it’s a joy to use (and I don’t see this happening in time for Gnome 3, if ever), what is the rationale behind splitting the Gnome codebase into Gtk programs and weird-custom-toolkit programs? Seems very arbitrary to me, not to mention a waste of resources.

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