Notes on Gnome 3

Its time for another installment of the most useless type of blogpost for readers, notes on .. and this time its the Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome 3 post! For more info about the concept, please read the “Notes on ..” concept post. The default disclaimer is relevant as usual, auto post set to Nov 9th, 2011, 20:00.

It all started with a tweet

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-theme* gnome-sushi gnome-contacts gnome-tweak-tool (from @amedee ) – lets give it a swirl

Lets get started!

  • First Impression – This looks Nice!
  • I love the Universal Access icon on top! Im a big fan of the alt+scrollwheel zoom; I use it constantly when reading or writing.
  • First big irk – The alt+scrollwheel zoom isnt there anymore. Will have to figure this out ASAP! The zoom in the accessibility menu is nice but the zooming to mouse pointer of  normal is just too good to not have! I could just use the ctrl+scrollwheel zoom in the browser but that wont help me in a terminal window or other
  • Its weird to not have a desktop to the left. Cant seem to find a way of changing this either. Not that I would immediately, I want to know the feel as intended but this might become a problem in the long run
  • I just LOVE that Gnome creates more desktops as I put shit on them. Always having an empty desktop RULES! Not being able to switch to all of them with the arrow keys as I can in a 2×2 desktop is a pitty though.. :/
  • I love how empty desktops just disappear. Very intuitive
  • I also love that there is only the super button that does Everything!
  • Where is my minimize button????? grr
  • Changing the middle mouse to minimize (who uses “lower” window anyway) in the Advanced Settings menu solves that
  • Bit confused at the lack of a Gnome 3 settings thing? I only have the Unity thingy.. Might be the one though then why doesn’t it have Gnome3 specific settings now? :/
  • Dragging a window to a new desktop seems to stick it to the screen sides – I like that centered thank you..
  • I should find out what the shortcuts are – seeing fascinating things happening all around and no clue why
  • I like the big clock on top.
  • The bar on top somehow feels distractionless; this doesnt make sense but I like it.
  • Right – banshee & shotwell are NOT favourite apps; and why is there no Chromium in there; do I really have to do EVERYTHING myself??
  • Dragging apps into the bar works intuitive
  • the “new window” on totem movie player just opens the existing one. I already expected this since the latest version apparently doesnt have the –no-existing-session parameter anymore. WHY???
  • Don’t seem to be able to middle mouse paste. This is unacceptable. – Belay that, it a WP Visual Editor thing. That sucks but at least its unrelated to G3.
  • I like the abbreviation of Gnome 3 to G3. Will use that starting the previous line 😀
  • Trying to remember whats in my Unity sidebar. Who should I blame about not being able to see that in the G3 favs? Might not be so bad though, keeping the settings apart.
  • I love the bottom notifications. Very sexy! Wondering how I can slide that out, it has icons… – Mouse Bottom left – cool! It has gNote too! Missed that thoroughly in Unity!
  • What happens if I open many many desktops? 11 desktops; they just scale. Thats very usable! 🙂
  • Closing windows in the overview works nice – Nice window reflowing too 🙂
  • I think I actually prefer seeing my menus sticking to the window – the not Unity/Mac way, the old skool style 🙂 I didnt realize this but was just very relieved when I had them back 🙂
  • Not sure what to think about the contacts integration .. Most of all because of the weird data set it uses. Where the fuck do they get this? Some contacts have data, other don’t.. Google obviously, but wtf?
  • I like the clickable new window notification
  • Whoops, missed a notification, It ‘d be intuitive to be a way to still read that..
  • I like that closing the last window on a desktop brings up the Activities thing.
  • The lock screen looks better too. Unity sometimes gave weird crap with menus still being visible etc :/
  • Pretty hover box menus
I like G3 better than Unity so far! Though I’m wondering what part of the feature set I’m experiencing is Unity pollution. :/ If this keeps up I probably wont boot Unity again till 12.04!
  • Right – credit (where its due) – I’ve been planning to try G3 right after the 11.10 update made Unity less nice/stable for me; Though its only after reading Amedee’s post that I actually installed it – using the cog on the login page to switch to G3 though, so I skipped the “lightdm-set-defaults” command 🙂
  • Pff – The only calendar provider appears to be Evolution. I dont like Evolution. Why is there no drop in replacement back-end for what Evolution does? I use Thunderbird & Goog Calendar, so fuck off Evolution! – shit like this annoys the fuck out of me in Gnome!
  • Curious about what the Advanced Settings – Install Shell Extensions thingy can do for me 😀 Will be checking out G3 shell extensions soonish!!
  • G3 somehow feels lighter than Unity. I guess thats probably just in the head though..
  • Seeing the lock screen again, I like it A LOT more! It has more thought put into it! Unity sometimes shows icons, mouse over stuff, full menu bar, some notifications … this just has the time & user. Much better!
  • I also like the program title on top! Part of the icon & the name .. The top bar with rounded edges etc is very artsy!
  • Dont really care about the volume change thingy. Dont hate it either. Seems stretched out :s
  • I’ll have to re-shape my methodology around this vertical desktop layout; having a fixed 2×2 routine usually
  • I kinda miss the file copy-ing icon Unity has
  • Im actually grateful for the extra real-estate now that the Unity bar is gone. Ive always been a “small bar at the top” kinda guy
  • Is there a way to drag around the desktops? I want to change the order..
  • Ah yes, the contains very Very valuable info!
  • The Control+Shift+Alt+R screencast recording option is AWESOME!
  • The Magnifier problem; check this:

    Magnifier Screen Magnification is built into GNOME Shell and provides various forms of screen enhancement. It can be launched and configured using the GConf Editor by modifying the /desktop/gnome/accessibility/magnifier settings. There is also a python script that implements a dialog for changing magnifier preferences.

    This is supposed to be accessibility? Go edit gconf. Houston, we have a #FAIL

  • Cool! You can use the scroll btn on the desktop list in the activity thing to scroll to another desktop
  • I also like the dragging programs to desktops to open them there. & I’ll like that one even more tomorrow morning when starting the usual programs for work 🙂
  • grmbl; switching down several desktops and finding the right one is cumbersome compared to what Im used to
Day 2; work work!
  • Changing the button on top preferences from close only to close & minimize takes a reboot to become visible
  • Im trying the “forget about the desktops, just use them” approach 🙂
  • Dont really like that the desktop background doesnt cover the entire desktop but leaves a small black band to the left. I see the appeal but I’d like the option :/ and would probably choose to have it cover it all.
  • Having a tough time adjusting to the not having ctrl+scrollwheel zoom anymore
After a day in the real work world I do like G3. Still having problems with not having the zoom and the desktops being vertical, but I’ll probably solve/get over that tomorrow.. I believe its better as a touch interface than Unity though! It feels very Very touch friendly and I cant wait for more touchscreen laptops!!
  • Happy that “Always on top” and “Always on Visible Workspace” still work. Pro tip – this is very cool to put some entertainment in the lower right corner of your desktop while working or doing whatever!
  • Whoops. First little G3 crash. Gently came back up without a problem 🙂 nice! Much nicer than Unity manages 40% of the time
Work again
  • slowly adjusting to the 4×1 instead of 2×2 layout
  • no real new irks, really..
  • A slight usability irk with the activities view though.. The default keyboard focus on opening is wrong or plain missing (as I cant figure out where its on). When I open the activities thing, I intuitively try to use the arrow keys to do something; be that to select a desktop or to select a running window. Or, much less, to select a program to start. These however do Nothing at all, nor does enter. The focus is entirely missing. I can change it to some part of the interface, but not the dekstops with ctrl+alt+tilde and then the keys do sometimes work, but only for starting programs from the dash or applications menu. This needs more keyboard options (most notably changing windows & desktops) and a default focus on something (I’d say the open windows)
    – In retrospect – Im starting to think the focus is on the search bar. And after typing, the arrow keys do have a use. Though I dont see why they can’t do both at the same time, the windows disappear when the programs appear, no confusion there
  • Weird G3 crash earlier; x restarted automatically & all was well again. At least I wasnt left with an utterly dysfunctional X as Unity often does.. Not cool but still better!
The cut-of date has been reached, so here they are! The verdict? It looks like I will be sticking with G3 🙂
ps. yes, I need to install a mobile interface for my blog. Its on the todo, sorry for the wait

Published by Gert


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