Saturday, 15 May 2010

Gnome Shell in F13 — Better But Still Not For Me

So, as F13 is just behind the door I have it installed, but I don't use it as my primary system as there are some regressions (which I'll maybe talk about in some other blogpost) that keep me out, I've decided to give gnome-shell another shot. This time I've been able to put up with it for about few hours, but there are certainly improvements. First of all, the design is definitely much better, and the ugly glowing blue something is replaced by more-slick-than-not button-like rounded rectangles and the overall feeling is better.

On the flip side, when I focus a task (under which I mean equivalent to virtual desktop), it still is equivalent to focusing a window which is IMHO totally wrong. E.g. when I type a mail message I occasionally need to switch to main evolution window (in which I navigate using mouse), which however buries the new message window so deep that I need to either alt-tab to it (can take some mind-processing time, especially if there are more windows on the desktop) or zoom out and select the new message window. There also appears to be no fast way to switch between tasks. Again I either need to use the suboptimal alt-tab or zoom out. Basically these two things are the main killers for me using gnome-shell. But it bugs me — am I the only one who under 'task' usually means more than one window? E.g. a task that you could call programming for me usually means that I have either gedit or eclipse window open, one or two terminals and nautilus among which I frequently switch and furthermore I often switch between this task and 'net surfing' task (API references, tutorials, etc. are usually in (X)HTML format)… Gnome-shell make this type of workflow especially painful.

3 comments:

bochecha said...

> "There also appears to be no fast way to switch between tasks."

There is : CTRL + ALT + left/right arrows (just like in Gnome 2.x)

I use virtual desktops just like you : each one is a task.

And I find Gnome-Shell much more efficient at it than Gnome 2.x, especially since I can now switch tasks with the same way I switch windows (alt-tab).

Initializing my workspaces/tasks is also much more efficient : I turn my computer on, alt+f1, drag and drop favorite apps to each workspace, escape, done. In a few seconds I'm ready to start doing whatever it is I need to do with my computer, which often involves one workspace for email/web/irc, one workspace for work (hacking, packaging,...) and one for fun (videos, games,...).

One hint : you can drop an application icon on the + sign in the bottom right of the corner, which will launch it in a new workspace.

Finally, one thing I reeeeeeaaaally love in Gnome-Shell is how notifications don't distrub me from what I am doing, and how I'll never miss one as they are piling in the bottom right corner of the screen.

However, I was using Gnome-Shell git head on F12 (thanks to Walters' repository), and the version in Fedora 13 is older than that, so some of the stuff I liked are not there, or might be broken while they were fixed in git head.

Martin said...

bochecha > There is : CTRL + ALT + left/right arrows (just like in Gnome 2.x)

Hrm, then I wonder, why it didn't worked for me. Looking back, maybe I tried only ctrl-alt-up/down arrows, as I use the 2x3 (2 rows) layout…

bochecha > And I find Gnome-Shell much more efficient at it than Gnome 2.x, especially since I can now switch tasks with the same way I switch windows (alt-tab).

IIRC, I can set up metacity to show windows from other workspaces in alt-tab, but not sure. But generally, I don't use alt-tab very much because the windows are almost always sorted differently (last used as opposed to always-in-the-same-order) so it takes me some time to notice where the desired window is, than clicking with mouse in taskbar when the window order is always the same (oh, how much I like that I can reorder it manually).

As for setting it up… Well, I must admit, starting many apps at once is slightly more convenient in gnome-shell, but not much. Drag'n'drop between workspaces works very well in metacity, only starting via drag'n'drop is not implemented. But usually, for me this is not a few seconds – evolution isn't exactly quick, loading ~30 tabs in webbrowser takes some time as well, …

bochecha > Finally, one thing I reeeeeeaaaally love in Gnome-Shell is how notifications don't distrub me from what I am doing, and how I'll never miss one as they are piling in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Hrm, maybe because I was in only a few hours, but I didn't noticed any difference in how notifications are handled (btw. I have them at bottom right corner).

Anonymous said...

I found it easier to add avant-window-navigator and set it to show only the taskmanager in intellihide mode.

That seems to help in switching between windows the old way. Certainly not ideal :(

I would be disappointed if the final versions of gnome-shell were to ship without an option for classical task-management buttons/icons.