Friday, 17 September 2010

What I still don't like on gnome-shell

I try to periodically try out gnome-shell which is supposedly going to be the base component of our default DE (desktop environment) in Fedora 15. And each time I try it (at least once per Fedora release) it's better, but for some reason I still don't like it. So here's a post where I try to point out a few things I don't like about it. But let's start a bit more positive. Despite me not liking dark styles, the gnome-shell in F14 is finally looking slick and no major design gliches are present. Good work gnome-design team! Also, even on my Intel GMA 945 the animations are smooth and there're no apparent delays that I could blame on slow graphics.

Running new application can be speedy as well unless you don't know its name. You know, typing first few letters of firefox gets you to firefox really quick, but when you start searching by hand it get's tedious — the menu has absolutelly no sorting into categories… But that's not a big issue, as long as you properly set up your favourite apps (after all, in my usual setup I also use menu rarelly) :-)

And now for the few bad things
  • I'm the type of folks who like to have their favourite apps launchers always on screen, in gnome-shell I need to first zoom out to be able to run an application.
  • Despite the app icon+name in top panel being finally clickable, gnome-shell still thinks window=task which is inherently wrong and makes switching e.g. between two teminal windows or between main evolution window and message composing window terrible. I hope the developers finally get the hint and start treating virtual desktop as equivalent to task.
  • No panel widgets. Which means no weather applet, no CPU and network speed graphs, no always visible task switcher (you have to zoom out to be able to visually identify task which you want to switch to).
  • Notifications. Part of the idea is cool and works great — like when setroubleshooter notifies me of an encountered problem by sliding in a notification from bottom of the desktop, and keeping it in the stack after it disappears. However I haven't found a way how to remove it from the stack other then clicking on some action in the notiffication which obviously does not work e.g. for rhythmbox notification where the only actions are next and prev…

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