Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Unhappy with Gnome 3? Just ditch it!

What are the reasons to be unhappy? I bet most of you would guess. I'd just like to add that there's substantial difference between KDE 4.0 and GNOME 3.0 release and that is — while KDE 4.0 was just premature release, GNOME 3.0 is broken by design. No amount following minor releases can fix that. Yes, most of the changes to GTK 3.0 are good and enable people to work with this toolkit in a better way, but that's where GNOME 3 goodies ends. Unless you want a highly usable open-source software for tablet, Gnome 3 probably isn't for you.

And as Fedora 15 Alpha is behind the doors it's a good opportunity to try out other desktop. If you liked Gnome 2.x series you're probably left up with two options: KDE, which finally matured to be feature complete again, and XFCE which is steadily becoming better. LXDE seems poorly maintained at the moment so I wouldn't recommend it. And of course, if you, in addition, want a gtk based desktop then XFCE is the only option (right now).

XFCE is surprisingly configurable and with a bit of effort it can be turned from ugly duckling to pretty (and usable!) desktop. Say, would you guess the screenshot bellow is actually XFCE?


OK, I agree, it's not as mature as KDE or Gnome 2.x series but I guess if enough of us put our money where our mouths are we could accelerate its development considerably. As a starter, let's identify the issues ;-)

24 comments:

nicu said...

from what i see on the wiki page, Xfce 4.10 may fit the bill... that's onw year away, right?

Martin said...

nicu: yup, they're planning to release it 15th January.

Martin said...

And, btw. I just realized it, but XFCE in Fedora 15 is way better than Gnome back in those days I started using Fedora full-time (Fedora Core 5) and much much much better than both Gnome and KDE back in those days I installed my first linux (Red Hat Linux 6). It's interesting to see though, that after six+ years of improving gnome ended up almost where it was 10+ years ago (I vaguely remember I wasn't able to put icons on desktop either back then) :-D

korbe said...

«GNOME 3.0 is broken by design.»

Why do you say that? Have you any constructive arguments and impartial reviews?

Martin said...

korbe: A tiny overstatement. Simply said, that is what I came to believe, considering Gnome 3 on desktop or laptop. Like I noted elsewhere, it might be very well suited for PDA-like devices though, but it has strong competition there (iPad, Android).

korbe said...

Gnome 3 is excellent on desktop and laptop. This is specifically why it was designed.

And what do you based on to assure thath Gnome 3 is only for PDA-like devices?

Martin said...

korbe: The design calls for touchscreen. Plus people at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. Multitasking is degraded to one app at front, suboptimally accessible apps in background + nagging chat notifications with entry fields in them.

korbe said...

«The design calls for touchscreen.»

False. The use of the touch screen has been tested only recently. Gnome-Shell was developed under the approach of "activities ".

« Plus people at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. »

Also false: In Gnome 3 you can continue to do some things in same time. The chat system offers the possibility to respond quickly to friends without having to swithces between windows if you don't want to switch. But you can continue to switch if you want.

You turne possibilities on obligations. I imagined that you had better arguments to assure that Gnome 3 is "broken by design".

Martin said...

korbe: 'Design' is different from 'implementing'. Everything is designed in a way that with touch screen it would be seamless experience (I'm not sure if it's done this way intentionally, but it ended up like that anyway), however it breaks the usual mouse approach (e.g. on-hover actions seem to be disfavoured now).

As for the rest. I stand at my point. What is the point of having workspaces if you cannot quickly switch between windows on them? In gnome-shell you either have to use alt-tab, which shuffles through *all* windows, or zoom-out to activities. Not to talk about the tiny little thing that for many people, including me, previews of actual windows are much slower to tell apart than symbolic icons accompanied by text (if there's anything I can do really fast, it's reading).

But anyway, that was not the main point of this blog post and I now regret putting that sentence in. I just wanted to suggest people who are like me unhappy with Gnome 3 to transform their bashing on gnome to contributing to xfce ;-)

korbe said...

«Everything is designed in a way that with touch screen it would be seamless experience (I'm not sure if it's done this way intentionally, but it ended up like that anyway), however it breaks the usual mouse approach (e.g. on-hover actions seem to be disfavoured now).»

it's not forbidden to use the mouse with Gnome-Shell.

« As for the rest. I stand at my point. What is the point of having workspaces if you cannot quickly switch between windows on them? In gnome-shell you either have to use alt-tab, which shuffles through *all* windows, or zoom-out to activities »

It's more quickly to reconize a window if you have an integral view of all windows than with a little icon with the first five letters of the title of the window. The animation of Gnome-Shell is enough fast to don't slow the user.

But if you stay unsatisfied, don't panic: You can change all parts and behavior of Gnome-Shell with plugins. Ex: Add a windows list, show the Dash everytime, etc..

And you have also Gnome-Panels.

« I just wanted to suggest people who are like me unhappy with Gnome 3 to transform their bashing on gnome to contributing to xfce ;-) »

Or make constructive reviews to Gnome devs and designers to make 3.2 better. ;-)

nicu said...

@korbe: the panels are bastardized in GNOME 3.0. I am sorry, but the only things I could say to the developers is: drop the Shell, bring back the full panels.

@Martin: actually I played with Xfce 4.8 right after the release (pondered to write a small review but didn't, not wanting to be too negative) and found it inferior to GNOME (2.x, that is). Then after playing with GNOME 3.0, I can say Xfce jumps clearly on top, is better (too bad is is equivalent with a GNOME from so many years ago, I got used to a few features).

crf said...

«It's more quickly to reconize a window if you have an integral view of all windows than with a little icon with the first five letters of the title of the window. » -- korbe

It is tiresome to have a discussion with someone who argues not with facts, but by Asserting The Truth.

I think that if a user knows which little icon atop corresponds to which window, then clicking a little task bar icon may well be quicker. And I imagine this trick also gets easier the fewer the windows! Maybe it is harder if there are dozens of windows open. Users may well appreciate both ways of selecting open tasks, or one over the other more often than not. You just don't know which will be easier otherwise, and korbe elides over this point: there is no "one good way" to switch windows, both ways (gnome2's and gnome3's) have advantages and disadvantages.


Here is an example of dishonesty:
«The design calls for touchscreen.» -- Martin

«False. The use of the touch screen has been tested only recently. Gnome-Shell was developed under the approach of "activities "» -- korbe

The claim "the design calls for a touchscreen" is not "false". The claim is the author's opinion about what Gnome3 would be good for (good for touchscreens, not so good with mouse-and-keyboard large screens). This is an English idiomatic expression.

Now in this next exchange, korbe misquotes Martin by excising the "multitasking" part of his comment, and then belittles his straw-Martin-doll.

First what Martin wrote:
«People at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. Multitasking is degraded to one app at front, suboptimally accessible apps in background + nagging chat notifications with entry fields in them.» --Martin


Here's korbe misquoting Martin, so korbe doesn't have to argue Martin's point.

« « Plus people at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. »

Also false: In Gnome 3 you can continue to do some things in same time. The chat system offers the possibility to respond quickly to friends without having to swithces between windows if you don't want to switch. But you can continue to switch if you want.

You turne possibilities on obligations. I imagined that you had better arguments to assure that Gnome 3 is "broken by design".» -- korbe

Korbe, Martin didn't claim that chatting and doing a task was not possible. He admitted it was possible: chatting was his example of one of the limited number of multitasking things a user could do. Of course, you knew that, that's why you're carefully excising those words from your quotation. Classy stuff, friend!

«In Gnome 3 you can continue to do some things in same time» --korbe.

Martin was talking Generally korbe. Martin didn't write "there are no two tasks you can do in Gnome3 at the same time". But you know that, because you're again misquoting deliberately. Generally, you cannot multitask in Gnome3, as Martin correctly notes. So why did you call Martin's claim "False", korbe, and then wisecrack about the qualities of Martin's "arguments"? Nothing you wrote falsifies anything except your quotes of Strawman Martin.

I can tell English isn't your first language, korbe, but you're a real ace at carefully misquoting your rivals to avoid actually arguing with them.

You're doing nothing but harm to Gnome3, with your insincere attempts at arguing people's criticisms, korbe. Gnome3 doesn't need friends like you.

I think korbe should apologize to Martin. It is irksome to me, to see a human being's arguments abused, in a vain attempt to defend an alpha piece of software.

St├ęphane said...

Pretty sad blogpost. No arguments, no ideas of enhancements, no constructive feedback... I guess it's the first of a long streak.

Martin said...

St├ęphane: I lost my faith in gnome along the way. The gnome devs have aura of we-know-better-then-you now. And yes, I'm sad that once good community driven DE turned this way. So I'm trying to help improve XFCE instead and suggesting others to do the same.

korbe said...

@crf: Why do you say that I have distorted talk of Martin? I don't do that and it's you that distorted my talk.

«It is tiresome to have a discussion with someone who argues not with facts, but by Asserting The Truth.»

Why do you say that? I'm based on fact.

«The claim "the design calls for a touchscreen" is not "false". The claim is the author's opinion about what Gnome3 would be good for (good for touchscreens, not so good with mouse-and-keyboard large screens). This is an English idiomatic expression.»

Martin don't say "the design calls for a touchscreen" like an opinion, but like a fact.

«Now in this next exchange, korbe misquotes Martin by excising the "multitasking" part of his comment, and then belittles his straw-Martin-doll.

First what Martin wrote:
«People at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. Multitasking is degraded to one app at front, suboptimally accessible apps in background + nagging chat notifications with entry fields in them.» --Martin


Here's korbe misquoting Martin, so korbe doesn't have to argue Martin's point.

« « Plus people at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. »»

I quote only this sentence because the rest of the paragraph means the same thing.

Here it is you who distorts what I am trying to say.

«Korbe, Martin didn't claim that chatting and doing a task was not possible. He admitted it was possible: chatting was his example of one of the limited number of multitasking things a user could do. Of course, you knew that, that's why you're carefully excising those words from your quotation. Classy stuff, friend!»

No, Gnome-Shell don't offers the possibility to quick reply via IM to be limmited: It's for permit to quick reply and save time. But it's not an obligation.

«Martin was talking Generally korbe. Martin didn't write "there are no two tasks you can do in Gnome3 at the same time". But you know that, because you're again misquoting deliberately. Generally, you cannot multitask in Gnome3, as Martin correctly notes. So why did you call Martin's claim "False", korbe, and then wisecrack about the qualities of Martin's "arguments"? Nothing you wrote falsifies anything except your quotes of Strawman Martin.»

Juste quote two sentence proves that you are contradicting yourself:
- «Martin didn't write "there are no two tasks you can do in Gnome3 at the same time" »
- «Generally, you cannot multitask in Gnome3, as Martin correctly notes»

So, he don't say "you can't", but he say "you can not"?

«You're doing nothing but harm to Gnome3, with your insincere attempts at arguing people's criticisms, korbe. Gnome3 doesn't need friends like you.

I think korbe should apologize to Martin. It is irksome to me, to see a human being's arguments abused, in a vain attempt to defend an alpha piece of software.»

Everything I've done is show that Martin had no constructive arguments and it's just a matter of love/hate. I don't to excuse for that.
And distort my words or make personal attacks will not change anything.

crf said...

korbe, here's an idiom for you to learn: when you are in a HOLE stop DIGGING. You don't address what I criticized you for, at all.

First: «Why do you say that I have distorted talk of Martin? I don't do that and it's you that distorted my talk.»

I quoted EXACTLY what you said. And I gave reasons. YOU excised what Martin wrote, deliberately twisted its meaning, and then decided to respond to that straw man. What you did was dishonest. It is there, in black and white. I didn't "distort your talk". I didn't excise content from quotes you made. I didn't pretend to peer into your mind, and decide what you really meant to say.

« Martin don't say "the design calls for a touchscreen" like an opinion, but like a fact »

There you go again, just making Assertions about Truth. And you're not responding to what I wrote at all. I am sorry, you don't get to redefine common english idioms to pretend that Martin meant something different from what he actually wrote.

« I quote only this sentence because the rest of the paragraph means the same thing »

Martin is not writing redundantly, and his two sentences don't mean the same thing, even if you just ASSERT (again) that they do. You are again acting dishonestly, by refusing, when I point out, again, in black and white, that your truncated misquotation changes what Martin wrote into something completely different, which you then insultingly attack.


« Juste quote two sentence proves that you are contradicting yourself:
- «Martin didn't write "there are no two tasks you can do in Gnome3 at the same time" »
- «Generally, you cannot multitask in Gnome3, as Martin correctly notes»

So, he don't say "you can't", but he say "you can not"? »

Do I have to spell this out again, korbe? Or are you deliberately being difficult? Martin claimed that chatting and working were one of the few things you could do at the same time. You, by misquoting him, claimed that he said those things could not be done at the same time.

In General, Martin's point was that multitasking is not possible in gnome3, but in the specific, you can work and chat. You twisted Martin's words by misquoting him to pretend he said that chatting and working was not ever possible, then brought out an example which supposedly proves your strawman Martin was wrong. That example: chatting. That's dishonest, on your part. You continue to ignore his point that generally, multitasking is not possible.

Ah yes. And when I point out that you deliberately misquote and insult, I'm doing the personal attacking!

Thank you, very much korbe. Wonderful interacting with you. Goodbye.

korbe said...

@crf:

«In General, Martin's point was that multitasking is not possible in gnome3, but in the specific, you can work and chat.»

And this is what I was understood: "You can't make multi-task exept for chat."

Martin say:
«korbe: The design calls for touchscreen. Plus people at gnome seem to think that doing more than one thing + chat at the same time is impossible for you. Multitasking is degraded to one app at front, suboptimally accessible apps in background + nagging chat notifications with entry fields in them.»

And I reply:
«Also false: In Gnome 3 you can continue to do some things in same time. The chat system offers the possibility to respond quickly to friends without having to swithces between windows if you don't want to switch. But you can continue to switch if you want.»

If you want, I can compact this:
You can make multi-task AND the quick chat system is a bonus.

An evidence that it is you who distorts my comments.

Note: And Martin use only their optinion to affirm that in Gnome 3 you can't make multi-task. But in fact, it's not more difficult than in Gnome 2.XX.

So, deformation of my words, slander, personal attacks.... But it's me the dishonest?

You have exceeded the limit of any possible debate, I continue my way, it would be a waste of time to continue to listen your sallad.

Goodbye.

Lorenzo said...

I agree with Martin.
The root of Gnome 3 is obviously the idea that PCs are dead and we will be using "mobile" devices in the near future.
If you want to keep using a desktop as we know it and to be able to configure it for your own needs, Gnome 3 goes in another direction.

On a side note: I find quite annoying when somebody wants to tell me how I MUST live. In our case, what kind of device I MUST use and if I am still stubborn, how I MUST use my obsolete PC.

Yes, there are alternatives to Gnome like XFCE. But given the relevance of Gnome, this is a bad turn for Linux.

d2kx said...

Thank $supernatural for Unity.

nmaitre said...

It looks like you, who are against gnome3, have all the same frustration about going "mobile". I should say that maybe I'm in that case too, but still, I love gnome-shell for my laptop.
At first glance, gnome-shell looks empty and ugly. The first time I tried it some time ago, I gave up almost immediately for that.
Then someone showed me how it could be extended, themed, tuned.
It's just no match for gnome3 in the desktop world for the moment in terms of extensibility ! Technically, it's really impressive, you can tune your desktop in every little detail, it's just a matter of javascript and css3 (and for those who don't know yet the possibilities of css3, just inform yourself, it's just amazing !). In 5-10 lines of css, I've been able to completely change the panel, and I love it now, really, more than any theme/picture that I've used in any desktop (and i've tried at lot of them). This is so simple to make a curve of a corner, a beautiful shadow of a border or a sexy color-gradient of a flat area.
If you don't like the "activities-paradigm", there's already an extension that brings you a dock, so that you don't miss at all your gnome-panel.
The overview mode is really fluid and for those that are fidels to gnome-do, they might be seduced by the very close approach of gnome-shell. The ones that use compiz will like the expose-like mode, or the beautiful look of the windows.
I love the way you organize your workspaces. Before, i was always half-using my workspaces, otherwise i needed more of them. Now it's dynamic, and in a nice way. You need space ? It's just a matter of drag and drop your launcher on a new workspace.

Actually, gnome-shell is really a perfect mix of all the technologies that take place for the moment. I can't blame you to criticise it as I've done it before, but don't give up on a first impression, gnome3 is much more bigger than you think.
And really, don't say that it is designed for mobile device. Maybe it seems it is, but it can suit any desktop/laptop out there, and better than any other environment until now, IMO.

Anonymous said...

You're a f*cking idiot.

Abelardo said...

I THINK YOU ARE TOTALLY WRONG LOOK GNOME 3 NOW YES NOW AND REWRITE YOUR WHOLE ARTICLE AGAIN

Anonymous said...

I did not like Gnome 3 at first. Now that I have been using it for some time, I really do like it better than the old Gnome 2. So yes, it did take some getting used to, but now I feel that it is very productive, elegant, and easy to use.

Gnome 3 is not broken by design, but it does require you to re-think, just a little, on how you approach the desktop.

I recently took a look at Mate and Cinnamon with Linux Mint. These present decent transitional gnome-2-like models running with Gnome 3 base. But in the end, once I was able to spend some time at it, I can easily claim that Gnome 3 is superior.

Keep an open mind...

Nicu Buculei said...

@Anonymous: that is not correct, while Cinnamon has a GNOME 3 base with a GNOME 2 looking shell, Mate is the opposite, a GNOME 2 base with a few GNOME 3 backports.