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Old 05-26-2011, 07:41 AM   #1
Tharic-Nar
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Default Fedora 15 & GNOME 3.0 First Impressions

After I posted our news item of Fedora 15's release, I got restless. I had to install it. It's been a long time since I last used the distro for something other than a quick test, so I figure I'm long overdue for a return. And because I haven't given GNOME 3.0 a single test since its release, how could I pass up killing two birds with one stone?


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Old 05-26-2011, 08:12 AM   #2
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I've been test-driving Gnome 3 on my Arch Linux installation. I liked it, although my usage of Linux is almost exclusively console based for which reason I use a tiling window manager instead (for your reference, that's i3).

Lots and lots (and lots) has been said on the web about the lack of maximize and minimize buttons on Gnome 3. But it annoys me that again a UI decision is made that forces users shifting what could be years of a usage pattern. As is my case...

My experience being mainly Windows based, has had me get used to the minimize button. Not so much the maximize one since I long adopted the practice of double-clicking titlebars. So I'm in the camp of those for whom a minimize button is commonly used. What strikes me is the fact UI decisions like removing decades-long features are made without making them opt-out. I don't know folks, but as a software developer I'm constantly reminded at the necessity to gradually phase out UI features, not just abruptly remove them. It's textbook material, for pete's sake. 101 of UI design.

That said, Gnome 3 does indeed has features to make up for the lack of a minimize button. One just needs to get used to them. Not that of a big deal. I don't want to give the impression this is some crusade of mine. It's not. Just a nag, more directed at the lack of an opt-out option in gnome 3 that can reintroduce the button, than the actual missing of the button. (although you just can't convince me that right-clicking the title bar and choosing minimize through a list of options is faster than... as you say, dragging the mouse to a minimize button).

As far as I'm concerned, this won't ever bug me since Gnome 3, just like any other DE on my linux box, will rarely be used. But here it was my only complaint; that UIs features keep being removed abruptly only rarely using an opt-out option for the new feature that could reintroduce old behavior. Other than that, I find Gnome 3 very interesting and visually appealing. Something I could use if I didn't have already for quite a long time OpenBox as my GUI-based interface.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
I use a tiling window manager instead (for your reference, that's i3).
There must be a billion tiling-based managers out there, because it seems like I learn about a new one all the time. I know a lot of people who use awesome, but I just can't get into it. I can understand why tiling could prove beneficial, but I am stuck in my ways. At most I generally use two windows at once, so I have them basically take half of the screen each.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Lots and lots (and lots) has been said on the web about the lack of maximize and minimize buttons on Gnome 3. But it annoys me that again a UI decision is made that forces users shifting what could be years of a usage pattern. As is my case...
The GNOME dev team mindset drives me up the wall to be honest. It seems as though if one person on the team wants something gone, it'll be culled, regardless of how many people would prefer it to remain. The lack of minimize and maximize buttons are just the start. There's no option to restart or shutdown from the menu... none. To see those options, you literally need to push the power button on your PC. Oh, and then there's the inability to completely disable your monitor from going into standby mode. The max value that can be used for that is one hour. This isn't a major issue, but still a strange one to be forced on people. Then there's also the issue where there's no ability to disable a laptop from going into standby if its top is closed (some people like it to remain running, even if the monitor is to go idle).

Regarding both the minimize and maximize buttons, I do think they should be there (especially given the amount of room in these titlebars), but I've actually come to prefer the implementation of their equivalents here. That is, once a titlebar is right-clicked, it's a 5px or so cursor movement to click on the minimize. It can be done very quickly, so much so that I just don't think about it anymore. It'd require much more effort to drag your cursor to a specific point in the window and then click the button to minimize. I like the feature enough that I am going to see if I can replicate it when going back to KDE.

Also: http://www.tuxmachines.org/node/52808

I couldn't agree more that there is a lot removed here that shouldn't be, but man, does it make it up in other ways. I feel like I want to keep using it for a while, despite certain things that bother me. I feel a LOT more efficient with it than I did with Unity or KDE, and a big part of that is just how quickly I can move from one window to the next, and also because of the cut-down on distractions.

Of course, I've only been using it for less than a day at this point, so we'll see where my opinion is in two weeks.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:14 PM   #4
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The GNOME dev team mindset drives me up the wall to be honest. It seems as though if one person on the team wants something gone, it'll be culled, regardless of how many people would prefer it to remain. The lack of minimize and maximize buttons are just the start. There's no option to restart or shutdown from the menu... none. To see those options, you literally need to push the power button on your PC.
This is not true. Hold down 'alt' while you have the user menu open, and 'Suspend' turns into 'Power Off...' . You can also log out and shut down or restart from the login manager.

Yes, neither of these is the most intuitive thing ever, but it's simply incorrect to say "To see those options, you literally need to push the power button on your PC." Actually, pressing the power button doesn't present those options either, it just suspends, by default.

Quote:
Oh, and then there's the inability to completely disable your monitor from going into standby mode. The max value that can be used for that is one hour. This isn't a major issue, but still a strange one to be forced on people. Then there's also the issue where there's no ability to disable a laptop from going into standby if its top is closed (some people like it to remain running, even if the monitor is to go idle).

Regarding both the minimize and maximize buttons, I do think they should be there (especially given the amount of room in these titlebars)
You can customize all of these things. All of these things are in fact settable within GNOME, but it was decided not to provide a GUI interface to these settings by default; you can flip them directly in dconf/gsettings using dconf-editor, or you can just use gnome-tweak-tool to do it. You can change the lid close action and put the minimize/maximize buttons back from gnome-tweak-tool (and change various other things, too). For the display timeout, the dconf key is org/gnome/settings-daemon/plugins/power/sleep-display-ac (and sleep-display-battery). I think if you set it to 0 it will disable this, though I haven't tested. Or you could just set it to a really high number.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #5
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On your NVIDIA card: the reason nouveau doesn't do acceleration out of the box is to do with firmware licensing, but there's movement on this front. See http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item&px=OTQ4NA for some details.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #6
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I tried Gnome3 on my Archlinux install, but wasn't very impressed, to be honest. The whole redesign seems unnecessary and amateurish. Too much is missing. It reminds me of the KDE 4 fiasco that happened a few years ago. It almost makes me want to just stick to the command-line when it comes to Linux.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:30 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forums, Adam, and thanks for taking the time to post :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamW
This is not true. Hold down 'alt' while you have the user menu open, and 'Suspend' turns into 'Power Off...' . You can also log out and shut down or restart from the login manager.
I hate to admit it, but a simple Google search could have told me the same.

Having come to understand what GNOME developers can be like, and having no option to restore it in the system settings, I had just figured it was a cut feature. Now that I'm aware of this, I kind of prefer it, but it's subtle. A "Welcome to GNOME 3" guide placed on the desktop would have helped out here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamW
Yes, neither of these is the most intuitive thing ever, but it's simply incorrect to say "To see those options, you literally need to push the power button on your PC." Actually, pressing the power button doesn't present those options either, it just suspends, by default.
That's also correct. I had changed the behavior and then forgot about it when the time came to write the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamW
You can customize all of these things. All of these things are in fact settable within GNOME, but it was decided not to provide a GUI interface to these settings by default; you can flip them directly in dconf/gsettings using dconf-editor, or you can just use gnome-tweak-tool to do it. You can change the lid close action and put the minimize/maximize buttons back from gnome-tweak-tool (and change various other things, too). For the display timeout, the dconf key is org/gnome/settings-daemon/plugins/power/sleep-display-ac (and sleep-display-battery). I think if you set it to 0 it will disable this, though I haven't tested. Or you could just set it to a really high number.
Thanks a ton for the information; it's appreciated. This to me though is a perfect example of GNOME nonsense. There's no reason these options couldn't remain available in the "System Settings". Those familiar with the command-line might not mind (I do, despite being fluent with it), but for the casual user, this is the kind of thing that makes Linux look like an OS for geeks, rather than welcoming as it should be.

Because this is GNOME, a full-blown GUI environment, and not something like Fluxbox, I don't consider the command-line to be a valid method of customization. Customization should be a user-friendly experience, not an absolute chore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamW
On your NVIDIA card: the reason nouveau doesn't do acceleration out of the box is to do with firmware licensing, but there's movement on this front. See http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item&px=OTQ4NA for some details.
It's not the nouveau driver in particular that bothered me; it was the fact that I couldn't get rid of it in order to install the official NVIDIA driver. I used a variety of tricks including an attempt at blocking the driver from being loaded with the modprobe blacklist, and also uninstalled it through the Add/Remove Software. I even had the NVIDIA driver itself attempt to kill nouveau off, but it just wasn't happening.

In the end, I had to resort to adding a repository in order to install a semi-recent driver. Ideally, I wouldn't have had to do that, but rather should have been able to install the official driver as normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalJoeCool View Post
I tried Gnome3 on my Archlinux install, but wasn't very impressed, to be honest. The whole redesign seems unnecessary and amateurish. Too much is missing. It reminds me of the KDE 4 fiasco that happened a few years ago. It almost makes me want to just stick to the command-line when it comes to Linux.
I am not sure I'd agree on it being amateurish to be honest, because aesthetically, the environment is brilliant. There's just one thing I'd like to see changed, and that's the ball with the flat bottom that appears under a loaded application in the left taskbar. Those stand out like a sore thumb, but would have worked if the taskbar was mounted flat at the bottom. I think a glow should just appear behind the icon as a ball or a square - or it should have something similar to Unity where a simple > appears next to the option application. That's not ideal either but I do prefer it.

As for things missing, join the club ;-)

How long ago did you test it out with Arch, though? You might not have had the full experience if it was nearer to the official launch.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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How long ago did you test it out with Arch, though? You might not have had the full experience if it was nearer to the official launch.
The question is to OriginalJoeCool, but on my case it was just for an afternoon. I was mostly interested on the visual appeal and the usage paradigm shift. I wasn't so much interested in the solidity of the interface, bugs or identifying finished/incomplete implementation of features.

Instead, I approached it to try to understand the impact on the end user and how could Gnome 3 negatively affect longtime DE users used to a more traditional desktop environment. You see, there's reports of users not liking Gnome 3 new paradigm at all... some even deciding to move to another distro (although they don't seem to realize they won't be able to avoid it for long).

I personally find it infuriating that a team of developers (opensource or not) makes "life-changing" decisions that invariably are going to produce a rift among their users, when they didn't even finished fixing some outstanding bugs on the previous Gnome 2 version (and except for critical bugs, they won't ever).

I'm not against doing new and exciting things, but Gnome 3 could either have been a separate Gnome sponsored project, or could have spawned a separate project altogether (in which case, Unity would be a good name for this new DE managed by an independent new team, under a new brand). There was absolutely 0 indication that Gnome 2 was exhausted. This was entirely an on impulse thing without the Gnome market ever giving signs it needed it. This type of callous disregard for users (I may being harsh, but I can't find any other way of qualifying this) is exactly the type of development principles that... and this is the kicker... are opposite of everything the Linux ecosystem tries to represent. So, I feel like saying: "Hey, Gnome! Welcome to Windows".

edit: And let me reiterate, this isn't me disliking Gnome 3. As I said I actually liked it. With the exception of some minor annoyances, I did find it appealing. I could use it... eventually... I guess... on a good day. But I just can't agree with the Gnome development path. Disappointed.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
I personally find it infuriating that a team of developers (opensource or not) makes "life-changing" decisions that invariably are going to produce a rift among their users, when they didn't even finished fixing some outstanding bugs on the previous Gnome 2 version (and except for critical bugs, they won't ever).
Well, this is something I tend to agree on, and I'd hate to admit how much I've ranted about such things in the past. I've even battled the case where developers have refused to change or add a heavily-requested feature (hint: rhymes with Google).

The thing that bothers me most about GNOME 3 is that it gives a collective middle-finger to those who like to customize their OS. Yes, edits can be made via command-line, but as I mentioned above, that's not a great solution, and shouldn't even be considered one. When Windows offers much more flexibility than a Linux desktop, I consider that to be a little bizarre.

One of the reasons I could never use GNOME 2.x was because it lacked all of the customization I was looking for, so it's a little ironic to see GNOME 3 years later take things to the next level in terms of stripping out features. I have to imagine that if someone "loves" GNOME 3, it's probably because they happened to strike it lucky and have it perfectly suit them. For many others, who prefer to tweak and make their OS their own, the lack of tweaking-ability is a little depressing.

I still admit that I am digging GNOME 3 quite a bit though, and that's not something I expected. Even after the first 15 minutes I felt frustrated enough to leave it, but after using it more and more, I can feel it growing on me. I still hate the lack of customization, but nothing here bothers me bad enough up to this point where I want to write the environment off entirely. In fact, since I've felt more efficient while using it, I almost feel like I'll have a hard time going back to KDE! I sure didn't see that coming.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:24 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forums, Adam, and thanks for taking the time to post :-)
No problem.

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Thanks a ton for the information; it's appreciated. This to me though is a perfect example of GNOME nonsense. There's no reason these options couldn't remain available in the "System Settings". Those familiar with the command-line might not mind (I do, despite being fluent with it), but for the casual user, this is the kind of thing that makes Linux look like an OS for geeks, rather than welcoming as it should be.
There's a reason for it, though it's up to you whether you agree with it or not. GNOME believes that having too many configuration options makes the interface very clumsy and can invite people to make changes they don't really understand or want. It's long been part of the GNOME philosophy to reduce GUI-accessible preferences quite aggressively. KDE takes a more option-friendly approach. You can see this pretty clearly in the respective control centers, and pick which approach you like best, I guess. But there is a reason for it.

Quote:
It's not the nouveau driver in particular that bothered me; it was the fact that I couldn't get rid of it in order to install the official NVIDIA driver. I used a variety of tricks including an attempt at blocking the driver from being loaded with the modprobe blacklist, and also uninstalled it through the Add/Remove Software. I even had the NVIDIA driver itself attempt to kill nouveau off, but it just wasn't happening.

In the end, I had to resort to adding a repository in order to install a semi-recent driver. Ideally, I wouldn't have had to do that, but rather should have been able to install the official driver as normal.
Well, that's really just a bug in the NVIDIA installer; you can't expect Fedora to tweak the operating system to the requirements of NVIDIA's installer, that's kind of bass-ackwards. =) It's probably just missing something the Fusion package knows to do, like blacklisting the module for both module-init-tools and dracut, and re-generating the initramfs after the dracut blacklist.
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:42 PM   #11
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I tried Gnome 3 a couple nights ago, and again last night. I think I was beginning to see it in a slightly more positive light, but then I went to open an app and gnome-shell crashed entirely. I couldn't switch to a TTY or restart the environment. I had to use the power button. Now it's stuck in fallback mode, which is a shame, because testing gnome-shell was the whole point of installing 3.0. I found the "force fallback" mode under system info->graphics to be a little ambiguous. I couldn't really tell from the control whether it was on or off, so I tried it both ways, to no avail. I'm sure there's a way around this, but I haven't found it yet.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:45 PM   #12
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joe: yeah, that's a common peeve with that widget. I don't much like it either. But to clear it up, the word that's showing on it is its current state: if it says ON, that means it's ON (not that if you click it, it will turn ON).

so if you want to disable fallback mode, click it until it says OFF and reboot (or log out / log in). But if there's a problem with your graphics card / driver which prevents it being able to render Shell properly, you'll still get fallback mode.
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:28 PM   #13
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Thanks for clearing that up. Unfortunately, I was stuck with fallback mode regardless, although when I started X as root I got gnome-shell.
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