back to article Sanity saver: Fedora 15 answers Ubuntu's Unity

The Fedora 15 beta from the Red-Hat sponsored Fedora Project has dropped squarely into a moment of uncertainty and upheaval for the Linux desktop. The planned new Unity interface for Ubuntu 11.04, that replaces GNOME, is rough start. And while GNOME 3 - Fedora's new default desktop - is considerably more mature than Unity, it' …


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    1. Vic


      Fedora has supported SELinux for yonks.


      1. AdamWill


        We're kinda notorious for it.

        Very cool thing (though not strictly an F15 feature): run Firefox in an SELinux sandbox - a protected environment where it is completely prevented from having the privileges to do anything evil. See

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. AdamWill

            Read it

            Read the blog post I linked. If you run Firefox in an SELinux sandbox, yes, it is extremely locked down. Fedora's default SELinux profile for running it normally isn't as extreme, though.

  2. AdamWill
    Thumb Up


    "especially if you're a big fan of minimizing windows, since that isn't possible in GNOME 3"

    This isn't actually true. You can minimize windows; the operation hasn't been removed, just one of the interfaces for achieving it. (But yes, the overall thrust is that minimizing isn't something you're expected to really need to do much of.)

    You can right-click on the window title and select 'Minimize' to achieve it. For maximizing, drag to the top of a screen, double click the title bar, or right click and hit 'Maximize'.

    "Even Fedora seems taken by the simplicity of GNOME 3's interface; the Fedora 15 theme has been toned down considerably. The characteristic blue icons are now gray (though this may be do to GNOME 3's lack of theming tools) and the new wallpaper is nicely understated."

    There is, um, a story behind this. =) The GNOME team (and particularly those bits of it who are also Fedora developers) asked Fedora to stay close to the upstream GNOME 3 design for the Fedora 15 release, to act as a showcase for the GNOME 3 release. There was something of a debate about this among other teams - particularly, naturally, the design team - and we wound up with something of a compromise. If you use Fedora with GNOME you get the upstream window manager theme and GTK+ theme (which was also the case previously), icon theme (not sure if that's changed), and a background which is something of a compromise between the upstream stripes background and Fedora 15's bird-y theme (hence, well, the birds).

    (Personally I really like the 'official' F15 background - - which you can easily switch to, if you like).

    "Themes are one place that small cracks begin to show in Fedora 15. For example, Firefox has been updated to version 4, but the scrollbars are noticeably blue because they still use the old Fedora Firefox theme. Similarly apps like Google's Chrome browser also look a bit out of place. It's a minor point, and not one the Fedora has much control over, but it does hint at a few areas GNOME 3 still needs to work on."

    Not quite; they're GTK+ 2 apps and they're using a GTK+ 2 theme (there is no 'Fedora Firefox theme'). I'm not really sure why it hasn't been made to look more closely like the GTK+ 3 default theme, though, there may be technical limitations.

    Thanks for the review!

    (for anyone who doesn't know, I work for Red Hat on Fedora QA. Yes, blame me for any bugs...)

    1. Vic

      You'll be the man to ask, then

      > I work for Red Hat on Fedora QA

      So will there be a Gnome2 package set available? Not just the G3 fallback - which ISTR has some features missing - the full G2 set.

      I have no plans whatsoever to run Gnome3. It does nothing I want, and does plenty to get in the way of how I work.

      So if Fedora don't ship Gnome2, I'm going to have to port it in to a custom spin. And that doesn't make my day :-(


      [And before anyone points me at - it's gone away. I emailed the owner to see if he would sell me the domain, but I haven't heard back]

      1. AdamWill


        See title. That train has sailed and that ship has left the station. Fedora stays close to upstream projects, and GNOME 3 is where upstream GNOME is going.

        If someone did make a GNOME 2 fork that was actively maintained, and there were no legal problems with it, it'd be open for inclusion into Fedora, of course. But there is no such beast at present, and as far as I'm aware, no-one has any serious plans to make one (EXDE was the closest, and it never got far).

    2. Ilgaz

      I don't minimize too but...

      I hope Gnome 3 developers didn't confuse themselves with end users and decided on behalf of them.

      No close/minimize buttons, no "classic" theme (gnome2 like), gnome 3 guys are really gambling with already struggling desktop popularity.

      Microsoft still offers "windows classic" theme and Apple almost didn't touch a thing since 1984. These guys spend millions on consumer research, super secret demos (to general public with nda) and even sometimes "leaking" some screens. Nobody except Gnome had this genius idea of close minimize button removal.

      Anyway, just glad nobody could slip mono dependency into it.

      1. AdamWill

        Kind of the point

        "No close/minimize buttons, no "classic" theme (gnome2 like), gnome 3 guys are really gambling with already struggling desktop popularity."

        Well, that's kind of the point. Nearly a decade of GNOME 2.0 has resulted in the 'already struggling desktop popularity' you identify. Doing the same thing for another decade didn't seem like a great plan to turn things around. (Another odd thing about the GNOME 2 / GNOME 3 debate, if you stand back and look at it for a bit, is that a lot of it seems based on the assumption that GNOME 2 is a roaring success...)

        1. Vic

          Re: the point

          > Nearly a decade of GNOME 2.0 has resulted in the 'already struggling desktop popularity'

          Ah, the old correlation/causation fallacy.

          Gnome 2 hasn't caused the FOSS desktop to struggle. Vast amounts of propaganda and the absence of AutoCAD has done that.

          Migrating people from proprietary software to Gnome 2 is comparatively easy, once the application support is there (and huge strides have been made in that direction in the last few years)

          Could the same be said of Gnome 3? I very much doubt it.

          > a lot of it seems based on the assumption that GNOME 2 is a roaring success

          It's not doing too badly. Throwing out the whole paradigm because other *similar* desktops are more successful would seem to be a mistake.


          1. AdamWill

            autocad? really?

            AutoCAD? Really?

            The excuse 'oh, it's just because of Random Piece Of Proprietary Software X' has been around for over a decade now, and every time X gets fixed, someone comes up with a new one to fill out the blank...with no particular evidence. I've never even *seen* AutoCAD. I rather suspect its user base (out of all the people who own computers) is less than desktop Linux's. You really think if an AutoCAD port for Linux showed up tomorrow, it'd open the floodgates?

            1. Vic

              Yes, really.

              > AutoCAD? Really?


              > You really think if an AutoCAD port for Linux showed up tomorrow, it'd open the floodgates?



              1. Ilgaz

                Floodgates didn't open

                Autocad finally shipped for OS X and it barely made news. The plugins doesn't exist and the opengl support is way backwards compared to (believe or not) Windows. Especially professional cards. The ones which were shipped for OS X, like all 2 of them :)

                1. Vic

                  Hardly surprising

                  > The plugins doesn't exist and the opengl support is way backwards

                  So, IOW, AutoCAD (as it exists on the Windows platform) didn't ship for OSX, then.

                  Hardly surprising that didn't set the world on fire...


  3. Curuxz


    What is with open source these days, I have used linux for over a decade now and I am getting really sick and tired of the last couple of years of "innovation". Stop screwing around with things and just focus on making the core system faster and more stable.

    I used to love KDE 3.x until 4 came along as a buggy pile of junk. They have ruined KDE, they are ruining Gnome and I really question the need for the unity system at all.

    It seems software developers, open and closed, currently have some kind of mad fetish in changing interfaces. People want stuff that works, and if it can be done better then fine do that as a side line then phase it in. But this current attitude of forcing massive over night changes onto end users will only damage linux adoption for the sake of being able to say it's cool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Seems to be a very good word for it.

      It has nothing to do with usability, and everything to do with forcing ideas on users. ...for what? The satisfaction of the people having the ideas. ...for why? Because they can. A way of doing business which is part of MS's unpopularity among those that don't subscribe to it.

      Do I want to kill the ideas? No way! I enjoy seeing all this possible user interfaces, all the themes, the desktops, the pretty pictures on the Linux blogs. I absolutely subscribe to the freedom to do that stuff. Just it should be optional.

      My desktop should about how I choose to work, not what somebody else imposes on me.

      1. AdamWill


        "My desktop should about how I choose to work, not what somebody else imposes on me."

        This is also a bizarre meme, because your desktop is not in any way about how you choose to work. It's _always_ been about some arbitrary design concept some guy in Silicon Valley came up with, you just get to choose the concept from those available.

        Again, there's nothing inevitable about the Windows 95 paradigm, and you didn't choose it (or if you did, you chose it from a range of extremely limited options). As long as you're not writing your own desktop interface, you're _always_ using one that someone else 'imposed' on you (or, to look at another way, did all the work of writing so you can actually use a computer with something other than a command line interface). This whole little craze of using the dramatic language of freedom, rights and democracy to refer to frickin' desktop interfaces just seems bizarre. As long as you're using code other people wrote, of course you're letting them make choices for you. Unless you actually get involved in development, the only choice you get is which one of the various projects - none of which you have much/any power over - you choose to go with, and it can't realistically be any different.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In principle

          I accept what you say.

          In practice, I still hold the same opinions

    2. Martin

      The reason is very simple...

      ...and it's always been the case.

      Software developers like writing new stuff. They don't so much like maintaining the old stuff.

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      They should have postponed metric conversion till after all the old people died.

      Hey folks... if you prefer the older edition of the software, I'm pretty sure you're allowed to go on using the older version. They don't come and take it away. Or, you don't like Unity? Click the "I don't like Unity" button during setup. Although, if you believe KDE and Gnome are now "ruined", then you answer your own question about why there is Unity. In fact, if you prefer Gnome 2, this is open source software right? Get hold of the old source code and maintain it yourself. Or, look at Microsoft's latest offerings. I promise you will not know what the hell is going on.

      In fact, the stuff you're talking about is BETA. Preview releases. Not for using yet. Although I think Ubuntu turns gold-ish on Friday, or something.

      Actually I have a historic aversion to interfaces that depend on things popping on and off screen or shifting around, because historically, especially with Windows, they took a hell of a long time to do so. This may be no longer the case. Also I minimise a program because it's sitting in front of the other program that I want to use now. Here's where I disagree with the OS stepping aside and leaving you alone with the program you're using: you're likely to be using more than one program. Last night I was browsing web pages and typing notes about them: two programs. I also might want to be notified that e-mail has arrived, or an appointment is due, or something interesting online has been updated. I don't want a computer that's autistic, I can do that myself. So I hope that isn't what you meant.

      1. Ilgaz

        what we are saying is

        The company, who actually sells "user experience" with 50% profit doesn't touch the basics of its UI. Time travel a 1984 Mac user today and watch him use his amazingly fast mac without problems.

        Who did gnome3 guys ask for these serious decisions? Developers? Fanatics on IRC? Who? UI design is something that developers shouldn't do. Ask anyone, even Redmond. Ask what did they do when they decided to change "shutdown" menu of Windows. They went out and bought a Macinthosh. Now, what you are telling is, Apple is stupid and old fashion for not changing UI. MS is also stupid to provide 'windows classic theme" (ask windows admins) and Gnome on the other hand, with the tragic share of linux desktop share is way more ahead of them.


        1. AdamWill

          Er, whut?

          "The company, who actually sells "user experience" with 50% profit doesn't touch the basics of its UI. Time travel a 1984 Mac user today and watch him use his amazingly fast mac without problems."

          Erm. Really? You're saying OS X was just a little makeover? I'm not seeing a dock in .

          1. Ilgaz

            windowmaker is small download/compile

            Run windowmaker and see if OSX has anything to do with it except the Dock, which naturally comes because of Object oriented design.

            You would be right if Apple branded NeXT as OS X and forced such a radical UI change to users but they didn't.

            Even Windows 7 has a classic theme option, that is Microsoft. Ask them why they provide it.

    4. Uwe Dippel

      Unity is a necessary one ...

      ... because there is Gnome 3. Something had to be done.

      1. Ilgaz

        I would do a more radical thing

        Get rid of Icaza gang who tries to inject mono to everything and even succeeded couple of times?

        Guy spends more time than Ballmer at Redmond! I really wonder if they are behind this "lets hurt linux desktop even more" ploy...

        1. AdamWill

          Again, whut?

          You, er, know that Miguel hasn't had an active role in GNOME development for years, right?

    5. AdamWill


      One of the major reasons behind a ground-up rewrite of the GNOME shell was performance: taking advantage of the way modern graphics cards work, rather than those from 1992, which is roughly what GNOME 2 does. At the same time, the GNOME team figured they may as well implement a design which wasn't a clone of Windows 95 any more.

      It's kind of odd; throughout the history of computing we've mostly been entirely used to encountering different interfaces all the time. Different phones work differently, different pre-PC computers worked differently, consoles have completely different interfaces. Few people complain about that. Yet nowadays it seems like if you have the absolute *temerity* to come up with a desktop interface which isn't what Microsoft pulled out of their ass in 1994, suddenly you're the antichrist. There's nothing about a panel with a start button, a window list, a clock, some quick launchers and some notification icons that makes it the end stage of user interface evolution, so I really don't know why some people seem so stuck on it.

      1. Ilgaz

        The Reg has a cool comment system

        Check back in 2016, iPhone 9 and perhaps OSX 16 (whatever). The basic UI concepts won't change. Mac will have dock, finder and iPhone will have very similar UI albeit in amazing dpi.

  4. James Hughes 1

    If I wanted endless keyboard shortcuts

    I'd use Emacs. Seems to be a lot of column inches on all this keyboard short cut stuff - and I hardly ever use keyboard short cuts for window management, so its a bit of a non-feature to me.

    Have tried Gnome 3, some bits I thought were pretty good, but I didn't like the 'move mouse to upper right' to get the shell for example - you should be able to get that from wherever the mouse is using Rclick or similar. I don't want to move the mouse that far, the desk wasn't big enough.

    And why no minimise - still haven't figured that one out. Seems to be a big alienation point, for something that could so easily be incorporated.

    I'll try it again though, and Unity once it get s bit more stable, although being brgouth up from DOS through windows, I do like WIMP.

    1. AdamWill


      I dunno how you can live without keyboard shortcuts, at least basic ones: start key and alt-tab? I'd stab my eye out with a rusty fork without those.

  5. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    "it's probably time to start learning how to tweak Xfce"

    ^ This.

    For now anyways.

    1. RAMChYLD
      Thumb Up

      re: it's probably time to start learning how to tweak Xfce

      I've always liked XFCE. I like to think of it as Gnome-lite and have my root account boot into it.

      I'd probably be moving to it full time too if Gnome 3 won't run on my Athlon XP 1700+ with 2GB of RAM and NVidia GeForce440MX 8X AGP adapter. As outdated as the machine is (It was built in 2001 after all, and started out with a then-whopping 256MB of DDR1 RAM, which was upped several times over the past years, with the final 2GB configuration coming last year), it still runs Gnome 2.30 with Compiz fine. I hope it doesn't wheeze and stutter under the Gnome 3.

      In the end, it's not about having a flashy desktop. It's about finding one that balances between the flashiness against performance.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Oh my

        "have my root account boot into it"

        Dude! Thou should not be running as root!

        1. Anonymous Coward

          I know

          I'd rather not give my limited user account sudo powers. I just use the root account when I do apt-get update && apt-get -y upgrade, and I spend 10 minutes tops daily in there. It's only when things get extremely hairy when I stay in as root longer (stable? Not if you're using Debian Sid. The price you pay for demanding cutting edge versions of an app).

          1. Vic


            > I just use the root account when I do apt-get

            So why no just do a "su -" beforehand?

            It's a lot safer than running a desktop as root...


  6. Zeb

    Linux Mint here I come

    Oh well. It was fun while it lasted GNOME 2.x! However I would be nice to see GNOME3 fallback mode supported by a distro as default.... or maybe we will see a fork of GNOME called DWARF :P

    1. FreeTard

      Or install LXDE

      Uses less resources than XFCE, but you'll need gnome-power-manager or the XCFE one on a laptop, as it doesn't power save otherwise. Otherwise perfect. Using it right now...

      Though I'll upgrade to fedora15 when its released

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    Adam - something that wasn't covered in the brief review that perhaps you can answer?

    There are - to my mind - three big faults with Unity:

    1) global menus unattached to the application

    2) different behaviour for scroll bars depending on the application; some e.g Firefox, and gnome 2.8 and older applications, have the visible (and preferable) old-style scroll bar within the application window, while others have the new 'two pixels highlighted and we'll draw a thumb somewhere once you're near it' approach - might be inside the window, might be outside, oh, and we've broken the click above/below the thumb to move a page, too'.

    3) lack of a mechanism which shows immediately what applications are open in a particular workspace.

    There are other idiocies, too: semi transparent backgrounds for switchers which are cluttered and therefore difficult to read, a workspace switcher that requires you to know the position of each workspace to use the keyboard short cuts... meh.

    My problem is that 1) and 3) above are *showstoppers* for me for unity; 2) is a severe pain in the rear. 3) daft as it sounds though is the biggest issue I have: I can't tell what I have open (and the keyboard alt-tab short cut, instead of a small clear icon on a plain background, shows the window associated with the application - cluttered and difficult to read) and every window looks as if it's falling off the bottom of the page.

    So the questions are:

    1) does G3 have local menus?

    2) does G3 have a sensible task switcher?

    3) does G3 have a task bar?


    1. AdamWill


      1) no, GNOME 3 does not use this system. There are plans for something vaguely similar in future, where some apps will lose the 'menu bar' paradigm entirely and instead have a smaller list of options available from their application icon (the currently fairly useless bit of the top panel next to Activities, where you see the name and icon of the app). But not in 3.0.

      2) The alt-tab dialog shows icons and the app names; if you have more than one window open for a given app, you get a little drop-down from the app's icon which shows a preview of each window.

      3) There is not, by default, anything which shows you a list of all open apps. The Overview (shortcut: start key) does the Expose-type 'zoom out windows' thing for the current workspace and shows thumbnails of all workspaces in the workspace switcher.

      One of the currently available third-party extensions for GNOME 3 implements an always-visible dock on the right-hand side of the screen; I'm not sure exactly how this behaves (and if it would fulfil the function you want) as I haven't used it. Another thing I've seen people doing is running avant-window-navigator on top of Shell to satisfy their panel/window list desires, though that's not in any way a 'supported' configuration, I hasten to add.

      4) GNOME 3 doesn't do anything odd with scrollbars, they look and work like they always have.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't fret too much about the global menu

      It can be uninstalled.

      It would be nice to have a simple configuration switch (wish list), but it *can* be uninstalled. Crazy, senseless idea that it is!

  8. matthew1471
    Thumb Up

    It's OK.

    I tried the Beta last night and it seemed really good; Gnome 3 is fast and I don't think it would take very long to learn some 'new ways of doing things'.

    I'm not sure who's idea it was to remove the Reboot / Shutdown command from the user menu though - I spent ages trying to find it, only to discover through Google that you need to hold down Alt when mousing over the menu (I hate it when software makes you feel stupid).

    The only thing that I really struggled with (and this isn't unique to Fedora 15 beta) is the font rendering - it was awful. I'm an Ubuntu user and find that the font rendering in Ubuntu is perfectly readable. It's the opposite in Fedora... which is a shame as it's the only thing that would stop me from switching from Ubuntu.

    1. Francis Fish

      Oh, no, not another Apple-ism

      Apple do this alt key crap. If you want 'extended' features hold down alt when you've opened a menu. My favourite is textmate - replace in current selection needs you to hit alt when you've selected some text - this is one of the reasons I stopped using it.

      It can be quite entertaining to select the menus in your app of choice and press alt and shift and see what functions they think you're too stupid to see.

      It's in the Apple style guidelines somewhere - and it's complete arse.

      1. Ilgaz

        You got it wrong

        Alt key is used as "force" or sometimes do advanced user things like iPhoto library rebuilding.

        For example, alt+empty trash means "force empty trash". You can live without pressing alt button a single time while using your system ordinarily.

  9. Andy Farley
    Thumb Up

    In shell mouse gestures?


  10. Richard Wharram


    see title

    1. AdamWill


      also see title.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    and now for something different

    I was a Ubuntu fan until Unity appeared and now GNOME 3 is out that's killed off Fedora as well - I don't want a touch screen style interface being forced on to my desktop. Yes there are many options of changing the window manager, customising the themes but strangely much like certain hair products, I just want to install and go rather than install, customise, customise, customise, customise then go.

    Windows Vista/7 are just polished glass versions of XP and if I am going to have to pay for something then it might as well be the fruity desktop.

    1. Bilgepipe


      Forcing the likes of Unity and GNOME3 onto people is going to cost customers. Desktop and touch UIs are too different to merge into one - Apple proved this with iOS and it's why they won't release a touch Mac. A touch-optimised UI operated with a mouse is a kludge.

      Here's hoping someone forks GNOME2.

      1. AdamWill

        Another odd meme

        Hey, another odd meme: Shell is 'touch-optimized'. It really isn't. There's been some vague consideration of touch screen use cases in the design, but I can't see how you can use it for ten seconds and call it 'touch optimized' with a straight face. Hell, look at the top right hand corner of any given Shell screenshot; does that look 'touch optimized' to you? Maybe with a stylus...

  12. Cam 2
    Thumb Up

    I found some gotchas but nothing major

    I've been using Gnome 3 / Fedora 15 for a while now and it's not too bad. I posted a list of gotchas on my blog, and I'm slightly concerned that there isn't a more concerted effort from official Fedora sources to help people get to grips with the new interface. There are release notes but they are a bit dry and focus too much on the negative IMO.

    The gotchas:

    1. Rob Beard

      Thanks :-)

      Just wanted to say thanks for that. I've yet to try Gnome 3 (I'm running on Linux Mint 10 at the moment but looking at giving Fedora a try this weekend) so something like this is useful and would probably save a bit of hair pulling.


  13. Joe Burmeister

    Bloody ivory tower types

    What a desktop is has been define. It has been defined for a while. I know it's boring but tough. Try experiments by all means, but don't force them on people. I want to overlap Windows (I often use the "always on top" feature while doing this) for instance when referring to something or playing a movie/tv on the same screen I'm doing something else on. Any desktop I can't multitask on, I'm not even going to try. To me, demanding I do so before you take into account my dismissal is like the creationists demanding you look at their "evidence" before you dismiss them as mad. This is only going to hurt Linux adoption. Stupid ivory tower rubbish I hope fails quickly so we can move on quickly. Friends and family now running Gnome aren't going to learn another desktop, for them learning two was hard (XP then Gnome2).

    1. AdamWill

      One more for the crazy meme bonfire!

      'You can't multitask on GNOME 3'

      Rubbish. It would be utterly useless to any of the developers if this were true. What's been hopelessly garbled here is that GNOME 3 tries to help you focus on whatever you're working on at any given time by avoiding unnecessary distractions from other things that are running. Note: this is not the same as there not _being_ anything else running, and it certainly doesn't preclude the idea of switching - possibly rapidly - between different tasks, which is what we really mean when we say multitasking.

      To put it another way: very few people can truly 'multitask', which is doing more than one thing *simultaneously*. What we actually do is task switch, and GNOME 3 is certainly designed with this in mind. Viz the overview. Hell, viz alt-tab.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I'm not sure...

        I'm not sure you really answered his point.

        Is he right then that you cannot have multiple windows on the desktop (overlapping or not) at the same time? Again, I often use the "always on top" option when watching the progress of something while doing something else. or while coding, referring to another window with a reference in it.

        If this is the case, it is going to be a complete non-starter for me. Yes, I am focussed on a single task at any one time, but I often need multiple sources that I can quickly visually switch between to accomplish it. Using a key to rapidly switch between them is not going to be workable.

        It does seem that the new Gnome Shell and Unity are focussed on casual desktop users, i.e. media consumers. Developers have rather different and particular requirements focussed on rapid workflow and a particular visual paradigm.

        1. J 3
          Thumb Up


          That is the question indeed. I have a large screen, and usually have the browser open in one half and something else (spreadsheet, terminal, text editor, whatever) in the other half. I also like to have each half of the screen (in another workspace) containing two terminal windows. Now, will these things still be possible with GNOME 3? That was the OP's question, I believe, and it's also mine. If it is possible, great. I'll try GNOME 3 as soon as I can. If it's not possible, then forget about it. Pressing keys is not as fast or as good as moving my eyes left and right...

        2. AdamWill


          "Is he right then that you cannot have multiple windows on the desktop (overlapping or not) at the same time?"

          No, he isn't.

          (if you're wondering where the panel is, that's my second monitor. I cut my primary monitor out of the screenshot because there's nothing interesting on it, just the panel and a maximized evolution.)

          Again...the developers of GNOME are developers. They wouldn't develop a desktop environment that developers couldn't use. It'd be a bit silly.

      2. wdmot

        Clarify "multitasking"

        I think by "multitasking" he meant being able to see multiple windows at one time, not simply having multiple applications running. I use that ability all the time in my work, and having to alt-tab between windows would be a huge show-stopper. If GNOME 3 really does not allow you to have multiple windows visible on the same workspace at one time, then it's not for me. (I haven't tried GNOME 3 yet, so I don't know.)

      3. ratfox

        Hang on, no overlapping?

        I did not try it, but people seem to say you cannot overlap windows...!?

        Maybe *you* don't multitask, but I have seen people writing code while watching a video on youTube. And checking at the same time the stock market minute by minute in a third window. My question is: Can you do all that without alt-tabbing continuously?

        1. AdamWill


          relax. the OP is on crack. you can overlap whatever you like.

          1. ratfox

            @relax: Oh, ok

            Allrighty then.

            Thanks for humoring us alarmists!

      4. Anonymous Coward

        With all due respect for Gnome3 dev team

        I strongly resent Gnome3 or any other software for that matter to try anything on me. The PC must work for me, not to think for me. What I hate is not the innovation in the new GUI, it is the idiotic idea that Gnome3 should assume the role of a nanny that feels obliged to shield me from any distraction that in her opinion might turn me away from work.

        WTF icon because it is needed here.

  14. D. M

    Look on the bright side

    Xfce and Fluxbox may get some credit they deserve .

    Right now I'm using Mint with Gnome (with LMDE). If Gnome shell is the way to go, I will have to looking for switch to KDE or Xfce. Xfce started looking really good.

    Totally agree those stupid changes have nothing to do with usability. They are nothing but someone come with stupid idea to just copy retarded Apple interface, to try to make Linux more attractive to iDiot.

    1. Ilgaz

      Apple doesn't change anything on Desktop

      Apple just added Dock from the NeXT to Finder, as a seperate application. The other stuff (expose etc) are additions you can ignore. In fact I know some DTP designer old school types that didn't really know Expose exists. They were happily using their dual screens.

      If you hate both environments, you can install both of them, install windowmaker and use what OSX should be if it wasn't for general public. Apple even removed their own functionality while making OSX because it would be confusing for their users. NeXT stuff however, can be added by third party sw.

      That is how you gain 10% market with ridicolusly expensive prices.

  15. Uwe Dippel

    I said this before ...

    Oh hell! It is just another way to reinvent OSX! No, it is not bad at all, I have to concede, even on large(r) screens. I for have considered it was high time to do away with those lousy panels and buttons, and had my KDE set somewhat likewise for the last year. Good from that angle.

    I don't miss 'minimize'. What's that good for if one can just shove the windows into a drawer to the right?

    What makes me puke is that I can't seem to get the 'just full screen' thingy. Always the obtrusive, obstructive and do-no-good-to-me upper ex-panel. I am so used to screen edges to switch between desktops, and I want full desktops, and I don't need any border.

    Though maybe I need to find out, how to get the whole crap away, out of sight, and use some (mouse or cursor) action to bring me back to the overview of the applications.

    I don't think this will be a big hit with traditional Linux users; though I think, it might be somewhat tempting to touch-screen, small-size display users.

    1. Ilgaz


      You know there is FSF os named Meego, supported by Intel and lots of big industry.

      That is what you should experiment with touch/small screen optimization, not on someones 24" monitor with mouse and keyboard.

      I really know there will be some whitepaper from a ms puppet showing the horrible re-training costs for using Linux citing this UI.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get off my lawn

    Think I'll have to go back to fvwm. But then I'll also have to go back to doing *everything* by hand. Guess that's the price one pays for being a luddite.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    What about Enlightenment as a windows manager? Very quick on old hardware. I'm a recent convert from Fedora 14 and initially it seems overwhelming but it doesn't take long to adjust. It even can be configured to have all the pretty compiz effects and even a 'taskbar'......

    Bodhi is very good - Ubuntu 10.04 LTS under the hood. Comes very minimal but you can install most of what's missing from

    Try the live CD.

    /advert over

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but...

      Doesn't Enlightenment run as part of Gnome 1.x? I sort of remember it doing so from Red Hat Linux 7.

      That's why Gnome used ESD right up until Pulseaudio took over in mid2.x?

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Correction as requested

        Enlightenment is a Window Manager; ESD is / was a network-capable mixing sound daemon (sort of precursor to pulseaudio indeed, only it generally worked without requiring a supercomputer to run.)

        They are related, but not the same thing. Enlightenment is very much still around and I've fairly recently switched back to using it after over ten years mostly using KDE.

  18. Gibbs*
    Thumb Up


    Gnome 3 is pretty good after a few hours working with it. The workflow takes getting used to but bar a couple of things its actually quicker and more efficient to get things done. It puts more focus on using workspaces and making them easier and quicker to use.

    If you don't like Gnome 3 then at least you can fall back to XFCE. I agree Gnome 3 is a radical change but its nowhere near as bad as Unity. As its new i'm guessing the customisation part is still to come.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    what a mess

    personally i'll be moving to xfce if they keep this up - the desktop environment for many is JUST a file manager + a launcher to the various key applications you are actually working with - it is NOT the centre of the universe.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full Screen

    I've yet to try Gnome 3, but as long as there is a way to avoid things running full screen all of the time then I can probably live with it.

  21. Eduard Coli

    Much ado

    If this were Windows where you are locked into what billwg likes I could see the furor but not on Linux.

    On Fedora as on any Linux you can do your own thing.

    RH should work harder to make Fedora more of a free alternative to RHL and less of a RHL beta.

  22. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Thanks to Will

    for taking the time to answer.

    It sounds as if that lack of the bottom bar will still be an issue for me - but I'll hunt down a live CD and have a play.

    I think there are a lot of people complaining - mostly at Unity at present - who like me don't want to have to change their engrained work habits to accommodate a new UI. One of those things that might not be an issue for a new user, but a big helping of 'why bother?' for long term users.

    1. J 3

      Well, it depends...

      "who like me don't want to have to change their engrained work habits to accommodate a new UI"

      I myself don't mind the change, *if it's for better* than what I had. I still don't know whether GNOME 3 will be better, but from the stuff I've heard so far I doubt it. But I'll have to wait to judge later, after I've seen it in action.

      But one example of radical change that I *immediately* loved and worked great was the previous Netbook Remix interface that Ubuntu had. It was great for my 10 inch screen, and I was amazed at how well it used the available space compared to a regular desktop. I never used regular desktop on the netbook besides a couple of tests to see how it looked (and sucked on such small space). THAT was a situation where full screen for the app was the way to go more often than not. Then they changed to Unity and, even having being using it for nearly six months, I still hate the thing. That fixed, always visible bar on the left side is idiotic in such a small screen -- and I hate horizontal scrolling. Reaching apps also got much less direct, much slower. I did put the most used ones on the Stupid Bar, but still. So a couple of weeks ago I had enough and searched how to re-enable the old style interface, and did so. It does not look as good and integrated as it used to be, some things look weird, but the functionality is back. Fresh air once again.

      So, wanna change? Make sure it is really much better for the situation. Full screen on my 24" (or even home's more humble 19") monitor is kinda ridiculous.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Enough already! Enough!

    So, the idea behind innovation on the Linux Desktop front is ...

    ... to completely change the workflow?

    We're talking about a workflow method that's served everyone perfectly well for ... heck, almost two decades.

    *why* should I have to change the way I use my Desktop because a GUI team decide to *completely* re-invent the wheel?

    Linux Desktop developers need to take a long hard look at Apple & Microsoft and note the *progressive* enhancements made.

    For millions and millions of people, using a Desktop is almost second nature - to the point where a windows user who has *never* used a Mac will be able to figure it out with little to no trouble. Imagine someone going from Windows 95 to Windows 7 - they will *still* be able to use the Desktop without any issues at all.

    If I had to introduce anyone at work to Unity or Gnome 3, they'd be completely lost.

    In fact, they would just hate it - period.

    Progress is a great thing, but for fsck sake, make it progressive - slow, steady and stable.

    XFCE seems to be the last sane bastion of the Linux Desktop.

    In summary, it's not a *crime* to mimic the way that Windows or Mac-OS do things, quite the opposite, it's essential!

    1. AdamWill


      you seem to be really over-egging the pudding here. it's not _that_ radical, and OS X really isn't that similar to Windows. GNOME Shell, OS X and Windows 7 are all probably about the same distance apart in familiarity...

  24. mangobrain

    GNOME Shell on ATI = fail

    I don't quite understand why I don't see more people complaining about this. I have an ATI graphics card, on which the open-source drivers don't support hardware 3D acceleration (whichever part of X or Mesa is responsible falls back to using llvmpipe, which causes GNOME 3 to drop to the fallback session), and on which the proprietary drivers suffer from texture corruption which gradually renders the shell less and less usable the longer it stays open. Am I honestly supposed to believe that every GNOME developer has either an Intel or nVidia graphics card? Is there anything I can do to help, bearing in mind I haven't the faintest clue how to write device drivers?

    Also, I'm not sure why they bother providing gnome-tweak-tool with the option to re-enable desktop icons, considering the option doesn't actually appear to work. Not for me, anyway.

    I've steered well clear of PulseAudio and NetworkManager for the past few years, having heard lots of complaining about the former and having personally failed to get earlier versions of the latter to work. However, I bit the bullet and installed both along with GNOME 3, did a bit of reconfiguration, and am pleased to say they actually seem to have matured a bit. Hopefully, with time, I'll be able to say the same about GNOME Shell. It would be nice if the distributions stayed away from all these newfangled technologies until they actually work out of the box.

    1. AdamWill

      It's just you. really. (well, not really.)

      "Am I honestly supposed to believe that every GNOME developer has either an Intel or nVidia graphics card?" know AMD has made *more than one* graphics card, right?

      3D support is fine on a substantial majority of AMD/ATI cards (in fact, probably more than NVIDIA cards). Yours obviously is buggy, which sucks for you, but it's not the case that we have no open source 3D acceleration for any AMD/ATI cards, we certainly do.

      What model is your card? And have you tried a recent F15 live image? There have been improvements to the range of cards supported, there always are over time.

      1. AdamWill


        "Yours is buggy' was bad phrasing - I meant 'the radeon driver's support for yours is buggy'.

      2. Vic

        Beware that meme, too...

        > 3D support is fine on a substantial majority of AMD/ATI cards

        I've got a whole load of ATi graphics cards. Not a single one of them supports 3D under Linux (and I haven't tried any other OS with them). As my use doesn't require 3D graphics, that's never been a problem for me.

        This idea that everyone discards hardware over 5 years old is simply developeritis; many of us use kit that is far older and less capable.

        Up until recently, FLOSS has been absolutely fantastic for this approach, but if developers of projects like Gnome actively decide to support only flashy new kit, we suddenly lose the ability to give a potential convert a CD and say "try it". If the CD can't boot to something useful and familiar enough for them to actually give it a go, they just won't bother. Posturing about whether or not that potential user should have tried harder is pointless - until and unless we get a substantial increase in the number of Linux dektop users, we're always going to be an also-ran in that space. Typically, we get *one* opportunity to show users a better way - if we cock that up, they spend the next decade claiming to have "tried Linux" and telling everyone how it didn't work.

        I'm very pleased that Gnome3 is being tried, but I think it very irresponsible for Gnome2 to be dropped - both within the Gnome project, and in distros. I guess it's time to start a Fedora SIG...


        1. AdamWill

          I have data!

          Check , compare successes and failures. Also note that most of the 'failure' cases were actually just an over-enthusiastic fallback timeout, and the cards actually run Shell fine (any link to bug or is this).

          Very very old cards are a problem, but it has to be *really* old - much more than five years, we're talking pre-Radeon (old Rage stuff), and that's more like ten. Anything with Radeon in its name is intended to be supported, please file bugs for any that aren't.

        2. AdamWill

          Bit more

          Oh, further to my other reply on this, several other of the 'fail' listings on the test day were not directly graphics card related and have been fixed. Another big one was , which was actually an odd GCC bug which caused mutter to crash on 32-bit systems.

          One other point: remember, if your card doesn't support Shell you don't just get MASSIVE FAIL, you get fallback mode. It's not as if we decided that unsupported cards just didn't matter.

      3. mangobrain

        Nearly there

        To be fair, on second reading, maybe my post was a bit overly harsh. I'm disappointed that the proprietary drivers don't seem to work, but also understand that this isn't the GNOME team's fault - I'm not the only one, though; a quick Google search turns up this bug report, amongst others (although a corrupt activities bar is only the start, for me):

        I have an HD6950. KMS and 2D work fine with the open-source drivers, but not 3D acceleration, and I have to venture beyond my distro's mainline packages to get that far. Admittedly I had to do this to get GNOME 3 at all, but other distributions will probably be making the switch sooner, Fedora being one such example. I use Gentoo, so I'm used to having to fix the occasional bit of local breakage).

        I understand that the situation with high-end graphics cards on Linux is often sub-par, because it's a game I've been playing for a while now, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it. If I could get the shell to work with software 3D, I'd happily live with a bit of slowness until one of the two drivers allows me to run it "properly", but it's quite frustrating being simply unable to run it at all! I've been following the shell design & mock-ups for a while, and haven't been entirely convinced by the screenshots & videos I've seen, but I really do want to give it a chance. At the moment I'm left wishing I hadn't bothered, because the fallback session just feels like GNOME 2 with all the useful bits removed.

        Annoyingly, I've seen mailing list posts about getting the shell to work with llvmpipe, but they don't appear to have amounted to much - or the necessary work hasn't been merged into Mesa's master branch, perhaps.

        Haven't tried an F15 live image - might do so when I get back home later. I have an nVidia card in my machine at work, but I'll be holding out a bit longer before putting GNOME 3 on that one, since ... well, I need it to be stable for work.

    2. RAMChYLD

      It's not just you ATI users

      On Nvidia cards, The icons were washed out and mostly white outlines with a bit of color on the side. And performance was crap even though the machine I was running the LiveCD from was a Phenom II with dual NVidia GTX260s SLIed (yes, I have multiple Linux boxes).

      It's not GNOME3's fault really, it's the fact that neither AMD nor NVidia wants to release proper open source drivers for their cards on Linux and that most distros can't ship them by default because they override part of X with their own proprietary libraries that will render the X installation unusable on other cards. So they ship with whatever open source drivers that happen to be available, which are far from polished.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    All You Need...

    ...Is Bash.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    In both Gnome and Unity, they seem to have got some drugs that have guided them to bring all the shortcomings of the AC100 and Android to the Linux desktop computer with keyboard and mouse. Its all wonderfully built with a touch interface in mind, despite there being a close to 0% touch interface availability or requirement. I don't want greasy paws all over my damn screen, thats why I have a keyboard and specificially a mouse.

    And a note to every damn Linux developer working on UI. When you make a settings menu, or a systems seetings menu (Fedora 15 take note) - and you fill it with sterile but unclear and especially uncustomising features, I do NOT want the main menu to disappear leaving me with an applet. I don't want to have to go back to Main menu >> settings >>setting icon again and again just because you think its clever to close the previous menu. The same fouls scourge afflicts XFCE in Mint. If I open settings, I want to be there unless *I* close it.

    And I swear the next person who says cleverly that 'keyboard shortcuts are XYZ' - No, keboard shortcuts are not a replacement for features you rip out of a UI. I don't want to have to memorise 50 nuanced tricky triple key shortcuts simply necause you could not be bothered to build in a minimise button in the UI, or because you happen to think a clean AKA, stripped down broken UI is a step forward.

    Tell me this Mr Smarty pants UI specialist, how are you going to live with shortcomings made up by keyboard shortcuts in your garbage UI when you've tried to build it for Touch? What you gonna do, give them a special button for on screen keyboard so they can do their triple finger key special just to acomplish a cut and paste or something simple like a minimise?

    The new desktop window managers are garbage, they are aimed seemingly at non existant touch interface tablets, and they are broken, sterile, worse than previous generations, less configurable, less fun, tedious, boring, and limited.

    1. AdamWill

      Have a cookie.

      Here. It'll make you feel better. I have milk, too.

      1. Vic

        What is it with sarcastic developers lately?

        Being sarcastic when someone raises what he considers to be an important issue really doesn't help anyone.

        It might make you feel better in the short term, but it will cause friction in the longer term, and that doesn't help anyone. remember that this is a publicly-visible forum, and you have identified yourself as being a representative of the Fedora project.

        I've had similar encounters within Bugzilla, with developers using sarcastic retorts because they simply couldn't be arsed to treat my report seriously. This really isn't a good way to get people motivated to help out.


        1. AdamWill

          Two things

          One, I'm not a developer. Two, there's a difference between raising an issue (note all the detailed posts I've written in this thread in response to people who've 'raised issues') and 'going off on a rage-fuelled bender'.

          1. Vic

            Re: Two things

            > 'going off on a rage-fuelled bender'

            Well, that's not how I interpreted the post.

            But that doesn't matter - was it productive to be sarcastic? Would it have been mutually beneficial either to answer in a more measured manner, or even not to answer at all[1]?


            [1] If it were truly a rant, then this might have been appropriate. But I, for one, didn't see it as such - just an expression of the frustration many people seem to be experiencing over this significant change.

            1. AdamWill

              Productive? Moi?

              Productive? Probably not, no. This *is* still The Register, yes? Home of any story involving Paris Hilton and goldfish, preferably at the same time?

              From OP: "The new desktop window managers are garbage, they are aimed seemingly at non existant touch interface tablets, and they are broken, sterile, worse than previous generations, less configurable, less fun, tedious, boring, and limited."

              that was the point at which I decided 'oh screw it, s/he's not worth it'. It reads like s/he got out Roget's Handy List Of Insults and had at it.

    2. Vic


      > keboard shortcuts are not a replacement for features you rip out of a UI.

      Keyboard shortcuts are great. But keyboard shortcuts are *shorcuts*.

      If they become the main thoroughfare, you've just added another step to the learning curve, as that feature is unavailable until you memorise the magic incantation.

      I use keyboard shortcuts all the time - Gnome2 has excellent support for them. But AFAIK, every single function could also be performed if you didn't know the shortcut. It would just take a little longer...


  27. Cyberius

    Why is the dock by default on the left?

    Most people are right handed and it would be much quicker if the dock is on the left. I'm not saying that there is not any option to put it on the right but it would be much easier if that would be the default.

    1. AdamWill


      I don't know why it's on the left particularly, but AIUI, usability studies which have looked into it have found no particular correlation between handedness and accessing either side of the screen - it's not actually any easier on average for right-handed people to access the right hand side of the screen than the left.

  28. phil 27
    Thumb Up

    hmmm i wonder

    Does this mean Ill finally have to stop starting a default install window manager, opening up a terminal or ctl-alt-f1'ing to one and running screen with vi sessions etc for everything?

    Joking aside (although most days I end up with screens full of terminals dotted round my desktop with gdb or top, tcpdump etc running in them) enlightenment e17 is pretty cool day to day for me as the UI just ends up as a entity to cater for my underlying terminal access and shortcut keys with a media player in somewhere to justify running a wm, but Ill try gnome3 on gentoo as the ebuild for it has been put in a special gentoo gnome3 overlay, and if I don't like it Ill go back to gnome2 or e17 or whatever else tickles my fancy.

    I could be the sort of terminal fiend its aimed at, I for one lament the features removed out of wm's to make them more friendly for "normal users" (yeah I know I can hack the ctl alt backspace back into xorg every install, which I do) so the signs everyone is whinging about lack of buttons and dropdowns suggests I might just be their target market ;)

    I like the gentoo way, try it if you like it keep using it. With Fedora I always got the feeling I was there as rh's pet guinea pig beta testers too.

    My applause to the gnome guys for at least trying something new. Try it, dont like it move on, like it keep using it. Its a freedom of choice thing you know?

    Vic, you need to direct your venom at autocad, not a linux distro. Theyre the people who are ignoring the entire *nix target market base.

    1. Vic


      > Vic, you need to direct your venom at autocad, not a linux distro.

      Aside from the fact there was no venom involved, I wasn't blaming a distro for there being no AutoCAD available.

      I was proffering an alternative explanation for the lack of uptake of Linux desktops to counter the proposition that it is the similarity of the Linux desktop to other, successful desktops that causes said lack of uptake.

      > Theyre the people who are ignoring the entire *nix target market base.

      Yes, I know. But changing the way Gnome works won't alter that.


  29. Rob Beard
    Thumb Up

    Initial impressions...

    Okay so I've had a play with the Gnome 3 Live DVD for half an hour (came on the Linux Format DVD which saved me a download).

    It appears to be based on Fedora 15 Beta, and I must admit I am quite impressed.

    The top bar isn't as big as I anticipated, and there are window controls (minimise, maximise/restore, close) on the right hand side.

    Clicking 'Activities' (or moving the mouse over) in the top left hand corner brings up either a list of applications or a view of the windows you have open. There is also a OSX like dock on the side (guess if they put it on the bottom of the screen then Applie might have kicked up a bit of a stink).

    I don't think I'll be switching from Linux Mint 10 just yet, I'm going to hang fire and see what the Mint folks do but it certainly isn't as bad as I found Unity.

    Next step is to try it on my step-dad who is still running Ubuntu 9.10 and not very computer literate at all (this might even make him more productive and less scared of the computer).


  30. fnj

    Evil imbeciles

    Gnome 3 sucks donkey balls and the Gnome team is a bunch of evil, self-indulgent, egotistical wanker imbeciles for forcing this utter crap down users' throats. It is complete garbage.

    I do hope somebody forks Gnome 2 and shows these @$$holes how to do sane maintenance and evolutionary development without gratuitously throwing out all the good, useful features and configurability.

    This is particularly galling since KDE recently made exactly the same blunder and took it visibly on the chin with KDE4, yet the Gnome boobs have now gone and done the same thing even after that train wreck.

    To the Gnome team: you suck.

  31. Alabaster

    Live clean and easy

    OpenBox..or bash. Stress-free.

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