Could you post of screen shot of...
...A fresh boot with Firefox open and top running? I want to see how much RAM it uses.
When the GNOME 3.x desktop arrived it was, frankly, unusable. It wasn't so much the radical departure from past desktop environments, as the fact that essential things did not work properly or, more frustratingly, had been deemed unnecessary. Fast-forward three years and while GNOME 3.12 – released Wednesday – still isn't the …
"For example, imagine you want a shortcut..... All you need to do is edit the application's desktop file...define a "Desktop Action", ...Save your file in ~/.local/share/applications and you're done."
Yep - it's easy for me. But I think this highlights why my gran will never ever use Gnome (or anything Unixy/Linuxy for that matter). These devs STILL don't get it, do they?
But how long before someone comes along with a little application to add these easily?
Also, as mentioned in the article, it allows developers (or "packagers") to define these in advance, or bundle the editing into the programme.
Generally, such a feature needs to be implemented before it is exploited. When Firefox, for example, adds an "Add this bookmark to the quicklaunch menu" option, it starts becoming really useful.
Is it really for someone else to finish this feature by providing a decent user interface for it? Think of the kicking Microsoft gets for Windows 8, even though there are several third party apps to add the start menu back. The reason is that it is not someone else's job to fix something that should simply be in there from the start.
> But how long before someone comes along with a little application to add these easily?
It's been too long already. On the other hand, this is something that should be in the base product. The fact that it isn't is just blatant disrespect for the actual users. It's a big fat FU from the developers to the rest of us.
It's little wonder that no one has chose to "showcase" this.
In XFCE, that's right-click, and choose "Add launcher", easy even for a gran. A bit rough to conflate a reviewer's choice of a file edit, and which may show that gnome has a way to go for usability, with a perceived lack in two entire classes of operating system.
I'm still not likely to try gnome for a while, though, but the review is a reminder that Things Change.
It's not just "Add Launcher". It's knowing the right command to perform a specific action, and then having all those actions available from the same icon instead of having lots more icons. Your Gran won't be doing that, she has a desktop full of shortcuts, folders and documents instead.
Some devs have embraced the Ubuntu version of this. Firefox and Chrome launchers have options for normal or private browsing windows, Screenshot lets you grab the screen, window or a selected area straight from the launcher (or just use PrtScrn). Libre Office is an obvious candidate for a single launcher, but doesn't. I created one for it a while back but after a reinstall I've not bothered - it's not straightforward even to find out what the right folder is (there's conflicting info out there, and default options versus personalised setups, whereas Google's launchers seem to go somewhere else entirely, with really odd names). The Ubuntu Tweak app has something which looks like it should manage launcher options but it doesn't work for me (I tried to set up something for Libre Office). So an official GUI for this would be good, but still your Gran isn't likely to use it.
<Disclaimer> I've not used GNOME is years so the following comments are purely based on the article and other comments. </Disclaimer>
I've got no problem with the view that some users may want a more complex environment - although personally I do like common operations within my GUI to be fully usable within the "G" context (i.e. without the need to manually edit a config file)
However.... if you want a something within a main stream distribution then you need to accept that being main stream they aren't going to include an interface which is only really useable if you're up to admin grade tech skills.
"Can your gran drag a bookmark from the browser to the desktop ? That will create an icon for launching the page of the bookmark or at least it will in KDE. How would your gran do it in Windows ?"
Well you could drag it from the book mark to the desktop...or to the task bar if you want. Been around for quite a few years now.
I agree and I use Ubuntu all day, every day. Not because I'm especially a Linux geek but because I develop LAMP websites and it makes sense to do so. For as long as a terminal or text editor to change a config file is needed for anything then Linux won't go mainstream. Look at OSx - the average user would never know it's BSD Unix underneath, but if you want or need the raw power of a command line then it's still there.
The average Linux user is unlikely to need change a file in a text editor however even if they do it will usually be something minor.
All operating systems can have problems and it is very much a myth that Windows is easy all the time, what about arcane registry fixes and bizarre command line fixes that are sometimes required for unexplained (to the user) bugs.
Windows has improved a lot over the years and Windows 7 finally made some decent progress, however Windows 8 has made a step backwards in reliability in my experience - I've had more users ask for help with Windows 8 installations than Windows 7 despite 8 being the minority.
my Gran cant get her head around making windows shortcuts
I hereby propose the "gran" as the Register standard unit of computer-user capability (aka, unfortunately, "computer literacy"). One gran is the amount of knowledge required to create a desktop link to a web site in a single consumer GUI OS using the most straightforward method available.
10 grans for doing it by editing a config file. 50 for doing it with a pipeline of commands in the shell via a remote ssh session. 300 for doing it in ISPF for zOS.1
1Someone must have ported a text-mode browser to TSO by now. I'd do it myself if I didn't have real work to worry about.
The thing is, making shortcuts isn't something you need to do in Gnome Shell, so of course it's hard to do. Shortcuts aren't a thing because the interface doesn't work that way. It's like complaining that your new motorbike doesn't have a very good cup holder.
Once you start using search-based interfaces as search based interfaces rather than trying to use them as menu-based ones, you wonder why anyone would want to use anything else. I can barely remember the last time I launched an app by anything so old school as locating an icon onscreen and clicking on it.
Creating Shell dock entries, if you like that sort of thing, is two clicks once the app is launched. Can't imagine how that could be easier.
OK, so you have to edit a config file. Not ideal, obviously.
But OTOH, do you want a dancing paperclip popping up saying "I see you're looking at a web page, would you like me to help you create a short cut to that?" and then proceeding to create a widget that plays a tune every time you mouse over it, tells you the time of day in the web site's locale, adds it to a semantic map of your browsing habits, emails all your friends to tell them what a great site you think it is and posts to Facebook, Twitter et al. just for good measure, before suggesting where you can get discount vouchers, signing you up to the web site's spamletter and prompting you to create an account?
There's a balance to be struck here. In my view it's about at the level of right-click and select "create a desktop link to a web page". Unfortunately, 99% of GUI designers seem to have convinced themselves we prefer the "paperclip" approach. So kudos to Gnome for going the other way, but it's still not right guys!!
I think there are two reasons for the switch:
1.) Gnome and KDE no longer run well on old hardware or in a constrained VM.
2.) In some ways the complexity of the large desktops violate the Unix design philosophy of "Programs should do one thing and do it really, really well." This causes things like systemd to go from optional to manditory.
>It is a bit shocking that the minimalist desktops seem to have overtaken the big lads. Linux users generally gravitate towards MATE, XFCE, LXDE and so on. I have gone from KDE to XFCE. Gnome and the other behemoths go on releasing self-indulgent albums but nobody is listening.
I would go as far as saying that that is probably one of the main reasons for Windows 8 failure, the desktop became too apparent. Although I am principally an MS bod, I always have a VM running somewhere and the machine in my garage running Linux; Mint in its various forms for the last year or so.
I have also not used Gnome or KDE for years because of their general bloaty/heavy/over present feeling, I stick to XFCE, I dont care if XFCE doesn't have feature X or feature Y, the fact that it remains "behind the scenes" and out of my face is what makes it nice, light, reactive and very user friendly.
YMMV but I feel that XFCE just hits the right boundary.
How so? With Windows 8 they're moving away from the desktop in favour of a simplified launcher with no panel, dock, big-mess-of-files-and-shortcuts-you've-not-bothered-to-categorise etc. The most apparent thing people would notice is there's no desktop. In fact, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it!
Everytime you hit the Windows key that damned full screen TIFKAM interface pops up. Personally I call that invasive and way overboard. What people complained about is not the lack of the desktop but lack of the start menu, and I don't mean the start menu button..
Or are you thinking about those W8 "apps" that no-one cares about....in that case yes I agree with what you are saying but does anyone actually use those programs.
I'm STILL running Windowmaker on all my Linux machines and I still can't see any reason to change. I just have ten virtual desktops accessed by the function keys and I've divided the applications I use into ten themes (Art, Web, Office, development etc) and docked them on the appropriate desktop. I change the dock on a desktop about once ever 18 months; possibly less often.
As far as I can see, GNOME desktop is a total waste of developer effort that has never delivered anything of interest to either the power user or the semi-mythical granny user. What actually is it even trying to do?
That's been implemented since Gnome 3 was first developed. Multiple desktops aren't static. They grow in number as needed. For example, When you have nothing opened, you have a single desktop in use, that's all that shows. If you open an app, you get 2 desktops in use, one empty and the other with apps on it. The more desktops you use, the more you have available, and you always get one more than you're currently using.
Beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder. XFCE as shipped with Linux Mint (including Whisker as a launcher) is a lot like KDE or GNOME before they married Yoko. And it looks just fine to my eyes, I could care less about jumping, dancing, shiny animated buttons or slippy-slidy transitions. I just want it to work without eating up all my RAM and not piss me off. XFCE does that. Every time I check out the latest KDE or GNOME I end up angry and wondering why my hard drive light doesn't go off.
Do only Apple understand that Flexibility and Complexity end up as the same thing?
Choice is good, but not when it's a choice of umpteen distributions, each of which can have one of umpteen different GUIs. Makes Windows 8 looks sane (well, almost).
Yes, I'm a Windows user. Yes, saying positive things about Apple hurts.
I've been helping my grandmother with her ipad which my mother somehow convinced her was a good thing to buy. She's old and partially blind. Apple have helpfully given the option to read things aloud, but she doesn't need that. She needs big text. You can set the text big, but that only works for email contents. Not the message titles, or any other text or icons on the screen. It also doesn't work for most other applications.
Pinch to zoom works for some things but not others. And it doesn't remember that she needs the text large so keeps resetting it to small.
It has worked out that she's female and a pensioner, however, and is happily spamming her with "appropriate" adverts, which of course can't be turned off.
Apple haven't realised that flexibility is the difference between making something usable, as opposed to a £500 useless piece of crap. Simplicity just isn't in their vocabulary.
I bought a sports car. It's no good for my furniture removal business.
Should I blame the sports car, or myself?
WTF would you buy someone with poor sight anything that doesn't have a proper keyboard? Rules are easy - no mouse, no touch. Tab to navigate. Zoom follows. Eyesight worsens, get JAWS to read it to you.
I installed XFCE on Tuesday on a new Debian 7 installation - after being with GNOME 3 since the start - and I was dissapointed. It's true what you say, it is a clean design (if a little basic) and it is fast. The problem for me was that dual screen extended monitor support is a pain in the arse to set up. And even after screwing about with it, managing to expand the desktop, once you rebooted it went back to a mirrored display.
Right now, I'm using MATE which is the GNOME 2 of old. And I'm really impressed with it. I would hope that Debian came out with MATE as default as it's more akin to the old GNOME.
Cinnamon, for the record, on Debian 7 is also a pain in the arse. Can't get it to play nicely at all.
As for GNOME 3, I've used it for 3 years, and I may go back to it. Right now though I'm sleeping with MATE for a while.
At least we have choices.
I think it's a shame that Ubuntu didn't stick to a basic default such as Gnome 2 or XFCE. Users who wanted to try advanced stuff like Unity could have added it and used it as well - or it could have been an option on the install screen.
The shame is that you need to be a slightly technical user to install the simpler desktop - it should have been that the default install should have supplied a basic desktop.
...if the relatively tight coupling between Gnome UI and underlying system libraries is actually counting against wider adoption of Gnome releases?
RHEL7 will ship with Gnome 3.8. (G)Ubuntu 14.04 will be sticking with Gnome 3.10 as mentioned in the article. Updating the main distro to a later version of Gnome will mean a lot of dependencies. I can't see the enterprise GNU/Linux distros updating Gnome version in a delta release.
So, I'll have to try and get Fedora to work properly on my hardware. Does not seem to like it for some reason...
I really don't understand why people are moving their primary machines to lightweight desktops. If I've just spent thousands on a new PC, why on earth would I want to install a DE that looks like it's from 1993!?
And before anyone says it, yes I do 'serious' work on Gnome 3 - C++ development. I've installed it (via openSUSE) on all the machines in our house and even the wife loves it: it's intuitive, tidy, and pretty (the DE, not my wife).
Hell, thousands is entry-level for a decent workstation unless you are Dell or HP who have some real strange ideas what goes into one. I've been designing and building my own since '87 and they consistently run me ~$10,000 (unindexed for inflation) not counting operating systems (plural) and software. Frankly Gnome 3.12 might keep my FirePro 3D mildly amused. To each their own.
@ cmannett85 - The criticality of data is not a function of its format (spreadsheet, programme code, whatever), but of what it represents. Your C++ code might the latest patches for air traffic control software, or just your own recipe for a decent curry. A boring spreadsheet could be nothing, or a document you are legally obliged to keep updated and accurate, eg. tax records or the company books or the recipe for Coca-cola.
> If I've just spent thousands on a new PC, why on earth would I want to install a
> DE that looks like it's from 1993!?
Frame rate. Wouldn't you want cl_showfps in Team Fortress 2 for Linux to show very impressively high numbers?
One reason I stuck with XFCE and even disabled compositing effects.
Not just you. I'm not tempted back from Cinnamon by anything I just read. The thing is, on Linux you have choice, so if you don't like it you just install a different UI. . Whereas on Windows, you are at Microsoft's mercy. You have to replace the O/S to get back to Windows 7 UI, you can't have XP UI at all, and I'm not sure someone who doesn't have volume licensing can do it at all.
I've seen too many regular users who seem to be confused as to what a desktop shortcut is.
I've come across users with entire folders on their desktops, and in windows, some even manage to have programs (the actual exe) stored there.
They just don't get what a shortcut or link is, and quite frankly it's hard to explain to them so they understand.
I recently installed gnome on arch. Maybe it's my 2010 era hardware, but it came up broken, panel icons cramped on top right, system menu 99% offscreen, no defaulr applications on launcher and no icons on activites screen (so I could not drag icons to empty launcher). Tried a few things to sort ir, reinstalled it a couple of times, no joy. Shame, I was gonna give it a whirl for a while to see how its coming along, pretty snappy though for all that, looks pretty.
Kinda remindsme of a hitchhikers quote.
"Looks, like a fish, moves, like a fish, steers like a cow."
Back to Subtle Wm, or Openbox, or Xmonad, or i3, or Herbstluftwm...Couple of extras run on startup: devmon, compton, clipit, feh. DIY desktop
And what on earth is wrong with having folders on your desktop? If all your files fall naturally into one of half a dozen categories and you know about subfolders, it may be a completely sensible way to work.
Especially on Linux, where your desktop is just a folder ~/Desktop. Especially with Linux workspaces, where you click on a free workspace and then click the appropriate folder. On Windows, where the mapping from what you see as your desktop to any particular place in the filesystem is a bit metamagickal, maybe there are reasons to work elsewhere?
The basic problem big desktops (big in lines of code) is that every 5 minutes they want to get right in your face and scream "I'M HERE!!!".
And for Pete's sake KDE stop calling it "your computer". And stop asking me if I want to "Leave ?" when I instruct you to shut down the system. And then don't give me a slippery moving icon ribbon where hitting the shutdown key is like a duck shoot so then I am back on the desktop and try again and now eh? "Leave ?" ? What no I am not leaving, you are, and what now ? Please will you just f-- okay okay okay I am holding down the power button, holding down the power button, holding down the power button, holding down -"
GNOME, MATE, CINNAMON, UNITY, so many to choose from, but all I really want is the one with a damn "Start" menu. Which one of those is that, oh, that's right none of those. Call me when one of those major players releases one for a hierarchical menu junky like me. I haven't liked any Linux distro since the elusive Linux Mint 12 (XFCE). (which oddly appears to not have officially existed, except it did)
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"Fortunately for GNOME fans there is much to love in GNOME 3"
"Indeed GNOME 3 is a cleaner, much-simplified desktop experience no matter what size your screen is. The GNOME Shell does an admirable job of making it feel like the entire system is just you and whatever app you're using at the moment - the Shell stays out of your way until you need it."
"If .. you really don't care what your desktop looks like and you just want to get some work done, GNOME 3 is a huge step up over GNOME 2."
.. in their review of GNOME 3?
What a difference a few years makes.
"In Fedora, for example, most of the account setup process is handled in the Anaconda installer, thus bypassing the GNOME version."
Not in fact. You aren't required to create a user account in anaconda; you have to *either* set a root password *or* create a user account with admin privileges (otherwise we can't be sure you'll have root access to the installed system). If you just set a root password in anaconda, you'll get the no-user-created-previously version of GNOME's initial setup tool.
Even if you create a user in anaconda, you still get most of the GNOME initial setup process after first boot. The only step missed is the user creation step, because...you already created a user. Seems sensible. You should still get the bits about language, keyboard layout, and online account configuration (and anything else I forgot).
Thanks for the bug report about Facebook user accounts - I'm about to see if I can reproduce that here.
There's a bug report for the Facebook issue:
which notes that you can actually navigate the Facebook UI behind the 'too small!' overlay using tab and enter, and authorize the account that way, as a workaround. That works, I checked (though it's a bit tricky to see).
Most of you that are complaining about the missing/changed features of Gnome 3, obviously haven't tried Cinnamon. Cinnamon is everything Gnome 3 was supposed to be (...back when you were excited about the release of Gnome 3, until they released it).
Cinnamon has the advanced design, pretty popups, kicker/start menu... I keep hoping that Fedora will switch to Cinnamon, but there are way to many Fedora devs working on Gnome 3 for that to ever happen. Red Hat may as well just buy Gnome, for how many people are working under both umbrellas.
I think for the 28 people using Gnome 3, (and actually like it) there is way too much pride there to admit defeat. So they keep pumping out "better" features and it is still the same pig that they released 3 years ago... now it just has a shiny bowtie on it.
Yay Gnome! The only DE to over double the amount of choices we have with one version number change. (We now have MATE, Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome 3, Gnome fallback mode (nice name), plus all the other choices we used to have).