GNOME Shell, extensions, and control
Posted Jun 21, 2011 8:21 UTC (Tue) by marcel.oliver
In reply to: GNOME Shell, extensions, and control
Parent article: GNOME Shell, extensions, and control
Same here. I think the biggest mistake Fedora made was disabling any reasonable fallback (Gnome classic with compiz is just so horrible that it does not qualify). I am having problems on both of two machines, one with NV4E grahpics is completely unusable under Gnome shell and unstable under compiz (random crashes), my laptop with Intel graphics (two years old) gets a working Gnome shell, but has a number of killer bugs in dual head mode which make it unusable for professional use. (I filed some bugs and will file some more.)
I tested both extensively and concluded that I have to stick with F14 for getting actual work done.
I have to say that do like most of the design of Gnome 3, except that the mouse handling seems to be optimized for small screen devices and increasingly breaks down with big screen/multi head setups. But I suppose I can get used to keyboard shortcuts. But why is it necessary to have accelerated graphics to implement this rather simple concept? Is it "we do because we can" (on our fancy new machines)? Nothing seems to be so revolutionary that simple conventional 2D shouldn't be able to handle it.
The missing Minimize button is a bit funny. I suppose I could get used to working with the keyboard shortcut (which might be faster in the long run anyway), but I wonder about the logic behind. The overview screen now makes it much nicer to find the right window quickly from a mess of open windows, so it appears to invite an aggressive "leave everything open on one virtual desktop and switch windows when you need" workflow. So a prominent Minimize function would help to keep distracting windows out of sight. So I am not sure which kind of workflow Gnome 3 people were actually thinking of when implementing the new shell, there seems to be some disconnect here.
Aesthetically, Gnome 3 on F15 looks like a regression compared to the clean and pleasant desktop of earlier Fedora releases. In particular, font sizes seem too small relative to the surrounding space. In particular, the window title bar seems too big (wasting vertical screen space) while the window frame is so small that it is difficult to grab. Colors look a bit depressed, but maybe it's just me.
Also, while I am generally supportive of the strategy that setting good defaults is worth more than a hundred configuration options, I would like to see official support from the Gnome project for keeping focus-follows-mouse alive and supported from within the GUI. It's a mode of working with a long tradition on Unix. Over the years I have stopped bothering about changing many settings from defaults, but focus-follows-mouse is one I always come back to. In fact, I believe that pretty much the only reason for not having focus-follows-mouse is that some users use different operating systems at different times, and the mouse focus strategy is something deep in the subconscious that one would like to be as uniform across machines as possible. But for a user not spoilt by prior expectation, I bet that focus-follows-mouse would come out the preferred choice in direct comparison.
So my personal conclusion is that the regressions (the most serious being graphics-driver related) appear fixable. I am worried whether they are fixed on time for F16 in a way that does not introduce new regressions (such as a complete removal of focus-follows-mouse). But for now F15 is not ready for serious use on existing pretty standard hardware. I have been using Fedora since FC1, and this is the first time that, after careful evaluation, I cannot upgrade to the latest version for production use.
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