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Another comic success!

Another comic success!

Posted Sep 28, 2012 23:21 UTC (Fri) by sjj (subscriber, #2020)
In reply to: Another comic success! by drag
Parent article: GNOME 3.6 released

Oh come on. So people complain about Gnome3 design decisions because their fee fees or their "sense of empowerment" is hurt? They can't possibly have any valid technical or other valid point?

OK, I'm done discussing Gnome. You want me to stay outside.

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Another comic success!

Posted Sep 29, 2012 3:08 UTC (Sat) by thebluesgnr (guest, #37963) [Link]

There are certainly a lot of valid points to be made about GNOME's design decisions. The problem is that most of the discussion on public forums (such as this thread) are not that, and it gets annoying after a while.

For example in the land of iOS we see people complaining about their Maps application being completely broken after Apple's recent screw up, so they're now missing essential functionality. With GNOME 3 nine times out of ten people complain either about having to use a separate program to tweak some of their settings or having to spend 40 seconds to install an extension that changes the behavior of the Suspend/Shut Down button. The horror!

If you do have useful and positive suggestions to make don't feel discouraged; people are listening. For example, the message tray in 3.6 is proof of that.

Another comic success!

Posted Sep 29, 2012 10:06 UTC (Sat) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

Well, of course if you dont' want to hear about something, the first thing to do is to label it anywhere from "non technical enough" to "GNOME hate". I've seen that happen a lot, and it gets annoying after a while.

Having "to use a separate program to tweak some of their settings or having to spend 40 seconds to install an extension" is perfectly fine by me, but a) when you have to do that many many times, just to reinstate what should be considered basic functionality, you wonder if it's still worth it or if there's something really wrong about that thing you installed (that's why I ditched Unity too, btw, I could configure it to something more fitting to my needs, but it turned out to be really a hassle), and b) for a desktop environment supposed to just work right out of the box to cater for less computer-savvy people, that's just ridiculous.

Finally, while it's good that people are listening and that they realized that some specific features were done wrong and are now fixed (sort of), criticism aimed to the fundamental principles of the Gnome Shell UX have been so far been ignored or dismissed. See below GhePeU's comment about Gnome 3 workflow:

"I'm constantly switching between windows, creating new windows and destroying old windows, and all this actions now involve launching disruptive overlays and clicking around two, three or four times until I find what I wanted to see because a simple per-workspace task manager is apparently too complicated and multiple windows sharing a desktop is against the new fullscreen paradigm, not to speak of the always unpredictably changing number and order of the workspaces."

That's the most important criticism that's been levelled to the Gnome devs by lots and lots of people: the new workflow is unpractical and ineffective for us. I could elaborate on this, but it's already been done in hundreds of forum posts and scores of blog entries. Can you point me to any sign of "listening" by the Gnome devs? So far what I've got is "you have to get used to it" (tried, didn't work, and in any case you're doing it backwords) or "if Gnome Shell doesn't work for you there are so many other desktop environments among which to choose" (which is a) a just more polite way to say "fsck off", and b) so ironic, since the very birth of Gnome 3 contributed to a slew of Gnome 2/3 forks ...).

I would love to see some form of "listening", but so far I noticed none, on the contrary some UI decisions are again going in a direction that I consider deeply flawed (separate menus for applications??? really?). Which is why I'm among those who voted with their feet and switched to something else: Cinnamon in my case; still following Gnome 3 development as that's the base for Cinnamon, but that's about it.


Another comic success!

Posted Sep 29, 2012 15:17 UTC (Sat) by thebluesgnr (guest, #37963) [Link]

"for a desktop environment supposed to just work right out of the box to cater for less computer-savvy people, that's just ridiculous."

It does work out of the box for less computer-savvy people. Both my mom & dad use GNOME 3 and they don't even have tweak-tool or dconf-editor installed on their systems. They never asked for anything that would require it either. (And a little anecdote: they both learned about suspending over shutting down their laptops thanks to GNOME 3).

As for your workflow related problem: some workflows people learned in past environments simply don't work in GNOME 3 and never will. For instance, there are people that store dozens of documents or application launchers on their desktop. You could tweak GNOME 3 to poorly support that (up until 3.4), but ultimately that's not what it was designed for. It's not going to provide a great experience for users who insist on working that way, and the GNOME devs are fine with that I would imagine. They're not really trying to provide software that instantly works just like whatever users are currently used to; they're taking some steps in new directions, and some of that is going to pay off wonderfully, and some of it will need adjustments.

I'm familiar with Windows, OS X and GNOME 2 and still use them in a professional environment. For me, the experience provided by GNOME 3 with the overview, dynamic workspace management and integrated search for launching apps and documents is unmatched.

Another comic success!

Posted Sep 29, 2012 19:56 UTC (Sat) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

Thank you for providing a well exposed rationale for the current state of the Gnome desktop, and let me say that I'm glad that you and other users find it useful. On the other hand, your post reminded me of that crucial point in Kung Pow where the badass bad guy comes up saying "From this day forward you will all refer to me by the name... Betty" (, meaning that I understand the literal meaning of your words, but they still don't make any sense to me.

So the Gnome designers wanted to explore new directions? Sounds great, but:

- where are the usability studies proving that their approach is sound? where's the theory? f.i. from what little UI theory I know, hiding stuff from the user is bad, so why so many things (from overlay mode to the infamous press-alt-to-show shutdown dialogue) aren't immediately visible in Gnome Shell? where are the real users' tests showing that the initial design was actually sensible?
- why did they have to effectively kill Gnome 2, making the transition so much harder for users? (and please no technicalities about how the Gnome 2 libraries can still be installed aside the Gnome 3 ones...)
- why did they start a war on existing features, depriving former users of functionality they were well accustomed to and relied upon? why the vandalism? (oh, and a nice touch f.i. when they wrote that split panel in Nautilus was removed because "not very discoverable" ... after hiding all sort of stuff)
- why did they ignore their current user base feedback? I'd better say the outrage, and believe me, it wasn't (always) fear of change: I know many people who sticked to Gnome during the 1 > 2 transition (heck, I'm one of them), and this is *not* the same thing; but anyway, why the arrogant attitude? even the most harsh and rude criticism, provided it's not just trolling, is an indication that you're doing something wrong ... and that transpired in the "official version" as well, see B. Otte's post
- isn't Betty a woman's name?

Admittedly, the last question is more Kung Pow than Gnome Shell related ;) but that's just to highlight how sometimes all of this looks a bit "unreal" to me. No offense meant, but I don't see any "big design" here, just a bunch of different ideas, some good some very less so, mixed together, prettified on the visual level and then unloaded on the unsuspecting masses. Not the way to bring "a free and open computing environment to everyone" IMHO.


Another comic success!

Posted Sep 29, 2012 22:31 UTC (Sat) by cortana (subscriber, #24596) [Link]

> - why did they have to effectively kill Gnome 2, making the transition so much harder for users? (and please no technicalities about how the Gnome 2 libraries can still be installed aside the Gnome 3 ones...)

What's wrong with Classic mode?

Another comic success!

Posted Sep 30, 2012 14:20 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

It's hard to depend on Classic mode when the maintainers of it are hostile to it and have made it clear its going to be excised ASAP - e.g. when it's feasible to software-render gnome-shell (has Fedora already switched to soft-rendered gnome-shell for fallback? They were planning to for Fedora 17).

Another comic success!

Posted Sep 29, 2012 10:20 UTC (Sat) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Well, loss of a 'sense of empowerment' *is* a valid point. "This system no longer feels like I am in control of it because GNOME 3 is so inflexible: instead it feels like it is controlling me" is a valid criticism -- a shorter way of saying exactly the same thing is that it disempowers you.

I happen to think that this is a bad thing, but of course it is necessarily subjective. Apple stuff takes almost every option away from you, and people seem to like it.

Another comic success!

Posted Oct 1, 2012 13:56 UTC (Mon) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

Not everybody likes it when Apple does it. Indeed, it's why some of us don't use OS X. If you happen to like the workflow that {Steve Jobs,$GNOME_DESIGNER} likes then you can live with the disempowerment, otherwise you go somewhere else.

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