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Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 3, 2012 4:25 UTC (Sat) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
In reply to: Seeking Enlightenment (The H) by dsommers
Parent article: Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

> fixing gnome-shell or whatever else responsible for these massive screen refreshes

It's the overview. If you want to start an app, for instance, almost every single pixel on the screen will be changed because of the overview. And then, it will be changed back again to what it was before. What a waste of bandwidth (the higher the resolution and depth, the bigger the waste). And all for no good reason whatsoever.

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Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 3, 2012 4:34 UTC (Sat) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Define "good reason". There are great UI reasons for the behaviour of the activities menu, just as there are great resource usage reasons for not doing so. You've applied weightings to one and assumed that they're universal.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 3, 2012 5:24 UTC (Sat) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

Gnome design documentation talks about distraction avoidance nonsense. As if autohide panel didn't already exist...

Apart from that, what are other reasons? To throw a kitchen sink at users when they want to start an app? To reduce desktop visibility? To annoy with useless animations?

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 3, 2012 16:24 UTC (Sat) by lsl (subscriber, #86508) [Link]

When I want to start some GUI program with the Gnome Shell I press the Mod4 key (or Super/Windows/whatever key) and start typing its name. I think most users appreciate it that they are shown in launching what program pressing the return key would now result. You certainly can argue about whether the displaying of results has to be full screen but an "autohide panel" is definitely not a solution to that problem.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 3, 2012 18:07 UTC (Sat) by robbe (subscriber, #16131) [Link]

The panel can function the same: popup when you press Mod4, offer search, etc. Just not take over the whole screen. But that's how Windows does it, so it must be bad, I guess.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 12:20 UTC (Sun) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

But we *must* consume the whole screen! The user might be using a tablet, or a phone, and there's simply no way we could detect that and do something different on regular monitors!

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 14:48 UTC (Sun) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

The biggest issue on a phone isnt even that the screen is smaller, it's that typing is not possible. A phone user is hunting and pecking whether with a physical or on-screen keyboard, so they will be entering characters slowly and hoping to find at match without entering the entire string. SOME users on a PC will be doing the same, and the same response is appropriate in any case of a slow typer - use all that idle time to search and display possible matches.

But when you have fast input coming in you should NEVER be interrupting that to search and display possible hits - that is counterproductive on any platform. (Even on a phone if someone can somehow send the input fast enough the same thing would apply.) The computer in that case should simply keep listening to the input. If the user hits mod4-firefox-<enter> at a decent pace without pause, there doesnt need to be any sort of GUI update for it at all, the only response needed is to launch firefox.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 15:00 UTC (Sun) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

So I start typing something, pause, type another few characters, realise that what I was searching for is already on the screen, go to tap it and then you update the results underneath me and I launch the wrong application?

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 16:29 UTC (Sun) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

I would say that once the UI has been shown it should be kept up-to-date with the typing at any speed.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 20:31 UTC (Sun) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

The context was in terms of avoiding unnecessary repaints because of the bandwidth consumed. If it's an unacceptable performance hit it's an unacceptable performance hit independent of whether the user pauses or not. It's fine, though - it turns out that Gnome doesn't wait for any drawing to be carried out before responding to keypresses. You're free to interact with it while it's redrawing things.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 5, 2012 21:39 UTC (Mon) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

The thing is, if you want to come up with some absolute standard of when a performance hit is too much, you have to make way too many assumptions to do so. A slow user on a fast system will need all the help he can get - while a fast user on a slow system is going to want to throttle you if the computer seizes up trying to do searches and display suggestions when he knew what he wanted. There are going to be a whole continuum of use cases and explicitly tuning for one spot on the spectrum detunes all the others.

Simply waiting for a break in the input before triggering (and thus not triggering at all when input is fast and complete) gives you a kind of autotune for all kinds of cases. I am not talking about a long pause, just a momentary hesitation. Even on a new computer a fast typist can sometimes get ahead of the display, and on a slow machine it isnt hard at all to do that. Once it's all caught up and hits an idle loop, you can worry about whether it might make sense to make a suggestion.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 3:34 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

What are you defining as a slow system? I haven't found any hardware that runs Gnome 3 that is unable to reasonably keep up with my typing.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 18:44 UTC (Tue) by tuna (guest, #44480) [Link]

I like Gnome 3, but my crappy netbook (Acer Aspire 522, all AMD parts) is pretty slow. If you have a couple of applications running it can take more than five seconds after you write "firef" in the overview and the Firefox icon shows up.

My iMac was much faster, but that can't run recent Fedoras (

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 20:06 UTC (Sun) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

Personally I am a curmudgeon and won't be truly happy unless I can flip a switch somewhere to make it actually wait for a TAB before searching or updating searches. That to my mind is truly the best answer.

But mathstuffs answer would probably please a lot more people, and it will even make me happy in comparison to the alternative.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 6, 2012 7:52 UTC (Tue) by mgedmin (subscriber, #34497) [Link]

Use Alt-F2. Tab-completion the way to always worked in bash. (No double-Tab to show all matches, though.)

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 14, 2012 14:52 UTC (Wed) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

You are kidding, right ?

You can't make a system which works slightly different on a desktop than on a phone ?

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 14, 2012 14:58 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

And here we see proof that no matter how blatantly obvious a piece of sarcasm is, there will always be someone who botches their Detect Sarcasm roll :)

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 14, 2012 16:45 UTC (Wed) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

That is what slight sleep deprivation can do to you at times.

Seeking Enlightenment (The H)

Posted Nov 4, 2012 2:27 UTC (Sun) by Arker (guest, #14205) [Link]

I disagree. This is something that Apple figured out years ago (and subsequently forgot, the company has definitely reached senility at this point, but I digress.) You should definitely not be getting visual feedback if you hit a control button and start typing - at that point the interface should be concentrating on accepting your input not on talking back. WHEN and IF you pause, hesitate for a moment, THEN it's appropriate to think about bringing up a visual hint. Bringing it up every time is NOT helpful it's annoying as all fsck, the result is a very annoying system that effectively is always talking instead of listening. Bad computer!

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