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Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 10, 2012 20:12 UTC (Sat) by nmav (subscriber, #34036)
In reply to: Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users by richo123
Parent article: Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Well it depends. Criticism of the form "make everything look as I'm used to" is not very interesting. The people behind Gnome 3 decided to innovate, adopt a new interface and go on. That's a difficult decision for an established desktop but nevertheless they did. Irrespective of whether I like the new desktop or not, it is nice for free software to innovate and include new designs.

Btw. I think most of the gnome 3 criticism comes from the fact that the new interface requires some introduction (10min one) on how to use. Maybe they should ask the age of the should have included a video played on the first installation. I'm really old-school person but liked the interface only by the time I watched a video in youtube on how to use it.


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Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 10, 2012 20:25 UTC (Sat) by Zizzle (guest, #67739) [Link]

There have been plenty of decent criticism of GNOME 3.

Along the long the lines of, "Things that I used to be able to do in a click now take several", "I can't change my font size", etc.

But all that gets swept away as "Haters gonna hate".

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 10, 2012 20:29 UTC (Sat) by rleigh (guest, #14622) [Link]

We used to try to make user interfaces "discoverable" and the essentials of their use self-evidently obvious. Now, it appears to all be about "user experience", and actually making the software usable for all, for actually doing things, appears to have taken a back seat to superficial appearance above all else. GNOME is not alone in this respect, but it's the worst offender. Unity and Windows 8 are also bad in this respect. Outright hiding functionality unless you know the secret on-screen location or magic keypress to activate it is not discoverable or helpful, even if it looks "pretty" or "reduces clutter". (Unity hiding application menus is another massive failure.) If you need a 10 minute introduction to explain how to use it at the most basic level, like how to start an application (or even find out what/where they are) and how to switch off your computer, then it's quite clearly fundamentally broken.

And it's not like the problems are just skin deep. There's a lot more to a desktop environment than the surface appearance alone. It needs quality, well-maintained libraries underneath that. And the GNOME libraries are a poorly-maintained, buggy pile, which were always changing too fast for comfort, but at least didn't used to have core functionality ripped out on a whim. Any developer who values their time and the quality of their code would avoid them.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 10, 2012 20:48 UTC (Sat) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

"Well it depends. Criticism of the form "make everything look as I'm used to" is not very interesting."

It may be not very interesting, but that's a valid criticism nonetheless: 'This worked for me and you changed it in such a way that it doesn't work as well anymore, why is that?' So far no answer to this question.

"The people behind Gnome 3 decided to innovate, adopt a new interface and go on. That's a difficult decision for an established desktop but nevertheless they did. Irrespective of whether I like the new desktop or not, it is nice for free software to innovate and include new designs."

The problem is, the end result of their attempt to innovate has proved to be less effective than what already existed for quite a number of users. Worse, so far we still don't know how what we had was broken and why it needed to be fixed. Seems that we should learn to love the "brand", yay! :)

"Btw. I think most of the gnome 3 criticism comes from the fact that the new interface requires some introduction (10min one) on how to use. Maybe they should ask the age of the should have included a video played on the first installation. I'm really old-school person but liked the interface only by the time I watched a video in youtube on how to use it."

That's actually a good point, but you shouldn't assume that most if not all of the criticism comes from people who tried GNOME 3 for less than 10 minutes: I was an enthusiast, I followed discussions about Gnome 3, and I tried to like it. The fact that they failed to impress people who were loyal users and supporters should speak volumes to anybody.

Rehdon

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 10, 2012 22:58 UTC (Sat) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

Traditionally innovation goes like this: Make something new, convince people of its merits, gain converts.

GNOME did this: Make something new, confiscate the old, ignore people who ask for their things back.

I'd probably hate Linux, too, if in 1997 someone had wiped my hard disk and installed it without consulting me and then hid the install discs for my previous OS. You can't *make* people want to change just by changing things.

Want to stay relevant for a long time? Don't make a DE, make a platform. Build the base tools other developers use to make awesome things for users... and then *maintain API and ABI compatibility for as long as possible*. Note that I didn't say "Until you want to do something new and the old cruft gets in the way." Add whatever you like, but maintain it forever. UX fads will come and go; which fad to follow should be the user's choice.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 11, 2012 0:04 UTC (Sun) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

Um, firstly that's a pretty pointless analogy since GNOME 3 certainly doesn't bring massive enforced loss of irreplaceable data. And secondly, if you started in 1997, then you'll remember the GNOME 1.4 → 2.0 transition. That was nothing if not jarring, and yes, at the time we heard all the same complaints: it's not really GNOME anymore, they hate power users, they're trying to make a UI for idiots who will never use Linux, why aren't they developing both in parallel, these fascist 'designers' have really gone too far this time (interesting how no-one ever scare-quotes 'coders', by the by), etc, etc.

And yet, here we are ten years later, hearing the exact same arguments for keeping that unusable, idiot-focussed, 'designed' desktop.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 11, 2012 0:12 UTC (Sun) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

You and I remember it differently. I remember that most of the stuff that was removed was put back later, because it wasn't a good idea to remove it in the first place. Cycling 'round again, here we go.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 11, 2012 13:25 UTC (Sun) by JMB (guest, #74439) [Link]

It is not pointless, as distributions are forced to use GNOME 3
instead of GNOME 2 as GNOME 2 is no longer supported.
Yes, you can maintain it yourself - as a folk ... done as MATE,
but was GNOME 2 really that good and stable?
In 1997 there was no large share for GNOME - ridiculous to make
analogies to the path to GNOME 2.
Which distros were common that day - what was the standard?
When industry (Sun, HP, IBM, ...) got behind GNOME (as CDE successor;
long ago - and even forgotten now - well, I liked CDE more anyway,
NOT kidding) even experts I know ask - GNOME? Maybe I should have a
look at it ...
With Linux kernel 2.0 Linux distros were full capable as Desktop systems
for scientists - predominantly using fvwm and later fvwm2.
They were accustomed to CDE/MOTIF - and that was a nice fit back then.
Concerning sorpigal's statement: well said. (+1 :)

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 11, 2012 15:42 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Criticism of the form "make everything look as I'm used to" is not very interesting.

Yes, it is. If you hear a lot of that criticism, it means that you've been introducing changes to your software, but not improvements. And it should give you pause.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 13, 2012 8:37 UTC (Tue) by Pawlerson (guest, #74136) [Link]

Most of the gnome3 criticism comes of from the fact that it's an unusable mess. It's the most hated environment compared to KDE and Unity and this is the fact. 10min is the time that average user comes to the conclusion: wtf is this?! Gnome people have no clue about usability or their just messing everything up intentionally. There's no even way to configure fonts, so it's not a sane DE.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 13, 2012 11:28 UTC (Tue) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> 10min is the time that average user comes to the conclusion: wtf is this?!

That's patently false. Gnome Shell has problems, but not of that kind. In my opinion, they basically boil down to:

1. It requieres OpenGL 1.4 or later. That rules out half of my machines and all of my virtual machines.
2. It's less discoverable than Gnome 2. Finding how to close it, or how to unmount a pen drive is not trivial, as it should. As of 3.6, browsing installed applications is also harder.
3. The networking applet is "flakey". There are things that cannot be done with it, becomes annoying when moving out of WiFi range, and cannot successfully re-enable WiFi without rebooting.
4. Extensions tend to _crash_ the shell. And old extensions do not work properly.
5. It's not configurable. Aspects like colors, fonts, icon sizes, how dates and times are presented, etcetera should be configurable. The icon size in the applications list are absurdly big, for example.
6. It does not make good use of screen space on big monitors. On other desktops you can put toolbars and widgets on those extra pixels.
A similar list has been collected here: http://k3rnel.net/2011/05/01/why-im-sick-and-tired-of-gno...

Of course, there are also good ideas in there. Having everything about the desktop in a single view (the overview or "meta-desktop" as I like to call it) is a good idea. It means I just have to memorize a single keystroke to do many things. Very convenient. Feels like command mode in vi, but with the input line on top. I find it ironic that not much long ago, modal interfaces were greatly frowned upon.

I guess I will have to wait until 3.12 or 3.14 to feel it usable again.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 14, 2012 17:55 UTC (Wed) by jedidiah (guest, #20319) [Link]

How about "don't trash what was there before". Something like MATE shouldn't be necessary because anyone interested in the legacy interface could just continue to use it. Would it really have been that hard to create GNOME 3 in a way that didn't actively sabotage what was already there?

This kind of "Microsoft" approach is what really riles people.

Upgrading to the latest version of shiny distro should not trash an already functional setup.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 23, 2012 7:50 UTC (Fri) by TRauMa (guest, #16483) [Link]

> Upgrading to the latest version of shiny distro should not trash an already functional setup.

So if you include a DE in a distro, you then have to support it forever?

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 23, 2012 12:07 UTC (Fri) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

If you're a desktop oriented distro, and it's the default one, then my answer is: yes, you have to.

Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Posted Nov 26, 2012 15:25 UTC (Mon) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

Forever is a very strong word. I would put it this way: "if you include a DE in a distro, a desktop oriented distro, and it's the default one, an upgrade the user does each six months should not trash said environment's functionality without recourse."


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