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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 16, 2012 5:13 UTC (Fri) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
In reply to: Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users by luya
Parent article: Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

> Think Gnome Shell nothing more as a base/core, with plethora of option to choose to suit our different tastes.

I think the parent poster explained it best:

> While most users find Gnome 3 supremely resistant to configuration, there are a few who assert it is highly configurable thanks to its dependence on HTML, CSS and Javascript. That's a specious claim. First, because anyone who knows HTMl, CSS and/or Javascript is a developer, not a user. Ease of configurability by developers doesn't count. Second, even if you do have those skills, nothing is included in Gnome 3 to help you identify which CSS selectors, for example, control which portions of the interface. Even for a skilled HTML/CSS/Javascript developer, tweaking the interface is a trial and error crapshoot.

Just to give you an example of how extensions are not a replacement for user configuration, check out all the extensions that, for instance, want to be the left most element in the panel. Which one will actually be the left most? The one that starts last. If it wasn't tragic, it would be rather funny.

> That example shows the possibility and an attempt to think outside the box. I leave to that.

Have you ever even used Red Hat Linux 5.0 (not RHEL5)?


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

Posted Nov 16, 2012 19:14 UTC (Fri) by luya (subscriber, #50741) [Link]

> While most users find Gnome 3 supremely resistant to configuration, there are a few who assert it is highly configurable thanks to its dependence on HTML, CSS and Javascript. That's a specious claim. First, because anyone who knows HTMl, CSS and/or Javascript is a developer, not a user.

By time, that quote is becoming less relevant. Developers are nothing more than specialized users themselves, the reverse is not necessarily true.

> Ease of configurability by developers doesn't count.
Why? Could it be because it does not suit the argument?

> Second, even if you do have those skills, nothing is included in Gnome 3 to help you identify which CSS selectors, for example, control which portions of the interface. Even for a skilled HTML/CSS/Javascript developer, tweaking the interface is a trial and error crapshoot.

Looking at the gnome-shell.css, each class lists different components are self-explained. Same with javascript. What could be improved is the documentation which is still incomplete.

> Just to give you an example of how extensions are not a replacement for user configuration, check out all the extensions that, for instance, want to be the left most element in the panel. Which one will actually be the left most? The one that starts last.

I am not sure what you mean about the left. It is not very clear.

As for the use of RHEL5, no I haven't. I mostly work with Fedora which suits my need as a primarily desktop for design stuff.

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

Posted Nov 16, 2012 21:05 UTC (Fri) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

> Developers are nothing more than specialized users themselves, the reverse is not necessarily true.

Beyond that. Firefox and GNOME both have a set of things that are exposed to the user in a control panel. Both have an advanced settings method for advanced users (about:config and gsettings). And both are arbitrarily extensible via HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

It is this last point which is the pivotal one here because that's the level at which you're arguing. The argument of the OP is that

> because anyone who knows HTMl, CSS and/or Javascript is a developer, not a user.

Their argument would then be, in the Firefox case, that you cannot claim that Firefox is configurable since in order to configure it via HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you have to be a programmer.

In this light the argument seems ridiculous. Non-programmer users install GNOME extensions (from the website https://extensions.gnome.org/ or through their distro), the same as they do in Firefox (addons.mozilla.org)

(The second part that was not quoted is a fair (assuming completely true) argument that the tooling sucks but not that it's not configurable via the aforementioned methods.)

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

Posted Nov 17, 2012 3:45 UTC (Sat) by wagerrard (guest, #87558) [Link]

Extensions are irrelevant because they are not part of Gnome and are not supported by Gnome. If they were, releases would be accompanied by collections of tested, working, extensions. Their relationship to Gnome is much like that of Wordpress plugins to Wordpress. I.e., use at your own risk.

There is nothing in Gnome3 like about:config. Dconf/gconf are available, but without user documentation. ("Want to add an app to the panel? Here's how..... Want to eliminate the icons from the App Overview and see a list of names? Here's how....")

Besides, almost all extensions attempt to revive Gnome2-like capabilities that were stripped out of Gnome3. The irony of that is apparent.

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

Posted Nov 17, 2012 6:55 UTC (Sat) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> Their argument would then be, in the Firefox case, that you cannot claim that Firefox is configurable since in order to configure it via HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you have to be a programmer.

Except, of course, FF can be and is configured without writing HTML, CSS or Javascript.

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

Posted Nov 17, 2012 3:28 UTC (Sat) by wagerrard (guest, #87558) [Link]

CSS classes do not translate well to on-screen elements. When I want to see the CSS that affects an element in a web page, I use the browser's "Inspect Element" tool to display all the CSS related to that element. Gnome3 lacks that capability. More to the point, I come to Gnome3 as a user. I do not want to be forced to resort to manual coding, even if I have the skills. That's a mark of Gnome's shortcoming.

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

Posted Nov 17, 2012 6:53 UTC (Sat) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> I am not sure what you mean about the left. It is not very clear.

I mean, install workspacebar and axe menu extensions. See which one turns out to be the leftmost in the panel. There is no such confusion in Gnome 2.

> As for the use of RHEL5, no I haven't. I mostly work with Fedora which suits my need as a primarily desktop for design stuff.

I was not talking about RHEL5. I was talking about Red Hat Linux 5.0.

As for the rest of the stuff, are you seriously saying that users should edit CSS? Ridiculous.


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