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Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 26, 2013 8:33 UTC (Sat) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441)
In reply to: Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark by rahulsundaram
Parent article: Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

To bring this discussion on a more constructive track:

As a long-time Fedora user and current user of Gnome 3/Cinnamon I would very much welcome if Fedora would take a more active role toward Cinnamon. Here are some reasons and benefits:

  • Gnome 3/Gnome Shell is very much geared toward a particular vision regarding the work flow. Developers have made it clear in public that they do not wish to dilute their vision by trying to be everything to everybody. I think think is a valid strategy for a desktop project. As a distribution, however, Fedora should try to develop a broader vision toward the Linux Desktop which goes beyond just bundling every half viable project.
  • Without any intent to start a flamewar here, I believe I can say that the weaker parts of the Gnome 3/Gnome Shell model relate to the traditional "workstation" workflows involving big screens, possibly multiple screens, many simultaneous applications, multiple instances of a single application, and work models involving mixtures of command line and GUI interface components. In other words, "developer" or "technical" usage in some sense.
  • Cinnamon sits fairly light-weight on top of the Gnome 3 infrastructure, so it's a minimally invasive strategy to extend the reach of Gnome 3 beyond what Gnome Shell can offer.
  • Gnome 2 infrastructure/Mate are on the way out. Their value lies in working with old hardware where accelerated or software rendering of Gnome 3 is not working/too slow. They are clearly not a long-term strategy into the future. But more effort could be expanded into making sure that all valuable features find some equivalent in either Gnome Shell or Cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon is a small project, both in the size of code and in the number of developers, but it fills a much bigger and important niche. Having Fedora put some concerted effort toward its development would stabilize both projects with benefits much bigger than potential effort.
If this could be achieved, the question of what is the default would be essentially moot.


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Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 26, 2013 12:48 UTC (Sat) by kigurai (subscriber, #85475) [Link]

I hear point two repeated over and over.
As a guy who works with development, with multiple terminals, IDE's and documentation open, I have no problem using Gnome-Shell. I actually think my workflow is better now than with the "traditional" desktop paradigm.

I realize that this is a personal taste, of course, but I see this "only for casual users" comment so often that it seems to have become some kind of universal truth. And it's not.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 27, 2013 10:30 UTC (Sun) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441) [Link]

Please read my original comment again. I never claimed that Gnome Shell is not suited for technical or development work. I only said its weaknesses are more prevalent in that area - it's a different claim. I would think the reason is that such workflows tend to be more diverse and more complex, so that users have created their own working styles based on the specifics of their work and abilities, some of which map better and some of them map worse onto the Gnome shell model. I don't think anybody is losing face by simply acknowledging this.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 29, 2013 17:52 UTC (Tue) by whitemice (guest, #3748) [Link]

+1 Point two GNOME3-is-for-tablets is BOooo-ooo-ooo-gus! I use GNOME Shell on multiple large displays. It is great, fast, and stable. It is different, but once you do a little adaptation it is an improved and streamlined workflow to 2.x and taskbar mania.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 29, 2013 18:36 UTC (Tue) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441) [Link]

Point two GNOME3-is-for-tablets is BOooo-ooo-ooo-gus!

Note: these are your words, not mine. I am also no-one to argue that Gnome cannot be used on multiple large displays. Peoples' workflows and requirements are very different, so who am I to tell you what works for you?

Here are some items which I found cumbersome with Gnome Shell and where I have not been able to come up with an equivalent workflow using native Gnome Shell techniques. Maybe you can enlighten me, it could be that I just did not discover the right tricks:

  • Using "minimize" as a quick, non-distracting way to say "I am done with this window, I don't think I want to look at it again but I don't want to close the application just now because I may have to revisit the case".
  • Dealing with applications (in my case scientific simulations in python) which bring up several near-identical windows that are hard to visually distinguish, but where the launch order is clearly defined and reflected in the task-bar order. Handling them in Gnome Shell drives me crazy, yet it's a breeze with the good old task bar.
  • Flipping windows on and off (I do this often for visual comparison of two near-identical graphs or images)
  • Selectively closing windows when a certain sub-task is done. On the taskbar, I can travel along and right-click-close all the windows which I know I won't need any longer without opening them again.
These are the ones that quickly come to mind. I also find that I travel longer distances with my mouse using Gnome Shell, but that is not a killer criterion for me. Probably I still have the "old" midset too deeply engrained due to 25 years of computing with traditional Unix deskop metaphors?

That Gnome Shell is "great" with external displays is plain false. Since Fedora 15 it has this bug which make Gnome Shell (Cinnamon works fine, though) a total no-go in my production setup. The fact that no-one has even looked at it makes me think that Gnome Shell does not have very many users who use external screens, at least not the way I do.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 30, 2013 10:46 UTC (Wed) by thisisme (subscriber, #83315) [Link]

Flipping windows on and off (I do this often for visual comparison of two near-identical graphs or images)

I'm relieved to hear I'm not the only one who does this, with graphs, lists and spreadsheets.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 30, 2013 15:12 UTC (Wed) by mgedmin (subscriber, #34497) [Link]

> Maybe you can enlighten me, it could be that I just did not discover the right tricks:

> Using "minimize" as a quick, non-distracting way to say "I am done with this window, I don't think I want to look at it again but I don't want to close the application just now because I may have to revisit the case".

I tend to middle-click the window title bar, which sends that window to the background.

You can also ask to have the minimize button back with GNOME Tweak Tool.

> Flipping windows on and off (I do this often for visual comparison of two near-identical graphs or images)

And a quick Alt-Tab or Alt-` doesn't work for this?

For images I prefer to do the comparison in my web browser: two images in adjacent tabs, fliping between them with Alt+number (or Ctrl+PgUp/PgDn, that's a bit slower).

> Selectively closing windows when a certain sub-task is done.

The overview is fine for this, if you can distinguish the windows visually. Which you already said you can't always, so disregard this part of my comment.

> That Gnome Shell is "great" with external displays is plain false.

Yes, multiple displays only work great if you position the desktops side-by-side. They don't work well if you position one of them above the other.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 31, 2013 15:01 UTC (Thu) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441) [Link]

I tend to middle-click the window title bar, which sends that window to the background. You can also ask to have the minimize button back with GNOME Tweak Tool.

I knew about the GNOME Tweak Tool, thanks for telling about the middle mouse button (works in Cinnamon, too...). So I agree that this point is not a killer argument, it just makes me wonder why hiding it is considered an improvement.

And a quick Alt-Tab or Alt-` doesn't work for this? For images I prefer to do the comparison in my web browser: two images in adjacent tabs, fliping between them with Alt+number (or Ctrl+PgUp/PgDn, that's a bit slower).

What you suggest is rather clunky, at best a poor workaround. Especially using the browser is just another workflow indirection and does not help when the windows are actually application windows rather than views of a standard format file stored in the filesystem.

The overview is fine for this, if you can distinguish the windows visually. Which you already said you can't always, so disregard this part of my comment.

Here the overview is not too bad, but as you already realize, can be a problem when the window content is too similar. Another reason why the taskbar feels more natural is that windows which are logically related (thus opened at a similar time) are close on the taskbar, but typically scattered geometrically all over the overview pane. I think that's the primary reason why in Cinnamon, where I have both easily accessible, I very much favor the taskbar and use the overview more for "lost" windows where I don't have any mental connection any longer between position in task bar and window.

Yes, multiple displays only work great if you position the desktops side-by-side. They don't work well if you position one of them above the other.

That's a shame because here there there does not even seem a philosophical or "big vision" obstacle to just fixing it. Given the fact that it used to work great for years in old Gnome and continues to work in Cinnamon, it can't be that much of a fundamental problem to fix.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 26, 2013 16:58 UTC (Sat) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

Let's be more specific. Fedora volunteers are usually involved in just packaging components. Red Hat has a Fedora team but they are mostly involved in development that is directly connected to Fedora - web apps and other infrastructure within Fedora itself. Red Hat also has a desktop team which has worked with the larger GNOME development team to introduce the GNOME classic session and that is part of Fedora 19 and Red Hat is unlikely to invest development effort into Cinnamon because GNOME classic session is the focus for people who want a GNOME 2 like workflow.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 27, 2013 10:20 UTC (Sun) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441) [Link]

This is very encouraging news - the first time I hear about it. It would be great if you could expand on the "Gnome classic session" or refer to a good resource about it.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 27, 2013 17:27 UTC (Sun) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441) [Link]

Oops, I now realize that this is in fact in TFA. I did not initially read it to that point, shame on me. This is big news, I did not expect this at all.

It will be interesting to watch how it turns out. It might obsolete Cinnamon if it is done well. I am not a fan of forking everything if that can be avoided...

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 28, 2013 12:14 UTC (Mon) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

Not to dampen your enthusiasm, but it doesn't seem likely that the classic mode will ever catch up with Cinnamon: I seriously doubt that they'd pour much effort into it because it might threaten their "vision" (not to speak of the "brand" ;) wrt Gnome Shell.

One could also remark that not such thing as a "classic mode" would have been conceived if it were not for the success of GNOME 2 and 3 forks (Mate, Cinnamon).

At this point in time, I'm pretty happy with Cinnamon as is: it's much more than a "classic mode", although among other things Nemo kept all the useful features that they threw away with Nautilus, and more stuff is coming with Cinnamon 1.8 (http://www.webupd8.org/2012/12/what-to-expect-in-linux-mi...).

Rehdon

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 26, 2013 23:59 UTC (Sat) by misc (subscriber, #73730) [Link]

People are free to work on it if they want. If no more peole work on it, it is likely because Cinnamon is unconvincing, you say you are a user of Cinnamon, what prevent you from helping them ?

I tested Cinnamon when it was in the updates-testing, and I was far from being impressed ( but it worked so I gave +1 karma ). There was clearly a lack of polish and small design errorss all over the place ( like non aligned button, non coherent options, or too much useless detail like the 16 different way of minimizing a windows, or the whole plugin applet in the control center that was just empty ), and I found that disturbing.

Then I started to look at the commits, the code is better than Mate ( who is mainly taking code from gnome nowadays ) or mint ( where the python code is not that great ), but there is still some weird stuff going on.

This one is clearly wrong :
https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/blob/61f89a61861c64...

Because that's just a no-op, but starting the python interpreter for nothing. What is fun is that another commit was done to workaround the same problem this file try to correct ( ie having .py not matched by the windows matcher ), on 8374cb9a3661cb3dc71dfd66b3916f5a5adddf5d .

The cleaner solution is to just rename the file, but well...

The whole C part of gnome-shell was forked and is left almost untouched since 1 year. And since they renamed every possible function, there is merge conflict from time to time ( and sometime, they get committed 287f77f771078a5bc2df026dfe2376bf8c469bba ). So it is not hard to see this approach will sooner or later be more costly to maintain, unless they decide to do things cleanly. Because for now, that's not really sitting "cleanly on gnome 3", that's more "duplicating half of gnome-shell".

And in the python code, there is still some weird stuff like subprocess call instead of proper library ( 0cbb29180eed3d389a22c7d1be35a24d5d931f16 ), hardcoded paths everywhere ( https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/blob/master/files/u... ), so no jhbuild or test as non root.

So there is lots of things to do, and you are right that they could benefit from more coders, but given they forked alacarte, nautilus and said they would fork the rest if needed, I am not sure if they really wish to collaborate and work to a consensus if they can just fork. yet people are free to help, I have seen fedora packagers sending patches so there is some help.

And to finish, as said in another comment, I also have a big screen ( 23" ), I use command line, a browser, evolution on my day job and at home, and I use gnome shell without problem.
Maybe you just didn't found how to use it, for example, the middle click trick ( middle click on the dash run a new instance of the application, quite handy and feel almost natural if you already use the middle click for cut and paste as any old X11 user ).

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 27, 2013 11:13 UTC (Sun) by marcel.oliver (subscriber, #5441) [Link]

People are free to work on it if they want. If no more peole work on it, it is likely because Cinnamon is unconvincing, you say you are a user of Cinnamon, what prevent you from helping them ?

Well, one can always push responsibility downstream. But the problem is not that there are not enough desktop environment options. What is lacking right now is a reasonably inclusive distribution policy toward the Fedora desktop which has a clear path into the future and does not lead to further fragmentation of the Linux desktop. If the "Gnome Classic Session" mentioned by Rahul Sundaram is what it might promise to be, that could be something worth focusing effort on. But just calling for effort without a strategy seems a waste.

As for me personally: I have given feedback to Cinnamon. (In fact, I don't think Cinnamon is perfect, but I think they are taking a sensible approach.) My own expertise is not in C/C++ programming, but then I don't think being able/having the time to contribute code should be a necessary condition for taking part in a discussion on features and strategy.

Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Posted Jan 27, 2013 1:31 UTC (Sun) by vonbrand (guest, #4458) [Link]

Fedora goes where, well, its members take it. If you want more Cinnamon involvement, participate and help out.

Disclaimer: I'm Fedora Ambassador, and so an active member of the Fedora community.


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