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Classic mode questions

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 26, 2013 22:13 UTC (Sat) by bojan (subscriber, #14302)
Parent article: Clasen: GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark

Looking at the classic mode screenshot, there are a few questions:

- where is the workspace switcher (i.e. visibility is still zero)?
- can it be customised (can components be moved from panel to panel or from place to place on the panel)?
- will it be usable on a computer that has no 3D acceleration?

Looking at the state of extensions, the answer to the first one is probably "there won't be a fully functional one". If nothing changed in the way components are laid out in Gnome 3, the answer to the second one is probably "this cannot be done". Don't really know how good emulated 3D will be by the time 3.8 hits released distros. Last time I checked (F-17) it was too slow and was burning CPU like there was no tomorrow on my VMware VM.


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Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 26, 2013 22:55 UTC (Sat) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

1. Don't know the answer to that yet probably there will be one (you have 4 fixed workspaces though).

2. No.

3. No ... but "a computer that has no 3D acceleration" in 2013?! Even my phone has a GPU that can handle 3D acceleration at a rather large resolution.

> was too slow and was burning CPU like there was no tomorrow on my VMware VM.

VMware does support 3D acceleration just install the driver.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 1:19 UTC (Sun) by cortana (subscriber, #24596) [Link]

> 3. No ... but "a computer that has no 3D acceleration" in 2013?! Even my phone has a GPU that can handle 3D acceleration at a rather large resolution.

My VirtualBox VM doesn't. Once fallback mode is gone I'm regretfully going to have to find a new desktop environment.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 4:45 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

1) It actually does.
2) Fedora can use purely software LLVMPipe for OpenGL.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 13:32 UTC (Sun) by cortana (subscriber, #24596) [Link]

> 1) It actually does.

Not IME. <https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/9581> <http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=651936> <http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=651936>

> 2) Fedora can use purely software LLVMPipe for OpenGL.

Good for them. If only it worked in Debian <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=synr-avC0WA>.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 15:42 UTC (Sun) by Company (guest, #57006) [Link]

Maybe you shouldn't run a useless distro.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 17:00 UTC (Sun) by cortana (subscriber, #24596) [Link]

Hardly the kind of comment we want on LWN. Please take this attitude elsewhere!

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 17:08 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Such a distro would include, uh, Red Hat and Fedora, since both prefer QEMU as their virtualization engine, and nothing QEMU supports for display output (not SPICE, yet, and certainly not VNC) supports virtualizing 3D.

So, currently, Fedora when run atop Fedora is a platform that doesn't support 3D, even if the hardware does.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 8:43 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> VMware does support 3D acceleration just install the driver.

Installed as part of default Fedora. Still, slow. Still, high CPU usage.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 9:36 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> Installed as part of default Fedora. Still, slow. Still, high CPU usage.

Then there is a bug somewhere (or a configuration issue) ... this is not the expected behavior.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 23:25 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

There is no configuration. All automatically generated.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 8:54 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> 2. No.

See, that in itself, is a major regression.

A perfectly fine, working system of arranging things has been replaced by chance (e.g. whoever loads last gets to be the leftmost, for instance). Also, users cannot use the usual drag/drop to organise their desktop.

Which serious desktop environment doesn't support even the simplest of customisations in 2013? Even the brain dead Windows 8 has the old desktop hidden away somewhere...

Instead of working on Gnome Classic in terms of "here is a set of extensions that will give you look XYZ", the developers should be thinking about "here is a set of tools to make you desktop the way you want it". I know - not the "philosophy" of Gnome...

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 9:39 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> Instead of working on Gnome Classic in terms of "here is a set of extensions that will give you look XYZ", the developers should be thinking about "here is a set of tools to make you desktop the way you want it". I know - not the "philosophy" of Gnome...

There is a limit on what you can do with configuration. "the way you want" can be very different for many people. Drag and Drop to reorder some elements does only help with one aspect. So in GNOME 3 there is a powerful extension system that lets you change / edit almost anything ... so it allows way more changes that GNOME 2 did to achieve the "the way you want" (for users that for whatever reason don't like the defaults and/or have specific unique needs).

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 11:59 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> there is a powerful extension system

Yes, so powerful it _cannot_ help you with reordering of elements, for instance. It also requires fiddling with source code, as it has been pointed out numerous times.

I have an idea. Why don't we just have autoexec.bat and config.sys. That'll fix it. :-)

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 12:03 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> Yes, so powerful it _cannot_ help you with reordering of elements, for instance.

That's plain wrong.
You can write extensions to reorder whatever you want to reorder.

> It also requires fiddling with source code, as it has been pointed out numerous times.

It does not require "fiddling with source code" ... writing code is enough. Or get someone to do that for you.

> I have an idea. Why don't we just have autoexec.bat and config.sys. That'll fix it. :-)

The extension system allows that as well. You can write an extension to read those files and do actions based on their contents. ;)

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 12:25 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Out of the subset of desktops users who already have the programming skills to learn a JavaScript extension system for their window manager in any reasonable amount of time, many will not have the time or inclination.

Then there's the remaining set, who even if they had the inclination, couldn't do it in a reasonable amount of time. Further, some significant subset of those will not have the inclination.

Really, it's 2013, and we can't re-order icons with the mouse by default? It's approaching 20 years now since the days of complex config files for window managers were seen as a good thing. And at least back then they were primarily declarative - which didn't require programming skill (things like m4-preprocessed config file systems excepted).

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 0:15 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Really, it's 2013, and we can't re-order icons with the mouse by default?

Exactly. It's 2013 and that's why we don't reorder icons with mouse. MacOS had the ability to reorder program icons in 1984. MS Office 97 had the ability to drag-n-drop menu items in 1997. But you can not rearrange program icons in iOS 6.1 and menu MS Office 2013!

I'm still not sure if it's good trend or not, but it's not like GNOME is the only program which moves in this direction.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 8:32 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

To be clear, we're discussing launcher short-cut icons, e.g. on the panel.

In both Android and iOS you have complete freedom to add, re-arrange and remove the short-cut icons on the default / "home" / front screen.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 16:22 UTC (Tue) by mgedmin (subscriber, #34497) [Link]

Likewise, in GNOME Shell I can re-arrange and remove the short-cut icons on the dock.

What was your complaint again?

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 16:30 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

What part of the word "panel" was confusing to you?

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 18:31 UTC (Tue) by mgedmin (subscriber, #34497) [Link]

Sorry, I lost track of the context and forgot you were talking about the new classic mode, rather than stock GNOME Shell (which doesn't have launchers on a panel).

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 30, 2013 7:49 UTC (Wed) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

The panel in GNOME shell also is lacking an ability to add/remove/re-organise launchers with the mouse. It's not incapable of supporting launchers though...

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 13:29 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

You obviously don't even understand the problem. Two extensions cannot arbitrate who's going to be where without knowing about each other or having a central location for config.

The silly suggestion that users should ask someone to write code when they want to move something on their desktop is truly amusing. It does remind of config.sys and autoexec.bat days and ordering of drivers, so they can all fit.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 15:05 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> You obviously don't even understand the problem. Two extensions cannot arbitrate who's going to be where without knowing about each other or having a central location for config.

A extension can allow reordering using DnD and it can as well write a config file (or use gsettings) to store them. It can also listen for other extensions that get enabled (after it got loaded) and reorder them as well.

Before claiming that others "obviously" don't understand anything please go and read the code you are talking about.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 22:27 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

So, extension A says "I want to be leftmost". Extension B says "I want to be leftmost". Who wins without central configuration? Who decides who's wishes are more important?

Please, look at some of the extensions and how they clash with each other in this way. Without predefined, central configuration, which decides on what goes where with finality, it is not possible to have deterministic behaviour.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 23:32 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

But, coming back to the original point, which was about (basic) ability to customise. If I remember correctly, the editor of this site used to run a vertical panel, for instance. He cannot do this any more (if what you're saying is true).

So, the Gnome Classic is more like Gnome Classic Ultralite. Just looks like it, but really doesn't do the same thing.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 10:51 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

My computer has 3D acceleration, but using it increases the mean-time-between-hard-lockups from "so infrequent I don't notice", to "in the order of a day". (Nouveau on NV44). Cinnamon doesn't help me here, as it's still based on mutter, and using 3D.

I guess the GNOME answer is that I'm supposed to buy a new graphics card, or computer.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 11:59 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

So when you buy a car and the third gear does not work will you pretend that it does not exist or try to get it fixed?

Your graphic driver has a bug that causes your system to look up the obvious solution here is to get that debugged and fixed rather then running away from it and pretending that the system cannot accelerate 3D. It can and you paid for a GPU that does that ... so why not use it?

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 12:12 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

I looked in the phone book for "graphics driver garage", but there don't seem to be any near me.

Also, why are you assuming I chose that GPU? Had it been my choice, I would indeed have gotten something with better drivers. It wasn't my choice though. I'm sure I'm not unique in that. Not everyone has the ability to choose to buy graphics cards that have well-supported 3D drivers - either because of their position, or possibly because of their knowledge.

Sadly, a significant number of computers do not have well-supported 3D under Linux. Sadly, this means GNOME Shell (and derivatives) are not going to give users a nice experience on a significant numbers of computers.

That's reality.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 12:47 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> I looked in the phone book for "graphics driver garage", but there don't seem to be any near me.

You have searched for the wrong thing ... what you want is a bug tracker to report your problem (and data to help to get it fixed). In your case you have another driver to chose from.

> Also, why are you assuming I chose that GPU?

I have just said that you paid for it. Maybe that is not true either but someone has payed for it ... why do you just accept that it is useless rather then try to get it to work?

> Sadly, a significant number of computers do not have well-supported 3D under Linux.

Citation needed. That might have been true in the past but 3D is no longer considered just "nice to have" and driver have improved significantly because of that.

Also the comment I have replied to stated "does not have 3D acceleration" ... finding such a system in 2013 is a challenge ;) (if you exclude obscure server chipsets).

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 13:26 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Yes, I know about bug trackers, I have used them. However, you mentioned it was like getting a car fixed. So where do I go where I can pay someone to fix GNOME-shell induced graphics problems? I don't have any confidence that just leaving a bug report in some tracker somewhere, in the hope some hacker I have no contractual relationship with will fix it, will lead to this issue being fixed. No more than I expect my car to be fixed if I just park it near a car mechanic.

As for which computers don't have good 3D support under Linux, install Fedora on any NVidia system. I don't have a citation to hand, however it's surely not controversial that NVidia graphics constitute a sizeable set of modern computers?

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 13:52 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> Yes, I know about bug trackers, I have used them. However, you mentioned it was like getting a car fixed.

My point was you won't just accept that it is broken but try to get it fixed.

> So where do I go where I can pay someone to fix GNOME-shell induced graphics problems?

Find an engineer that has the required knowledge and pay him for fixing it. You can search in IRC channels or mailing list for people with the required skills.

> I don't have any confidence that just leaving a bug report in some tracker somewhere, in the hope some hacker I have no contractual relationship with will fix it, will lead to this issue being fixed.

If you don't even tell the developers about your bug chances are that it indeed never gets fixed unless someone fixes it by accident or someone else hits it and reports it.

> As for which computers don't have good 3D support under Linux, install Fedora on any NVidia system.

Done that and works fine.

> I don't have a citation to hand, however it's surely not controversial that NVidia graphics constitute a sizeable set of modern computers?

No the controversial part is that they don't have working 3D acceleration. Just because you hit a bug with your specific GPU / configuration does not mean that NVIDIA cards do not work at all. Also there is the binary driver which works as well.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 14:11 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

My desktop wasn't broken before. It broke with GNOME's window-manager adding 3D as a requirement!

The problems with nouveau's 3D support and GNOME-Shell are not exactly there because of a lack of my bug-report. Look in the bug trackers yourself I'd love to see nouveau support improve.

I have in the past donated money to or bought things from wish-lists for various projects and people. Ideally, I'd pay the employer of the majority of GNOME and Linux graphics hackers, but they don't (yet?) have any offering of support for GNOME shell, afaik. Been less able to do this the last few years, for personal financial reasons.

I guess there's lessons here for me about what I should rely on.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 16:11 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> My desktop wasn't broken before. It broke with GNOME's window-manager adding 3D as a requirement!

You can't expect developers to not utilise the hardware that is available because there is a bug on your system. Apparently it either always has been broken (and you just did not notice it) or it coincidently broke at the same time you upgraded to GNOME3 (by getting the broken driver at the same upgrade).

> The problems with nouveau's 3D support and GNOME-Shell are not exactly there because of a lack of my bug-report. Look in the bug trackers yourself I'd love to see nouveau support improve.

[citation needed]. Which bugs? Sure there are bugs but stop claiming that GNOME3 does not work on nouveau just because it hits a particular bug on your system. Just tested it again (NVA0 GPU) works just fine.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 16:32 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

My original comment was about the mean-time-between-lockups. Yes, it works initially. Now stick with the Nouveau drivers...

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 16:38 UTC (Sun) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Also, you keep interacting with me by blaming me as being the cause of why I (and evidently others) are blocked from using GNOME shell because of problems related to its 3D dependency.

Note that I'm not blaming any one, I'm just giving factual statements as to what led me to make the decisions I did. I suggest you reflect on the utility of reacting to such by blaming me.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 18:08 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

I am not blaming you for anything I just replied to your statement "I guess the GNOME answer is that I'm supposed to buy a new graphics card, or computer." saying that buying new hardware is not necessary fixing the driver is sufficient.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 28, 2013 14:36 UTC (Mon) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>saying that buying new hardware is not necessary fixing the driver is sufficient.

Your 'sufficient' solution is orders of magnitude more difficult than the 'not necessary' solution. Fixing this requires either:
a) Finding and employing a team of sufficiently skilled people for sufficient time to solve the problem - let's say financing ten person-years, for a rough order of magnitude (I would hope it's somewhat less than ten, but one is clearly unrealistic, given that it entails catching up with a constantly moving target from a position quite a long way behind)
b) Waiting until either somebody else does this, or
c) Waiting until enough volunteer time goes in to provide the equivalent result.

Some combination of b and c is the most probable outcome, but we're still looking at a few years yet, at least. In comparison, buying new hardware is simple and relatively cheap.

That's not to say that it's the *best* solution, since clearly we'd all like to have working high-quality drivers for all the hardware we can buy, but saying "oh, x isn't necessary because you can just do y" is silly when x is a far easier option than y.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 28, 2013 18:44 UTC (Mon) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> Your 'sufficient' solution is orders of magnitude more difficult than the 'not necessary' solution.

Depends on the bug in question ... we don't have any details nor a bug report with details.

> a) Finding and employing a team of sufficiently skilled people for sufficient time to solve the problem - let's say financing ten person-years, for a rough order of magnitude..

No idea where you are getting this numbers from but if fixing it costs more then buying new hardware then sure go ahead and buy new hardware. To go back to the car analogy if fixing the car costs more then buying a new one I'd rather go and buy a new one.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 28, 2013 21:34 UTC (Mon) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

There is little point in me filing a bug, as I have little information other than "{graphics,machine} locked up hard, reboot needed". I didn't notice any particular pattern to when it would happen. Any bug I'd file would have a low S/N ratio. I doubt I am only one seeing this with Nouveau, e.g., just from the last few months:

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/buglist.cgi?list_id=1055201&...

I don't think it is terribly controversial to say that 3D with Nouveau is less than super-stable. The driver is also blacklisted by Google Chromium for WebGL, for whatever that's worth (they seem to have a high bar though).

My solution for now is to use a desktop that exercises only the more mature, 2D parts of the graphics driver. I may give a GNOME shell / mutter based environment (i.e. Cinnamon) another go when I upgrade to F18, as it has a blacklist and (I gather) will fallback to soft-rendering (or can be made to).

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 11:32 UTC (Tue) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

You can set the environment variable LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE to 1 to force fallback to software rendering.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 14:18 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Nouveau indeed is sometimes *really* unstable. It does not lock up hard though. E.g. numlock and so on works. Wait 30 seconds or so and it recovers. Wonder if you experience the same or not.

I noticed it is related to system resources somehow. Meaning: if I don't open too many tabs in Firefox, it is way more stable.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 29, 2013 16:57 UTC (Tue) by Thanatopsis (guest, #14019) [Link]

I'm a big Open Source advocate and whenever possible, I use and support such software. Sometimes it just doesn't work. I've encountered issues with the Nouveau driver in the past, particularly running programs under WINE. Try using the Nvidia driver. Fixed the problems I was encountering.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 13:23 UTC (Sun) by deepfire (guest, #26138) [Link]

> > - where is the workspace switcher (i.e. visibility is still zero)?
> Don't know the answer to that yet probably there will be one
> (you have 4 fixed workspaces though).

How soon the 4 fixed workspace limit is going to be lifted? (I mean, is 4 a magic number or what?)

What about the 2D grid workspace layout?

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 13:53 UTC (Sun) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> How soon the 4 fixed workspace limit is going to be lifted? (I mean, is 4 a magic number or what?)

That is a config option. Has been since 3.6 (where you can also enable fixed workspaces using a config option).

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 0:46 UTC (Sun) by misc (subscriber, #73730) [Link]

Bastien Nocera told me that the plan is t reduce automatically and gracefully the most resources consuming effects if needed.

Given that I can use gnome-shell with vnc/spice, I see no reason to not be able to do it with vmware virt system.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 8:45 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> I see no reason to not be able to do it with vmware virt system.

I cannot speak for the reasons, because I really don't understand enough to comment. However, when I tried Gnome Shell/mutter in my VMware session under F-17, that was noticeably slower than fallback/metacity. It was also consuming a lot more CPU.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 21:34 UTC (Sun) by smoogen (subscriber, #97) [Link]

Well it is going to use the CPU to emulate the effects versus the non-existant GPU so your CPU/memory usage will be much higher. I am not sure that the items Bastien was talking about are in F17, F18 or something being worked for F19.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 22:33 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> Well it is going to use the CPU to emulate the effects versus the non-existant GPU so your CPU/memory usage will be much higher.

Which brings us to the real point: what is the purpose of using 3D rendering here? Is it to display (more or less) useless animations and endless screen changes (i.e. overview) or is it so that _appropriate_ hardware does the job of rendering? With Gnome 3, it appears to be the former.

Classic mode questions

Posted Jan 27, 2013 23:43 UTC (Sun) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> However, when I tried Gnome Shell/mutter in my VMware session under F-17, that was noticeably slower than fallback/metacity.

To be fair, I just tried with F-18. It seemed faster than F-17 in this scenario, but all Windows were distorted (half width, distorted colours), so not sure whether that was a proper test.


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