Showing posts with label Gnome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gnome. Show all posts

Friday, 27 May 2011

Gnome (S)hell - Its underlying principles are an insult to users

After trying Gnome (S)hell for the first time I was very optimistic, I thought a good future lies ahead but no longer.

Looking a little bit more into Gnome (S)hell I have become very annoyed at the truth. The truth being Gnome (S)hell is designed for the mentally impaired.

Here is the proof.

Why no window list or dock?

The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand.

A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus.

The separation of window switching functionality into the overview means that an effective solution to switching is provided when it is desired by the user, but that it is hidden from view when it is not necessary.

If this is not an attempt to justify a poor UI decision its an insult to users. I hold the latter view since a lot of time and effort went into Gnome 3.

Why aren't there applets, widgets or gadgets?

Essential functionality aside, an applets, widgets or gadgets framework is essentially aimed towards providing optional and additional functionality, and this does not necessarily fall within the design scope of a desktop shell.

If you are wondering what design scope, as stated here,

Makes it easy for users to focus on their current task and reduces distraction and interruption

Putting it all together, is this a piss take or what?

If anyone can't focus on getting their work done due to the presence of the window list showing what applications are minimized or are distracted by docks and applets, please do not operate any machinery.

A beeping noise or flashing light may break your focus or distract your attention. You know what, I am no longer going to drive with my SatNav.

Gnome Shell is supposedly designed for users like me and you, the design principles behind Gnome Shell are a reflection of what the Devs think about their users.

Even though there is the ability to customize Gnome (S)hell with extensions, the point remains that by default Gnome Shell is an insult to users.

If you feel working with multiple open applications in Gnome (S)hell is awkward and an annoyance, it is now clear why. The Gnome 3 devs intentionally made it to be like this, they do not want you to multitask, correction, they think you are incapable of multitasking. If docks and applets can cause you to lose focus and become distracted why let users multitask between open applications with ease?

This would go against the Gnome 3 design principles...

This is why I no longer feel there is a bright future ahead for Gnome 3, it is designed for the mentally impaired from the ground up, the devs have made the assumption their users are morons, are morons, more ons.....

Sorry, I lost my focus just then, my slick looking Cairo-Dock distracted me.

Unless the Gnome 3 developers change their design principles and remove the 'users are idiots' attitude they can stick Gnome (S)hell up their backsides.

I am commonly seeing the statement in many forums and other online media that Gnome (S)hell is great once you get use to it.

But get use to what, being an idiot??

At least now I can fully appreciate why restart / power off is no longer available to click on directly, because as an idiot you may inadvertently click on it.

Rant over.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Has Debian 6 ended my distro-hopping madness?

With the release of Fedora 15 and all the surrounding talk concerning Gnome (S)hell, I thought now would be a good time to remind myself of what I would miss if I were to switch to Gnome 3.

So here it is, my Debian 6 Gnome 2.x desktop.

Out of the box Gnome 3 does look more modern but Gnome 2.x doesn't have to look boring, a few customizations can make all the difference.

This is a list of my current customizations.

GTK Theme: BSM Simple -

Icon Theme: Dropline Neu -!?content=38835

X11 Mouse Theme: ComixCursors (Opaque) -

Desktop Wallpaper: Carbon Gnome Wide -

Has Debian 6 ended my distro-hopping madness?

I have been looking for a solid, reliable and usable distribution for quite a while now and I believe Debian 6 is the answer.

Debian does exactly what I want without any fuss.

Although for a better experience I am using a customized 2.6.39 Kernel, Iceweasel 4 and LibreOffice 3.3.2.

Nonetheless, its long release cycle, good support and documentation from the Debian community, and overall no nonsense characteristic have made a firm impression.

The long release cycle being a major factor, I think by the time Debian 6 goes EOL Gnome 3 will be in a much better state.

Thanks Debian.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Fedora 15 Beta and Gnome 3 - Looks nice, lacks functionality

Today I decided to download Fedora 15 Beta LiveCD and see how Gnome 3 is shaping out.

Here is the Desktop, looks like a typical Gnome panel although the date/time is in the middle. Not sure what was wrong with it being in the right corner.

To access programs you can click on the Activities button or press the Windows keyboard button. After a nice and quick transitional effect this will bring up the above screen, the icons on the left are your favorites, or in this case some predefined favorites.

The default Nouveau nvidia driver seems to be working rather well.

Clicking on the Applications tab shows all available programs which you can also view by category as listed on the right.

Once again, it looks very modern and stylish.

Firefox 4, notice the awful font rendering. This is a typical characteristic of Fedora which you can easily solve by using the rpmfusion repository. The GTK window has rounded top corners, a big X button to close the program but where are the minimize and fullscreen buttons?

At least there is some hope via the right-click context menu. But when you minimize a window there is no visual indicator to illustrate a window is minimized. Sounds bonkers?

If you want to access all your minimized windows you have to click on the Activities button.

All my minimized programs. Alternatively you can press alt-tab to cycle through minimized applications without going through the Activities interface but this obviously doesn't show you what programs have been minimized.

Wireless networks in the area, all encrypted. That's a shame...

To restart or shutdown you have to first log out, then choose restart/shutdown at the login screen.

Other Gnome 3 observations

Can't drag icons to the desktop, plugging a USB storage device does not show a desktop icon.

To unmount a USB storage device you have to launch the File Manager and then right click > safely remove.

Right click on the taskbar does nothing.

To switch desktops you have to use the Activities interface.

I think Gnome 3 is very promising. The 3D effects are not over the top, instead they are pleasant and give the system a modern feel. I like the overall appearance but as it is Gnome 3 still needs a bit of work.

Canonical Ltd are making the right decision with Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity. If they made Gnome 3 the default desktop there would be widespread annoyance among the majority of its users who simply want a desktop environment that is fit for purpose.

Unfortunately for Fedora users, the current state of Gnome 3 will more or less remain the same upon the final release of Fedora 15.

The beta release is the last important milestone of Fedora 15. Only critical bug fixes will be pushed as updates leading to the general release of Fedora 15 in May

And if you like your compiz effects, Gnome 3 is a no go.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

openSUSE 11.4 in 6 days, screenshots look very professional

In 6 days time openSUSE 11.4 will be released and I am already impressed with the screenshots from

openSUSE has always had a very polished feel but 11.3 with its horrible default wallpaper and splash screens lacked that professional touch. Well it looks like 11.4 will remedy that with its striking new professional looks.

openSUSE 11.4 with Gnome -

Just look at that wallpaper!

openSUSE 11.3 with KDE -

KDE, with a greener version.

I can't wait for openSUSE 11.4, I hope the user experience is as good as the looks.

This also goes to show that sometimes the small things (like a different desktop wallpaper) can have a big effect.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Fedora 13 - Still a Gnome Distribution

Fedora has a history of being a Gnome distribution although things have been changing with the release of KDE 4.x.

Click on any picture for a bigger view.

Fedora 13 with KDE 4.4.3 and Oxygen theme

In the past certain distributions were regarded as having better KDE integration, especially with KDE 3.5.x. OpenSUSE and Mandriva notably had a better KDE experience and were regarded as KDE distributions.

However with the introduction of KDE 4.x I feel things have changed. Looking at my Gentoo KDE desktop, I no longer see OpenSUSE as having an advantage or better KDE integration.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for Mandriva, their KDE 4.x desktop has been heavily customized to look more like KDE 3.5.x. Infact I feel they have ruined KDE 4.x with their customizations. Personally I have never been a Mandriva fan.

Yesterday I decided to download Fedora 13, I went for the Live KDE CD. I prefer KDE over Gnome due to the nicer appearance and additional features. My best feature with KDE is when you drag a file or icon to another location, a context menu appears giving you a variety of choices.

Gnome would either move or copy the file / icon, just like Windows.

Fedora's KDE 4.x seems very nice but is let down by the lack of a few polishing touches.

The logon KDM greeter looks really nice, the desktop looks just like any other KDE 4.x desktop but all is spoilt by some Gnome-ish icons, notification dialogues and graphical interfaces.

The icons

As you can see in the below screenshot, the inconsistency with the icons.

The horror!

Many applications that are related to system settings or administration in Fedora's KDE spin haven't been given a KDE equivalent. Hence the inconsistency and lack of a polished finish.

Gnome-ish dialogue

Next up is the notification dialogue when root access is required. For a minute I thought I was in Gnome.

Root access deserves better, give it KDE!

Gnome has invaded my KDE 4.x desktop, eek!

A system wide application

The next screenshot shows Fedora's (RedHat's) Network Configuration application.

Fedora's devs, you can do better than that!

The Network Configuration application is a system wide application to control your network devices in Fedora and is not exclusive to Fedora, it is a RedHat application.

Looking at it, clearly it is GTK based just like all other RedHat applications.

Overall the lack of a consistent feel and polished result means Fedora's KDE needs more work.

Other applications you can see in the KDE menu screenshot, SELinux, Service Management, Network Device Control, Bootloader Control, Firewall are all RedHat applications. You will also notice some of these and others in CentOS and RedHat Enterprise, they are core RedHat applications and based on GTK.

As it stands, Fedora is still a Gnome centric distribution like its paid / commercial counter part RedHat.

By the way, I changed the fonts to Liberation Sans as the default font in Fedora is pure ugly.

Why not change the default fonts to the Liberation set, which was developed by RedHat?

Perhaps one day Fedora will feature better KDE integration but I have my doubts. All of the core RedHat applications are based on GTK for the obvious reason that RedHat is a Gnome based distribution.

To further explain why I have doubts a few points need to be stated.

Fedora is a RedHat sponsored project.

Fedora is based on the latest and greatest software packages and innovations.

New features in Fedora are incorporated into future RedHat Enterprise releases.

Bearing in mind all of the above, my view is Fedora is simply a development platform for RedHat to try out the latest and greatest. They use it to improve their commercial flagship product which is Gnome orientated.

Additionally any bug fixes, security fixes and enhancements are pushed upstream so overall everyone benefits, RedHat is a big contributor to Linux.

However I do not see any reason for RedHat to tweak their core applications and make it look nicer in KDE.

It is not in their interest unless they wish to release a RedHat Enterprise KDE spin with a professional polished appearance and feel.

As a desktop user I like having a good looking operating system with a polished feel and Fedora with KDE doesn't deliver.

Also bearing in mind the bleeding edge characteristic of Fedora and stability issues which I have encountered in the past, I would not use Fedora or recommend it for desktop use anyway. It is more geared towards developers, Linux enthusiasts, those interested in experiencing some of the latest innovations and those who wish to contribute and file bug reports.

If you are looking for a stable alternative to Windows, Fedora should not be on your list.