Yet another GNOME 3 user review

I have been using GNOME 3 since Fedora 15 Alpha but also used to play with earlier versions of GNOME Shell on previous Fedora releases. I realize that most people get upset when their usual way of doing things change and I have to say that I might not fit here, fortunately.

I really enjoy using GNOME Shell, the overall experience is a lot better than GNOME 2 and the fonts seem more clear to me. Although I prefer the original workspace switch concept, the changes made by developers right before the release turned the multiple workspace feature into an interesting automatic workspace creator.

The greatest feature so far is the integration between the notification area and Empathy. This little nice feature is part of the concept of focusing on the current task, what is good for me since a tend to multitask a lot. I don’t miss minimize and maximize buttons at all. Minimize doesn’t make any sense on GNOME Shell anyway, and a double click into the window title bar does the maximize trick.

I enjoy the GNOME 3 experience most part of the time, but some things are not nice. GNOME Shell lacks a clear way of shutting down the computer. The “Alt” trick isn’t intuitive and suspension has never worked on my laptop. Also related to energy, GNOME 3 doesn’t show an option to configure what to do when I close the laptop lid. Once again: suspension has never worked. I understand this is not really GNOME developers’ fault but since this issue is common on many devices should be an easier way to change this behavior. In addition, I like to keep the lid closed when I’m doing long downloads. GNOME 3 doesn’t cover this use case.

Despite the usual criticism that takes place when big changes happen, I believe that GNOME 3 is a leap in the right direction: less interruptions, a cleaner interface, and easier window management. I look forward for what’s next: deep integration with GNOME Activity Journal would be awesome as well as an easy way to keep my downloads active when the lid is closed.

6 thoughts on “Yet another GNOME 3 user review

  1. Coincidentally, I did it last night and worked pretty well.
    Anyway, installing an external application just to change that behavior isn’t nice. :-(

    Thanks for the tip, Ankur! Readers will enjoy it.

  2. install this package:
    gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-status-menu
    for a “Power Off” option in the status menu =]

  3. Yeah, despite all the bad reviews about Gnome 3 out there, I like it. I’ve been using it for a few months now and it does everything I need to do, quickly.

  4. I think the introduction of GNOME 3 (and unity) has been a very interesting way for revealing how resistant people are to changes in their working environment even when those changes can be very beneficial.

    I would consider myself a “power user” in that I use linux for development, scientific analysis, standard office productivity etc etc. When I first saw the GNOME-shell I went into a mild panic. I missed all the things people mention missing. How do I get a terminal? Where’s the browser? How do I get rid of applications/switch them etc. I was so used to the paradigm started by Mac OS/Windows way back when that it was extremely hard to wrap my brain around a new way of working.

    But within about 30 minutes of use trying to figure that stuff out I was hooked. alt-tab works intuitively, the expose like feature lets you switch windows quickly, applications are easily placed on the dock or can be quickly found with the search tool, the desktop is clean which I really like. I guess because I can do most of my work with a terminal it’s been a pretty easy learning curve for me. Now, when I have to go back and use a desktop with a classic windows-like interface I feel dragged down by all the clutter. OSX is slightly better, but finding applications is tedious through the finder and the terminal is slightly crippled.

    So, from my perspective, I think GNOME did a good job and a very brave thing by changing the desktop paradigm. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before mobile OS and desktop OS are fully merged and I think something like GNOME 3 is going to be the answer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *