Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

Re: [SLUG] Alternatives to Gnome3

On Sat, 2011-11-12 at 21:21 +1100, Erik de Castro Lopo wrote:
> Hi all,
> I just upgraded my debian testing laptop and found myself running
> Gnome3. I was quite happy with Gnome2 (with a few minor tweaks)
> but Gnome3 is completely abysmal.

What I find annoying about these conversations is that if you had gone
and bought an Apple with Mac OS X you would be perfectly reasonably
working through learning how to use a new Desktop and not complaining
about it at all.

But here we are admonishing the GNOME hackers had the temerity to do
something new and different.


I've been using GNOME 3 full time for over 9 months, and I find it quite
usable. Sure, it's different than GNOME 2. It's vastly different. But it
*is* a new UI paradigm. The GNOME 2 experience was 9 years old, and the
gnome hackers have been working hard (since about 2007) to do something
about interaction that the old Windows 95 paradigm simply couldn't

Sure, I had to learn some new usage patterns, but I don't see that as a
negative. It's a new piece of software, so I'm doing my best to use it
the way it's designed to be used.

Incidentally, I'm not sure how up to date it is, but you might have a
read of http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/Design to see some of the
things they had in mind. And of course there's lots of things linked off
of http://www.gnome.org/gnome-3/ .

Distros like Ubuntu have been shipping GNOME 2.32 for ages; but it has
been well over 2 years since anyone actually worked on that code. It's
wonderful that nothing has changed for you in all that time, [a true
Debian Stable experience!] but I think it's a bit odd not to expect that
something that was widely advertised as being such a different user
experience is ... different.


I went to some trouble to run GNOME 3 during the Natty cycle; that was a
bit of work but I needed to be current; now with Oneiric things are
mostly up to date. GNOME 3.0 was indeed a bit of a mess, but then so was
GNOME 2.0. The recently released 3.2 is a big improvement. And it looks
like the list of things that seem  targeted to 3.4 will further improve

I'm now running GNOME 3 on a freshly built Ubuntu Oneiric system; I just
did a "command line" install of Ubuntu and then installed `gdm`,
`gnome-shell`, `xserver-xorg` and friends. Working great, and not having
installed `gnome-desktop` saved me a huge amount of baggage. Of course a
normal Oneiric desktop install and then similarly installing and
switching to gnome-shell would work fine too.

You probably want to enable the  ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3 PPA.


One thing I do recommend is mapping (say) CapsLock as an additional
Hyper and then CapsLock + F1 .. CapsLock + F12 as launchers. I have
epiphany browser on F1, evolution on F2, IRC on F3 and so on. Setting up
CapsLock + A as to do `gnome-terminal --window` means you can pop a term
easily from anywhere. You do all that as "custom shortcuts" in the
"Keyboard" section of system settings. 

That means I only use the whole "Win key + T R A C ..." thing (in this
case looking for the Project Hamster time tracker) for outlying

Of course you can also set up the things you use the most on the
"Dash" (I think that's what they call it) as favourites. I've actually
stopped doing that [the original design didn't have favourites at all];
I prefer to have it as an alternative view of things that are actually


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