10 August 2011

gnome 3

i’ve been a little late to the game on the gnome 3 love/hate bandwagon.  truth is, i did load up a beta version of fedora 15 with the gnome 3 and messed around with it for brief spot day before the actual release.  i liked what i saw, but at the time i was still clutching onto gnome 2 to start using daily.  i reasoned that i’d eventually jump in when everything was no longer beta.

release time came, and i balked.  my normal rush to install the latest fedora on my personal laptop didn’t happen.  i was very apprehensive.  i did manage to install it on my netbook and worked well with in that environment.   to me, it seemed better fit for that platform anyway.  ok, let’s be honest:  i was just too used to my compiz and transparent terminals and rotating cube and wobbly windows to give them up.  of course, a change like this on my work laptop would mean slower productivity while i unlearned what i had learned.

that’s the boring stuff.  i finally installed on personal lappy and work lappy.  correction:  i finally logged into gnome 3 on both.  i found that a few things in gnome 3 had been smoothed over.

what i like:

  • integrated messaging (using pidgin and the shell extension rather than empathy). this works like it was designed and for me functions just as efficiently.

  • suspend vs. shutdown. i have seen people suspend their laptops, shove it their bags, and go home.  i thought this was dumb since the battery would fade faster than if it had been completely shutdown.  but as i have been adopting this behavior, i like it much better.  there’s a time for shutting down and a time for suspending.  most of the time, i’ve discovered, it’s the latter.  and for a desktop, who shuts those down anymore unless you have to unplug it or open it up for maintenance.  more often than not, those are the exceptions.  what is great is pulling my lappy out of my timbuktu and having it ready to go.  a couple of seconds to find a network connection, and i ‘m back in business.

what i am getting used to:

  • vertical desktop layout vs. horizontal (or in my case, cube). the auto-adding of the screens/desktops when needed is nice.  my one dislike of this is the auto-removing when the screen/desktop is cleared of windows.  i like things in a certain order.  crashed or closed window can rearrange that order.

  • maximize and tiling of windows. i am still adjusting to this.  i would say i like it, but i still find myself accidentally max-ing a window then trying to line it up at the top of the screen.

what i don’t like:

  • the lack of transparency of my terminals! i read through my term windows rather than alt+tabbing (or alt+accenting) among them, so the transparency is key to me.  i do understand this is a side effect of how they did the transparency effect and will be corrected in gnome 3.2.  i really want this back.  (yes, i know you get your transparency with maximized windows, but i don’t open every single one of my terminals in max size work.)

  • the message pop-up bar at the bottom. i am still getting used to this.  i feel that it’s clunky and needs a change, but i don’t have a good suggestion for a way to change it.  i’m not even sure why i have a problem with it.  it just doesn’t feel like it works efficiently.

  • no battery indicator on the top bar. really?  seems kinda backwards when they want a more suspend-able mindset only to not show you how much juice you have left.  someone wasn’t thinking on this point.  i know some themes have it, but this should have been out-of-the-box included.

i’m stoked to see what version three point two will look and feel like.  and with a few adjusted themes, i’m happy with the experience.  bonus points to all those who have contributed the shell extensions allowing for modification.

the adjustment wasn’t as painful as i imagined.  i used xfce for a while before jumping into gnome 3.  i even toyed around with fluxbox as an alternative.  in the end, i gave it a shot.  i mean, c’mon!  it’s not like it’s kde or os x.