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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Sat, 11 Aug 2012

Did KDE get as much grief in the 4.x transition as GNOME is getting for 3.x?

It wasn't all that long ago that the KDE desktop environment made a major leap from version 3 to 4, leaving a lot of the old functionality behind without having the new polished enough to keep users happy.

And now GNOME has thrown out its own version 2 bathwater for a new GNOME 3/Shell desktop paradigm in which the window manager is radically different but the critical "furniture" of the environment in the form of applications such as Gedit, NetworkManager, GDM, etc., remain largely the same.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. GNOME is about to pour extra fuel on this particular fire as a very important piece of that furniture -- the Nautilus file manager -- is about to undergo a "dumbing down" to make it more touchscreen/mobile friendly, even though GNOME doesn't appear to run on any mobile or touchscreen devices at this particular point in time.

So do you think GNOME is taking an especially hard pounding for the changes in version 3? Do you think KDE was criticized as much, or more? Did KDE finally acquit itself with later versions in the 4.x series? (I know they never managed to get their office suite back on track.)

And will this all blow over for GNOME, or will the Linux community (and what's left of the BSD-running GNOME community) leave it for dead?

(There's irony; I'm writing this post directly to the web server over sftp entirely in GNOME 3 using Nautilus and Gedit. I've been running Xfce 4.8 quite a bit, but I'm getting more comfortable with GNOME Shell all the time.)

Tue, 31 Jul 2012

GNOME -- emotions are running high

Here are two blog posts to read about the current uneasy feeling(s) over the GNOME Project:

More from me when I get some time ...

Sat, 28 Jul 2012

Read 'An opinion on the future of GNOME' at Fewt.com, including the comments

It's no secret that full reimagining of desktop environments in Linux/Unix can make people unhappy. It happened with KDE 4, and it's happening with GNOME 3, too. I wasn't around, but I've been told that the transition from GNOME 1 to 2 wasn't without its bumps and lumps.

Read 'An opinion on the future of GNOME' at Fewt.com, and don't skip the comments. It'll give you a bit of an idea about what users think.

As for what I'm doing about GNOME 3, I'm still in the evaluating it, not committed yet stage. I recently upgrade my Debian Squeeze laptop (with GNOME 2.3x as the only desktop environment) to Wheezy, the current (yet frozen) Testing branch. It upgraded to GNOME 3.4.x, and I added Xfce 4.8.

I'm switching between the two environments -- GNOME and Xfce -- and I haven't decided to stick with one or the other. I've run both for years on various systems, and it's been nice to seen the improvements in Xfce over that time.

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Wed, 04 Jul 2012

Starting applications with the 'type to search' box in GNOME 3

Though I'm very much a fan of the "traditional" menu, I had an inkling that I'd enjoy using the "type to search" box to start applications in GNOME 3 (or, more specifically, GNOME 3.4 in the just-frozen, still-Testing Debian Wheezy).

You see, even though I really like the "discoverability" of a traditional desktop menu system, when I know what I want, it's easier to either click an icon (like the long row of them I had on my upper panel in GNOME 2, or the many I now have in the GNOME 3 icon area on the left side of the screen) or start typing in what you want, getting it as soon as what you type is unique enough to give it to you.

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Tue, 05 Jun 2012

GNOME 3.4 is making its way to Debian Wheezy

GNOME 3.4 is making its way to Debian Wheezy. But getting it there is not so easy.

Fri, 18 May 2012

Despite GNOME 3, GNOME remains compelling

I'm not jumping headlong into GNOME 3's GNOME Shell, though I see the day coming very soon when I'll leave GNOME 2 and Debian Squeeze behind.

I don't know who said, "The current desktop environment and its actual menus aren't working. Let's blow that stuff up and try something totally new with fewer features and little configurability." I'm neither totally against it, nor excited about making the transition.

With that in mind, I've tried lots of other desktop environments, including Xfce, LXDE, Openbox with Xfce's Thunar, Enlightenment (with PCManFM), etc.

No, I haven't given KDE a shot recently. I may.

But right now there are features and polish in GNOME's Nautilus file manager, Gedit text editor, and many other helper applications, that I would miss were I to leave GNOME entirely.

I could mix/match, bringing Nautilus, Gedit, Rhythmbox, NetworkManager and more into a different DE. Or I could close my eyes and leap ... into GNOME Shell.