Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Jul 2012 12:41 UTC
Gnome Honest question. Do you think the GNOME project is as healthy today as it was, say, 4 years ago? Benjamin Otte explains that no, it isn't. GNOME lacks developers, goals, mindshare and users. The situation as he describes it, is a lot more dire than I personally thought.
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Works for me.
by Frederik on Sun 29th Jul 2012 07:52 UTC
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To offset the row of bashing, I tought I'd leave a small account of my experiences with GNOME-Shell.

I have been using GNOME-Shell (on Ubuntu 12.04) for several months now, privately and at work. Some colleagues at work have been using it for a few months as well, and so far there hasn't been any serious critizism.

The only extensions I installed was the user theme extension and the contacts extension. And I installed the tweak tool. Most of my colleagues have done the same, some didn't mind the default theme and didn't install the user theme extension. I never really used panel applets that much in GNOME 2, so I'm not upset about the "non-configurability" of the top bar.

My first few impressions of GNOME-Shell were less than stellar, I couldn't run it on my desktop and laptop due to kernel/driver issues. At the time there were either missing features in the Intel graphics driver or horrible power management to choose from. These problems were totally unrelated to GNOME-Shell, and were eventually fixed in the kernel/driver. After that, I used GNOME-Shell full time.

GNOME 2 started with putting rarely used, "expert" configuration options into gconf without providing a UI for them. So I wasn't surprised when GNOME-Shell continued this, and the tweak tool unearths those most useful to me. There were some issues with configuring keyboard shortcuts and a few other window management behaviors, these seem to be caused by Ubuntu however (editing parts of GNOME 3 to use gconf instead of gsettings/dbus). A bit of googleing resolved these issues, and while I found this really annoying, I'm not dooming the whole project out of my own experience.

Because over the last months I have not only become acustomed to the search functionality, I have come to rely on it. I hardly ever use my mouse, since most of the day I'm either writing code, documentation or emails. Starting and switching to some other application is incredible, I can start or switch to any application using the Win-key and typing at most three letters; using the search is so fast, I don't even use the favorites dock.

The new Alt-Tab behavior took some time getting used to, but now I find it really helpful when I try to find the one Skype window, or the one Terminal window I'm looking for. But I'm actually using the overview even more often than Alt-Tab. Another thing I had to get used to, but now find much more useful, is the automatic workspace management.

I'm also fond of the animations, they're really smooth, non-distractive. I had some lockups here and there, there used to be the occasional load spike were the GNOME-Shell process was using 100% CPU. However, this seems to have been fixed in the recent updates. I could never find any apparent reason for this, but I'm glad it's gone. GNOME-Shell runs very smooth and stable all through my work day and it's only when I'm trying out some extensions, that I start seeing some instability.

So, my experience is overall positive. It doesn't distract me and all important window/application/workspace management is only a few key strokes (or mouse throws/clicks) away. Either GNOME-Shell really fits my workflow, or its workflow really works well for me. Most problems I had were unrelated to GNOME-Shell or fixed in the next releases. I'm glad the project tried something new and broke with it's previous conservative, iterative approach.

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