In the beginning, there was Linus. He said, let there be Linux, and Linux was there. Actually he wrote some code. Then there was Miguel. He said, let there be GNOME. Actually he announced it on IRC. But then GNOME was there. As many years passed, both Linux and GNOME grew in size and complexity at niceness. And so it is that we have on our doorsteps, Linux 2.6, and GNOME 2.6.
I downloaded Fedora Core 2 test 1 recently to give GNOME 2.6 and Linux 2.6 a spin. Yes, GNOME 2.6 wasn't out yet when I was writing this article, but I could test with the release candidate included in Fedora.
A lot has been said about 2.6. 2.6 is a much bigger jump from 2.4 compared with the jump 2.0 to 2.2, or 2.2 to 2.4. There are two things most people will have been waiting for. First, GTK 2.4 is now out, and most, if not all core GNOME components already use it.
Second, there is spatial Nautilus, which implements a new desktop navigation paradigm. Here I use the word navigation very loosely, and this will become clearer later why.
Third is Gstreamer. This has come a long way and is implemented more widely this time around. It is certainly more integrated with the core GNOME. Its use is wider spread throughout the environment.
The are a few other enhancements in GNOME too which we will encounter as we go along.
So, what is new.
Heading over to the module list to see what actually made it in, and what didn't make it. And why?
There are a few new tricks in this release of GNOME. Some below the surface, and some above it.
Before you begin reading, please note that this is not a review of default GNOME. So the theme used is not the default, and neither is the arrangement. This varies from distro to distro, and anyway, I wanted a review which featured GNOME and the way it worked, not the way it looked per se.
GNOME Keyring. This is a new module. This module is responsible for authentication information. It enables you to keep your authentication information for a specified period, currently either for a session, or in some database. No more typing your passwords in plain text for everyone to see. It is good that this is now in GNOME, but the bad is that it does not support ftp. So I cannot connect to an ftp site and have a prompt for the password yet.
This is something that needs to be done very quickly too. Though many are of the opinion that a dedicated ftp client is best for ftp, it is always nice to have a quick way to navigate in ftp sites, and I would prefer the Nautilus view of an ftp site, rather than how gftp does it for example.
There is GTK 2.4, with the much awaited file selector. Well, what about it? It brings a few new widgets of its own, plus the file selector. The flame wars should be over at last. Is there anything good about this file selector. Well, there is the good, the bad, and the beautiful.
The bad is that there is no way to open hidden files with the file selector, or if there is, it is well and truly hidden from your truly, the guys doing this review. This is a bug that should not have made it past release candidate. I am truly stumped. Even if it is somehow possible, it should be far easier.
The good is that the file selector looks and acts very well in the rest of the cases.
The beautiful: Well, the book-marks. I can now book-mark directories I use a lot easily in the file selector. It comes with a few bookmarks of its own too, such as the home directory, and root file system. If you book-mark a directory, and then move it, it removes it from the book-marks, and if you move it back, the book-mark reappears. This is probably very useful for removable volumes.