Update on Fedora 15 Development - GNOME 3 Shell Updates


GNOME 3 ShellGNOME 3 ShellI've been keeping up with Fedora 15 development. I installed a nightly build on my wife's dual-boot computer. I setup a Fedora 15 KVM virtual machine in preparation for my remix compose... which isn't quite there yet.

Anyway, I've noticed a few changes that came with some updates yesterday that I wanted to share:

  1. Fedora 15 appears to have incorporated all of the upstream GNOME 3 changes. The experience is exactly like that from the GNOME 3 live beta based on OpenSUSE
  2. They added a way in the GNOME 3 Shell System Settings to switch back to the GNOME 2 style desktop
  3. The GNOME 2 style desktop has been polished up some
  4. Fedora has added some additional artwork for non-GNOME desktops

Fallback DesktopFallback DesktopThe GNOME 2 style fallback desktop in GNOME 3 isn't exactly like the previous GNOME 2.32 desktop but it is fairly close. There are some elements from GNOME Shell present... such as the window styling and decorations (although you DO get the minimize and maximize buttons back). You can place application buttons on the top panel but none are there by default. There isn't a right-click desktop menu and the System Settings are from GNOME 3. Although the fallback desktop mode is a bit different than the older GNOME 2.32 desktop, the changes they have made should go a long way to make GNOME 2 diehards a little happier.

I've been using the GNOME 3 Shell more and I really like the changes they've made since the Fedora 15 Alpha release. These changes include larger icons in the Applications list and auto-managed virtual desktops. Some people call this a "dumbing down" of the interface but I prefer to call it streamlining. If you have a lot of previous GNOME 2.x experience you might perceive it to be counter-intuitive... but give it a little while. The streamlining really makes the new environment easy to learn and use. It is elegant, and as one blogger put it... "it looks expensive".

The GNOME developers have frozen the development for this development cycle and only bugfixes will be accepted. GNOME 3 Shell is finished and I like it. As a long-time KDE user, I'm not sure I'm ready to switch to GNOME 3 exclusively but really have enjoyed testing it out. I still expect there to be quite a bit of backlash against GNOME 3 Shell when it becomes the default desktop in Fedora 15 and probably also in the next major releases of other GNOME-based distros... but I think a lot of people are going to like it too. When you get a chance, give it a try.

System Settings Fallback OFF Fallback ON

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Gnome 3 is not a complete

Gnome 3 is not a complete idea after many years waiting!
1-DPI is not configurable.
2-Power manager is not suitable for laptop users.
3-System configuration is not clear.

Scott Dowdle's picture

No software is ever complete

Pretty vague post.

I've have not yet ever needed to adjust the DPI of my display (with any X setup) but if that is something that is needed, I'm sure they'll add it.

Some people are unhappy with the default "close the lid" configuration. They don't have a GUI way to change that and they may or may not add that in the future... but there is a command line way to change it. In other words, the situation is a lot like several other previous GNOME releases. :)

At least now they have bundled all of the configuration items into one interface that is searchable. I'm sure that will be added to and modified over time... so I actually think it is better than in the past.

But let me be clear, I am *NOT* the defender of GNOME 3 Shell. If you don't like it, don't use it. It is very subjective.

Very happy to see options

The Gnome Shell interface is a smartphone interface. As such it is unacceptable those of us who have to multitask on a computer. Some of us actually have to do work on multiple threads at the same time. I am glad the Fedora packagers seem to recognize this reality but it isn't really the answer. Interface designers must recognize that with the range of devices out there one size interface no longer fit all needs. This means multiple interfaces need to be incorporated into desktops to meet different needs. The KDE developers have recognized this by providing desktop and netbook interfaces in their configuration tools. On the small network I manage I am going to supply my sophisticated group of users with Gnome, KDE, LxDE, and XfCE on their desktops. They can take their pick of which interface to use; they all talk to each other to one extent or another. That is the best I can do until developers recognize reality and get their act together.

Scott Dowdle's picture

Just fine for the desktop

This is a complete misconception. GNOME 3 Shell multitasks just fine. Put as many windows on one or more virtual desktops as desired. Not much as really changed. Why some see it as a smartphone interface is beyond me.

I have to ask. Have you given it a try? If so... and you don't like it fine. I like it. It is elegant and works well.

Yes we tried it - no sale

I set up a Fedora 15 Alpha partition on a test box in our shop as soon as it came out. That lets my users and I check on Gnome3 and Gnome Shell before we commit to it. The Gnome3 tools seem to be OK. They are a little rough around the edges but that will be fixed. Gnome Shell is another story. The more bleeding edge folks are on Fedora and most of them don't like Gnome Shell. The more staid users are on the Scientific Linux version of RHEL 5.5 and don't much care. Interfaces on that release are a couple generations old. As I said in a previous post if the Gnome developers persist in pushing a smartphone interface at us, we will go elsewhere.

have to agree

I have been using and admining intel based unix solutions for a very long time. Fedora and gnome and compiz have been like "the thing" for a very long time. A huge mistake by gnome guys, give me back my 3d desktop. ho well kde will still work. never liked kde, but gnome is basically broken and none functional at this point, at least for me.

newbies will never notice and like the simplified interface sadly they will not even know what they are missing.

hope gnome remove heads from backends long enough to see and then fix this.

How do I find a download link for the nightly builds of Fedora

You mentioned downloading the nightly build for Fedora 15, I have the alpha version as a live USB, but I would like to follow progress until Fedora 15 is released.

Looking forward to a response.

Regards from Montreal Canada

Leslie Satenstein

Scott Dowdle's picture

Fedora Nightly Composes

I linked to it in the original article. They used to have raw links to the isos but now they provide generated links through their Koji build system:


Click on the html document for the desired day and there are links.

I look forward to Gnome 3

I look forward to Gnome 3, but I will wait until it goes through a few improved in the future. Hence, I am very happy about the Fallback Desktop.

Why? The logic to separate "Applications", "Places" and "System" is simple and great. Even standard users understand this separation within a few seconds and simply like this. It enormously increases their productivity.

Why was it decided to move away from this logic in Gnome 3. I think it is silly. Gnome Zeitgeist will not do it, but it can be a great addition.

Do you know, what the Gnome team is planning to create a consistent access to data and files?

Scott Dowdle's picture

Access to data and files?

It's pretty simple really. Just add your preferred file manager to the application dock as a favorite and click on that. In fact, some users may want have to a file manager always open. I usually do even in KDE... since I work with files so frequently.

Separation between "Applications" and "Folders/Files"

Thanks Scott. Of course, you are right that it will work this way. But isn't it more convenient or let's say more productive if all important folders, network resources, last used documents and so forth are easily accessible via "Places" in the menu bar.

I think that the old behaviour is more consistent than the new one in Gnome 3. It separates between "I want to access/open/search some files" and "I want to open an application". This logic is now simply gone.

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