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Gnome 3, Try 3
LXer Feature: 11-Dec-2011
I just finished my third try with gnome 3. This time was the longest. I spent the month of November using it daily.
I first it tried with a beta version and spent less than 3 weeks total using it. I figured that it was beta and that the fact that the 'shutdown' option was missing and the configuration options missing were due to the unfinished state. Also the worst feature was the use flow, the steps needed to get anything done. Having to disrupt your work flow to go to the activities window and then go to applications to start an application was ridiculously cumbersome.
In the beta version, I had figured that the application menu and any shortcuts had not yet been implemented. I had read that one of the main goals of Gnome 3 was to reduce distraction in your work. Instead, the beta seemed to be designed to actually increase distraction and disruption of work flow.
Why would anyone interested in reduced distraction force users to leave the desktop to the activities window, and then leave the activities window to go to the applications window just to launch an application? Why did these things even need an entire window? In the old desktop model 'activities' was a very small list of things that were running displayed in the panel. 'Applications' was a drop down menu that originated in the panel and took up only as much room as needed, opening sub-panels as your search got deeper. This old design was much less disruptive than the beta version of an entire window devoted to what used to be three applets in a panel that could auto hide.
I was amazed when I saw these still missing in the 3.0 release and that the use flow was actually by design! If this was supposed to be an improved work flow, I find it hard to even comprehend how the people who work like this actually work. When Linus Torvalds described the interface as 'insane' I was in complete agreement. The complete lack of denial by fans of the new design, frankly, baffled me. I still don't understand how they actually use it and feel it is better.
During my second try of Gnome 3, with the release, I kept count of how often I had to leave the desktop and enter the activities menu. This is the absolute worst part of the design. A complete disruption of work flow, shifting the user completely off of the desktop and into another window. Kind of like Biff Tannen slapping George McFly on the side of the head in the movie Back to the Future.
I averaged going to the activities window over 100 times per day. I was amazed at the inefficient design.
I spent the entire month of November using gnome 3.2. With extensions, it is becoming tolerable. You can now see what windows you have open without leaving the desktop. You can also add an applications menu so you do not have leave the desktop in order to launch an application. You also do not need to leave the desktop in order switch workspaces. Extensions also bring back a saner way to switch applications.
I averaged entering the activities window about 40 times a day. This was a vast improvement. While Biff Tannen slapping you on the side of the head yelling 'McFly' 40 times a day is an improvement over having it happen 100 times a day, it is still unacceptable to me.
I'll try again with gnome 3.4.
Until then, Jeff will be happy to hear that I have installed bodhi linux in that partition and am spending December learning my way around. Thanks to the community of volunteers, gnome 3 is overcoming some of its worst design flaws.
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