Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gnome users are revolting VII

Over the summer I've been reading a lot of negative comments about Gnome 3. Many Gnome users apparently don't like the new desktop and are abandoning it. But for what? Either the old Windows 95 paradigm of Cinnamon or MATE, or the Windows 7 look of KDE.

I'm somewhat surprised. Surely seventeen years later there's a better way to design a desktop? Maybe KDE is it, but I can't see people who prefer the minimalism of Gnome moving to the configuration surfeit of KDE.

GNOME designer William Jon McCann gave an interview recently about what Gnome is trying to do. He made the point that Gnome hasn't given up on the desktop, but is aiming more for the laptop user. The more efficient use of screen real estate by Gnome 3 is something I've pointed out before. It's most obvious in Gnome 3 applications that have given up the title bar in full screen mode, like the Epiphany browser:

Compared to Firefox with a title bar in Gnome 2:

To me at least, Gnome 3 seems a much more efficient and elegant design. That's not to say I think Gnome 3 is perfect. Although windows are beautiful, switching between them is awkward, if, like me, you're more a mouse person than a keyboard person. Alt Tab is a beautiful way to switch windows, but it's a awkward key combination: I'm still waiting for somebody to implement my application switcher extension for Gnome 3.

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