Archive for April, 2011

gnome-shell: First Impressions

April 17, 2011

Just did some experimenting with new gnome-shell. Overall the usability seems to be nice; I could get used to it. The “cheat sheet” is a big help (not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing :)

Hard Problems:

  • too slow; this might be due to being run while lots and lots of applications were running on another display; or maybe the onboard Nvidia 8300 GPU is too slow for gnome-shell. Anyway switching to Overview takes about half a second, which is not acceptable for the overall usage concept.
  • no applets for CPU load monitor or system sensors. It seems that the old systray protocol is still supported, so maybe it would be sufficient to find a systray-implemented replacement for gnome-system-monitor applet. Also, no weather info in clock (I really got used to that in Gnome 2).

Soft Problems:

  • I’m missing some “rest mode” on the new desktop :-) Somehow with g-s there’s always some window occupying the screen, so there’s always some task right in front of my attention. With other desktops I could use the window’s Minimize buttons to make all windows disappear temporarily and get a mostly clean view of background image and some file icons, while all applications are reduced to some noise in the taskbar. I haven’t found a similar view in g-s yet, and it’s a bit unnerving.
  • the Applications tab in Overview takes some seconds to load, probably to display the gazillions of applications I have installed over the years. Not much of a problem if people always use the Search Bar, but still for hunter/gatherer people like me the entire Applications list becomes useless due to the lag.
  • which leads to the next point: I’d have appreciated some improvements over the Alt+F2 dialog in Gnome 2; instead it now has even fewer features. Maybe third-party tools like Gnome-Do will fill this gap.

Overall it’s certainly an interesting new desktop. If/when my home or work system becomes capable of running g-s, I will consider switching; and maybe the problems mentioned are fixed by then as well :-)