Friday, May 6, 2011

Gnome 3 - Where's the Desktop?

The initial reaction to Gnome 3 is understandably negative. It does not look anything like what we were using. Getting started is not easy.

The major shock is the empty desktop - no icons. My wife had organized her desktop the way it suited her. So, she was at a complete loss. For a moment, I panicked and was contemplating reinstalling Fedora 14. However, a little search led to the existence of gnome-tweak-tool. It has an option to let the desktop be managed by the file manager. It would have been much better to enable it by default if the desktop was upgraded from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3. The shock of change would be far less.

The next issue was the missing favorite applications which had been saved on the panel. This was a minor issue. A new favorites list was recreated with a little effort. It was a relief to see that the icon sizes decreased as more favorites were added.

One disappointment is that the favorites list should be visible all the time on a large screen. One first has to move the mouse to the upper left corner or click on Activities to get the list. It may be hidden only on a smaller screen device like on a netbook, where the screen real-estate is precious. The latter approach is followed by the Unity interface on Ubuntu 11.04.

The minimize option was missed by my wife and so was the absence of the applications on the task bar. She found switching between applications much harder.

However, she is willing to live with the system and I do not have to revert to Fedora 14!

The presence of Suspend option on the desktop(which does not work on my hardware) and the absence of Shutdown option from the desktop is somewhat irritating. I have not yet had a chance to explore if these options can be customized.

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