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    GNOME Shell

    What is GNOME Shell?
    GNOME Shell, for those of you that do not know, is a user interface change to GNOME. With it, brings Mutter a combination of Metacity and Clutter, managing the windows. Say goodbye to compiz as it won't be compatible.

    GNOME Shell will be released in September of 2010 so it won't be default until at least 10.10, most likely later.

    What does it look like?
    Here is GNOME Shell.

    The date and username provide a calendar and menu respectively


    Currently some applications are open but minimized. Where are they?
    This is the overlay, where you run and manage "Activities"


    More applications can be run either by searching for the name in "find", or clicking the bar that says applications


    You can easily add or subtract workspaces with the + and - buttons. By default, layed out in wall form, the scrollbar, or smaller boxes letting you switch among them


    You can also view all workspaces at once in a grid layout


    Oh look, an instant message! Clicking on the icon in the lower right will bring up the window.


    Just hover over the message to expand it to view it all.



    How do I Learn More?


    How do I Try it?

    Running Jaunty, Karmic and Lucid there are three ways to try GNOME Shell
    • Install the gnome-shell package (easy but out of date)
    • Use the Ricotz PPA (slightly harder, but more up to date)
    • Build from source (more difficult, but up to date when something is added, provided you rerun jhbuild build)

    Don't try it in a Virtual Machine


    Building from source is a bit more complicated than the GNOME instructions say. So fire up a terminal
    1. sudo apt-get install curl libgstreamer0.10-dev libcroco3-dev xserver-xephyr xulrunner-dev python-dev mesa-common-dev libreadline5-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libwnck-dev librsvg2-dev libgnome-desktop-dev libgnome-menu-dev libffi-dev libgtk2.0-dev libgconf2-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev gtk-doc-tools gnome-common git-core flex bison automake build-essential mesa-utils
    2. curl -O http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-sh...build-setup.sh
    3. /bin/bash gnome-shell-build-setup.sh
    4. Get jhbuild (not a command line entry)
      • For Lucid via repository, package name "jhbuild". You will also need to install "gir-repository-dev"
      • From Jaunty
      • From Debian

    5. jhbuild build


    To run
    1. cd ~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell/src
    2. ./gnome-shell --replace


    To quit GNOME Shell and return to the panels
    1. Go to the terminal
    2. hit CTRL-C


    To update (check the commit log for anything new)
    • jhbuild build (rebuilds updated files)
    • jhbuild build -f -a -c (builds all gnome shell files)



    If you want to make it your default, put "gnome-shell --replace" in your Startup Items

    Be aware that there is currently a bug with the cursor being hidden in panel or overlay---the workaround is ALT & F2 to bring up a run dialog & type in "restart"--the shell will restart & grab your cursor.

    Love it? Hate it? Have a suggestion? Make your voice heard in the GNOME Shell mailing list

    Personal thoughts
    I currently have the following issues:
    • Unable to see what applications I'm currently running at a glance.
    • Text for running/favorite applications is often truncated
    • Blue dots illustrating number of open windows is often obscured
      (dots and any way of illustrating number of open windows has since been removed all together)
    • Needless reinvention of notifications
    • No single click shortcuts available in panel (must go to overlay)
    • No ability to view/empty trash (the paradigm shift is to remove trash, but much like a lot of things in GNOME Shell they haven't thought of what to replace it with)



    I also wonder if Ubuntu plans on adding its own custom bits to GNOME Shell
    Last edited by Merk42; April 14th, 2010 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Fixed link to Ricotz PPA
    If the only reason you think your software is better is because it's FOSS, you need to write better software

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