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Thread: GNOME Shell

  1. #1
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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    • Install the gnome-shell package (easy but out of date)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
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  2. #2
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Gnome Shell is a fairly radical change for the GNOME project, and it is still in pretty heavy development. It's also a lot more resource intensive for old systems like mine because it *requires* compositing.

    I wrote a blog post with my opinion on GNOME shell a while back: here. (It also has a few screenshots for those of you that don't know what it looks like)
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  3. #3
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Quote Originally Posted by Merk42 View Post
    Say goodbye to compiz as it won't be compatible.
    I have already said goodbye GNOME because of that and because I don't like the design and the workflow of GNOME Shell. Anyway, I'm running KDE since Karmic Beta and I'm loving it.

  4. #4
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Quote Originally Posted by Merk42 View Post
    I know there are those that do like it though. I'm just giving my own opinion here. I personally have some issues with it:
    [list][*]Not being able to see what applications I'm currently running at a glance.
    Deal breaker. Alt-tabbing isn't what I consider user-friendly or usable for average users or mouse-wielding lvl 12 berserks...errr users.

    The text for running/favorite applications is often truncated and obscures the blue dots
    Direct effect of the above.

    Needless reinvention of notifications (though it hasn't even been reinvented yet)
    Ayatana fixes this nicely. But NOOOOOO!!!! We have to reinvent this.

    No single click shortcuts available in panel (must go to overlay)
    Looks like the panel is not going to be the great little widget holder like gnome-panel 2 was.
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  5. #5
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Won't the gnome shell make the default gnome window management less usable in virtual environments (performance wise, as there is no or limited hardware acceleration on there)? Something I am a little concerned about.

  6. #6
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Aww isn't that cute.
    Gnome wants to be KDE.

    *pats Gnome on the head*

  7. #7
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    I have honestly tried learning to like gnome-shell, but I just can't. I will use it over my cold dead body, I would sooner write my own shell replacement than be forced to use this stinking pile of Javascript infested maldesign.
    On strike during the Oneiric cycle due to ungratefulness of Ubuntu.


  8. #8
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Quote Originally Posted by whoop View Post
    Won't the gnome shell make the default gnome window management less usable in virtual environments (performance wise, as there is no or limited hardware acceleration on there)? Something I am a little concerned about.
    Well, since mutter will require compositing I could see that as being hard for at least certain virtualized environments, also there seems to be problems with it for thin clients (there's a guy on Planet GNOME who does this for a whole city, Dave Richards I think, who wrote a post on this recently).
    On strike during the Oneiric cycle due to ungratefulness of Ubuntu.


  9. #9
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    Yep, Gnome shell surely looks like a complete disaster of UI design.

    I'll be looking into Xfce when it comes out.

    It's really a shame, I really like GNOME now, despite some of the irritations that it brings. The simplicity and functionality hybrid is really quite pleasant for me..

  10. #10
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    Re: GNOME Shell

    As it stands, gnome-shell can not be used on machines which video hardware/drivers which do not support non-power-of-two textures. These machines also can not run compiz, but compiz is optional. If gnome-shell becomes the default gnome window manager these machines can not run default gnome anymore. The Thinkpad T23 I'm currently using is one of those machines. With its 1.2 GHz Pentium III-m is perfectly capable of running gnome. I'm using it as my main machine without any problems.

    I should be able to keep running gnome with a non-default window manager but I wonder if gnome-shell is actually worth this sacrifice in compatibility. As far as I'm concerned it is not.
    [ "Omnis enim res, quae dando non deficit, dum habetur et non datur, nondum habetur, quomodo habenda est." ]

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