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Thread: Symphony - Shell evolved

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Symphony - Shell evolved

    It all started early 2010 when I got tired of looking at the theme offerings of Ubuntu 10.04 and before.
    It wasn't particularly about the graphics of the desktop itself, but because the inconsistencies within the interface that made me decide to jump in and draw (and code) something myself.
    After envisioning this "better" theme for quite some time, Gnome 2 had come to an end and Canonical came with Unity to replace Gnome's new offering.
    Basically telling me to stop and revise everything.
    My initial project started of as the "Unity" theme, but as you all ready know somehow Canonical managed to use just that name to create there new shell for Ubuntu. Not suggesting anything just seems really coincidental..
    This switch to Gnome Shell and Unity made me rethink my idea's and vision.

    As I mentioned all over the Internet neither Gnome Shell and Unity are being happily accepted. Although both are starting to mature, they still lack somehow. That's where my ideas shifted from my initial goal.
    Instead of theming own of those new "experiences" I became fascinated by creating a new one. Rethinking all what was the Linux desktop and especially how it could be, use what is great and fix where they got it wrong.
    This also includes the general and consistent look and feel as well, which was my initial idea anyway.

    So to continue this journey I decided to re-energize and take this project a step further and create this new concept.
    Recreating, redefining and redesigning my previous efforts and the current leading desktop environments with the help of the community, with you guys!

    Giving birth to:

    Symphony (Click on the logo for it's website)





    But I do want input from all you guys! So please help me/us to redefine the Ubuntu (Linux) desktop.
    If you have any experience with either of the interfaces stated below, feel free to constructively criticize and appraise it.

    - What do you (dis)like about Gnome Shell and why?
    - What do you (dis)like about Unity and why?
    - What do you (dis)like about KDE and why?
    - What do you miss from Gnome 2 and why?

    And to take other platforms into account:
    - What do you (dis)like about the Windows 8 Metro interface?
    - What do you (dis)like about the OS/X interface?
    - What do you (dis)like about the IOS interface?
    - What do you (dis)like about the Android interface?

    Project website (Look for the concept explanation for now):
    http://symphony.2nv2u.com/

    Some impressions what I was / am after and attempted before:

    Ubuntu WIKI Unity Theme:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/Inco.../Unity%20Theme
    Old Threads Unity Theme:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=9298495
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1483137
    Last edited by Reason NL; June 16th, 2012 at 02:55 AM. Reason: Changed some url's and introduction

  2. #2
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    I can't answer any of your questions (I'm very adaptable when it comes to DEs. I can even live with twm if forced) but I'm looking forward to what you have to offer

  3. #3
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    Quote Originally Posted by zombifier25 View Post
    I can't answer any of your questions (I'm very adaptable when it comes to DEs. I can even live with twm if forced) but I'm looking forward to what you have to offer
    Same here, I can pretty much addept to other interfaces fine, but I do have a preference for certain implementations and workflows.
    The same must apply to you, otherwise why are you interested and posted in the first place?

    I'm currently thinking to make some hybrid concept between Gnome Shell and Unity and started drawing a simple concept.
    I personally like the workspace management from G3 but dislike the way running applications are being accessed.

    I would like the workspace management to be scalable (dynamic like G3) and independant of the output (Physical monitors).
    All outputs should have the ability to display all workspaces by selecting one. Even cloning (Showing the same workspace on multiple outputs) for example beamer purposes should be possible.

    I like the Unity launcher but it needs to be more configurable. The dash itself looks useless to me and needs a different approach. Much more like G3's implementation.

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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    Ok, one of my opinion: Windows 7's Start menu has BOTH the search bar (like Unity) and the classic menu (like classic GNOME), and most DEs only have one (which is lacking depending on circumstances) so I would like to see how those 2 can be used together nicely.

  5. #5
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    What is it exactly what you like about the "classic" menu?
    The fact that it is configurable and lets you place applications in your own folders?
    Or do you miss the basic menu structure like it was in classic gnome (The filter options in Unity)?

  6. #6
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    The filter option is cool, but it requires more pointing and clicking.

  7. #7
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    It's not only the pointing and clicking that's a hassle. It's not apparent enough.
    Although I do like the dash like style (Gnome Shell) which features more control over your workspace. I do agree that it's handy to keep the application categories available.
    So I'm certainly going to incorporate this somehow.
    I even think all applications need some short line to tell what it's about. This could be a simple line like: With Brasero you can burn CD's, but it should be visible without having to hover over something.

  8. #8
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    ill have a crack at this,

    -What do you (dis)like about Gnome Shell and why?

    the all applications giant uncatagorised overlay, its a horrible way to access your installed applications, searching through a giant square filled with icons. fine when you have 6 or 8 apps, not when you have 40

    the way it handles alt-tab by default (though this can be fixed with an extension)

    things i like are the fact it has a good extension framework to try and fix some of its many flaws.
    its compositing is far smoother than compiz (at least on nvidia hardware)
    the half-maximise ability when you drag windows to the side of the screen


    -What do you (dis)like about Unity and why?

    ill come out and say i think the global menu bar makes sense on any platform with a top bar. though hiding it till you mouseover defeats the point of having it imo
    the launcher is well thought out if only size and position were easily customisable (size is with third party programs, position isnt without a recompile)
    the lens i dislike, its not well laid out and hides so many extra icons forcing extra clicks to show them,
    global window management buttons on the other hand are an awful idea especially when limited to a certain position on the bar

    cant speak about KDE havent used it seriously since the 3.5 days

    -gnome classic

    the amount of customisation and applets available for the panel
    i like the regular menu system too
    i dislike the lack of an OPTIONAL search box for applications, as
    zombifier25 said above, a simple catagorised menu system with a search box you can bring up if wanted would be ideal, i remember using something called lancelot in kde3 that was close to what i considered a good menu system with a search box
    Jeremy Clarkson - "A Dazzling Hero of Political Incorrectness"
    My LastFM profile
    want to Give each GTK program its own theme? well look Here

  9. #9
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    I agree that the categorization of the app drawer is a must, especially since it's already available.
    Do you think it should be a small menu like it was in classic, or is an overlay giving you the same functional way of browsing through your apps ok as well?

    I personally don't like the global menu, and think it's the worst copy action from OS/X and they even manage to make it worse by hiding it's options by default, it does seem to make the desktop less cluttered, but nobody knows it's there unless the try to close the window if it's maximized and it doesn't make sense to have options from a small window in the top left corner of the screen.

    I'm currently thinking about the following direction:

    - Use the unity launcher as base but loose the dash and lenses.
    It should be configurable to be placed on other sides of the screen and have a size option.
    Let it only show running applications on the designated workspace unless there pinned.
    Show all workspaces to be able to go to them with one click.

    - Replace the dash and lenses with a gnome shell like overlay but feature a better way to browse through your apps (including categorization) and facilitate in a way to manage places and workspaces in the same way.

    I would like the workspace management to be scalable (dynamic like G3) and independent of the output (Physical monitors).
    All outputs should have the ability to display all workspaces by selecting one. Even cloning (Showing the same workspace on multiple outputs) for example beamer purposes should be possible.
    The workspaces should be completely transparent and detached from the screens attached to the computer. Every screen (monitor) should be nothing more than a view into this virtual workspace system making it more powerful and integrated (Still need to think about different resolutions and dragging windows though).

    - Keep the window button on the left side to be able to maximize windows without it having to block the notification bar. Incorporate tabbing into the windows itself to be able to display every application in a tabbed fashion (Basically making tabs in nautilus, firefox, chrome, terminal etc. useless with a reason) This should not be functionality from the application itself unless it's content based. The application should not care if it's displayed in the same spot multiple times so it's doesn't have to facilitate it.

    - Get rid of the topbar, the global menu system and only use the top right corner to show the time, notifications, sound and user information and be able to click on it to open a menu.

    This is just a starting point, lot's of things need to be addressed along the way.
    If you disagree on my above statements, let me know!
    Last edited by Reason NL; May 15th, 2012 at 12:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Symphony - Shell evolved

    Quote Originally Posted by Reason NL View Post
    I agree that the categorization of the app drawer is a must, especially since it's already available.
    Do you think it should be a small menu like it was in classic, or is an overlay giving you the same functional way of browsing through your apps ok as well?
    i personally prefer a smaller menu, not necessarily quite as small as classic, simply because this allows you to have an eye on other open apps while using it, which is useful for things like IM clients and such, with the overlay you lose the ability to see other open windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Reason NL View Post
    I personally don't like the global menu, and think it's the worst copy action from OS/X and they even manage to make it worse by hiding it's options by default, it does seem to make the desktop less cluttered, but nobody knows it's there unless the try to close the window if it's maximized and it doesn't make sense to have options from a small window in the top left corner of the screen.
    well just personal opinion i guess, for most programs the menu is something i access infrequently, with the toolbars having what i use the majority of the time but it seems we agree that hiding the menus until mouseover is bad design.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reason NL View Post
    I'm currently thinking about the following direction:

    - Use the unity launcher as base but loose the dash and lenses.
    It should be configurable to be placed on other sides of the screen and have a size option.
    Let it only show running applications on the designated workspace unless there pinned.
    Show all workspaces to be able to go to them with one click.

    - Replace the dash and lenses with a gnome shell like overlay but feature a better way to browse through your apps (including categorization) and facilitate in a way to manage places and workspaces in the same way.

    - Get rid of the topbar, the global menu system and only use the top right corner to show the time, notifications, sound and user information and be able to click on it to open a menu.
    i think i understand, you mean something sortof like this?
    http://lh3.ggpht.com/_1QSDkzYY2vc/TT...y-launcher.png

    but with the launcher opening a categorised menu overlay instead of the current lenses

    well, as mentioned above i think a fullscreen overlay isnt the best choice, but im only one person so anyone else who has an opinion should jump in
    Jeremy Clarkson - "A Dazzling Hero of Political Incorrectness"
    My LastFM profile
    want to Give each GTK program its own theme? well look Here

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