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Thread: GNOME Classic & Flashback sessions

  1. #1
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    GNOME Classic & Flashback sessions

    This thread is for the discussion of the GNOME Classic and GNOME Flashback sessions in development only. Please refer to my Precise notes for released versions. Support questions for released versions should be posted in the Desktop Environments section of the forums.

    My personal focus is on the Flashback w/Metacity session but I welcome comments regarding the new GNOME Classic and Flashback w/Compiz sessions. No PPA is needed to test the new GNOME Classic session since Ubuntu GNOME Saucy but WebUpD8 still has the best description I've found.

    By now most Ubuntu users know that beginning with Oneiric (11.10) Ubuntu switched to GNOME 3/GTK+ 3 as it's base with Unity as the default desktop environment using the Compiz window manager whereas GNOME themselves used the new GnomeShell DE with the Mutter window manager. As a "fallback mode" for hardware that wouldn't support the Compiz window manager Ubuntu offered the Unity-2D session using the Metacity window manager in both Ubuntu Oneiric and Precise but they dropped Unity-2D in Quantal.

    GNOME themselves offered a "fallback" session that was presented as "GNOME Classic" which used the Compiz window manager or "GNOME Classic (no effects)" which used the Metacity window manager at login in Ubuntu Oneiric, Precise, and Quantal if the package 'gnome-panel' was installed and, while the GNOME devs never intended to provide long term support for their "fallback session", Edubuntu will continue to maintain the "flashback w/metacity" session in order to support their LTSP installs.

    There has however been continued session renaming to facilitate GNOME's new Classic session that runs on top of the Mutter window manager, but the safest and sanest way to install the "GNOME Flashback" sessions in Ubuntu or Ubuntu GNOME is still to install the package 'gnome-panel' which has a very light footprint. Of course if you want to run the Compiz session in Ubuntu GNOME you'll additionally need to install the packages 'compiz' and presumably 'compizconfig-settings-manager'.

    There have been a number of changes/improvements since Precise, most notably I had not recommended installing 'gnome-tweak-tool' because it had a very heavy footprint but that's improved greatly, and there have been many changes due to the deprecation of gconf. So after installing 'gnome-panel', logging out, selecting the desired session, and logging back in you may wish to install any of the following packages:

    'indicator-applet' and/or 'indicator-applet-session' - as an alternative to 'indicator-applet-complete'

    'gnome-tweak-tool' - because it's quite convenient for general theming tweaks such as having the old-style icons appear on the desktop, setting the key sequence for killing X, and changing themes.

    'shiki-colors-metacity-theme' - because it provides a rather retro window management button theme

    'sensors-applet' - to display system temps

    Update notifications now show up in the "window list" applet so no tweak is needed in that regard.

    With the ability to add 'gnome-tweak-tool' w/o a bunch of bloat that leaves very few "tweaks" that actually require the use of the CLI:

    #1: Moving the window-management buttons back to the right:

    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences button-layout :minimize,maximize,close
    #2: Disabling the overlay-scrollbars:

    Code:
    gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal
    #3: Possibly disabling the Firefox and/or Thunderbird global menu add-ons???????????? I'm unsure about this. I need to play around with fresh profiles and check that out.

    #4: Possibly disabling the Unity webapps:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/attachment.p...6&d=1386605099

    Code:
    gsettings set com.canonical.unity.webapps integration-allowed false
    #5: Restoring the missing menu icons:

    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface menus-have-icons true
    Code:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface buttons-have-icons true
    Known Issues:

    The most troubling thing I've encountered is the inability to backup or restore configurations:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...0#post12986410

    ***********************************************

    Edit: I wanted to add a couple of valuable links:

    https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/GnomeFlashback

    https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gnome-flashback-list/
    Last edited by kansasnoob; May 1st, 2014 at 12:44 PM. Reason: major edit underway, sorry

  2. #2
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    @kansasnoob

    Can I make a few points?

    1) Plenty of people are installing or upgrading to the latest Ubuntu release (13.10)
    2) Plenty of people want what they call "Gnome Classic."
    3) Gnome 3 DE and Gnome 3 Shell are under continued development.
    4) Ubuntu is under continued development and is becoming less of a Gnome respin and more of a Linux distribution with its own code base as well as its own design.

    I conclude that there is a need for Ubuntu+1 testers to pioneer the way into Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 to help bridge the gulf that could possibly form between Ubuntu and those distributions based upon Ubuntu whose developers have their own map into the future. I would say that you have identified a valid Ubuntu+1 testing/research project.

    Regards.
    Last edited by grahammechanical; October 30th, 2013 at 03:50 PM.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  3. #3
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    @kansasnoob

    Can I make a few points?

    1) Plenty of people are installing or upgrading to the latest Ubuntu release (13.10)
    2) Plenty of people want what they call "Gnome Classic."
    3) Gnome 3 DE and Gnome 3 Shell are under continued development.
    4) Ubuntu is under continued development and is becoming less of a Gnome respin and more of a Linux distribution with its own code base as well as its own design.

    I conclude that there is a need for Ubuntu+1 testers to pioneer the way into Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 to help bridge the gulf that could possibly form between Ubuntu and those distributions based upon Ubuntu whose developers have their own map into the future. I would say that you have identified a valid Ubuntu+1 testing/research project.

    Regards.
    It's all a bit daunting actually

    When I originally pursued that "fallback" thing I fully expected that session to die when Precise reached it's EOL, but it now looks like Edubuntu is going to keep it alive so I need to get on the ball

    I've been spending a lot of time in Ubuntu GNOME using the standard gnome-shell DE with no PPA's simply because I like it, but I maintain 43 other PC's within a 50 mile radius and many of the users prefer a truly "classic" desktop paradigm. To further complicate things some of those PC's have multiple users and one user may prefer Unity while another may prefer "fallback" or even 'lubuntu-core'.

    And I'm kicking myself for overlooking bugs like these during the Saucy dev cycle:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...s/+bug/1245209

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...r/+bug/1245915

    Both still effect Trusty at this point, although I'm unsure about converting/blending Ubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME ATM since they use different default settings.

    Regardless there is plenty of work to do

  4. #4
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Many thanks to whoever approved this. My step #1 is to clear up any confusion about the sessions

    So I'm thinking about posting a thread in Desktop Environments titled:

    Confusion surrounding GNOME classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Then I'll continue with text somewhat like this:

    I've noticed a few posts lately indicating some confusion surrounding the new GNOME session options available at login so I hope to clear that up a little bit if possible. A brief history lesson is needed so bear with me.

    Beginning with Oneiric (11.10) Ubuntu switched to using GNOME 3 as it's base and Unity as the default desktop environment using the Compiz window manager whereas GNOME themselves used the new GnomeShell DE with the Mutter window manager.

    As a "fallback mode" for hardware that wouldn't support the Compiz window manager Ubuntu offered the Unity-2D session using the Metacity window manager whereas GNOME themselves offered a "fallback" session that was presented as "GNOME Classic" or "GNOME Classic (no effects)" at login in Ubuntu if the package 'gnome-panel' was installed.

    The GNOME devs had never intended to provide long term support for their "fallback session" so during Ubuntu's Raring dev cycle they sounded the death knoll for the "fallback" session, but then Edubuntu dev announced their intent to keep it alive in order to support their LTSP installs:

    http://jonathancarter.org/2013/02/05...anel-is-alive/

    In the meanwhile Red Hat put some pressure on the GNOME devs to create a new Classic session that runs on top of the Mutter window manager. It should in no way be confused with the earlier "fallback" that Ubuntu called "classic" though. You can get a glimpse of the new "Classic" here:

    http://www.webupd8.org/2013/02/a-qui...e-classic.html

    In order to make the new Gnome Classic mode distinguishable from the the older "classic" mode during the Raring dev cycle the name "classic" was replaced with "fallback", then in Saucy the name was changed from "fallback" to "flashback".

    Are you confused yet? I'm almost dizzy just trying to explain it.

  5. #5
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    I have noticed one difference between Ubuntu Gnome and Ubuntu and the other flavours. And that difference maybe affecting things. May be not. GDM and not lightdm.

    When I was testing running with Xmir on Ubuntu and all the flavours Ubuntu Gnome was the only one that did not use Lighdm and Ubuntu Gnome was the only one I could not run with Xmir.

    I also found out that Lightdm does more than manage the login screen. It manages the display from quite early one. I guess that GDM does the same. Anyway by switching to Lightdm I was able to get Ubuntu Gnome running on Xmir. I lost the fine Ubuntu Gnome login screen in the process and I gave up trying to get it back. It did my head in searching for stuff.

    So, if flashback (no effects) works in Edubuntu and Ubuntu but not in Ubuntu Gnome there has to be a reason.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2183871

    Regards.
    Last edited by grahammechanical; October 30th, 2013 at 09:55 PM.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  6. #6
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    I have noticed one difference between Ubuntu Gnome and Ubuntu and the other flavours. And that difference maybe affecting things. May be not. GDM and not lightdm.

    When I was testing running with Xmir on Ubuntu and all the flavours Ubuntu Gnome was the only one that did not use Lighdm and Ubuntu Gnome was the only one I could not run with Xmir.

    I also found out that Lightdm does more than manage the login screen. It manages the display from quite early one. I guess that GDM does the same. Anyway by switching to Lightdm I was able to get Ubuntu Gnome running on Xmir. I lost the fine Ubuntu Gnome login screen in the process and I gave up trying to get it back. It did my head in searching for stuff.

    So, if flashback (no effects) works in Edubuntu and Ubuntu but not in Ubuntu Gnome there has to be a reason.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2183871

    Regards.
    Thanks, that gives me cool idea to try

    I mean regarding this bug:

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...s/+bug/1245209

    It does look like the X-session is not starting properly so I should try lightdm with all available greeters. Now I need to pull up my notes on lightdm

  7. #7
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    I have noticed one difference between Ubuntu Gnome and Ubuntu and the other flavours. And that difference maybe affecting things. May be not. GDM and not lightdm.

    When I was testing running with Xmir on Ubuntu and all the flavours Ubuntu Gnome was the only one that did not use Lighdm and Ubuntu Gnome was the only one I could not run with Xmir.

    I also found out that Lightdm does more than manage the login screen. It manages the display from quite early one. I guess that GDM does the same. Anyway by switching to Lightdm I was able to get Ubuntu Gnome running on Xmir. I lost the fine Ubuntu Gnome login screen in the process and I gave up trying to get it back. It did my head in searching for stuff.

    So, if flashback (no effects) works in Edubuntu and Ubuntu but not in Ubuntu Gnome there has to be a reason.

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2183871

    Regards.
    @graham,

    Could you clarify please. Are you talking about the Edubuntu Desktop (downloadable from the repos) or the Edubuntu.iso? because these two are horses of a different colour, the prior bringing in problems and the latter being an extremeley large .iso.

    regards..
    This is Rolling Release
    Warnings for New Beta Testers& Helpful Terminal Commands:
    Running Trusty /devel/@ 5.120GHz32bit/ Please put [ prefix] on New Threads!

  8. #8
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    @kansasnoob

    Can I make a few points?

    1) Plenty of people are installing or upgrading to the latest Ubuntu release (13.10)
    2) Plenty of people want what they call "Gnome Classic."
    3) Gnome 3 DE and Gnome 3 Shell are under continued development.
    4) Ubuntu is under continued development and is becoming less of a Gnome respin and more of a Linux distribution with its own code base as well as its own design.

    I conclude that there is a need for Ubuntu+1 testers to pioneer the way into Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 to help bridge the gulf that could possibly form between Ubuntu and those distributions based upon Ubuntu whose developers have their own map into the future. I would say that you have identified a valid Ubuntu+1 testing/research project.

    Regards.
    I have gnome-flashback working flawlessly in Trusty. Of course it is a higher end machine but I may try it on lower end form factors. There is a need for gnome (no -effects) and thats good news about Edubuntu because some teachers who are transitioning from Windows to Ubuntu (Ed) need the (no-effects) while teaching young children, otherwise it it too complex.

    regards..
    This is Rolling Release
    Warnings for New Beta Testers& Helpful Terminal Commands:
    Running Trusty /devel/@ 5.120GHz32bit/ Please put [ prefix] on New Threads!

  9. #9
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    How factually correct do you think this is:

    I've noticed a few posts lately indicating some confusion surrounding the new GNOME session options available at login so I hope to clear that up a little bit if possible. A brief history lesson is needed so bear with me.

    Beginning with Oneiric (11.10) Ubuntu switched to using GNOME 3 as it's base and Unity as the default desktop environment using the Compiz window manager whereas GNOME themselves used the new GnomeShell DE with the Mutter window manager.

    As a "fallback mode" for hardware that wouldn't support the Compiz window manager Ubuntu offered the Unity-2D session using the Metacity window manager whereas GNOME themselves offered a "fallback" session that was presented as "GNOME Classic" or "GNOME Classic (no effects)" at login in Ubuntu if the package 'gnome-panel' was installed.

    The GNOME devs had never intended to provide long term support for their "fallback session" so during Ubuntu's Raring dev cycle they sounded the death knoll for the "fallback" session, but then Edubuntu dev announced their intent to keep it alive in order to support their LTSP installs:

    http://jonathancarter.org/2013/02/05...anel-is-alive/

    In the meanwhile the GNOME devs responded to user discontent with GNOME Shell by creating a new Classic session that runs on top of the Mutter window manager. It should in no way be confused with the earlier "fallback" that Ubuntu called "classic" though. You can get a glimpse of the new "Classic" here:

    http://www.webupd8.org/2013/02/a-qui...e-classic.html

    In order to make the new Gnome Classic mode distinguishable from the the older "classic" mode during the Raring dev cycle the name "classic" was replaced with "fallback", then in Saucy the name was changed from "fallback" to "flashback".

    End of history lesson.

    Now let's do a recap:

    In Ubuntu & Edubuntu Oneiric, Precise, and Quantal if you installed the package 'gnome-panel' you'd then find the additional login options "GNOME Classic" and "GNOME Classic (no effects)". The standard "Classic" session uses the Compiz window manager whereas the "(no effects)" session uses the Metacity window manager.

    In Ubuntu, Edubuntu, and Ubuntu GNOME Raring once the package 'gnome-panel' is installed you'll then find the additional login options "GNOME Fallback" and "GNOME Fallback (no effects)". The standard "Fallback" session uses the Compiz window manager whereas the "(no effects)" session uses the Metacity window manager.

    In Ubuntu GNOME Saucy you will find a new "GNOME Classic" session when you login without adding any additional packages, but this session is in no way related to the earlier classic or fallback sessions! The new GNOME Classic session runs on top of the Mutter window manager and could be best described as a 'gnome-shell' session using a popular collection of GNOME Shell Extensions.

    In Ubuntu, Edubuntu, and Ubuntu GNOME Saucy once the package 'gnome-panel' is installed you'll then find the additional login options "GNOME Flashback" and "GNOME Flashback (no effects)". The standard "Flashback" session uses the Compiz window manager whereas the "(no effects)" session uses the Metacity window manager.
    I'm particularly concerned with saying, "The new GNOME Classic session runs on top of the Mutter window manager and could be best described as a 'gnome-shell' session using a popular collection of GNOME Shell Extensions". Do you think that's accurate and truthful?

  10. #10
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    Re: evolution of gnome classic/fallback/flashback sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by ventrical View Post
    I have gnome-flashback working flawlessly in Trusty. Of course it is a higher end machine but I may try it on lower end form factors. There is a need for gnome (no -effects) and thats good news about Edubuntu because some teachers who are transitioning from Windows to Ubuntu (Ed) need the (no-effects) while teaching young children, otherwise it it too complex.

    regards..
    Ditto here. I started with the Oct 21 iso image and other than a slight hiccup with the "extras" repo things are now pretty much OK

    But the reason I asked permission to do this thread is that I also need to follow up on some Saucy bugs with "classic/fallback/flashback" because I didn't even try it until Saucy was released

    The beauty of having an Ubuntu +1 thread is that we can test continuously from one cycle to another so this thread should hopefully allow us to record the changes as they occur, I just got lazy about testing the Metacity session so now I have to catch up before the release of Trusty

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