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Linux Mint 12 to Blend GNOMEs 2 & 3 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the by-popular-demand dept.
dartttt writes "Linux Mint 12 'Lisa' will come with its own customized desktop and it will be based on Gnome 3. The core desktop will be based on a series of Gnome Shell extensions called 'MGSE' (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) that will provide a layer on top of Gnome 3. MGSE also includes additional extensions such as a media player indicator, and multiple enhancements to Gnome 3. Thus Linux Mint 12 will be more like a hybrid desktop balancing traditional desktop and new modern technologies."
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Linux Mint 12 to Blend GNOMEs 2 & 3

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  • Netbooks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xanny (2500844)
    Why don't they just fork the GNOME project into small and large form factors? That might be a misnomer - its more like close and far displays, because you would probably like a Gnome 3 style interface when you are 10 - 15' away from the screen. Hopefully the devs working on Unity and Gnome realize that end users just want customization. Nothing wrong with introducing start menu search and OSX style docks but let the user decide how they want their desktop configured, because you never know what they want
    • Hopefully the devs working on Unity and Gnome realize that end users just want customization.

      Then why is iOS so popular? It's certainly not because users can configure every little detail. It's because the interface is pleasing to use and doesn't require a lot of customization.

      While GNOME's audience right now might be configuration-obsessed Linux users, they're trying to branch out into the audience that includes grandmas and teenagers with this new interface by making it simpler (in the long run, I mean, when people get used to it). I think that's as good of a goal as any, and it's only going to m

      • by gbr (31010)

        iOS is for my phone or my tablet. Not my computer.

        Eventually, we'll want the same flexibility we've grown to enjoy on our computers, on our small devices. Then, iOS will not be acceptable anymore.

        • Re:Netbooks (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jbolden (176878) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:18PM (#37974952) Homepage

          Maybe not. A computer is a device someone interacts with for complex tasks 8+ hrs a day. A phone is a device someone interacts with for ad-hoc tasks possibly as little as 10 minutes a day (excluding time actually talking on the phone).

          I could see those two interfaces never converging.

          • The convergence is what you find in tablets. And kiosks. And TV media centers. And web applications.

            All those examples can be used for hours at a time.

            • by jbolden (176878)

              I don't have good predictions for tablets. I'm not sure where they go long term. As for kiosks, I think those get used for seconds to minutes unless we are talking about something else. As for web applications those aren't OSes but a style of delivering applications.

      • This shows off a weakness in open source. The people who can make changes to the system are not necessary the ones who should make the decisions on what changes to make.
        Half of the complains about GNOME 3 is just from a bunch of Old Farts who do not want to see anything change. The other half are from people who don't like the trade offs chosen to make it. This second half will try to make this hybrid and end up making something that will split the group again as still people will not like the trade offs

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Nice try, but us Old Farts have and have enunciated very specific reasons why Unity and GNOME 3 are exactly the antithesis of why we use Linux based systems in the first place - we want multi-purpose machines for doing a variety of tasks, not "CLICK HEER 4 TEH LULZ" OSen.

          So we won't "always be here", we'll be over there, having tucked-and-rolled off of the Canonical train wreck and switched to another distro. It's not like there's a paucity of choice.

          • by fnj (64210)

            I didn't even think it was a nice try, just a supercilious know-it-all.

          • All you've enunciated is that you don't like it because it wasn't what you've been used to. I believe we went through this before with GNOME 1.x -> GNOME 2.x. Go back and look at that thread on slashdot and see if it doesn't sound like the same thing.
            • by ADRA (37398)

              There were some trade-offs between 1 and 2, and I thought at the time really really annoyed at the fact that I couldn't drag in new launchers into the menu (Hello still obvious need for this!), but trade-offs were worth the features and streamlining that was added to the release. Of course all the enlightenment peeps felt put out and left, but I'd say they were quite in the minority in terms of the community as a whole.

              IMHO Gnome 3 is not functionally similar in any way to Gnome2. If Apple, Microsoft, RIM,

              • I'm much older. But I know that IOS and Windows 8 are all going to be pursuing similar avenues. I do not think that you can avoid that OS GUIs are going to be developed primarily for mobile devices and that there will be a convergence of the OS to use the same GUI for all hardware types. In this case, GNOME has reached that point earlier and will be able to develop their ideas ahead of Windows. There is no "if" about releasing a DE that looks like GNOME3Shell. Search for windows 8 on youtube.
            • by silanea (1241518)
              You may want to lay off the "They're just stubborn old fools" attitude and reread what Rogerborg wrote. I have Unity on my laptop which I use mostly for browsing and OSM editing and - leaving aside such petty annoyances as the lack of a GUI for changing font sizes or anti-aliasing in the stock installation - it is quite a nice interface for such utilisation. But Canonical will have to take GNOME 2 from my cold dead hands as far as my workstation is concerned. I tried Unity there, I tried GNOME 3 there, and
              • GNOME 3 requires that you change how you interact with your computer. Some people find that hard to do. It's not they are "stubborn old fools", but rather it's hard to adjust to a new way of doing something. The rate of adjustment is variable. But there are plenty of people who have adapted to using the new way and are productive. I've had a similar experience when moving from Perl to Python, you spend 3 weeks struggling to learn the python way of doing things knowing full well that if you move back to
        • by EasyTarget (43516)

          See the post from Sancho below..

          I'm not bothered by the fact is it changing (in fact I love it) or by the trade-offs (I dont see many anyway).

          It's the dork defaults that I hate; starting with the hidden poweroff feature(*) and application switchers where users actually want application launchers.

          (*) Dont tell me to use suspend; I have 3 current machines, with three industry-standard chipsets, none of them suspend then resume properly; neither did my previous thinkpad.. Suspend in Linux is basically broken a

          • by ifrag (984323)

            It's not just GNU/Linux though, I still have serious problems with resume in Windows 7 (and I think Win 7 actually puts that as the default "power" button on the menu). In my case, as soon as the video driver has been updated to current, resume can pretty much be abandoned as never working again. Screen just stays black, or maybe its a brief blink then back to black. In any event, totally broken.

            The only machine I have that can actually suspend / resume correctly is my Macbook. It's sad, but I actually

        • by jbolden (176878)

          Long term these hybrid OSes are tough to maintain. We used to have KDE / Gnome hybrids on Linux, but Redhat, Mandrake... got tired of it.

        • Call me an old fart. I have used Linux for over a decade. I have used dozens of distros and desktops. Blackbox, Fluxbox, Enlightenment, XFCE, KDE, Gnome and yes, Unity. Over the years of experimentation and practice, I figured something out about myself. I always come back to Debian or a derivative and I always come back to Gnome. This combination hits the sweet spot for me and if Ununtu chooses to move in a different direction, I choose to find an alternative.

          I don't get why I would want to add layers o
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sancho (17056) *

        Then why is iOS so popular?

        Many on Slashdot would say that it's because iOS devices are status symbols. That real, discerning users use Android.

        It's because the interface is pleasing to use and doesn't require a lot of customization.

        Right. It is a sane set of defaults that work well for most people.

        While GNOME's audience right now might be configuration-obsessed Linux users, they're trying to branch out into the audience that includes grandmas and teenagers with this new interface by making it simpler (in the long run, I mean, when people get used to it). I think that's as good of a goal as any, and it's only going to make GNOME more popular in the long run.

        Only if they provide good, useful defaults. Low-configuration plus low-usability doesn't usually make something popular.

        • Usability is relative. GNOME is very usable to me, even if it doesn't seem usable to you. Many GNOME developers like the new interface, too, from what I've read.

          • by Sancho (17056) *

            Usability is relative.

            Yes, but if you're going to reduce configurability, you damned well better design with usability for as many people as you can.

            Many GNOME developers like the new interface

            Developers ideas of usability may not align with users ideas of usability.

            • Well they sure align with my ideas of usability, hence the relativity of usability. GNOME 3 isn't perfect but I find it to be much more usable than GNOME 2 in several (though not all) areas. Give it some time; GNOME 2 had years and years to mature, while GNOME 3 is relatively fresh. By the time GNOME 4 comes around everybody is going to be bitching about how it's not exactly like GNOME 3, just like with every eventual desktop OS upgrade.

          • by rhizome (115711)

            Many GNOME developers like the new interface, too, from what I've read.

            What a fascinating coincidence!

        • by Pausanias (681077)

          Many on Slashdot would say that it's because iOS devices are status symbols. That real, discerning users use Android.

          iPhone as "status symbol" was maybe about 4 years ago? I just saw my garbage man checking his iPhone, somehow I don't think they are status symbols anymore. I think you need to get the spray-painted yellow or diamond-encrusted to get back to status symbol.

          Smartphones---whether android or iOS---they are just now common tools that any person would spend money on if they have the money, like a car or a TV.

      • Then why is iOS so popular?

        It's not. I am in an office full of Macs right now, and not a single one of them is running iOS. It's all "keyboard and mouse" edition Mac OS X. This is Apple fanboy territory and even here, there is little evidence of iOS popularity.

        Part of the reason for this is that iOS ala cart is not for sale; you can't put it on your desktop computer even if you want to. And part of the reason is that it would be stupid to even if you could.

        Once you understand why Mac OS X users wou

      • IOS has it's place, particularly in places where you intend to do exactly what the limited functions given to you are, and very little branching out. IOS is great for things that require little thought, posting twitter and facebook updates. even basic pictures. Working on a basic research project where you are going to be working with a few dozen webpages, some extra files while simultaneously IMing a study partner etc... not so much. IOS is the perfect OS for consuming information, Great quick mindless way
      • by ADRA (37398)

        They've chased this vaporous market for 10 years and have gotten them basically zero adoption into the consumer mass market. I think its time to start focusing on making their products good for the people actually using them.

    • Hopefully the devs working on Unity and Gnome realize that end users just want customization.

      fat chance of that... they've been working to remove means of customisation from the user for a long time now... basically, it's the Gnome way, or else find something else instead...

      • basically, it's the Gnome way, or else find something else instead...

        I went over to KDE when GNOME started pushing mono as their preferred technology for default applications. GNOME continues to make bad choices for my use cases.

        I'm amazed by how many Slashdot computer geeks still feel a strong affinity for running whatever the distros set for a default in spite of the obvious long-term negative outlook.

        Don't get me wrong - I have complaints about KDE, but they're normal complaints, not massive fundamental

        • I'm amazed by how many Slashdot computer geeks still feel a strong affinity for running whatever the distros set for a default in spite of the obvious long-term negative outlook

          As an authentic, card carrying SCG, I routinely introduce others to the wonderful world of Linux, most of whom are impoverished students, desperately clining to to a life-expired WinXP box bursting with viruses. For the past 4 or so years, I have been able to take a CD, boot from it, show them its really not more different than movi

          • You know, the conclusions from the recent UDS is that Unity will have customization options finally (they wanted to focus on making it work first), and that the Dash will be dramatically changed to a less zany approach. I don't think the Unity bashing is justified.

    • by KugelKurt (908765)

      Why don't they just fork the GNOME project into small and large form factors?

      "Just fork"? If you think it's so easy to do to maintain a whole desktop environment, why don't you do it yourself?
      How do you think that would be easier than Mint's route to write a handful of GS extension files and let upstream GNOME take care of the rest?

      • Exactly. GNOME Extensions are pretty extensive. You could theoretically implement any user interface using it.
    • let the user decide how they want their desktop configured, because you never know what they want.

      All the Usability lore is based on that you can know what the user wants (and needs) and build the system around it. A system designed to cover those needs should ideally require little to no configuration, because the creator would satisfy all the requirements through a single interface - once the optimal design is achieved, any change to it would be worse for the stated needs.

      That only works for a particular

  • Yo dog... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:26AM (#37972640) Journal
    I herd you like linux on the desktop, so I put an unprecedented number of dubiously thought out desktops on your linux.

    Unfortunately, that makes about as much sense as the current state of gnome and gnome-derived desktops...
  • by arielCo (995647) on Monday November 07, 2011 @09:27AM (#37972648)
    http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1851 [linuxmint.com]

    Gnome 3 is shiny, elegant and modern looking. It’s a sleek desktop but it comes with a few problems:

    • It changes the way people use their computer
    • It’s application-centric, not task-centric (you switch between applications, not windows)
    • It doesn’t do multi-tasking well (you can’t see opened windows, system tray icons, etc..)

    [...] So with this in mind, Gnome 3 in Linux Mint 12 needs to let you interact with your computer in two different ways: the traditional way, and the new way, and it’s up to you to decide which way you want to use.

    For this, we developed “MGSE” (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions), which is a desktop layer on top of Gnome 3 that makes it possible for you to use Gnome 3 in a traditional way. You can disable all components within MGSE to get a pure Gnome 3 experience, or you can enable all of them to get a Gnome 3 desktop that is similar to what you’ve been using before. Of course you can also pick and only enable the components you like to design your own desktop.

    The main features in MGSE are:

    • The bottom panel
    • The application menu
    • The window list
    • A task-centric desktop (i.e. you switch between windows, not applications)
    • Visible system tray icons
  • So pretty much all I use a GUI for is having multiple terminal windows open at once and being able to have access to a non-masochistic web browser. For this, I need a clean and lightweight UI. GNOME 3 works just fine in that regard. Other than "because it's different", why does everyone hate it?
    • gnome-tweak-tool, despite being well out of the way, still offers very little in the way of customization.

      customization requires people to put on a developer hat and write 'extensions'.

      Despite all this time no one has restored 'search by window title' functionality (there is one, but it doesn't interact with the window preview view, which is still well behind the state of KDE or compiz). We also still don't have a 'preview all windows belonging to a single app' despite the lengths of having a 'dock' group

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Gnome isn't a lightweight UI. What you need is really not even a GUI but more like a window manager, I.e. below a GUI all together. Essentially you need far less than a GUI so the issues others are having wouldn't matter.

  • I've been slowly switching to Linux Mint on my machines and I've found some pretty annoying bugs with the Gnome version of Mint that I didn't find in Ubuntu or Debian. It seems to me that the Mint devs may have already done too many customizations to the desktop. In some cases, I've moved to LXDE because it's more stable.

    So, we'll see how this turns out, but there has to be a healthy community of devs around MGSE to deal with all the problems that will no doubt arise...as Gnome 3 begins to drift further away from the Gnome 2.x codebase, MGSE is gonna need to do more heavy lifting to keep everything working smoothly.
    • by thsths (31372)

      > In some cases, I've moved to LXDE because it's more stable.

      LXDE is a great option for a more traditional desktop. It is fast, light, and works very well. It may not be as pretty as Gnome 3, and it may lack some of the "social integration" of KDE 4, but it gets the job done. I use it on a number of light systems and in all my VMs.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        IIRC, LXDE was the desktop that wouldn't recognize a left-handed mouse. I.e., it had an option to set it as left handed, but the option didn't do anything. This had been a know bug for over a year. ... possibly over 2 years. I'm just not sure it was LXDE...It was one of the desktops I was trying after Debian Testing ruined the Gnome2 GUI. Currently I'm using Debian stable, and am unsatisfied with ALL of the alternatives to Gnome2, though Pearson is getting close to releasing a KDE3.x. KDE3 was better t

      • by jbolden (176878)

        I agree with you. I use Knoppix quite a bit and have really enjoyed it there. But then again I rarely want much more than a window manager. I actually suspect Gnome 3 would be fine for me.

  • As ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Monday November 07, 2011 @10:20AM (#37973144) Homepage Journal

    Mint and its devs have had a bit of thought, and unlike some others I could mention actually have a core idea on what to give users. But then Mint has for quite a long time been a very good distro specifically for end users. And frankly, Linux needs at least one to be so.

    So, in the next round of new Distro updates, Mint will again top the distrowatch charts, and deservedly so. The other distro's need to start taking note, becasue they think they are leading and others will follow. In truth, Mint is leading because Mint's process and view on users is ballpark correct, and many of distro's are off target.

    As for Ubuntu and Unity. Well. Not much to be said there. They need to learn the lesson but seem to be determined to drop themselves down the distrowatch chart.

  • I'd rather have Tom Dickson tell us whether GNOME 2 and 3 blend or not...

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Monday November 07, 2011 @11:02AM (#37973724)

    Skip the backwards, get on to KDE

    Flamebait? No, not necessarily.

    See "Sabayon 7 Review / Overview Kde +Gnome" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyBsUrxxEYk [youtube.com]

  • Well... untested Debian Squeeze that needs to be debugged from scratch.
    Why don't we quit mucking around and just go back to Debian? I finally figured that out.

  • What is the obsession with Windows 95 being the gold standard on which all desktop environments need to be based???

    I for one really like Gnome 3 because it is finally no longer a Windows 95 clone like Gnome 2. I'm sorry to people whose first computer used Windows 95 or any of the other Windows 95 based desktops (like Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, KDE or Gnome 2.x), folks there are other ways to use a computer.

    So, Mint took Gnome 3, and made it look like Windows 95 again, freaking great!.
    • Hah, that's what some of us thought too. I'm sure people who want to show off their Linux desktop and how cool it is that they have a windows 95 desktop compared to all the shiny stuff coming out with windows 8 and IOS on Macbook.
    • by grumbel (592662)

      And what's wrong with being a little like Windows95? All I want from my desktop environment is a panel with a task bar and some small icons to start applications, neither Gnome3 nor Unity can handle that and instead do some ugly full screen filling start-menu replacement crap that makes no sense on a large screen.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Guess what genius, people really like the interface because it works, and works well for people. If you wanted a brand new shiny looking desktop, some clever developer could've come up with a hybrid desktop environment along the lines of what Microsoft is doing in Windows 8. Instead, we the not so silent majority of people unwilling to work with a piece of garbage Tablet UI for hours and hours of daily -productivity- work, will not more to functionally crippled DE.

  • I haven't upgraded my Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10 because I like my GNOME Desktop the way it's been, not whatever this new thing is. But I don't want to miss the rest of the upgrades. Is there a way to keep the old style Desktop, but complete the rest of the upgrade?

    And what about on my old machines that run Intel motherboard integrated graphics (82854G/GL), that often break with Ubuntu upgrades for at least a few weeks until xorg-intel patches are released? No, I don't want to buy new machines that otherwise do

    • by grumbel (592662)

      You can upgrade to 11.04, as it still provides Gnome2, you simply have to switch off Unity at the login screen and it will behave otherwise as usual. For 11.10 there is no way to do that, it doesn't provide Gnome2 and there is no easy way to install it at all. Ubuntu 11.10 still provides the gnome-fallback-session, which is build on Gnome3, but sort of looks like Gnome2, but is kind of broken and buggy, it also doesn't reuse any of your configurations, so you have to start from scratch.

      For 11.10 I'd recomme

  • by drwho (4190) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:32PM (#37975182) Homepage Journal

    Why are so many people still running Windows XP? Yea, Vista was a disaster, but Win7 is actually decent. But people don't want to move. The reason is that they are tired of having to re-learn how to do things each time a new user interface comes out. Why do open-source GUI people copy from Apple and Windows? Because they are trying to make the user experience in their desktop OS likable for that audience. BUT, they are PISSING OFF the same people that got used to the old Linux/Unix way of doing things. One of the problems is the self-selection of 'improvements' by the GUI developers, who are people who want to make things 'better' ('Kamtrya!'). The rest of us are more concerned with getting tasks done, and don't want to be bothered with the learning curve. Customization ability is fine, but the default behavior should be that of Tradition, with an option to set things back to 'traditional' in any customization.

    I don't care about rounded corners, opacity, and lots of screen candy. What I was is speed, reliability, consistency and the ability to change text size/layout within a window, and also to have windows maintain their aspect ratio as the default behavior when appropriate. I also like the idea of being able to focus on a background window. I'd like an 'unclose' option to bail me out when I accidentally close a window, but I know that's difficult to do properly. But please, just focus on the speed, reliability, and consistency.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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