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GNOME GUI Upgrades Linux

Linux Mint 12 Released Today 396

Posted by Soulskill
from the fresh-tux dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Linux Mint 12 was released today. It includes the new 'MGSE' (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions), a desktop layer on top of Gnome 3 that makes it possible for you to use Gnome 3 in a traditional way. MGSE's Gnome-2-Like experience includes features such as the bottom panel, the application menu, the window list, a task-centric desktop and visible system tray icons. MGSE is a 180-degree turn from the desktop experience the Gnome Team is developing with Gnome-Shell. At the heart of the Gnome-Shell is a feature called 'the Overview': 'The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand. A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus. The separation of window switching functionality into the overview means that an effective solution to switching is provided when it is desired by the user, but that it is hidden from view when it is not necessary.' The popularity of Mint 12 with MGSE may be an excellent barometer as to whether users prefer a task-centric or application-centric desktop."
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Linux Mint 12 Released Today

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  • Interesting, but (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ksd1337 (1029386) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:05PM (#38177986)
    will it offer any benefit over just using GNOME 2?
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      No, but since Gnome 2 isn't being developed any more, there's not much choice if you don't want to use a crappy interface which tries to hide some of the most important tools from users.

      • by ksd1337 (1029386)
        What about MATE? I thought that was a maintenance fork.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's an option in Mint 12, actually.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_lisa_whatsnew.php#mate

        • by Kevin108 (760520)

          It is an option but the font rendering is on par with FVWM so everything looks like Windows 95. LXDE is a better choice.

          • Re:Interesting, but (Score:4, Informative)

            by Alex Belits (437) * on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:52PM (#38178722) Homepage

            1. Font rendering in anything Gnome is all done by freetype regardless of the toolkit libraries.
            2. fvwm is a window manager.

      • Re:Interesting, but (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DrXym (126579) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:38AM (#38180570)
        GNOME 3 has extensions. The whole point of it is that if you need something the base UI does not supply that someone can come along and write an extension for it. Mint is just demonstrating that.
    • by Tr3vin (1220548) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:16PM (#38178062)
      Security updates and support. I'm not the biggest fan of GNOME 3 or Unity but what Mint is doing isn't bad. Ubuntu had driven me away to OpenSUSE powered by KDE, but I found that I didn't like a lot of the KDE apps. Mint has made GNOME 3 more usable for me, and has really simplified some of the configuration and setup that was a pain in OpenSUSE. I run it on a MacBook Pro for compiling / cross-compiling programs and unlike OpenSUSE, everything just worked right out of the box. So far I am very pleased with it.
      • Re:Interesting, but (Score:5, Informative)

        by Clived (106409) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:18PM (#38178532)

        Same here. I loaded Mint 12 with Gnome 3 today. The option to use the Gnome 2 seemed like a waste of time. I like Gnome 3, use it on a Fedora 16 laptop. On Mint, everything worked right out of the box, including samba. Good stuff

        My two bits

      • Re:Interesting, but (Score:5, Informative)

        by drb226 (1938360) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:23PM (#38178578)
        I think "works right out of the box" is the main goal of Linux Mint. Definitely recommended for newbies, and for those of us who care enough to want Linux but don't really care enough to set up all of our own custom configs. Not that Mint isn't customizable.
      • Re:Interesting, but (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cynyr (703126) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:30PM (#38178620)

        Since you seem to like switching distros rather than window managers/desk top environments, try Xubuntu. All the "goodness" of ubuntu, with all the goodness of XFCE (kindda like Gnome2 but not on life support and without all the crap baked in).

        • Re:Interesting, but (Score:4, Informative)

          by Artemis3 (85734) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:04PM (#38182858)

          Yes, and it's the only way to keep a similar experience across distros. Many people dislike gnome team's choice, and are implementing their own (different) solutions.

          Well, i suppose the KDE people are doing just fine... And we thought no one could surpass kde4 trauma; never underestimate the gnome team...

          I personally will remain away from gnome. Gnome2 had its own silliness and it was hard forgiving things like that horrible registry re-implementation. Well no more, this year i abandoned gnome for good.

          Kudos to the Mint people devoting efforts to revert user alienation; I'm sure they will gain a few more fans with this move.

          Actually XFCE can be made to look the same, including the "Places" menu, dual panels, etc. Some things are better in XFCE such as changing window button positions (drag n drop vs cryptic gconf). Desktop compositing is available, and can be turned off.

      • by rishistar (662278) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:23PM (#38184152) Homepage
        Katya [linuxmint.com] is my wife. I don't think I'm allowed to upgrade to Lisa.
    • Re:Interesting, but (Score:5, Informative)

      by mysidia (191772) * on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:16PM (#38178066)

      will it offer any benefit over just using GNOME 2?

      GNOME 3's other improvements [gnome.org], performance, desktop search, themes, enhanced user interface layout engine ?

      GNOME 3 is not just GNOME 2 with a few panels removed and window switching changed around.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kevin108 (760520)

        Gnome 3 is trying it's best to be a tablet's GUI. The desktop users are being tasked with beta testing that in lieu of maintaining a more traditional and usable interface.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:53PM (#38178336)

        In all honesty, have you actually tried to use GNOME 3?

        I've used all sorts of desktop environments over the years, and GNOME 3 is by far the worst I've ever used. I'm not even joking when I say that CDE from the early 1990s was easier to use, more efficient to use, and provided a much more enjoyable user experience.

        If there are performance improvements in GNOME 3, I sure as fuck didn't experience them. It was noticeably slower on my system than KDE 4 is. It wasn't just one or two apps, either. Everything about GNOME 3 feels so much slower.

        The desktop search is useless, just like it is on Windows and Mac OS X. It's a stupid paradigm. It takes the worst of shell auto-completion, and tries to make it act like a web search engine, with spectacularly shitty results.

        The themes support is a step backward. It has only made it easier for theme designers to use crap like gradients, curved corners and transparency. While these may help make GNOME 3 more hipster-compatible, they do absolutely nothing to make the resulting UI more effective in any way.

        It's also a royal pain in the ass to develop for, although this has always been the case for GNOME. GObject is a pathetic hack. If you want object-oriented C, then just use C++ or Objective-C. But that was apparently too sensible for the GNOME developers.

        XFCE is where it's at. It hits that sweet spot between functionality, simplicity, and excellent performance. GNOME 3, on the other hand, manages to be the worst at everything possible.

        • by sarhjinian (94086) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @10:23PM (#38178900)

          In all honesty, have you actually tried to use GNOME 3?

          All the time.

          So much so that I find myself tapping the Windows key in every other OS and wishing it would show me all open windows. Whoever thought that one out is brilliant: hit the key, boom, there's everything you're running, hit it again, boom, back to the original window, if you don't select one of the others. Hit it, boom, all windows again, pick one, boom, it's there. Hit it again, close a few, hit it, boom, back where we were.

          Brilliant. Beats the snot out of alt-tabbing and the myriad of Expose ripoffs.

          GNOME3 has some significant rough edges (some config options aren't exposed, the font size choices in the list of apps is troublesome, NetworkManager is messed up and notification is whack, hard dependencies on Evolution in Fedora bug the hell out of me) but there's some really, really good ideas there.

          What I've found is that, well, people don't like change. I admit it made me uncomfortable, but I also found I didn't get fed up fighting little idiosyncracies like I do with KDE, or the sense that it's really, really under-developed (Unity). It was a few days of "huh" and then it worked.

          • by jc79 (1683494) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @06:30PM (#38184978)

            Yes! I too keep hitting the windows key on windows desktops and getting annoyed that I can't see all my windows like I wanted. I've got the Gnome 3 key shortcuts solidly embedded in my muscle memory over the last 6 months, and trying to do things in other desktops just seems really clunky and inefficient now.

            For my use, Gnome 3 is faster and easier than any other DE I've seriously used. An investment of five minutes spent reading the Gnome 3 cheat sheet [gnome.org] pays off handsomely.

            And on my wee netbook (AA1 ZG5), Gnome 3 (Fedora 16) is faster and smoother than Gnome 2 (Fedora 14) was. Honest, it is. How much of that is due to Fedora getting better, and how much to Gnome 3, I don't know.

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:40AM (#38180348) Journal

          t's also a royal pain in the ass to develop for, although this has always been the case for GNOME. GObject is a pathetic hack. If you want object-oriented C, then just use C++ or Objective-C.

          The nice thing about using vanilla C is that you can then easily wrap it for use in other languages, which you cannot easily do with Obj-C or C++ (Obj-C selector names are too idiosyncratic for most other languages, and full C++ object model is too complicated). My take on GObject is that it's not there to be used directly - it's more like an API and ABI for higher-level bindings. If you want a "native" language, with matching object model and all concepts exposed directly - akin to what Obj-C is for Cocoa - then Vala [gnome.org] offers that for GObject. Otherwise, there's PyGtk, Gtk# etc.

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            if you have a c++ API and cannot expose it through a simplified C-style wrapper (using extern "C" functions), then you use SWIG to generate an API for use.

            As it is, what's happened is that wrappers are written over and over again for all the languages that want to use this GObject API.

            • As it is, what's happened is that wrappers are written over and over again for all the languages that want to use this GObject API.

              Last I checked, wrappers for GObject libraries are normally generated, not hand-written.

        • by Pecisk (688001)

          "The desktop search is useless, just like it is on Windows and Mac OS X. It's a stupid paradigm. It takes the worst of shell auto-completion, and tries to make it act like a web search engine, with spectacularly shitty results."

          Results and behaviour can definitely be improved. In concept, idea is superb (I loved OS X Spotlight when it was introduced), and it is how people actually use computers everyday.

          "The themes support is a step backward. It has only made it easier for theme designers to use crap like g

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:20PM (#38178556)

        performance

        Untrue. Most people know better. Try GNOME 3 on a netbook (for example) after using GNOME 2.

        I'm not insinuating that the performance is unusable. But to say it performs faster is just sheer misinformation or inexperience. It's noticeably slower and clunky. You'd expect it to be though, because it's doing sophisticated animations, etc. If your video drivers aren't up to the task (which is probably likely, given the fragile state of Linux graphics), you're going to feel it.

        The more important issue right now is that it's fairly unstable and buggy. Maybe the GNOME software itself is the cause, or maybe it's the video drivers. I can't really go 10 minutes without minor (yet persistent) rendering issues, and can't go an hour without the shell completely freezing and requiring a restart. (Get used to hitting Alt+F2, typing "r", and hitting Enter.) I'm using GNOME 3.2 by the way.

        There's no real benefit to using GNOME 3 yet. The new paradigm they're going for isn't as bad as people say it is, but it isn't a clear-cut improvement over the ways of old either. Some things are better, some are worse. Combine that with the fairly disrespectful way that GNOME 3 was rolled out, and it isn't hard to see where all the disdain comes from. Linux Mint is the only distro I see respecting its users, particularly by creating a path for transitioning via extensions and offering MATE.

        GNOME will be in a better position a year from now, I imagine. GNOME 3 will mature, they'll get to implement more of their ideas, and there will surely be a ton of extensions and themes. (This all assumes that video drivers will improve too. If they don't, GNOME 3 will simply never be pleasant to use.)

        • Re:Interesting, but (Score:5, Interesting)

          by KugelKurt (908765) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @11:05PM (#38179104)

          performance

          Untrue. Most people know better. Try GNOME 3 on a netbook (for example) after using GNOME 2.

          I'm not insinuating that the performance is unusable. But to say it performs faster is just sheer misinformation or inexperience. It's noticeably slower and clunky. You'd expect it to be though, because it's doing sophisticated animations, etc. If your video drivers aren't up to the task (which is probably likely, given the fragile state of Linux graphics), you're going to feel it.

          As you indicated yourself, GPU drivers are a major factor.
          GNOME Shell relies on Mutter as WM which is composite-only. Composite OpenGL WMs (Mutter but also Compiz or KWin) can perform dramatically better than traditional WMs if the drivers are up to the task (and if the GPU was made in the last 5 or so years). So your quoted statement above is actually misinformation or inexperience.
          Broken drivers are not the fault of the WM or its authors.
          My main setup is KDE Plasma Desktop / KWin on a low-end laptop with NVidia 9200M GPU (proprietary drivers) and I swear that regarding pure rendering speed of windows composite KWin beats friggin' IceWM on my system!

          So the actually informed statement about performance is "It depends."

          • So in other words, it has higher system requirements for baseline performance than Gnome 2?

            See, where Im from, thats generally called performing worse.

    • It's the apps (Score:4, Informative)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:23PM (#38178094) Homepage

      Many Gtk2 apps have been ported to Gtk3 -- Gedit, Shotwell, etc. Getting Gtk3 to run on a Gnome 2 desktop isn't as easy as it could have been.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > Many Gtk2 apps have been ported to Gtk3

        Now if gnome-panel and compiz and the old applets in the system trap could be ported everything would be great with GNOME3.

        • Re:It's the apps (Score:4, Informative)

          by sarhjinian (94086) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @10:26PM (#38178916)

          Panel might be doable, but Compiz needs to be shot. Honestly, most of the problems I have with video and 3D playback on Linux are fixed by "turn off Compiz". I'm personally glad it's impossible to port it GNOME3, and I worry that Ubuntu is going to choke for basing so much of Unity on it.

          I don't think I've ever gotten tear-free playback on Compiz with nVidia or ATI drivers. On Mutter it worked, first go, no screwing around with two different sync-to-vblank options that don't work, no wrong refresh rates. Just video playback on par with Windows or MacOS.

    • Re:Interesting, but (Score:4, Informative)

      by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:58PM (#38178366)
      It performs better than Gnome 2 on my netbook (dual core atom, 1gb, GMA3150). It's not necessarily more lightweight but the rendering is faster and that's worth it for a similar footprint. Gnome 2 reveals it's lagginess on low end hardware.

      Aside from that it's a step back in usability on a laptop.
    • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:49AM (#38179820) Journal

      I just don't get why they don't pick something like Enlightenment where they could have some actual say in the direction of the FDE and make a clean break. Its pretty clear that the GNOME guys are in a serious "itch scratching" mode and really don't give a crap what the people actually using the software think, so why not simply make a clean break and be "their own man" so to speak?

      I know they are working on switching to Debian so they aren't tied to whatever crazy idea Canonical comes up with this week, so trying to hack GNOME to be what they want it to be when the developers are going in a different direction seems kinda nutty to me. If they are gonna do that why not just support the GNOME 2 fork guys, again where they can have some say?

  • Why o why?! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why do people make a big deal about a distro's default desktop? You can install whatever you want.

    • Re:Why o why?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:29PM (#38178126)

      Why do people make a big deal about a distro's default desktop? You can install whatever you want.

      Yeah, I could just 'apt-get install gnome-2' on the latest Ubuntu.

      Oh, no. I can't, can I?

      Most people just want a distro that doesn't suck out of the box.

      • Re:Why o why?! (Score:5, Informative)

        by steveha (103154) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:18PM (#38178540) Homepage

        Yeah, I could just 'apt-get install gnome-2' on the latest Ubuntu.

        Oh, no. I can't, can I?

        I believe the problem is that the GNOME 3 libraries don't co-exist well with the GNOME 2 libraries. Given the way Linux handles libraries with versioning, I don't actually understand why this should be such a problem. But in the Linux Mint blog, they said that MATE (the fork of GNOME 2 that is in Linux Mint 12) has renamed all the GNOME 2 libraries so they can install side-by-side with the GNOME 3 libraries with no problem.

        It's still early days with MATE. Once they get MATE really sorted out, then it will show up in Ubuntu (either officially or as PPA) .

        steveha

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ksd1337 (1029386)
      Depends on the target audience. If your goal as a distro admin is to gain more users, then you want to think about what people see when they use your product. Look at what Ubuntu did with Unity; that's about all the proof needed. Sure, an end user can remove Unity and install GNOME 2 or XFCE or whatever, but the point is that a distro is simply a set of choices that some admin has made. They have to be good choices if the distro wants to survive.
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      the main desktops will have investment of time by the distribution makers to polish and smooth things. Alternative desktops will often have rough edges
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:29PM (#38178132)

    Seems to me that a combination of XFCE and KDE cover about 90% of the bases. XFCE if you want lightweight and minimal footprint, KDE if you want the power-user desktop with bells an whistles and customizable to hell and back.

    Why is everyone re-inventing the boat, poorly? There *IS* a loss associated with having too many choices, no matter what some people will tell you. It fragments the market, fragments the resources spent on making each one solid, leads to end user confusion so people go back to the nice simple worlds of OSX or Windows where they don't have to think about such choices.

    It's just a huge drawback and detriment to the Linux community to say, "Hey! You can pick from any one of these 68 different desktop environments - of course, every one of them is halfassed and has a crapton of problems because the community is split into tiny little fragments. But hey, you've got CHOICE! If you don't like one of the buggy 68 ones you picked, just pick another! It's all up to you!"

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:31PM (#38178152)

      Most of us used Gnome 2 because we didn't like KDE or XFCE. Now we don't like Gnome 3 either.

      IMHO KDE is too bloated and clunky and XFCE is too cut down. Gnome 2 used to be just about right in the middle.

      • by Arker (91948)

        Gnome 1 had potential. Gnome 2 should have been a warning though - it still might have been usable for a lot of people but the overbearing nanny attitude came through real clear in, for instance, how they not only removed the option for unix keybindings from the GUI, but actually went to the extent of deliberately sabotaging things at a deeper level so that it could not even be restored with gconf or the like.

        Aside from briefly installing it, taking a look, laughing heartily, and then deleting the thing, I

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:37PM (#38178210) Homepage Journal

      Why is everyone re-inventing the boat, poorly?

      Because its easy work and gives people lots of opportunities to argue about inconsequential stuff.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        And it's so much shinier than fixing bugs.

      • by wall0159 (881759)

        Or maybe because humans are inventive animals. Things that do not work to our satisfaction we want to improve. That is why we have the phenomenon of progress.

        This does not apply to everyone though, and if you are content to use what exists then you are perfectly within your rights to do so. I suspect/hope that would be a minority position on a site like slashdot which espouses tools, inventiveness and technology (although its promotion of simple consumption has increased greatly over the last few years, pro

    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:25PM (#38178590)

      > There *IS* a loss associated with having too many choices, no matter what some people will tell you.

      There is, balanced by benefits that outweigh the costs IMHO. Having multiple desktops and distributions means we can survive one going mad. Compare and contrast what is happening with GNOME3 and Unity with what is going on in the Windows and Mac worlds. When Win8 ships, those people have no choice, they get a tablet interface and it matters not if they like it or not. Eventually the Mac peeps know they get iOS and there ain't nothing they can do. On the other hand we told Fedora and Ubuntu to FOAD and picked something else. Most fedora users seem to be going with XFCE, Ubuntu users appear to be migrating in mass to Mint. Because we had a choice.

      Imagine instead developers had listened to the siren song some people have been singing for a decade now, that GNOME and KDE had long since merged into one 'perfect' desktop, the small fry had folded up shop and got on board the One True Desktop. Then that One True Desktop caught tablet fever. Our options? All bad.

      Right now we have multiple options in every major category of Free Software. Linus goes mad we adopt one of the BSD kernels. We have multiple web browsers, email clients, desktop environments, plumbing layers. About the only part that isn't redundant is X, no real options for that currently, but Wayland is under development.

  • 'FOCUS'?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grcumb (781340) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:30PM (#38178140) Homepage Journal

    'The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand. A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus.'

    Jesus Christ, GNOME! You're not my boss and you're definitely not my wife. So, unless you're willing either to pay me or put out, kindly stop trying to tell me what to do.

    • by drb226 (1938360)

      So, unless you're willing either to pay me or put out, kindly stop trying to tell me what to do.

      Just fork your own version of GNOME then. Given the number of complainers about the direction GNOME is going, I'm surprised no slashdot stories covering GNOME forks have surfaced.

      • Re:'FOCUS'?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by grcumb (781340) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:49PM (#38178708) Homepage Journal

        So, unless you're willing either to pay me or put out, kindly stop trying to tell me what to do.

        Just fork your own version of GNOME then. Given the number of complainers about the direction GNOME is going, I'm surprised no slashdot stories covering GNOME forks have surfaced.

        Given the time and opportunity, I would. But if GNOME weren't so condescending in their approach, deciding on my behalf what constitutes a proper workflow, I wouldn't have to.

        I do a lot of UI-related work, mostly in web interfaces and business automation. I spend a lot of time creating workspaces that are designed to reflect the needs of the people using them. What I look for in a desktop environment is one that provides me with the flexibility to reformat it to my precise needs for a particular role. GNOME used to be my desktop of choice for exactly this reason.

        I don't particularly object to their desire for simplicity - it's one of the main reasons I've used GNOME since its inception. What I do object to, however, is their holier-than-thou decision not simply to hide some features, but to remove them entirely from the UI. To make matters worse, the folks at Canonical seem to have lost their way as well, creating something that's anathema to me: a unified, one size fits all window manager.

        I do a lot of different things in the course of my work, from coding systems-level software to UI building and testing to report writing to graphics work (and web browsing and reading and email and...). I can only conclude that anyone who thinks they can provide me with a single, inflexible UI that is appropriate for all of these is not only wrong but willfully ignoring the error of their ways.

        I'll be the first to admit that I'm very hard to please when it comes to my working environment. The closest I've ever come to actually liking my desktop UI was on GNOME 2 with Compiz. Now that the GNOME devs have not only turned their backs on what made GNOME good, but actually made it impossible to keep those things, I feel I have the right to bitch a little.

        I'll be evaluating Mint in the weeks to come. If they fare well, I'll recommend we go to them when we move from Ubuntu 10.04.

      • Re:'FOCUS'?!? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:54PM (#38178742) Homepage

        There's already a fork, it's called Mate and it's included with Mint 12.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      'The Shell is designed in order to minimize distraction and interruption and to enable users to focus on the task at hand. A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus.'

      Much of what I do every day at work requires frequent switches between windows.

  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:35PM (#38178190)

    Does anyone know why the default menus are so oddly organized - such as the catch-all "Other" sub-menu being in the middle of the menu, and containing important stuff like the Update Manager and Synaptic Package Manager?

    Is this menu organization something Mint is inheriting from GNOME 3? In Mint 11 the system stuff was in some System menu where you more expect to find it.

    I was expecting the menu to be cleaned up during the Mint 12 beta, but it's still there know in what appears to be the release version.

    • I'm a Mint user, not a developer, so this is conjecture and uninformed opinion only --

      The use of Synaptic is thought to be too hard for newbies to grasp, so other apps were developed, like the Mint Software Center, or whatever it's called and GDebi. These latter two are what the Mint team expect you to use, so the more comprehensive app is, while not hidden, not so easy to find.

      If you use XFCE, you can make your own menu and put Synaptic at the top if you like.

      • OK, well that kind of makes sense of why the important apps are hided away, but not of the awful placement of the "Other" menu. I assume the menu can be reconfigured if I really want to, but I'm a recent Ubuntu to mint convert and havn't bothered to look into it yet.

        I tried the Mint Xfce rolling edition briefly, but there seems to be an annoying bug where the window manager dies (or can accidently be killed during normal use) leaving you with unmovable borderless windows... You can recover by lauching a new

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:35PM (#38178192)

    If you have one visionary with great tech skills and average taste, you get an average desktop with hundreds of millions of users - Windows. If you have a visionary with average tech skills and great taste, you get a great desktop with tens of millions of users - Mac OS. If you have a hundred visionaries with great tech skills and varying tastes, you get a hundred different desktops with quality all over the map, each with dozens of users - Linux.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:50PM (#38178316)
    Mint has "fixed" a lot thats broken by design about the new Gnome. But I have a question to direct at the Gnome 3 / Unity developers. Why the sudden corporate-like totalitarian control over the UI? Is this a misguided attempt to emulate the meteoric success of iOS and Android by just copying the Apple/Google/Microsoft corporate control over how users use the desktop?

    I find this another symptom of "Free" software that's open in source becoming more and more closed in run-time.
    • by Waccoon (1186667) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @11:02PM (#38179086)

      Is this a misguided attempt to emulate the meteoric success of iOS and Android by just copying the Apple/Google/Microsoft corporate control over how users use the desktop?

      Let me put it this way: when the Gnome team introduced marketing videos for the new Unity interface, the speakers wore black sweaters and talked with their hands while standing in front of stark white backgrounds. I am not making this up. They really and genuinely are trying to do everything like Apple.

      Of course, I remember when early distros of Red Hat were pixel-for-pixel copies of the Win95 interface.

      It's a damn shame. The "Blue Ocean Strategy" and the "Next Big Thing (Just Like Everyone Else)" has always been the staple of the tech industry. In manufacturing, you need to make your product stand out. With software, your product is just like familiar Windows/OSX... but better.

      I'm not a hardcore geek, but I am a power user, and I can honestly say that Linux has been the biggest disappointment I've ever seen in the computer industry. Coming from an ex-Amiga user, that should mean a lot. It's either dumbed down or hardcore, with little in between. I try to like it and use it, but I just can't. Every distro I've tried over the last 10 years has let me down. The community just can't get its stuff together and venture into that large grey area.

  • Can I add quick launchers to my bars? I want one-click launchers as a first level task. I don't use desktop icons, because 99% of the time there's something in front of them. I just want a handy way to launch a very commonly used application without digging into menus or typing the exact name into a search box. If you can be more productive than a single click to a fixed point on my monitor, I'm sold.

  • GNOME 3 knows best? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:51PM (#38178716) Homepage

    This link just floored me.

    https://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/Design/FAQ#Why_no_window_list_or_dock.3F [gnome.org]

    "A persistent window list or dock would interfere with this goal, serving as a constant temptation to switch focus."

    Who wrote this? How did this become the official position of GNOME 3 officially?

    On the one hand, I sort of respect that they aren't letting tradition shackle them. They are trying to boldly change things, to make something really new and really better.

    On the other hand, they have changed a bunch of stuff and made it worse!

    They got rid of some stuff that takes up space; and I always use GNOME on a giant desktop display with lots of room to spare. Even my netbook has a 10.1" screen and I don't begrudge a few pixels for a window list.

    They got rid of the window list, it seems, because it is a distraction. But I am used to it being there and I don't notice it when I'm working; whereas with GNOME 3 I have no option but to have a distracting animation of windows flying about and arranging themselves any time I want to change apps. I have to hit the logo key, watch a dazzling display, find the window I want, click on it, and watch it zoom to full size. This is less distracting than clicking on the button for the window I want, and having it instantly be the topmost window? (Answer: no, it's more distracting, not less. At least that's true for me. But GNOME gives no option; this is the new One True Way that we must all use.)

    If the GNOME 3 developers ever build a car, it won't have a steering wheel, a brake pedal, and a gas pedal. They will boldly re-engineer the driving experience. There will probably be a miniature replica of the car mounted on a joystick; you will twist the little car right to turn the real car right. So intuitive! Of course those of us with many years of experience, expert car drivers, will not be able to apply our experience; and if we are recommending a GNOME car to our friends, they will ask us "why is this different from every other car I have ever seen?"

    The really frustrating part is that this is a total replay of what happened with the "object oriented file manager". Originally, the GNOME file manager worked pretty much the way it works now. Then they decided that this is overly complicated for newbies. There should be only one window for any one directory, and that one window should remember where it opened last and open in the same place, to build a sense of persistence and make the file system seem more like a real place. (This is similar to how the original Mac Finder worked, I believe. But the Finder in Mac OS X doesn't work that way anymore, and I believe didn't work that way when the GNOME guys made this decision.)

    In true GNOME style, they didn't provide a convenient option to turn this off; why would you want to turn it off? It's better. And that is why I, and so many other people, first learned how to use gconftool, to find that option and turn it off.

    The very next release of GNOME they changed the default back to the original behavior, and never changed it again. But for GNOME 3, they are sticking to their guns.

    In some ways GNOME 3 is nice, but I bitterly resent the amount of control the GNOME guys are trying to assert over how I use my computer. I'm going to try Linux Mint 12 on a spare computer and see how I like it. From what I have seen, MGSE is a giant step up over either of Unity or GNOME 3 Shell.

    One of the core goals of GNOME Shell is to provide the GNOME desktop with a consistent and identifiable visual identity.

    Why isn't the core goal "make the user be happy and productive"? How does this "visual identity" thing help me? Why should I cooperate with this?

    P.S. GNOME 2.x is my favorite desktop environment ever. The GNOME guys have really squandered all the good will I used to have toward them.

    steveha

    • by Waccoon (1186667) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @11:09PM (#38179122)

      Also from that link:

      The omission of a window list or dock also reduces the amount of screen space occupied by the Shell, and therefore makes it better suited to devices with smaller screens.

      This ranks right up there with, "We need to remove scroll bars!" and "Maximize must go, just because!" Yeah, I don't suppose they've ever heard of hidden panels, hotkeys, or just giving people an option to put it back.

      Really. Of all the communities to buy into the idea of removing things for our own good, it just has to be the open source community?

      The world really has gone mad.

    • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:26AM (#38180004)
      A while back I was almost tempted to believe that Gnome was some effort from an MS fanboy to damage the reputation of linux based systems and to kill the gimp stone dead. Things like the above quote are bringing back that paranoid fantasy.
      If I didn't want to switch focus between tasks I wouldn't even bother a window manager on X at all (eg. can start with firefox only from knoppix).
    • When Gnome2 came out it was exactly the same, the best applets from Gnome1 were gone, the window manager had gone from the infinitely customisable Sawfish to bare bones Metacity, most configuration options were gone, 2.6 they brought in "spatial file manager" and told everyone to change the way they use directories to accommodate.

      Slowly but surely, everything came flooding back and eventually it had reverted to a usable desktop that was actually better than 1.4. But make no doubt about it, every big decisio

  • by Nimey (114278) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:46AM (#38179798) Homepage Journal

    Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I can't get gnome-shell to load in a Virtualbox VM. Got 3D accel enabled, got the 125MB of post-release updates applied, installed the latest Virtualbox guest additions, but if I try to load default Gnome it will load up the fallback mode that's like classic Gnome 2 but not.

    MATE loads up OK, but I'm really more interested in the new hybrid interface.

  • The main reason I just installed Debian/testing on my laptop was because the current release of Mint-Debian does not support root-on-lvm-on-crypt which is the setup I use for all of my home machines (since they are essentially single-user). I also found that the Ubuntu based Mint 11 does not support this either. I find this surprising as both of the distros Mint 11 was based on (Debian and Ubuntu) support this feature in their respective installers. I was rather disappointed that it was not available in the Mint 11 installer.

    I know "Mint 12" is the Ubuntu based version and that the Debian based Mint 12 is not yet available, but does anybody know if Mint 12 supports this feature? I hope it does because Mint looks like a good fit for my laptop.

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie

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