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Gnome 3, first impressions

The blog entries related with Gnome 3 are increasing every day so I wanted to try Gnome 3 for some time. After seing this web page which offers a live CD image, I immediately tried it:

http://www.gnome3.org

One of the things I like about Gnome is that whenever you try a Linux distribution using Gnome as its desktop you feel like using that particular distribution. When you are using Ubuntu, you feel like using Ubuntu, when you are using Fedora you feel like using Fedora. But for KDE, you feel like using “KDE” not that particular distribution. This is partly that Gnome offers a “standard” desktop at its best and doesn’t get on your way with “pretty” features which it thinks are useful but actually are not.

I guess, this is changing with Gnome 3 and this is the biggest concern of me about it. We will have a feeling of using Gnome 3 not Ubuntu or Fedora or anything else. But I should also add that I’m not certain about this.

The thing I most like about Gnome 3 is that the team wants to implement the desktop we will use in the future. That is the desktop we will be using maybe for twenty years from now on. So they make several serious decisions and try ideas that has never been tried before or has been tried and proven itself but not as widely used for now. This is a very brave direction to go for a desktop which is one of the two major players on Linux market. But there is a safety net for Gnome users, which is Xfce 🙂 Xfce is also a very good “standard” desktop which feels a lot like Gnome, so whatever Gnome turns out to be, the users will always be able to switch to Xfce.

To return to the main idea of this entry, my experience with Gnome 3 was not bad. I liked the quickness of it. I liked the activities idea (it is somewhat like Windows 7’s new taskbar but felt better. One concern is that if I have a lot of documents open, would the classic taskbar concept be quicker? Think that I have an e-book open which teaches programming so I type sample programs as I read. I need to swich between these documents quickly. Opening the activities pane is one more step instead of directly clicking the document on the taskbar.

The desktop’s look changes a lot with Gnome 3 that the applications on it look like GNUstep applications on current Gnome. I think this will change in time in the right direction. If the ideas of this new desktop are good for the future then this should be tolerated for some time by the users. But one another concern of me is if Gnome applications adapt themselves for this different desktop than will they look more alien on other desktops like KDE? For example, will using Pidgin on KDE provide a worse experience? Or vice versa, using a program in Gnome 3 like Firefox or OpenOffice which does not use the standard Gnome guidelines for its development? Maybe this might create a more diversity between the applications for Gnome and for others.

There are animations here and there which are necessary for the user to understand what is going on, which is a good thing. They are not the smoothest but ok considering that I was using a live CD and probably not the best video driver and probably not the best computer (a computer which cannot run KDE 4 well). A quick note, some animations are a little slow, for example, the animation for the about dialogs.

I would suggest changing the theme of the live CD as it is a little fancy with those icons, colors, too big fonts and too big title bar buttons etc. so that the first average impression of people improves 🙂

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