The dear old GNOME has committed suicide, and for all the time which I’ve invested allowing this distro the chance to bring it back, I am very sad to say that it’s not going to happen through Mint’s efforts thus far.
You guys tried, and thanks for trying, but there’s no point in trying anymore to heal a corpse when a similarly-polished alternative has stepped up to take its place.
You guys tried to save the old GNOME as MATE, which seems to have worked for some, but I can’t understand why you had to piggy-back it on GNOME-3, which you say you hate as much as myself. I know nothing about OS development, but I believe it’s a reasonable question to ask why you chose not to make MATE into a standalone version (like KDE or XFCE). Your most lauded point of differentiation from your competition has always been an OS which does what is expected of it (note that I did not say “works”) out of the box, there’s a little bit of a conflict. Maybe not so big for me if I hadn’t come back to Linux after two years expecting GNOME to be no different, but then who would ever have expected the degree of insanity which apparently took place overnight (and performs just like it was developed likewise)? I had worked myself into emotional distress pondering this, as I could only reckon that I must have failed to notice something fairly obvious, disbelieving that any UI used by popular distros would ever be so insultingly half-assed by design! I was a bit tired, and more than a bit disgusted when I finally quit tinkering and googling. I finally asked the Mint forum, and foundd out that it reqires a logout just to peruse UI options such as MATE (such information in the download abstract may have saved me that).
As it turns out, my problems were just beginning - MATE was so fiercely at war with something on my computer, and probably multiple items of hardware and or software on my computer - the result was zero to negligible performance with very high fan speed. Since I had installed no other software than Linux Mint Main Edition, any software which it was fighting was in fact distributed, if not developed by Mint. There doesn’t seem to be more complaints than songs of praise for MATE, so guess I can now chalk it up to lower-priced hardware (HP comes before cheap Acer, I get that). But I was also told I need to shut off Compiz (just do it, never mind how), and go rename at least one file too! I thought I should at least try that and see if it helped any, but I couldn’t find the off switch for Compiz, so I uninstalled it and then renamed that Marco (???) file. When that didn’t work I changed my mind on any further efforts to make MATE work on my computer at all.
Why should I go any further, to plod through ongoing nightmares delving into hardware analysis when Lisa requires tweaks just to run MATE, and then more tweaks (which may impact quality of the user experience) just to avoid conflicts while running the same? Linux Mint has been the first competitor behind Ubuntu because it doesn’t just work, but does what is expected of a complete OS out of the box - but my experience of wrestling GNOME 3 for MATE has hardly fit that description! Sorry Mint, but I’m afraid you blew it on your main edition- but because I care (I never liked the monopolistic arrogance of Ubuntu, and Linux will never improve for the user without serious competition) I will tell you how Xubuntu wooed me over to the Dark Side. You need to understand this, as the GNU goat-heads aren’t quite the half of it!
Number one is you failed to distance yourself from a UI which now only lets down the bulk of the users who try it. GNOME 3 is really that bad, and can hardly fulfill the GNU team delusion of a newbie magnet if the newbies were using windows or Mac. This could have been your moment to really set yourself apart from Ubuntu and other distros by taking a stand for quality and full functionality in your own, which is enhanced by your ongoing efforts to produce greater out-of-box functionality and a more intuitive UI setup. I see you have really been trying, but WHAT are you trying to do? If you had had assembled your own UI from the bones of Gnome 2, or better dropped it entirely to focus on not-as-bad KDE, LXDE, or ass-kicker XFCE (now works exactly, maybe better than old Gnome), you would be free of a very heavy albatross.
Then there is the advantage of communication, and this is where Ubuntu really has you. Linux Mint google searches bring up forum posts, often unrelated, but even more often wrong question, right question unanswered. or question inadequately answered by other hurried users (i.e. “you need to disable Compiz” without the how). Ubuntu has more than just forums, they have web-pages full of tutorials, and they have rarely ever failed (believe me, I used Ubuntu for a couple of years as well), and there are few possible likely questions which this team has failed to cover.
Of particular interest is the fact that they leave more to be set up by the user than you do, such as media codec installation, but it takes only 10 minutes to do this when you cut and paste the four lines of text from their website into Terminal. It takes a bit more time than that to set up the GNOME top bar if you find that you miss it, and you have to admit that the traditional GNOME panel is far less convoluted, if more messy. Then you find that most of the GNOME panel widgets have been removed as options - damn, which folder were the apps stored in, and why isn’t there a tutorial for this! You always said it was GNOME, but didn’t mention the removed options - I always thought it would have been nice if you had offered the traditional GNOME panel settings as a switchable alternate.
While searching for answers concerning Mint and MATE, forum osmosis brought my attention to KDE (which I once tried and hated), LXDE, and XFCE. The latter two I know to be fairly recent, and I am fairly certain that LXDE is more recent than XFCE. XFCE seems to have come a long way from what I read, and LXDE began later as an alternate to the original lightweight system with more of the dumb-newbies-will-love-this mentality. Therefore, with so many distros having picked up the XFCE, I again found myself stunned with disbelief that you weren’t backing this one at all! Even crazier is that you picked the LXDE distro, which is comparably lightweight but has fewer right-click options, a weaker file browser, and won’t even display file info when the mouse hovers over a file icon. See http://mygeekopinions.blogspot.com/2011 ... -xfce.html
Why would anyone think that users who were used to the mouse information balloon since Windows XP would be anything other than offended to find it missing when they try linux for the first time? You aren’t a power-user just because you know how big the files are which take up your limited ipod space, nor are you one just because you managed to find a file which you haven’t the name of after sorting out the contents of its folder by expected relative file size. If this is what separates the newbies from the Linux community, than there just aren’t any who will ever try what isn’t already mainstream, and the UI devs insult us all. Such bad philosophy must be resisted by it’s sane users and devs alike, but it must start with the devs abandoning those UIs which embrace it! GNOME is dead, so it’s best to just let it go.
Gnome is dead, but its spirit lives on in Xubuntu (XFCE.) It has all the functionality of old GNOME and more, including the desktop information balloons (I just wish somebody would develop a file browser which does this, without being heavy or horribly cluttered, until then I’ll have to stick with Thunar). Launchers launch easily on the desktop, and it even has panels with widget options which set exactly like the dead Gnome. Sorry I didn’t try your LXDE, but I really don’t get paid to test the distros. An unflattering and recent report, the known fact of XFCE’s longer development time and consistent user enthusiasm, plus knowing that the answers for my questions can be easily resolved through much relevant tutorial information was more than enough reason for me to switch distros. I believe the lesson learned from the tale of two distros is that it’s not all in the technical, and sometimes a strong business angle actually benefits the users as well.
Oh, and one more thing - and I know this can only sound mean, but do you really think the bulk of your users prefer the snob appeal of “elegance” over professionalism and functionality? I never expected nor wanted the equivalent of turn-down service with mints on the pillows. What I got from Xubuntu today is not elegant, but beautiful, functional, polished, and a lot more than I did expect without bulking up my system resources. That is what wins me over. Given the trend with GNOME and the childish KDE, I didn’t expect ever to see a UI which would make me no longer miss Gnome, but so it happened today.
Peace, and goodbye until you get behind a decent UI, such as XFCE!