So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

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So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby xenopeek on Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:46 am

It's been a while since I went distro-hopping but over the weekend I wiped my Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon installation and replaced it with Arch Linux. I'll probably return to an Ubuntu base, but decided I'd go with Arch Linux for now to try the latest versions of various desktop environments. I've been a happy Linux Mint user since mid 2011, first with GNOME 2, then with MATE, and since Linux Mint 14 with Cinnamon. But that one is almost out of support and despite having enjoyed Cinnamon on Linux Mint 14 for a long time, I personally haven't enjoyed the visual direction the newer Cinnamon versions have taken.

So it is time to try something else. Currently I'm giving Gnome Shell and Unity both a shot. Who would have thought :) Gnome Shell feels like an integrated whole, while Unity feels a bit like its put together from different components (which of course it is; having bits from GNOME and others). That said, I prefer the dock on Unity over the dock on Gnome Shell (with the Dash to Dock extension). Some more experimenting needed.

I've also given serious thought to KDE and after having run that on VirtualBox for a while now was initially going to go for Linux Mint 16 KDE. However, the more I used KDE the more it felt like its getting in my way. Yes, I enjoy having a panel at the bottom of the screen with a window switcher. But on many applications I drown in the options presented in the menus (comparing that to how sleek and efficient Gnome Shell applications present their menus). Aside from that, I've not been able to find themes I enjoy using, that make the window switcher clearly distinquish applications from each other, and that actually works well with both Qt and GTK+ 2/3 applications :? Theming on KDE still gives me a headache... I understand the KDE project now has a human inteface design group, working on improving both the layout of applications and new themes for KDE next. Sounds like they are working on my gripes so I'm keeping an eye on that :wink:

So for now it's between Gnome Shell and Unity, though I'm in no rush to make a decision. Might be Cinnamon 2.2 takes it back on track to my liking with Linux Mint 17 :wink: And yes I know there are more options (MATE, Xfce, *box, tiling WMs, and so on) but while I would have gravitated towards those a few years back, they feel to bare to me today.

I know of few of you are using Gnome Shell or Unity on Linux Mint. I'd welcome feedback and tips. I prefer to be less keyboard oriented and do more things with the mouse, so on both Gnome Shell and Unity I've been playing around with their Tweak Tools to get things to my liking.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby tdockery97 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:18 am

I have always been a fan of docks myself. In many of my old desktop screenshots you'll see cairo dock there. I like the look of unity, but not the pure Ubuntu base. I think Mint does that part much better. I'll be following your thread to see if you have reasonable success in adding Unity to Mint. I've briefly tried it but it was lacking proper Dash operation and a few other things. Unity on top of the Mint base might be a fun experiment.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby GeneC on Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:09 am

Hi guys... :D

I've been a die hard XFCE users, but just last week installed the latest Debian "Jessie" XFCE (testing) and installed Gnome Shell (3.8.4) on top of it.
Bottom line.. I like it a lot. With addition of a half a dozen extensions from. https://extensions.gnome.org/ its very nice. I still don't have much use for the 'overview' but its search function is very good.

(Debian Jessie xfce with Gnome Shell 3.8.4, 'Plank" dock, GnoMenu)
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EDIT: (added overview SS)
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https://wiki.gnome.org/Gnome3CheatSheet = explains some of the newest features..

You might be interested in this (Gnome Shell) thread... viewtopic.php?f=201&t=65745
Last edited by GeneC on Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby killer de bug on Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:38 am

xenopeek wrote: despite having enjoyed Cinnamon on Linux Mint 14 for a long time, I personally haven't enjoyed the visual direction the newer Cinnamon versions have taken.


Interesting. Can you be more specific please? I would love to hear your opinion :)
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby craig10x on Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:59 am

I have been running ubuntu 14.04 development for several months, as you know :wink:

Unity has been given a tremendous amount of polish and it is really smooth to use now...i have always preferred it over gnome shell and i think you will be surprised how nice it is ... it is very "mouse friendly" (i don't have a touchscreen) and quick and efficient to use...

Another nice new feature is you can put the menus back in the windows (just by hitting a check box in system settings) and yet it doesn't affect the top panel's space saving feature when you open a web page and surf (i put it on as soon as the feature came in and love it)...

Would highly recommend you give it a try when it is released...i think you will be impressed by both unity and 14.04 itself... :D

I'm sure Don (exploder) will be along soon to give you his impressions...
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby GeneC on Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:06 am

Craig

One feature Ihave never liked with Unity is the 'left side dock' (dont know its official name). I find it obtrusive. I know you can autohide it, but that is not convenient. Do you know if there are plans (or have now) an 'intellihide' (window dodge) setting for it?
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby craig10x on Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:42 am

Hi Gene...not sure about that...i will have to check into it...i know they won't offer the option of putting the unity dock on the bottom of course, but i got use to it being on the left (in fact,interestingly, my mac-using friend who has the option of putting his dock anywhere, puts his on the left because he feels it makes more sense that way)...

However, as you mentioned, you can auto hide the unity dock (which i do) and make the icon pixels a lot smaller, and i set mine to 38 pixels for my 17" laptop screen (in fact in 14.04 you can make them smaller then ever before)...I don't find it obtrusive myself, since unless i need to open a program, it's not even in sight the rest of the time anyway... :wink:
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby tdockery97 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:50 am

@GeneC: There is a third party (PPA) that has both unity-dodge-windows and unity-dodge-maximized-windows apps that do work in 14.04.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby GeneC on Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:58 am

Craig and TDoc..

Thanks for the info. I may give it another spin... :wink: , but really enjoying the shell right now.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby xenopeek on Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:05 pm

Thanks a lot for the feedback all! Appreciated. Responding to some points below.

tdockery97 wrote:I like the look of unity, but not the pure Ubuntu base. I think Mint does that part much better. I'll be following your thread to see if you have reasonable success in adding Unity to Mint.

Having looked at the Linux Mint repository often enough, I know it mostly has packages for Cinnamon, MATE, Mint tools, and some additional programs that I don't actually need (things like Handbrake and Skype). What things don't you like on the pure Ubuntu base? Right now, if I'd go for Unity I'd just use Ubuntu. It's a bit duct taped together on Arch Linux so I'm not staying on that with Unity :)

GeneC wrote:With addition of a half a dozen extensions from. https://extensions.gnome.org/ its very nice.

I think I need a few more extensions :mrgreen: I'm on Gnome Shell 3.10 here (3.12 soon) and I like how the applications look with the new merged titlebar and menubar. Very clean menus. I have the Dash to Dock extension, but it's ugly when not set to intellihide IMO and that makes it not as convenient to use as the Unity dock. I often do tasks where I need to switch repeatedly between multiple applications and that's a bit of a chore right now if you only use the mouse.

killer de bug wrote:Interesting. Can you be more specific please? I would love to hear your opinion :)

Eh... Shees, I don't have Cinnamon 1.6 here anymore to compare :) *tries to recall* One thing I don't like is the crumb bar in Nemo of newer Cinnamon version. Nautilus just does that both more pleasing to my eyes and more functional.

craig10x wrote:Another nice new feature is you can put the menus back in the windows (just by hitting a check box in system settings) and yet it doesn't affect the top panel's space saving feature when you open a web page and surf (i put it on as soon as the feature came in and love it)...

Yup, that's the first tweak I did. I really don't like the global menu and this is a very welcome change. I have Ubuntu 14.04 Beta 2 on a USB stick (didn't know how to dual boot it with my Arch Linux install that I have installed with full disk encryption).

Is there some way to browse all your applications, without opening the dash first and going to applications there, and then clicking to show all? Ideally I'd like to trigger the dash's all application view on a screen corner or something. Perhaps I'm missing something obvious...
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby tdockery97 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:29 pm

xenopeek wrote:Having looked at the Linux Mint repository often enough, I know it mostly has packages for Cinnamon, MATE, Mint tools, and some additional programs that I don't actually need (things like Handbrake and Skype). What things don't you like on the pure Ubuntu base? Right now, if I'd go for Unity I'd just use Ubuntu. It's a bit duct taped together on Arch Linux so I'm not staying on that with Unity :)


I know that the team must do some tweaks and/or add additional "user friendly" code to the Ubuntu base. Take Google Earth for example. If I have the ATI proprietary driver installed, Google Earth will not run in Ubuntu, period. I've tried all of the work-arounds. But on Mint I can get it up and running without breaking a sweat.

Of course some of those little tweaks could also be why Unity doesn't seem to run as well on Mint as it does on Ubuntu.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby xenopeek on Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:16 pm

Using Tweak Tool I've lowered the animation and delay times for the Dash to Dock extension from 250 ms to 100 ms. The dock has become a lot more friendly to me, since it snaps fast now. Added the Workspaces to Dock extension to have a workspaces dock on the right side of the screen :P Gnome Shell is shaping up nicely. Adding the unstable repository now to get 3.12 (famous last words I guess :wink:).
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby Pilosopong Tasyo on Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:31 am

xenopeek wrote:Is there some way to browse all your applications, without opening the dash first and going to applications there, and then clicking to show all? Ideally I'd like to trigger the dash's all application view on a screen corner or something. Perhaps I'm missing something obvious...

Super+A will open the Apps Lens. To see other available keyboard shortcuts in Unity, hold down the Super button about a second or two and the keyboard shortcuts overlay will appear on your display. :wink:
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby xenopeek on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:31 am

I figured that one out by not paying closer attention to the keyboard shortcuts help screen displayed after booting into the live session :) Thanks though, 'cause for the hasty this is easy to miss...

Anyway, I'm happy with all but one aspects of Gnome Shell. It gives an awesomely integrated and polished experience, and it oozes design that has been well thought out. It is a very distraction free environment. The task switching, launching of new applications, and workspace switching, all feel inconvient though. I feel like I need to jump through more hoops to do that with the mouse, and keyboard shortcuts aren't good for me... I'll keep experimenting for a bit, perhaps have another look at the extensions. The extensions that you'd expect to help the most are IMO badly designed. I like Gnome Shell a lot, but for usually working on a couple of tasks at the same time and switching between groups of tasks often--I've not found my flow with it yet :?

I'll probably wipe the install over the weekend and give Ubuntu a try. From the tryout on the LiveUSB I feel task switching and workspace switching are much better implemented on Unity (for me). Launching of new applications is more complicated (with a mouse) than on Gnome Shell though. While Unity has certainly improved a lot since last I gave it a serious try (11.04), I do prefer Gnome Shell's more sober / distraction free looks.
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby Zorba on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:47 am

I told you guys to revive MGCE it is the best DE ever out (cinnamon is great too) and can be tweaked to work on tablets and stuff :D besides the menu shown above is a fork of MGCE guys! can anyone revive that MGCE for the sake of choice and freedom :D
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby Zorba on Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:53 am

PS MGCE can be made into a cinnamon extension (just the overview and the top panel :D
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby Pierre on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:08 am

It's been a while since I went distro-hopping but over the weekend I wiped my Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon installation and replaced it with Arch Linux. I'll probably return to an Ubuntu base, but decided I'd go with Arch Linux for now to try the latest versions of various desktop environments


a little surprised that you didn't hold until Mint 17 is released, in may ..
- if you go distro-hopping this weekend, then take a look at MX14
It relies on the excellent upstream work by Linux, Debian, and Xfce 8)
http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=08356
http://www.mepiscommunity.org/mx

- try the ISO in your Vbox
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby xenopeek on Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:12 pm

Pierre wrote:if you go distro-hopping this weekend, then take a look at MX14

Thanks for the recommendation, but it looks like it is 32-bit only? That won't work for me; I need to be able to use more than 4 GiB RAM per process (I know PAE can let me use more than 4 GiB RAM in total--but the limit is still there per process).
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby craig10x on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:21 pm

@xenopeek: I'd stick with the big boys...like ubuntu...you know, small spin offs tend to come and go... :wink:
14.04 will be final released on April 17th, so you might want to give it a go...all those changes and improvements in unity make it really smooth and nice to use these days...it's got a nice polish to it now... :D
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Re: So long Cinnamon! Hello ... Gnome Shell? Unity?

Postby Zorba on Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:05 pm

tdockery97 wrote:@GeneC: There is a third party (PPA) that has both unity-dodge-windows and unity-dodge-maximized-windows apps that do work in 14.04.



thank you :D I really love Ubuntu 14.04. It just rocks :D

BTW I had removed Linux Mint Cinnamon all together last time because I hated the routine of using the same distro with the same looks for 3 years, I installed Ubuntu because it felt more modern than after two days I missed my old frien and so removed Ubuntu and installed Mint 16 cinnamon and Mint 16 Mate on a dual-boot :lol: I run Ubuntu 14.04 on a USB sometimes though :mrgreen:
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