Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desktop

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Lumenary
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Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desktop

Post by Lumenary »

Hello Everyone,




Clem has mentioned that even though Ubuntu has moved to Unity, and other GNOME-based distros have moved (or are moving) to Gnome Shell, he envisions that Linux Mint will move to GNOME 3.0 (the underlying framework), but retain the "classic GNOME" desktop:


With that in mind, I figured that it may be a good idea to start a thread where the community can list its expectations with regard to what functionality from the "classic GNOME" desktop will be retained.



To start things off, I will present my wishlist:

  • 1. Customisable Gnome-Panel -- hopefully rewritten for GTK/GTK+ 3.0 -- that will allow the addition, removal, and re-arranging of (multiple) panels and panel applets. Available applets should (at minimum) include: configurable clock/calendar widget, dedicated session lock/logout/restart/quit buttons, task switcher, virtual workspace switcher/manager.


    2. Support for the new Application Indicators framework, including indicator-appmenu. However, a way should be found to disable indicator-appmenu -- without having to remove any packages -- for those who don't like global (Mac-OS-style) application menus.


    3. Support for a classic-style system tray/notification area so we're not forced into using apps that rely on indicators to work properly.


    4. Retain compatibility with Compiz, while also offering a non-composited mode for those with hardware for which there currently is no OpenGL acceleration support.


    5. Complete window control support, including maximise/minimise/close buttons.

Is there anything else that needs to be mentioned?




Best Regards,

Lumenary
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    AlbertP
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by AlbertP »

    GTK 3 will be supported as we're going to use Gnome 3.0. About 5, we will have minimize and maximize in Mint 11.
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    waldo
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by waldo »

    Something to keep in mind when thinking about the future of Mint or any other Linux OS: Do you cater to the desires of the 2% (a generous number from all accounts) of dedicated Linux desktop users, or to the 98% of users of Windows and Macs who find Linux difficult or confusing or not compelling?

    Clem and the Mint team have recognized that the Gnome and KDE traditional desktops were too disorganized and needed some tweaking. It has been a step in the right direction, and the reward has been to command second place to Ubuntu, over such stalwarts as Fedora and OpenSuse. Nice work.

    Mark Shuttleworth has brought Ubuntu to the top of the Linux distros, that is, the top of the 2%. He got there in spite of all the criticisms of the "experts" who constantly gripe about all that's wrong with Ubuntu. He has done something right. He has made Linux a viable desktop choice for the non-expert, something no one had done before. Mint has succeeded so admirably because many users find it a "better Ubuntu", not in spite of Ubuntu.

    Shuttleworth apparently has decided that it has become time to set aside the varied and often opposing wants of the 2% base of Linux users, and consider attracting some of the other 98%. This is what Unity is designed to do. The Gnome/KDE argument has gotten Linux mired down, and it appears time to try something different. I, for one, hope he succeeds beyond all expectations. It won't happen with 11.04, but perhaps 11.10 or 12.04.

    Mint should continue the course with the well crafted Gnome version, but I hope they consider building a Unity version also, just in case Shuttleworth is right. I'm sure it would benefit from the same talent that made a better Gnome Ubuntu.
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by monkeyboy »

    I haven't the any knowledge of the programing resources actually available to the Mint project so its hard to come up with specific suggestion/wishes. That being said I think there will be a significant number of potential users looking for a familiar desktop fairly soon so keeping the DE looking as it is now in GNOME just makes sense. How that is accomplished is above my technical pay grade.
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by zerozero »

    what i would like to see answered first is how Clem is going to built Mint11 DE:
    - let's see, katya will be based off natty, right, but the former is going to stay with 2.32 (upon which unity is built on), so where are we going to get the Gnome3 libs to deliver this non-unity/non-gnome-shell Gnome3-looking-like-Gnome2?
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by Lumenary »

    Hello Again,


    waldo wrote:Clem and the Mint team have recognized that the Gnome and KDE traditional desktops were too disorganized and needed some tweaking. It has been a step in the right direction, and the reward has been to command second place to Ubuntu, over such stalwarts as Fedora and OpenSuse. Nice work.
    In this we are in complete agreement. I wouldn't be a hard-core Mint user if it weren't for the quality improvements made by the Mint team.

    waldo wrote:Mark Shuttleworth has brought Ubuntu to the top of the Linux distros, that is, the top of the 2%. He got there in spite of all the criticisms of the "experts" who constantly gripe about all that's wrong with Ubuntu. He has done something right. He has made Linux a viable desktop choice for the non-expert, something no one had done before. Mint has succeeded so admirably because many users find it a "better Ubuntu", not in spite of Ubuntu.
    Ditto.

    waldo wrote:Shuttleworth apparently has decided that it has become time to set aside the varied and often opposing wants of the 2% base of Linux users, and consider attracting some of the other 98%. This is what Unity is designed to do. The Gnome/KDE argument has gotten Linux mired down, and it appears time to try something different. I, for one, hope he succeeds beyond all expectations. It won't happen with 11.04, but perhaps 11.10 or 12.04.
    This is where we disagree, not in the "why," but in the "how."

    To me, the GNU/Linux ecosystem has always been about flexibility: the ability to arrange things the way that I want, which may be quite different from the way that you do things. This was the attraction that drew me to GNU/Linux when IBM ceased developing and supporting OS/2 Warp. I knew I needed to leave OS/2 because IBM would not be continuing its investment (despite the platform's advantages and much higher level of flexibility and customisability), but I was loathe to return to Windows.

    So I made the jump, first to SuSE (back when it was just "SuSE," and not yet part of Novell), then to PCLinuxOS, then to Ubuntu, then Linux Mint. It wasn't until I landed on Mint that I found a GNU/Linux distro that "felt right." It was stable, efficient, visually stunning, did everything I needed out of the box, and could do it "my way."

    Which brings me to the crux of the matter: It seems that GNOME.org has taken "less is more" to the extreme, and that in order to reach their minimalistic goals, they've completely gutted flexibility for simplicity. Which is something that, in my mind, didn't need to happen. Canonical has gone that way, too, with Unity, but to a lesser extent; some of the ideas behind Unity are quite intriguing, but the environment, IMHO, still needs quite a bit of work.

    Now, I do understand that the world is "going mobile," with touch-based (or, at least, touch-capable) UIs being all the rage, and I applaud the fact that people are working to position GNU/Linux as a viable alternative in that market. However, this can be done without deciding that the whole "GUI desktop" paradigm -- which was developed through decades of ergonomic and semiotic research -- was broken, and needed to be fundamentally changed.

    Redesign the UI if you must, but don't remove things just because you think they're superfluous. Things that are unnecessary to you are likely to be quite important to others. It's okay to provide a simplified interface for the 98% living with Windows and/or Mac OS X, but that can be done by using a sensible set of defaults that more adventurous users can change: Want a second panel? Right-click the desktop and add it. Need maximise/minimise buttons? No problem, right-click the title bar and enable them. Want a weather-reporting applet or a task switcher in your panels? Same deal, right-click and add. Don't like global application menus (like those used by Mac OS/Mac OS X)? Pop open AppMenu Preferences and uncheck a box.

    In short, my grumbling about Gnome Shell and Unity isn't about how they look or work in general, it's about the things they've abolished in the name of "simplicity."




    Best Regards,

    Lumenary
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by waldo »

    Lumenary wrote: . . .

    In short, my grumbling about Gnome Shell and Unity isn't about how they look or work in general, it's about the things they've abolished in the name of "simplicity."
    Those "things" are not being abolished (or deeply hidden) for you. You can find them, or select the distro that offers them. The desktop is being simplified because that's what the 98% that don't use Linux wants. They don't want to tweak their OS, that I know for a fact; I earn my living supporting ordinary users. Most users never want to change anything, a few dare to change the wallpaper to a picture of their kids or pet dog, and consider that quite an accomplishment. "That's it. Don't want to, don't need to change anything else. Don't want to fiddle with the computer, just want to get my stuff done."

    Apple knows this. Microsoft knows this. Most of the Linux community has never understood this, or perhaps, have decided that it was not necessary to cater to people that just want to get their stuff done. Those users," it seems to be the attitude, "are not as smart as us." But maybe they are. Maybe they just have made the choice not to give a hoot about the OS.
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by michaelzap »

    zerozero wrote:what i would like to see answered first is how Clem is going to built Mint11 DE:
    - let's see, katya will be based off natty, right, but the former is going to stay with 2.32 (upon which unity is built on), so where are we going to get the Gnome3 libs to deliver this non-unity/non-gnome-shell Gnome3-looking-like-Gnome2?
    +1
    It seems like quite a lot more mix-and-matching than Mint has generally done. Mint used to be essentially "Ubuntu with all the codecs and a nicer interface," so repos were never much of a problem (I assume). But stripping Unity and then adding Gnome 3 (but not Gnome Shell) is building on a very shaky foundation, I think.

    If it were up to me (and it's not, thank gawd), I would make Debian the one and only base for Mint for future releases, which would allow Mint to build what it wants on a solid foundation with standard repos. Yes, there is some added value in Ubuntu (but there is also a ton of bloat and bugs). But if it's going in a fundamentally different direction, it's only a matter of time before the two projects part ways (and I'd bet it's less than a year).
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    Re: Wishlists: Features for a Non-Unity/Non-Gnome-Shell Desk

    Post by NormanF »

    Clem is moving in the right direction... the Gnome 3 shell won't work with most users who don't have the hardware to run it. The idea of tailoring the environment to meet average users needs feels and sounds right.

    If Linux Mint adopts Unity 2D, certain changes have to made: an identifiable global menu, fixing the right click issue so there's no need to go to the command line to add applications to the running launcher and the desktop should have right click in case users want to download files or move files there for convenient use. The system settings shouldn't be in the shutdown menu - it doesn't feel right. The system settings should be moved and integrated into the launcher next to applications so the user can quickly access the computer settings when needed.

    I think this is the right way to go with a Unity shell environment and it must be made intuitive for users so they can find what they need and launch their programs. LM shouldn't just copy Ubuntu but do it better and give the users the tools they need to run the computer their way.

    That I think, should be LM's computing philosophy, regardless of what UI it eventually implements.
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