Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

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InkKnife
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Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by InkKnife »

I am really troubled by the Gnome Groups introduction of Client Side Decorations in their applications. Gnome provides a bunch of core apps that are central to the computing experience in Linux but with CSD Gnomes apps will look out of place on every single desktop environment there is except Gnome3.
I have used some of the new Gnome apps and while I like the functionality it really bothers me that Gnome apps do not respect the system theme and does not respect user specified widget placement.
My background is on OSX and I think it is a damned shame that Gnome has chosen to deny and disrespect user choices exactly like Apple does with their locked down, inflexible UI. Seems like an extended middle finger to every user of every other DE.
Has anyone started a project to "fix" Gnome apps to get rid of CSD and make them work properly with all other DEs? That is a project I would eagerly throw some money at. I have searched and found nothing so far.
So are we just going to be stuck with a whole bunch of apps that simply ignore user settings and wishes or can the problem of CSD decorations be fixed?
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by xenopeek »

I'll agree applications using CSD can look somewhat out of place on Linux Mint, but I don't agree with your wording or characterization. You have a lot of critique but sidestepped that how these applications look is something their developers are proud of; it's something most of their users enjoy using.

You can theme CSD applications and there are hacks like gtk3-nocsd to disable the CSD feature of GTK3. You may not like how CSD applications look but others do (because applications' user interfaces use less screen space, they find them less distracting, more functional, and more beautiful). Besides Gnome Shell also ElementaryOS (Pantheon desktop) and SolusOS (Budgie desktop), to name a few, use CSD applications for a modern take on the desktop.

Like Linux Mint developers have their vision for what the desktop should be, so do the developers of Gnome Shell, ElementaryOS, and SolusOS; and the developers of applications for those desktop environments. Should they abandon their vision because it doesn't align with yours? Should they spend their time on things important to you but not to their other users?

All this said, this is a topic that comes up from time to time with the Linux Mint developers. They are trying to figure out how to move forward on this also. Will they pin Gnome applications on older versions, like Ubuntu and Linux Mint both have been doing till now? Will they use more applications from MATE? There are various options but for Linux Mint it isn't on the highest priority yet till I think development cycle for Linux Mint 18 starts.
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by InkKnife »

xenopeek wrote:I'll agree applications using CSD can look somewhat out of place on Linux Mint, but I don't agree with your wording or characterization. You have a lot of critique but sidestepped that how these applications look is something their developers are proud of; it's something most of their users enjoy using.

You can theme CSD applications and there are hacks like gtk3-nocsd to disable the CSD feature of GTK3. You may not like how CSD applications look but others do (because applications' user interfaces use less screen space, they find them less distracting, more functional, and more beautiful). Besides Gnome Shell also ElementaryOS (Pantheon desktop) and SolusOS (Budgie desktop), to name a few, use CSD applications for a modern take on the desktop.

Like Linux Mint developers have their vision for what the desktop should be, so do the developers of Gnome Shell, ElementaryOS, and SolusOS; and the developers of applications for those desktop environments. Should they abandon their vision because it doesn't align with yours? Should they spend their time on things important to you but not to their other users?

All this said, this is a topic that comes up from time to time with the Linux Mint developers. They are trying to figure out how to move forward on this also. Will they pin Gnome applications on older versions, like Ubuntu and Linux Mint both have been doing till now? Will they use more applications from MATE? There are various options but for Linux Mint it isn't on the highest priority yet till I think development cycle for Linux Mint 18 starts.
I would take strong exception to the assertion that CSDs conserve space, the several new Gnome apps I have looked at all had flagrantly space wasting UIs, the new Gthumb being a perfect example. What I see happening in the new Gnome apps is lots and lots of unused, empty space that are very sparse in density so the app needs to be modal in the way Gthumb is now.
Trying new things is fine but what I perceive is happening is decades of human interface knowledge is being thrown away in favor of apps all having unique, one off interfaces. There is absolutely no consistency in the new Gnome apps. Learning on does not help to understand another. The standard File, Edit, etc menuing system imposes a consistency that helps users quickly find functions because one can learn what type of commands tend to be under certain menu items. The is no such consistency in apps that use CDS.
Each one is a unique snow flake, unrelated to other apps in the same series.
Again, lets look at the new Gthumb. Look at the controls. Indistinct icons that are only useful because if you hover a tool tip will tell you what a button does. Gthumb would be a complete mystery if you run a system with tool tips turned off.
One of the joys I discovered when I switched to Linux was how customisable the UI was. I LOVE being able to have the window widgets where I want them, the close widget on the left, minimise and maximise on the right. I see the rise of CSD and the locked down UI that CSD require to function as being a terrible regression towards the kind of locked down UI we have to deal with in Windows and OSX.
What Gnome is doing is rejecting the Linux tradition of giving the user a great deal of control over their desktop in favor of giving developers the ability to lock things down.
That is not progress in my book. I hope Mint and Ubuntu continue to stonewall on this issue.
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by xenopeek »

InkKnife wrote:I would take strong exception to the assertion that CSDs conserve space
Seeing them side-by-side often enough (as I use various distros and desktop environments in VirtualBox) I don't see any "flagrantly space wasting UI". Here for example is Gedit vs. Pluma (Linux Mint uses Gedit from GNOME 2 of which Pluma is a fork): http://i.imgur.com/gbCiLC9.png

For your example of Gthumb I've put the new version together with the old version behind it on the right: http://i.imgur.com/1EoMolG.png. Less space used for UI there also.

Having not used either version of gThumb I'd need to explore both to find what I can do with it (and how and where). I clicked on everything in the headerbar of the new version of gThumb once and it makes sense to me. I'd think if I had to use it tomorrow again I wouldn't need to search for anything I need. From left to right:
  • Left and right arrow icons to move back and forward. Same as in my file manager and web browser.
  • Clock icon to access history. Same as in my web browser but also easy to recall having clicked on it once.
  • Star icon to access bookmarks. Same as in my web browser.
  • Magnifying glass icon to search. Same as in my file manager and web browser.
  • Film screen icon to go to presentation mode. Easy to recall having clicked on it once.
  • Wrench icon to access tools. Makes sense and I'll find them there.
  • Up arrow icon with tray underneath icon to export. Makes sense.
And finally the hamburger icon which has a collection of less frequently used menu items. Just like in my file manager and web browser.
InkKnife wrote:I LOVE being able to have the window widgets where I want them, the close widget on the left, minimise and maximise on the right. I see the rise of CSD and the locked down UI that CSD require to function as being a terrible regression towards the kind of locked down UI we have to deal with in Windows and OSX.
You want close, minimize, and maximize on the left? You can do that with CSD: http://i.imgur.com/lASRYkT.png. Whether your desktop environment also has an option for that I don't know. Personally I don't care where these buttons are. Some desktop environments and window managers have them on the left, others have them on the right, some have more widgets you can add, and some don't have any widgets at all (i3 for example). I've not delved into this much. On Gnome Shell I changed the button layout using dconf Editor by editing button-layout setting in org > gnome > desktop > wm > preferences.

Anyway, none of that takes away that CSD applications may look a bit out of place on Linux Mint. It's the same with non-CSD applications when I use Gnome Shell, Pantheon, or Budgie. For me the File/Edit/View menus mostly look clumsy and inefficient. KDE applications are the worst in this regard, making me spend endless time in the menu instead of letting me just quickly access what I need like with CSD applications.
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by InkKnife »

It is in the edit mode where Gthumb gets bad. The way I open folders of pictures I never see the navigation mode.
I have never bothered looking at Nautilus because I already have Nemo and I like a fully functional file manger, not one that has been stripped down to practically nothing.
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by xenopeek »

The new gThumb has some more tools but the list is very small for either. The Color tools don't stand out for having very memorable icons; I wouldn't remember which is which unless I'd use this often probably. The Rotation, Format, and other tools (Save/Undo/Redo) are obvious to me. I don't really like the interface of backing out of a tool (you can also back out by pressing Esc). But the tools sidebar has nothing to do with CSD; they could have put the tools in a list in the sidebar with labels besides them, or at least given that option. Anyway, I've never found a use for tools like gThumb; I just use GIMP for any image editing that I need to do.

As for Nemo versus Nautilus, the only thing obviously different to me is dual pane view is in Nemo but not in Nautilus.
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by InkKnife »

xenopeek wrote:The new gThumb has some more tools but the list is very small for either. The Color tools don't stand out for having very memorable icons; I wouldn't remember which is which unless I'd use this often probably. The Rotation, Format, and other tools (Save/Undo/Redo) are obvious to me. I don't really like the interface of backing out of a tool (you can also back out by pressing Esc). But the tools sidebar has nothing to do with CSD; they could have put the tools in a list in the sidebar with labels besides them, or at least given that option. Anyway, I've never found a use for tools like gThumb; I just use GIMP for any image editing that I need to do.

As for Nemo versus Nautilus, the only thing obviously different to me is dual pane view is in Nemo but not in Nautilus.
Gthumb is great for quick edits when you don't want to deal with a heavyweight like the GIMP and it's very unusual save routine.
I like the feature set of gthumb, just wish it had a better GUI front end on it.
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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by Prlwytzkofski »

I'll agree applications using CSD can look somewhat out of place on Linux Mint, but I don't agree with your wording or characterization. You have a lot of critique but sidestepped that how these applications look is something their developers are proud of; it's something most of their users enjoy using.

You can theme CSD applications and there are hacks like gtk3-nocsd to disable the CSD feature of GTK3. You may not like how CSD applications look but others do (because applications' user interfaces use less screen space, they find them less distracting, more functional, and more beautiful). Besides Gnome Shell also ElementaryOS (Pantheon desktop) and SolusOS (Budgie desktop), to name a few, use CSD applications for a modern take on the desktop.

Like Linux Mint developers have their vision for what the desktop should be, so do the developers of Gnome Shell, ElementaryOS, and SolusOS; and the developers of applications for those desktop environments. Should they abandon their vision because it doesn't align with yours? Should they spend their time on things important to you but not to their other users?

All this said, this is a topic that comes up from time to time with the Linux Mint developers. They are trying to figure out how to move forward on this also. Will they pin Gnome applications on older versions, like Ubuntu and Linux Mint both have been doing till now? Will they use more applications from MATE? There are various options but for Linux Mint it isn't on the highest priority yet till I think development cycle for Linux Mint 18 starts.
Well I respectfully disagree with that vision. I do not doubt that developers are proud of what they developed, but ignoring the fact that (maybe some, me included) have a certain layout that due to CSD all of sudden cannot be implemented any more is something I do not understand. We can have discussions about what is less distracting, more functional, and more beautiful but I for one do NOT like black-and-white icons and want to set certain colours the way I like it. In my opinion this should be known by developers. If CSD will be more used in the next version of the MATE desktop then with much regret I will have to look for alternatives in order to maintain what I like. Unfortunately I am not able to simply hack applications to suite my needs. I wonder: are we as users in a minority position? How many users have reacted to these coming changes? Will it be all CSD in the end?

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Re: Are We Going To Be Stuck With Gnome CSD?

Post by xenopeek »

I'm locking this as a lot has changed in the 2 years since above discussion took place. Please don't necrobump. For one, on Linux Mint you have the X-Apps that don't use CSD. Pix is a replacement for gThumb. X-Apps were introduced with Linux Mint 18; see https://www.linuxmint.com/rel_sarah_mate_whatsnew.php for some screenshots. And you could also use another icon set to change the look of CSD icons.
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