Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

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nebcanuck
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Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by nebcanuck »

So as I test out the supposed future of Gnome, that being Gnome Shell, I wonder: What is to become of distribution-specific enhancements that depend on Gnome Panel? For example, under Ubuntu, the notification-applet has become all the rage and is taking over all of the functionality that used to be part of the system tray. And, for Mint, the most powerful and unique tool going for it -- Mint Menu -- is also an example of a tool that seems, at least on the surface, to be completely incompatible with Gnome Shell.

Honestly, I don't mind missing out on basic applets, like Tomboy. I'm sure that their creators will figure out a way to work around not having that single location to launch notes from. But for something like Mint Menu, which is such a defining feature of a whole distribution, what exactly does the future look like? As developer, are you looking to modify the tool to make it work with Shell, or do you abandon it and begin developing something as an alternative? Or do panel-related addons just fade out, and thus there ends up being one less distinction between distributions?

Obviously, some people are touting Shell as being the best step Gnome has taken in a while. And there's still lots of time before the actual linking of Gnome to Shell occurs. And I know that after KDE's transition to Plasma, changes that seem unnecessarily radical can definitely turn out for the better in the end. But the question is still worth asking... after all, Shell is only half a year away!
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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by lexon »

Not to worry, it will continue to evolve.

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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by nebcanuck »

Certainly no need to worry. But it's still worth thinking ahead! The implications of the Shell switch are pretty major, and to me it's an intriguing question as to what's going to happen to projects like Mint Menu and the distributions that are built around them!

Mostly, I'm a vision-oriented thinker. I love to muse about what paths lay ahead, and I think that fits the open source world. When you're trying to develop a unique distribution, you'd want to plan ahead and see what's worth putting effort into, and what's going to fade away, as soon as you're able. Right? The give and take of open source doesn't mean just going with the flow... since Shell is a reality, the next question is "what do we do with it?" It's exciting, really!
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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by canci »

Well, but isn't the Gnome shell kinda making mint menu redundant? (I'm talking just about the functionality now. Not the looks. Its Activity part just
does the same as mint menu) Try it out.
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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by nebcanuck »

I've tried it out and there's still some stuff lacking. But I think that's really my point:strong panel-specific tools will become irrelevant soon. So what do you do, if one of your distribution's distinguishing features is those strong panel-specific tools?

Lucid Lynx looks like it will be an excellent release right now. It will truly do Gnome 2 proud as it enters its last cycle. I'm sure Linux Mint will be the same. But strategically, you've always got to think two steps ahead in the tech game. So you make the tools as good as they can be for this last cycle, but what about long-term development planning? Where does the plan lay once MintMenu becomes redundant?
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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by Lumenary »

Howdy...


nebcanuck wrote:Certainly no need to worry. But it's still worth thinking ahead! The implications of the Shell switch are pretty major, and to me it's an intriguing question as to what's going to happen to projects like Mint Menu and the distributions that are built around them!
I agree to an extent, and disagree to an extent... :-)

On the "agree" side, there is, as you say, no need to worry insofar that the GNOME 2 desktop environment, being a FLOSS (Free/Libre` Open-Source Software) project, can (and probably will) continue to exist alongside GNOME 3.

On the "disagree" side, however, I do believe that the GNOME User Community-at-Large needs to be made more aware of some of the implications of including the GNOME 3 environment (and Gnome Shell) as part of a distro's software infrastructure.

Many of the "old and familiar" tools, like Panel Applets and Compiz(-Fusion), are not compatible with Gnome Shell, and Gnome Shell itself requires hardware-based OpenGL (3D) acceleration, which means that in many cases users will be "forced" to download and install proprietary video drivers (because the available Open Source drivers often don't support the latest video hardware). Gnome Shell is also reported to not handle multi-monitor setups too well, because of the way Clutter handles desktop scaling when the "Activities" pane is opened.

Conversely, the GNOME 2 window manager works well with non-accelerated Open-Source drivers (as long as compositing effects aren't enabled), and generally has few (if any) problems handling multi-monitor configurations.

nebcanuck wrote:I've tried it out and there's still some stuff lacking. But I think that's really my point:strong panel-specific tools will become irrelevant soon. So what do you do, if one of your distribution's distinguishing features is those strong panel-specific tools?

Lucid Lynx looks like it will be an excellent release right now. It will truly do Gnome 2 proud as it enters its last cycle. I'm sure Linux Mint will be the same. But strategically, you've always got to think two steps ahead in the tech game. So you make the tools as good as they can be for this last cycle, but what about long-term development planning? Where does the plan lay once MintMenu becomes redundant?
It's hard to say... As long as Clem and Crew continue to develop and package a "remix" of Mint that uses (or can use) GNOME 2, mintMenu will always have a place. So in that regard, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

However, it does appear (to my mind, at least) that the GNOME developers are somewhat annoyed that certain modules of the current (GNOME 2) environment are often replaced with competing technologies (e.g., Metacity with Compiz), and so are semi-consciously designing GNOME 3 in such a way that prevents easy subordination of its components.

I have written a lengthy (and probably biased, given my conservative leanings with regard to GUI development) missive on this topic; you can read it here:
Pay special attention to the comments I excerpted from Lucas Rocha's blog; I thing you'll find them enlightening...



Best Regards,

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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by recent-convert »

Like canci said, it seems to me that GNOME Shell does replace the functionality of the mintMenu. I've been working with Shell for a few days and haven't missed the mintMenu yet. (Although I have missed plenty of other features - I assume/hope these will be developed before the September release.)

It's a little sad that one of Mint's distinctions versus other distros is being eroded, but at least this will allow Clem et al more time to work on other features.

Reading your missive, Lumenary, had a couple of thoughts on new instances of applications:
- it would be convenient if double-clicking or middle-clicking the icon opened a second instance and left-clicking raised focus to current instance.
- I don't think we're being pushed to a single-instance paradigm: right-clicking on application icons and the drop-down menu on the application switcher encourages and makes it easier to work with multiple instances. Hope the functionality could be adapted for managing tabs as well.
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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by Rafinesque »

I personally would like to see Mint abandon the Mint Menu (which to me is just a clone of the XP default menu). The Ubuntu menus, which are a little like OS X, seem more efficient. I guess the new Gnome changes will replace both to some degree. I'm not sure I like the direction the Gnome is going... I wonder if it's too radical at this point.
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Re: Future of Mint Menu? (and other such apps)

Post by nebcanuck »

Lumenary:

I read your "missive" and found it interesting. I'm not really ready to cast judgment on Shell just yet... testing it in Lucid Lynx shows me that it's quite unique, quite usable... and still lacking in polish. But it's a new direction, has a lot of potential, and, as you pointed out, really seeks to redefine the user experience, which I find both intriguing and slightly annoying at the same time. Mostly, though, I'm holding my breath and going along with it tentatively. I'm not a traditionalist in my computing, and think that really shaking up things could yield excellent results.

I think, though, that your incite into the unconscious decision to move people away from alternative tools is what I'm pointing out with the MintMenu thing. Like it or not, the number of distinctions between distributions is going to get a lot smaller when Shell becomes the default. The specific effects enabled by default, the menus, even the themes will all have to conform to Shell pretty tightly, because of its rigid elements (including the really dark, bold bar across the top). While the underlying elements of different distributions will still be pretty differentiated, I wonder what kind of an impact it has on distributions like Ubuntu and Mint, which are really fairly close with the exception of software selection and custom tools.

Again, I know Clem is thinking ahead on these things. Just interesting to see a push towards homogenization from the perspective of a unique little distro!
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