My nitpick with Mint's approach

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Aethyr
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My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Aethyr »

Hello everyone.

I am not entirely sure if this is the right place to post, but hopefully it will be moved appropriately.

This is my personal opinion, and it is mine alone. However, I think that the approach that Clem is taking is wrong, and I would like to explain why in this thread.

First of all, my opinion on GNOME 3: it is a piece of complete crap. It is an unworkable desktop that is completely unsuitable for an everyday desktop working environment. No matter how many extensions are added, no matter how much functionality is added, there is so much crucial functionality missing in and of itself that it can never reach a state of being comfortable to use with a mouse. It might be more usable with a keyboard, but that's why polished desktops have keybindings. A system that focuses on only having keybindings and no other functionality is, well, trash. Not to mention that Linux is CHOICE. And GNOME gives the end user absolutely no choice as to how he is supposed to interact with his computer; there is one way, and it's either that or off the cliff you go. MGSE is an attempt to bridge this gap between what the GNOME idiots think is bleeding edge technology and what the world thinks is useful technology. And, without wanting to offend the enormous amount of work that Clem puts into Linux Mint, it's a pretty pathetic one at that. I've loved Linux Mint for as long as I've been using Linux. From my point of view, I could look at Mint, then look at other OSs and laugh at them. But Mint is now going the wrong way IMO. MATE is outdated technology. By the time it will be bug-free, GNOME 3 and gtk3 will have advanced so much that using MATE will be like driving a horse-drawn carriage in 2012. Even hardcore GNOME 2 fans would rather switch to XFCE than MATE right now; XFCE is polished and much more mature as a project.

What Mint should be focusing on, in my opinion, is the fallback mode. I'm currently running the Lisa RC on a virtual machine, and instead of spending my time in the [worst] piece of code ever that wasn't written by Microsoft (GNOME Shell), I spend it trying to make the fallback mode work like my computer USED to work before the GNOME team [made things difficult]. It's not perfect, but it can be done. And if Clem and the Mint team would spend some time on making that fallback usable, we would have a real desktop, not a shell that aspires to be one. There is a great little derivative in Ubuntu forums called freezylinux:http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1874552. It is this project that made me aware of the REAL potential of the fallback mode. Not the blog posts saying "You can have your desktop back with GNOME 3 fallback". In the end, I thought, the fallback is just a fallback. But then, thanks to this guy, I realised that the GNOME 3 fallback is the desktop, and the shell is probably just a huge trolling attempt by the GNOME team to see how much idiocy people can take before trashing their flagship desktop environment.

Clem and team, I hope that you will see the potential of the fallback mode. It needs the love of people who are experienced in creating a great workable desktop. Instead of writing small extensions for a Shell that is beyond saving, please shift your attention to the fallback and try and write some kind of extensions/applets/etc for that. The MATE developer should, in fact, leave well enough alone, and work on this too IMO. I don't see any maintained desktops using Qt 2 or gtk 1 around right now. He should take a hint from that.

Excuse me for this half-rant, half-plea. I am just getting desperate because I realise that my favorite desktop distribution is no longer going to provide me with a workable desktop. There was a time when I could give the latest Linux Mint ISO to people, and tell them: "Here, plug this into your computer. It will work.". From what I see of Lisa, that time has passed. And do not tell me to switch distro. 1st, there is no distro out there that "works". 2nd I want to use Mint because it's Mint. Because I love Mint. But I don't want to spend 3 days configuring a desktop so that it's workable. That's what Gentoo users do. So please, Clem and team. No Shells. No Extensions. We want a desktop.
Last edited by proxima_centauri on Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited for profanity.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by proxima_centauri »

* Moved to Chat about Linux Mint forum.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by proxima_centauri »

The current GNOME3 fallback mode is unreliable in the sense that we don't know how much more development, or continuance it will have with GNOME3. It also does not follow the same design standards as gnome-shell, and therefore is not easily adaptable as gnome-shell is.

Using vanilla gnome3 requires a shift in behaviour and conditioning, but generally speaking - once you get the hang of it, it's more efficient for use. I do see the disadvantage when providing it those expecting enterprise type interfaces, a la WinXP, and it can be a little overwhelming. The mint gnome-shell extensions try to bridge the old ways and habits of GNOME2, while providing the Activities overview of shell.

I think Clem made the right choice to embrace GNOME3 and gnome-shell.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by bimsebasse »

The fallback mode will be discontinued and abandoned as soon as the Gnome develeopers get the default environment to work with low end graphics cards and thus no longer need a low graphics fallback. The fallback session is not gonna be the future of anything. Otherwise a good rant!

As someone who works faster and better in Gnome Shell than in fallback-session, I wish outbursts like "completely unsuitable for an everyday desktop working environment" would be less frequent and less generalizing. I feel tied on hands and legs now going back to a classic session, things seem slow and a bother to get to mousing through menus, and the cheap 90s Windows knock-off look doesn't help, but that's just me and I wouldn't call it crap or unworkable because obviously it works and is great for many.

It's not the Mint team's fault that Gnome moved on to a new desktop paradigm, so a bit harsh to blame them for it. The Mint tweaked Gnome Shell session has gone a long way to try and easen the transition and bridge the gap between Gnome 2 and 3, and I don't think you could demand any more of them.
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Stennie »

Linuxmint 12 refuses to boot on my pc this morning. Wonder if some update broke it.
Will reload it again when the final version is released or wait for Linuxmint 13.
Will stick to Linuxmint 10 in the meantime.... :D
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Aethyr »

First of all: thanks for moving this to the right place.

Second: I understand that the fallback mode might not be supported for long. But this is open source we're talking here. In the same way that the GNOME 2 environment was forked, the Fallback Mode can be "forked" too, in a sense that it can be used as a base from where on a classic desktop can be built from gtk3 and then live on its own. I could see the XFCE team maybe embarking on such a project now that they're looking towards XFCE 5. If you follow the link I provided, you will see that it CAN be used for a very lightweight system; in fact, freezy uses about 150-200Mbs of RAM on my machine, which is less than the latest LXDE. That is the potential of the fallback mode that I kept hinting at; We can certainly expect it to be scrapped, since the GNOME team is well known for scrapping useful things in favor of useless ones.

Sorry, but I fail to see how a DE that hides all my options from me is efficient. I don't want to offend, but GNOME is aimed at users who don't know what they want out of their desktop. If you like it, then... You can see where I'm going with this. But I know what I want. And GNOME Shell is not giving me the option to have what I want, and MGSE is not helping either. To me, Compiz is the most efficient desktop I've used, and I used the word efficient, because once you go past the fancy effects, compiz is the most advanced window management system on the planet. Perhaps I'll go back to running it standalone then. I can't see how a desktop where everything is hidden from or unavailable to the end user is any better than a corporate OS.

Later Edit: Yes, I do understand that a gtk 3 XFCE wil be built from scratch probably. Also, I remembered a joke that was pulled on Apple a couple of years back. It perfectly fits to what GNOME is doing to the desktop right now. Dumbing it down doesn't make it more efficient, it just makes it fanboy appealing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BnLbv6QYcA
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by z06gal »

Aethyr,

Are you not going to give Clem time to do what he always does = develop Mint that will make most users very happy? It is simply not his fault that Gnome 2 is dead, gone, and not coming back. Clem does the best job in my opinion at adapting things to make Mint users happy and this RC has been out a few days. Give the man time. I find Mint 12 to be easily customized and there is nothing hidden. It is all right there in front of me. What really gets me about people complaining is that you are complaining about something totally FREE. Lol
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by bimsebasse »

aethyr, your complaints and frustrations are perfectly valid from your own viewpoint, but if you manage to learn to open e.g. firefox by typing "windows key + f + i + enter" (takes half a second), you won't miss icon shortcuts (as a side-effect you'll soon find the old way of mousing through menus and clicking icons cumbersome). And, out of sincere curiosity, not to provoke, what is it Gnome Shell doesn't give you the option to compared to old Gnome? Maybe there's an extension or a fix for what you wish, it just requires a bit of footwork since the shell is still in its early days.
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Aethyr »

In case you didn't notice, in my op I said that I love and respect and adore Clem's work, which is why I've done my best to support Mint by word of mouth and by using the Mint search engine and Opera and everything that generates profit for Mint. In fact, I have considered donating for Mint and Mint only, but my finances are worse than terrible, to the point that I can't spare not even the one euro, which really pains me. I also stated that I don't usually rant because I realise that Linux Mint and GNOME are provided for free. Maybe you need to work on your reading skills.

Back to the subject, If you think that GNOME Shell is customisable and that everything is right there, then you obviously have never used Linux before 2011 and you are exactly the target audience of the GNOME team. If that's not the case, then you are short of memory, because the customisability of Shell is absolute nil, 0, nada, miden, zero expressed in every way I can think of. Maybe with time Clem and the GNOME team might make GNOME Shell barely usable in the future. What I'm trying to say is that I think this is a wasted effort. Clem and Mint would be better off spending their time on something other than GNOME Shell. There is no reason to try and salvage usability out of a desktop that has idiocy as its main focus. GNOME Shell is trash, and it will remain trash no matter how many extensions are added to it. The GNOME Team focused on mobile devices, same as Ubuntu did, and they're trying to hide this fact behind pretty words. They do not care about the desktop, because the desktop users will always find another way. GNOME Shell is trying to market itself elsewhere, and by using their environment on our desktops we're encouraging them to keep developing this useless cr*p instead of changing course again.

Before stating that GNOME 3 is customisable, do something for me. Open the GNOME 2 Control Panel. Compare it to the Control panel in GNOME 3. How does it feel? Right click on the GNOME 2 Panel. Change the GNOME 2 Window Manager. Manage your GNOME 2 Launchers. Now do all that in GNOME 3. Oh wait. YOU CAN'T. Shell is not customisable. Maybe you need to look the word up in a dictionary.

It pains me that I won't be using a Mint desktop anymore. Our only options right now are outdated gtk2 (XFCE), unworkable gtk3 (GNOME 3), the overbloated joke that is KDE 4, or 3 hours spent configuring a window manager to get a usable desktop. In all honesty, if I didn't want kernel 3.x, I wouldn't switch from Mint 11.

Edit: so you press 4-5 keys to open firefox. Do you know how I did it in GNOME 2? I CLICKED THE DAMN DOCK LAUNCHER. Took me about 1/100 of a second.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by bimsebasse »

Yeah ok nevermind I tried :D
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by proxima_centauri »

The gnome-shell way of launching apps is still faster than using a menu, but adding shortcuts is possible. Some would argue it's still faster to use the keyboard than navigate and click, in any case, you can add favorites to the gnome-shell panel with an extension. You can also use Nautilus to manage the desktop to put icons on.

In terms of development, gnome-shell is very modular and extensions can be made to do almost anything, they just need to be written.

As for why there is minimal user configuration by default? because the GNOME project has shifted in philosophy to what a desktop experience should be in 2011. It focuses on minimalism and quick view changes to better focus; the less one is distracted, the more work accomplished. It also is a good step toward project stability, they know exactly what they're using and less customization means more stability in existing structure.

If you want a WinXP style desktop, GNOME3 is not for you and nothing will change that. That doesn't necessarily make it "trash" or mean Clem is "wasting efforts". Just because it takes elements of mobile computing does not mean it's only designed for touchpads and small screens, that is FUD. It is a fully functional desktop if you are willing to learn how to use it and change old habits.

As for the current System Settings for GNOME3, they are still actively developing these controls, but for the time being the basic system requirements are there.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by MALsPa »

I've been trying out GNOME 3 in Fedora 16.

To say that GNOME Shell is not customizable is an exaggeration, and I'm having no issues with usability. I can see room for improvement, but I'm enjoying using it. Besides gnome-tweak-tool, the only extensions I've added so far are the Applications Menu Extension and the Workspace Indicator Extension, and I'm finding that I'm not even using those two very much.

If you don't like it, don't use it. If you don't like the direction Mint's going in, there are other distros. If all you want to do is rant, go for it. But saying things like "it is a piece of complete crap" or "GNOME Shell is trash," well, you're entitled to your opinion, but I don't share it.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Aethyr »

I keep seeing the word "extension" thrown everywhere. Here is a useful piece of info that you all know but choose to ignore: most extensions usually break when a new version of GNOME 3.x comes out. That was the case with 3.0 -> 3.2. So that throws its alleged "stability" out of the window as well. And yes, it is a wasted effort for this exact reason - MGSE will have to be adapted again and again and again and again as the GNOME team keeps ruining our desktop experience every time they release. And if you were using an extension that is not adaptable to the new version (hypothetical situation)? Sucks to be you, go jump off the cliff.

By your own admission, GNOME Shell is incomplete. I say it will never be complete. It is missing too much crucial functionality, and if I have to wait 2 years for version 3.8 which will have all this functionality... You get the point. Wasted time spent on a waste of an environment.

Hopefully a gtk3 classic style desktop will come out. And I bet my left nut that everyone who upholds the flag and the values of the GNOME Shell will look at it and go "Man, that's beautiful... I'm going to use that instead."

@MALs, thanks for not reading carefully before replying. I think I already said that to me, Mint is the one and only distro I will use unless I am absolutely forced to switch, by something far more important than a useless DE (such as unsupported hardware). This is not just a rant, this was me giving my opinion on what is wrong with Mint 12. Why I did this? Other people will try MGSE, like it or not like it, and act accordingly; the first group will stay, the other group will use another distro. But some of us will use Mint no matter what, and that's why I'm telling Mint, the distro that has ALWAYS been my distro of choice, what I dislike about it, so that MAYBE I, and others like me, can be better accommodated in the future as well. If I wanted to rant, I could send hate/flame/spam mail to the GNOME team for ruining my desktop. Instead, I chose to be here, with the Mint team, who I trust to FIX my desktop.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by MALsPa »

Aethyr wrote:@MALs, thanks for not reading carefully before replying.
Yeah. I admit, I didn't feel like "reading carefully" through all of that ranting.
Aethyr wrote:I think I already said that to me, Mint is the one and only distro I will use unless I am absolutely forced to switch, by something far more important than a useless DE (such as unsupported hardware). This is not just a rant, this was me giving my opinion on what is wrong with Mint 12. Why I did this? Other people will try MGSE, like it or not like it, and act accordingly; the first group will stay, the other group will use another distro. But some of us will use Mint no matter what, and that's why I'm telling Mint, the distro that has ALWAYS been my distro of choice, what I dislike about it, so that MAYBE I, and others like me, can be better accommodated in the future as well. If I wanted to rant, I could send hate/flame/spam mail to the GNOME team for ruining my desktop. Instead, I chose to be here, with the Mint team, who I trust to FIX my desktop.
Good luck, then.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by proxima_centauri »

Aethyr wrote:I keep seeing the word "extension" thrown everywhere. Here is a useful piece of info that you all know but choose to ignore: most extensions usually break when a new version of GNOME 3.x comes out. That was the case with 3.0 -> 3.2. So that throws its alleged "stability" out of the window as well.
The stability I referred to was with core GNOME3, not third-party extensions.

In any case, most of the time it's a just a revision of the version naming in order for extensions to work in new GNOME3 updates. gnome-shell is very modular in this regard and extensions are easily fixed. It isn't perfect, but what do you expect - GNOME dev's are going to roll out new features and aspects to the shell, themes and extensions need to update accordingly.

I see you're frustrated with the overall scope and philosophy of GNOME, so I don't expect to convince you otherwise. If you want some suggestions for GNOME3, feel free to list the functionality missing that you desire and perhaps someone can come up with something.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Kilz »

@Aethyr
I read this thread and I disagree with you on a few points. The first one is that Gnome 3 isnt the worst piece of code ever that wasn't written by Microsoft, that special honor belongs to the Unity desktop, but Gnome 3 comes in a close second.
I also am getting from your posts that you want your desktop to remain as it was. That's a honest request, but in this world nothing stays the same for long. You might also miss out on something great if you get your wish. Look at KDE, they did a complete redesign, people hated it at first, but now its a wonderful desktop. Its not to my personal taste, but it is still a great looking desktop.
Which leads me to my last point. All this wonderful work is FOSS or free and open source software. If you dont like something, change it, your not locked in. If one desktop doesnt work for you, try others. If gnome goes down the toilet (which I think it will) go elsewhere. It you dont like how your desktop looks , change it. I personally dont like Gnome 3 or its fallback mode because its to restrictive.I did away with all of it and just run a dock. You can do whatever you want, just like others can do whatever they want. Dont waste time or breath over what you dont like, use that energy to change things to how you like them.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by karashata »

@Aethyr: The reason the extensions from GNOME 3.0 don't work with GNOME 3.2 is because the extension mechanism was restructured to allow for easier enabling and disabling of extensions (among other changes I'm sure I'm unaware of...). Before GNOME 3.2, extensions required a Shell restart to enable or disable them, but now it's (usually) as simple as toggling a switch in GNOME Tweak Tool, and once GNOME writes their own extension manager, it'll likely be as easy as toggling it on or off with that. I suspect that when GNOME 3.4 comes out, the extensions in existence for GNOME 3.2 will still work without any problems (though they will likely require the Shell version number to be updated in the extension metadata file so GNOME 3.4 loads them, and that's a fairly uncomplicated affair).

I personally find the GNOME Shell a much nicer environment to work with, and much nicer looking to boot. A number of people I've shown it to find the way it looks and acts fairly interesting compared to the way Windows does things, and I'm sure given the chance to actually use it they'd probably grow to love it as much as I do, even if at first they may not quite know how to do certain things or where to find certain things since it's such a departure from Windows.
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by z06gal »

Aethyr wrote:In case you didn't notice, in my op I said that I love and respect and adore Clem's work, which is why I've done my best to support Mint by word of mouth and by using the Mint search engine and Opera and everything that generates profit for Mint. In fact, I have considered donating for Mint and Mint only, but my finances are worse than terrible, to the point that I can't spare not even the one euro, which really pains me. I also stated that I don't usually rant because I realise that Linux Mint and GNOME are provided for free. Maybe you need to work on your reading skills.

Back to the subject, If you think that GNOME Shell is customisable and that everything is right there, then you obviously have never used Linux before 2011 and you are exactly the target audience of the GNOME team. If that's not the case, then you are short of memory, because the customisability of Shell is absolute nil, 0, nada, miden, zero expressed in every way I can think of. Maybe with time Clem and the GNOME team might make GNOME Shell barely usable in the future. What I'm trying to say is that I think this is a wasted effort. Clem and Mint would be better off spending their time on something other than GNOME Shell. There is no reason to try and salvage usability out of a desktop that has idiocy as its main focus. GNOME Shell is trash, and it will remain trash no matter how many extensions are added to it. The GNOME Team focused on mobile devices, same as Ubuntu did, and they're trying to hide this fact behind pretty words. They do not care about the desktop, because the desktop users will always find another way. GNOME Shell is trying to market itself elsewhere, and by using their environment on our desktops we're encouraging them to keep developing this useless cr*p instead of changing course again.

Before stating that GNOME 3 is customisable, do something for me. Open the GNOME 2 Control Panel. Compare it to the Control panel in GNOME 3. How does it feel? Right click on the GNOME 2 Panel. Change the GNOME 2 Window Manager. Manage your GNOME 2 Launchers. Now do all that in GNOME 3. Oh wait. YOU CAN'T. Shell is not customisable. Maybe you need to look the word up in a dictionary.

It pains me that I won't be using a Mint desktop anymore. Our only options right now are outdated gtk2 (XFCE), unworkable gtk3 (GNOME 3), the overbloated joke that is KDE 4, or 3 hours spent configuring a window manager to get a usable desktop. In all honesty, if I didn't want kernel 3.x, I wouldn't switch from Mint 11.

Edit: so you press 4-5 keys to open firefox. Do you know how I did it in GNOME 2? I CLICKED THE DAMN DOCK LAUNCHER. Took me about 1/100 of a second.

My reading skills are pretty good and your rant skills are excellent. Wow
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by Aethyr »

@Kilz: It seems you and I are of similar mind in what we want. Your session is very similar to what I run in my VM, only I'm using the fallback instead of a new session, with the top panel, and I use Cairo-dock instead of awn. I thought of doing it your way, but I'm using a main panel in my current configuration anyway. But this is a moot point; You're still not running the Mint Desktop as it was intended, and that is my point in this thread; That instead of working on my desktop, I would like Mint to accomodate us more. (I find Unity better than GNOME Shell by the way. I'd chose Unity between the two any day. :mrgreen: )

Also @z06gal: My rant skills have been polished over years on the Internet, thank you for noticing :twisted:
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Re: My nitpick with Mint's approach

Post by KBD47 »

A few thoughts: Ubuntu's defenders and even Shuttleworth himself used some of the same responses I'm seeing here and I would respectfully suggest that's the wrong way to handle concerns, complaints, and gripes. Telling someone who expresses dislike that they can basically hit the door and to stop griping because "it's free" is exactly the responses I saw from Shuttleworth and Ubuntu/Unity defenders. It hasn't worked well for them.
I think the gripe is legitimate--Gnome was an out-of-the-box user friendly desktop that when combined with Mint was as newbie friendly as could be hoped for. Thanks to Gnome's new direction toward tablets and phones (just like with Unity) we are left with choosing the lesser evil.
Gnome Classic (Fallback) would be the way to go to keep the most users happy I think if it had anything close to a guaranteed future, but it doesn't. I also have concerns that the Gnome developers could change things to break Clem's wonderful extensions, but if he and his team are willing to fight with Gnome 3 to keep a usable desktop, then I support that.
I've been thinking a lot about what would make Mint 12 user friendly out of the box. Just going Gnome Classic seems an obvious choice, but likely no future there. Of course Gnome 2 is dead, and I really, really hate to say this, but based on what I've seen so far of MATE I'd rather use its better looking and more polished cousin: Lubuntu. So that leaves for me Gnome 3, which by itself is rather horrible in my view, and I've got the list of shortcuts to learn to make it more usable--but how many people are realistically willing to do that when easier options are available? So that brings me back to Clem's Mintified version (MGSE) and that I can make usable, and I see possibilities for it to get better.
The gripes are legitimate, I just hope those griping will remember that Clem and the Mint team were also left with tough choices thanks to Gnome. For those without much patience for the gripers, keep in mind that how we respond to them can help determine Mint's future. Just a thought.
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