Saturday 5 February 2011

GNOME 3 Test Day

On Wednesday evening, Fedora Desktop hackers were frantically building GNOME 2.91.6 into rawhide, including a number of rebuilds against newer versions of GTK+, and beta testing Live CD images to make sure they were usable.

On Thursday morning (European time), ISO images were being uploaded by the our favourite QA insomniac. Quite a few people came to test the Live CD, and many bugs were filed.

There were plenty of questions about GNOME Shell itself, and some about the design decisions. So if you did try out one of the many GNOME 3 live CDs, and asked yourself the following questions, we'll try and provide some answers.

Q: The dash is broken, I can't add more than 13 favourites to it!?
A: It's known problem, which also fits into the dash resizing when you drag'n'drop new items to it.

Q: I can't read the full name of certain applications when searching for them in overview mode. Can I haz tooltips?
A: Tooltips, maybe not, but a solution is being worked on. Follow the discussion in this bug.

Q: I can't change my font size, really?
A: You can change it for the applications, in the Universal Access settings. For the shell, it's currently not possible, but it will get fixed.

Q: I don't like how hard it is to create workspaces. Is this the final design?
A: It's not. Owen has been working on implementing Jakub's video mockups. See this bug for all the links.

Q: I use 2 monitors, and GNOME Shell is very difficult to use. Is it going to get fixed in time?
A: Hopefully yes. There are two bugs you can monitor. One is about a bug when using two monitors (or at least, more prominent when using two monitors), the other about the plans for even better multi-screen support.

Q: How do I restart my computer?
A: Type "reboot" in a terminal? Unfortunate, but how to present it needs a bit of design work. Just adding another menu item in the system menu just muddles it.

Q: This is way slick. But the NetworkManager applet looks really out-of-place. Can you make it look cool?
A: Yes! System status legend Giovanni is on the case.

Q: My machine can't run GNOME Shell. What about the fallback mode?
A: It looks pretty sad at the moment. There's plenty of room for improvements here. Feel free to jump in if you want to help those not fortunate enough to be able to run GNOME Shell.

Also notable is the fact that plenty of bugs were filed, and quite a few fixed, that we are exercising the graphics drivers and finding bugs, and that despite some complaints (some of them constructive, but not always), GNOME 3 is looking better and even more usable than GNOME 2 by the day.

PS: We even had KDE make GNOME crash. Or close enough.


Anonymous said...

thanks for all the work on preparation and helping out with the event, dude - much appreciated. i'm not an insomniac by CHOICE, btw =) I really should've realized I'd scheduled this thing the week after FUDCon...sigh!

Anonymous said...

Hi, great work,
I have another question though:
Will users be able to assign wallpapers per workspace?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

@Anonymous: no, does not really make sense in a dynamic workspaces world anyway.

See: and and

Anonymous said...

Q: What about controversial UI decision? (say removing option what to do on closing lid)

Sorry to say that but this one in particular pushed me to at least try KDE.

Q: What about advance usage of workspace (there is branch in gnome-shell git)?

If it is going to be included at some point in time (say 3.2.0) I'm fine.

Q: What about application-oriented design?

This is 180͏° turn from GNOME 2 and from market trends. I think it may be a fail of GNOME 2 as instead of integrating the applications more we consider them to be basic blocks. Additionally most users don't know what applications they are using (for example they have no idea what is MS Word despite using it - they just edit document).

Anonymous said...

This is so going to be a trainwreck on a Vista+KDE4 scale... I will not upgrade my system for the next year at least and then probably switch to something different.

(Appropriately I was proposed the captcha "rants"... is the singolarity happening on blogger?)

Bruce Cowan said...

I'm saddened to see so many "this is going to be a disaster, I'm off to KDE" style posts in recent days.

This sort of comment is not constructive, and just riles people up.

Viale Fabrice said...

It is legitimate to say I go out to test - use another desktop. It is as much constructive to say:" I like it and I will use it". Gnome 3.0 changes does not necessary resolve the problems that are the most important to end-users. Look at the most feature - answer requests in Ubuntu brainstorm. Neither Gnome 3 nor Unity resolve something important. Furthermore, the shell abstraction has currently real disadvantages that a lot of bloggers have already pointed out.

Bastien Nocera said...

Fabrice: I really don't think you'll find "redefine desktop experience" in Ubuntu Brainstorm. And I think that this site has shown its use, or rather lack of it (there's exactly one feature listed as "implemented").

Anonymous: You're more than welcome switching desktops if you want, I'd just rather not hear about it in the comments on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, leaving a panel is netbook friendly. I use Gnome3 since the relayout and I MUST tell that it's KILLING netbook experience.
- clutter is still sluggish
- tasks switching is NOT quicker (better with an intellihide dash)
- the gtk theme is tremendously oversized! (especially toolbars and scrollbars)
- having decorations AND menus on maximized windows while an ODD appmenu is filling the panel is a failure.

I know we're in alpha, but also just 2 months from the release.
I'm sorry, bit worried, but I hope for the best.