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Re: gnome is completely f^Mmessed up

Stephen Allen, 2012-06-09 13:54:17 -0400 :


> +100 On that. Anyone that thinks 2 was better doesn't know much --

  There's no call for that belittling.

> What most are saying is they liked the layout better (I think). In
> that case Cinamon is a good choice; best of both worlds.

  For what it's worth: what I liked better was the fact that the DE
stayed out of the way.  From my few but good-faith Gnome Shell
experiments[1], this is no longer the case except visually.

  Gnome Shell (Gnome 3.4 in general, it seems) decided that I was no
longer allowed a dedicated Meta key; instead, the Meta modifier moved to
the Alt key (and I no longer have an Alt modifier).  As a regular Emacs
user, I used to have both Meta-* and Alt-* shortcuts.  No longer.

  Gnome Shell decided that Alt-Tab would switch amongst applications,
and no longer amongst windows.  So when I have several open windows on
the same desktop and I want to switch from one to another, I have to
stop and think whether the new window I want to focus is of the same
application as the one currently focused before I go Alt-Tab or
Alt-key-above-tab.  If it is not, then I need to use both Alt-Tab and
Alt-k-a-t in sequence.  And "same application" actually means "same
instance of an application", so if I have two Emacs windows open I need
to remember if I opened one from the other or if I started them
independently.  This breaks the "flow".  To make things worse,
applications are listed by name and not by window title, so my Gnus
shows up the same as any other Emacs and I have no way to find out
whether I'll end up focusing Gnus or another Emacs; I just have to focus
one and hope it's the right one.

  Oh yeah, right, there's an extension allowing to switch back to the
standard Alt-Tab behaviour; except it doesn't restrict itself to the
current workspace, so I get to browse through my dozens of windows.

  Gnome Shell decided that if I overshoot when moving my mouse too close
to the top-left corner I should be punished and forced to reach for my
Escape key before I can actually click on wherever I wanted to click.

  Gnome Shell decided that panels were a no-go.  So I no longer have a
discrete icon telling me whether I have unread posts in Liferea; getting
to see it requires an explicit action, a switch to the
whatever-it's-called, a glance at the icon, and a switch back to my
normal windows, rather than simply a quick glance at the icon.  In its
place, I have a permanent icon that tells me my desktop computer is
still plugged into the Ethernet socket I wired for this very purpose in
the wall.  I no longer have a list of the titles of open windows; so to
check whether my long-running script in its minimized terminal is done,
I need to go to the switcher instead of peeking at the window list
applet on the panel.

  Gnome Shell is gradually fixing some of the things that break the flow
of someone trying to be productive and not point-and-clicky.  But there
are points that look like design decisions, with a real impact on the
un-smoothing of the flow of information between the user (at least this
user) and the computer that goes beyond simple screen layout.  Slowing
down operations that should be instantaneous (or at least, as close to
the speed of thought as possible).  I'm trying not to overgeneralize
here, but everything I've felt and read and heard is that the primary
focus of Gnome is no longer "everyone" but "users doing basic tasks",
and "users trying to be productive" (ie maximize the bandwidth of the
human-computer interface) are an afterthought at best.

  Apparently I don't know much.  I just know, from repeated experience,
that I stick to the Gnome fallback session because I'm more efficient
and productive with it.  It may not be much, but I hardly think it
should be handwaved away.  Thank you.


[Note I'm not calling Gnome messed up or anything, I'm just saying that
there are valid use cases where it's really not an improvement.  I'm
just fed up with people raising valid concerns about Gnome and being
dismissed as irrelevant.]

[1] I make a point of trying out the things that I complain about,
seriously, with as much of a fresh and open mind each time, and
repeatedly so as not to be biased with things that have been fixed.  In
the case of Gnome Shell, I happened to try it out this week, and I'm
trying it out again (and I just deleted a paragraph about dynamic
Roland Mas

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a yo-yo.
  -- Enoch Root, in The Confusion (Neal Stephenson)

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