Thursday, September 12, 2013

The beauty of GNOME Shell

Since its inception not long ago, the new GNOME 3.x series has confused some and frustrated others, but more often than not, it has also managed to conquer those few who actually got past the initial quirks and gave it a fair chance. Similarly, its desktop environment, simply dubbed Shell, left a lot to be desired in the early days, mostly because the customization options had been thrown out the window in favor of a to-the-point approach which meant to remove distractions. Unfortunately, such approach was certainly too closed to survive in the Linux realm.

After a few releases, the Shell has seen a lot of improvements, polish and tons of customization options, sometimes through tools like Tweak Tool, or through a plethora of cool extensions. Long story short, customizing the Shell is now simple and the results can be amazing. Most importantly, the results will be what you want them to be, which is really what is all about, right?

In this very short video, I used the built-in screencast feature to record my way through some simple navigation.



Now, here's the desktop. I love how clean and non-intrusive it is. The calendar and the rest of the menus are elegant and very responsive.


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The search feature is very powerful and, unlike that of Ubuntu, very responsive, being as it is limited to local contents. Once again, search results are presented in a clean and beautiful way which is consistent with the rest of the experience.


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The lock screen is nice, modern looking. For those complaining that it was designed exclusively for touch devices, well, that's simply not true. Just hit the ENTER key from here to get to the login screen.


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Nautilus may have been stripped of some advanced features, but for the vast majority of users, it more than does the job. Its simplicity also enhances its looks.


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So there you have it, GNOME Shell continues to work and look better, definitely a great Linux DE which can look pretty!

16 comments:

  1. Although I used to be a KDE fan during the GNOME2 era, I really enjoyed the new Gnome-Shell paradigma since the very beginning! I feel the shell very oriented to a multitasking way to work/enjoy your free time, the access to workspaces and all the windows is very natural, I think you get familiar with this very soon! And the extensions now are very cool! KDE starts to feel a little complicated to master, and a little "heavy", with activity/workspaces "conflict", Akonadi/Nepomuk/Semantic Desktop, and so on. A thing that I really miss in Gtk+ environments are Qt applications, like Gwenview, Okular, K3b, Digikam, etc. They're really powerful, in my opinion Gtk+ equivalents are not so "equivalent" so far!! Waiting to see Qt5 and KDE/Gnome-Shell future!

    PS. Cheers from Italy!

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  2. I want that wallpaper °_°

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    1. http://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/details/3359/goat_at_mount_pilatus.html

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  3. @Chema, what version of Gnome and what distro is this. It looks fantastic!

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    1. This is Fedora 19, which sports GNOME 3.8. Fedora 20, expected by the end of November should bring GNOME 3.10 with it, so if you are willing to give it a try, I'd suggest you wait since each GNOME version brings significant improvements.

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  4. Thanks for all those comments!

    I have to clarify one thing, though: what you see in those screenshots is a somewhat customized take on the default GNOME Shell. The vanilla installation does not look like this, but that was the whole point of it, though, to demonstrate how customizing GNOME Shell is easy and very effective, producing great results!

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    1. Speaking of customization, could you please share your icons/shell/gtk theme names?! They look great in your screenshots! Thanks!

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    2. Moka Icons, Faience GTK and Nord Shell themes.

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  5. Just to say that you can pres Enter and Space on the lock screen to login ;)

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  6. This the new fedora? I was always curious about it but, felt intemidated by it's technical learning curve. I thought it was made for administrators specifcally. Is it ever leaning toward thee average user

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    1. Fedora is actually quite easy to use. If you compare it to other true advanced distros out there, it is a piece of cake, really. I would just recommend putting a bit of time down to learn how to use the command line package manager YUM, which is leaps and bounds better than its GUI counterpart.

      Other than that, just use one of those "what to do after installing Fedora 19" tutorials to get your codecs and what not, and your set!

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  7. I enjoy using Fedora. Thank you for all these amazing screenshots!

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  8. I was just reading the first two paragraphs and I can't stop thinking why should I feel good that now gnome has the options, tools for customization so it can be what I want it to be, while it is supposed to be that without the need of time, the work and the customization. It used to be like that once, long ago.

    It is like giving me a broken toy and then later on giving me the tools to repair and say "hey, you should be happy now since you got the tools to repair it". Damn, what about giving me a toy years back which doesn't require fixing it in the first place?

    I am very sorry, since it is a very old debate and I should have been over it by now (which I thought I did) but the wording, the way you put it made me felt the urge to drop a note.

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    1. I strongly disagree.

      GNOME was never as stable nor as functional as it is these days. It's customization options were so big that it was simply broken. Compiz was a disaster, and I am yet to find anybody who would run GNOME out of the box, without changing anything. It was that GNOME that was more a toy to play with and modify to death than an actual tool to get things done.

      When the new GNOME was released, they covered the foundations and a natural progression and evolution of the shell took over. That's called a mature DE, not a broken DE.

      Conceptually and functionally, specially from a productivity, consistency and stability stand point, the new GNOME is light years away from what it ever was. I am using GNOME 3.12 in Fedora 20 and this thing is simply incredible.

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    2. If you were %100 correct than the MATE project would have been fade away by time, as gnome matured. On the contrary, MATE got momentum, progressed and reaching more and more users now. And that tells something, doesn't it?

      If you are saying that the 3.12 release would change things in the other direction (I highly doubt it) but then you got a point there.

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    3. That's really not a valid argument in the world of open source software. If that was true, the projects to keep KDE 3.5 alive wouldn't have got this far, and yet, there they are.

      In any case, I have always admitted that the beginning of GNOME 3 and the new Shell paradigm were just like any other beginning: immature, incomplete and with tons of things to improve. That aside, I have always mentioned as well that most people turned their backs on these pieces of software because they didn't spend the necessary 10 minutes to understand how things worked. If they had, as many people are these days, they would have realized the tremendous potential of the Shell and the fantastic ideas the GNOME devs had in mind. Instead, most people complained that they couldn't run the desktop cube effect, which just can't be taken seriously. In that regard, kudos to the GNOME devs who persevered and fought for their vision, which is now becoming a reality in what is, in my opinion, hands down the best DE there is in Linux today.

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