How Gnome 3 will destroy/improve my productivity

I tested Fedora 15 beta with Gnome 3. The experience is quite good compared with the alpha, it looks more stable and polished.

But still, I feel that Gnome 3 lacks some major things I really want on my desktop.

My actual desktop on Gnome 2 looks like this:

The things I miss the most are:

  • No quickstart (1 click quickstart): on Gnome 2 I have several app icons on my upper panel. Want to call ’em my “favourites”? Ok. Anyway, I just click the icon to start the app. 1-click.
    In Gnome 3, instead, I should go to the upper-left corner (or press the Linux Key)(aka the Rebranded Windows Key) to activate the Activities overview, then move to the favourite list and click the one I want to start.
    So we moved from a 1-click interaction to a 2-click (or key + click) one.
  • No quick access to the filesystem: I’m used to access my home folders via the Resources menu. In Gnome 2 this is a 2-click interaction: want a document? Click Resources / Documents.
    In Gnome 3, instead, you should head again for the upper left corner (or use the Linux Key), then open the file manager and then click the folder you wanted. Otherwise, you could write some letters (eg. “docu”) in the Activity Overview to bring up the local search, then click the Document folder.
    Interaction has gone from 2 to 3+ clicks.
    Admittedly, this could actually be powerful in next versions, when the local search will bring up also relevant files, but at the moment it’s just a waste of my precious time.
  • No system monitoring whatsoever: in Gnome 2 I keep several system monitors (temperature, activity) on my upper panel. This is not possible in Gnome 3 (at least for now).
  • No theming support: this is so OSX-ish. I hate it.

There are also some minor “annoyances”:

  • No meteo in the date/time panel.
  • No fast desktop switching (but alt-tab shows apps from all the workspaces, so you can just use that)
  • Notifications are somewhat hidden, but maybe it’s just a thing I’ll grow accustomed to.
  • Window title bar is bigger than I like and wastes precious vertical space, in particular on my netbook

… and some “features” that I don’t really like at all:

  • Window/Application list in the top panel: in Gnome 2 I usually delete my bottom panel since I don’t ever, ever look at the Window/Application list. If I want to switch application or check for other windows I’d just alt-tab.

But there are also good parts:

  • Gnome shell is fast. Even on my old Aspire One it’s quite responsive and nimble. And it’s a lot faster and lighter than Unity.
  • Default theme is slick. This is a good thing, since it’s the only theme you have.

For more informations, you can check the Fedora guide to changes for desktop use, the Gnome Shell Tour and the Gnome Shell Cheatsheet.

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