I know gnome 3.0 is just released and people are more or less still getting used to it. As such this may not be a right time to discuss what should be in gnome 3.2. But as for me I am following the development for quite some time and also using it. So I have a fair idea of what to expect in gnome 3.0. Also, without much delay (after a short break of course!!!) gnome developers will be back on work so its our duty to give them something to think upon (what a strategic thinkingšŸ™‚ ).


1) Lets start from the login. I really like the whiteboard idea of having a redesigned login screen.

I don’t know how easy or difficult (if it is even possible) to implement the idea (since in the current implementations, the shell is loaded after the login). But anyways I really like it and it kind of gives a more unified interface combined with the current logoff/shutdown menu.

2) Next to the activities. When we first go to the activities, we get the windows overview by default. But as it is the first time, there is no active window present. This makes the overview looks bland (the very first time when a user sees it) and might confuse the new user ‘what to do next’ (most probably he is/was looking for a menu and the only button visible in the panel shows nothing).

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So my idea is to have the application overview visible by default when a user is in any workspace without an active window in that workspace. It may not be a consistent behavior when user comes second time, he wont see the applications and could as well be confused, but still I prefer this behavior than presenting a bland/blank screen to the user the very first time.

3) The Files overview
The two existing overviews in gnome shell are windows and applications. The very obvious third one is the files/places tab which should allow users to browse through the file system. I am not so sure how far this idea has been discussed. I am yet to see a mockup which shows this overview. Is it in the pipeline?

4) The files overview brings us to the next obvious and already developed (yet to be implemented) zeitgeist integration.

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I believe the code is in working condition and just been pushed back to 3.2. At least one of my requirements is satisfied in the next incarnation of the desktop (hopefully!).

The image below shows another overview which is named as Desktop. But I really don’t like/want this to replace my files overview which I mentioned above.

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It is nice and useful to have a files list with a sorting (based on the dates I accessed them) but this does not replace the necessity to have a readily available locations/folders shortcuts etc. as an overview and ability to search files/folders which are not yet accessed.

5) The application overview
This is one idea I really like in the unity (But now when I tries to take a screen-shot it looks like unity behaves differently, may be implementation issues or I understood it differently, anyways…). This new overview mode is only when there is more than one instance of a single application running (say two windows of Firefox). On all other cases the current functionality is fine.

In this scenario the current behavior is when I click an application icon on the dock the focus moves to the last window of the application I accessed. If I am on one of the firefox window clicking on the firefox icon does nothing. What I want is when I click on the application icon, it should show an overview of the windows of that application (similar to the current ‘windows overview’) from where I can choose the application window I want.

6) A better ‘extension’ framework
The real game changer for gnome 3 shell is its support for third-party extensions. I already have three of my original wishes granted (or satisfied or whatever) with already available extensions (see below). As more and more extensions are implemented this could really give a boost to the gnome 3 experience for everyone. A better way to install (and even develop and upload) extensions will allow to tap the real capabilities of extensions (looking forward to the ‘addon.gnome.org’)

7) Add shut down in the user menu and remove one from ‘change user’ and ‘log out’ entries.
I agree that the user menu should not be very long. To reduce the menu size, the perfect starting place will be to remove one from the menu items which provide very similar functionalities. For me (and everyone with a sense. I guess) it is nonsensical to have change user and log out in the menu. This could very well be placed in alt menu. But instead some freaks in gnome decided to keep these two and remove shut down from the menu. Please put it back
(I am not sure but may be an extension puts shutdown back to the menu. But I want this as a default behavior)

8 ) Make gnome tweak tool part of default install
I really love the gnome tweak tool. At least it gives some much needed functionalities back to me. Please please add this into the default install if you are not going to add these functionalities to the core gnome.

9) Move the menu onto the application title bar.
I really like the idea of saving vertical space. But in unity (as you might have guessed) they screwed by moving it into the panel. That did more than offset any benefits and brought many issues. There is another mockup with menu on the title bar. Unfortunately the only mockup I could find is either dated or shows unity. Nevertheless this is a great idea and should be implemented in gnome. The left side of the gnome titlebar is left blank and at least for (left-right) consistency, we should have a menu there.
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My idea is really simple. Have a menu button on the left side. (The new kde menu mockups are a nice starting point, but I don’t want the application name on the menu). But the similarity ends just in appearance not behavior. Instead of a normal menu (an overlay menu which is activated by a mouse click), I propose a mouse over menu similar to the one in the current unity. When a user mouse over the title bar, the menu should be visible. The menu could fill the gap between the menu button and title and if it doesn’t fit, the title could be hidden. (I am not so sure how easy or difficult this will be to implement.
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10) And of course more animations (at least wobbly windows and desktop cube) or make gnome 3 work with compiz.
I read the article (I don’t remember where) which said compiz animations are impressive but not elegant. The gnome 3 looks elegant and I don’t believe an extra set of animations will spoil the elegency altogether. I don’t want compiz style animations for everything. But may be a basic set will do. I really want wobbly windows, (without it when moving windows I feel like I am in a pre-historic world) and cube, just show-off and attract new users to linux.

The following two were originally part of my wish list but looks like all of them are available as extensions. Just listing it here for personal satisfaction

1) Dash without overview
I really like the idea of presenting the user with an overview mode from where he can browse to the next activity or next task in current activity. But at least there are times when I feel the overview is something too much when I want to change to another application. I know alt-tab but the issue there is, I may have to click through multiple times to reach the application I need (or worse, use alt-tab and then mouse select, which require me to use my both hands). If I have the dash without overview mode, I can use it with just my mouse.

2) Winodws based Alt-tab
They call it (application based alt-tab) a feature, but for me it isn’t. Hopefully the extension will work just fine.

Thats all folks. Hats off to gnome team.

10 responses »

  1. tracyanne says:

    Thankfully GNOME Shell isn’t all there is to GNOME 3, because GNOME Shell makes no sense at all on my High resolution Multi screen Setup, in fact it makes it completely unworkable. Fortunately GNOME 3 also consists of GNOME Classic, which is the same desktop experience taht ou get with GNOME 2.

    When I get my Tablet device, I will of course use GNOME Shell, or Unity, as both of them make perfect sense in the context of a Tablet/touch screen device.

    • vjjustin says:

      Please don’t get me wrong here. I really love gnome and its new shell and thats why I made this list to make sure the next version is the best. At least it is far better than unity on a big screen without the global menu.

      and just a side note, gnome classic (part of gnome 3) does not give ‘exactly the same’ experience. But I couldn’t care less.

  2. littlegnome says:

    #3 has already been discussed, implemented and – sadly – rejected: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=636891

    • vjjustin says:

      That really looks bad. I really don’t understand some of their decision process.
      Anyways the next hope is in the extensions. Hopefully someone will create a places extension.

  3. squid says:

    I hated Gnome Shell 3 to begin with. Used it tonight and it’s actually really nice to use. It looks like shit of course, but the functionality seems good!

  4. graylion says:

    Gnome seems to yet again be having an attack of “the user is daft, we know better”. And i couldn’t agree more on the wobbly windows, a computer without them just seems dead to me.

  5. Hubert Samm says:

    I’ve gotten use to GNOME 3, and it’s kind of a love/hate relationship at the moment… I’ve been able to at least find work-arounds for the short comings… HOWEVER there are 2 things that I really want…. 1) autohide the top panel…. 2) be able to move the top panel to the bottom of the screen…

  6. I’ve tried to like Gnome3 but, I just cannot, it really feels like riding a bicycle after being used to driving a Lexus. I love my Wobbly windows and desktop cube – they make the development environment a fine place to be. For the moment “Thank God” KDE Plasma 4 is a worthy successor to Gnome2+Compiz, and in some cases it is better. I have my wobbly, cube and a few other really nice bits – you can even enable Compiz in it as well. Yup if Gnome3 will not play ball – go KDE Plasma4

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