Thoughts on GNOME 3: Pretty, but “meh”

Earlier this evening, I gave GNOME 3, via OpenSUSE, a try, to see what it’s actually like to use.

Pros

  • Nice eye candy with the new transitions features.

Neutral

  • The new way of handling workspaces dynamically seems OK, though not initially obvious on how to use.

Cons

  • This user didn’t find GNOME 3 as intuitive as GNOME 2. Too many functions seemed hidden or shifted around.
  • The lack of minimize and maximize buttons, a feature of most GUIs for the past 20+ years. Double-clicking the title bar to maximize/minimize like on Windows does work, as does the Windows 7-like “Aero Snap” feature. On the distro I tried at least, there’s nothing (no FAQ file, no video file showing off features, etc.) indicating to less-savvy users what happened to the maximize/minimize buttons, or that Aero Snap is available as an alternative.
  • GNOME 3’s Dock is, well, a dock.
  • No windowshading feature…
  • As the Ars Technica article noted, a *lot* of customization aspects really have been stripped, from what I can tell.
  • Inconsistent looking icons for the “all applications” view. Some programs featured sharp looking large-sized icons, while others look like they just blew a smaller icon up to a larger, pixilated size.
  • Using GNOME 3 required a lot more mouse movements than in previous versions.

I tried to review Ubuntu 11.04’s beta, but it failed to even load on my laptop, instead dumping me into a recovery terminal. I suppose I can install Unity on my current 10.10 setup and test it out that way. Still, I’d have to say I find GNOME 3 a big disappointment, and not something I want to use or “get used to.” Unless Unity impresses me, it looks like I’ll be moving to XFCE (though not sure which one, Linux Mint XFCE or Xubuntu)…

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