Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

If GNOME 2.x Wasn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

technology

If GNOME 2.x Wasn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

SJVN:“GNOME developers have woken up and are offering a way for GNOME users to go back to a GNOME 2.x style interface.”

see GNOME: Can this Linux desktop be saved?.

I haven’t liked GNOME even before the 3.x fiasco. I was mostly running older equipment and the bloat was a killer. XFCE4 is just the ticket… I hope that GNOME now sees that there’s no point in jerking users around with radical changes to wildly successful UI. Provide a new version by all means but don’t kill what works. They should have made their own fork or designed things to be easily switched by users. Plugins, perhaps? Some kind of menu by all means. It is foolish to think that a desktop/notebook PC should not have menus in general. There’s nothing wrong with menus properly designed. We still have the same pedals on a car even though the user interface has had many opportunities to change over a century. KISS and don’t fix what isn’t broken. GNOME 2.x was not broken. Most users of that other OS and new users had no problem learning to use it in a few minutes. These new things take hours and then there’s the pain of unlearning decades of GUI reflexes.

Canonical, are you paying attention? I am this close to killing two Ubuntu GNU/Linux installations in my home just because whenever I want to do something not absolutely routine, Canonical’s new interface (no, not the latest one, the one with the window-widgets misplaced…) keeps getting in my way. Today, I wanted to check something from the BASH interpreter and could not find a “terminal” anywhere in the GUI! Blashphemy! It turned out the problem was a missing cable and somehow APT had deleted one of my favourite packages… but instead of using the GUI, I had to use the console. Weak. Reducing flexibility in a handheld gadget to make things really easy to use makes sense. Reducing flexibility on my “mainframe-like” super-computer does not make any sense. I have several ways of doing many things and I like to choose which way to go. I hate distant people telling me what I can and cannot do with my own hardware. I lost that when I stopped needing to read M$’s EULA.

11 Comments

  1. Finalzone

    pogson,
    I haven’t tried Ubuntu since its Unity release because I think Unity is a complete mess code wise with. My main issue with Canonical is their selfishness attitude toward FOSS community by taking without giving back the enhancements.

    When you are lost, wouldn’t be natural to ask for help? We think we know stuff until someone show something we didn’t use before. We are in constant learning. =)

  2. Robert Pogson

    Finalzone wrote, “Remember how XFCE4 evolved.”

    Yes, but it never had “missing links”. I was able to use it easily on Day One. I just cannot function with Ubuntu here. I have two systems and for routine stuff, it’s passable. As soon as I want to find out something or run something else, I am lost and there’s nothing to click… Why should I have to do things radically differently on an Ubuntu system than on a Debian GNU/Linux system? I know what’s underneath. I just cannot get there with Ubuntu. I do see windows but the widgets are not where I want them. People should search for information, not a UI.

  3. Finalzone

    On a desktop, one can run dozens of apps simultaneously while providing services to the network. It’s a much different situation. Android/Linux is quite “intuitive”. You can easily figure it out by poking around. GNOME is not. There’s nothing intuitive about arbitrary key-sequences. Android/Linux could work on a desktop for a lot of users but not all. XFCE4 can work for all.

    You can do the same with Gnome-Shell as well. Clearly, in your case, it is a matter of preference which has nothing to do with functionality.What you call intuitive is how you are used to work on desktop. Be in mind, Gnome-Shell keeps improving within release. Remember how XFCE4 evolved.

  4. Robert Pogson

    Finalzone wrote, “it is interesting the same 100 millions users are able to use a mobile interface like Android without problem along side the traditional desktop interface popularized by Microsoft through Windows 95.”

    There’s no problem on a tiny screen with a windowless operation because usually it’s on a tiny system running only a couple of apps. On a desktop, one can run dozens of apps simultaneously while providing services to the network. It’s a much different situation. Android/Linux is quite “intuitive”. You can easily figure it out by poking around. GNOME is not. There’s nothing intuitive about arbitrary key-sequences. Android/Linux could work on a desktop for a lot of users but not all. XFCE4 can work for all.

  5. Finalzone

    pogson,
    Using your number, it is interesting the same 100 millions users are able to use a mobile interface like Android without problem along side the traditional desktop interface popularized by Microsoft through Windows 95.

    There’s no reason to change how the GUI works so radically for no net benefit and lots of negatives. Even if newbies would accept the new GUI because they know nothing else, why punish the rest of us?
    You weren’t punished, you were given the choice to maintain legacy codes so Gnome developers could focus on modern interface: nobody stepped up. Instead, other developers/maintainers using GTK library happily focuses on themselves, either ignoring the message or disregard it without let know Gnome developers. I pointed out that advanced users especially those who follow the development have the share of blame with full knowledge of evolution and deliberate choice to ignore then whine after the fact is done. This is the classic case of failure to communicate. Not that much different from previous desktop environment like Gnome 2, KDE to name a few.

    New paradigm from Gnome Shell retains elements from the old. I listed a few of them. The learning curve is definitely shorter that new users can quick grasp the concept.

  6. Robert Pogson

    Finalzone wrote, “Widget size issue is address via Tweak Tools available either from your favourite distro (Debian in your case) or Gnome Extensions, where your increase text scaling factor.”

    So, a group of developers want to play with a new paradigm and put forth software that 100million people must learn to use? Hey! That’s what M$ did and we rejected that, remember?

    There’s no reason to change how the GUI works so radically for no net benefit and lots of negatives. Even if newbies would accept the new GUI because they know nothing else, why punish the rest of us? Some of us are out of school and want to use what we learned, not go back to school on some whim.

  7. Finalzone

    oaihom,
    2D is nothing more than 3D with no depth or Z-axis = 0 on opengl right? Solution attempt like software rendering show a possibility to address the concern although not perfect.

    pogson,
    So, my reality that every time I reach to close or maximize a window and feel like a fool that the widgets are tiny and in the top left unlike as on my Debian GNU/Linux XFCE4 system and every GUI I have used on x86 since 1990 is just my hallucination?

    It seems like asking for help is a lost art in today world. How did you learn to use your very first user interface? With your culminated experience, you have already know keyboard shortcuts, one of methods to browse in a desktop environment. Your example of maximize and closing a window means you have used alternate method like Meta+UP and Alt+F4 respectively. Widget size issue is address via Tweak Tools available either from your favourite distro (Debian in your case) or Gnome Extensions, where your increase text scaling factor.

  8. pogson

    Finalzone wrote, “The excuse that Gnome developers remove functions are myth”.

    So, my reality that every time I reach to close or maximize a window and feel like a fool that the widgets are tiny and in the top left unlike as on my Debian GNU/Linux XFCE4 system and every GUI I have used on x86 since 1990 is just my hallucination? I have a highly accelerated mouse but even 0.5s wasted by developers who could care less about me is just as annoying as M$ figuring I should pay for use of an OS and pay for it again after they debug it. How much more annoyed should I be that there are no windows at all?

  9. oiaohm

    Finalzone KDE 4.0 targeted newer hardware. KDE has brought back over time legacy hardware support to KDE 4.x line.

    There is a lot of question if the Gnome developers are sane with there method to deal with people without modern hardware. Lets just use software based opengl is kinda insane. Some embedded will have decent 2d support even that its lacks great opengl.

  10. Finalzone

    I have an opposite view about Gnome 3. Biggest issues are bad journalism who put their preferences over an objective view. The KISS is still present on Gnome 3, Gnome 2 was broken in that regards like it of not with several libraries to maintain, some of them broken like libbonono, cluttered menu, hard to click workspace to name a few.

    The old paradigm is still present on Gnome Shell: workspaces are still visible through dynamic and configurable via extensions (some people will a way to complain failing to release users have different taste). Clearly Gnome Foundation let know existing users about the change and the target was modern hardware. Despite the full knowledge of change, some users waited for the releases, some GTK2 based applications maintainers didn’t bother to consult library development about the modifications. My biggest concert is a complete lack of communications between applications writers themselves like addons and more, and failure in journalism.

    Should so-called journalists inform the readers that Gnome Shell target new audience with modern hardware, the entire tirade would not continue. The excuse that Gnome developers remove functions are myth, the existence of extensions themselves dispel it completely.

    I think it is time to take a hike, think and analyze the decision.

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