More tea please.

Some gnome-shell bashing

So it seems this is a week for gnome-shell bashing. I’ve been using gnome-shell on my laptop since Fedora 15 came out. That’s just over two months now. Whilst I use my laptop a reasonable amount, it doesn’t represent all of my computer usage. There are three other desktops in my life — one in the lab, one at home, and another that one might call a “media centre” desktop in the lounge. The laptop and media PC got updated to F15 as soon as it arrived, and I upgraded the other desktops about a week ago. I think the only machine that gnome-shell has been close to pleasant to use on is the lounge PC. This isn’t really saying much though — it’s only really used to run MythFace, Firefox, and VLC. Certainly nothing like real desktop use, which involves much higher numbers of windows from a variety of applications, some of which will stay around for weeks as I move back and forth between the various activities that I do.

I find it terribly difficult to work out what is a bug and what is a feature in gnome-shell. Here are some things that perplex me:

I am finding it a lot slower to get things done under gnome-shell. There’s a lot of animation and stuff going on, and managing more than three windows is a challenging task. I think two months of daily use should be enough to adjust to something — especially something that claims to have been designed! Of course, gnome is a release-early release-often outfit, so hopefully it’ll improve in the future.

When I started using Linux about 8 years ago, I originally used KDE. A year and half later, around about the time I ditched the Windows partition from my PC, I switched to using Xfce. Gnome 2.x was around at that time, but it was quite slow to load, and didn’t really offer me anything extra that I needed. I could run all the same applications under Xfce as Gnome, I just didn’t have to wait as long for my laptop to boot. Then Gnome 2’s loading speeds got much faster, and so I switched over to that. I’ve used Gnome ever since then. Maybe it’s time to go back to Xfce until gnome-shell has had a significant overhaul, or has been completely replaced by something better.

Posted at 1:40 am on Friday 5th August 2011

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