We all know about the rocky road that Gnome 3 has been travelling on since March of last year. Not since KDE 4.0 has a desktop environment been met with such community backlash and perceived exodus. I say “perceived” because that’s what it is. In the world of Linux, these things are almost impossible to measure and are almost always gauged by media reaction. These powerful media reactions almost always build the bandwagon that everyone hops onto.
But enough about the beginning of Gnome 3. What about where it’s going?
AOSP of desktops
In the world of Android, there is the terrible issue of fragmentation. Manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and others consistently create substandard experiences that sit on top of vanilla Android or, AOSP. Regardless of an inconsistent experience, inferior artwork and unnecessary applications that hog resources and do nothing worthwhile, these manufacturers continue on. What’s interesting here is that these devices–especially those by Samsung– sell a lot of units. Official Android devices with more modest hardware — but fast, attractive and sane software — shares a much smaller margin of the Android market.
Linux is very similar, and we are seeing much of the same activity in regards to GTK3 and the Gnome desktop. Gnome 3 — now approaching version 3.6 — has become a very polished, beautiful and fast environment. Without the hard work of the Gnome project, there would be nothing to enable the much more widely used Unity, or the poster boy of bygone desktop idioms, Cinnamon.
Now I’m not saying that I want to switch distros at this point, and this doesn’t really have much to do with Fedora itself, but Gnome 3.4 in its most stock configuration is one hell of a sedative…
I spent some time forcing myself to get used to having no minimize, and using the multiple desktops the way the Gnome project had intended.
I was able to concentrate.
I am a person who gets sidetracked very easily. So easily in fact that I surprised myself every time I can complete a 1000 word plus editorial.
Libre Office felt really integrated, as if it were made for Gnome 3…
The muted colors of the folders and windowing elements are pretty much perfect. It’s not beautiful like Faenza or anything, but that’s not the point. It works, and I have work to do.
People will always go out of their way to bash things that they don’t understand, and Gnome 3 is no different. To those who have gone out of their way to avoid it, I would implore you to give it a real shot. And by real shot, I mean, learn to use it effectively and then compare that with the effectiveness of what you are already using.
I don’t know if this will turn into a full time thing or not, but I might switch too it full time. Whether that be Fedora, or Ubuntu 12.10 and the supposed Gnome 3 edition, I don’t know.
Fedora is the most widely used Linux distribution that ships with a bone-stock Gnome 3 configuration making it the easiest way to get up and running with a clean, pure Gnome experience. With all of the recent refinements to the Gnome 3.5 development series, it is easy to see that Gnome 3.6 is going to have an unavoidable essence of maturity.
Ironically biting the hand that feeds you
The most recent wildfire on the Internet regarding Gnome is over Nautilus.
Ubuntu’s Sebastien Bacher said this:
“The lesson that we learned this cycle is that GNOME is not planning their work enough in advance or communicating enough for us to keep basing our distribution on the current unstable GNOME versions. If that situation doesn’t change we might well start following GNOME with one cycle delay (i.e building our next version on the current stable rather than following the current unstable), we can’t really build a solid product on shifting code where the direction is not communicated in advance.”
[two_third last=”no”]Following the Gnome project on a one release delay is not entirely different than what we are seeing in the world of Android. How many Samsung Galaxy S3s do you know of that are running an official version of the latest version of Android, Jellybean? That’s right, none.
The real meat of this scenario is the irony of Ubuntu switching to another file manager all together, which has been presented as a possibility. Mentions have been made of Ubuntu making the move to a fork of Nautilus, such as Elementary’s Marlin. The community makes so many threats to jump ship from official Gnome packages to forks that are based entirely on GTK3. The only thing more bizarre about that prospect is the idea that Ubuntu would take upstream code from a file manager forked by a derivative of Ubuntu itself.[/two_third]
The only thing more bizarre about that prospect is the idea that Ubuntu would take upstream code from a file manager forked by a derivative of Ubuntu itself.
Imagine the irony of a world where every piece of Gnome is forked and the Gnome project doesn’t care to continued due to lack of interest. I know that will never happen, at least not if Red Hat has anything to say about it, but it certainly seems like it is the ironic future that we are headed toward.
Fedora 18 (Spherical Cow) and future releases — along with RHEL 7 and future CentOS releases — will be the best way to enjoy a vanilla Gnome 3 experience.
While I’m hopeful that the mythical Gnome only Quantal Quentzal will rear its head in October, I don’t have much confidence in it. I think that the packagers of that distribution will be at constant odds with Ubuntu itself, creatively renaming packages so that it doesn’t break Unity.