So Hey, GNOME 3 is Fucking Awesome

29 11 2011

I haven’t really blogged about it, but I spent several months looking for a new desktop environment. You see, while I greatly enjoyed KDE 3, and KDE 4 is pretty, there are a bunch of problems with KDE 4. First and foremost, it’s the crashiest pile of shit to disgrace the world of GNU/Linux in quite a while. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. A very very SLIGHT exaggeration. Plasma crashed daily when I was using it, and sometimes apps would simply refuse to launch until I restarted X… not a very appealing concept. I also had problems with GTK apps segfaulting for no apparent reason… I’m still not sure why that happened. KDE 4 also tends to take a LOT of CPU time… all the way up to 25% per core on my desktop, a Core 2 Quad Q9550 at 3.65 GHz (overclocked). Those two factors alone were enough to persuade me to leave, but there were also other annoyances, such as the prevalence of applications which supposedly integrate with each other but do no such thing in reality. Essentially, KDE no longer could fulfill my needs, so I began searching for a new desktop environment. This search brought me through all sorts of territories, such as XFCE, Openbox, miscellaneous other standalone window managers, and GNOME. When I first tried GNOME 3, I was still a devoted KDE user, and it was quite rough. The shell was slow and crashy, nearly no applications had GTK3 support, and it was generally a mess. When I revisited it, however, it had improved greatly. GNOME 3.2 had just been released, and it really lived up to its claims. I absolutely love the user interface, especially with the Mac OS X Lion-like implementation of multiple desktops, the beautiful panel at the top, and the well-integrated applications grid. In many aspects, GNOME 3 and Mac OS X Lion are alike, as several of the same user interface concepts are implemented. Returning to the panel, it completely abandons the notification area and indicator applet specifications, preferring to implement perfectly-integrated GNOME 3-specific applets of sorts. NetworkManager, bluez, PulseAudio, and acpi all have icons, so it’s easy to check your battery’s charge, connect to a WiFi network, or adjust your volume from a very pretty interface. If you still need to run a notification area application, the bottom of the screen integrates this nicely, with a gradiated pop-up taskbar containing current notifications and notification area icons. The notifications themselves are beautifully implemented, with small black pop-ups appearing in the bottom-center of the primary screen and remaining until clicked. IM notifications provide a place to type a response, and notifications for which there is an associated action provide a button for that action. Those are just a couple features, however, so I thoroughly recommend you try it yourself!

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