Early thoughts on GNOME 3

I must admit, the first time I installed Fedora 15 alpha, I did it only to test out what GNOME 3 was all about. It looked like an interesting interface that would work on a tablet-like device, having used the Andriod-based Archos 10.1 for while now.

When Fedora 15 was officially launched on May 24th, I decided to move my work machine (a Dell Vostro v13) from Fedora 14 to 15.

For the tl;dr, I like GNOME 3.

Now the rest of the story:

The default background looked like a curtain from another era. I hit the right-button of the mouse to see what’s available, but nothing came up. I know I have stuff on the Desktop. How do I get to that now? By moving the mouse to the top left hand corner, the desktop “collapses” to show a whole of other things amongst them being the “search” box on the right side of the screen. I typed in “Desktop” and among other things, it came up with “Places and Devices”. Hmm. Interesting way to navigate.

One of the best uses of Fedora has been the fact that I could share my network connection with anyone. I am often in situations where I have my 3G USB dongle connected up and turning my laptop into a wifi hotspot. Alas, as I write this blog, it is not working in GNOME 3. It is one of the minor things I have to put up with now. I am hopeful that it will be reinstated RSN.

In general, I think there has be a lot of rethinking that has gone into the design of GNOME 3. I like that fact that the desktop is kept really clean. I am one of those guilty of a crowded and busy desktop. Now all of that is hidden away in a FOLDER (which is was anyway) called Desktop. Maybe it is time to retire that Desktop folder meme as well.

Now that I’ve been using GNOME 3 for about two days, it has begun to grow on me.  All of my other machines at home (and which my family uses) are all running the older GNOME and it does seem clunky and ancient.

Overall, I am pleased thus far. Just give me the means to share out my network, I’ll be productive.


  1. I installed Fedora 15 on a spare laptop simply because of GNOME 3. I didn’t want it on my working laptop for fear of me not being productive. I spent a good 20 minutes on GNOME 3 and I can see how it can grow on a user. Still a little unsure about maintaining productivity on it though (will probably make a decision this weekend) You should see my working desktop, its cluttered! 😛

    • Indeed. What first struck me was that the desktop is not cluttered anymore. And the search box only finds folders I think and not files. I guess google desktop would still me needed.

      But, yes, it grows on you. Right now I am using an external monitor which is running the browser and the laptop monitor showing a terminal with mutt running and the background is clear. I think, visually, it is helping me focus instead of be distracted with names/files/stuff on the desktop. That’s a Big Thumbs Up :-).

  2. Yes, hotspot management didn’t make it to F15, but all the functionality behind the scenes is present. I found after a bit of playing with nmcli that I can start up previously defined network with

    nmcli con up id kapr

    Try it.

    • thanks, Matěj for the tip. I am testing it right now. i know the functionality is there, but not at the GUI level. i am disappointed that i did not check out nmcli first.

  3. Good for you. I installed it for a day but not really get used to it. Still prefer FC14 until FC15 is mature enough to same level in term of GUI (settings/theme/etc). Hopefully FC16 will bring the same maturity and I will move to it by then.

    But overall i like the speedier feeling of FC15.

    • I know the feeling about holding off till it is more mature. I think you should give it a go anyway now so that you can put in your suggestions for improvements.

  4. I’m afraid I can’t remember who posted it, but there was a blog post on Planet GNOME yesterday or the day before about re-enabling that feature (or at least what I think is the same feature) in GNOME 3’s network settings. Looks like it should be in 3.2 at least.

    The whole ‘Desktop’ thing in GNOME 3 is a bit of a misnomer. You’ve still got a folder called it, but the concept of files on the desktop is gone. Personally I think this is a great thing because why put them somewhere that’s always covered with windows?

    Zeitgeist integration will give more in the way of file search in the shell I believe, may also appear in 3.2.

    So good to see positive comments about GNOME 3 now though. Before release the prevailing wind seemed to be the knee-jerk ‘it sucks’ reaction. I’m not going to pretend it’s perfect in any way, but I do believe it’s a good foundation and 3.2 and 3.4 will add great piles of awesome to it.

  5. You can still do this with the old applet and you can get it by doing a Run (alt + F2 from mem) and running the command nm-connection-editor which will give you the old style applet and let you share etc exactly as you use to 🙂

  6. If you would look around a bit, you’d have noticed, that there’s a gnome-tweak-tool, where you can turn the Desktop Folder thing on

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