The problem of GNOME3 is not the GNOME Shell


This message contains some proposals to address what I see as some
problems in GNOME 3 and the GNOME release process. I send it originally
to the mailing-list gnome-devel-list, which was wrong because it's topic
are the libraries of GNOME.

The dash, the overview, the efficient keyboard usage and the clean
notification-area with the seperation from the message-tray are just a
great approach. GTK3 looks awesome within GNOME3! It was brave to give
up the old concept of an "Desktop" and replace it. And it was the right

Please don't take the following explanation as attack on you or your
work. What I want is helping you and GNOME!

The problem of GNOME3 is not the GNOME Shell, it is the constant removal
of features. To make this even more worse, the developers don't
communicate their plans and didn't react on well meant critic. Instead
the developers believe that the bloggers, the press or the users just
hate new things like the GNOME Shell[1].

GNOME 3.0 introduced a complete new user-interface and also some things
did't get ported from GNOME2. This is usual for major change and it is
also ususal that some users have problems with the new user-interface,
while others appreciated it.
The problem is that everyone expected that during the subsequent release
of 3.2, 3.4 and so on the missing parts get added. This happend for
GNOME2 and this happend with KDE4. But it didn't happend for GNOME3!

During the last releases important and loved features and options get
removed from GNOME, instead of added. And GNOME doesn't offer a big number
of both, following it's own tradition. And this is still the case with
latest release of GNOME.

I thought about writing "this kind of mail" to mailing-list about a long
time now. The final reason was the removal of transparency from
gnome-terminal. Moreover the reaction of the developer itself[2]*. Every
terminal offers nowadays real transparency, thanks to AIGLX and much of
hard work during the last decaded. Transparency is nice and also usefull.

I don't want attack this developer. I can just apologize that it hits him
(there are others)! I will send, in addition to this mail, a second mail
with a bunch of examples of what went wrong with GNOME3 and can made be
better. I decided to split this up, to focus on only on the general
problem and possible solutions within this mail.
The second mail, with the examples, is build up on my personl opinions.
In the past other users thought in the same way, so I assume not to be

Thank you for your patience and reading this. I want share my insights
with you and not tell you what you have to do. You have more time?
Please read on.

* GNOME 3 lacks some basic features that are useful or that people love,
in some cases the features have been removed with no obvious replacement
* Sometimes GNOME3 offers the desired feature, but it is hidden in dconf
and not much tested
* GNOME doesn't offer the users a clear plan what is considered for the
next release. There are mostly some blog posts about added, changed or
removed feature shortly before a final release. If this blog posts
launch a discussion, the developers can't or wouldn't accept others
ideas (it is natural do defend your work, especially after you put much
time in it).
* It is hard to convince a developer, if bugzilla is the only way of
* GNOME3 doesn't offer a stable environment for users and other
developers, in term of "industrial-grade"

Solutions (Possible?):
* Every missing feature or option distract users, add important features
and make options easily available. Some people argue that "options" can
be overwhelming. That is valid, especially at the first contact.

Sub-Menues with concise titles are a solution and keep the UI clean! A
nice "Default-Button" can clean up even the worst mess.
* Communicate clearly what you want to change and ask your users what
they want. Do this early in development and regulary! Clean up your wiki
and make the information publicy available. Provide an official forum
(not unofficial) where users can get in touch (mailing-lists, irc or
bugzilla are not the place). Start your own surveys instead of letting
do this others! Use for showing your current ideas and work.
* Hear on your users! They want help you and most of them are
power-users with experience! Yep, power-users! This people regulary tell
the broad audience what is good or bad and support them.
e.g. add a vote-function to bugzilla lika Archlinux and Ubuntu have done,
this mitigates "me too" or "+1"-messages and hint developers which bugs
are considered important by the community
* Instead of radically change existing things, why not fork the current
and offer it as alternative? Your alternative can become more mature and
may replace the old thing. It is better than split developers over
oppossing forks which doesn't work together, because everyone feels
* Stability:
From the view-point of end-users addiditons or even sane changes are
okay, but removal of featueres is a not okay. In chase of companies and
public authorities this is a nogo criteria. Schooling is expensive!

From the view-point of developers it is necessary to give them the
reason to trust in the environment of GNOME and GTK. They put much time,
work, and even money, in writing applications! This requires up to date
documentation and a stable API. The gtkmm-book is still at version
3.4[3] and the APIs for extensions[4] and theming[5] are not stable.

// update 12-5-2013
The upcoming Gtkmm 3.10 is facing a API/ABI-break with glib 2.38[6].
Please notice that this is not caused by Gtkmm itself.

Define terse and clearly what direction GNOME takes: Laptop, Desktop,
Tablets and so on.


The End**:

The dash, the overview, the efficient keyboard usage and the clean
notification-area with the seperation from the message-tray are just a
great approach. GTK3 looks awesome within GNOME3! It was brave to give
up the old concept of an "Desktop" and replace it. And it was the right



* I did't followed the bug-report after 25-04-2013. I saw today that a lot
of comments get written and removed. Anyway, after comment 18 doesn't
happend much (my inbox stored them). Just an image was attached to show
that the workaround is only a workaround and lot of "me too".
** It is not my style to hide a message behind "nice words". Putting the
nice words at the back feels more honest and less like "adulation".
Nonetheless I was told to put this at top for good reason! So you have
to read this a second time at the end, where I would place it!

I want thank Liam R E Quin for the helpful response to the original
and included some of the suggestions!

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