GNOME 3 from Fedora user's perpective - request for changes


This is a summary of my posts on Fedora 15 testers list.

Fedora, by including GNOME 3 (or any other distro component) in its test
release, is effectively *endorsing* it and expecting a feedback from users.

I expressed satisfaction about desktop responsiveness, which I ascribed
partially and possibly to GNOME 3's architecture (what's under the hood).
I may add that I liked the GUI graphics elements quality as well.

I expressed dissatisfaction with menu system.
This is the "window" thru which users (most of them non technical) will access
your entire Fedora (and later RH Enterprise) product's functionality.

Fedora, by *edorsing* the above, made a mistake.
It can be undone (yes, it is a test version of both products, Fedora and

I find GNOME 3 menu system dysfunctional and an example of inexperience:
- do not hide main menu (what used to be in GNOME 2) under artificial and
  unnecessary top menu (Activities, etc) and work spaces, panes, windows, etc.
  Juggling between menus and various active windows feels like being a clown
  in a circus and juggling balls - we like to watch a clown, and laugh, she
  makes us feel better, but we would not like to be her, strangely ...
- do not split System functionality between System Settings under user icon's
  menu on the panel and System Tools under Activities - Applications (in
  particular if you include the former in the latter anyway)
- do not reinvent/redefine the meanings of computing terms that have been
  used as a standard for the last 20-30 years by all operating systems and
  desktop environments.
  The proper way already reflected in Gnome 2, where you have separate top
  menu selections: Applications, System, etc.
  It was done for a good reason, according to computing terms meanings,
  Applications menu is understood to be end-user programs (database, office
  suit, various helper applications, etc).
  System menu is understood to be system administration programs
  (configuration, administration, inclusive of all resources and users).
- do not reinvent the wheel (menu system) that is already functional and
  accepted by end users, in particular if there is nothing of value or original
  in what you try to change or add

I propose to either:
1. go back to GNOME-2-type menu system
   - restore the GNOME 2 menu system (Applications, System menu structure)
   - restore the GNOME 2 panel functionality (menu, current windows and
     discovery of their focus/need-user-attention attribute, top/bottom
     placement configuration, etc)
2. or *at least* offer it as a configurable option

Do it now while you are still in early dev phase, so you can adjust other GUI
design concepts and elements accordingly.

You will be glad you did it.
If not IT (support) people then the business end users will force it upon them
and you. Or they will avoid your products as "geeky" and "unreliable".

I hope that GNOME 3 devs will concentrate on its architecture and performance
issues - this is where the benefit will be most obvious.

Unfortunatelly, the GNOME 3 user interface, or the so called "user experience",
is a step backwards - surprisingly it came from devs who gained so much
experience with functional and easy-on-the-user GUI in GNOME 2.

They should consider returning to the proven way of handling menus in GNOME 2,
as a  basis for some minor adjustments, and that's all.
I say no to these menus on desktop space as it is now.
They should think about continuity (see remarks below regarding the money-
paying customers with their conservative users base).
If they can unnerve tolerant-for-"progress" techies like me, they can only
imagine what's coming from that users group.

We know that Fedora is a dev environment, but it is also a feeder to RHEL-like
business systems, where the world looks a bit different, to say it mildly.
You should take it into consideration.

You have to consider the mass of corporate, organizational, and private
RHEL and its clones (and other distros) systems in long-term deployments,
reaching life expectations of up to 8-10 years - this is the base you should
be concerned about in the context of long-term support.
And they use GNOME 2.x and KDE 3.x/4.x desktops. And they are conservative in
their approach to a change - it is very costly in particular in terms of
training and productivity of end users, who are often not "techies".


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