Re: Things I'd like to see in Gnome-Shell

On Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 2:34 PM, Jasper St. Pierre <jstpierre mecheye net> wrote:

I see this a lot. I want to do things *without* going to Activities.
So I raise the question, why is the Activities mode seen as a last
resort, why is it a nuisance to go to the overview?

Simply: on certain devices and workflows, it breaks concentration more than it assists it.  

This happened to me today: I'm writing code in Eclipse, and needed the calculator.  If I weren't already using Docky, I would have to *stop* looking at my code, have it zoom out just to get a calculator on the screen, and then have it all zoom back in after I've launched it.  Then I'd have to find the place I was at in the code, that I just lost because I had to go to the overview, to find the numbers to plug in.  

This breaks my train of thought right into pieces; it was (and remains) infinitely less distracting for me to just throw the mouse over to the left-hand side of the screen and push the "Calculator" icon.

I think, basically, that the overview *is* useful, but only in some situations and on certain devices, like tablets, phones, and other assorted touchscreen-driven devices.  I welcome it, in those cases - like on my Android device (I can see the direct heritige between Android's app menu and Gnome-Shell's Activities Overview).  But on a computer, and with a guy who generally tends to summon and dismiss certain applications with frequency, going to overview paradoxically is more of a distraction than otherwise (I say "paradoxically" given that the point of the Overview is to keep one more on task).  

Also, there seem to be a number of keyboard combinations and shortcuts already that exist to shortcut around the Activities area, like a keycombo to switch workspaces.  If G-S has those, I'm led to believe that even the developers believe there is some value in doing some things without having to go to the Overview... I'm merely requesting that some of those shortcuts translate better to mouse operation.  

I'm going to postulate that you're on a laptop with a touchpad, and
that dragging your finger to get to the other side of the screen is
somewhat annoying.

I was at my desktop... but even on a laptop, I disable the touchpad.  My fat hands tend to hit it while I'm typing, sometimes sending the pointer into outer space, sometimes clicking something unintentionally.  We're talking plain-old mouse here.

I'm going to
suggest that, if possible, we have a global touchpad hotspot: the
top-left corner (top-right in RTL) enters the overview without
changing the mouse position.

Interestingly enough, part of the problem is that the screen hotspot (not the touchpad one) does not work with a Synergy-driven multi-screen setup (where one of the monitors is on the left).  The animation to summon activities fires, but the activities screen simply never appears.  This is *not a Gnome-Shell problem*, and I'm aware of that, but it *is* part of the reason.  

Mostly, I just find I accomplish a few things quicker by sidestepping Activities; its why I use Docky, and why I'd like the Dash to optionally be available on the desktop (so I can use it instead of a 3rd party program).

For those with real mice, I've found it quite easy to get into the
overview (just a quick flick of the wrist), but others have had

Getting into it is easy enough - I have no complaints about that.  I sometimes just don't want to go to another part of the OS at all.

Global menus have been discussed time and time again. There is a plan
to fix this -- Application global menu. *snip* This wasn't implemented in

time for 3.0, but I believe Colin Walters is working on it right.


"sinking" or "parking" have been proposed before. I'm not sure where
the designers fall on this, but just ask them!

Also sweet.

Just to be clear, I am totally on board with no more minimization.  I don't like that I've enabled the workaround (putting minimize back via gnome-tweak) just to have this functionality; I would *rather* the app go to workspace below and not vanish into the pit of "where is it?"; I just wish it were as easy to do this.  The keyboard shortcut is halfway there, but makes you move to workspace below *with* the app, which I don't want.  

The categories in Applications are planning on being removed, for
reasons I do agree with. The current menu categories are muddled and
used inconsistently. Some apps put themselves in four or five
categories to be easily findable when they do meet all of those
categories. If we're trying to work around this by playing games with
the category system, well, let's just remove it.

Well, OK, that makes sense, but... how do they intend to replace the functionality?  

Are they seriously considering just having a gigantic screen-sized grid of totally un-categorized applications to select from as the only option?  That's less optimal than having categories with duplicates in it, by a lot.  The visible search area is simply too large, and the number of applications I have installed too numerous, to easily and quickly find with the category set to "all".

Upon further thought, I think my problem (above and here) is that I find the "Applications" part of activities to be nigh-on unusable *without* the keyboard, which was not the case with the old Gnome 2 menu system.  Maybe there's something wrong with me, I don't know, but I think it has something to do with the area I'm searching through; the menus were confined, mostly, to the upper-left corner of the screen, and were a single-list... which, for reasons I can't explain, I can scan through and decide upon far easier than the full-screen grid of huge icon tiles I am presented with in G-S.  I tried to use it three or four times, but it took so long to find anything, every time, that I just resigned myself to using the search and just pinning the app to the Dock (so I would never have to do this again for this app). 


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