Re: My opinions on Gnome Shell

David, let me set the tone to my reply to you by stating that I appreciate your well thought out responses.... Keep that in mind while you read my responses (since I make no attempt at responding using tact.... I do, however, make a point to not be rude). You wander into my neck of the woods, let me feed you!

On 06/20/2011 08:47 AM, David Prieto wrote:
Email applications and instant messengers should only be a way for you to interact with your online presence, that is, you should only need them running to send an email or an IM, but not to "listen" to incoming emails or IMs. Once you have set your accounts, Gnome should start listening for those as soon as you start your PC and notify you as soon as any communications arrive, then only launch Evolution or Empathy if you actually want to open an interface in order to interact with them.

Off hand I disagree with this. Gnome is neither an email server, nor is it an instant messenger. I do not use Evolution, nor do I use Empathy.

As for music players, I love what Ubuntu did: they integrated Rhythmbox and Banshee into the sound menu, so that you can keep listening to your music without having to keep an open window. If you open Banshee and then close it while it's not playing, it will close as expected. If you open Banshee, press play and then close the window, your music will keep playing even though there is no window. You can skip songs or stop the music usin the sound menu.

As for torrent apps and download managers, my opinion is that Gnome should have a progress indicator that hosts running operations waiting to complete: that is downloads, file operations, disc burning, and so on.

I'm not trying to start a discussion about how convenient these would be: my point is only that, in all those situations you mentioned, there are alternative solutions to minimizing; it only looks like the obvious one because we've been minimizing windows forever, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the best one.

I see advantages and disadvantages.... You ALWAYS run these applications, and they are ALWAYS running. You do not see them running, but Gnome is smart enough to have a special case to bring up the GUI for those applications off a special menu somewhere (but that menu is not always visible like say a list of minimized applications might be).


I don't see why, for such applications, having a way to minimize them
(hide the main window from the screen, the overlay and the ALT-TAB list,
but keep the application running in background) would hurt.

It adds complexity. Some people (take my mom as an example) just can't tell the difference between closing a window and minimizing it. When they accidentally minimize a window they don't know where it has gone, they don't know that now it's in the taskbar. They just don't get the concept of a taskbar.

Hmmm, I know that person. He was very very confused by two monitors until I took the time to demonstrate how they worked. Now he loves them. Never seen an argument for not supporting two monitors because it confused users (where did my cursor go?).

To get back to what they were doing, they will repeat the process they followed the first time: press the launcher, which will launch a brand new window of that application... without all the work they'd done. Other times they will spot the app icon on the taskbar and press it, which will take them back to the existing window, but they simply DO NOT understand why they sometimes get back their window, and they sometimes get a new one.

Sounds like an argument to remove the launcher to avoid confusion :-)

This duplicity is, objectively, a problem for some people. I have seen it. Removing the minimize button solves the problem for them. I'm not saying helping them is worth bothering other users; I'm only saying that in some cases, having a minimize button DOES hurt some people.

So does removing the launcher. I found it very confusing that the Activities screen showed some applications that were running ; and some that were not. Took a while for me to understand what was happening. Well, really, I had to take the time to read about it since it was not remotely obvious. I might argue that this is exactly the same reason you stated that we should not minimize programs..... Both running and not running programs show up in the same place. I'm just saying....

A window that is part of the current task, but not needed for a period
of time yet you do not wish to lose your place?  Leave it cluttering the
desktop, move to another desktop, or minimize?

Why is just leaving it in the background not an option?

For me this usually occurs when I want to work with just a few windows for a moment. When I have only a couple not minimized, I can easily know which is which (say 3) even if they are layered. More of a problem with say 5. Sure, I could shoot them off the desktop for a bit and then move them back, but that is rather cumbersome.

Client walks into your office whilst you have confidential information
relating to another client on screen?

Why is moving to an empty workspace not an option?

It takes significantly more time to do that than to minimize it. I can, however, quickly jump to another virtual desktop (or now that I have memorized yet another secret click sequence, I can middle click to send it to the back if there are other windows).

I knew one user who knew about Alt-Tab but just "didn't like it".  She
would always switch between windows by minimizing all then restoring the
one she wanted.  Granted, I hated seeing here do that, but she was
comfortable with it.

Well, my mom refuses to use the scroll wheel OR drag the scroll bar. She won't even keep the little arrow pressed, she just clicks it once and again, and again and again and God, do I hate it. I'd gladly remove those little arrows if that gave her a gentle push towards acquiring saner computer habits.

Let me first say that I really know what you mean. If people do not do it exactly the same way I do, it drives me crazy. Unfortunately, if you read books  by people such as Cynithia Tobias about how people work, you start to understand that different people work in different ways. If I had my druthers, I might not allow people to use a word processor and use hard coded formatting (like a bold or italics button). I would force them to create a custom style based on the reason that they want to do that and then use that to apply their formatting. I have found, however, that the fast majority of word processor users have no clue how to use styles and no desire to learn. It is just too complicated.

Firstly, just "throwing" the window to another workspace is easier to
say than do if you only use the mouse (and no amount of training will
persuade _some_ people to do any different.)

I agree. I think that throwing a window to another WS needs to become easier.

I might want a special WS to the right that could act like a minimize workspace :-) (whip and beat me later).

Secondly, I don't think you should assume that a taskbar necessarily
interferes with my work.  Sometimes it can, but I can always move the
interfering window to another workspace if I simply cannot control myself.

It does interefere to a point.

As does that top line along the top...

Maybe less than having the whole window in the background, but more than not having anything. You used the word "clutter" before. I don't think this applies only to windows, but also to any interface elements that are not relevant to what you're doing.

Andrew Pitonyak
My Macro Document:

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