The desktop in Gnome 3
- From: Alexander Larsson <alexl redhat com>
- To: desktop-devel-list gnome org
- Cc: nautilus-list gnome org
- Subject: The desktop in Gnome 3
- Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 20:31:37 +0200
Gnome has for a very long time been using the "traditional" model of
using the desktop as a location to store transient files and launchers.
Using the desktop in this way has several known problems. A good
description of some of them are this blog entry:
I could list some more issues, but I think everyone gets the idea. The
desktop as a transitional storage is not working well.
Furthermore, and imho most importantly, having the traditional desktop
metaphor in Gnome 3 to a large degree blocks work on new interesting
ways to solve the problems the desktop tries to solve. Gnome 3 will be a
big break in the desktop user experience. Now is our chance to go wild
and try new solutions.
So, my plan for Nautilus is to drop the desktop handling by default.
Instead the solution for transient files and such is the "Finding and
Reminding" stuff being worked on in gnome shell:
(I'm told the mockups are a bit out of date)
>From a Nautilus perspective this just implies disabling the desktop
rendering and not showing links to the desktop anywhere (in e.g.
sidebars or menus). Technically this is trivial as the code already
exists for the show_desktop + desktop_is_home_dir config options.
Additionally we need some global option so that e.g. the file selector
could avoid showing the desktop icon, etc.
However, there is a problem. The gnome-shell replacement stuff is all
mockups and ideas, and we're a few months from Gnome 3.0. There are
plans to start implementing this soon, but its unlikely that what we get
by Gnome 3.0 time is super-polished.
So, we have two options:
1) Remove the desktop in 3.0 and have the not-quiet-polished gnome-shell
feature as the only way to handle transient files.
2) Keep the desktop in 3.0, in addition to the gnome-shell feature, and
then drop it in 3.2 when the shell is more polished.
Neither of these are ideal. Really, the time to change the user
experience is in 3.0, but not having a feature complete replacement is
kinda sucky for users.
I'm not sure what is the best way forward here. But my current plan is
to leave the desktop enabled while work on the gnome-shell feature
starts. Then we can delay the decision until a date closer to the Gnome
3.0 release when we know better what the status of the shell work is.
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