In every new release, Ubuntu loses something from upstream Gnome. This time in Quantal is the drop of Nautilus 3.6 and Gnome Control Center 3.6 (not quite sure about it yet). But things aren’t so bad. Thanks to Rico Tzschichholz and Ubuntu Gnome Community people, Gnome 3.6 looks almost perfect in Quantal!
And things will get even better in 13.04 ;)
Gnome Shell & GDM
I tried and I tried again to compile GDM and Gnome Shell 3.5.90 in Ubuntu, but it was impossible. Building was working but Gnome Shell and GDM were refusing to start. Then I deployed a clean version of Quantal and I installed Ricotz Staging PPA. Still, no GDM and GS 3.5.9 for me, so I am using GS 3.5.4 here.
However there is nothing to worry about because Ubuntu already maintain Gnome Shell and GDM 3.6, so Quantal users will get all the goodies of 3.6, like the Gdm/Lock screens and the new UI of Gnome Shell.
Ubuntu in Quantal will use Nautilus 3.4 with some patches on it. Do you want 3.6? No worries at all. You’ll get a PPA for it!
And here it is, Nautilus 3.5.9 upstream!
Compact view removal was one of the biggest mistakes of Gnome UX team (imo). The complains are so strong that there is a chance to bring that back. I don’t know one single person to be happy with that move. I doubt even if the Gnome UX Team is happy about it. I personally know many people from Windows that use compact and horizontal scrolling as the default in file manager. Imagine this: “Even Windows do that!”
Me? I don’t care about it, as I don’t use it, but I can’t ignore the fair complains. You can track that bug in Gnome Bugzilla (#676842). Keep on mind that more changes are expected for the upcoming Nautilus 3.8!
Gnome Control Center (GCC)
As I can see in Launchpad, Quantal will ship GCC 3.4. The GCC is heavily patched than the original, but it is better anyway as it has extra functionality like the “Privacy” section. Most probably GCC will be totally forked in 13.04, but I think it will get better, so I am in favor of it (ok, I don’t use Ubuntu so actually I don’t care ;) ).
But check this out!
This is GCC 3.5.9 from Ricotz PPA. It has all the new functionality of Gnome 3.6 plus the Ubuntu’s Add-ons. We have covered already all the new things in GCC, so I won’t do that again here. But pay attention at Online Accounts. We have two. The first one is Ubuntu’s and the other one is Gnome’s. I guess this is a bug that we won’t see in Quantal stable.
Gnome Online Accounts (GOA)
Quantal ships GOA out of box. Great! ..but check this.
This is cool! You can set account from each applications from GCC. Great work from Ubuntu. I don’t know if that was a feature also in 12.04 but is pretty cool! The bad thing is that accounts there aren’t sync with the rest of the system like Gnome Documents. You have to use Gnome GOA for it.
But as I said that it seems like a bug for me. So I guess they will fix that.
Gnome Documents is one of these Apps that gained some nice changes in Gnome 3.6.
A handy search and a “TAG Filter” similar to many Web-Services. Web Pages are into another higher level and I think Desktop is trying to follow. But this is pretty normal considering the size of web-development and the money that are invested on Web Services from huge companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook etc..
Ubuntu Software Center
I am totally impressed by it. I used version 5.3.9 and it was fast. Damn fast! It takes about 1-2 second to load and after that, everything is instantly loading (I use SSD). I remember old versions of USC to be annoyingly slow. But that is gone now. Good job to Ubuntu team for that!
Of course there isn’t an Application Menu for USC, but lets don’t be greedy! Also these scrolling bars in Ubuntu, they are so ugly. Functionality feels nice, but visual stinks. However you can disable them if you don’t like them or you don’t use them.
Everything looks nice in Ubuntu 12.10 with Gnome. You know, I know that Ubuntu isn’t the most Gnomish distro, but things are about to change.
An Ubuntu Gnome spin will arrive in http://gnomebuntu.org probably in version 13.04(?). And the great news continue. Ubuntu 13.04 (and other distros) will ship also Wayland! So you have to expect great things on the first quarter of 2013. Like Mageia 3.
Speaking of Mageia..
Before Mageia I thought it was hard to make a quality distro like Ubuntu. Mageia in my opinion proved how hmmm “bad” distros OpenSUSE and Fedora are.
OpenSUSE: 4 different installations, three people switched to Ubuntu, one in Fedora. OpenSUSE had huge bugs. Like crashing GS every hour, couldn’t play HDMI (while Fedora and Ubuntu could on the same machine) and many others.
Fedora: Fedora is a very special distro, kinda experimental for new technologies. But, Firefox isn’t working in Fedora 16 (I think!) and 17 (that bug affects many installations). Firefox isn’t working in Fedora out of box. Can you imagine that? And they don’t fix it. Is this a Desktop distro? I doubt.
A quick fix is to open about:config in FF and disable IPV6. I don’t know what cause that delays (it takes 40sec to open a page), but this fixed the bug for me. Of course I am not trying to accuse distros here, but I believe that distros are responsible in a large degree for the bad image of Gnome.
Ubuntu Gnome and Mageia 3 will give us a great Gnome experience in the short future. So the best are ahead of us!