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A Review On GNOME in Ubuntu GNOME 14.04b1

While I know some of the people behind Ubuntu GNOME and I respect their work, I think is better to be honest and debate all free projects rather always saying this is good, that is good, everything is good.

Ubuntu GNOME isn’t the best GNOME distro you will find out there. Bearing in mind that it’s powered by Ubuntu and enjoys the Ubuntu community and 3rd party software support, it might be a very interesting choice overall, but reviewing it as GNOME distro, it isn’t very exciting.

However Ubuntu GNOME (UG) has a bright future when Systemd will replace Upstart (I think in next version – 14.10), while Mir won’t affect Wayland, at least in theory. So there is no reason to lose motivation to keep using it (if you already are in UG 13.10).

Better days will come :)


GNOME 3.10 Vs GNOME 3.12

The strongest disadvantage of UG is obviously GNOME 3.10 instead of the newer and massively updated 3.12. There is the Gnome-Staging-PPA that has updates (not full) to 3.12 version, but this is mostly for testing reasons rather for everyday use.

UG in any case supports GNOME 3.10.

That is also the case for Fedora, with version 21 to be released around in autumn and everything considering GNOME is on the air. Fedora 21 might skip version 3.12 and go directly to 3.14 and Wayland, while Fedora 20 might get an upgrade to GNOME 3.12.

For now you can use (with your own risk), GNOME 3.12 from Copr.

While there are many complains about certain GNOME decisions, I feel that that the majority of GNOME users prefer Arch/Antergos. That’s kinda opposite to the complains, because Archers are considered the most Linux “technically” qualified users. On the other hand it makes sense, since GNOME and Arch user-base share something common: Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm to learn. Enthusiasm to help. Enthusiasm to hack. Enthusiasm to always have the latest!

My point is that if you are new in Linux desktop and you want to try and get the best out of GNOME, UG isn’t for you. If you are a regular Ubuntu user that you just don’t like Unity, UG is the best you will find.


Screens

This is GNOME 3.10, so there isn’t much to see. Some packages are still in version 3.6-3.8, but I guess they will update them prior to stable release, plus there is always the GNOME 3 Team PPA that you can use. UG doesn’t include by default several GNOME Apps (Weather, Notes and others), but you can add them later on.

ug-gdm

UG is one of the few GNOME distros that includes Classic mode by default. Nice one!

ug-usc

G-Software is absent (even from the repos) but that isn’t an issue. U-S-C is better anyway. However it will be an issue in version 3.12, since Software is responsible to manage the app-folders in Shell.

Theming definitely has issues, but this is beta after all.

gallery-app

If you are confused by the non-Canonical support in Ubuntu core apps like Gallery, you can check this post and Alan Bell answer. Another open question is if U-S-C will give Unity specific applications that don’t work good (or at all) under GNOME.

ug-gcc

Not very clear to me, but I think this is GNOME Control Center 3.6 with some patches as the support of Windows Live Mail, that is GNOME 3.12 feature. Privacy and Search Providers (search providers work though) are missing, but I guess this is some sort of bug.

ug-shell

Shell 3.10 with a set of default UG Apps. Gallery is a Unity core app which I installed.

ug-ubu1

Ubuntu One and every Ubuntu convenience is here!


Overall

Ubuntu GNOME in my opinion belongs in the top three GNOME distros (Fedora, Arch/Antergos, Ubuntu GNOME), but as far as GNOME is considered, it is the worst among the three. If UG 14.04 manages to solve the many regressions that 13.10 had, it can overall be the best, depending on the use!

And as I said before, better days are coming for Ubuntu GNOME users!

Ubuntu GNOME


 
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