This time Gnome isn’t about the Shell. While Shell received significant changes, the rest modules of Gnome pull the attraction. Amazing things from the Gnome Team in this release. Congratulations boys ‘n’ girls of Gnome Team!
This is not going to be a review but just a quick look and my first impressions. We are going to review it in detail App by App, in the next days because the changes are endless :)
GDM and Lock Screen
The Curtain animation affects both Login and Lock Screens. It is pretty, but not ready yet. Pin Unlocker and many more things are missing from here. Giovanni Campagna, who works on it, gave us a short talk (we print tomorrow) about all the new features that we’ll see in here on next release of Gnome.
Curtain opens with mouse or Esc (and maybe with any key, I am not sure). The black spot like a dirt on the right of username, I don’t know if it is some bug, or art :)
Search on the top-center, categories are still here, Overview Tab are removed and we get a new 9-dot App Launcher instead. I think they are going to include some Zeitgeist functionality on here, but this doesn’t work at the moment.
I agree that is weird that you find the launcher so far from the “Activities” hot spot, and the bad thing is that you cannot move it as the normal apps (drug ‘n’ drop). That works perfect on Tablets, but not on Laptops.
But don’t get disappointed. There will be some hack (or extension) to move it on top, so it is not a big deal. Oh by the way, Gnome Shell theme has small but dozen improvements!
Both visual and under the hood changes. Amazing work on here. Notifications also work in Screen Lock, and we can enable / disable them from GCC. I will review this on detail with all changes, but Gnome team has made a nice job on this.
On chat is Salih a friend of mine who runs Uttapia Project, a collection of small apps for Ubuntu.
The improved GTK2 Look
This is how Gimp looks with the new improved Adwaita GTK2 theme. Firefox and Libre Office are two more popular Apps that are still on GTK2 and so they benefit from this. But it isn’t only about GTK2.
GTK3 ‘s default theme has also gain major improvements. But some community themes are better anyway in my opinion. In any case Adwaita 3.6 is by far the best default that Gnome ever had (imo).
The popular IM has extremely improved at least visually and has a better integration with Gnome Shell (and Gnome). I can’t really have a clear opinion about it as I haven’t used it a lot. However I have to confess, that every time I get disappointed from it and I switch back to Pidgin.
Maybe the most controversial module of Gnome 3.6. Nautilus missed lot of functionality (Compact and Tree Views, Extra Pane) and gain some other (improved search, clean solid interface). Is Files 3.6 overall better than Files 3.4? I let this to you to judge. But I can say that is prettier. Much prettier. And for me that counts a lot. More than functionality.
More Beautiful Everywhere
This is the default black Adwaita. You can set it in all Apps. Unfortunately at the moment there isn’t an equivalent dark theme for GTK2. Gnome 3.6 is more beautiful in every single aspect. Everywhere. Because I am following most of the modules in Git, I can remember hundreds of small visual changes. For example Symbolic Icons is a big improvement.
Gnome Shell has many changes in effects, and Mutter also, like the new animation transition on closing the modal windows which is hard to explain, and I’ ll get a screencasting to show you.
Hundreds of changes in Gnome Apps
This is the new select background. There are many changes like that in lot of modules. Documents, Contacts, Clocks etc etc. That makes me say that in Gnome 3.6 Apps have gain more attention than Gnome Shell.
Some people taint to believe that Gnome is Gnome Shell, they even call Gnome, Gnome Shell. That’s wrong, Gnome Shell is just a small part of Gnome. Maybe one of the most important, but counting in lines of code, is pretty small.
Under the Hood
Except all these visible changes Gnome got and a lot of improvements in core. Many of the Gnome goals are implemented on this release cycle and thousand of bugs are closed. And of course thousands of new bugs will open but this is another story :)
Gnome 3.6 also feels faster. I cannot tell if it really is (coz I run it in SSD) but it certainly feels like that. Maybe the have change some animation delays or something. Another huge important thing that they begun in this release, is the documentation. They improve that section every day. That’s simply great!
My biggest complain in 3.6
Web 3.6. No Webkit2, no Clutter Effects, no new Design. They postponed again for the next release. This is the second time on the row that they postpone it. And is the Web-Browser, the most important module in Gnome. Anyway :(
Igalia’s people proposed a Gnome OS and Gnome 4 for 2014. Well I see that happens sooner, maybe in a year from now (in two releases). Actually I don’t really care if Gnome Foundation will release an independent Gnome Distribution but.. but I see huge improvements to arrive fast, GTK4, Wayland etc etc..
I am sure that the next year will be the year of Linux Desktop and Gnome will be again the leader ;)
Simply Beautiful :)
*Note: I tested Gnome 3.5.9 in Mageia 3 (aka Cauldron) ..amazing distro. Probably the best distro out there..