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GNOME 3.8 changes the way you access Notifications Panel

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If you found the behavior of Notification Panel with the 1 sec delay in 3.6 in-sufficient, don’t blame directly GNOME designers. That happened mostly because of the weaknesses (some un-done Xorg Changes) in X Server and it wasn’t the initial design proposal.

From 3.4 to 3.6

Reporter: Allan Day | 2012-05-31 | #677215

There’s been plenty of issues with the message tray hot corner (see bug 665819). It also won’t work on touch screen devices, and doesn’t have a strong conceptual connection with the tray as something that occupies the whole of the bottom screen edge.

The new design includes a new way to open the message tray – by exerting downward pressure on the bottom screen edge with the pointer. In the future, we could add a touchscreen gesture which mirrors this action.

From 3.6 to 3.8

Reporter: Al-Scandar Solstag | 2012-11-02 | #687386

I was having the most wonderful experience with Gnome 3.4, as I thought message tray conversations had forever freed me up from having to use messy chat windows to keep conversations going while being productive. However, with Gnome 3.6 the message tray now takes forever to show up with mouse movements, so that it became pretty much useless.

I’ve been pretty much using the activities view instead of the message tray 100% of the time, simply because it does not take an eternity to load. I understand some people with bad motor skills were having trouble moving the mouse near the bottom right corner without bringing up the tray, but this shouldn’t have us abort an otherwise excellent functionality.

Please make that delay optional, I can’t believe most people would be that uncoordinated. Worse though, even if they are, the time it takes now is clearly excessive. This is different from the problem of the tray covering up text boxes, which got fixed by the “raising the desktop when displaying tray” effect. This is simply about how long does it take to get to a conversation.

How it will work in GNOME 3.8

In GNOME 3.8 the new behavior will use “pressure sensitivity” (a composite of speed and distance) and you will have to push down against the screen edge. That will mean two things:

  • First, it will be faster, the one second delay is gone
  •  And second, it will mean you don’t get accidental triggers if you leave the pointer at the bottom of the screen.

For this to work your distro needs to ship a with XI2 extensions support and if it doesn’t, there will be a fallback mode to the 3.6 behavior -if I am not wrong. You can read more in:

Note: In Fedora Rawhide with upstream GNOME build, that didn’t work.

Port GNOME Shell to use XI2  Status: Done!

Porting mutter to XI2 is the prerequisite for enabling multitouch and gesture support in gnome-shell. It is also needed for triggering the message tray by downwards pressure, as it was designed to do. A work mostly done by Jasper St. Pierre.

Multitouch gesture support hopefully will come in the next after 3.8 GNOME

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  • jon_downfromthetrees

    Sounds good. I hadn’t realized that there’s a 1-second delay in 3.6. (It’s not in Help.) I just thought it was flaky.

    Meanwhile, Gnome ought to find a way to communicate these changes to users. Including release notes would be one easy way.

    • Andreas Nilsson

      “We plan to improve
      this behavior in subsequent releases.

      • jon_downfromthetrees

        I’d like to see the release notes ship with Gnome, so users have access to them on their machines. I suspect few users know exists. Maybe a link in System Settings?

        Or, is it the case that the notes do ship and distributions strip them out?

        • António Fernandes

          You may want to check the release notes *before* intalling a new version, right? The best place to link them from is probably the software updates UI. Take a look at the tentative design for software updates:
 Did you notice the “Learn more” link?

          • jon_downfromthetrees

            Thanks. Yes, the “Learn More” link is very good. Needs to be there on updates so users can know what’s going to happen before they jump in. They might not want to jump. I like the looks of the updater design. Will it be available to run at the user’s discretion as well as behind-the-scenes (good), or only as a behind-the-scenes process (not so good)? Any necessary reboots, and any updating at all, should allow postponement.

            I’m a reasonably competent Fedora user and would prefer Gnome release notes be available via the App Overview. That said, Fedora’s release notes are there and, judging by many questions I see in Fedora fora, many either don’t know that or don’t read them.

  • Rajesh Ksv

    So in Ubuntu 13.10 after upgrading to 3.8 will we see this feature ? Bcz I hated 3.6 behaviour! 3.4 is much better !

    • alex285

      I think yes, they push the latest Xorg in 13.04. Ubuntu also has excellent X PPAs.

      • Rajesh Ksv

        Wow! that’s good news :)

        • Pedro Nariyoshi

          Really great news. I also found 3.6’s behavior counter-productive.

  • gutigen

    Finally, most annoying Gnome Shell “feature” fixed :) Will we get some control over this? Like setting pressure value etc

  • hells_dark

    Nice. I never use the notification tray right now. It’s way too slow.
    Using pressure sensitivity is really a good idea. It’s weird it cannot be done with X11 with another algorithm.
    For instance, “if the mouse in on the bottom edge, and the user make a vertical movement to the bottom equivalent to X pixels” or something like that..

  • fabrixx

    How can i try gnome 3.7xxx ?
    (live usb distribution ecc..)

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  • Nicolas Lussier

    The pressure trick is a good one ! Shortcut Super+M is great to.

    I’m wandering why the hole screen go up and why I can’t work on something while looking at the tray as before ? I kind of dislike the fact that if you look at the tray you can not do any thing else not even scroll down a web page !