This is not Classic or Legacy at all. It keeps all the amazing things of GNOME Shell and brings some extra functionality for GNOME2 users, without sacrificing not one single thing of GNOME3!
First off, keep on mind that this is work in progress and is certain that some things will change before the stable 3.8 release in March. Also I hope I haven’t missed anything (some extension)!
How it works
The user can pick his session from GDM, either GNOME or GNOME Classic. GNOME Classic even if is considered a different session, is basically a modified GNOME Shell with some extra Extensions. If we are inside GNOME Shell we can switch to Classic by:
$ gnome-shell --mode=classic --replace
So even if GNOME won’t support switching “Modes” in Settings, we don’t really have to logout for changing it.
The “Applications” Menu has also an “Activities Overview” option that brings the GNOME Shell Activities Overview. The left top hot corner is also present here! So basically the whole workflow of GNOME3 doesn’t change.
The current theme is a grey to be distinguished from the (black) GNOME Shell. Also Calendar has been moved on the right. A drawback here is that you can’t add Apps (Icons) in the top bar, so we will need an extra Extension for it.
Pressing the Notification Indicator (if we have notifications, I have (4)), the Notification Banner is popping up similar to the Shell.
There is a Windows List on the bottom similar to GNOME2 fow switching Applications. The problem here is that we can’t do anything else (ie close) from it. We can just switch them. Also all three Windows Controls (Minimized, Maximized, Close) are here by default.
Shell Overview in Classic Mode is exactly the same as the normal one, with the exception that we have 4 fixed workspaces.
If we click on Terminal Icon this will launch a new GNOME Terminal Window instead of bring the focus to the current. Notice the yellow (backgrounds) Terminals. That is Fedora 19 default colors.
GNOME Classic is using the Alternative Tab by default.
These are the extensions that Classic is using (if I am not missing something!) Don’t pay attention in the double entries.By the way if you want to enable one or more extensions from Terminal:
$ gsettings set org.gnome.shell enabled-extensions "['firstname.lastname@example.org', 'email@example.com']"
I was missing the “Nautilus Handles Desktop” option, so I attach Matthias Screen in here.
Classic Extensions aren’t on Master Branch yet, and if you are running a JHBuild installation you will find them at merged-classic-branches. Don’t forget that this is just an early preview, and things are going to change before the final release!
Also you can check many of the cool new GNOME 3.8 features into a single post at “GNOME 3.7 at the halfway mark” Matthias Clasen’s blog.
And let Windows 8 Fish to get some Freedom ;)