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Gnome Shell 3.6 beta on Ubuntu – first impressions

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Installation

Installation went smooth. Just a sudo apt-get install gnome-shell did it. I was then prompted to choose my default display manager from LightDM and GDM. I choose LightDM just to see how Gnome Shell works with it.

What’s new?

There are many changes to the UI and small tweaks here and there. It is definitely a great step to improve the Gnome Shell experience and enhance the usability.

The User Menu is looks more compact, the Online Accounts item has been removed, Suspend has been replaced by Power Off. One small thing I really liked is if you don’t have any chat account set up, the status chooser now becomes insensitive, it was clickable in older versions as far as I recall.

And there is the Lock option! I heard of the new lock screen in Gnome Shell. So I went forward to try it. And man, it really looks simple and minimal, yet cool.

But again, it didn’t ask for my password when I unlocked. Hmm… It requires GDM to be running to work, seems logical. Anyways, I changed my display manager from LightDM to GDM by dpkg-reconfigure gdm and rebooted. And the lock screen now works. The animations and effects are really smooth and feel very nice.

The notifications now don’t trigger the message tray to show up and now have a close button. It is really convenient, before it was confusing to know how to dismiss a notification.

The message tray has also received a lot of attention. It is now much taller and now it is not triggered accidentally when you move your cursor to the bottom-right corner. To open the message try, you need to move your cursor to the bottom edge and hold for few seconds. The message tray pops up with a nice effect, pushing everything upwards. The whole screen darkens so that you can concentrate on the notifications. Cool!
And finally the Overview. The Overview takes a important role in the Gnome Shell experience. It has received much attention accordingly. The view mode tabs have been replaced by an icon in the dash. The search box is now centered.

I miss the search buttons for Google and Wikipedia in the overview. But they seem to be replaced by something more useful, because instead of opensearch .xml files, there are now .ini files of some kind.

One small thing I liked that the font rendering in Gnome Shell is now looks much improved improved. It looked horrible previously.

In theming point of view, the code has been streamlined and there are less repetitions now. quite like it. The lock screen is also themable and it really looks great!

The overall impressions were good. And I hope you like them as well. Something you liked as it was? Let us know through your valuable comments :D


 
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  • http://twitter.com/rodrigozerofour Rodrigo Teixeira

    GNOME rocks!

  • Bastián

    I’ve also been testing with GNOME-Shell in Ubuntu 12.10, but I see that failure is the integration of LibreOffice menu (not visible using the shell).
    Do you know any way to fix this?

    • alex285

      I just confirm the same issue. I have this bug only in Ubuntu (Fedora and Mageia works), so I guess is something with the Global Menus in LibO and 12.10.

    • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

      I don’t know of a fix, but yes the bug is there.

    • PromoteCommonSense

      Does that have to do with Ubuntu patching LO to have the menu work in Unity?

  • Ian Brunelli

    I liked this theme, what’s the name? :)

  • http://varemenos.com/ Adonis K. (Varemenos)

    When you say “Gnome Shell 3.6 beta on Ubuntu”, does that mean just 12.10 or is it possible to install it in 12.04 too?

    Thanks for mentioning the streamlined theming btw, i might take theming seriously this time…

    • alex285

      You can only install it on 12.10. Ubuntu follows the release schedule of Gnome. 12.04/Gnome 3.4, 12.10/Gnome 3.6, 13.04/Gnome 3.8 etc..

  • Philip Witte

    Looks good!

  • Israel Lai

    I’ve just made the switch to KDE yesterday. I’m kinda worried GNOME is going the Windows 8 way (everything is bigger) too far – look at the lock screen. No it’s beautiful, but I’m afraid they’ll take too much touch into account.

  • http://mjanja.co.ke/ Alan Orth

    w00t. It’s looking good. I can’t wait until 3.6 drops into Arch Linux!

  • Mathias Rudolf

    Off-topic-stupid-question, but what’s that desktop wallpaper? ;-)

  • Mathias Rudolf

    Ah, and second question. You wrote about a “mixed feeling”, but didn’t explained why, because the overall description seemed pro. What is really bad in your opinion?

    • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

      The removal of features like the search buttons and some weird issues with the hot-plug notification… Hmm, I didn’t mention that, I see.

  • sheep
  • Symon Cadwalader

    I am still far from impressed… Kde is miles ahead in every way

    • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

      KDE is so much different from Gnome Shell. They have different goals and different ways for interacting with applications. I also like KDE. But I don’t know why people compare them without giving any valid points. Come on, you like KDE, the way it is. But that doesn’t mean everything else is inferior.

  • Denis

    I was debating on if it was worth upgrading to 12.10 beta from 12.04 LTS. I just did it because i was impatient to use Gnome Shell 3.6.
    I must tell you guys, its so smooth and fast… unbelievable..huge step in direction of user friendliness. It’s much much much faster, and so smooth..and its just beta. WOW. Guys, if you still on 3.4, don’t hesitate, switch to 3.6. It’s just far beyond any desktop paradigms. Unity its closer to GS, but still lacks intuitiveness and smoothness. Definitely drinking beer tonight to celebrate!!

    • PromoteCommonSense

      The only caveat that I would offer to people reading your post thinking of upgrading to the 12.10 beta to get Gnome Shell 3.6 is to remember that most of the extensions from extensions.gnome.org will not work as they haven’t been updated to 3.6 yet. So, if you rely heavily on extensions, you would be better served to wait. That said, 3.6 is definitely quicker and smoother than 3.4!

  • Marcos V.F.

    Gnome: the right way. Modern, stable, useful.

    And now, more e more apps come with AppMenu…, its great. More pratical and its not remember me a Apple proprietary product.

  • Fábio

    how to know which version of my GNOME shell?

    • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

      gnome-shell –version

      • Fábio

        In my Ubuntu, the GNOME-Shell is 3.5.4 :P :(

  • Guest

    In my Ubuntu, the GNOME Shell is 3.5.4 :P :(

    • alex285

      Then you have 12.10. You can add ricotz ppa to get the latest.
      https://launchpad.net/~ricotz/+archive/testing

      • Fábio

        Nothing! GNOME-Shell 3.5.4 … :(

        • alex285

          sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ricotz/testing
          sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

          You have Ubuntu 12.10, right?

        • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

          BTW you don’t need to add ricotz testing PPA (if you don’t want to break your system with unstable packages). GNOME Shell 3.5.91 is available in the Ubuntu 12.10 repositories. So all you need is to run “sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade”.

    • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

      You can just run “sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” to update to the latest version available in the repos.

  • Guest

    I was going to stick with 12.04 for another release cycle but now I plan to upgrade…I’ll just wait a month or two for bugs to settle out. I tried KDE and Unity and found Gnome Shell to be absolutely my favorite desktop (I miss it when I have to use Windows 7 at work). I must say I am VERY glad they removed the Google and Wikipedia buttons, they were completely out of place in the overview. Does it use the new (3.5.9) Nautilus?

  • Michael Mistretta

    The new lock screen really needs to being you to your log in by pressing a button and not need to be “dragged” up by pulling it with a mouse. Having to use a tablet gesture to unlock your screen is kind of a joke.. we’re all using gnome shell on our desktops/laptops come on..

    Before anyone says anything about new users ect ect.. I had my girlfriend screaming from the other room to get past the new lock screen and I explained to her she needed to ‘drag’ it up to reveal the log in area and she exclaimed “Wow that’s really f***ing stupid”.

    I have to agree. I like the way it’s animated but pressing any key should cause the wallpaper to scroll up and reveal the log in area.

    Please note: I am REALLY trying to like Gnome Shell. lol

    • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

      You really don’t have to drag it up. You can also press the “Esc” key. Also pressing any key triggers a little sliding up animation indicating that you have to drag it up.

      I agree with you though that pressing any key should reveal the enter password screen.

      • Michael Mistretta

        You’re right, Esc does do that. Nice find, thank you!

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  • Wolf Vollprecht

    Hey! How do you actually install gnome-shell themes in 3.6 // Ubuntu 12.10?

    Thanks