One of the reasons that Ubuntu denied Gnome3 and developed its own desktop environment was a disagreement with Gnome developers about the Global Menus. Canonical invested a lot in Mac style Menus when Gnome build the Application Menus.
Two years later the state of these two desktops menus remind a McDonald catalog with plenty ..unhealthy options.
The reason I mix up Gnome and Unity menus is simple. Ubuntu dominates in Linux desktop trend by far and even if Ubuntu doesn’t support Gnome out of box -and doesn’t fully support it with any tweak- it happens to be the best and most popular Gnome distro. I won’t become heretic and I won’t reduce the value of any distro specifically, but when it comes to desktop, Ubuntu leaves its “competitors” in the dust.
My point is that most Gnome users come from a non-Gnome distro such Ubuntu and also have experienced -at least once- the two graphical interfaces (Shell & Unity). I guess that many users also switch occasionally from one to another and in my opinion isn’t hard to adopt the logic of both, as they are quite similar.
However this partition won’t come smooth and these are the first issues. I checked Nautilus 3.5.4 that comes with a “hidden” -under one button- menu in Unity.
Nautilus in Unity
What’s happening is that global menu “reads” only the application menu of Nautilus and the button of the actual menu remains on the top right. I don’t have any clue how Unity will overcome this, because even if “uploads” all the menus on top bar (global) the consistency will be already gone. I guess Ubuntu should do some patching here, re-order the menus or even remove the menu button from Nautilus?
HUD which is a very smart technology has -for the time being- some issues also as it is looking only in the application menu of Nautilus and not in the context menu.
Nautilus in Shell
Nautilus in Gnome doesn’t do much better as it have plenty of sub-menus and navigation isn’t easy. Firefox’s single menu button is placed on top left and all sub-menus are opening on the right. But here sub-menus can open either on left or right making a nice puzzle (doesn’t seem in above image).
Also menus in Unity and in Shell if you notice are different.
Probably two menus to access an App weren’t enough so we get one more, the jump lists (in Gnome Shell, jump lists aren’t ready yet). I’am in favor of all these options because they serve kinda different situations (for example jump list can serve apps in different workspaces) but I cannot see something to applause about. Sometimes can be good, sometimes are just messy and overall there’s none really optimal solution.
I guess we have to wait a bit more to see how menus will involve in both platforms but at this point their “simplicity” status is negative. Specially for Gnome that it should find solutions for Apps like Libre Office which won’t get App menus or Gimp that can’t hide menus under one single button.
What is more important here in my opinion is the size of the different approach of the two DE that will make “impossible” for users to switch one to another and feel spatial familiar with interface interaction between them.
Moreover Apps with menus, Apps with hidden menus, Apps with Global or Application menus, different Jump Lists, access menus with HUD or shortcuts ..is getting confusing.