Ubuntu and GNOME continue their parallel lives, comfortably ignoring each other with the exception of some rare glimmers of hope like the Ubuntu GNOME edition. The problem seems to be the complete lack of synchronization in using the latest GNOME Shell edition along with all its core utilities and applications. Moreover, Ubuntu goes for the development of alternative libraries and tools, different display server compositor, and the further development of another shell called Unity :)
So, Ubuntu and GNOME are only getting further apart and it seems that no matter the good intentions of various developers from around the world, it will be increasingly difficult to deliver a fully working Ubuntu using the latest GNOME Shell environment. Thankfully, some people are still up to the task…
Black GNOME Linux desktop on default settings
Black GNOME Linux is an Ubuntu 14.10 based distribution that features the latest stable version of GNOME Shell, along with various enabled by default extensions. The “black” element is delivered through the use of theming in the GTK+ (Dorian) and the icons (Evolvere Black) and window decorations (Ambiance Graphite). The result is quite impressive.
Latest Files included :)
The use of extensions cannot be characterized as shy to be frank. Black GNOME Linux comes with 18 extensions pre-installed and four of them enabled by default. These are the Dash to Dock, Flippery bottom panel, Gno-menu and Workspaces to dock. All this looks really annoying to me as it basically eats my space, but thankfully its all a matter of a few clicks to get to the Tweak tool and disable anything you don’t need to have. Then you’ll get a clean desktop like this one :
Black GNOME Linux with all extensions disabled
The choice of applications is a bit kinky compared to the relatively restraining stance of official Ubuntu flavors on the matter. Shutter for example is present as a second tool to produce screenshots of your system and Midori as another choice in the Web Browsers category. Wireshark, VirtualBox are also installed by default offering advanced tools to cover more sophisticated needs.
On the GNOME front, there are many parts of our favorite desktop environment installed in Black GNOME Linux by default, but most of them are missing. Not that all this matters much nowadays as the users can always access the user-friendly Ubuntu Software Center and get whatever they want/need installed quickly and easily.
Generally, the distribution felt snappy during testing. I almost never expect that from systems that use “after-market” themes and lots of extensions but this one did pretty well. I should also point out that I downloaded and tested the development build that is based on Ubuntu 14.10 (not yet released). There is also a version based on Ubuntu 14.04 with GNOME Shell 3.12.2 available, so give that a try if you’re looking for something more tested.