Hi all. This is my last post – hopefully – with my Toshiba Satellite, which is a borrowed laptop. I’ll be getting back my own Vaio-Z laptop tomorrow after about 90 days, and already my fingers are itching to touch its smooth and easy keyboard.
Anyways, as I am going to give this laptop back tomorrow morning, I installed the new Ubuntu release, Karmic Koala on it. It runs very satisfyingly. Of course, I’ve not had the time to really test things in it, but almost everything works out of the box, and the boot time is a real boost. I was skimming through GNOME live, as is my habit, when I saw the article title GNOME Shell. Now, I searched a bit here and there, and found out that it is actually supposed to replace the original GNOME desktop by GNOME 3.0.
To test it under your Ubuntu, you have to install it:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
Then, you have to run it as a replacement for the original GNOME desktop:
After that, you will see something like this:
As you can see, there is now only one panel available, and it’s placed on the top of the screen. There are two main hot spots on the panel:
- On the left side you can see the “Activities” button,
- On the right side you can see the user menu.
Hovering over (or clicking on) the “Activities” button/area will bring up the Overlay view, a full-screen view which will give you some interesting new ways of interacting with your PC. It looks something like this:
On the left side, you have a flat sidebar featuring a search box, an applications’ pane, a places area, and a recently opened files list. On the applications pane, you can use the “More” button to see something like the old Applications menu in the traditional GNOME desktop. On the right side, you can see the “Overview” area which gives you an overview of all your workspaces and all the applications running on them.
All in all, it has a rather neat design and shows promise of a more innovative desktop. However, it is still ways from what Jeremy has proposed. Also, I think the whole top panel is a waste, as it is. I have seen it being put to very good use by the netbook-launcher application which uses it as the common area for the maximized windows’ title bars. Also, with GNOME shell we cannot switch between open windows without the keyboard and without going to the Overlay perspective, which can be amended by placing the icon’s of these application in the top panel.
This shell also features a sidebar, which is very much a work in progress. In fact, I think of it more as a draft of something which might become available in a future not so near.
All said, I like it. It is creative, it is simple, and man, it is cool! And I’ll definitely be looking forward to working with it when GNOME 3.0 is released.