My short experience with GNOME 3

After not having blogged about anything but book summaries lately, I thought it was about time to write something else :-) EDIT: Added the last point, the most important one!

I had been thinking of trying out GNOME 3 since it was released. For a number of reasons, I only managed to give it a try a couple of days ago. I normally use KDE 4, but wanted to see how GNOME was doing these days, and wanted to see if it was something I could maybe switch to. I have to say I quite liked some of the stuff I saw, but I don’t think I can switch. My reasons:

  • Language switcher keyboard combination: I just couldn’t find any combination I could use. Everything conflicted with some other combination I use (esp. in Emacs). Having to change the keymap by clicking on the top bar didn’t sound sane to me.

  • Order of the OK/Cancel buttons: even if I switched, I would probably use a combination of systems. Having to train my brain to look for the buttons in a different position seemed like too much.

  • Rhythmbox seemed plain, clunky and hard to use. It seemed hard for me to do what I wanted, plus it crashed consistently while trying to listen to some podcast.

  • I kind of like the idea of how workspaces work (even though I have to radically change the way I use them to adapt to them), but for me it’s too much that both (a) closing the last window makes the workspace disappear and (b) you can’t create workspaces “above”. That is a deal-breaker for me.

  • Can’t create workspaces on the right or left? I could get used to that probably, but it added up to my frustrations with GNOME 3 workspaces.

  • Constant repainting issues.

  • Can’t make sense of the window traversing. Let’s say I have two virtual desktops, one with a browser and another one with two terminals. The focus is on one of the terminals, and I want to go to the other terminal (with the keyboard, of course). If I just press Ctrl-Tab GNOME takes me to the web browser in the other desktop! If I want to go to the other terminal, I have to press Ctrl-Tab, Shift-Ctrl-Tab to go back to the terminal, arrow down to see all the terminal windows, arrow right to go to the next terminal. It’s even worse when I have Opera in one virtual desktop (maximised) with the error console in the same desktop. As Opera is maximised, I can’t even click with the mouse, so the only way to switch to the error console I can think of is doing the dance described above. Am I missing something, is this for real? EDIT: I was told about Ctrl- (changes between windows of the same application). Cute attempt, but I don't think I can get used to thinking if I have to use Ctrl-TAB or Ctrl-. So that remains “impossible to use” for me.

I wonder if some GNOME user can shed light on some of those issues, although it doesn’t seem like I can find a solution for all my frustrations :-)