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Will extensions fix the "lack of desktop" in GNOME?

Since the release of version 3.0, which brought the new Shell to GNOME, the default behavior of the interface does not have an active desktop, but this function was "enabled" through a small configuration in Nautilus, the project file manager. This was no longer possible recently with GNOME version 3.30, where features that made Nautilus able to manage the desktop have been removed from the application code.

To work around this problem, the GNOME developer community has just created an extension that attempts to bring these same features to the GNOME desktop, but it is not yet fully finalized and remains an extension, not a native function of the environment.

A problem of work philosophy?

We recently had a series of interviews on the channel with one of the Brazilian GNOME developers, where we commented on several important and interesting things about the development of the project, including the reasons for removing some components, It is worth checking. One of the things that caught my attention in the speech was the retention of GNOME's way of working, which brings good and bad things to the project, arguably.

GNOME aims at a standard of technical excellence, choosing to stop implementing things if they are not implemented in the way considered "correct", such as indicator icons such as Telegram, Dropbox, Skype, Steam, etc. GNOME also aims to be a pioneer in technology, simplicity and efficiency, as well as creating trends.

That the project was groundbreaking, I have no doubt, the GNOME project, alongside KDE, is responsible for a massive production of applications for virtually every feature imaginable in the Linux world, being a much larger project than "only". "GNOME Shell, the interface, even though that's just where all of this software eventually converges.

This vision of work that seems almost unchanging divides many opinions, I venture to say that being more flexible with some things would do well for the project.

Sharing opinions from the start

Criticism of GNOME has drastically changed the way you use your computer to something very different from the "desktop metaphor" recognized by anyone who has used a computer in life, be it Windows, MacOS, not recent, over time people have been understanding and getting used to, but still, examples of change are not lacking.

Still, showing GNOME for the first time to someone who has never used it, or who has only used Windows will cause comments such as:

– Wow, how beautiful!

– Where does the menu open?

– Don't you have to minimize?

– Where do you hang up?

– Why can't I create a folder on my desktop?

Unity from Ubuntu 17.04

Before GNOME 3 there were already many different interfaces, but only after that so many others were created.

I don't know how old you are or how long you know / use Linux, but at the time of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS we had a "dispute" between GNOME 2 and KDE 3/4, where XFCE, LXDE and command line interfaces were less popular, along with some even less popular today.

After the release of GNOME 3, we had the birth of Unity, Cinnamon, Budgie Desktop, MATE, Deepin Desktop, and we had a great deal of environments like XFCE, and we also had several distros modifying the GNOME Desktop because The default option just didn't suit us, like Zorin Desktop, Endless Shell and Ubuntu itself recently, plus we still have the growing popularity of extensions like Dash to Dock and Dash to Panel, which considerably modify the way you use the area. computer workstation.

  • Why don't people just use GNOME as it was meant to be?
  • Why do most projects that target the DESKTOP user do not use PURE GNOME?
  • What is the user profile of distros using pure GNOME?
  • GNOME made to please whom?

These are questions I would like you to answer in your comments below.

Too many GNOME fork or started interfaces

This great creation was certainly not a coincidence. Let's analyze:

– Cinnamon: It was born after the Mint team tried to use GNOME with a patch package called MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions), which tried to keep the traditional Vis Desktop;

– Unity: It was born from Canonical's dislike of GNOME 3, partly from the company's intention to put Ubuntu on different devices;

– Budgie Desktop: a reimagining of GNOME 3 "as it should have been" created by the Solus project to be a differentiated but GNOME based interface;

– Deepin Desktop: Originally Deepin used GNOME customizations as well, but then gave up and decided to use its own interface based on its Qt, GTK applications.

– Zorin Desktop and Endless Shell: They continue to use GNOME as their engine, but have created a different Shell that uses the same differently arranged elements, looking to respect the more traditional desktop mode more.

– KILL: I missed GNOME 2 so much that they decided to continue from where the GNOME team, which started focusing on GNOME 3, stopped.

In a way it was all positive changes, as we have more options today, while many talents have been scattered among many different projects, making the GNOME Vanilla project, as the GNOME team plans it, lose popularity.

Currently distros that use "pure" GNOME are usually systems where the secondary interface, where they focus on the enterprise and professional services, Red Hat, SUSE, Fedora Workstation, CentOS, Debian, Pop! _OS (this uses different themes ), are just a few.

All districts that focus on being accessible to the desktop and the common user change GNOME considerably, including Endless OS itself and its Endless Shell, which is a system that works closely with the GNOME team. Endless has done extensive research on user habits and familiarity, intuitiveness with the system, can't GNOME get any good ideas from there?

Current districts that are popular on desktops and are in evidence include: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Deepin and Manjaro, where either they don't use GNOME, or they use modified it.

Solving with Extensions

It has become common, even practically a joke, that "everything in GNOME" needs extensions, which has even a very small background.

I have no doubt that there are people who use pure GNOME without extensions, but they are probably not a big number and most of all, they are part of a niche of users that is either near the development of GNOME, or a core of advanced users. , more purist.

Gnome Desktop Icons
"Oh that's cool, now GNOME has removed the 'no desktop icons' function;) Good job Carlos!"

What I see most "on the ground" are people changing GNOME a lot to meet their needs, until recently there was an extension to automatically update the list of Wi-Fi networks, which has changed in the latest versions of the environment fortunately. .

The narrow and straightforward design philosophy, but She need not be immutable!

One decision that would be very correct, from my point of view, would be to look at which extensions people use the most to understand what features people are looking for and then add them to the system as a native, planned and integrated feature.

If people use Dash to Dock or Dash to Panel a lot, this is a clear indication that people find it less productive to keep hidden cones, to name an example.

GNOME may try to force the market to accept its standards, but does this strength really make a difference? When was the last time you saw anyone develop any application (from outside the Open Source world) thinking of GTK or GNOME? Maybe there are cases, but I couldn't think of examples.

When you are part of a niche, you do not dictate trends generally, you adapt to them. Even if you have the personality to do differently and to influence a little, how much does that bring real benefit to those who use the software? a reflection to make.

GNOME Utopia?

The purpose of GNOME is utopian, but this is not necessarily a problem. Getting developers to implement functions as they would like and planned these implementations would be ideal, but would it be possible?

Every time I see someone saying that something is bad because it's supposed to be 'utopia', I can't see it with good eyes.

Utopias are good.

Utopia serves to point us in a direction, some people strive to live utopia before all conditions are favorable, usually making effort and eventually sacrifices for it.

I think more practically, after all, there are several different levels of adopting an idea until it becomes standard.

World peace is a utopia, but it is not a throwaway idea (as it is a utopia) and it must be stopped being pursued, but there will always be "half terms" to that end and utopian, many of them are not so bad.

I bet you would like world peace or hunger extinction, but if you had to choose between: Or do you have zero hungry or do you have the current situation is a situation where you have at least 90% less hunger than now, which would you prefer?

To illustrate with GNOME indicator support, for example, the current situation is exactly this: Either devs implement as GNOME would like or is not part of the project.

Who is left without the function, who just wanted to use the software, since there is no middle ground? Could it not be possible to offer and improve this function until the ideal solution appeared?

as the idea of ​​free software. Some people argue that everything in the computer program world should be open, free, open source, whatever you want to call it, and I'm sure if everything were livable, this would be a very interesting ideal world to live in, but In order to move towards this, I need some users to use free software, then a bigger part, then a bigger part, so even going further and further towards this "free utopia", wanting to cut the path and live that moment now goes Require sacrifices that not everyone wants or can make, using the logic that either free or I do not seem to win many people.

Making gradual transitions is a less traumatic process that facilitates acceptance, at some point you will need to take bigger steps, but if all is well founded, even those larger steps will be better accepted.

Desktop Icons

The valid attempt, and as you saw in the beginning video of the article, the extension already has several good features, although some are missing, but still an extension. It's something you'll have to wait for the distro to implement on its own, such as Ubuntu, or as something you, as a user, will have to look for.

Extenses, as well as browsers, serve to extend basic functionality However, in GNOME, extensions are, in some cases, intended to provide just basic functions that, in my own strict and individual opinion, should be part of the environment natively, allowing the team of developers and translators to act in a most directly, without having to pay attention to the compatibility of the extension with the Shell version.

GNOME remains one of my favorite projects, so I talk about it, endorsement, encourage use and praise, for the same reason that I criticize how much I think I have to criticize, I am sorry that I just can't be productive on GNOME By default shell, the interface layout itself completely ignores anything anyone who has ever used a computer on Linux has ever learned, some people will enjoy it, others will never come back.

Does the desktop solution come with this extension? It's early to say, but probably if it's not that way, it's probably no other way.

What do you think?

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