Mathias Hasselmann

Static Panel Nonsense

Vuntz, you ask for angry reactions, here is your first one: This static panel stuff is the biggest nonsense I've seen in years! You've presented us an early April's fool joke, didn't you?

Please visit some real people and look at their Windows or OSX desktop, look how they customized the Quick-Launch area respectively their dock and then come again, please.

Important hint: Whenever you try to improve something, you should be as good as the old solution at least. Otherwise you just wasted time.

Come on: You don't really expect users to do several clicks for launching their prefered application, if the current, customizable panel supports this with one single click? Sorry, but the ability to add application launchers to one promiment one-click-location is an essential feature of each desktop shell. And no! I also don't want this list to be generated automatically: I'd feel ashamed if my desktop would tell everyone at a short glimpse, that Solitare is my favorite application.

Well, or if you guys really are convinced of this crap, do it in a side project please, but don't destroy GNOME's desktop shell.

PS: That's how my desktop looks like right now, and I am extremly happy with it.

My GNOME Desktop

Notice how I've disabled desktop icons, since they cause just clutter. Notice how I've filled the bottom panel with information more useful than the task list applet. The very first icon of that panel opens a popup with all current windows. This works much better for finding lost windows than this obscure task.

Update: Btw, you might think that my panels contain information you consider not important. Well, good catch, you've found one of my points: Judgement what's essential information largely differs among individuals.


bob commented on October 22, 2008 at 11:26 a.m.

awww diddums, does someone need a hug?

Emmanuele commented on October 22, 2008 at 11:43 a.m.

dude, go read the blog post and the wiki pages. don't assume stuff by simply skimming through. hint: what you did on your panel looks a lot like what vuntz described.

dré commented on October 22, 2008 at 11:49 a.m.

1. Calm down.
2. Don't post https links if your certificate has expired.
3. Read blog posts completely next time before ranting.

Dennis Fisher commented on October 22, 2008 at 11:58 a.m.

Do you not like the idea of a task-based shell at all, or just your interpretation of this particular implementation? I mean, do you believe that a single shell configuration should be able to support all tasks at once and with minimal clicking, or do you think that there could be some way to satisfactorily partition things off based on context?

Also, I don't think that Solitaire would show up as your favourite application across all tasks, unless you were to launch it without changing activities, but if I understand how this works correctly, I would probably have a task called "Leisure" with all of my favourite games and bookmarks to time-wasting sites readily available.

PS, I apologize if I didn't word this well, and I'm not 100% satisfied with how it came out, but I'd rather post it and clarify if needed rather than risk forgetting to post at all.

Mart Raudsepp commented on October 22, 2008 at 12:34 p.m.

No desktop icons? I suppose that means no permanently running nautilus, which means no working automount functionality most of the time unless you repackaged some stuff yourself?

Dennis Fisher commented on October 22, 2008 at 1 p.m.

@Mart: I ran without Nautilus drawing the desktop for a week to try the Compiz wallpaper plugin, and I don't remember having a problem with lack of automount. It could be that that just happened to be the one week where I never plugged in a USB drive, but I don't *think* it was.

I did notice some other minor erratic problems though, like not always being able to use the scrollwheel to switch desktops because of some weird focus issue, and I think startup times were slower for some reason, because during that week I would get notifications popping up before the panel and therefore covering it up, but now that I'm back to Nautilus drawing the desktop the panel always pops up first with the notifications properly stacked on top of it.

mike commented on October 22, 2008 at 1:03 p.m.

@Mart: No, nautilus still runs, and draws the BG, just no icons on it (disable/enable via gconf).

Mart Raudsepp commented on October 22, 2008 at 1:25 p.m.

I don't see any disable/enable icons from gconf other than show_desktop - and disabling that also makes nautilus not run unless you are viewing a folder with it, at least in 2.22. This is mighty fine for me, as I don't need to loose 20MB just for nothing, but with 2.22 automount handling was rewritten into nautilus instead of gnome-volume-manager for no particular reason, and gnome-volume-manager-2.22 made to by default not to automounting to not get it twice, so as an end result there is no automounting if no nautilus process is running and gnome-volume-manager hasn't been recompilde with automounting enabled (if it is for the case when nautilus isn't managing desktop, then when you happen to have a nautilus folder/browse view up and plug stuff in, you get automount twice, two nautilus windows pop up, etc).

Anyhow, this is mostly off-topic for this blog post, other than a side-note about lack of icons on desktop in the post :)

PS: I got a nice django debug page when trying to post this the first time, regarding database being locked

The Dude commented on October 22, 2008 at 7:26 p.m.

michael schurter commented on October 22, 2008 at 8:17 p.m.

Man, totally forgot you could uncheck "Expand" in Panels' Properties. That just freed up a bit more whitespace on my desktop!

fwiw, I don't use any application-launching mechanism that requires either: more than one click (panel launcher) or more than a few keystrokes (gnome-do!).

I'm neither an OSX fan nor user, but thats one thing they got very right: anything more than 1 mouse click for commonly used applications is a waste of people's time.

Chris Parker commented on October 23, 2008 at 10:23 p.m.

Every time I check out GNOME planet, I see all sorts of crazy nonsense. Every month or two it seems like a group of developers want to redefine the entire desktop, when the current desktop is hardly defined at all.

If I want to write a GNOME application, where should I go to get real documentation on using all of the underlying technologies? Are there documents that will give me an answer on how and if I should use bonobo or dbus or all of the other libraries out there? Nope! But, they want to redefine the desktop almost every month.

Natan Yellin commented on October 25, 2008 at 7:47 p.m.

That's not related to future plans for the desktop. I agree that the docs are awful, but we also need to focus on improving the experience for users.