GNOME 3: The Future of the Linux Desktop Revealed

For many Linux desktop users, GNOME is their home. But it's a home that's in the process of a major renovation.In a session at the FUDcon Fedora Linux user and developer conference this week, contributors showed off some preliminary work for GNOME 3, the next major evolution of the GNOME platform.

With GNOME 3, developers will be introducing a number of new concepts and technologies to the Linux desktop, including more advanced 3D as well as more tightly integrated messaging system."We have a real opportunity with GNOME 3," Red Hat staffer and GNOME contributor Jon McCann told the FUDcon audience. "We said up front that we're going to do a new GNOME, clean the slate, re-evaluate what it is we're trying to do, what a desktop is, what a personal computer is and what it should be offering."

The current GNOME desktop is the 2.28 release, which debuted at the end of September.McCann said that GNOME developers today have far more technology to tap into that simply wasn't available when design began on the GNOME 2.x platform 10 years ago. He added that in his view, GNOME 2.x isn't really suited for the large class of users that he'd like to bring into the GNOME user community.

"In GNOME 3, most of the user interface level stuff is JavaScript that is built on top of clutter toolkit," McCann said. "This is really awesome and something people have wanted for a long time to be able to have a rapid prototyping methodology, and to also use the standard GNOME libraries like Gtk."

Clutter is an open source framework for application development, with the underlying complexity abstracted so that an intricate UI can be built with a minimum of code. Clutter is also being integrated by Intel as part of its Moblin Linux operating system.

Red Hat staffer Colin Walters said that a number of items don't work well in the current GNOME 2.x user interface. According to Walters, search and the ability to find applications easily are not optimized in GNOME 2.x. Additionally, he said the mechanism to find recent documents is also less than ideal.

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3 Responses

  1. Jay says:

    I’d be happy if they’d just fix some of the obvious usability issues in nautilus.

    If you copy files over other files it doesn’t give you any information to help you decide if you want to overwrite a file, just a yes/no question.

    I even tried putting this in as an enhancement request but navigating their site is worse than a dentist’s office visit.

  2. mphill says:

    For sure, try to open a file that does not exist. The open dialog just closes with no warning you tried to open a non-existent file. I think GNOME is great as is, and I think Ubuntu is working hard with it’s 100 paper cuts to resolve these issues.

    I am pretty scared that its going to be butchered in 3.0 though. After looking at GNOME in the Ubuntu repos I would never use that. If it is released like it is now I will be switching to XFCE or KDE.

  3. Alejandro Nova says:

    Not willing to troll, but KDE is closer to a definition of “the future of Linux Desktop” that any incarnation to date of GNOME-Shell + Mutter + Zeitgeist (“GNOME 3”). I don’t believe those promises about a GNOME 3 without a GTK+ 3.0 that supersedes both GTK+ 2 and Clutter.

    Lucid will be an interesting release, because the Kubuntu team has finally decided to cut loses, scrap all the malpractices done before, and dedicate this cycle to make a real distro (see Project Timelord). Maybe it can give Ubuntu a serious run for its money.

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