11 June 2012

186. Installing gnome shell extensions in gnome 3.4 on debian wheezy-- frippery panel, menu etc.

Gnome 3.4 frippery extensions in Debian Wheezy: bottom panel, favourites etc.
Upgrading to gnome 3.4 disabled all my extensions. It also remove all my keyboard shortcuts.

Update: Interesting take on ther GNOME 3/KDE 4releases  http://www.datamation.com/open-source/the-gnome-exodus-and-kde-2.html I think the idea of a lack of trust is a valid one: I might be able to get GNOME to do what I want today, but whatabout tomorrow? How much longer can I manually patch my screenshot app?

So, we need to get:
* move clock
* favourites
* application menu
* bottom panel
* static workspaces

Btw, extensions.gnome.org doesn't do International English. Try searching for favourites. And that's just the beginning of the headaches. I had problems finding any extensions compatible with gnome 3.4.

Anyway, as usual frippery (http://intgat.tigress.co.uk/rmy/extensions/index.html) comes to the rescue of the users (and by extension to the rescue of Gnome -- I'd already be long gone if I couldn't revert some of the more insane behaviour of gnome-shell...)

In your ~ folder (in order that the files get untared to the correct location)
wget http://intgat.tigress.co.uk/rmy/extensions/gnome-shell-frippery-0.4.1.tgz
tar xvf gnome-shell-frippery-0.4.1.tgz 

Hit alt+f2 to bring up the launcher thingy, type 'r' and hit enter. You're done!

To make life worth living again, also do
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
if you haven't already

That way you can get the Minimize/Maximize/Close buttons back on your window border.

Another noticeable change is that it's become very difficult to resize windows using the mouse -- expand horizontally or vertically is like before, but dragging a corner is tough -- it takes a lot of fiddling to be able to grab the corner in the first place.

Finally, ctrl+b is mapped to some bookmark function in epiphany/web which is annoying, since it's universally used to make things bold. The gnome developer instructions even say not to do this:
http://developer.gnome.org/hig-book/3.4/input-keyboard.html.en (see table 10.8)

Interesting side-effect:
my fancy gnome-screenshot.debugged isn't called anymore -- and the metacity/keybinding_commands list is depopulated in addition to the gnome system settings/keyboard/shortcuts/Custom. Gnome shell 3.4 seems to mark the point where gconf-editor is deprecated. See the gnome-screenshot compilation post for more info.

At any rate, the keyboard shortcuts related to Screenshots now contains five different combination commands. Seriously -- they 'simplify' gnome-screenshot, then they want users to learn four different key combinations in addition to vanilla prtscr? And none of them does what I really need -- i.e. a quick and simple way to save screenshot with the name I want in the location I want.

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  1. Remember many users avoided KDE because KDE has too many things that can be configured while Gnome is the no config required out of the box alternative.

    Reading this post (and Linus take on his experience with Gnome), it gives me the feeling that Gnome user actually does like to tweak and config - the only difference is KDE does it natively while Gnome does it by addons/extensions/gconf.

    1. I think it's more complex than that -- and yes, I've heard that the 'too many settings' thing used to be a problem with KDE. I used KDE 3.x and never felt that way, and I wonder how valid a generalisation it is. Doesn't matter -- lots of options is fine is the defaults are sane. I think that's why a lot of us are feeling somewhat alienated by gnome -- the defaults are insane and it's less then straighforward to change them. Part of the problem is that Gnome is under development, which is fine. But e.g. the Gnome screenshot crippling just makes no sense.
      I think anyone who makes the move to linux does it for a host of reasons, the feeling of empowerment and freedom being one. Having that being taken away is not a pleasant experience.
      Finally, for all my whining I must say that gnome shell certainly looks nice, and you can work around a lot of the issues and defaults -- but a newcomer to linux can't be expected to have the know-how, courage and patience to sort out all these issues just in order to get started with a new OS. And this brings me back to 'sane' defaults, in particular seeing that it's so darn difficult to make changes.
      I don't know. I still like gnome. But I'm always worried that with the direction it is taking it will at some point be impossible for me to set up my desktop as I want it to function -- and then what?
      I keep on talking about xmonad, and it's certainly not the ideal desktop in any sense. But on the other hand it is unlikely to radically change to the point where I will be forced to relearn my entire approach to doing work.
      Finally, I get the feeling that the gnome developers is developing too much with a hypothetical future user in mind, rather than with the existing user base in mind. Those hypothetical users may never come, but the existing user base is a tangible entity, and it is feeling like an unwanted stepchild.
      I can't repeat this enough: I appreciate the hard work that the gnome developers are doing. I just don't appreciate ALL aspects of the work that they are doing.