Tag Archives: gnome3

Gnome 3 will not span across dual monitors properly. Fix this Gnome!

Gnome 3 on dual monitors.

Gnome 3 on dual monitors.

This is what Gnome 3 looks like on dual monitors, the wallpaper is spanned across both screens on the wide desktop but the Gnome panels are stuck on one screen.  This is one of the consequences of developing a desktop for touch devices that can not use dual screens, you only see these bugs on a desktop machine. Or a laptop with an external screen attached. Please fix this Gnome! This is mentioned here but this is an older posting. There is a newer posting here also that indicates there are still some issues with dual monitors on Gnome 3. I wanted the panels to stretch across both screens like you could with other more sane desktop environments but this does not work as of yet.

I had to create a custom wallpaper for this screenshot as I did not have any 2560*1600 resolution wallpapers. But I hope this will be fixed very soon or there will be some people that will get very annoyed with this desktop environment and move to MATE or Xfce. Surely with other window managers you can edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and put in the settings manually for dual monitors, but you should be able to do this at the desktop like Windows 7. Anyway, the ability to install Xmms in Fedora Core 15 lifts it above the likes of Ubuntu that does not have that excellent music player in their repositories anymore. And that is a dammed shame. The audacious player has a good range of codec support and can look just like Xmms. I really should purchase another flat panel monitor for my system to allow me to test dual monitors with Cinnamon and KDE 4.8.0.

Thoughts on the Ubuntu Unity design.

I have had a look at the newest version of the Ubuntu Unity interface and it is not the theme-able interface that the Gnome 2 and Xfce desktops are. When I had Gentoo installed with the Gnome 2 desktop, the GDM theme selector was enabled, allowing you to select any theme you wanted for the login manager and use themes downloaded off the Internet. But this is not allowed any more, which is a huge shame. The LightDM login manager that is replacing the GDM login manager in the Ubuntu distribution may not be as customisable as the old GDM login manager. Nowadays they just want a locked down touch screen interface and not allow so much theming and configuration as you got with old Window Managers. Hopefully the famous security of the Linux operating system will be maintained in the newest Ubuntu releases.

That is very important, users must be confident that their data is secure whilst using Ubuntu and the Ubuntu One cloud service. When using a cloud storage service for backup, you must keep a local copy of the data as well as an online backup, as something could happen to your data and if you do not keep a local backup, then you are in trouble. There is an article in the December 2011 issue of PC Authority that covers this issue in depth, but the tl;dr version is simply to keep backups of important data locally as well as a copy in the cloud, that way you can sleep well at night with the knowledge that your precious files are safe. But getting back to the issue at hand, the lack of customisation of the Ubuntu interface is the main reason for the fall in the Distrowatch rankings and the exodus from Ubuntu to the superior Linux Mint distribution. Linux Mint 12 has just been released and includes the Gnome 3 desktop with many enhancements for ease of use by those unfamiliar with Gnome 3/Gnome Shell.

http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php Download the Ubuntu successor now.

Trying out Gnome 3 again.

My Gnome 3 Fedora 15 desktop.

My Gnome 3 Fedora 15 desktop.

I have decided to try this desktop out once again, even though it is not to everyone`s taste. I have switched to The Mist metacity theme and the Raleigh GTK theme. Pop up dialog windows appear and disappear very quickly indeed and the desktop is quite responsive after all. The only gripe I have with this desktop is that a part of the desktop will crash and then the pulseaudio sound will not work anymore necessitating that you log out and then back in to fix it. But this hopefully, soon we will see this remedied, or else this will get very annoying fast. Alsa still works though, I do not understand why they do not just use that instead. pulseaudio is very good when you are using HDMI audio output for crystal clear sound.

Gnome 3 tweak tool.

Gnome 3 tweak tool.

Anyway, I am liking this Gnome 3 better than the Unity desktop, but they are fundamentally the same thing, with the same layout, only that Unity has the left dock visible all the time and Gnome 3 only shows it when you move the mouse over to the top-left of the desktop. Anyone who wants to install and use Gnome 3 will need to install the Gnome tweak tool to enable a little more customisation than the default installation will allow. I still prefer Gnome 2, but I just wanted to try Gnome 3 again. My very nice apocalyptic wallpaper makes that Gnome 3 screenshot even better.

You can get more cool space wallpapers here: http://4walled.org/search.php?tags=space&board=&width_aspect=&searchstyle=larger&sfw=&search=search. [4walled.org] Some people have had issues with HDMI sound on Fedora 15, but it seems to work fine for me, if the Gnome 3 sound system would not crash on me regularly. I have found some cool Gnome 3 themes here: http://blogs.codecommunity.org/mindbending/gnome-3-themes/. These are looking very nice and I would check these out if you are using Gnome 3.

Adding packages to configure Gnome 3 on FC15.

Adding packages to configure Gnome 3 on FC15.

As shown in the screenshot below, I have discovered how to change the Gnome Shell themes using packages available in the standard Fedora repositories. Just install the gnome-shell-extension-user-theme package and some theme packages as well, then press Alt-F2 then type “r” in the box and hit ENTER and after Gnome 3 has restarted, you may run the gnome-tweak-tool and change the shell theme. And you can install a plugin that gives you a standard Gnome 2 styled foot menu! The Activities menu is still there, but this is very cool. Maybe this Gnome 3 desktop is not so bad after all. I wonder if these plugins are available in Ubuntu 11.10, I have heard that distribution has Gnome Shell. The alternative status menu option will give you a power off option in the status menu on the right hand end of the top Gnome 3 bar. I prefer to use Suspend though, the computer wakes up much faster using Suspend than powering off and back on again. And you can type su -c “init 0″ in a terminal to shut down. So Unity 0, Gnome Shell 1.

Are we really progressing with the Unity/Gnome 3 mess?

The Ubuntu Unity interface has caused a stir in technology circles with the Mac OS X styled interface that works quite differently to Gnome 2. At least they got rid of the April fools circular windows. The Gnome 3 interface may be bad, but the Windows 8 Metro interface is even worse. But we will have to either adapt or use Lxde instead, which is very fast and works just like a UNIX/Linux desktop should. The Gnome 3 desktop is bloated and clunky compared to the Linux desktops we were using in 2009. They were fast and usable even on a old Celeron laptop and it was perfectly fine, but Unity would not work very well on older hardware and then you would need the fallback mode or Unity 2D to even try and get Ubuntu working. Surely the Linux desktop should not be this bloated when there are many talented programmers out there working on Gnome and this is the best they can come up with? The fork() of Gnome 2 that is being worked on is a promising project and the project GIT repository here has the code if you wish to download it and try it out. I hope the project continues and there is a repo made available for Ubuntu 11.10 or 12.04/12.10 that allows the installation of the Gnome 2 desktop on Ubuntu & Fedora.

If you could install this desktop environment alongside the Gnome 3/Unity desktop then you could compare the performance of Unity versus Gnome 2 which is not in Unity’s favour at all. You can not even customise the top panel and add shortcut icons to it like you could in Gnome 2. Older desktops like Afterstep where a little more usable and even FVWM with the infinitely customisable layout that could look like Afterstep, Blackbox or Windows 95. Now we are just adding on more and more memory hungry code and dumbing the desktop down so that anyone can use it and they do not need to think about anything, they can just use Facebook, Instant Messaging and there are no pesky desktop icons and pesky panel applets to get in the way. The future of the Linux desktop looks to be a totally simplified desktop with no panel applets and no shortcuts on the panel like Gnome 2 could carry out. Surely the Microsoft Shills are deliberately sabotaging this desktop to destroy the reputation of desktop Linux and driving potential users to Windows. But the Windows 8 operating system with IE 10 has the Metro interface and I have not seen the Windows classic interface yet. But Internet Explorer 10 running fullscreen to display the Metro interface?

Seriously?

http://www.qc4blog.com/?p=1157.

I have copied all the packages from my Fedora DVD into a folder in my home directory and this is me installing Xfce4.

[root@matrix Packages]# rpm -ivh xfce4-* xfconf-4.8.0-2.fc15.i686.rpm libxfce* garcon-0.1.7-1.fc15.i686.rpm fortune-mod-1.99.1-14.fc15.i686.rpm exo-0.6.0-6.fc15.i686.rpm recode-3.6-30.fc15.i686.rpm 
Preparing...                ########################################### [100%]
   1:xfce4-doc              ########################################### [  6%]
   2:xfce4-icon-theme       ########################################### [ 11%]
   3:libxfce4util           ########################################### [ 17%]
   4:xfconf                 ########################################### [ 22%]
   5:libxfce4ui             ########################################### [ 28%]
   6:exo                    ########################################### [ 33%]
   7:garcon                 ########################################### [ 39%]
   8:xfce4-panel            ########################################### [ 44%]
   9:recode                 ########################################### [ 50%]
  10:fortune-mod            ########################################### [ 56%]
  11:xfce4-session          ########################################### [ 61%]
  12:xfce4-session-engines  ########################################### [ 67%]
  13:xfce4-mixer            ########################################### [ 72%]
  14:xfce4-power-manager    ########################################### [ 78%]
  15:xfce4-appfinder        ########################################### [ 83%]
  16:xfce4-settings         ########################################### [ 89%]
  17:xfce4-notifyd          ########################################### [ 94%]
  18:libxfcegui4            ########################################### [100%]
[root@matrix Packages]# rpm -ivh xfwm4- 
xfwm4-4.8.1-2.fc15.i686.rpm               xfwm4-theme-nodoka-0.2-2.fc15.noarch.rpm  
[root@matrix Packages]# rpm -ivh xfwm4-*
error: Failed dependencies:
	nodoka-filesystem is needed by xfwm4-theme-nodoka-0.2-2.fc15.noarch
[root@matrix Packages]# rpm -ivh xfwm4-* no 
nodoka-filesystem-0.3.90-5.fc15.noarch.rpm  notification-daemon-0.7.1-1.fc15.i686.rpm   notify-python-0.1.1-18.fc15.i686.rpm
[root@matrix Packages]# rpm -ivh xfwm4-* nodoka-filesystem-0.3.90-5.fc15.noarch.rpm 
Preparing...                ########################################### [100%]
   1:nodoka-filesystem      ########################################### [ 33%]
   2:xfwm4                  ########################################### [ 67%]
   3:xfwm4-theme-nodoka     ########################################### [100%]
[root@matrix Packages]# rpm -ivh xfce-utils-4.8.1-2.fc15.i686.rpm xfdesktop-4.8.2-1.fc15.i686.rpm thunar-volman-0.6.0-2.fc15.i686.rpm thunar-archive-plugin-0.3.0-2.fc15.i686.rpm Thunar-1.2.1-5.fc15.i686.rpm

Once this was completed and I had also installed Thunar and the xfdesktop package I was all set with a Gnome 2 styled Xfce4 desktop. How to install Xfce4 on Ubuntu. http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/xfce.

Gnome 3 traditional layout in Ubuntu 11.10?

Sabayon Gnome 2 desktop.

Sabayon Gnome 2 desktop.

This is a good question, should they add the traditional Gnome 3 layout in Ubuntu 11.10? Linux Mint are staying with the traditional layout when they switch to Gnome 3 and Ubuntu should keep the traditional layout as well, the simpler design of Gnome 2 over Unity is why I prefer to stick with it instead of installing Ubuntu 11.10 or 11.04 with the new Unity desktop. Not everyone is enamoured with the new desktop environment that is forced on to the users of Ubuntu with the new interface. I prefer the Gnome 2 desktop, but that will be removed from the Ubuntu 11.10 repositories very soon and then you will have to use Xfce or Lxde instead. Someone needs to fork() the Gnome 2 code and support a version of Ubuntu that still uses this code-base, even though they would be sticking with GTK 2+ that would not matter, they could back-port code from GTK 3 and still bring in many of the new features of the newer GTK code.

There is a post here that gives some useful information on installing the Gnome classic desktop on Ubuntu 11.10, this involves a Gnome fallback mode that looks like Gnome 2 but is using GTK 3.0 code. I have tried this out and it is pretty good I guess, if you have not got any access to Gnome 2 then this will be a pretty good alternative for you. The screenshot to the right shows the Gnome 3 classic desktop with the Gnome 2 look featuring the two panels and the Gnome 2 styled menus.

Gnome 3 fallback mode.

Gnome 3 fallback mode.

This is to be available in Ubuntu 11.10 as a substitute for the lack of the Gnome 2 desktop, but as I have said before it still uses the GTK 3 code and is a poor substitute for the former Gnome desktop. Better to find an Ubuntu distribution that will keep GTK 2.0 and Gnome 2, as I would doubt that you could install GTK 3.0 and GTK 2, they would conflict with each other. I am using Sabayon Linux 2.4 at the moment, that has Gnome 2.30.2 and I am perfectly happy using that instead of the latest and greatest Linux desktop. If people are happy enough using one style of desktop, then why change it suddenly to something totally different just to make it look like Mac OS X?

Fedora 16 Alpha released.

Gnome 3 shell.

Gnome 3 shell.

The Alpha release of Fedora Core 16 has been released with Gnome 3.1.4 and it is not impressing anyone so far, the Gnome 3/Unity desktop is a step backwards compared to the Gnome 2.30 desktop that it is gradually replacing. The CPU and graphics grunt required to work compared to Gnome 2 and Xfce is much greater, and even if you installed the KDE 4.7 desktop that is not much better either. The Gnome 3 desktop uses GTk 3 with all new Cascading Style Sheet styled configuration files for the themes instead of the XML used in the older GTK 2 themes. I have tried Gnome 3, Unity and KDE 4.6 and I am not very happy with any of them, Gnome 2 on GNU/Debian Linux 6.0 is far faster and more reliable than the newer desktop that needed far more work done on it before we saw it first in Ubuntu 11.04 and also in the Fedora 15 distribution that included the Gnome 3 desktop, with far less customisation options than the Gnome 2 desktop that has thousands of themes available for it on Gnome-look.org. You are better off running Gnome 2 or Xfce for your daily desktop usage, as it seems that Gnome is going downhill these days.

The Gnome 1.0 and then the Gnome 2 releases where awesome, but now they just want to create something that is inferior to the excellent desktop environments they have created before? But as I said, you can just run Xfce or Lxde and run a very fast desktop without any bloat and wastage. Many of those who have tried the Fedora 16 desktop have gone back to Windows 7, as that is a more intuitive and useful user interface than the horrible Gnome 3/Unity example. The Linux desktop is going downhill and we need to do something before every distribution goes down this road. The Gnome 1.0 environment was very good compared to the Windows `98 operating systems desktop from Microsoft corporation. The menu was very intuitive and the whole experience of using it felt very natural, just like Windows `95 in many ways. Even the Windows `95 user interface is better than what the Gnome team are putting us through right now, I can not believe that they think this is a good idea to move away from the relatively sleek and powerful Gnome 2 interface they developed and moving to Gnome 3 that is far inferior in every way.

Gnome 1.0 desktop. 1999.

Gnome 1.0 desktop. 1999.

The Unity interface is just copying the Mac OS X desktop environment and not coming up with anything that is original at all. I thought that is Linux had the Windowmaker, Blackbox and Fvwm window managers, we could create something unique but sadly they are just wanting to copy everyone else instead of just updating the older and better Gnome 2.

Linux is getting bloated.

Is there a real reason the Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint & Fedora have to be so bloated? The Debian distribution is very fast and usable compared to the Ubuntu distribution that has moved from the Gnome 2.32.1 desktop environment to the Unity desktop that has created some controversy of late. The Ubuntu 11.10 release features the same Unity desktop as the 11.04 release, but it has dumbed down the user interface too much, the ability to configure font appearance has been removed and this is not good unless the font appearance is automatically set for either a Liquid Crystal Display screen or a Cathode Ray Tube. There is a screenshot of the System Settings panel here: http://iloveubuntu.net/software-sources-are-now-integrated-system-settings-oneiric-ocelot. Hopefully they will restore this in the last 11.10 Ubuntu release. Linux really needs just one unified and attractive desktop for every distribution, possibly just one quality Linux distribution that can bring all the quality of Linux to users without the heavy load on system resources that Unity and KDE 4.5 bring with them. The Mageia Linux distribution has the KDE 4.6 desktop, but implements it in a way that makes it feel like KDE 3.5, and not like Windows Vista. I do not understand why Ubuntu wants to copy the MacOS X desktop so much, and KDE wants to copy the Windows Vista look. The Linux developers need to create a proper Linux desktop that someone unfamiliar with Linux can sit down at and use without much tutoring beforehand. As expressed in this excellent posting here: http://www.jonbirge.net/2008/02/why-linux-may-fail-on-the-desktop/comment-page-1/, the Linux operating system needs to standardise one one sound system, either Alsa or Pulseaudio, not have two on the same system that are sometimes competing with each other.

There are examples online of software like Skype that will not play sound, when other software such as Banshee and Totem will play sound just fine. There is a fix here: http://funwithlinux.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/fixing-skype-audio-problem-on-ubuntu-904/, but this should not happen in the first place, if Skype could automatically detect the sound system and save the settings in ~/.config/ but it takes some fiddling to get this right. the fix for the microphone problem here: http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=346401, this should help out those who are having problems with sound in this application. I am running Debian 6.0 after trying out Linux Mint 11, that is not as fast as the Debian distribution when using the Gnome 2.30.2 desktop in Debian stable. As long as I am not using the Debian Unstable branch, I will not have any problems.

This is my /etc/apt/sources.list. Debian Stable is the best.

root@Shothoth:/home/lovecraft# cat /etc/apt/sources.list
# 
deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.0 _Squeeze_ - Official amd64 DVD Binary-1 20110205-18:15]/ squeeze contrib main

# deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib
# deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib
# deb ://volatile.debian.org squeeze-updates main contrib
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
deb http://ftp.au.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
# deb-src ://volatile.debian.org squeeze-updates main contrib

Setting console fonts in Debian.

I have also set up my console font to be larger and easier to read.

root@Shothoth:/home/lovecraft# cat /etc/default/console-setup 
# Change to "yes" and setupcon will explain what is being doing
VERBOSE_OUTPUT="no"

# Setup these consoles.  Most people do not need to change this.
ACTIVE_CONSOLES="/dev/tty[1-6]"

# Put here your encoding.  Valid charmaps are: UTF-8 ARMSCII-8 CP1251
# CP1255 CP1256 GEORGIAN-ACADEMY GEORGIAN-PS IBM1133 ISIRI-3342
# ISO-8859-1 ISO-8859-2 ISO-8859-3 ISO-8859-4 ISO-8859-5 ISO-8859-6
# ISO-8859-7 ISO-8859-8 ISO-8859-9 ISO-8859-10 ISO-8859-11 ISO-8859-13
# ISO-8859-14 ISO-8859-15 ISO-8859-16 KOI8-R KOI8-U TIS-620 VISCII
CHARMAP="UTF-8"

# The codeset determines which symbols are supported by the font.
# Valid codesets are: Arabic Armenian CyrAsia CyrKoi CyrSlav Ethiopian
# Georgian Greek Hebrew Lao Lat15 Lat2 Lat38 Lat7 Thai Uni1 Uni2 Uni3
# Vietnamese.  Read README.fonts for explanation.
CODESET="Lat15"

# Valid font faces are: VGA (sizes 8, 14 and 16), Terminus (sizes
# 12x6, 14, 16, 20x10, 24x12, 28x14 and 32x16), TerminusBold (sizes
# 14, 16, 20x10, 24x12, 28x14 and 32x16), TerminusBoldVGA (sizes 14
# and 16) and Fixed (sizes 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18).  Only when
# CODESET=Ethiopian: Goha (sizes 12, 14 and 16) and 
# GohaClassic (sizes 12, 14 and 16).
# Set FONTFACE and FONTSIZE to empty strings if you want setupcon to
# set up the keyboard but to leave the console font unchanged.
FONTFACE="TerminusBold"
FONTSIZE="32x16"

# You can also directly specify nonstandard font or console map to load.
# Use space as separator if you want to load more than one font.
# You can use FONT_MAP in order to specify the Unicode map of the font
# in case the font doesn't have it embedded.

# FONT='lat9w-08.psf.gz /usr/local/share/braillefonts/brl-08.psf'
# FONT_MAP=/usr/share/consoletrans/lat9u.uni
# CONSOLE_MAP=/usr/local/share/consoletrans/my_special_encoding.acm

# You can also specify a screen size that setupcon will enforce.  This can not
# exceed what the current screen resolution can display according to the size of
# the loaded font.
#
# SCREEN_WIDTH=80
# SCREEN_HEIGHT=25

if [ -f /etc/default/keyboard ]; then
    . /etc/default/keyboard
fi

Just edit the /etc/default/console-setup file to match this example then install the kbd package thusly: apt-get install kbd to install the console-setup utilities. Then type /etc/init.d/console-setup restart on the text console as root to reload the new settings. The default font on my screen was way too small and this fixed this easily.