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Technology: Gnome 3.2

Just an update to my Gnome 3.0 criticism from a couple of months ago.

I've started using Gnome 3.2 on my main desktop 4 weeks ago, and while I came into it with prejudice and expected a rough ride, everything is surprisingly nice so far.

It's in fact the best (read: most usable, most intuitive) Linux desktop I've ever used for kernel development and maintenance work-flows. It gets out my way, tries to be there when I need it and takes usage ergonomy and UI consistency as seriously as Apple and Google does. Kudos.
John Stowers's profile photoAbin R's profile photoDirk Hohndel's profile photoSriram Ramkrishna (sri)'s profile photo
Could you give a few examples on how Gnome 3.2 improved things over 3.0 for you?
+Scott Tsai

Mostly it's the small details which show that they actually care: over Gnome 3.0 there's less pointless screen real-estate waste, the workspace switcher is better, and, which is rather important to me, it does not crash on every small problem like Gnome 3.0 did. Otherwise I don't think Gnome 3.2 did many major features (and that's good ...).

Note, in general I don't mind radical UI changes if I get the impression that I get something in exchange. Gnome 3.0, a notably unstable radical UI with more UI inconsistencies than Gnome2 looked like a disaster in the making.

I still had to do a bit of configuration of it for Gnome 3.2 to be comfy: extending the tab switching keys for more tabs in gnome-terminal, keyboard short-cuts for common app startups (I use like 5 terminals - all with 10 tabs) and various terminal related details.

I'm a pretty boring desktop user in general: I spend 99% of my time in front of a full screen gnome-terminal reading code or email that shows exact zero UI elements - not even a scrollbar. So in theory it should be totally trivial and easy to make me happy: yet the last 10 years of the Linux desktop has been a non-stop series of usability annoyances to me ;-)

(And that boring work-flow too is something which Gnome3.2 does a bit better than Gnome2: Gnome2 still had a thin line of wasted pixels in full screen terminals, most of the time.)
I totally agree. Out of every desktop environment I use (including Windows and Mac OS), I now find that Gnome 3.2 is the place I most want to be.

The only thing I find that it does that still goofs me up is the "such and such a window is ready" message that appears at the bottom in some situations when I open a new window. It seems to be some kind of aggressive focus-stealing prevention. About half the time, I'm glad the new window didn't interrupt me, and the other half, I wonder where my window is.
I like 3.2 much better than 3.0, and the extensions make it almost work as well as gnome2 did.

However, it still annoys me how gnome3 seems to be geared towards keyboard use. The dock extension makes mousing less annoying (at least you don't have to mouse to two different areas!) but it really looks like gnome3 is designed for people who use a keyboard. I use a keyboard to type, but I like mousing around for other things.

And the mousing really is broken. Yes, with the dock you can now mouse over to start a terminal etc, but if you already have a terminal, it still has the totally idiotic "just bring the existing one forward", and I haven't found a way to disable or configure that braindamage.

And the dock extension at seems to want gnome-3.3.1 or something, so I only have it on my Fedora machine. Maybe it works there, I don't know.

It's worth noting that for keybindings you can configure this. Which is just stupid. The gnome people know it's a required feature, but they've limited it to keyboard interaction. Why?

[ Edit: just noticed that the "Frippery Panel Favorites" extension seems to do this right, and doesn't replicate the idiocy of the favorites thing. I'm not really sure I want them in the panel, but together with auto-hide it's at least a working solution. ]

There are other real steps backwards too. Sound previews don't seem to work in nautilus-3.2. That feature was just deleted.

So 3.2 is a big step forward, especially thanks to the extensions (I love being able to finally hide that stupid top bar, yay!). But it's still not up to gnome2 in many respects, and some of them seem to be pure stupidity ("cannot do with mouse what we allow with keyboard").
+Linus Torvalds , if you hold control while clicking a dock icon, it'll open a new one. Or is that what you meant by "for keybindings you can configure this?" For mousing around only, is right-clicking to open a new one not enough?
I use the dock extension in gnome 3.2, but there was a package in Arch linux. and if you keep your left mouse button pressed there is the option to open a new window! So no need for favorites.
+Geoffrey Pursell: that is indeed what I mean by "f**&^ing idiots designed the interface".

What's so hard to understand about "I want a new instance"? There's nothing hard to understand about it, as exemplified by the fact that when you edit the keyboard shortcuts, "Launch Terminal" does the obviously correct thing. As exemplified that the "Frippery Panel Favorites" just always does the obviously correct thing.

The "bring random terminal to the foreground" is just crazy talk. There is no excuse. It's moronic. There's a very good (much better!) interface for getting the top terminal window: do the exposé thing and pick the window!

The people who argue that "in a web browser, you need to hold ctrl to get a new window" are just idiots. In a web browser, when you just press the regular left mouse button, YOU GET A NEW WEBSITE. You don't get the same old web-site brought to the fore, for chrissake.

So the analogy with a web browser is totally false and idiotic.

Arguing that "favourites" should bring the window to the foreground is moronic.

As to a right-click, I would expect a menu to edit settings or something. Like in a web browser. Or like in older versions of gnome. So the "just right-click" is also total bullshit.

Why do people make those total bullshit examples?
+Linus Torvalds Just use middle click, this will open a new terminal window instead of changing to the current active on (although in a new screen, maybe that should be changed). Alternatively use Ctrl+left mouse for opening a new window on the same screen

Edit: Sorry, second part was answered, while I was typing (way to slow obviously)
+Linus Torvalds Previews are taken care of by Sushi now. I think it's installed by default. Allows you to preview music by hitting space.
Christ people, stop making excuses. Why should I have to long-hold (and pick from a menu). Why should I have to middle-click? Try that on a no-button touch-pad, and tell me that's easy or intuitive. Why should I accept a clearly inferior interface that does stupid things?

Seriously? Stop with the stupid workarounds already. How hard is it to just admit that the Gnome3 behavior is stupid, and that even if you actually want that as some kind of default behavior, you'd at least want to be able to configure that default behavior.

Why cannot people accept that "stupid and cumbersome" is just that, and shouldn't be something that is forced on people?

+Andreas Nilsson: yet another "workaround for stupid behavior".

Why the hell do people think that workarounds are acceptable? What's wrong with just allowing people to configure things so that they work right.

I don't have to press space to see a preview of a picture. Hovering on the filemanager was a perfect use of mouse. Pressing space is a big step backwards.

Why are you making excuses?

Just admit to bugs and backwards behavior. Stop making excuses for it.
+Linus Torvalds I don't know. I was really freaked out by the old hover-to-play behavior the first couple of times I ran into it (by accident) and I always found it's behavior a bit odd in general. I'm not making excuses, but I just really never enjoyed the old way. I kind of like the new one.
Analogies aside, I depend on the "show me my existing terminal window" behavior of a dock icon click all the time to quickly bring me directly to whichever desktop I left my terminal(s) on, so it's not without its uses. It's really natural if you're already used to Mac OS X dock behavior.

It makes more sense if you stop thinking of a dock icon as a "favorites" kind of thing and start considering it a multi-functional proxy for its app, which is one of the main ideas behind docks. Looking at it that way, the flaw in gnome-shell's dock is that it doesn't expose enough app functionality through the dock icon.

Control (or whatever)-clicking something is a time-honored way of invoking an alternate behavior that's been around for a long time, and a right-click to me means something pretty broad: "show me things I can do with this besides just what it does when I click it."
+Andreas Nilsson: I think the real issue is that "tastes differ". And a UI person who cannot admit to that should not be a UI person. People are different.

So I can well understand that you think pressing space is actually nice. It's a preference. It just sure as hell isn't mine.

This is why you need preferences. And they should not be hidden away as some dangerous rabid animal. Preferences are natural things. Some people are left-handed, some people aren't able to use mice at all, some people have small keyboards on their mice and think it's really cool to mix keyboards and mice actions.

On most modern laptops, keyboard+mouse combinations is an awful idea. Seriously. Try using a touchpad with a keyboard combination, anybody who thinks that's a good idea is just in denial. Similarly, the "long-click" thing does not work when you have things like "tap-to-click".

So I repeat: designing basic UI without taking preferences into account, and making it a central part of the UI is wrong. We are different, the devices we use are different, trying to say "this is the right thing to do" is moronic.

And yet it's constantly brought up as the argument for bad gnome3 behavior. "You'll get used to it".
+Geoffrey Pursell: please, just stop making excuses. Really.

The fact that you like it and it works for you isn't an argument for anybody else. Stop doing it.

It doesn't work for me. It doesn't work with the devices I have.

I'm flexible. I actually tend to have different shortcuts on different machines. On some machines I have a very good mouse with a real middle button, and I actually use it. And on laptops, I usually don't, so I use something else.

Thinking that there is "one right way" is wrong. And if you make that argument one more time, I'll just scream and curse at you for being stupid.

How hard is it to understand, really? No, existing gnome3 behavior really isn't good for everything. No, "workarounds" are not fixes. Stop making idiotic arguments.
Thanks for the info about ctrl+clicking! Hadn't tried that before, and I've been using Gnome 3 for like six months now. Which (even though it's good info) kinda proves +Linus Torvalds point that the defaults are moronic and completely unintuitive, without any obvious ways to change most of them.
+Linus Torvalds you can just edit the extension and tell it that it works with whatever version that you have... on the MBA put

"shell-version": [ "3.2.1" ],
into the metadata.json file and it will work.
+Linus Torvalds Well I agree with you that in gnome 3 there too much hidden and without extensions there would be a huge problem as was the case with gnome 3.0 release. (I just test it in my laptop the tap-to-click thing and came naturally do double tap as I do when I want to drag things and it worked). Gnome 3 has some good ideas but at the same time these are hidden and you must either write code to change their default behavior or dive into dconf-editor, which is unituitive and frustrating. Hopefully, at some point in the (near?) future things will be exposed to the users to configure. One more thing there should be a video explaining all the features/differences/default behaviors bundled with each distro (i.e. how should I know that by pressing alt presents a shutdown option)...
I don't think the configuring part is the primary solution to solve the g3 (and any other desktop environment) UX. If enough people complain about a feature or "the way it's done" - the developers/designer shall really carefully look at the current state and criticise on:

1) is it obvisious (and if yes think twice)
2) is it max(easy to use by single button mouse)
3) is it max(fast to use by single button mouse).

If all that is given then the configuration is the way to go. To be realistic configuration and key bindings could be done at any time but most criticised features I've seen don't address point 1), 2) and 3) so I don't think the configuration will address the root problem for a particular feature.

Configuration also is just for a very small audience the average user just don't fücking care if the interface sucks the user will not use it.
Gnome 3.2 is indeed almost bearable. I won't say it's the most comfortable DE, but it has gotten a lot better. It has certainly a lot less brain dead stupid things compared to Unity. For example how some software won't integrate with the global menu bar, and then you see a full screen app behind a non-fullscreen window of another (active) app and it looks like the menu of the full screen app is the menu of the active app, while that menu is actually hidden until you move your mouse to the top bar. That's just hideous. In Gnome 3 there are a lot less of those irritations. But there still are enough. Pretty bad is for example how you can click an unmounted volume in Nautilus' side bar to mount it. It opens in that Nautilus window but also a notification pops up offering to open the newly mounted volume in Nautilus. That just makes the computer look stupid, but at least one knows what is going on. What should really be fixed, though, is how the immediate reaction to starting an application from the dock is to zoom you back into your previous activity... it should just stay in the expose thingy, display a progress and wait for you to get impatient.
+Evangelos Vazaios: yeah, you're right. I just tested it - I can actually do the "long hold" on my tap-to-click too using that "tap-twice-and-hold" model. It's still not what I'd call "useful" as a workaround.

In contrast, the "favorites in top panel" extension works pretty well on that machine, and is a lot more intuitive. I think I'd prefer it at the bottom, but I can certainly live with it at the top.

In general, really has made a big difference as far as I'm concerned: it not only makes the extensions available, it makes them easy to find and at the same time makes for a fairly good user interface (ie it does away with the "gnome-tweak-tool" thing and separate "find and download").
+Linus Torvalds You just declared that the behavior of the dock icon was utterly without justification and is objectively stupid, and then immediately wrote nicely about how everyone's preferred UI behavior is totally subjective.

My main objection was to that first point, which is false because the second point is true, and gave a real-world example. Never did I say that there's only one way to do it.

I did say that if you're going to have a dock, it should start with the behavior of all other docks, which are not favorites bars. It sounds like you just want a favorites bar instead, which is fine. But they're different tools. I don't want to be able to configure my hammer to act sort of like a screwdriver, I'd rather just pick up a screwdriver if I want one.
Thanks for posting that link, wasn't aware of that. Immediately makes Gnome Shell more useful, like that Overlay icon extension. But is there really no extension to put a "Restart" option directly into the system menu?!
+Linus Torvalds While I use the favorites extension too, the middle-click for new instance thing is not completely without precedent - It is the same behavior as web browsers, so I have no trouble with it.

That being said, there were various discussions earlier on about special casing terminal launching / handling. I don't have a link to the bug, nor do I remember the resolution. Anyone?
Who would have thought that pressing space bar to preview things was such a difficult or back-asswards thing to do? For me, it seems like pressing the biggest button on your keyboard is a pretty quick and easy thing to do, whereas waiting for mouse-over windows is kind of annoying.
I use a pen tablet to interface with my PC most frequently, though, and mouse-overs actually require intense precision. You have to hover the pen close enough to the tablet to register location data, but not touch it, because that clicks, while keeping your hand perfectly still because the mouse-over timer resets when the pointer moves... It's almost a hand-ninja maneuver.
I know that most people don't use tablets, though - so I won't make any broad sweeping statements about what's right and wrong.

As far as the dock is concerned, I tend to agree with +Geoffrey Pursell. It's not a "favorites bar," and it's very rare that I need more than one instance of an application running at a time. So the "obviously correct" thing that +Linus Torvalds cites (that left click should open a new instance of the program if the program is presently running), is actually the thing I want to have happen 5% of the time..

I think that +Linus Torvalds is little too confident about what he thinks most people want to do with their computers, and seems to be the one "making excuses" here. My advice: get a favorites bar and install some extensions. After all, what makes Gnome2 so good is the fun of spending two hours customizing it before you do anything else, right?

Gnome3 is the first OS UI (since I started playing with UI preferences) that I haven't had to tweak a million ways to get it to work the way I want.
For the most part I agree with +Linus Torvalds - And thank you +Dirk Hohndel, the dash click fix does away with that really annoying bit of behaviour! However, I cannot count the times when I have accidentally left my mouse pointer on an mp3, and it has started playing WAY TOO LOUD music (or other random sounds) over the speakers.

Thing is, at any given time I have roughly three volume controls: The app, the main volume and my stereo. Adjusting the stereo requires me to pick up the remote, and press a button for a while, so it's sufficiently loud so that I can adjust it from my computer. Usually I end up turning down the program I'm running. So when Nautilus suddenly starts playing music at "just a bit too loud" I almost fall off my chair. This is not at all a behaviour I'm comfortable with, and I'm happy that it has been removed.
If you've got to press the keyboard/mouse for preview, why not just.. you know.. press to play the file right away?
+Anders Eknert Well, for some reason my default sound player at the moment is Banshee... It takes a while to start up, and maybe I just want to hear what it is, without all the bells and whistles (unless it's that kind of a sound file).
+John Stowers: why the hell do people like you bring up the web browser as an example of the gnome3 behavior, when that is clearly not true.

Sorry for shouting, but web browsers do not actually have the behavior your attribute to them. Web browsers actually have the behavior I am asking for. So anybody who brings up the web browser as an argument for the gnome3 stupidities doesn't know what the hell they are talking about.

What am I asking for? I'm asking for a simple thing: making it configurable on a button-per-button basis whether the favorites thing brings up a new window or not.

Guess what - that is exactly what web browsers do. It's configurable on a per-link basis: have you never used a browser? For example, try it right here on Google+: when you follow a link, it will open a new tab. It will not re-use the old one.

Try it right here:

and see.

Notice? Web browsers follow certain rules. Sometimes it makes sense to open a new tab or window, sometimes you just want to follow the link in the same tab/window. You can set it per link, and then in addition you can force a new tab with middle-button or control button.

So stop with the "it works like we are used to in a web browser", because it really doesn't do that at all. I'm asking for it to work that way. I'm the "web designer" for my own desktop. I set the background, I set the favorites, I should damn well be allowed to set the "link behavior" too.

Every single argument I have ever heard for the hard-coded gnome3 behavior has been pure and utter sh*t. They have been actively wrong. It's like I'm arguing with some crazy fundamentalist christian, who simply makes up their own "facts" to explain their fundamentally incorrect beliefs.
+Linus Torvalds - What are all of these applications you're running multiple instances of more often than you're switching to and from them?
More importantly, why is this even a point of contention now that there's an extension to make the Gnome3 dock work the way you want? It seems like a grand waste of time to rant for paragraphs about a behavior which can be altered to fit your preference with two clicks.

Gnome3 plainly sucks because of this one thing that you have to manually change? And it also plainly sucks because you can't manually change things? Your points are negating each other and flopping around wildly. It's dizzying to try to understand why you're so angry about these things, and why you think Gnome3 is so terrible when your excuses come down to having to press this one button instead of this other one.
Your fundamental point seems to be that you can't customize Gnome3 enough. Okay, fine- It doesn't have a compiz panel. But, now there's a slew of extensions that will be growing day by day to do exactly what you want. So what's the problem, and who's the crazy fundamentalist?
+Samuel Petersen: the ranting is because (a) that extension is still hard to find and not at all obvious and (b) I'm finding that people still make excuses for crap. That really irritates me.

Nobody in the gnome3 camp seems to be willing to ever admit they were wrong, instead this whole thread has been full of people who have apparently made it their lives work to make excuses and workarounds, and the usual lies about "but but browsers" that they are parroting from the gnome3 camp.
+Linus Torvalds There are a lot of irritating excuses flying around this thread, on both sides. When has altering an OS UI preference to fit a very specific need been "obvious?" And don't try to tell me that the Compiz panel was easy to figure out when you were looking for something specific you hadn't already changed eight times before.

I hope we can all agree that installing and activating OS UI extensions from a web page is totally badass:
+Samuel Petersen: So I've already said in many places that is that makes gnome3 worthwhile. I agree 100% with that.

And no, compiz wasn't a pleasure to configure either. But at least there wasn't this institutionalized mind-set of "you'll like what we give you, and no other way is good" that gnome3 has had.

Even now, if you actually go to the extension that finally does the "sane behavior for getting new applications", you'll find people who downvote it because they claim the traditional gnome3 way is what you should do.


Btw, I also want the extension to add a "lock button" to the panel.

Sure, I can click my name and find it in the menu, but why should I? No, I don't need googly eyes in the panel etc, but it's another example of gnome3 actually removing features that made things easier to use.

I'm sure it's coming now that the extension floodgates have opened, but I'm also certain that somebody will tell me that it's supposed to be hard to use.
+Linus Torvalds Are you really making the claim that the Gnome devs are institutionalizing the mindset of "you'll like what we give you," in the very next paragraph after you posted the link to
Sounds like you're more angry about "fanboyism" than Gnome3 itself. I can get behind that. Fanboys ruined The Phantom Menace before I ever even saw the damn movie - and, to this day, I can't bring myself to watch it for the first time.
+Linus Torvalds good grief, man. You're entire preferences items have been addressed at You've managed to fix most of the things that annoyed you about GNOME 3 by going to a website and flipping a couple of buttons. How many desktops allow you to do that? Extensions can change the behaviour of the desktop from small to radical once more parts of the underlying GObject libraries are exposed in gnome-shell/js. Likely, you'll not have to mess around in DConf or gnome-tweak-tool when an extension can be written that would just turn that on for you as time goes on. You're rant addresses issues that are only transitory on an evolving development cycle.

At the moment, GNOME 3 doesn't deal with terminals very well because they aren't a "task". The dash behaviour is setup to switch from one task to another. Like you, I work mostly in terminals so it throws me off, but we are trying to address that. As +John Stowers mentioned there are on-going discussions on how to deal with terminals more intelligently. Currently, I just revert my alt-tab to the old behaviour.

Personally, I'm pleasantly surprised by the extensions I've seen. I was afraid that we were going to see 1 interesting extension and 10 gnome 2 like docks and that's it. MPRIS extensions are quite neat IMHO and better than what comes with GNOME 3.

+Ingo Molnar Thank you for the kind words. You were most gracious in your comments.
And, what's this talk about "sane behavior for getting new applications?" Like typing in a search bar and clicking an install button is hard to understand, as opposed to perfectly typing out tens of specific characters, including slashes and dashes, in a terminal window? Or going to Synaptic, which is effectively the same as Software Center, but more square and spreadsheet-y?
Seriously, almost nothing is as inane as anti-Gnome3 people complaining about the UI being too polished or pretty. Heaven forbid a developer makes their product nice to look at and easy to use. I swear, these are the same people who decried antialiased type when it came around. 'It's hard to read with all those extra grey pixels all over the place!'
I'm sure someone will be able to quickly provide a lock button extension. What else is missing?
My multi-screen messaging area issue magically got fixed over the past few weeks (awesome), the screen lock issue seems to be an OpenSUSE thing (and no one there appears to be able to recreate it).
At this point I think (after adding a few extensions) I have no major complaint left. And I would like to restate a couple of things that +Linus Torvalds said (since I see them somewhat differently):
a) SOME gnome3 people rather yell and pontificate at users than help fix their problems. But over the last few months I have met an amazing number of people who helped me solve MY problems with using Gnome3 and I am extremely glad and grateful about that. Just like +Ingo Molnar I am basically happy with what I have
b) Not having preferences for many of the annoying changes in Gnome3 behavior (compared to Gnome2) really really sucked. The fact that apparently every single one of them can be fixed with an extension (just a couple of extensions haven't been written yet - but I'm sure if we explain clearly what we want, they WILL be written in no time) is awesome. And doing this with a website instead of a distribution specific settings menu is perfectly fine with me. I wish this wasn't broken with my preferred browser (chrome) but I can easily use Firefox, so no big deal.
Overall: very well done, Gnome community. And thank you to all of the people who have helped me over the last few months to get to an awesome desktop.
+Dirk Hohndel: right now the only two things really missing from my personal gnome2 setup (apart from wobbly windows, which I dearly love, but are purely just eye candy) are:
- lock screen button
- "crazy characters" widget
in my panel bar.

And quite frankly, I can live without the crazy characters and use the "Gnome Character Map" application, it's seldom enough that I need to type some character that I just can't find on my keyboard (things like the degree sign: U+00B0, aka '°' - I can actually get it with shift-alt-0 on the USA-international-altgr-dead-keys layout, but I can never remember that)

What gnome2 had was those many common widgets to add to the panel. And most people probably want just one or two of them (if that), and many of them are admittedly totally pointless eyecandy (googly eyes), but /some/ of them are useful for /some/ people, and gnome 3 initially turned that into "/none/ of them are useful for /anybody/".
+Linus Torvalds Someone will probably find a way to do wobbly windows.. and likely character map too. Some parts of the window manager is open to extensions. For instance, someone wrote some rudimentary tiling features as an extension.

+Dirk Hohndel you have no cause for complaints, mister! Did not someone actually write a gtk widget for you? :-)
+Linus Torvalds I agree that having a preview only accessible by keyboard is a bad idea just as the old preview UI was only accessible by mouse [1]. I think it's a bug and hopefully we can figure something better out for a future release.

1. (and also the only item on the desktop that triggered an action upon hover I think, not sure)
+Sriram Ramkrishna: the "lock screen" thing is actually important.

I think security is really important, but real security (as opposed to what some people do) is about making it easy and natural to do things that are good security, not about making people type passwords etc.

And having to mouse over to the corner, pick out one choice out of ten, is not something you do when you're in a hurry to leave the machine. I have literally found myself leaving my laptop unlocked because it's just not worth the bother.

Ok, so I only get that lazy at home (at least so far), and I'm arguably anal for trying to make it a habit to always lock the screen when I leave the room. But I really do think it's a good habit to be in, and right now gnome3 actually makes it harder to get into that habit.

So I actually do want my "lock button" back. Because I don't have an IR sensor to do it automatically for me (think no-touch urinal). And those kinds of small differences in "just click" vs "go to a menu and pick out an entry" are fairly big differences in the end.
+Andreas Nilsson: I agree that the "sound preview on hover" was special and odd, and the first time it happened to me it freaked me the hell out and it literally took a while for me to realize what was going on.

But it was the good kind of freak-out. It was the kind that afterwards you say "that's really cool", and actually start using it just because it's cool.

And if I recall correctly, the KDE file manager used to do something similar even for things that get a visual preview - it would show a "big preview" if you hover over them. Which is actually great for photos. You usually don't want the icon size to be all that big, so giving a better preview when you hover over something is really nice.

So it's not like it's only applicable to sound and somehow a special case. It's reasonably natural in general as a "improved preview" feature. And it really is very intuitive once you get over the initial surprise.
+Linus Torvalds I usually use the alt-ctl-l combination to lock my terminal. 90% of the time my hands are on the home keys when I'm about to get up so it's fairly painless in my instance. I can't imagine it would be hard to write something to put an icon on the top bar for locking a terminal. Like you, I miss the lock button, but for me the alt-ctl-l combo works and generally faster.

The reasoning behind the whole hot corner thing is that in the average case it's easier to hit your mouse towards a general corner of the screen than to move your mouse to a particular location on the screen (eg start button, or gnome button etc) It was a concept I grasped really easily because I just flick my wrist to the left and get to overview. After a week or so, I always had one hand on the left home keys when mousing to the overview in order to hit control for a new terminal or new browser window. In general, menus suck UI-wise.
+Sriram Ramkrishna: I have definitely noticed that gnome3 is very keyboard-friendly.

It's just that I am not. I dislike magic key sequences. I do them for basic editing of text (when I'm typing anyway and my fingers are already on the keyboard it's much more efficient), but I don't do them at all for other things. I don't do ctrl-alt-t for a terminal, I don't do alt-tab for switching windows etc etc.

And I don't think the window manager should force me to.

In particular, when I'm about to leave the computer, I'm not "in the middle of typing" - pretty much by definition. So that's a situation where a keyboard shortcut is not all that natural at all to me.

As to mousing: I do agree about flicking towards a corner, and it's wonderful for things like exposé etc. Flick to a corner and then aim for something fairly big, like the exposed window you now want to click.

But I think that is a totally bogus argument for something where you then have to aim for something small afterwards, especially if that small thing then just showed up. At that point, it's would have just been much easier to aim for the small thing to begin with, instead of claiming that it makes sense to do the 'flick to corner" part first!

So I think that it would make tons of sense to do (for example) window movement by "flick-to-corner-to-exposé-windows" followed by "drag-exposed-window-to-new-place". At that point, you actually have entirely avoided the problem of hitting a small title bar - and have replaced it with hitting a much bigger target - the whole (albeit smaller) window.

But that's not what gnome does (not in compiz and not in gnome3).

Instead, gnome3 does the combination of both flicking to a corner and then hitting a small new target (one menu item among many). That's not an improvement at all over hitting a target that you saw all the time. It's harder.

So while I agree with the concept in some cases, I do not think it is at all true for the particular case of "lock screen".
+Sriram Ramkrishna as I'm saying. I'm not complaining. I'm really happy and I'm trying to express that here. Especially with the amazing help that I've gotten from a bunch of Gnome people, certainly including you. And yes, +Mathias Hasselmann wrote a widget for subsurface. Haven't managed to integrate it, yet, but I will!
Now how much bounty do we need to get someone to write a lock screen extension for +Linus Torvalds and me?
Maybe as reward he has to do a post where he praises Gnome3 and isn't allow to insult anyone... but that might be too hard.
/me ducks and runs...
+Linus Torvalds OK, I'm a bit confused. This paragraph:
"So I think that it would make tons of sense to do (for example) window movement by "flick-to-corner-to-exposé-windows" followed by "drag-exposed-window-to-new-place". At that point, you actually have entirely avoided the problem of hitting a small title bar - and have replaced it with hitting a much bigger target - the whole (albeit smaller) window."

is what the behavior is today with overview. You can hit the overview with a flick, and you have an expose of your windows which you can drag to whatever workspace you have. The dash (or dock) has a fairly large set of app icons that you can drag n drop your app to any workspace you want as well. The apps aren't so small that you can't find them. They are fairly large on my desktop with no options set.

In any case, it is likely someone is going to be able to write an extension to add a lock button on top. I can't imagine that would be that hard.
+Dirk Hohndel I know you're not, I was making an attempt at humor. :)

I'm sure it's possible, +Seif Lotfy wrote an extension for me to add the last two applications I ran on the dash and all I did was ask!
+Sriram Ramkrishna : I'm not talking about moving a window from one workspace to another: I'm talking about just moving it within the one workspace. Traditionally you do that by just dragging the window by the title bar, but that title bar is actually fairly small, especially on things like chrome that paints its own and uses most of the space for tabs.

So that is something where it could make sense to do this by going to the overview and picking up the window there. The overview already supports the move-between-workspaces thing and closing the window.

And that's an example where a new way of doing things would actually avoid the "hit a small target" thing and possibly be more efficient as a result.

But the current location of the "lock button" is not an example of that kind of "avoid precise positioning". What gnome does now - having the desktop locking behind that user menu in the top right corner - is simply just worse than having a button on the panel.
Lots of traditional window managers also provide the <alt>-left mouse button window moving anywhere in the window, no need to aim for a small titlebar. The same goes for <alt>-right mouse button which resizes the window (corner wise). It's a hidden feature but i haven't seen anything that beats it in the last years.
+Linus Torvalds If you know the ascii/unicode codepoint you can actually enter that character in any Gtk+ entry, just hold down ctrl and shift, then u and then the hex code. When you release ctrl-shift the character will be entered.
+Manuel Pietschmann that's exactly how I always move windows. One of the nice things in Gnome3 is that it even supports the "full screen to window conversion" if you do that - so in a full screen window, if you hold alt and then drag it converts the window to a regular window and you move that. And if you touch an edge it does the magic full size / half size thing. Very well done.
+Alexander Larsson awesome. You just solved one more of the problems for. Too bad that some of these solutions are so hard to find (you have to rant on G+ and answer number 49 contains the magic piece of advice - I think there's half a dozen really neat features in Gnome3 that I have not found in the docs (not saying they aren't in the docs, just that I never found them), yet helpful people like you share them here on G+. Now admittedly, this isn't quite as nice as the "crazy characters" thing that we had in Gnome2 (because I still need to actually know the hex code instead of just clicking on the character that I want), but we're getting closer.
BTW, here's an example of a feature in Gnome3 that I initially HATED and that I now see why the designers forced me to overcome my hate. Taking the applications menu away and replacing it with Expose. Yes, I still hate moving my mouse up to the corner and then trying to find an app there... But hitting Option (or the Windows key if you aren't on a Mac) and typing the first couple of letters to get to the app that I want is so much better than the applications menu. I know, there's now an applications menu extension for those who prefer the old ways - but contrary to +Linus Torvalds I am much more more of a keyboard person so for me this is brilliant...
+Alexander Larsson: If I can't remember that the degree symbol is "ctrl-alt-0", why do you think I can remember that it is U-00b0?

I need an app to look them up. And by the time it looks them up, it had better just allow me to cut-and-paste it, since I don't actually care about the code, I just want to use it.

The keyboard shortcuts I remember are the common characters (which for me are å, ä, ö for Swedish and then é that is reasonably common in English and is just mapped to AltGr+e, so it makes sense). Anything else I need help with, thank you very much.

Maybe you're proud over remembering unicode codepoints. Me, I consider myself a "big picture" kind of guy. Not quite "marketing" level big picture, perhaps, but still way beyond having to bother with unicode numbers.

So that "ctrl-shift-u" shorthand is pointless to me. If you use it, more power to you, but I think you're "special".
Come on, +Linus Torvalds, you want to be "special", too. And you are. After all, you know that ° is U-00b0
+Dirk Hohndel: I did actually look it up with the Gnome Character Map app (which is quite horrible for what I tend to want, but whatever).

Of course, for a few weeks now after this thread I can be the life of a party by showing my amazing trick ("Hey, babe, do you know what the Unicode code for the degree sign is? No? Where are you going?").

After that I will have forgotten again.
Ok, back to plan A - find volunteers who'd like to write a nice character map shell extension and a lock screen shell extension...
+Linus Torvalds I don't use the unicode input method. I have a proper keyboard with the keycaps god intended (i.e. åäö). I agree that its kinda nerdy and not generally useful. Its there though for when you need to enter weird things (its been around forever).
+Alexander Larsson but what do you do if you want to write a German address (with ß and Ü) or if you need to write a Ð or a ¥ or a ξ?
Easy with a character map (which is where the last three came from). Requires a pretty big keyboard if you want to have all of them on physical keys...
+Linus Torvalds Well the middle (and ctrl) click behavior fits my mental model, even if it doesn't fit yours. Such is life.

File a bug with g-s if you like, if it gets changed / made configurable then I will add support to gnome-tweak-tool.
Abin R
its gr8 to hear gnome 3.2 is doing well...
So.. I think someone or maybe two someones owe me a beer. I am conveniently located 3 miles from where +Dirk Hohndel works. :)

As I said I thought adding the lock icon would be pretty easy extension and it turns out it is. Although it took me a bit of time because I don't know javascript and it's a little hard to know some of the syntax without digging into the code, doing web searches, and asking +Jasper St. Pierre 1/2 isn't bad. A good first time extension project. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write it.

It's been uploaded to, and hopefully it willl be approved quickly.
Finally (after some reinstall nightmare) I'm using that. Thanks for providing this great extension.
BTW: I agree with the one commenter on the extension website. The high contrast icon might fit in better with the overall style of the other icons. But for me this makes no difference, of course.
I owe you beer!
Cool.. glad it works for you, and definitely will be taking you up on that beer!
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