Shared publicly  - 
 
With my new laptop, I've installed Debian Testing on it, and so I finally had a chance to experience GNOME 3.4 personally.  Wow, it really is as unusable as everyone has said; painfully so.   So, next stop: xfce, as I had planned.  Which means I ran into more problems.

1) wicd, the wireless manager which xfce recommends, doesn't deal well with environments with many, many access points with the same network name.    So I tried installing network-manager, and discovered that on with GNOME, it doesn't ask for passwords before switching wireless networks.  With XFCE, it does.  Apparently XFCE isn't doing whatever magic dance required so that PolicyKit knows I'm sitting in front of the keyboard.  (This is the problem that +Linus Torvalds ran into.)   I did eventually figure out that the fix was to use a larger harmer, and install in /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/tytso.conf

[Configuration]
AdminIdentities=unix-user:tytso

Maybe the magic dance to tell polkit who is logged in the console is documented somewhere, but I couldn't find it, and I found the big hammer approach first.

2)  Finding a decent terminal window emulator which is easily configurable, supports tabs, and which handles the vt100 graphics characters used by mutt to show mail threading, is apparently not easy.  The xfce default terminal doesn't do it.  Neither does mrxvt, although it gets almost everything else right.   I tried using gnome-terminal (and bloated my installation by a factor of 2 with all of the useless gnome crap it dragged in), and discovered that with GNOME 3.4, the active tab is nearly impossible to discern.   Worse, there doesn't seem to be any way to tell that you want some different theme that default horribleness with a two pixel indicator which is using a grey which is perhaps 10% different from the surrounding grey.   If you use a GNOME 3.4 login session, it looks very different, and it's in fact usable.  But even with the GNOME 3.4 session crap installed, if you then try to login using XFCE, it switches back to its horrible defaults.   Apparently it's sending some magic DBUS, or it's exchanging some mysterious undocumented XML crap, to some other GNOME 3.4 process which is absolutely necessary if you want gnome-terminal to have usable tabs.   Which is a shame, because otherwise gnome-terminal has pretty much the features I want.  Anybody want to suggest a different terminal emulator for me to try?  My needs are simple (tabs and vt100 graphics characters), but alas, I'm not the simpleton user that Gnome wants to serve.

EDIT: To all those who say give GNOME 3 a chance:  Having a 3x3 workspace with the ability to easily move between them, and a easy way to move windows between them, is an absolute requirement for me.  My understanding is GNOME 3 makes this impossible.  (Note: jumping through flaming hoops using badly documented config files or hard to find extensions which magically blow up between version upgrades is also not acceptable.)
57
8
Martin Zobel-Helas's profile photoJonathan Crowe's profile photoCarlos Lopez's profile photoJonathan McCrohan's profile photo
162 comments
 
really ? unstable, I've been using gnome 3.4 for weeks now without one crash

and just use the advance installer and install alternate desktop xfce 
Translate
 
+Theodore Ts'o have you tried Terminator? I also made the GNOME=>XFCE switch recently - very happy with it once I got it set up the way I like.
 
+Bertrand Croq Using Ubuntu means having to deal with Upstart, and that's more undocumented, magic files that are impossible to debug.  No thanks.
 
+Dick Thomas +Michael Tiemann I found it both unusable and unstable. I made it usable with extensions, but it was still unstable (random lockups), so I switched to XFCE ;-)
 
+Jayson Rowe I had lots of random lockups which strongly correlated with my playing with Gnome 3.4 software components, but I wasn't sure if that was due to the fact I was using a new Ivy Bridge hardware with Debian's older 3.2 kernel, and I hadn't yet installed a newer kernel yet.   I've since installed a newer kernel, and it seems like the only sane thing to do is to run far, far away from GNOME, so I may never know for sure.  :-)
 
+Theodore Ts'o isn't there any package on Debian that gives you a "gnome classic" session as there is on Ubuntu? That gives you a gnome env really close in behaviour to the one there was on Ubuntu in the pre-gnome3 era.
 
Each to their own. Personally I find Gnome Shell nice to work with. I don't use all of the Gnome Tools though - urvt-unicode is my terminal emulator of choice. I did give #ubunut's Unity a go but personally I prefer Gnome.

+Theodore Ts'o btw I find upstart is fairly well documented: http://upstart.ubuntu.com/cookbook/
 
I found it usable if I decided I didn't mind changing the workflow I've been accustomed to for years(!) to suit GNOME 3.  This is not really a feature I look for in a desktop environment.  Still, I managed to become pretty happy with it on my laptop after a forced week in January.  Still haven't quite been able to bring myself to switch my desktop :-/
 
I would say terminator for a good terminal emulator.
And if xfce gets on your nerves, you might want to try an openbox + tint2 desktop. Crunchbang is a nice distro doing just that, based on debian (there is a wheezy based build).
 
To all those who say give GNOME 3 a chance:  Having a 3x3 workspace with the ability to easily move between them, and a easy way to move windows between them, is an absolute requirement for me.  My understanding is GNOME 3 makes this impossible.  (Note: jumping through flaming hoops using badly documented config files or hard to find extensions which magically blow up between version upgrades is also not acceptable.)
 
+Theodore Ts'o Gnome 3.x can be customised easily if you know where and how. In case you are interested: Please see the similar thread +Linus Torvalds started not too long ago. Link:

https://plus.google.com/102150693225130002912/posts/UkoAaLDpF4i

To save you any hassles, I am copying and pasting my own posting from there:

... What I did is to get dconf-editor (I use Ubuntu 12.04; so this is in package dconf-tools ... Chances are the package name is something similar on Fedora?) and then do the following changes to Gnome 3:

org > gnome > shell > overrides

And in there I disabled / changed:

button-layout:    :minimize,maximize,close
dynamic-workspaces:    (deactivated)
edge-tiling:   (deactivated)
workspace-only-on-primary:   (deactivated)

Result:

It doesn't create new workspaces at random any more.

And then I got myself cairo-dock and there I told the switcher applet how many static workspaces I want. Worked for me.

For font sizes:  You need to get gnome-tweak-tool ... Nope, it's not there by default. You need to get it from your distro's repos or find it on the Internet.

It does have a setting where it can tweak the fonts and make them smaller. Also the Text scaling factor setting may help there.

As for extensions:  I'd recommend these:

- Alternative Status Menu: gives you a "Shutdown" command in the status menu without having to press any extra keys

- Apps Menu:  Gives you a Gnome 2.x style application menu in the upper left corner, just where it used to be for Gnome 2.x

- Drive Menu:  Let's you unmount/eject stuff via an "Eject" icon in the upper panel

- Windows Navigator: Let's you use the keyboard when Alt-Tabbing between windows ... I find this useful.

- Workspace Navigator:  Let's you use the cursor keys in the Activities overview; this way you're waaaaay faster and switching between desktops is much less of a hassle. I personally find this useful and fail to see why it's not there by default ... Oh well.


Sorry if I forgot anything. Hope this helped ... ?

EDIT:

Sorry for necroposting, but I thought this might interest you ...

Forget the "Application Menu" extension I mentioned above. Just delete it. There's a far better looking alternative:

"Axe Menu" ... available here:
https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/327/axe-menu/

It just looks very nice (reminds me of how SUSE's menu used to look ...) and behaves in a sane way. The "Activities" menu point gets moved to the right (looks like the Mac OS X icon for the 'Command' key ...).

I thought you might be interested. Gnome 3.x looks waaaay better with this.

Screenshot from my own desktop:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1614648/tmp/Gnome3_Axe-Menu_Screenshot.jpg


I hope this helped ... ?
 
i like the fact that gnome-shell is so clean by default. it works very well on a tablet. then i add extensions that fit the unit i am working on. for a workstation i want quite a few of them, all available from the gnome shell extension page, and none have blown up so far.
 
There is certainly a bit of cognitive dissonance associated with switching. You can't just migrate your old workflow onto Gnome and expect to be happy.  For example I used to have a workspace set up much like +Theodore Ts'o describes with certain workspaces for certain things (mail, main browser, project x, project y etc). My new layout is nothing like that. I now have a fixed browser/editor on my main monitor and all my project stuff on the auto-created workspaces on the right monitor.

One thing that would be nice is an easy way to jump to a given project (via regex title bar match or something) workspace. But generally I don't have that many open for it to be an issue. There may even be an extension for that already. I do use a "numbered window" extension so I can quickly switch to windows from the overview.

Personally the big winner for me is <super>-[3 letters...]<return> to launch an app. So quick :-)
 
+Theodore Ts'o for moving windows it's just click and drag from the overview. Am I missing something?
 
+birger monsen I plan to use Debian Testing, which means I do plan to be updating software fairly regularly.  Everything I've read about extensions.gnome.org is that it blows up very easily because a lot of the interfaces used by the extensions are unstable, and change all the time.   So depending on that working reliably going forward, even if it works today, seems..... unwise.  I really don't want to have to randomly spends a few hours get myself back to a usable state --- and GNOME developers have already demonstrated they don't believe in stable interfaces and backwards compatibility.
 
+Alex Bennée I want to be able to hit control-shift-down, and move the current window down one workspace.  Mousing over to the tiny overview, and trying to grab a tiny window and move it a dozen pixels down is not "easy" in my book; it's certainly not convenient.
 
i have been using it since fedora 16, and now on fedora 17. Fedora is bleeding edge with frequent updates, and it has worked well for me.
 
of course after saying this i will expect things to blow up tomorrow!
 
Try LXDE. I switched to it after random screen freezes using Gnome. LXDE is really lightweigth, fast and stable!
 
+Linus Torvalds isn't the only one I've seen on the web complaining about some GNOME extension blowing up due to version skew....  and my trust of the GNOME developers is at an all-time low right now.
 
perhaps one good thing is that i have stayed away from all kinds of extensions that add various monitoring gadgets to gnome. I use conky for that.
 
+birger monsen I'm also very nervous about installing unvetted code from some random website into my desktop software, just to get what I consider to be basic functionality.   How do I know one of these random extensions won't have a key logger built in?   I trust my fellow Debian developers, but I have no idea what sort of code vetting is going on with the stuff at extensions.gnome.org.
 
+Theodore Ts'o The "extensions blowing up" thing is true if you expect to upgrade between major releases, e.g. Gnome 3.0 < > Gnome 3.2 < > Gnome 3.4 < > Gnome 3.6 ... Then yes, you would be right. But within a given version (e.g. Gnome 3.4) stuff like that shouldn't be happening. At least I've never seen this so far (though, I did see extensions blow up when I switched from Gnome 3.2 to 3.4 ...).

As for the moving applications thing ... I am sure there's an extension for that?

On the other hand ... I don't mean to be disrespectful. But what's keeping you on Gnome? If there's no reason for you to keep using Gnome, then why not use e.g. KDE or LXDE or something like that?
 
+Drazenko Djuricic At the moment, it's only gnome-terminal which is keeping me on Gnome.  If I can find a viable substitute, my free spce on my root partition will shortly thereafter go up by several gigabytes as I delete all of the Gnome 3.4 crap.
 
+Theodore Ts'o Did you give LXDE's or KDE's terminal a try? They definitely should offer the same functionality (e.g. multiple tabs) if I am not mistaken.

Google also spat out this article. Maybe it could be interesting for you:

http://www.techdrivein.com/2011/06/9-good-terminal-emulators-for-linux.html

I myself have used Guake in the past and it works pretty well. I just have to hit a key-combo and I get my terminals right in front of me, no matter what I have been doing before that.
 
+Drazenko Djuricic Multiple tab support is easy to find; and I can do Google searches too.  Working VT100 graphical characters so that the mutt mail reader displays threading in a nice way is harder to find without trying each one out.   I'll eventually try KDE's terminal, but it's really unfortunate when a simple terminal emulator drags in multiple gigabytes of associated shared libraries, most of which I'll never use.
 
I'm surviving with the fallback mode on my laptop, although I never used virtual desktops. As for my terminal emulator, I've been a happy user of Konsole for years.
 
+Theodore Ts'o urxvt-unicode works fine with my remote mutt session. It's also very small and memory efficient.
 
+Theodore Ts'o In that case you might want to try the other, smaller terminal emulators first? If you eliminate the ones that are too simple (e.g. rxvt) then the number of terminal programs you would have to try to really be sure shouldn't be too big.
 
One more vote here for rxvt-unicode. It has its own 'tabbed' perl extension that works reasonably well, or you can use it in conjuction with something like the tabbed suckless tool.
 
BTW, shift + control + alt + cursor works for me on Gnome 3.4. It moves whatever window is active at that moment to the next workspace.
 
And people wonder why I'm still running e16 as a window manager.

My still-favorite Gnome/GTK clusterfluck - gtk2 is apparently able to find the trough color for a scrollbar from your .gtkrc, but it has to contacts gnome-settings-daemon to find out what the scrollbar looks like.  Sad part is that gnome-settings-daemon finds out what it should look like by reading another copy of your .gtkrc stored someplace else.

Fortunately for my blood pressure, gnome-settings-daemon isn't a total loss - it's also responsible for re-spawning that piece of manure known as 'pulseaudio' when it crashes (which is often - sometimes e16 won't even finish launching and pulseaudio will already have crapped out).  esd on the other hand was rock-steady.

What is this fascination that people have with replacing perfectly functional stuff with half-baked all-singing all-dancing all-crashing new stuff?
 
+Drazenko Djuricic Correct me if I am wrong, but a static-stay-window-dammit-where-I-put-you two dimensional workspace will always be a second class citizen in Gnome, which means there is no guarantee it will work in subsequent releases, right?
 
+Theodore Ts'o, you might take a look at ROXTerm.  I find it significantly superior to Gnome Terminal for my needs.
 
+Jonathan McCrohan The reviews of Gnome fallback mode was that it was creaky and missing a lot of functionality, and was not a full substitute for Gnome 2.   That being said, I'll take a look at it.  However, maybe this is the right time to switch to xfce; there's no guarantee how long Gnome Fallback mode will stay around before the Gnome developers decide to piss off more of their user base.
 
how about you install mate window manager of Mint distribution? apt-get install mate. [enter]
 
+Theodore Ts'o While I agree with you that the Gnome 3.x developers did piss off their users (... and I'm one of them ...) I also have to say again that with a bit of fiddling (45 min. tops!) you can get Gnome 3's Shell to behave in a reasonable sane way. Just sayin' ... :-)
 
+Theodore Ts'o fallback + tweak tool gave me enough of Gnome 2 that adapting was less painful then switching (probably would have been to KDE, XFCE never worked well for me on a laptop) or reverting.
 
+Julien Goodwin The problem is that every six months, Gnome will put out a new release.  So every six months, random extensions will break, and the fallback mode is already declared to be deprecated.   Eventually they will make some change that will break gnome-panel, and that will be it for Fallback mode.   Since I haven't fully switched over to my new laptop, now is the right time to put in some investment of time trying to create a setup that is more robust and isn't subject to random breakage each time the eager beavers over in Gnome land decide that new and shiny is better than something tried. true, and usable.   It's looking like Xfce will be it, although I'm still doing some experimenting.
 
Which is the main reason I don't use any of the extensions, it's certainly true that pieces have already broken (can't have lid close be ignored) I've survived like this since November with the only real issue being when I lost my GTK2 settings (which was my fault)
 
+Jonathan Abbey, +Philippe Lemaire+Jayson Rowe: Roxterm and Terminator both have the same problem as gnome-terminal.   My current theory is that there's something about gtk3 tabs which are unusable if you're not running in a Gnome session (i.e., if you are using Xfce instead); they are getting their theme settings from some magic Gnome daemon that haven't been able to identify.   
 
+Theodore Ts'o  Dang. I'm using XFCE-Terminal happily, but no longer use Mutt, so I hadn't noticed the issue you have w/ VT100 graphics characters. I do have Terminator installed, and although I don't use it all the time, I use it when I want to split up a window, and I haven't noticed being able to discern the active tab. I'm using Fedora though, and the 'greybird' GTK theme. Here is how it looks for me: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jJPPGz2oUOc/T-MqCwaud1I/AAAAAAAAAvI/I4zaLoN3tGQ/s659/terminator.png
 
+Theodore Ts'o The magic Gnome daemon is "gnome-settings-daemon".  Not sure which idiot made gtk2/3 depend on that for theming rather than just reading .gtkrc like a sane design, but they should be taken out back and shot.
 
<troll class=not really>Why not gnome-panel + xmonad</troll>
 
Well, you might as well kiss gtk apps bye bye and check out KDE. If you turn off desktop effects, it’s not that ressource intensive.
 
gnome3's application menus at the top of the screen are a total deal breaker for me.  If you use focus-follows-mouse (and if you don't, you're doing it completely wrong) then gnome3 is unusable, as attempting to use the top menu bar will cause the menu bar to change if you happen to pass your mouse over the window of another application.

Gnome3 completely breaks focus follows mouse which means the gnome developers are unredeemable idiots who have no business programming any computer for any purpose.
 
Cool!  Just starting gnome-session-daemon causes my laptop to suspend unconditionally when I close the lid --- even if I've requested this anti-social behavior to be disabled in xfce4-power-manager-settings.  Smooth move, Gnome developers....
 
So.... has the entire world of Linux desktops just been plummeting off a cliff the past few years? Ubuntu forced the poorly thought out, incomplete, undocumented, and largely useless "Unity" interface on everyone, and now GNOME is also going the way of the dodo?  Is Linux on the Desktop dead?
 
+Theodore Ts'o I suspect the gnome-session-daemon will respect the gnome power settings, no the xfce4 ones. Have you tried disabling the suspend-on-close setting in the gnome settings? ... OK, tried to confirm this and this setting is actually not exposed in the default power settings, you have to install the gnome-tweak-tool, then you can change the "Laptop lid close action *" settings under the "Shell" category. #FAIL
 
Wow what thread! I have up on gnome a long time ago. I use LXDE these days.
 
+Theodore Ts'o From what I have experienced, XFCE is your only option currently (primarly due to the workspace requirement). It would be a shame if you have to run the gnome-settings-daemon just to theme your terminal though. I guess it's time for the Tsomernal. /me awaits the github push...
 
+Theodore Ts'o fix / workaround? Installing gnome-themes-standard and then switching to 'Adwaita' as the theme, which is apparently a unified gtk2/gtk3 theme the tab shape changed (meh) but active tab has a blue bar above it.  There's a few other themes that also now change the tab appearances (trying all the themes the appearance widget lists now) as well.  I do_not have gnome-settings-daemon running, btw.

EDIT: It's just the high contrast ones that also do it, which means there must be a few things in there one could borrow for whatever theme you like otherwise
 
My other, real, suggestion for your terminal woes is to run tmux (a rewrite of screen) within xterm...
 
Where's KDE figure into all of this?  I'm OK with the KDE 4.8.3 that I'm using at home.  At work I have gnome 2.28 and bluetile (xmonad made easy)...  Still I feel like the wm issue got completely toasted sometime in the early 00s.

[edit] as a PS I have Xfce working at home as well, but KDE is a bit more user friendly for my gf.  Both are pretty good, but you can have your gnome-terminal cake by just making that the default terminal app in xfce.
 
+Tim Chavez I use tmux when I have to, across ssh connections.  But I find the scrollback to be much less convenient with tmux --- I have to use `<pg-up> and then remember to get out of scrollback mode.   (I'm using backquote as my tmux escape character.)
 
+Matthew Stoltenberg I tried mrxvt; I mentioned it in my post.  The problem is it doesn't handle vt100 graphics characters correctly, which is used by mutt, my mail reader.
 
+Theodore Ts'o I keep giving a go every 6-12 months to whatever the current GNOME clusterfuck is, KDE, XFCE, and a few other options (awesome and xmonad recently).  And then I go back to WindowMaker.  The cons:  it's got a very basic visual presentation, it doesn't change much.  The pros:  it's got a very basic visual presentation -- that is quite useful, it doesn't change much, it's fast, it's light, it's VERY stable, it's highly configurable to keyboard shortcuts (define hotkeys on the custom window menus), it supports multiple desktops (arrangement is either linear or vertical, not your 3x3 grid) with rapid switch and optional dragging of windows between workspaces.  Killer features for me: pinnable menus, including a pinnable windowlist (for when you need to iterate through the 40 terminals you've got on all your desktops...) and actually showing window contents when cycling through windows using circulate-on-raise (alt-tab).  XFCE doesn't do this last, neither it nor KDE/GNOME offer a pinnable window list, requiring a lot of navigation to raise then navigate window lists when using it to browse windows.

For terminals, I use urxvt, for tabs, screen :).  I've got a script launch mutt within screen in its own window, tied to a menu hotkey (alt-shift-m).  Terminal is alt-shift-t, root 'r', w3m-in-screen (similar to mutt) 'w'.  Raise/lower windows with alt-up-arrow / alt-down-arrow.  Windowmaker assumes alt F11/F12 are its own (conflicts with fullscreen on some apps) and alt-H hides all instances of current app, but that's also configurable.  Lisp-ish config file format (you can copy your ~/GNUstep/ directory between hosts to replicate environment).

I've substituted gmrun (introduced to me from xmonad/awesome?) for the default WindowMaker run dialog, which is a bit feature-sparse (no tab completion or history).

One of the best things Steve Jobs ever created.  Much better than Aqua.
 
+Ralph Corderoy I'm the first to evangelize suckless projects, but have you even used st?  It's just not ready for prime-time use yet.  It's slow, buggy as hell, and most certainly doesn't have support for arcane vt100 graphic symbols.  
 
sorry, missed that in the post...  I've had no problems with vt100 emulation connecting to terminal servers with vt100 menu interfaces...
 
+Matthew Stoltenberg Or maybe Fedora is compiling mrxvt with different config options, perhaps.   BTW, your link doesn't work for me; I'm getting "page not found".    Did you remember to change your Picasa Album properties to allow people with the link to see the pictures?
 
oops...  forgot about that...  it should be visible now.  I also posted one from debian-squeeze
 
+Theodore Ts'o your mrxvt mutt/character issues look like it could be either a font or locale issue.  Might confirm you're using a font with full i18n support, and that your locale is exported properly (check mutt's /proc/PID/environ).  Copy/paste to a terminal with proper i18n support should show if the bytes are actually properly presented.  Apologies if I'm pointing out the obvious, it's a core competency.
 
+Jered Floyd I'd say that yes, the novel/default desktops largely have, though, this being Linux, we've got choices.  And it's also not just us -- look at the bruhaha over Win8 going on now.  My own belief is that 1) visual metaphor in GUI is hard, 2) established conventions tend to be accepted as "correct" simply by familiarity, 3) there's not a lot of gain in change for change's sake, and 4) by the late 1990s / early aughts we'd pretty much come up with very good, usable forms.  Innovation is fine, but pushing radical change on either of two groups: core power users, and the computer illiterate, is fundamentally disruptive.
If you'll look at Apple, they've been very conservative in changes over the years (even the OS9 -> OSX change wasn't too dramatic), and currently support two similar, but distinct, UIs for (desk/lap)top vs. portable (iPhone/iPad) devices.  And frankly I don't consider either of them optimal, but I can generally use them without getting hives, which is better than I can say for any variant of Windows, and several Linux desktops / window managers (most I find generally usable).
I'd argue that the real benefit is going to come not from radically revising the visual metaphor, but from sensibly integrating and automating tasks (startup, shutdown, suspend, storage addition/removal, networking, power, messaging), providing a simple "sane by default" mode which works for the masses, power tools for the geeks, and something resembling policy management for the corporate control freaks.
 
Alright, someone has to say it: install Arch.
 
81 comments before "install Arch"? I am disappoint. LOL
 
No install Gentoo, either. What's wrong with people..
 
If you are unwilling to attempt change of your current habits, you will hate it.  I was willing to change and I am way more efficient in the Gnome 3 environment than previously.  I personally love Gnome 3.
 
+Dan Feeny It would be very hard indeed for another desktop environment to be more efficient, since I can do what I need to do very quickly with control/shift/alt sequences.   Hitting super and then typing some characters is not going to be faster.  
 
+Edward Morbius Indeed, the problem is that mutt is using the graphics characters from the cp437 encoding, rather than the vt100 escape-shift-charset sequences --- and mrxvt couldn't deal with it.   It looks like rxvt-unicode does the right thing, although its tabbed support is not as advanced as mrxvt; and I had to do some futzing with Xresources in order to make the Home and End keys generate the correct escape sequences.   Still, the fact that using a non-gtk3 application means that I can nuke gnome-settings-daemon so I don't have to worry about it fighting with xfce settings makes it more than worth it.
 
+Matt Higgins Arch or Gentoo isn't going to solve the fundamental problem which is that GNOME 3 is power-user hostile.   And the main issue is that the alternatives are a bit rusty in various ways that quite frankly, programs like Gnome-terminal got right.   The fact that I can't change key bindings on the fly using a GUI, instead of hand-editing ~/.Xdefaults, running xrdb -merge, and then killing and restarting rxvt is.... sad.   So I mourn the good in GNOME 2 that has been lost in the collective insanity which is GNOME 3; it's not like Xfce is better than GNOME in all aspects.  It most certainly isn't, which is part of what makes this so painful.
 
+Theodore Ts'o So it's clearly not for you then.  But that's a far cry from unusable.  I guess I don't really understand why people are whining so much when there's so many options available to them and there's clearly a significant group of people that do like #Gnome3  .  It's like wanting a luxury sedan-like ride but buying a Porsche and complaining about the stiff ride.  There are people who like sedans and there are people that like Porsche's.  But they are both very usable cars.
 
+Dan Feeny:  "Luxury sedan" and "Porsche"? Give me a break.

No, it's more like knowing what it is to drive a Porsche, and the new version feeling more like a car with soft suspension and a very non-sporty automatic gearbox that you can't even fix. And then some people say that it's a "better ride", because it's so soft and nice. Gods. What morons.

And then the f*cking gnome3 fanboys tell you "oh, just replace the suspension to something stiffer", never mind that it voids the warranty and some things stop working entirely.

Some of us like the sportier cars - but that damn well doesn't mean that we'd like to be automobile mechanics.

What really gets my goat is the crazy people who say "Oh, you can't handle the change". It's not like I (or Ted) are the only ones talking about how bad it is. Trust me, it's not about "handling the change". It's about gnome3 having lost a lot of useful tweaking.
 
+Linus Torvalds That's EXACTLY what I hate; the "oh you're just not used to it" crowd. If the GNOME fanboys think thumbing your nose at other people is a winning strategy then by all means I guess they can continue.
 
GNOME 3 is a fine example of how to build a desktop wrong.  Sadly, it is what represents us today (for those that don't know how to install other desktops).

You shouldn't have to go out of your way to re-learn learned actions in order to use a computer.  This is 2012, not 1989.

No one would dare put the steering wheel in the back seat backwards on the passengers side.

Except the GNOME team.
 
+Valdis Kletnieks e remains the one reasonably novel window manager that moderately impresses me.  I don't  use it often, but try it every so often, and it remains visually slick and useful.
 
+Andrew Wyatt The way I think of GNOME's thinking is "gee, a steering wheel isn't the ideal UI for the bicycle.  We'll use bicycle handles for steering --- and then force people who drive cars to also use bicycle handles, because bicycles are the future!"
 
+Theodore Ts'o fair enough, but we'll have to lock the wheels because if the vehicle moves it might get a flat. :)
 
The nice thing about XFCE is that when stuff's missing, it's usually because it hasn't been written yet - not because some fool thinks features confuse users and must be removed.

So the answer is: the rough edges are actually fixable :-D \o/ \o/ \o/
 
(sorry, third comment) Just this evening the loved one upgraded from Ubuntu 10.10 to 11.10 and got a galloping case of Unity, which is like GNOME but worse. He's discovered why I went to XFCE.
 
+Theodore Ts'o clearly you haven't grasped the GNOME mindset fully.
Steering your bicycle is a power user feature.  If you want to change direction, do so through dconf.  Rightward deviations are encoded in hex, leftward in octal.  Straight ahead is governed by the directional continuity dashboard widget.  The Navigation Manager may override your user inputs at any time.
 
KDE's terminal is fast, easy to configure, supports tabs, and supports UTF-8 including graphics characters such as box-drawing ones. Just sayin'.
 
...and will let you have 3x3 workspaces with windows you can drag between them.
 
+Linus Torvalds +Matt Higgins All flaming of my simile and my liking the direction of Gnome 3 making me a fan-boy aside, my point is that it seems like Gnome 3 strays significantly from what you (and many others) are looking for in your UI.  So why the hate?  Because the lack of configuration options doesn't allow you to get closer to what you're looking for?  It's clear that your needs and Gnome's vision have diverged.  Is it close enough that you feel it can be salvaged in your opinion if they do add that configurabilty?  Unusable is a pretty extreme term for something that is usable and liked by another group of people.
 
+Dan Feeny Is it close enough if they add that configurability?  Unfortunately, GNOME has been primarily removing configuration options for over a decade.  They simply aren't good enough designers to understand how to make something flexible and simple to configure, so they just keep removing options.

And no, extensions is not a solution, because extensions break every six months, or at least potentially break every six months.  And if they do break, the GNOME developers won't care, because you are using internal interfaces, which is clearly evil.   Could they add the features we want as a core, supported feature?  Sure.  But they won't.   I would love it if I were wrong, but GNOME has been consistently making their software less and less usable for over a decade.
 
+Theodore Ts'o I hope this helps you. I installed Wheezy in a VM, as to be sure there wasn't some difference between Fedora and Debian I wasn't aware of...and after installing the package 'gnome-themes' it gave me the Adwaita GTK theme in the Appearance preference panel. I set Adwaita as the GTK theme, and this is how gnome-terminal now looks: http://jaysonr.fedorapeople.org/pictures/wheezy.png
 
+Jayson Rowe But you were running in a Gnome session right?   I get something like what you showed if I login using Gnome.  But if I login using an Xfce session, I get this: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/AnGuRSrSFNauTsnm13SVy9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

I did try futzing with gconf-editor to try to set the gtk theme, but it had no effect.   From reading the other comments, maybe I needed to use dconf-editor instead.  But given that running gnome-settings-daemon means that Gnome will try fighting with Xfce's settings, it seems like the best thing to do is to just avoid all gtk based applications, and certainly not to let any Gnome daemons like gnome-settings-daemon on my system.
 
+Theodore Ts'o no, I was logged into XFCE - I took the screenshot of the entire desktop of the VM so you could see :) I installed from the 'xfce/lxde' CD even, and I installed no GNOME packages other than what gnome-terminal and gnome-themes brought in - I didn't even log out of XFCE and back in to take that screenshot. Try installing gnome-themes (if you don't have the package installed...if you have all of GNOME installed, you should have it), and set Adwaita as the theme under Applications Menu -> Settings -> Appearance and then the 'Style' tab.
 
+Dan Feeny: try using a non-gnome window manager. Try using one that isn't natively supported by the distribution. Look at the chaos. It's worse than gnome. You'll spend a week just editing config files etc settings.

That is not why I get a distro. I want the distro to "just work". The people who tell me to use 'gconf' to edit things, or the people who tell me to use xfce and then edit the config files by hand are missing the whole f*cking point.

How hard is it to understand something this simple? A Linux distribution should "Just Work(tm)". That means that I shouldn't have to edit config files. That means that I shouldn't have to pick random packages to fix the stupidities. That means that I shouldn't have to read man-pages and google the right gconfigtool magic to set some stupid value on some registry key wannabe.

I'm a deeply technical person, but at the same time I firmly believe that I shouldn't have to be one to use the Linux desktop. I'm really really happy that I don't have to edit /etc/XF86Config files by hand. I damn well shouldn't have to edit .gnome/xyz config files by hand either!

Seriously. WHAT THE F*CK IS THE EXCUSE FOR NOT HAVING A FONT CHOOSER FOR THE WINDOW DECORATION FONTS?

There is no excuse. Why the hell do you try to make excuses for it? Why the hell do you ask "Why the hate"?

Gnome3 could be good - it's even fairly close. There's no question about it. But it isn't. There's no question about that either. But why do the gnome3 fanbois always blame the people who complain? The people who complain do have good reasons.

*Edit: wording. 

Here's a list of things that gnome3 should have had from day#1:

 - font chooser. Not using gnome tweak tools. Right there, and easy to find. 

 - A usable application dock. One that works. One that doesn't require right-clicks, left-hold, or move around to three different places just to start a new terminal. And don't tell me about some stupid keyboard shortcuts.

*Edit: right-clicks or left-holds, not the other way around.

Quite frankly, those two things are just major failings. There are other details that gnome3 dropped for no good reason, but those two things just drive me personally up the wall. Because there's absolutely zero excuse for not doing the above,

Yet when I (or hundreds of other people) complain, the gnome3 people never even seem to entertain the idea that they were actually wrong. No, it's always something like "Oh, you can't handle the change", or "Use this extension that we don't support and that probably breaks things for you because we've not even bothered to test it, and if it doesn't work for you it's your own problem".

And that is why I hate on gnome3. I think technically 3.4 might be close. But from a mindset perspective, the gnome3 people are despicable. The "We know better, and we removed things, and we did things right" even though it is very obvious that it wasn't right has been going on for years.

Gnome2 had problems too, but compiz finally made it really quite usable (I used to hate how you couldn't easily move windows to the back, but expose made that largely a non-issue).

Gnome3 could be great. But the mindset of "we refuse to fix our bugs because we think you're better off with the limited braindamage we have" is the real problem. 

And yes, I rant and rail. Because that braindamage is real. 
 
+Linus Torvalds I agree with you completely.  I just think that installing xfce and fighting with config files, and hand-editing .Xdefaults files and using xrdb -merge is less painful than using Gnome 3.4.   But I don't like the fact that I have to do all of this sh*t.

And this, by the way, is why I don't like systemd and the philosophy behind it.  It's adding more complexity which is going to impact userspace, and to date, all of this increased complexity is something which most Desktop developers can't keep up with, and the only way Gnome can keep up is by throwing out feature after feature.   The reason why network manager prompted you for a password in OpenSuSE is because the whiz-kids made changes to PolicyKit, and aside from Gnome/Fedora, no one else has adapted to those changes yet.   So I'm editing files in /etc/polkit-1/localauthority.conf.d/ because that's less painful than figuring out what the undocumented change in PolicyKit was.   
 
+Theodore Ts'o I have some of the same reservations of course, but I opted to try and stick with GNOME as I believe it is the only chance Linux has at a platform, and a platform is required if we want to really succeed on the desktop. So in the interest of seeing that happen - have you emailed the GNOME folks and opened or voted for (or me too'd, or whatever) bugs at bugzilla.gnome.org? I just took a look and was surprised not see anything about a non-linear workspaces layout.

And of course I'm typing this on an MBA I've had for a week and haven't got around to putting Linux on yet. First non-linux machine in a decade.... I feel dirty.
 
We're not going to succeed on the desktop, if success is measured by a large percentage of machines getting preinstalled with Linux.   That just isn't going to happen.    There are too many good alternatives out there, which have a huge head start.  So it's far more important to me that we encourage the preservation of a good developer desktop environment --- and Unity and GNOME aren't it.

That's the main reason why I'm moving to Xfce.   At the end of the day, if more people use it, and more people contribute even a little bit, we'll hopefully have a credible environment which is usable and with a manageable amount of complexity.  (KDE scares me because it's GNOME-like in its complexity --- and I don't want to have to learn another registry-wannabe to do things the way I want.  I really, really don't like architectures where userspace daemons are talking behind my back in random XML or XML-like exchanges, and because if they don't do what I want, it's hard to figure out what they've been conspiring behind my back, and of course none of it is well documented.)

We need competition to keep the GNOME guys/gals honest.   Without SuSE as a credible threat, Red Hat will start treating its enterprise customers worse and worse.   Just wait until Red Hat inflects Systemd on its users, and people discover all of the subtle things like init runlevels which have been dropped into the Gnome feature hole.   Where are they going to go?  There's no credible alternative.
 
here's what my gtk config looks like - +Theodore Ts'o  your's like mine for root; non-existant :)
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-O2qbL4rSzdc/T-QGNFOZnHI/AAAAAAAAAiA/gc3pPO24xHk/s1024/2012-06-22-073946_1920x1080_scrot.png

here's my config based on some ubuntu default theme:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BwfJ6qB8qBKNMmZTZ2VqdDJQYVE

configuration of those gtk-rc files was weird and I dunno nor care if all are needed ;)

Edit: maybe your missing a gtk3 config? I have this softlink
.config/gtk-3.0 -> /usr/share/themes/Radiance/gtk-3.0

Also there is some way to make kde apps look the same
 
Ted, I sympathize completely. Though I keep partitions around with Gnome2, Gnome3 and Unity just so I can snark at their zany antics, for doing "real stuff" I run Debian without any "desktop" at all on my laptop and main box. Just Openbox. In the end it's easier than dealing with even XFCE.

It is possible to install and use Network Manager without the applet (and therefore most of gnome) simply by resorting to cnetworkmanager and occasionally nm-tool. Some experimentation required.

I can't really grok the mutt stuff though. Back in the hazy past I fell under the thrall of pine and never looked back. Then again, I still use "ee" when cat won't suffice, so whadda I know? Neither emacs nor vi, which avoids many a contentious discussion.

By now y'all must have noticed the Gnome Hive Mind does not respond well, if at all, to criticism -- constructive or otherwise. So I won't belabor those issues any further.

As to the chances of broader success of the Linux desktop, that is not in the hands of KDE, Gnome or XFCE. It is entirely a question of just how repugnant and stupid Apple and Microsoft can be. Fortunately, they are both engaged in a race to the bottom. If the various Linux alternatives stop trying to copy their blunders and even just stand still, they will eventually excel by default.
 
Seriously - just try KDE - its has features that you would expect of a modern desktop - but it is still usable.

XFce/LXDE, etc is like reversing progression
 
+Linus Torvalds with all due respect, I know you use Fedora, as do I. There is a special XFCE Spin of Fedora, which 'just works'. GNOME isn't the only Window manager with a 'spin'. Just download the XFCE spin, and install from it. Not hours tweaking config files, etc...it'll just boot, install and work. I really tried to like GNOME, but I can't - it won't work for me, and I'm glad I found XFCE to be of my liking. XFCE is well supported in Fedora, a lot of Fedora folks use it...we have an active XFCE sig which I'm a part of.
 
I recommend you the "guake" terminal (apt-get install guake). Its like the "quake console" that pop-ups from the top of the screen.

You just press the magic key (typically F12) and the terminal shows in front of all your windows. It also has support for tabs, resizing and many (easy-to-access) options to customize it. Try it, I fall in love with it since the first day.
 
+Carlos Lopez the 'quake' concept i think works well for video games (where it was copied from), but hardly for anyone who does real work in a terminal window. I have multiple terminals, each with multiple tabs open all the time.
 
+Jayson Rowe Sorry, no.  I haven't had time, and I've already purged most of GNOME from my new laptop.  I'm currently using rxvt-unicode, which handles the font situation automatically.  The tabs are a bit ugly, but I can live with that.  My current debate is whether to get rid of gdm (which would allow me to delete even more of GNOME) and use xdm instead, which is ugly, and loses a few features, but depending on anything originating from GNOME just doesn't seem like a good long-term proposition.    At some point I might want to try your suggestion, just to see if Gtk3 applications are usable without the mess which is the GNOME borg package infrastructure.  But seriously, it may be just better in the long run to avoid all of that garbage as much as possible.  Who knows what other functionality they will remove next year?
 
+Theodore Ts'o Instead of XDM, you might want to see if Light-DM is supported in Debian - we are planning to switch the Fedora XFCE Spin to it next release. Also, we use Adwaita as the default theme for XFCE in Fedora so that GTK3 apps will look properly. When I set up that Debian VM last night to test that out, when I installed the 'gnome-themes' package, it didn't pull in any crud (now, gnome-terminal pulled in ~100MB of stuff)...so the gnome-themes package will give you Adwaita, which will give you proper GTK3 support under XFCE. Also, when XFCE 4.10 hits wheezy there will be some new/nice features. We are still shipping 4.8 in Fedora 17, but one of our guys has a 4.10 repo set up, and it's quite nice. I'm like you - I hope more people using XFCE means more people hacking on it, and it'll just get better with time...I've found it to be a nice, sane environment.
 
+morgan cox My concern with KDE is how bloated it's become.   I don't want highly integrated applications.   My main applications are a terminal, emacs, open office, and the Chrome browser.  I do way more with web applications these days.   Bloat is bad not just because of the increased disk and ram usage (although I do worry about that); bloat is bad because of the complexity.   The more you rely on an Object broker, the more it becomes harder and harder to fix things when they break --- and things do break, with appalling regularity.  It's the fact that Xfce and Network-Manager uses D-Bus and PolicyKit which is why I still get asked for my password from time to time even with my localauthority hack.   How do I fix it?   Who knows?

Unfortunately wicd isn't fully-featured enough, but it has as a huge win the fact that it doesn't use PolicyKit; it just uses a simple Unix group membership check for its access control.  Once wicd can handle large numbers of access points with the same wireless network, I'll be removing network manager from my system and using wicd instead, because network manager is just too damn complicated, and relies on too much complex infrastructure which I can't debug because of the !@#@! D-Bus design.   KDE is no better in this regard, and in fact it may be worse.

Why don't I use Openbox?  It's too simple.   For one thing, it doesn't support 3x3 workspaces.   At the end of the day, I want a desktop environment that makes the things that I do simple.  Which means wireless roaming, the terminal, emacs, open office, and a browser.   Anything more than that increases the memory and disk usage, but worse, it means more infrastructure which can break, which means I end up having to debug things like PolicyKit.   And that's just not productive time for me.  So Xfce seems like the right balance point for now, although it definitely still has some rough edges.
 
+Theodore Ts'o The passwords are handled by gnome-keyring-daemon; you can enable it in; settings -> session and startup -> launch GNOME services on startup
 
No, not the passwords.  I'm talking about the demand for the root password given by network manager when I try to join a new network due some kind of policykit configuration screwup.   I have the AdminIdentities hack in /etc/polkit-1/localauthority, but it's apparently not working.
 
+Theodore Ts'o Then that's handled by your login manager and it depends on your distribution. What do you use? GDM?
 
Yes, I'm using GDM at the moment, although I'm thinking  of ditching it, and going to something lighter weight.
 
BTW, I don't have this problem if I use GDM to login to a Gnome session.  Only if I login it an Xfce session using GDM.
 
+Theodore Ts'o Yeah, that's what I figured, but most people use GDM for GNOME, not for Xfce, so that's not a surprise.

Anyway, I would check at which point the dbus session is launched; there might be more than one, and you can also check if the ConsoleKit sessions are correct (ck-list-sessions) (I have only one session).

Anyway, the problem is that a lot of this information is not easily available; distributions are supposed to deal with this, but in Arch Linux you are supposed to do all these changes yourself, so you might find what you need in their wiki:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xfce

Personally I use SLiM in Arch Linux, which just added ConsoleKit support; so everything just works right out of the box now.
 
+Theodore Ts'o If you are using an older version of Xfce than 4.10, you might want to do this:

exec ck-launch-session startxfce4

You can probably edit the Xfce session file, which is what GDM uses, I guess.
 
+Darren Hart

opened or voted for (or me too'd, or whatever) bugs at bugzilla.gnome.org ?

You are not supposed to do that. I was banned for even suggesting that they should enable voting.

GNOME developers are not interested in user feedback. They say they do, but they don't allow voting, or polls, or surveys, or idea storms, or anything. I guess they only "user" feedback they want is that of their friends.
 
+Linus Torvalds

The people who tell me to use 'gconf' to edit things, or the people who tell me to use xfce and then edit the config files by hand are missing the whole f*cking point.

Who has told you tu use Xfce and edit files by hand? Xfce has plenty of configurations in their settings; you don't have to touch config files by hand ever; I have never had to do that.

try using a non-gnome window manager. Try using one that isn't natively supported by the distribution. Look at the chaos. It's worse than gnome. You'll spend a week just editing config files etc settings.

So that's your rationale of why Xfce is not good enough? Because Fedora sucks at supporting it? If Xfce doesn't work correctly in Fedora, that's a problem of Fedora, not Xfce.

It works perfecly fine in Arch Linux, and I'm sure it would be easy to fix in Fedora.

I yet have to see a single real issue you have with Xfce.
 
+Felipe Contreras XFCE does not suck in Fedora - in fact, it's probably one of the better supported desktops :) If +Linus Torvalds would perhaps try installing from the XFCE CD, rather than shoe-horn XFCE on top of a GNOME install he's already done god-knows-what to, he might have had a better experience, perhaps. He could also join the fedora-xfce list and make suggestions to us as to how to make the XFCE spin better, yet I don't think he's done any of that - he's just bitched about how GNOME is the 'default' desktop for Fedora and how all the others suck.
 
+Theodore Ts'o If you're looking at alternate X display managers, KDM isn't bad, I've used WDM (WINGs Display Manager -- WindowMaker toolkit, natch) which is clean and simple, very similar in config to xdm.  
bChecking the virtual package (Debian/wheezy) virtual package x-display-manager, there's also lightdm (never tried it), slim (dittos), and your good old xdm.
I've actually found gdm to be reasonably well-behaved, though as with the rest of GNOME, I don't particularly trust it to stay that way.
 
+Jayson Rowe Right, I didn't want to imply that Xfce sucks in Fedora, that was only a hypothetical. I don't know if it sucks or not, but Linus seems to think it does.

I vaguely remember that it was working fine for the most part, but I don't use Fedora any more, so I don't know if I missed something.

Still, while it's good to have an Xfce spin of Fedora, Xfce should also work in the default Fedora distribution (which uses GNOME), because that's where most users are going to come from; "hey, let's give Xfce a try".

It's probably a matter of adding the right dependencies on GNOME icon themes, and the keyring-daemon, and probably making sure the ConsoleKit session is properly started from the Xfce session file (from GDM), and that's it.
 
+Felipe Contreras It doesn't appear to be a ConsoleKit problem.  ck-list-sessions is showing my xfce4 login; the xfce xsession file is using "ckstartfce4", and adding ck-launch-session there doesn't seem to help.

But the fact this is so painful is precisely why I really dislike the current trend in Desktop Environments.  There are too many components, which are not well documented, and the interactions between them are constantly changing as the whiz-kids try to add more "features".  And if anything breaks, they just yank out the feature and complain that it's the user's fault for being change-averse.
 
+Theodore Ts'o Yeah, I completely agree with you, but it's impossible to change the mind of the GNOME/freedesktop.org people; they have dogmatic minds, and they are going to every increase complexity , and there's nothing anybody can do to stop them. Except write their own alternatives, of course.

Now, I'm vaguely recalling a hack I did to start Xfce similar to GNOME, but it might have been specific to Fedora... Which distro are you using?
 
+Felipe Contreras no, it works fine and is well integrated when installed along with gnome...however if some has been hacking away on configuration files or gconf settings, that could be a very different story, I suppose.
 
+Felipe Contreras I'm using Debian Wheezy.  I started with a base install, and then installed xfce4.  Along the way I've installed and uninstalled various bits of Gnome infrastructure.
 
+Daniel Riek Unity isn't so bad either ... but just like with Gnome 3.x you need to tweak a lot of stuff or you'll go insane :-))
 
+Theodore Ts'o In GNOME 3.4, The active tab should be marked blue if the window is active, it only turns grey if the window does not have focus (like the rest of the window). For some reasons, this is slightly broken currently.
 
I'm a total Xfce convert as I've mentioned to you in person, too. I won't be using GNOME again.
 
+Theodore Ts'o, this read almost like a carefully constructed troll. I have sympathy for your experiences, but I've read the following formula countless times, now:

 • X is goddamn unusable, so I switched to Y
 • Y doesn't do Z as well as X, so I tried pulling in X's Z, but it only half-works outside of the well-worn path!
 • Y doesn't do W as well as X, so I tried pulling in X's W, but it pulled in MEGABYTES of "useless" dependencies to provide the functionality I'm missing. (seriously, megabytes. Do they think we're MADE of storage?!?!!)
 
Ha Ha, well it has all been very amusing :-)  It seems that there are some specialised needs out there for the likes of Linus and Ted (techncial people) that are not being met fully by any desktop environment/distro.  What does that say?  Seems strange that Fedora insisted on using GNOME3 with gnome-shell anyway and I wonder what Red Hat will do once RHEL 7 comes around the corner with the farse that is our GNU/Linux desktop.
 
+Jon Dowland You might have a point, except that Network Manager claims to be desktop neutral; and yet, it's depending on FreeDesktop crap like PolicyKit which appears to be randomly changing and which breaks on anything other than GNOME.   So if the answer is that FreeDesktop stuff like PolicyKit is really part of GnomeOS, and it's taking over the world, then that makes me very sad.    And so we need to have different options that are more functional.  And this is what makes me fear systemd so much.

As far as gnome-terminal not working on anything other than Gnome, as much as I was soliciting other options for something that had the functionality I wanted.  At this point, it seems fair to assume that any Gtk3 application, although they claim to be desktop independent adn should theoretically work on KDE or XFce, is in fact not tested anywhere else, and may in fact blow up in strange and wonderous ways.  If Gtk3 applications are in fact now part of the GnomeOS world, and not guaranteed to work anywhere else then the obvious thing to do is to try to avoid Gtk3 applications as much as possible.  But that's not how things are currently being advertised....
 
+Theodore Ts'o did you ever try the Adwaita GTK theme to fix your GTK issues? Just apt-get install the gnome-themes package, then go to "Applications Menu" -> "Settungs" -> "Settings Manager" -> "Appearance" and set "Adwaita" under "Style" - GTK3 applications will now look 'normal'. I took this screenshot for you of GNOME-Terminal running under Xfce in Wheezy with Adwaita set as the theme: http://jaysonr.fedorapeople.org/pictures/wheezy.png
 
Hi Ted,

did you try to set the MAC-addresses of the access point in each "BSSID" in Wicd, respectively?
 
+Jayson Rowe Your receipe of using the Adwaita theme worked.  I had previously tried to use the Adwaita theme for gnome-terminal by using dconf-editor, but this apparently didn't work.  I didn't realize that you could set the theme using Xfce's settings->apperance->style menu.  That did work for me.
 
+Oliver Ehlert The issue is that there are 58 different wireless networks visible from where I am currently sitting.  Many of them are due to the fact that there are single AP's broadcasting 4 different SSID's on the same radio channel, so multiple a dozen or so AP's some from my company, and some from the MIT lab upstairs, and anything that involves manually setting MAC addresses or BSSID's is just the Wrong Answer.   What wicd needs to do is to display the wireless networks on a per SSID basis, and automatically roam betewen the SSID's.   If it wants to have an interface where I can manually force the use of one of the dozen AP's which are broadcasting access to the GoogleGuest SSID (for example), fine.  But there should be an interface to do things in a simpler way 99% of the time when the user just doesn't care which AP gets used.
 
After trying Gnome3, KDE, XFCE, Unity, and Cinnamon I have settled on the Mate desktop.   It is a clone of Gnome2.  

It is fairly quick. (perhaps not the quickest out there, but quick enough on my quad core machine)
It looks good
It is configurable.
It does not try to be overly helpful
It runs well either with or without Compiz running.  (My car doesn't have strobe lights, a $3000 sound system and a goofy looking wing on the back and I don't need my computer to either)
Everything pretty much  works as you expect it to without any drama.
It is close enough to Gnome2 that I feel completely at home in it.

Two thumbs up the the Mate developers!
 
+Theodore Ts'o Did you try Gnome Failback Mode (to be choosen on logon with gdm3)? I am working with that now for weeks, works perfect for me, and I don't need to use this ugly new design where I can't find anything anymore.
 
I have no problem learning something new and different, but I also have little interest in learning something beyond a certain point that clearly makes me less productive or that is clearly less effective even with band-aides required to get even basic functionality that all require time to find and make sure they work together, and then any of which one comes to depends on may burst open with the very next update.  No thanks, that way madness lies, this I agree.

Xfce does have huge potential.  There are parts still small missing and borrowed from gnome, like the keyring daemon (another gnome service deamon that can give fits...), a network manager (I presently use wicd), and small fill-in utilities like seahorse.  I also do like the latest Fedora Xfce spin, and Xfce on Debian, but I also liked the Fedora KDE spin too, though in the case of KDE it is more a question of what you do not use rather than in terms of fundamentally broken usability (I disable akonadi and neupoke...). 

The real problem Xfce is facing is what to do about gtk2 and the future.  Migrating to gtk3 has its problems, including, fundamentally, the potential elimination of Xfce as lightweight altogether.  There is also "creative" destruction going on in libgtk3 itself that puts some further doubts for them, too.  They do feel the gnome/gtk3 people are working to purposes that are incompatible with Xfce goals and, like to everyone else, are of course both unapproachable and unresponsive.  The situation is so bad that some in Xfce are thinking of dropping gtk altogether going forward!
 
+Martin Zobel-Helas The problem is that Gnome Fallback mode is not supported, so I don't see it has having any future.  Who knows what will happen 6 months from now when Gnome puts out another release?
 
I'm using roxterm outside a Gnome environment (xfce environment using awesome as window manager) in Debian Wheezy without expiriencing the problems you describe?!? I'm however using UTF-8 as default encoding if that can have something do wo with it?!?
 
Maybe you guys have an answer for this...  I am working with the Raspberry Pi (it uses a branch of Debian Wheezy called Raspbian).  The problem is that there is no easy way to display CP437 (ASCII Art) in terminal.  I've talked to a few people and no one has an answer yet.  Anyone know of a solution?
 
I keep recommending Mate.  I have Gnome3, KDE, XFCE, Unity, Mate and Cinnamon installed on my desktop and I spend 99.99% of my time using Mate.  It looks and works exactly like Gnome2.  It is quicker feeling then Gnome3, KDE, Unity, or Cinnamon, and more complete feeling then XFCE.
Add a comment...