The best of GNOME 3.8

I’m very happy with how GNOME 3.8 is running on my newly installed Fedora 19 machine:

  • Finally, thanks to the new privacy settings, I don’t have to care about the trash anymore. Though that’s arguably a bit less noticeable now that hard drives are 2 terabytes – it’s very hard for me to fill that kind of capacity even if you never empty the trash.
  • Everything feels snappier and lighter on the GPU. I suspect it was Owen’s work [1] [2] with Clutter and compositor frame timing? Or were there also changes in X? GTK? The shell? Thanks to whoever did this. I’m really thrilled at the prospect of a Wayland-based GNOME by default. I’m fed up with our current stack (and so should you).
  • At last, searching in the shell doesn’t feel like running through a swamp with 100 kg weights attached to each thigh.
  • Evince now searches pretty fast and doesn’t lag even when searching through my torture test (a 35 MB, 5219 pages document…). Though that might also be a side-effect of having some insanely more powerful computers these days compared to when I initially filed a bug about it in 2008. Also, Evince finally had a UI overhaul. I find it pretty sleek.
  • No need for the GNOME Shell “native window placement” extension anymore. The new proportional window sizing & placement algorithm for the overview mode is what I’ve been waiting for.
  • The GNOME initial setup assistant (on first login) is very sleek. Also, it now offers you an “in your face” introductory video and quickstart guide, pretty cool (except the video’s aspect ratio shows up wrong on 4:3 screens). Somebody took my suggestions to heart it seems :)
  • GNOME Disks keeps impressing me with each new version. Such a great app. Fantastic user experience and reliability. It is also now my official way to easily create liveusb sticks that work everywhere (using the “Restore Disk Image…” gear menu item).
  • I’ve heard rumors of Evolution 3.8 being much more solid. We’ll see after extended use. I’m already happy about the fact that it properly handles HTML email background colors even with dark themes now.
  • Rhythmbox had some pretty bold UI design changes. A bit surprising at first, but the changes seem to make sense (and there are some bugs [1] [2] [3] but that’s life). To put things in perspective, it’s not as drastically minimalist as my own music player that I hacked together with a few lines of Python as a proof of concept :)
  • The GTK file chooser finally remembers the position of its sidebar! You have no idea how much things that don’t remember their position/size annoy me in general.
    • Next up on the list of biggest annoyances: filechooser icon view with thumbnails. Do you know C? Feel like helping our pal Federico fix the GTK issue with the most highly visible impact on user experience of the whole ecosystem? You know what to do.
    • Shameless plug for pixel pushers living on the edge of GTK lands: can you take a look at this proposed icon patch and see if it works for you?

TL;DR: GNOME 3.8 is like a much needed breath of fresh air. Me gusta.

Now if someone has an explanation for this visual glitch that occurs specifically only with gnome-control-center and the (rather new and immature) radeonsi driver… I’m not even sure what (and where) to file this bug on:

2013-07-04

10 thoughts on “The best of GNOME 3.8

  1. “The GNOME initial setup assistant is very sleek (though it seems you must absolutely not create a regular user account beforehand using the Anaconda installer, as it will not be visible to the gnome setup assistant and it does not let you proceed without creating a user account!).”

    What? I tested that, multiple times. If you create a user during anaconda, then g-i-s will run in its ‘post-user-creation’ mode after you log in as that user. If you don’t create a user during anaconda, then g-i-s will run it its ‘user creation’ mode on first boot. Both paths are perfectly sane.

  2. Oops, let me guess, you guys fixed that only between the beta and the final release right? Yay, that’s even better!

    I recall seeing that problem last week (when a colleague of mine clean-installed using the beta image, while keeping his home partition), sorry about letting that stale observation sit around in my blog post.

  3. What really impresses me from GNOME 3.8 is the Nautilus Search. It is great, it gets exactly what I need. Results could be organised better, though. But it’s fast and good.

  4. I upgraded my main computer yesterday and actually for me the first impression is that the 3d animations are much less smooth. It’s an older (~2008 iirc) core2 with the intel GPU from the motherboard, and it was smooth with 3.4 and 3.6, not so anymore with 3.8.

    i hope there’s a way to turn off the smart frame sync work.. it is workable but it’s annoying as i know it used to be perfect before.

    otherwise i see many little bugs which were annoying me seem to be fixed, great thing.

    • I hope there’s a way to turn off the smart frame sync work

      This has nothing to do with the animations of the shell itself. It is about coordination between rendering of applications and the compositor.

      Why it is slow for you is a different story hard to tell from a report that just says “its slower”.

      • Thanks for the information.

        Is there any tunable that i may reach using gconf, dconf or anything like that to try and experiment?

        • No. If we had a “make everything faster” setting why would we not enable it by default? ;)

          Your best bet is to find out where the slowness is. Install debug info, sysprof and run it.

          File a bug with the sysprof result.

          • well i was thinking maybe it’s hardcoded to 60fps and i can change it to 30fps for instance.

            i’m not sure sysprof would help, i think it’s 3d related, related to the GPU not the CPU i guess.

            Btw my GPU is intel G33, openGL 1.4… Old I know, but as I said on 3.4 and 3.6 i was smooth as butter.

          • i’m not sure sysprof would help, i think it’s 3d related, related to the GPU not the CPU i guess.

            Still sysprof would show which gl commands take a long time.

  5. What really impresses me from GNOME 3.8 is the Nautilus Search. It is great, it gets exactly what I need. Results could be organised better, though. But it’s fast and good.

    Yeah, I filed bug 703629 about the need for better organization (more contextuality) in Nautilus search results (should have filed this months ago but I was lazy I suppose).

    for me the first impression is that the 3d animations are much less smooth. It’s an older (~2008 iirc) core2 with the intel GPU from the motherboard, and it was smooth with 3.4 and 3.6, not so anymore with 3.8.

    Strange, I did have the opposite feeling… as well as on newer computers and my non-optimized radeonsi driver, GNOME 3.8 felt smoother on a Thinkpad X61 (core2 duo, Intel 965 graphic chipset I think – but then, this is already much more powerful than a i915)…

Comments are closed.