Since I could install new enough Ubuntu to easily install GNOME 3.8 and hence use Classic mode, I am now for the last month or so using GNOME shell at work. Now I just got a wonderful new computer with two screens that I just installed the same setup on. And I have to say that there were several things that drove me absolutely crazy yesterday.
- I can’t tell a difference between focused window and unfocused window in the default theme. I kept typing into the wrong window leading to all sorts of bad things happening (sucks having what should go in a terminal being typed into your grant proposal, and then having to hunt it down, or perhaps typing something into your grant proposal and instead typing it into gmail with keybindings turned on and hence archiving a few unread emails that you have to hunt down without actually knowing what they are.) I found a different theme that does the only sane thing of making the title bar really blue when focused and really gray when unfocused, bad thing is, that such a usability issue is only in the tweaks, and that the theme is ugly. Good thing I value actually working over how nice the thing is.
- Printers! I can’t add the printer. Instead of easily adding a printer I get presented with a dialog where I can’t do anything, it lists some random printers usually in other people’s offices. The “community printer” on this floor is not listed. Hmmm … what is the address … I go to the old computer (also with GNOME 3.8) look into printers and I can’t find detailed info about the printer. After about 5 minutes of fussing around I remember to look into the cups text config file. Ahhh … now I have the address of the printer. OK, so how to add it. On the new computer, click “Add printer” and then where do I put in that address. Putting it into the search bar yields nothing useful, pressing enter adds someone’s personal printer. OK fail … After further number of minutes I give up on the gnome printer thingie as totally and utterly useless. OK, but where is the good old (or bad old, but at least somewhat usable) printer setting application. Now my memory is still what it used to be: bad. So I can’t remember it. It doesn’t appear in the gnome-shell, typing “printers” into overview mode only brings up the totally useless gnome version. OK, have to google, after a few minutes I find it. I have to start “system-config-printer” from the command line. There although the interface is also bad, I can actually add the printer. Damnit, about a decade ago in GNOME I could do all this with just mouse clicking. With this new really simple-to-use GNOME I can’t, I have to use command line. To add a printer! This went from bad UI to unusable UI. Not only that, I can’t get to the usable UI from the UI even though it is installed.
- Multiple monitors: GNOME shell does something weird with multiple monitors. It treats the second monitor as sort of “scrap space” that you don’t really use, so there are no multiple desktops, there is no bar on top … I know there is a setting in tweak (the fact that tweak exists is a failure of design to begin with), but the setting doesn’t seem to work. All it does is to make the extra monitor slide around, but there is still just one desktop on the extra monitor. It feels like this was designed by somebody using the second monitor as a presentation display for a laptop or some such. It doesn’t really make sense for a two display workstation.
- The status menu is now easy to miss and skip by mistake into the second monitor.
- The overview mode active corner is really damn annoying. I keep going into it when wanting to press the back button on the browser. Fitts law fail!
- No more categories in the shell overview. Good thing there is the menu on top in classic mode. I don’t search! I click! Mostly because I can’t remember what to search for. Looking through a list of ALL application sorted by alphabet is rediculous.
- evince keeps crashing, and the dbus interface seems to have changed again so my synctex script no longer works. This is really annoying when you have to get something done.
All in all, I am very unhappy so far, and getting unhappier and grumpier by the minute. I think XFCE, for all its suckiness will end up being my work desktop too.