The release of Gnome 3 reminds me that the world is caught up in a relentless pursuit of change for the sake of change. From Bible translations to desktop environments, no one can leave anything alone. Everything must change, even if there's no reason!
I put Fedora 15 on a new machine I'm building, and could not run Gnome 3. The desktop was in "fallback mode". I spent days figuring out that Gnome 3 required 3D hardware acceleration, and I thought my new video card wasn't powerful enough to run it. Turns out that F15 had no driver for this card, and silently installed some bizarre 3D emulation called "llmvpipe" which led me on a wild goose chase. Why can't F15 pop up a dialogue explaining what was going on, rather than silently fail?
After I got Gnome 3 working, the first and most obvious thing wrong was that I can't maximize a terminal window. I always open a terminal window after an install, maximize it, and run F15's update to get the latest packages. Okay, so what's the point of crippling a user interface element that has worked for decades? This isn't change for the better, this is just stupid.
"But you can do this and this and this and get the buttons back." Then Gnome 3 has failed. The maximize button should never have gone away, and if there is some reason to disable it, then disabling it should require the obscure hack. "But you can learn some obscure keystroke." Then Gnome 3 has failed. I shouldn't have to change a user interface paradigm that has worked for decades.
The next problem is the panel is gone. I need the panel. With Gnome 2, I have ten virtual desktops, and often work on one while waiting for something to happen on another (such as waiting for a USB device to unmount or a captcha to pop up). I can look to see if a window has popped up in another virtual desktop. If the virtual desktops are hidden, I can't see what happens. Here, an essential user interface element that sets Gnome apart from other environments has been crippled for no reason.
Gnome 3 "stacks" virtual desktops, but I don't want that. I want all ten desktops in my arrangement. I have certain desktops devoted to certain activities. I want them there from the time I log in, even if I don't use them immediately.
"But you can install this arcane package and get the panel back." Then Gnome 3 has failed. Why cripple Gnome for no reason? If someone doesn't want the panel, provide an option to hide it.
When I use Alt-Tab, I see all the applications on all the virtual desktops, which sort of defeats the purpose of having virtual desktops in the first place.
How do I change the system font? I can't! If I wanted a user interface I couldn't change, I'd use a Mac. Why intentionally cripple this?
"But you can go into the config files or install some obscure control panel." Then Gnome 3 has failed. What's the point in having a desktop environment if I have to hack configuration files?
I think the backlash is going to build against Gnome 3 over the next few months as people try to use it, and realize that it's crippled for no reason. People like me who have spent a decade or more using Gnome are going to look for alternatives like KDE. Gnome 3 is going to have to go back to Gnome 2's feature set, or just go down in flames. I've always stuck with Fedora, because IBM's server products for developers run well on it. I might have to think about some other Linux distribution.
If Gnome 3 was an improvement, I would be all for change. If the Gnome 3 developers wanted to add an "Activities" option to the menus, that would be fine. But why go in and cripple a working desktop environment for no reason?
Will the Gnome developers listen to the users who hate their new crippled desktop environment, or will they ignore us and go down in flames?
(There is also no way to shut down the computer without opening a terminal window. Why cripple something this basic?)
Too late for me, I have no choice but to reject Gnome 3 as I am one of those who can lug a laptop using a Linux distro to work in a fortune 500 corporation. I am amazed by the amount of functionality that has been deliberately stripped out. As other folks have observed, a PC is NOT a smart phone or a tablet.
I'm going to slog my way through getting Gnome 3 to work for me, but as I plan to say when I post my own 'blog entry, I think that Gnome 3, as configured, could plausibly kill Fedora as itself a platform for personal computing.
Most users, even without recognizing that the programmers behind Gnome 3 want them to fit themselves to it, rather than to have it fit to them, are going to reject it.
For my part, because I have a long-standing commitment to Fedora-based distributions, and do appreciate some of the enhancement in other dimensions of FC 15, I'm doing the requisite hacking to unfoo the new shell, for now.