What I love about Gnome 3

Dec 12, 2011


There has been a lot written about Gnome 3 in the past half a year. People do not like change, and the fact that we now have Unity, Gnome 3 and KDE 4 leaves many people wanting their fucking old desktop back. I tried Unity for a few months, didn’t really get used it. In this article, I would like to focus on the positive part of my Gnome Shell experience (with Ubuntu 11.10).

It stays out of your way

  • Instant messaging notifications only peek at you at the bottom of the screen. You can also easily answer them from there instead of going into IM mode.
  • There is nothing constantly reminding you of the programs you should have running, like a dock or an application bar.
  • When switching between applications, it respects your workspace and only shows you the apps you need. Still doesn’t prevent you from switching.

Multi Monitor Support

I use two monitors where I use one for “working” and the other one used for occasional documentation or just to host my jukebox (see screenshot). Unity for example insists on splitting my second monitor onto workspaces. I never ever use workspaces for my second monitor, I find it confusing.

Plays nice with Games

I occasionally play Heroes of Newerth, a DoTA style game on my Linux machine. I simply start it from a new workspace and Gnome 3 plays very nicely with it; I get OSD notifications and can easily switch over to my browser or whatever by using ALT+CTRL to navigate workspaces.

It’s extendable

I have a pomodoro timer, time tracking and weather extensions on my Gnome 3 desktop. They recently opened a new website where you can download all the latest extensions.

It is still Gnome

  • It’s clean. Doesn’t clutter you with too many options, but still offers the ones that matter.
  • It’s pretty, or can be.
  • Focuses on you getting work done.

It took me a while to start loving it, but I can’t imagine going back. Your views may differ, feel free to share them below. Other excellent resources on Gnome 3 include WebUpd8.