Documentation Desktop Beat
Fedora 15 includes GNOME 3. It brings the first major overhaul of the GNOME user experience in 10 years. As with the GNOME 2.0 platform, the GNOME 3.0 release is the starting point for a long trajectory of advances in the state of the free desktop.
The new GNOME Shell is a new way for users to interact with their systems and be productive. The shell features a completely redesigned interface and tools for elegance and ease of use:
- A top bar that provides immediate access to settings, calendar, and major hardware
- An Activities hot corner that provides easy access to all applications and searching, as well as a dock for favorite apps
- Notification improvements, such as messaging support without having to switch context to another application
- Access throughout the shell for keyboard-centric as well as point-and-click users
- A control panel that integrates system and personal settings in one location
- Many other improvements; complete information is available at http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell
There is an excellent upstream wiki page that describes the major changes and explains different workflows. For details, refer to http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/CheatSheet.
The new GNOME 3 user experience requires a video card capable of 3D acceleration. Fedora 15 supports the widest possible range of these cards through free software drivers, including the nouveau driver for NVidia graphics cards, the radeon driver for ATI graphics cards, and the intel driver for Intel graphics cards.
GTK+ 3.0 is also part of Fedora 15, which features numerous enhancements for application developers. Changes in the toolkit include:
- Modernized handling of input devices
- Improved and simplified drawing through Cairo rather than wrappers around old X11 methods
- A new theming API with a familiar CSS syntax
- Early stages of easier application support, such as window tracking and ensuring uniqueness
- and many more improvements.
Users will notice the following changes in the environment:
- The desktop workspace no longer displays the contents of the user's ~/Desktop directory. That directory and its content are still accessible through the Files application.
Advanced users can install gnome-tweak-tool to customize desktop environment.
Fedora 15 sees the introduction of Xfce 4.8. This new release remains true to Xfce's goal of providing a fast, lightweight yet user-friendly desktop environment, while adding a range of new features and incremental improvements:
- Remote share browsing: Thunar, Xfce's file manager, now has support for GVFS, allowing easy remote access to files and folders on Windows shares and FTP, Webdav and SSH servers;
- New Xfce Panel with improved positioning and size handling, alpha transparency, a new item editor and drag'n'drop launcher creation;
- New Panel plugins such as window buttons, which merges the features of the icon box and the tasklist into a single configurable plugin, and directory menu, allowing quick browsing of a folder's tree structure;
- Easy application menu editing with any Freedesktop-compliant menu editor, such as Alacarte;
- Improved multihead display configuration including a quick setup dialog;
- Improved keyboard layout selection - wave goodbye to cryptic langauge/variant codes, and select the keyboard layout for your language in your language!
- And, in the venerable tradition of Xfce releases, a new clock mode - fuzzy clock mode!
- "Activities" is easier to use, because you can now group windows into an activity by right-clicking on the title bar
- "power management" has been rewritten back-end, with 1/10th the previous amount of code. Also, new graphical interface in System Settings
- KWin: performance improvements, better detection of graphics hardware, and other minor usability tweaks, adds scripting interface
- taskbar: can now "pin" applications to the taskbar, like in Mac OS X
- plasma netbook: optimized for better performances with touch-screens
- Dolphin: integrated search bar and "filter" sidebar, to take better advantage of strigi/nepomuk-indexed files
- Kate: available in (whatever) package, Kate has: new GNU DeBugger (GDB) plugin; can add scripts to the menu; new SQL query plugin; recover unsaved data if program crashes
- Gwenview (does this) & KSnapshot (does this): can now export directly to social networking sites
- optimization for use in mobile computing applications (fewer dependencies means less memory)
- nepomuk can now back-up from graphical interface, and synchronize from CLI
- UPower, UDev, UDisks fully-implemented so that HAL needn't be used
- Oxygen-GTK engine allows better integration of GTK applications
Sugar has been updated to the latest version 0.92 in Fedora 15. This version provides major usability improvements for the first login screen and the control panel, as well as new features such as support for 3G networks.