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 and several enhancements are planned for upcoming revisions.
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 on the top left 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://fedoraproject.org/wiki/GnomeShell and http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell
The following wiki pages describe the major changes and explain different workflows.
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 AMD graphics cards, and the intel driver for Intel graphics cards. In situations where properly supported 3D acceleration is not detected, GNOME 3 offers a fallback mode that models the GNOME Shell behavior. 3D support in Nouveau is now available by default and mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package no longer needs to be installed for this.
How do I find applications?
Go to the top left corner to activate the hotspot and then click on "Applications". Alternatively, click on Use the "Super" key (also known as the "Windows" key) or Alt+F1 and start typing the name of the application.
How do I change settings?
Click on user menu on the top right and click on "System Settings". For more advanced preferences, install the gnome-tweak-tool package.
Owen Taylor from Red Hat and one of the primary developers of GNOME Shell explains the rationale here. Minimize and maximize are still available on the context menu if you right click on the window title. You can also maximize by double clicking on the window title. If you want to configure it to be available by default, use gnome-tweak-tool.
How do I shutdown/power off or restart the system?
Hold down the Alt key and click on the user menu. The Suspend menu item on the very end will turn into Power Off.... Keep holding down the Alt key and click on that item.
How do I change the behavior on laptop lid close?
The default behavior when a laptop lid closes is for the system to suspend. This default can be changed (and made different depending whether the system is running on battery or mains power, if desired) using gnome-tweak-tool.
You can also use one of the following commands:
gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power lid-close-ac-action "blank"
gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power lid-close-battery-action "blank"
How do I make the panel display the full date/time?
Use gnome-tweak-tool or use either or both of the following commands:
gsettings set org.gnome.shell.clock show-date true
gsettings set org.gnome.shell.clock show-seconds true
What happened to applets?
Traditional GNOME panel applets are not supported in gnome-shell as explained here. The general design of GNOME 3 puts a lot more emphasis on full applications, instead of squeezing too much into a small strip or space at the edge of your screen. There are however, people working on adding an extension mechanism (similar to firefox extensions) to the shell; the code lives in this git repository. We don't expect this to be available in polished or packaged form for GNOME 3.0, though.
Any existing applets that have been adapted to use the new libpanel-applet will be available in fallback mode. However, fallback is not considered the default mode of operation and will not be actively developed in the future. For more information on applets and transitioning to gnome-shell, see this GNOME wiki page.
Some applets support a -w switch that allows them to run in a dedicated window if needed.
How is multi-monitor support?
Great! Refer to this blog post for more details.
What about themes?
GNOME Shell does not support theming by default. There are extensions that support themes via CSS however. Themes can be changed system-wide or per user. For system-wide theme changes, you can use this third-party tool. For per-user changes, a GNOME Shell extension is available. If it is installed, you can use gnome-tweak-tool to change the themes. Use the following references for a list of popular themes and instructions on using them:
What about hardware/drivers without acceleration support?
For such users, GNOME offers a fallback mode that uses Metacity and GNOME Panel and will work without any hardware acceleration. Fallback mode is automatically activated if GNOME Shell cannot be started. Note that fallback mode is not the same user experience as GNOME 2.x. It follows the user experience of GNOME Shell as much as possible.
How can I force fallback mode?
Click on the user menu on the top right, System Settings => System Info => Graphics and toggle the "Forced Fallback Mode" switch to on.
What happened to the Fedora 14-vintage GNOME shell design?
It was just an experiment that did not work out; it is not part of the final GNOME 3 design.
Where is the desktop?
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.
How I start programs automatically when logging in?
The Shell includes a built in screencast recording function. To activate recording, hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R and a recording icon appears at the lower right hand corner of the screen. To finish recording, hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R again. By default screencasts are recorded in a file named shell-YYYYMMDD-N.webm, where YYYYMMDD represents today's date and N is incremented for each additional screencast.
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
Fedora 15 features the updated KDE 4.6 Software Compilation. The Software Compilation contains three parts:
- Plasma Workspace: What you see when you log in to KDE.
- Applications: Applications maintained by the KDE project.
- Platform: Software that helps the plasma workspace and applications. The platform is not directly visible to desktop users.
- Activities are easier to use. An activity is a number of different applications that open and close at the same time. In Fedora 15 with KDE 4.6, you can add an application to an activity by right-clicking on the window title. You can also manage activities by clicking on the Plasma Toolbox in the top-right corner of your desktop.
- The "Power Management" panel in System Settings is easier to use. The power management program has been rewritten so that it is faster and has fewer bugs.
- The KDE window manager, KWin, has a new scripting interface. KWin detects graphics hardware and adjusts performance to suit your computer.
- You can "pin" open applications to the Task Manager. When you close "pinned" applications, the Task Manager will still show them.
- The Plasma Netbook interface works better with touch-screen monitors.
- Dolphin offers a search bar and "filter" sidebar. Now you can easily search your files with Nepomuk and "Semantic Desktop" tags.
- Kate is available in the kdesdk package. There are many new plugins for Fedora 15:
- GDB (GNU Debugger)
- Add scripts to the menu
- SQL database connection
- Recover unsaved data if Kate crashes
- Gwenview, KSnapshot, and other graphics applications can export photos directly to social networking websites like Facebook and Flickr.
- The platform relies less on other software, so it uses less memory. This is useful for low-power computers like netbooks and smartphones.
- Users can backup the Nepomuk library. Nepomuk is the file indexing and search utility.
- UPower, UDev, and UDisks are used instead of HAL. This change does not affect users now, but there will be more features in future releases.
- You can use the new Oxygen-GTK theme for GTK+ applications. KDE-designed and GNOME-designed applications will look the same when you log into KDE.
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.
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!