The release of GNOME 3 was just over 18 months ago, and it’s been an interesting time to say the least for the desktop environment and its users. With complaints centring around usability and the abandoning of the traditional desktop metaphor, the GNOME project says it’s taking this user feedback to heart, returning oft requested features such as the power button on the user bar in the brand new GNOME 3.6.
There are things that GNOME 3 does do well though – and 3.6 carries on this tradition. Keyboard navigation is pretty great, allowing you to press whatever your equivalent of a Windows Key is and search for documents and applications – this is very responsive, and if you know what you’re looking for you can access apps faster than before. Notifications have always been good as well, and there have been a few updates to allow for multiple events, easier dismissal of boxes, and they only show up important notifications when doing something full screen. We even quite like the dynamic workspace, creating new virtual desktops as you start using another.
Unfortunately, there is still so much fundamentally wrong with GNOME, and 3.6 seems to have gone even further out of its way to interrupt or generally slow down workflow. The main problem that has been plaguing GNOME 3 since its inception is navigating with a mouse – everything requires too many actions to perform. In the past, it was going to the hot corner to either go to another open window or workspace, and to open applications just add a few more steps. None of this has been addressed, and in fact has been made worse. Maximised windows now lose the menu bar, so to close them you need to go to the hot corner and do it from there, or right click on the top bar to access quit – both an extra action on top of the very simple one used before. With the GNOME Web Browser, you can’t use the drag feature to return it to windowed mode, instead having to right click the top bar again.
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