my Gnome3 experience

I have been avoiding updating to a newer version of Fedora for a while now, mainly because I have been very hesitant about the new Gnome3 desktop environment. Recently I took the Fedora 18 plunge and this post contains a couple of tricks and tips I learned along the way.



Gnome3 is drastically different from the traditional Linux desktop. It evolved from the gnome shell project and tries to reinvent the user experience. It seems like now-a-days everyone is trying to mimic the mac experience, especially since traditional desktops are being replaced more and more with tablet like devices. Gnome 3 jumps right on the bandwagon. Most users are very turned off by this direction, including myself, however I have discovered there are a couple things you can do to make the experience less irritable.

The first thing you can do is add Gnome Extensions. Gnome extensions help make the overall experience more enjoyable, and are actually pretty easy. Just point your web browser to, then browse and install the available extension. The extensions web page is interactive and once you click on an extension its installed and controlled right form the browser. The screen shot below shows what it looks like and some of the extensions I am currently using.

Another tip is you can install the gnome tweak tool. This tool is a quick way to get some level of customization. One of the biggest complaints I have heard from users about Gnome3 is its lack of customizeability. This tool allows you to do some customization to the gnome3 environment. Some things I enabled with this tool are window minimize buttons and to add the date to the clock, see screen shot below.

To install the tool run the follow command:

# yum install gnome-tweak-tool


The last tip I have is that if you really hate Gnome3 and are looking for something more conventional you can install cinnamon, which is an alternate desktop environment. Cinnamon does not sit on top of gnome3, however, it uses the same libraries, specifically GTK+ 3 library, and is a good alternative. Once installed you can choose your session, Gnome3 or Cinnamon at login time.

To install cinnamon, run the following command:

# yum install cinnamon


So what are my over all impressions??

At fist I absolutely hated it. I though Gnome3 was very frustrating and I was running cinnamon exclusively. However after talking with some co-workers who seem to be liking it more an more, and who gave me some on the tips mentioned in this blog, I started liking it little more. I now find myself stitching back and forth, however I am spending more time in the gnome3 environment. I think its growing on me.

Actually there are some pretty cool features that I actually like. For example Gnome3 has this desktop view thingy, or the Activities Overview pane as they call it. Just hit the super key, windows key, and all the windows zoom out and you can select your window current window (see screen shot at the beginning of this post). The search feature in the Activities Overview pane is also pretty handy.

Gnome3 also has this auto window size feature, kinda like Windows7. Where if you have two windows open, like do now: a text editor and a web browser, you can grab a window and drag it to the side of the screen and it will auto scale to half the screen. Then you can do the same for the other window on the other side of the screen and you then have two perfect centered windows, kinda cool when working on a small laptop when on the road.

So all and all I think I am staring to like it. I encourage you to try these tips and stick with it for a week or two and see if it starts to grow on you too.


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