Note to self – don’t report bugs in GNOME shell!

By reporting the bug about how hard it is to resize windows on any edge, they’ve decided to fix it by dropping the ability to resize windows [edit: resize using the border]!

FFS, I’m going to switch to xfce this weekend.

Edit #2: Colin is right that you should report bugs in GNOME, GNOME shell and all other Fedora programs.

This doesn’t change the fact that I find GNOME shell to be pretty annoying and unintuitive after using it for 18 hours, and I’m thinking of switching to xfce. I feel GNOME doesn’t want users like me.



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23 responses to “Note to self – don’t report bugs in GNOME shell!

  1. Hmm? No, that’s just not true; you can obviously still resize windows for non-gtk3 applications, in multiple ways (via the border, and via Alt-Middle Click, Alt-F8).

    I appreciate your frustration, but what you’re saying just isn’t accurate.

    • rich

      The proposed bug says that they want to drop border resizing (original bug title was “drop border resizing”, although it has just been changed a couple of minutes ago to “One pixel of border resizing is frustrating for user”). So it is or it is not proposed to drop the feature where one can resize on any border or corner using the mouse?

      • Hi Rich,

        The current state is not going to change for 3.0, we agree it’s a bug (and I personally find it frustrating too!). If you read further down, there are other approaches under consideration besides dropping the pixel border.

        But even if the pixel border was dropped, that does *not* equate to “dropping the ability to resize windows”, because:

        1) We ship a lot of applications that have a resize gripper
        2) For those that don’t, you can still resize in multiple ways as mentioned via Alt-Middle Click or Alt-F8

        And most importantly, we appreciate the bugs, and I definitely don’t think you should be generalizing from your frustration about this particular bug to reporting bugs to us as a whole, particularly for other people. Thanks!

  2. ice scream

    They’ve not “decided to fix it by dropping the ability to resize windows”, but ” remove the ability to resize a window by the 1px border”. The proposal is to keep the bottom right corner to resize. And they have another proposal.

    I hope that the form of your affirmations are an error, not voluntary.

    • rich

      Keeping just the bottom right corner is one of the things that sucks greatly about Mac OS X. I hope the other proposal is “make the borders and corners all usable for resizing all windows”.

  3. Ray

    Did you see comment 1:

    In future we might create an overlay on the focused window while is held that indicates better than the window is resizable (similar to selected
    objects in a graphics editor get this bounding box overlay).

    I don’t think anyone is trying to take resize away. Just trying to fix broken-hard-to-use resize.

    • rich

      It sounds a very good idea, if I’m understanding correctly.

      Edit: the text editor on the blog ate <super> in your comment, and in the original comment it also says that <super> must be held down. This isn’t discoverable.

      Are GNOME doing real usability testing? I don’t believe it’s being done, because I found GNOME shell to be very unusable. Particularly the virtual desktops which confused the hell out of me for a long time — I suggest for this just copying the Mac OS X “Spaces” features wholesale because it’s beautifully intuitive, even my wife can use it which is saying something.

      • Leif

        It’s rather unfortunate that workspace management is practically hidden and clunky now. And once you discover that the vertical workspace layout shown in the Activities view has actually bled into their real physical layout you will die. So Ctrl-Alt-{left,right} switching no longer work. It’s Ctrl-Alt-{up,down}. C’mon really?

        I like that the shell auto deletes unused workspaces. I think it’d be better though if there was always one extra empty workspace to quickly jump to. “Quick the boss is coming” or simply “I want an empty workspace to Alt-F2 launch an app”. So if I only had “one” workspace then pressing Ctrl-Alt-Right would take me to a fresh workspace. Ctrl-Alt-Right again would wrap me around to workspace “one”.

        I’ve never used spaces on Mac osx, but from a quick youtube it looks pretty sane and discoverable. Should gnome-shell have a workspace overview? Alt-F3 or Shift-Tab ?

        Sadly I feel the shell is half baked. Fedora 15 is the first release ever that I’m holding off on the upgrade.

  4. dbelton

    I too find Gnome 3 shell to be very hard to use and am also looking at switching to xfce. I have been a Gnome user since way back around the Redhat 6 release, but it is time to move on to something else when Gnome starts taking more time to use and really cuts into productivity.
    For me, time is money, so it costs too much to fiddle around with all the crap in Gnome 3 to get my work done.

    • rich

      It’s funny you should post this because I was about to post an update … I’ll do it here instead.

      I just switched over to another laptop, and hence at the same time back to GNOME 2, and it’s clear that GNOME 2 is much better. Perhaps I’m just talking “for developers”, perhaps it’s because I’m more used to 2, but I think it’s something more fundamental.

      GNOME 3 appears to be designed for netbooks with tiny screens — note the oversized title bars, lack of anything discoverable (because it’s all hidden “off screen”), and consequent difficulty in switching and opening new windows. This makes sense when you’re on a tiny screen, but it’s utterly useless for this 17″ monitor. (I understand that multiple monitor setups don’t work yet, which makes sense if the developers don’t consider them important).

      Anyhow as with you, I’m also experimenting with xfce at the moment.

      • I use Gnome-Shell mostly on a 22″ screen and it’s easy to use.

        I’m more productive with Gnome 3 than with Gnome 2.

      • rich

        “provisoirementvotre”, judging by your IP and your comment here, you are a Swiss-based GNOME developer, posting incognito on blogs who criticize GNOME 3. How about you come out and tell us your real identity? You’re Gendre Sebastien apparently, GNOME Shell developer.

      • «“provisoirementvotre”, judging by your IP and your comment here, you are a Swiss-based GNOME developer, posting incognito on blogs who criticize GNOME 3. How about you come out and tell us your real identity? You’re Gendre Sebastien apparently, GNOME Shell developer.»

        Rich, I feel in your comment a lot of hostility and one ounce of paranoia.
        Keep cool man. 🙂

        Looks better: If I’m Gendre Sebastien, I’m not a Gnome Shell-developer. In bugs reports that I mentioned in the comment which you refer, it’s not written «[developer]» or «[Gnome-Shell developer]» on the right of the name «Gendre Sebastien».

        And in this comment, I don’t write «Gnome-Shell is perfect». I pointed some errors. So, if I was a Gnome-Shell developper, I corrected these errors rather than talking about on a blog.

        So, I think it’s more constructive to propose improvement than only criticize. Don’t you? 😉



      • rich

        Thanks for clarifying that.

        Constructive criticism is good. Despite the title of this post I submitted a couple of bugs to RHBZ (both have been forwarded on to GNOME BZ).

        I’ve since switched over the XFCE (and it’s more to my taste), so I probably won’t submit any more bugs in the near future. I’ll be sure to come back to GNOME 3/Shell when I start installing F15 VMs after it is released.

  5. Interesting, I switched to F15 A1 last night, and while it’s a little weird to get adjust and there are some obvious rough edges it’s perfectly acceptable to use on a regular basis, and I think it’s actually much improved from G2—while there are some missing pieces in the perennially tricky 50-different-password-prompt dialogs (nobody does this entirely right, OS X comes closest to coherence but it’s uglier than the good parts of G-S or Vista/7) it’s definitely closer to “coherent whole” than any prior GNOME release.

    To be honest, I think most of the pain is just abandoning muscle-memory that I’ve built up on a decade+ of using more traditional unix-y interfaces. CTRL+ALT+Left/Right vs. Up/Down is the biggest example of this, I think, since distros shipped a 1×4 orientation by default for years—the only interface with a learning curve of zero is the one you already know :-).

    And yes, I’m using it on a 13.3″ Dell, though it’s by no means a netbook.

    (Disclaimers: I’m on PGO, but I haven’t been involved with GNOME in years. I switched from using Ubuntu to Fedora precisely because of this.)

  6. michael t

    Not sure why you’re upset about this. MacOSX doesn’t have resize borders, but just the resize grip. It works very well.

    Window borders are annoying and ugly.

    • rich

      The way resizing in OS X happens cannot possibly be described as “works very well”. It’s extremely annoying and limiting, and personally I don’t care if the alternative is ugly.

      • michael t

        How is using the grabber possibly annoying? It’s a consistent. It’s discoverable. It’s sized well, and easy to grab.

        What I do find annoying is trying to grab the side of a window and missing. Now THAT’s annoying.

        Yes change can be hard. But if UI changes are done well and for the right reasons, people will be comfortable with it very quickly.

      • rich

        I’ve used OS X and found it limiting — that is my personal observation.

        There is one way to resolve these disputes though: Has GNOME actually done any usability testing on real people? I sincerely doubt it.

      • michael t

        When I first started on OS X 3 years ago, I must admit I felt the same way. I felt restricted because I was used to clicking somewhere to achieve my goal, and things didn’t work the same way as I was used to.

        But this feeling went away very quickly, because the grabber is consistant and easy. I don’t think I’ve even thought of this issue since because you just get used to clicking in a slightly different position. After just a few days of use, you get used to it and it becomes a non-issue.

        I feel your pain of change, but I would encourage you not to dismiss something just because it’s different. Give it some time. Have some faith that the Gnome3 guys are working in the user’s interest. And when they come out with a finished product, give it at least a few days of use before flaming 🙂

  7. Sriram Ramkrishna

    What James Cape said. I’m on the marketing team btw just for full disclosure.

    I switched completely, and of course I had some doubts as well.. but for the most part after I stopped thinking about GNOME 2 I started enjoying GNOME Shell. You need to give it a lot more than 18 hours.

    I think as you find GNOME Shel maturing that it is going to be more attractive. I think we can take it to places that traditional desktops cannot and I think that’s the advantage. Yes, we all have to bear some pain about adjusting especially after years of the same interface.

    I remember people complaining about panels and what not.. they liked the way fvwm and the older window managers did things. Heh.

    • Doraemon

      Sriram, after 3-4 years of work GNOME Shell is being more “hated” by loyal GNOME fans at every step taken by GNOME devs; every time we say “why XXX feature was removed”, devs and “marketing” people – ??? – say us “it’s the new model”, and we must assume it because it’s a New Way To Illumination in desktop environments.

      A model that makes harder and slower to change between open apps in a multitasking desktop… Netbooks and phones are rising in number, but usual desktops remain there – and we are the biggest percentage of possible GNOME users -. Many of us uses two or more apps at the same time, and we need to change fast between apps.

      I have tried MANY desktop environments and window managers, even the “strange” – but nice – WindowMaker with the NextStep way of managing windows, and many of them has a fast way of checking your running app instances. As an IT tech, I can assure you that many users don’t know the Alt-Tab key combination,whatever desktop they use.

      In GNOME Shell, if you don’t know thye Alt-Tab method – slower with a moderate number of windows -, you must click in Activities, locate the window in your workspace and click in it to maximize the window. Many users will say “hey! I opened a Window and i don’t know where it went!”. A newbie will throw the shiny Shell inmediatly.

      Ah! Open Activities… Many windows here… What is the program window I want? It’s really intuitive :-(.

      In Windows 7 you click in the app icon and select the windows you want… What’s the difference? You KNOW where to search your window in a direct way, because you clicked that icon first to launch your app. Easy to understand in 5 minutes.

      Unity has a different way of doing things, but more reasonable. If we discard the obvious copy of OS-X Global Menu, positioning the icon dock in a side of the screen is a good idea, very good if you observe that we have a high number of laptops, netbooks and classic computers with widescreens in our ecosystem. And users find their windows there because they see the windows list there. Easy to understand in a few minutes too.

      Sriram, KDE folks wanted to make a revolution too, but they found that users are very reluctant to changes that doesn’t show clearly their “advantages”. For example, look the main menu controversy between the classic style and the new “sliding” style; KDE devs wanted to impose the new style, but they allowed to use the classic menu too, and other implementations like Lancelot; most users accepted the new way, but the classic menu is here even today. Plasma Desktop is another example.

      The new Shell breaks a model of usability matured in many years, and the new “advantages” seem disadvantages today… And what’s bad about a permanent dock or a window list?

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