More GNOME 3 inanity

My friend’s first comment was “how do I minimize all these windows”?

In the brave new world of GNOME 3, there is no minimize button. Why? Here is the thinking behind it. Wow, he asked a whole two people — on the GNOME team! That’s not even usability testing. It’s like he asked for a focus group and no one came …



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27 responses to “More GNOME 3 inanity

  1. ANon

    The problem with the minimise button when there is no taskbar is “where is the program minimised to?”

    Instead of answering that question, they simply decided to remove the button.

  2. To be honest I no longer miss minimize, but the strategies I use aren’t obvious for new users. When I have multiple windows open and I want to get one of them out of the way (aka minimize):

    1. I middle click the app title bar to send-to-back.
    2. Press ctrl-alt-shift+down to move it to another desktop

    • Exactly this. I’ve been using gnome shell for quite a while now and it’s painlessly simple to manage my windows. My only gripe is with alt+tab and I have faith it’ll get better.

  3. The minimize and maximize buttons are only missing on default, they weren’t eliminated completely. You can restore the minimize and maximize buttons using the gnome tweak tool. Minimized windows appear on the launcher and in the ALT + TAB window switcher.

  4. mathw

    I find I have no need for minimise. I just ignore windows I don’t want to use, close them, or send them to another desktop for a while. I only use minimise on Windows, where it’s necessary to get around the lack of (what I think are) better ways to deal with your windows.

  5. My ways around this:
    * Go to the next empty workspace.
    * Middle-click the window to send it back one step in the stack.
    * Go to the overview and pick what I want.
    There is nothing on the desktop anyway, so it is quite a useless gesture. I don’t miss it.

  6. Balaji

    You cannot change the UI so radically and hope all the users would get adapted to it at once. I see no reason why these changes have been done. I understand Gnome 3 was done to improve Gnome 2 but its gone back wards

  7. What do you want to do when you minimize a window? Pick some document or app from the desktop? It is not possible in gnome shell. Switch to another application? It is possible in the overview or via ALT-TAB. So, what’s the point of minimizing applications? I use windows 7 at work, and i don’t need minimize, it’s useless if you don’t store app launchers and documents on your desktop. No offense anyway, just my 2 cents.

  8. I think Balaji has the only reasonably coherent comment on here, from the point of view of either a new/casual user or of someone who has to support and train such users. People are not software-illiterate. There are conventions that nearly every reasonably successful graphical interface has followed for (admittedly) a very long time, and to casually abrogate user expectations without so much as venturing outside the developer echo chamber for opinions and advice shows pathologically gross misunderstanding of real-user needs. (I appreciate and fully agree with the comments made by Linus Torvalds quoted in the Wikipedia page on GNOME; given what he’s discussing, I’d even go so far as to say he was being quite restrained in his opinion.)

    And if the question is “where does the window minimise to“, then I’d say you’ve nailed one of the major, structural defects in GNOME 3, for the same reason.

    I’ll continue to use and support GNOME 2.32 on Linux and BSD systems for as long as that remains viable. After that…I’ll be taking a good, hard look at both KDE (as a “full-stack” desktop environment) as well as Xfce.

    It must be nice to not have to live in the real world.

  9. Barnaby

    Or you can install an extension and get your bottom panel back where it no shows up, minimized. Not that I would expect new/casual users and office workers to do this or find out about it. Which begs the question, in future, will IT departments customize Gnome Shell to a high degree, will they leave it as is and spend days retraining users, or will they drop Gnome for the ordinary people where they are using it now?

  10. john

    Heres my one vote “minimize is not that useful its, prolly missed by those who use windows alot, workspaces are jas plain better, I’m working with a number of new users, mininmize’ never come up..once they’re shown workspaces they don’t even bother to ask!!

  11. I never minimized anything since the days of twm. So, not having a minimize button in GNOME 3 does exactly nothing to me. However, not having a window list is tough.

  12. I use minimize all the time. Workspaces are not an adequate replacement. I often have a dozen or more windows open, with various tasks going. If I minimize them to the window list on the panel, they’re not only instantly there when I want to bring them back, but I have a constant visual index of what’s in use. I don’t have to remember what’s on what workspace and switch to it, nor do I have to juggle workspaces when I need to bring something from one window to another. I just unminimize the windows I need, if they’re minimized right then, and get on with what I’m doing.

    Losing minimize functionality would severely disrupt my workflow.

  13. ch3rryr1p3

    If the lack of minimize was as bloody intuitive as the gnome people ascribe it to be, it wouldn’t even be an issue. People would automatically be using the new schema without even noticing 😉

  14. Balaji

    The whole buzz is not just about minimize and some people go to the extent of talking about adding minimize buttons, but whats the point. Even if i add them, the concept of “Window List” is missing. At the end of the day it boils down to the gnome developers who feel that the given Desktop __should__ be used as such and the users have no right to change it according to the needs but they have every right to change the existing behavior __radically__ in a single release. Last but not the least, the removal of Shutdown option from the menu. I know you could add it back with the extensions, but why should i install something to shutdown my PC 🙂

    • Samuel Kielek

      Shutdown is still there, so no plugin required. It’s just not visible until you press the ALT key.

      • Balaji

        Do you think that’s a good design ? I have not even found a single person who was able to find out that Shutdown exists in gnome-shell and would get activated when Alt key is pressed. Its totally an insane idea. Does gnome-shell give you some kind of a tip or a notification at least that shutdown still exists ? I have been using linux for 10 + years and have used KDE to a good extent and gnome to even larger extent. I couldnt understand head and tail of this shutdown logic

    • If a major version release, for the first time in nine years, is not a good opportunity to introduce __radical__ new concepts, then when is it?
      If you had spent the time complaining about retaining a UI paradigm that’s over two decades old on getting used to the gnome-shell workflow, you’d be productively using it right now without looking back.

      • rich

        No one (not me anyway) has any problem with people trying radical new ideas.

        The problem is when you try radical new ideas and call it “software 3.0”, where “software 2.x” is an established package that many people are using. And then you deprecate “software 2.x” and force half your users to update to it (and the other half to switch to another, equally radical and equally broken system).

        Try out new radical ideas by all means, but start a new project to do it.

  15. Balaji

    Radical new ideas can be tried and it has to be a step forward for sure and not backwards. KDE on the other hand only stability problems and their design as such was not spoiled except with the folder view concept but apart from that KDE’s base remains the same. Gnome on the other hand does weird things like pressing Alt for activating shutdown, giving an option to enable minimize buttons but does not show users where the windows goes when people minimize it, I look @ this as design incomplete

  16. Comodet

    My workflow was more or less the same with gnome 2 as is with gnome 3, just gnome 3 filtered out all the useless junk. If for anybody is a must the minimize button to store hunderts of overflowing windows in taskbar, then use a different DE. That’s it.
    There are other more important missing features like dualhead, multiseat etc. that need attention.

  17. Majorbucks

    What happened to the idea that operating systems are supposed to get better with each new incarnation. The new KDE-4 ruined that desktop for anyone who used KDE professionally. Now, the new Gnome-3 has ruined the Gnome desktop. Ubuntu’s Unity desktop seems to be the only system that makes sense at this time but even it looses many of the convenient abilities of the former version. Guess I will stick to Mint -10 for the time being and as Jeff previously said XFCE may be in my future.

  18. tee

    there is no need to minimize. there is need to prevent all other windows from coming in front actually. that’s extremely annoying when you only want to see your IM contact list, and as it’s narrow focusing on it brings all the other windows/apps in front. this de-concentrates extremely when you really need to work and focus on 1 thing only (e.g. your text editor in which you’re coding and which is not full screen as it would be pretty silly to have it cover all the 22 inches of the monitor).

    so there IS need in minimizing ALL windows unless you use the OS for fun only (thanks god that’s possible in gnome 3. even though not as easy as it used to be).

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