Gnome Shell: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (part 1)

On June 9th 2012 I took a brief spin with Gnome Shell and I wanted to revisit that to see what has improved, or not, since that time. The initial ‘test’ lasted only a day and utilized Fedora 17. In that initial test the dash was missed and as was the ability to minimize applications to a panel or dock. While I liked the dynamic creation of workspaces I found it frustrating to access them by having to go to the left side of the screen and then back to the right side.

This time I will not need my spare laptop drive for anything else, so I will be able to use Gnome Shell for an extended period of time. My intent is to use Fedora 19 and Gnome Shell for at least a week, but the test drive may go longer if needed. This post is simply the first day’s results organized into the good, the bad and the ugly.

I picked the title because it fit, but I am also a big fan of Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of my favorites and not just because it was released the day after I was born.

The Good:
I really like the extensibility of Gnome Shell. I admit that I have not really needed to explore the ability to extend Unity, but there was one extension I really liked. There is an impressive forty-four pages of extensions. While some might be intimidated by that number I find it a positive.

  • Drop Down Terminal – I am absolutely infatuated with this extension. I found it be very useful and spent time looking to see if there is a similar utility that would work under Unity. I found ’tilda’ but did not put extensive time in playing with it yet.
drop down terminal extension

drop down terminal extension


The Bad:
At the same time I still did not find Gnome Shell usable out of the box. The extensions I felt I required to make it usable are:

  • Alternative Status Menu
  • Network Connections Shortcut
  • Places Status Indicator
  • SettingsCenter

There are some other extensions that I felt augmented usability, but would not be required:

  • Media Player Indicator
  • Workspace to Dock

The Ugly:
The lack of a panel applet for remmina would cause me issues on a daily basis and truly disrupt my work style.

starting remmina minimized

starting remmina minimized

remmina minimized menu

remmina minimized menu

remmina search extension

remmina search extension

As you can see from the screen shots above the remmina search extension fails to provide the functionality that the panel applet provided. Given the number of servers I manage that is a feature I would sorely miss if I were to switch.

This was just one day of configuring the environment and attempting to find extensions to mimic the functionality I have grown to like or depend on in Unity. I will be using Gnome Shell and Fedora 19 on my laptop for the rest of this week and will update The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as the week progresses.

This entry was posted in Linux, Ubuntu. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gnome Shell: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (part 1)

  1. Arpad Borsos says:

    The thing I miss most switching from unity to gs is having the shortcuts Super+Shift+N to open a new window of an app, or Super+N to switch to it. Using the mouse to get to the overview is just a pain.

  2. Arpan Patelia says:

    You can try guake terminal as a drop-down terminal. I always use it with ubuntu.

  3. 3rdwiki says:

    +1 ☺ As far as the good the Bad and the Ugly . It’s best viewed in the morning with a cold cup of Juan Valdez from amazon/mexico , **when there’s no mist .** ☻
    Alass ` here it is : | |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s