Going from Gnome2 -> Gnome3I've been using Gnome2 and Compiz for years. I've grown used to it and have customized it to my liking. But software moves onward and Gnome3/Gnome shell has been around for a while and running the old Gnome2 with Compiz required installation of fallback session software, etc. It's time to move forward. And I'm not against change but either there's a lot of functionality that I have lost or it exists in Gnome3 and I can't find it. I need a "Gnome3 for Gnone2 users" website.
So I'll list them here and ask around and perhaps come back here to post my solutions to the problems listed below.
- Configuring Application Shortcuts: Perhaps the biggest thing I miss is configuring application shortcuts in gnome-panel. I used to have app shortcuts for various applications and things I frequently do. I had shortcuts for Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird as well as things like invocations of gnome-terminal for a local terminal, but also for terminals that ssh to my laptop or my server in the cloud. I also have shortcuts there that merely execute a script like screensaver.sh or lightsout.sh which are bash scripts that either invoke the screensaver or turn off the screens. I had shortcuts starting nautilus on various different directories like /tmp, /Videos, /Music, /Pictures, etc. In Gnome3 I can "Add to favorites" which will put them in the dock but all that does is launch the application, not launch the application with some specific parameters. I don't see how I can add to the dock a button to run a script. Also, I'd prefer multiple "icons", one for each terminal that I start, etc. Instead, I get one button and must right click on say Terminal then select New Window which gets me a new local terminal, then ssh mars to ssh to my laptop. Contrast that with one configured button that you simply click on.
- Lack of an application menu: There is no application menu that you can use like a Start button in Windows to find and launch applications. Additionally, when you install something new (e.g. Zoom) how do you then launch it? Sure I can hit the Super key and type zoom and then I guess "Add to Favorites" so it will be in my dock but I can't put everything there. And having to hit many more keys and remember hows to search for and quickly find things is a loss of productivity. Having a menu is hierarchical and makes intuitive sense if well organized.
- Global menu/top bar: I dislike the Apple-like "one menu bar for all applications" that all applications must use. For one, having two large monitors in UHD resolution, having to swipe a mouse all the way from the lower right corner of one monitor to the upper left corner of the other monitor just to access the menu is just plain dumb. How do I turn this off?
- Minimize application on the second click: In Gnome2 if you click on the application's icon it will normalize. Click it again and it will minimize. In Gnome3 you can click all you want but it won't minimize.
- Lack of configurability: Seems the trend is to dumb down the interface for the newbies. But along with that goes a loss of functionality. Case in point, there doesn't appear to be a way to resize the global menu on the top. There are icons that get put in there from applications like Dropbox, Livepatch, Google Hangouts, Clipit as well as things like the Network Manager and Logout multi-button. The icons are tiny on my monitor and I'd like to make that top bar larger. No way to do it. Easy to do in gnome-panel. I can also configure the gnome-panel to be transparent, something I really like. Similarly, with the dock, no way to configure anything other than add/remove favorite. And there's no way to add to the dock without first running the app then pinning it.
Speaking of lack of configurability, my mouse pointer is also tiny. How can I make it bigger? No easy way.
I installed gnome-tweaks because the default settings app lacks a lot of things. Here are some of the things that gnome-tweaks gives me that I can't find in the settings app:
- Appearance: I can change the theme, cursor, icons, and sound as well as backdrop and lock screen. And while I want to change my mouse cursor to be larger, I can only select the mouse cursor in the theme. So now I have to be a theme create just to resise my mouse cursor?!?
- Fonts: At least I can set the fonts in use and the size being used here. Without gnome-tweaks I'd have no way of making my fonts larger. I can also set the Scaling factor which helps immensely.
- Keyboard & Mouse: Ah yes! Emacs input. That's much better!
- Startup Applications: Yes! I have several startup applications. Note there's also gnome-session-properties and after all, who wouldn't associate startup apps with gnome-session...
- Top Bar: Allows me to set things like the clock, date, and seconds for the top bar's date-time thing. Don't see how I can set this otherwise.
- Window Titlebars: Let's me set what happens when I click on a title bar as well as what buttons I want there.
- Windows: There allows me to set many things I like like detached modal dialogs, turning off Edge Tiling,, and most importantly, getting Focus on Hover (I hate Click to Focus!)
- Workspaces: In Gnome2 I could right-click on the application's icon and select Appear in all workspaces. This functionality appears to be missing in Gnome3. In Gnome2 if I attempted to move a window off the right-hand side it would bump into the next workspace. This is gone now.
- Desktop: I like to use my desktop as a temporary area or a very visible mess of things I'm working on. So if I have say a PDF that I need to read or some research I need to get back to and have a few links I want to temporarily save I'll put them on the desktop. Then I am reminded to get that done in order to clean up my desktop. Also, some others offer the ability to put things on your desktop. For example, if you want to install the new YouTube Music app (go to https://music.youtube.com and there'll be a little icon on the right in the URL bar that says install YouTube app) and it'll put an icon on your desktop oddly named chrome-cinhimbnkkaeohfgghhklpknlkffjgod-Default.desktop. OK, I can rename that. But what does it do? Nothing really. It opens up this desktop file in an editor instead of running the application!
I can't drag and drop a URL from Chrome onto the desktop - nothing happens. I can try to drag and drop a URL into a Nautilus file manager focused on ~/Desktop but I get "Drag and drop is not supported - An invalid drag type was used". I can drag and drop a file to the desktop but only to another Nautilus file manager focused on ~/Desktop. I can't drag it to the actual desktop. It just rubber bands back to it's the original location. However a copy from Nautilus the right-click and paste on the desktop works. A drag from the desktop back to the Nautilus windows also fails but a cut and paste works. Didn't anybody test these things?!? Totally inconsistent and broken IMHO.
- Keyboard Shortcuts: There doesn't seem to be a way to configure keyboard shortcuts. Yeah you can add your own but you cannot see what any of the predefined ones actually do nor can you change them. You can only assign a different key combination or disable them.