How Gnome 3 won me over
There has been much heated debate over which is the best desktop interface for Ubuntu, Gnome or Unity. This post is not going to add on this debate, or state which is more superior than the other, but merely a personal opinion on my switch to Gnome 3.
When I was on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), I immediately fell in love with Unity. I loved the whole look and feel of it, the design is awesome and it certainly gave Ubuntu an advantage over Windows and Mac. Unity was a huge reason to why I moved over from my Windows Vista to Ubuntu as I have posted before.
However, when I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot), Unity was extremely slow for me. And this was something I didn’t experience while using Natty Narwhal. Even Unity 2D wasn’t fast enough for me. I then tried Gnome 2 or Gnome Classic, which was faster but wasn’t visually appealing to me. Not to mention the unorganized desktop. I then installed Gnome 3 or Gnome Shell and was wowed over.
Gnome 3 is just a whole different way of handling a desktop. It is also as visually appealing as Unity. Design wise, it’s great an obviously better looking than previous versions of Gnome. The whole look and feel just makes you want to use it even more.
What really won me over, however, was it’s originality. Yes, Gnome 3 is just plain original. Take a look at other desktop interfaces. Unity looks and feels a lot like the Mac OS X, Windows 7 took a few capabilities of the Mac OS X for example the dock. Gnome 2 although different, reminded me of Windows. Gnome 3 on the other hand is like nothing you have seen before. It offers an incredibly new way to work with your computer.
The Activities Tab is unavailable anywhere else. Who would have thought of that? Putting your favourite apps, windows and workspaces on the same page while still looking organised, beautiful and unique. Keyboard shortcut still remains for switching between workspaces and moving apps to other workspaces, but the Activities Tab gives users a whole new approach (and a much simpler way) to get it done. Unlike Unity, Gnome 3 as workspaces created below each other and not as a window, this therefore gives users an unlimited amount of workspaces instead of limiting themselves to just four.
Furthermore, the way applications are displayed in Gnome 3 as well as the ability to browse it based on categories is much more organised than Unity (I personally find the Unity Dash cluttered, although I love the concept). Not to mention, easier and more visually appealing than Gnome 2. You can also easily search Google and Wikipedia from there – a feature that would come in handy for many. Besides that, on Gnome 3 when you open an application while running another, the application would not just pop up in front of you but instead you get a notification at the bottom of the screen indicating that the app is ready. This is much more useful especially when you are in the middle of another application. A great feature indeed.
Gnome, as usual, is more configurable than Unity – and this fact has been coming to Unity’s disadvantage often. I did a couple of tweaks to my Gnome lately and I love it. It’s amazing the amount of Gnome Shell and icons themes available out there. On a personal note, I think my Gnome is just very personalized at the moment, even more personalized than Unity could ever be.
Another great thing about Gnome 3 is Global Menu. Global Menu is a completely new and original way to deal with applications. This isn’t available on other operating systems (and also not available on Unity). It makes the windows look less clutter, and puts all options in a box that is easily accessed. I just love it.
At the moment, I’m constantly showing off Gnome 3 to loads of people – especially the non-Ubuntu users. It’s won me over for one small but meaningful reason – Originality.
Please do share the reasons you love Gnome 3 or if you feel other versions of Gnome or Unity is better.