On GNOME Shell

One thing that came to my mind after the summit was that after John McCann’s presentations on various GNOME Shell topics, people went from the so called ‘gnomeshellskepticism’ to actually start getting it, and by the end of the event most people were using it by default.

A lot is yet to be done to get it to a final state and they seem to have a real vision for it. But it was still bugging me the fact that an explanation of the philosophy and showing some of the features in action made such a difference.

After realizing this I somewhat started to considering that a first login introduction in form of an assistant or a video could make a huge different on terms of success of adoption of the new shell, this approach works pretty well for games, where usually the first time you play it there’s some sort of introduction showing you the basic controls and the interface.

11 thoughts on “On GNOME Shell

  1. Alberto,
    This is a great idea. I’m not sure who might be responsible for this, but at a minimum, I think the Docs team can help play a role as in a way it’s user help.


  2. This is really a great idea. Even if you can’t explain everything a little will already help a lot.
    Just a few bubbles with “Move the mouse to this corner or press Windows key to see the overview”
    “Press this + to add a workspace”
    Once people have done it once the messages should disappear.


  3. I’m a fan of this thought too. It seems like it might be a really good use of a SOC slot next summer, as we get closer to the release date.


  4. Still haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet, but intending to once I get a few things (like a Gnome 2.28 upgrade) out of the way…


  5. in the beta release of moblin 2.0 we had a “bubble” with a mouse cursor on to top right corner saying “move your mouse here to get the toolbar and start exploring”. we changed it so that the “my zone” would always open when the workspace is empty, but the idea that you should help your users to get things done remained. for instance, when the status panel or the people panel are empty there’s an “info bar” pointing you to the web and IM accounts configuration; the media panel will tell you what to do to have content listed in there. those hints disappear as soon as you start using the UI; the idea is that the whole user experience tracks the context and tracks your usage patterns so that it becomes a reflection of yourself.
    I think, given the fact the the GNOME Shell is highly context-aware (the overview, the application tracking) it should also offer these transient hints. it will make it possible to limit the amount of documentation and will bring the users up to speed easily and naturally.


  6. Nice idea Alberto.
    I was playing around with GNOME Shell for the past few hours and came away positively impressed with the ‘stable’ release I was able to pull down from the karmic repositories.
    However, I have some ideas or proposals that I would like to discuss, maybe I’ll even have a shot at implementing some of these, writing use cases, etc. Sadly I wasn’t able to find a place/webpage to expose these ideas so… what’s the best way forward?
    I’m a software developer but quite a n00b in GNOME app hacking
    many thanks in advance


  7. @Santiago:
    I’m not a GNOME Shell hacker myself, but the best way to go would be to go to the #gnome3 channel at irc.freenode.net and ask there for help as there’s no much documentation for the shell yet 🙂


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