Gnome 3 Divides the Linux Mint Community
Article by George Norman
On 21 Nov 2011
Earlier this month Lead Linux Mint Developer Clem Lefebvre announced that a Release Candidate (RC) of Linux Mint 12 codename “Lisa” has been rolled out to the public. Among the new features Lisa has to offer is a brand new desktop built with Gnome 3 and Mint Gnome Shell Extensions (MGSE). The brand new desktop in Linux Mint 12 RC is a mix of old and new; Gnome 3 makes it feel exciting while MGSE makes it feel familiar, as the Linux Mint team put it.

This Friday Clem Lefebvre announced that based on the feedback received from the Linux Mint community, the introduction of Gnome 3 is dividing the Mint community. It would seem that some Gnome 2 users are concerned that Gnome 3 and MATE (a fork of Gnome 2 that is compatible with Gnome 3 and lets you run Gnome 2 and 3 on the same system) are recent technologies that have yet to prove themselves – Gnome 2 on the other hand is a mature technology that has proven its worth.


The thing is that Gnome 3, Lefebvre explained, is the future and sticking with Gnome 2 is not a good idea. “sticking to Gnome 2 would make the situation in terms of packages and runtime conflicts with both Gnome 3 and Ubuntu completely unmanageable,” explained Lefebvre. “If we were to stick to Gnome 2.32, Linux Mint would no longer be compatible with Ubuntu and you would not be able to run Gnome 3 in Linux Mint. We were one of the last distributions to support Gnome 2, we’re amongst the very few to support MATE and we’re innovating on Gnome 3 to ease this transition and make people feel at home on this new desktop,” he added.

On the upside, the abovementioned MGSE was well received and helped Lisa users migrate to Gnome 3.

Another upside is that the development process of Lisa is going along nicely. Since the RC was rolled out, several improvements have been made. Here’s the list Lefebvre provided:
  • apturl is now fully functional
  • adding PPA repositories was fixed
  • MATE received a critical update to mate-session-manager (this bug prevented MATE to be started from the login screen for i386 users)
  • mintMenu was ported to MATE
  • packages now open with gdebi
  • mgse-menu received keyboard navigation and multiple bug fixes
  • mgse-windowlist was given a brand new look and now looks extremely similar to the Gnome 2 window list
  • mgse-bottompanel now makes it possible to switch between workspaces using the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+Arrow keys
  • Mint-Z now features silver-looking bottom panels, menu and window list which look similar to Mint 11, as well as a new theme called Mint-Z-Dark which features black components and looks like an improvement of the MGSE desktop from the RC release.
  • The ability to open directories as root was added to Gnome 3

For additional information on what Linux Mint 12 “Lisa” RC has to offer, just click
If you would like to get Lisa RC, there are plenty of download links on the Linux Mint blog

Tags: Linux, Linux Mint, Gnome
About the author: George Norman
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