Tuesday, 3 August 2010

New Gnome-Shell release ... reminds me of something

Gnome-Shell had an new release published at mid last month. The new release is now dependent from GTK3.0 and at least according to different sources should be more stable and performing - ready for a test drive.

So what is this Gnome-Shell.
Well Gnome-Shell is your integrated window manager, compositor, and application launcher. It uses Clutter canvas as an scene where your GtkWindows are reparented as actors. The main logic behind this is under Mutter, an fork from Metacity.

The architecture is done in such away that the window manager, compositor, and application launcher are tightly coupled together. With this approach there is no need to provide any additional abstraction layers to different WM/CMs or any scene/graph abstraction. Also with this the GNOME guys have the full control of the stack. Because of the architecture Gnome-Shell has been receiving quite a bit of comments especially from the Compiz people. This as the approach will make other WM/CMs live quite difficult.

With the architecture, it is actually funny how it reminds the Hildon 5 architecture - composition with clutter canvas as scene, Hildon desktop integrated appl launcher, desktop integrated Window Manager, etc. and everything nicely coupled together.

As from the user experience,
launching the latest and greatest Gnome-Shell with my Intel 855GM based based device was an extremely slow experience. Gnome-Shell was really unusable. Bit of an Googling revealed that syncing to VBlank might be the root cause for this problem as it is enabled by default. "export CLUTTER_VBLANK=none" seemed to be the cure for this problem. Wonder why this problem... (bit of a debugging might be in place). This trick makes it at least testable.
The main thing that I noted with the Gnome-Shell is that you really want to learn to use the basics - your ALT+F2 key combo. The new Application Area did not at least convince me. Maybe as the usage is going towards more basics it would be time to put the good old Awesome back in use - going really back to basics...