Fedora 15 Beta, GNOME 3

Recently, a rather nasty crash caused by the gftp FTP client locked me out of all my files and shut me out of my Desktop. The program is rather ropey and has done odd things to my computer before so I really shouldn’t have been using it.

Still, every cloud has a silver lining and since then I’ve moved to Filezilla as an FTP client (which is a lot better anyway) and become rather less blasé about making backups.

GNOME 3 Desktop – Click to enlarge

As I needed an OS reinstall I also decided to take the plunge and install Fedora 15 Beta. I’d been reading about GNOME 3 for years so I thought it was high time I tried it for myself.

Here are my thoughts so far:


  • I was delighted to find my Trust 5300 graphics tablet works out of the box. No compiling and installing Wizardpen and playing around with settings. This is very important to me as I’m fond of using MyPaint to paint pictures when I’m listening to podcasts. It’s also very useful in conjuction with The GIMP.
  • I was disappointed at first to find that Colour Management was missing, but once added using Add/Remove Software it’s better than ever. Work has been done to make it easier to use and it has had some bug fixes too. Colour Management would be enough to justify my using GNOME3 on my production machine.
  • Firefox 4 is fantastic – I love being able to play HTML5 videos at long last without needing a Flash plug-in.
  • I was surprised that I couldn’t just press Delete in the Nautilus File Manager to remove files. You have to press Ctrl+Delete together. However, I like this better as it makes it much harder to delete things by accident.
  • It only took me about 30 seconds to work out how to use it.
  • It gets out the way most of the time and lets you get on with your work.


  • The most serious problem is what happens when you switch off the computer. For some reason the Shut Down option is missing unless you hold down the Alt key. By default, you can only Suspend, rather than Shut Down your computer. This would be no problem at all if it were not for the fact that Suspend only works about one time out of four for me; Suspend is simply not stable enough to replace Shut Down.
  • You cannot alter how fonts are hinted on screen. This is very irritating as the default settings make text look, frankly, revolting.
  • The weather widget is missing – it showed the current weather, temperature and windspeed. I find that hugely irksome – I don’t mind it not being on the desktop but you should be able to see it when you click on the time at the top of the screen.
  • The title bars on the windows are too tall for no good reason. The whole of the rest of the interface seems to be about conserving vertical space, yet this throws away everything gained by losing the bottom panel.
  • Some dialog boxes are missing close buttons.

The whole system feels very stable indeed and I’m using it on my production machine quite happily even though, really, I shouldn’t be!

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