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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Sat, 28 Jul 2012

Read 'An opinion on the future of GNOME' at Fewt.com, including the comments

It's no secret that full reimagining of desktop environments in Linux/Unix can make people unhappy. It happened with KDE 4, and it's happening with GNOME 3, too. I wasn't around, but I've been told that the transition from GNOME 1 to 2 wasn't without its bumps and lumps.

Read 'An opinion on the future of GNOME' at Fewt.com, and don't skip the comments. It'll give you a bit of an idea about what users think.

As for what I'm doing about GNOME 3, I'm still in the evaluating it, not committed yet stage. I recently upgrade my Debian Squeeze laptop (with GNOME 2.3x as the only desktop environment) to Wheezy, the current (yet frozen) Testing branch. It upgraded to GNOME 3.4.x, and I added Xfce 4.8.

I'm switching between the two environments -- GNOME and Xfce -- and I haven't decided to stick with one or the other. I've run both for years on various systems, and it's been nice to seen the improvements in Xfce over that time.

In my view there's a lot to like about GNOME 3, but the whole GNOME Shell Extensions ecosystem is a bit of a mess -- I don't know what's good, what works with my version of GNOME 3, what's crap, etc. That said, I'm using the gnome-shell-extensions package from Debian with either one or two Extensions downloaded from the GNOME site.

If past performance is any indication, the whole GNOME 3 uproar will settle down as the software matures -- just like with KDE 4.

I still like Xfce and might very well continue using it. I'm OK with the Thunar (I thought I would use Nautilus, even in Xfce, but I don't really have to), and I finally broke down and added Gigolo because Thunar can't save a bookmark to an FTP site. I still use Gedit for most editing tasks, Mousepad being a little too spartan, and I won't be giving up Totem (though I am using VLC more and more) or Rhythmbox (ditto with the Decibel Audio Player) or gThumb (though I'm using the GIMP more than I ever did).

As I've written in the past, GNOME 3's 3D effects do take a toll in terms of CPU load, but GNOME doesn't "hold on" to those cycles. I get a spike when I do something on the desktop, but once the operation is done, GNOME gives that CPU back for the rest of my computing tasks.

It's still an open question in my mind whether or not the GNOME Shell way of working makes me more productive than the more traditional paradigm of GNOME 2 and Xfce. If the answer is yes, that's the way I'll go.