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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.

Fri, 25 Mar 2011

I’m not jumping on Firefox 4 or GNOME 3 just yet

Even though I wrote about where and how to get Firefox/Iceweasel 4 for Debian, I’m sticking with 3.5.6 for now.

I won’t rule out a move to 3.6.x, but I’m going to wait until FF 4 is out in the wild long enough to get a few major bug-fix and security updates.

I’ve been using Chromium more and more, but I still spend a lot of time in Iceweasel/Firefox, and I continue to see a lot of value in a conservative approach to updating software.

The same goes for GNOME 3. It’s going to be in Fedora 16 and Ubuntu 11.04. But from everything I’ve seen/heard, GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell is far from stable, not entirely functional and just … too new for what I consider “production.”

I returned to GNOME with Debian Squeeze after extended use of Xfce in Fedora 13, Xubuntu 8.04 and before that OpenBSD 4.4. I’m a big fan of Xfce, and it’s my “stopgap” desktop environment if things with GNOME 3 don’t work out (and I’m very happy that there have been so many improvements in Xfce 4.8, especially with networked protocols such as FTP/SFTP in the file manager).

But especially under Debian, GNOME 2.x is so quick and useful, I’m reluctant to give it up for the shiny — at least until that shiny has gotten some considerable polish.

Comments from the FlatPress version of this post

Mike Saturday, March 26, 2011 - 00:33:42

I guess I am on the other side, I am running the Fedora 15 Alpha with gnome 3 and Firefox 4. You would be correct that there is quite a bit in features that are missing from gnome 3 but I am enjoying it none the less and find it far more stable than KDE 4.0 was upon it’s release. My wife who uses OS X has actually been using my laptop more and more lately and seems to enjoy gnome 3 quite a bit, more than any of her previous interactions with my linux desktops. I am optimistic that gnome 3 will become as feature complete as gnome 2.32 is in a couple years and over the next couple releases bring back some configurability not present in gnome 3. As for Firefox 4 it is nice to be able to come back to it after using Chrome or Opera over the past year due to shear speed differences. That being said this feels like a release that puts Firefox on the same playing field but doesn’t vault it past the competition. I have hopes though as Firefox is the browser I want to succeed and use more than I currently do.

Emery Saturday, March 26, 2011 - 16:26:59

I’m more inclined to try the new version of anything, provided I can keep the old version running somewhere as a refuge just in case. I admit that all I’ve seen leaves me distinctly unimpressed with what some call the Fisher-Price desktop of Gnome 3, but I’ll give it a go anyway.

As to Firefox 4, I’ve been using it since the first beta (there were 12 of them!) and that sort of eased me into the final one without culture shock.

In general, I have to say that a futuristic field like computers has an awful lot of people who complain loudly any time there is a change in the works!

Kevin Saturday, March 26, 2011 - 16:36:34

I am using FF4 on Debian 6 and so far have no issues. Flash won’t play full screen on either of my laptops but I would not with 3.5 (iceweasel) either.

I tend to use as stable a base system as I reasonably can (based on my limited skills, mostly) but I really want as current a browser as possible and I am willing to give up a little stability in that area to do so.

As for Gnome, I dearly love it (although I have no problem with KDE) but I do not use desktop effects nor do I plan to. The continued focus on visual appeal is ok with me so long as I can turn it all off and have a simple, functional user experience.

Robert Saturday, March 26, 2011 - 20:28:19

Mr Rosenberg,

I imagine you are in the same boat with numerous Gnome and Unity folks. If you want new and pretty Unity and Gnome will be lots of fun; from what I have seen and read; getting real work done is not a highlight of either desktop; I agree with your thoughts on major version upgrade bugs and glitches.

Btw - Google Chrome has become my work horse for browsing needs.

I have been looking for a desktop to try should Gnome and/or Unity fail my needs; from what I read Xfce may be just the ticket. Thank you for the additional encouragement to go ahead and install / try Xbuntu. Xfce may fit into Kevin’s simple, functional. get it done approach as well.

Thank you for the article - good stuff!

kenneth.h Saturday, March 26, 2011 - 22:19:04

Steve, you are absolutely correct in not wanting to just dive-in. It’s to the point where changes are just being pushed on the user versus what the user base wants and it’s not just occurring in the gnu/foss world. I’d used xfce back in the day but at the time jwm/pcmanfm worked well for me, it still does but the usefulness of gnome is pretty cool so I’ve been using gnome for a little over a year. And I’ve not used firefox since version 2 although I’ve used gnuzilla and have it installed but only for certain websites which is rare. I still have and use opera-ppc (again rarely) I’ve pretty much made the switch to Midori.

Hopefully others do not feel alienated that are used to gnome and nothing else — especially newbies..

steven Monday, March 28, 2011 - 19:05:49

GNOME is appreciably fast and very functional. That’s why I use it so much. I like Xfce, Fluxbox, Fvwm2, and JWM with Rox-filer. I even like LXDE and Enlightement.

But GNOME seems to do just about everything I need it to do, and being the default in Debian and Ubuntu it tends to work really well in those particular distributions - and without a lot of configuration attention from me.

steven Friday, April 29, 2011 - 23:47:23

I finally added Iceweasel/Firefox 4.0 and Icedove/Thunderbird 3.1.