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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.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011

Unity and GNOME Shell are more alike than different

I've been spending time each day working in Ubuntu 11.10's GNOME 3/Unity and Fedora 16's GNOME 3/GNOME Shell desktops.

They're more alike than you think. Rather than do things the GNOME way, Ubuntu/Canonical decided to take its own direction with Unity, which is now, like GNOME Shell, built on top of GNOME 3.

They look and work more alike than you'd think.

I find it puzzling. But in a way it makes sense.

The differences between the two environments are small. A click here, a small feature there. But there's a lot of GNOME in both Unity and GNOME Shell.

I know there have been problems with the GNOME Project and Ubuntu, and Ubuntu has an active design team that wants things to look a certain way, which isn't necessarily the way that GNOME designers and developers want them to look.

And Ubuntu is a big project with a huge user base, and the Ubuntu/Canonical team wants more control over the desktop they deliver to their users.

I get it. Yet Unity looks more like a tweak on GNOME Shell (or GNOME Shell a tweak on Unity) than you might think.

I guess that means if you hate one of these desktop environments, you're bound to hate the other, too. I see no way around that.

But if you like Unity, chances are you'll like GNOME Shell. And vice versa.

I'll crawl back under my rock now. Readers, go about your business. Nothing to see here.