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GNOME Shell No Longer Requires GPU Acceleration

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the mutter-mutter-mutter-harumph dept.

GNOME 237

An anonymous reader writes "The GNOME 3.0 Shell with the Mutter window manager no longer requires GPU acceleration to work, while still retaining the compositing window manager and OpenGL support. GNOME Shell can now work entirely on the CPU using the LLVM compiler via the Gallium3D LLVMpipe driver. This will be another change to Fedora 17 to no longer depend upon the GNOME3 fall-back, which is expected to eventually be deprecated and further anger GNOME2 fans."

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237 comments

Software GPU Emulation (5, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967378)

Is slow. I'm not sure that this is an advantage.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967480)

Don't worry Gnome-shell is already slow. Terribly slow. Unbelievably slow. Unusably slow. I could give a load of other adjectives, but I think you get what I mean. The target devices (netbooks and tablets) usually can't handle it, and even proper desktops struggle...

GNOME is a study in how to not architect software. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967614)

GNOME is a perfect study in how not to architect a software system. Everything about it is wrong.

The first mistake they made was trying to cobble half-assed object-oriented support onto C, rather than just using C++ or Objective-C. Everything about GObject is stupid and counterproductive. It makes writing code a real pain in the ass, since you need to use typecasting macros all over the place. Worse, this sort of code promotes library design that's slow and inefficient. To make it even worse, this style of C code is so convoluted that it is not optimized well by compilers, resulting in binaries that are far slower than they should be.

It basically goes totally downhill after that. This bullshit with GPU acceleration being required in the first place, and then this additional bullshit involving LLVM, is yet another in a long list of flaws and horrible decisions.

I encourage all of the developers that I mentor to use GNOME and to get a good look at its internals. I just make sure that they know not to do what GNOME has done. By seeing the mistakes firsthand, it's less likely that they'll repeat them in the future with the software that they create.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (1, Redundant)

zixxt (1547061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967688)

GNOME is a perfect study in how not to architect a software system. Everything about it is wrong.

The first mistake they made was trying to cobble half-assed object-oriented support onto C, rather than just using C++ or Objective-C. Everything about GObject is stupid and counterproductive. It makes writing code a real pain in the ass, since you need to use typecasting macros all over the place. Worse, this sort of code promotes library design that's slow and inefficient. To make it even worse, this style of C code is so convoluted that it is not optimized well by compilers, resulting in binaries that are far slower than they should be.

It basically goes totally downhill after that. This bullshit with GPU acceleration being required in the first place, and then this additional bullshit involving LLVM, is yet another in a long list of flaws and horrible decisions.

I encourage all of the developers that I mentor to use GNOME and to get a good look at its internals. I just make sure that they know not to do what GNOME has done. By seeing the mistakes firsthand, it's less likely that they'll repeat them in the future with the software that they create.

Mod AC up hes his spot on...

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967788)

Thanks for quoting the entire post to make your six-word response.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968078)

Thanks for quoting the entire post to make your six-word response.

Mod AC up hes his spot on...

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968084)

Thanks for quoting the entire post to make your six-word response.

It was useful for the poster to quote the entire post because many of us often filter out all posts by Anonymous Cowards. By filtering out the ACs, you avoid a lot of crap and frosty pisses and enthusiastic racist name-calling.

It was an insightful post by someone who didn't care to create an account, even though it's very easy to create an account and Slashdot is very good about not misusing our email addresses. By quoting the good post in full, the GP performed a service to the community.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968140)

Except that anyone who sees the non-anonymous (nonymous?) reply can just click on "Parent" to see the original post.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (2)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968252)

And see a frost piss post...

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968684)

It's for search engines. Microsoft has an extensive campaign going to try to discredit every major open source project. This is how they do it.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (1)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968952)

yes because racist name calling is just so horrible compared to other kinds, that supposedly more mature people can't help throwing adolescent fits over it.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968392)

Except that architect isn't a verb. The word is design.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (5, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968788)

Who says it's not a verb? The Oxford English Dictionary lists it as having been a verb since at least 1818, and as being more specific than "design".

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967710)

GNOME is a perfect study in how not to architect a software system. Everything about it is wrong.

The first mistake they made was trying to cobble half-assed object-oriented support onto C, rather than just using C++ or Objective-C. Everything about GObject is stupid and counterproductive. It makes writing code a real pain in the ass, since you need to use typecasting macros all over the place. Worse, this sort of code promotes library design that's slow and inefficient. To make it even worse, this style of C code is so convoluted that it is not optimized well by compilers, resulting in binaries that are far slower than they should be.

Nonsense. GObject gives you multi-language bindings for free and if you're just an application developer it only makes your life easier. You can develop GNOME programs in C++, Python, Java or whatever suits your tastes.

I don't think the overhead resulting from using C is substantial at all. Maybe you get more overhead than C++ by always using virtual calls but that is offset by not doing C++ magic like unnecessary constructor/destructor calls. You'll have to back this up if you want me to believe you.

It basically goes totally downhill after that. This bullshit with GPU acceleration being required in the first place, and then this additional bullshit involving LLVM, is yet another in a long list of flaws and horrible decisions.

I encourage all of the developers that I mentor to use GNOME and to get a good look at its internals. I just make sure that they know not to do what GNOME has done. By seeing the mistakes firsthand, it's less likely that they'll repeat them in the future with the software that they create.

I'm not a fan of GNOME and I agree that they are headed in the wrong direction, but the problems are not at all due to GObject or C. Cut the FUD when you criticise GNOME next time.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968058)

Not the GP, but what he's saying is far more true to my experience than what you're saying. I don't think the GP's comment is spreading FUD, either, but just a truth that many GNOME'ers don't want to hear.

Have you ever tried to use the GObject bindings for other languages? The Python bindings are the only ones that aren't terrible, but they weren't that good either. The rest were very incomplete, very outdated, or didn't exist at all. The theoretical benefits or capabilities of GObject are worthless if we can't use them in practice. I've had a lot more success with interoperability between Java, Scala, and Clojure than I ever have had with any GObject-based code. The same goes for .NET when the languages are C#, VB.NET and F#. Those all work seamlessly with almost no effort, while GObject needs a lot of hand-holding and even then it often just doesn't work.

What the GP says about some C compilers not doing a good job optimizing unusual C code is correct, too. I used to work on a compiler that generated C for a proprietary OO language and this artificial C code confused the optimizers of several popular C compilers. We got much better performance when we wrote our own native back-end. So I could totally see some of GNOME's bad performance being caused by this.

Also, KDE is very good evidence to back up the GP's claims. It's comparable in size and complexity to GNOME, but is written using C++ instead of C. On every computer I've ever used, KDE has been a lot faster than GNOME. It is also a far nicer environment to work with when you're writing code. OO programming is more natural in C++ than it is in C using GObject.

Don't write off the GP's comments as FUD. There's a lot of evidence to show that they're real problems.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968248)

Same'd.

Try to *look* at code you're talking about, OK? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968828)

GObject or C++ or scripting language or whatever - function call overhead is negligible compared to all that work (and make-work) which a typical API function of a typical GUI widget is doing. When for other coders several years ago those same APIs, libraries and languages, and *worse* optimizing compilers, worked perfectly well on 10, and even 100, times less powerful hardware - trying now to blame other coders' ineptitude on GObject, GTK+, C compiler, X server, or whatever, is nothing but pathetic and idiotic.

The tools may be imperfect, but writing good and fast code with them is perfectly possible - *if* a coder knows what he's doing. If GNOME authors wrote a slow monstrosity, it is their own failure and no one else's.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (2)

nej_simon (2441972) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968040)

It basically goes totally downhill after that. This bullshit with GPU acceleration being required in the first place, and then this additional bullshit involving LLVM, is yet another in a long list of flaws and horrible decisions.

Err.. The llvmpipe driver is developed by mesa and xorg to provide a software fallback driver that is faster than the dog slow swrast driver. Exactly why is this "bullshit" and a "horrible decision."?

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968094)

Because it would be faster and easier to maintain if all of said code was removed, period? Just because llvmpipe is an improvement over swrast doesn't make the resultant performance tolerable. It's just a better piece of chewing gum on the pipe that leaks by design.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (1)

nej_simon (2441972) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968310)

What would be faster and easier to maintain if the software fallback driver is removed from mesa?

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968702)

What would be faster and easier to maintain if the software fallback driver is removed from mesa?

A 2-D gui.

GNOME != GNOME (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968348)

One of GNOME’s original intentions was to create a distributed object framework similar to Microsoft’s OLE - that's part of where the name is from. But for a while now, that had gone, and been replaced by this dumbing down concept w/ crippled features. Heck, even Gnome 2 was less capable of making customized settings than KDE 3.5's Kontrol Panel was.

Given all that, why not just rename both the gnome forks to something else, since the original acronym no longer applies to either? And make GNUSTEP the new GNU Network Object Modelled Environment - it certainly does Objects better than Gnome 2 or 3.

Re:GNOME is a study in how to not architect softwa (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968434)

The first mistake they made was trying to cobble half-assed object-oriented support onto C, rather than just using C++ or Objective-C.

Is that an attempt at recursive humor?

It makes writing code a real pain in the ass, since you need to use typecasting macros all over the place.

Presumably why they now have Vala.

Worse, this sort of code promotes library design that's slow and inefficient.

AKA: Object Orientated?

To make it even worse, this style of C code is so convoluted that it is not optimized well by compilers, resulting in binaries that are far slower than they should be.

I'm not convinced by this argument, it's possible to write inefficient code in any language.

While I don't actually like Gnome, being written in C is about the only thing I do like about it. I certainly don't consider GObject/Gtk to be worse than QT or Apples API's.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (4, Interesting)

jdege (88942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967830)

Am I the only person who runs my desktops as often through remoting as sitting at the console?

How fast will this be running over VNC?

Re:Software GPU Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968210)

No, but why use VNC? That's just streaming a video of the remote desktop through TCP/IP. Use X the way it was designed.
Unless you use Gnome, that is, because that pretty much kills all remote X functionality. Don't even try using LBX...

Re:Software GPU Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968002)

Slow? Not on my machine (an old dell).
I was actually surprised at how smooth everything is. I've got some minor complaints, but in all it's been a pleasant experience.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968342)

So nice that you actually post links to objective measurements...oh wait.

I find it to be perfectly workable, even on an underpowered Intel GPU. The only thing slow is the build up of the Applications menu, because it re-reads the /usr/share/applications/ directory every time you open the menu. I can see why they did that, but I have rather a lot of packages installed, so I get a multisecond delay when opening the Applications view.

Otherwise I find Gnome Shell to be no slower than Gnome2, and a perfectly good UI. The way the various views and panels stay out of sight gives me a nice, large, and especially uncluttered workspace. I only have a few minor nits to pick, and aside from one design issue, none of them are deal breakers, and I expect most of them to be solved with an extension within the next 6 months or so.

Mart

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968500)

The only thing slow is the build up of the Applications menu, because it re-reads the /usr/share/applications/ directory every time you open the menu. I can see why they did that, but I have rather a lot of packages installed, so I get a multisecond delay when opening the Applications view.

It takes multiple seconds to read a directory?

Just how many packages do you have installed?

Re:Software GPU Emulation (2)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968540)

Currently there's some 450 files in /usr/share/applications. They all get read and parsed, and then their icons loaded, whenever I open the Applications view.

And multisecond is maybe 2 or 3 seconds, I haven't timed it precisely, but it is a noticeable and irritating delay. I wish they'd cache the results a little more aggressively.

Mart

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968846)

Why would they want to re-read the directory when they could just cache the data, then only rebuild the cache when something changes in the directory? They could even limit it to files that change.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968988)

Don't worry Gnome-shell is already slow. Terribly slow. Unbelievably slow. Unusably slow. I could give a load of other adjectives, but I think you get what I mean. The target devices (netbooks and tablets) usually can't handle it, and even proper desktops struggle...

Slow? Perhaps under software emulation it might be. But if you have hardware accelerated driver then no it isn't at all. There is absolutely no issue running GNOME shell on comparatively modest hardware. I have Linux running on a 5 year old PC with an old Radeon driver and it works perfectly well.

In certain ways compositing desktops are a lot faster than their older brethren. When a window is moved over other windows there is no longer any need to send out damage events to the other window's owners because everything is drawn into its own surface so the screen is just recomposed. It means much less context switching and less CPU taken up needlessly repainting stuff.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967772)

The advantage is if your GPU is unsupported by your distro, not on the live disk or, otherwise not working you can get video acceleration working without having to muck about in the command line.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967806)

Depends on how you define "video acceleration". I think if it runs on the CPU, it is by definition not acceleration, since it does that anyway. Considering it will probably be even slower than just disabling the bling, I'm tempted to call it "video deceleration".

Re:Software GPU Emulation (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968030)

> I'm tempted to call it "video deceleration".

Good point. When it said "it works without video acceleration", I was hoping to read that they had optimised the desktop, so it would run fine without a beefy 3D card. But I think your interpretation is closer to the truth.

And since this turns into Gnome bashing, I would like to add that it does not seem easy to find the right design of a graphical toolkit and desktop. Qt has its own pre-compiler, mind you, so you have to programme in Qt-C++, which is nearly, but not quite like C++.

Closures help, which is why both Tk and Smalltalk have a really neat programming interface. Not that it has helped them - they are very marginally relevant nowadays.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967816)

Gnome 2.x needs to be forked. (not mate a real fork like "troll")

Re:Software GPU Emulation (5, Informative)

TD-Linux (1295697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967876)

Meh, the compositor has to draw the pixels, one way or another. KDE has two backends, XRender and OpenGL. If acceleration isn't available, the XRender backend can still run in software, and is pretty fast. KDE also supports no compositing at all, but with software compositing it's becoming irrelevant.

Note that compositing != GPU acceleration. Mac OS X has always used compositing, but it was entirely software. There are still good reasons to do so. I'll compare for you:

No compositing, one frontbuffer: You don't get your own pixmap to draw onto. You have to send drawing commands to the display server to draw on your behalf, to prevent you from drawing wherever you want on the frontbuffer. Unfortunately, if you have something complicated to draw, the user gets to watch as the drawing happens. When drawing a new object, generally the algorithm used is to draw the background, and then draw the objects in order from back to front. This means whenever the screen is updated, the user will see flicker whenever any objects are updated because they may briefly flicker to the background color. To work around this most modern toolkits (Qt 4, GTK 3) render to a pixmap, and then just tell X to draw their pixmap when they are done. This avoids the flicker but uses a bit more RAM.

With a compositor, the application still draws to the pixmap, but instead of requesting the X server to immediately draw their pixmap to the screen, they pass it a handle to the pixmap and the display server can draw it whenever. This makes a lot of things easier, like vertical sync and effects, as well as things like color format and color space conversion.

Drawing the pixmap on the screen is really the same operations, no matter if compositing is on or off. And the API your compositor uses shouldn't matter too much either if the underlying implementation is optimized. The highly optimized Gallium3D blitter is going to just as good as the traditional X blitter, if not better. The only thing slowing it down in this case is the fact that OpenGL API is rather overkill for blitting, but hopefully the llvmpipe backend is optimized for this use case. And it's probably not worth it to make the compositor support two drawing APIs, like KDE, as they both end up doing the same thing anyway.

Re:Software GPU Emulation (0)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968724)

if you don't like the bleeding edge there are plenty of old/new slow hardware distros up at distrowatch.
if your employer requires a certain distro, there have always been ways to change window managers etc.
i know there are plenty of tools i haven't personally used to maintain a network that make the shell (mostly)unimportant anyways.

if you've got a bunch of weird hardware it can be a mess, and ugly when things start to fail though.

TWSS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967384)

That's what she said!

LLVM? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967392)

Will Gnome 3.2 work w/ Wayland? And also, does the above mean that Gnome is no longer using GCC to compile, but switching to the LLVM compiler? Honestly, it's time that GNU made GNUSTEP their official DE.

Re:LLVM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967558)

Will Gnome 3.2 work w/ Wayland?

No, but likely a future version of Gnome 3 will.

mean that Gnome is no longer using GCC to compile, but switching to the LLVM compiler?

No (if they do switch compilers it won't be because of this news). GCC and Clang compile c and other programming languages. Gallium3D LLVMpipe driver is not a c compiler. It is a graphics driver. Unlike a typical graphics driver it uses the CPU not the graphics card.

Re:LLVM? (1)

diego.viola (1104521) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967572)

I hope it will work with Wayland, I look forward to Wayland.

Re:LLVM? (2)

Ster (556540) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968218)

... And also, does the above mean that Gnome is no longer using GCC to compile, but switching to the LLVM compiler? ...

LLVM is designed to be modular. It sounds like what they're doing is probably similar to what Apple did a few years back [uiuc.edu] - include LLVM bit-code files for functions that aren't handled natively, then hand those off to libllvm to emit native code when needed.

-Ster

"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (5, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967456)

Oh for fucks sake. I've just switched the wife's laptop from Ubuntu 11.10 to the beta of Fedora 16, since unlike that Unity bollocks at least the GNOME shell has the "fallback" mode that turns it back into something usable.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967502)

look out for linux mint 12, it's supposed to have the most sane ui since gnome2

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968440)

I haven't tried LMDE, but the standard Linux Mint is quite nice. When I get around to it, I'll be trying LMDE, but for the time being things work, and I don't generally have too much trouble getting my work done.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968634)

look out for linux mint 12, it's supposed to have the most sane ui since gnome2

But still, apparently, using Gnome 3 ... and still, according to the screenshots on the blog, looking as fugly and stupidly designed as ever. At least they may possibly be including MATE, although the most recent blog post didn't seem to positive about the chances.

As a user who switched to linux mint because of Ubuntu's adoption of Unity and Gnome 3, I really hope they don't adopt Gnome 3 without a Gnome 2 fallback. Gnome 3 is a terrible UI concept, poorly executed, and no amount of linux mint window dressing (which I don't believe linux mint does very well, incidentally) is going to change that.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

thyristor pt (1507463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967510)

I'm using Xubuntu 11.10 right now after switching from Fedora 15 and I couldn't be happier. Or you could just install the Xfce desktop on Fedora.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967554)

Xfce FTW. Less is more.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967514)

XFCE can be made to look and behave pretty similar to GNOME 2. Takes a few clicks to get there, but it's a better option than relying on something that will be going away.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (3, Interesting)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968080)

Yes, but XFCE is getting pretty fat, too. It is no fun in a VM or on a netbook. In fact it is using compositing now, too.

I have moved on to LXDE as lightweight system - it still uses a rather traditional window manager instead of an integrated desktop.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (2)

VJmes (2449518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968976)

Go and actually download Xfce, it's 15MB. Not even in the same league as GNOME's 200MB.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967520)

If only there was some way to install a different window manager...

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967582)

So much this.

So much whining about Gnome3 and Unity. There is more than that in the repos.

I've got FVWM and KDE installed. FVWM for when I'm abusing multiple virtual machines (because really, they have their own environments anyway), and KDE for my regular desktop.

Linux is about choice. Don't like it? Install something else.

--
BMO

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968146)

Yes, choice is good for geeks, however non geeks require a sane default (or at least a very simple way of seeing the options available and choosing one)... Many of them will never use anything but the default, and if they don't like the default they won't use the system at all.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968454)

It's a matter of trust, you shouldn't upgrade your system and find that the WM no longer functions because some jack wagon decided to include alpha code in a release.

And yes, I did end up installing something else and whenever people ask me I warn them off Ubuntu due to the unpredictability of development.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968686)

Linux is about choice. Don't like it? Install something else.

The issue is that with the latest ubuntu release, it's very difficult to install Gnome 2 (there's no repository for it, to my knowledge ... and Gnome's not a beast you'd wish to compile from source without a lot of spare time). Interestingly, following the release of Ubuntu 11.10, linux mint reported a 40% increase in their user base -- so a lot of people did install something else. But sometimes it's frustrating having to faff with your computer when you just want it to work; and switching to a new distro generally requires some serious faffing to get things back to how you want them again.

Probably the most important lesson to come from all of this is to make sure you retain a separate /home partition to allow easy distro switching. I've noticed that a lot of distros won't create a separate home partition by default, which seems a highly user-unfriendly decision to make.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968968)

I'm still on 10.04, and from the sound of the severely degraded stuff coming out of Canonical/Ubuntu since 10.04, I decided to start investigating other distros again.. I tried the new Debian-based Mint, and it looks pretty good, but for one GLARING problem.. I use the OpenShot video editor on a daily basis, and went to install it on Mint-Debian.. Not in the repos, could not get the Ubuntu ppas to work in Mint. Now I'm not a Linux noob, having started my Linux adventure in 1994 with Slackware. I had no more time to waste, so Mint goes on the backburner for me until its tweaked a bit.. Ubuntu 10.04 is good till well into 2012, so if we're still here then, I'll worry about a replacement for Ubuntu then...

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968940)

Linux is about choice. Don't like it? Install something else.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? [nytimes.com]

I made my choice when I installed Ubuntu in the first place with the hope of not having to revisit my initial choice any time soon.

From Benford to Erd(slashcode fuckup)s [radiolab.org]

Erdos carried a suitcase from one city to another, arrived at the doorstep of any living mathematician, and declared "My brain is open!" Are you advocating that I carry my home directory with me from one distribution to another and declare "My desktop is open!" as a model of good living?

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (5, Insightful)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967590)

OOoh. I see what you did there!

Seriously, though, I can't wrap my mind around why the most clunky, disgustingly inefficient windows managers are installed BY DEFAULT!

You'd think they were trying to copy Win7 and OS X's shinies in some half-arsed attempt to gain followers...

Oh, wait...

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967636)

Seriously, though, I can't wrap my mind around why the most clunky, disgustingly inefficient windows managers are installed BY DEFAULT!

Because not everyone is you. Despite the extremely loud GNOME 3 haters (who are apparently incapable of installing a different DE), a lot of people like it. It's actually the perfect example of how to make software: Ignore the people who aren't going to like it anyway.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967748)

I don't entirely agree. One thing that I liked about Ubuntu is that I could pretty much install it for anyone who wasn't computer literate and have them safely and easily do basic user tasks. To be able to support them well, I tend to use the same settings as they are so that I can help them even when I'm not in front of a computer.

You can imagine that those kind of people are less likely to cope with huge paradigm shifts like Gnome2->Unity? The two most important of these users I have are my own mother and my mother in law. I don't foresee much problems with my mom, she's a science person (Master in Chemistry) and she'll cope. It will take her effort, but she's aware these changes require it. Mother in law though? Oh, boy, I so dread Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (I only give them LTSes)

It's not that I cannot install a different distro or install a different DE. I can, it's just that Ubuntu (10.04 LTS) did give perfectly sane defaults with a reasonable interface with good discoverability. I personally see that gone with Unity.

I have looked into Debian for an alternative, but Ubuntu does give a significant amount of polish (I'd mention the "Language Support" applet, for which I haven't found a decent alternative in Debian. I live in a multi-lingual environment, and it's pretty much the best tool I've seen in any operating system. It's not the only thing ) Linux Mint has been highly recommended on slashdot, and I'll most likely check it out sooner or later. I should also give Lubuntu a shot (LXDE, I use that on my Asus EEE 701 4G). It might be the way out of this mess. When doing a PXE installation of Ubuntu 11.10 it's given as a true option.

All in all, switching to Unity is alienating the userbase. Tech people because they don't like the dumbed down aspect of it, and non-tech people because of the familiarity (and let's face it, pretty traditional way of doing things of GNome2). Except for the light destop environments, I see none of the big ones being even remotely desirable... I know people think that GNome2 looks old, I happen to disagree. It's mature. Iron out the tiny bugs and annoyances and you'd get a rock stable useful UI. However, we can't do that in the open source world. Always, new, alway rewrite alway try out the newest language. Cut it already and realize this needs to stop.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968004)

Did you give Mageia [mageia.org] a try?

It's developed by most of the people who worked for Mandriva and they care a lot about UI consistency (at least for what I know)

I'm very happy with them, all the config are easy to find and easy to set.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968072)

It is now on my "to check out" list. Thank you. I need to find a solution before 10.04 LTS runs out of support. I still have time, but I can't change distro nilly-willy for my users.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968318)

glad to be helpful.

I forgot to mention that Mageia has also an excellent language support on all the packages provided, this was a strong requirement for me too (like the OP, Again [slashdot.org] ) as the (not young and tech-savy) people I provide support to don't speak english at all..

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968068)

For normal users (office, internet, maybe a few games), Unity isn't that big of a change. You're just clicking an icon in a different location. I switched and my kids and wife never asked me a question about why it was different. I don't know your family, obviously, but I'd say give them a little credit.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968116)

Ok... Simple task: run a calculator. Ah, and we're talking mouse-bound users.. No usage of keyboard allowed.

That's the discoverability... Right there... Calculator even is an easy example as the Unity search gets it right when typing "Calc".

Your kids and your wife? Most likely tech natives and they have a role model right there. Try doing this crap with the 50+ non-techy people (I must specify this because I know that otherwise I'll summon all the 50+ slashdot dwellers who will say they can cope... You're not the people I talk about)

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968170)

How do they do it now?

With Unity, click on dash/icon thingy, click on "more apps", expand installed and click on calculator.

Now I assume it's click on start/icon thingy, go to applications, go to tools, choose calculator.

Really that much of a difference? It is _different_, yes. You'll have to show them the first time or two, more than likely. You really give them absolutely no credit in figuring out four clicks for themselves once you've shown them once or twice?

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968568)

No, I don't. Mainly because I didn't figure it out. I just typed in when I saw the search text. Normal users really do not behave at all like us. Seasoned users will look in deeper levels, In Gnome2, everything is basically in 2nd level, where 1st level is a category understandable by humans.

I know it sounds elitist, but I don't give normal users much credit.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968880)

agreed normal users just want things to work for them without struggle. they use their brains being normal. i hate vista/7 as they made the interface slower, less intuitive, and made features like tablets easier to use, the closest i've been to a tablet is a kindle and i only bought it because i gave up hard(pulse raising) gaming(for mental/physical health reasons) and i can't afford books the way i used to and project gutenburg has gone well with the kindle.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968678)

So when one reaches 50+ they become morons and unable to change? Well, screw you with a wire brush you ignorant slut.

I've used various UNIX releases since pretty much since the days of only having Olwm and Unity, Gnome3 or OSX Lion changing is like .. OMG! Not a big deal. It's just different. When you become to ridged to change then YOU have out lived your usefulness and when you ASSuME people over a certain age aren't able to slide with the times ... YOU lose.

I remember when those who had CDE completely configured FREAKED out when Solaris went to Gnome ... it was laughable.

This whole thread and all like it are just stupid because YOU CONTRIBUTE NOTHING but whining to the discussion which is useless.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Again (1351325) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968250)

I feel along with the sentiment. I do not look forward to putting Unity on my parents' computer but in my opinion there are a few changes that can be made to make it more friendly. First, remove the global menu bar, unless your users come from a Mac OS X background, it's not worth the retraining. Second change the backlight always on option in ccsm to toggle so it is easy to see when an application is running. I have big hopes for this alternate application launcher: https://launchpad.net/unity-lens-bliss [launchpad.net]

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968872)

I couldn't agree with you more! So much shouting around here lately...
Still, it's good that other promising DEs might get some more attention now. LXDE and XFCE still have some rough edges (IMHO). We'll see after the dust has settled.

BTW, I don't know about the quality of GNOME 3's code. It's plenty fast on my 5yo PC (Debian unstable). I actually switched from Ubuntu because of Unity, and I really like Gnome-shell.

Interesting times...

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967758)

You'd think they were trying to copy Win7 and OS X's shinies in some half-arsed attempt to gain followers... Oh, wait...

Not everyone is using BOINC to abuse their CPU (and now their GPU). Not everyone is running 4 virtual machines simultaneously. Not everyone is attempting to use wine to run Crysis. Not everyone is compiling their own software. If you prefer the windows world not everyone is running Furmark to compare their 600 dollar graphics card in synthetic benchmarks involving a rotating fuzzy torus.

The facts are: for the typical home user, the computer needs to get on the internet and do office work while looking modern. When even budget OEM machines are packing duel core 1.5+Ghz CPUs and 4GB of ram, with a 128MB+ embedded graphics card (that happens to be supported out of the box by most distros), there's room for "ooh pretty".

Maybe not everyone who uses Linux is a mega nerd? I set my grandma up on Linux after I got tired of removing viruses from her XP install. She uses the computer for (shockface) office work and internet access. Your average person doesn't want to use a window manager that looks like it belongs in 1995 because it's somewhat faster when they won't even notice the performance benefits because all they use is Writer and Firefox.

For the record, I use KDE4 for my general work and LXDE when I need more performance. I used to use Gnome 2. My grandma uses Gnome 2 right now with desktop effects (she likes the wobbly windows).

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967646)

Damnit I just posted so I can't mod you up as you deserve.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968480)

Not really, it's a sane defaults thing. If you're going to install a WM as incompetently designed as Unity,then you had damn well provide a back up. I'm not sure if Canonical has gotten around to removing the back up, but it is on the road map if they haven't already doing it.

Unity was a buggy piece of shit. Once they fix the bugs it will be a ugly piece of shit that doesn't scale well to larger monitors and doesn't allow for repositioning.

Contrary to popular opinion around here, WM are a fairly big deal, they're the first thing that users see when they start working with a distro. Canonical doesn't seem to mind it, but personally I won't use anything that won't let me log in because I'm using a wireless keyboard.

It's a really sad distro who's shown up by MS.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967566)

Install the gnome-fallback-session package in Ubuntu and you're good to go.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967574)

Why didn't you just install a replacement instead? Oh well, it's your time. But if you know how to install two different distros, I don't see why you can't just install another DE in a fraction of the time.

I am wondering how much of the Unity bashing is actually real.

Gnome 2 still included (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967598)

The summary is a troll (as is typical for slashdot). Gnome 2 is still included in Fedora 17. The only difference is that if you have selected Gnome 3 for your desktop (which is default), and GPU acceleration isn't working, it will now fallback to unaccelerated Gnome 3 rather than Gnome 2. Regardless of your opinion of Gnome 3, this just makes sense; it would be much more confusing to get a completely different desktop than you were expecting just because your video drivers got borked. Not to mention it is wasteful to have to install Gnome 2 as a fallback if you want to use Gnome 3.

Re:Gnome 2 still included (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967938)

Gnome 2 is not included. What you're referring to is the Gnome3 version of gnome-panel. It's not the same as the gnome-panel 2.xx.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967658)

I like gnome_shell and I still think they need to keep the gnome2 looking desktop so as to not throw away a good thing. I use KDE because you can make kde4 look and behave like kde3

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967744)

I knew this was coming, that's why I never bothered with the shitty 'fallback mode' in the first place. I switched to XFCE in April, around the time that GNOME 3 was first released and I immediately wished I'd done it sooner. I can't recommend XFCE enough.

Re:"fall-back .. to be eventually depreacated" (1)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968322)

So does Ubuntu, it's just hidden. "sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback", then choose Ubuntu classic from the login menu.

That's not what i need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968590)

Seriously, the fallback is NOT gnome 2. it's horrible, and hopelessly broken. non customizable, you can't even right click.
Personnally, until being forced to switch to lxde due to upgrade necessities, i remain with gnome 2 for now. Perhaps Mint comes up with a gnome2 fork or another cute solution after all ??

Re:That's not what i need (1)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968626)

Hold ALT, then right click.

Re:That's not what i need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968664)

You have to hold the ALT key down when right-clicking on the panel to configure it and add/remove applets. It probably has 80% of the functionality that gnome-panel 2 has. Because it's gtk3 based, you'll have to use a gtk3 based theme engine and themes in order to customize it. Overall, its a passable substitute for version 2 gnome-panel for now.

xubuntu and lubuntu (3, Insightful)

nadaou (535365) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967606)

thank goodness for xubuntu and lubuntu! kubuntu too... the linux-for-OS-refugees world still has some shining lights.

Re:xubuntu and lubuntu (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967978)

I use openSUSE where I install XFCE from the DVD. I still use various GNOME and KDE programs as well as others.

Re:xubuntu and lubuntu (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968488)

That's something I wish somebody would deal with. I always, always, always end up with at least one Gnome app on a KDE install or 1 KDE app on a Gnome install requiring me to have a lot of libraries installed for just one app.

I like Gnome Shell (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37967716)

Yes it still has its rough edges, but this reminds me of the 1.x -> 2.x transition. Another few versions, a few more extensions (and a better interface for using them) and I expect the rage about gnome 3 to die down just like it did with gnome 2's changed button order.

Re:I like Gnome Shell (2)

MrLizardo (264289) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968616)

Yeah. I feel exactly the same. How many people reading this discussion are quietly enjoying GNOME 3 but don't care enough about the arguments to jump into the fray?

this would be nice (3, Informative)

Tyrannosaur (2485772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967732)

if gnome shell were actually nice. I'm with Torvalds; switched to XFCE

Re:this would be nice (4, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967800)

It's the way the Gnome3 devs are all working against each other that really sucks.

You have a half-incomplete tablet UI allied to a half-incomplete laptop UI both of which get on the tits of desktop users;
- and my feeling of 'at least they are going somewhere different and interesting' has evaporated now I see Gnome 3.2 is identical to 3,0 in every single cockup. Only one of the real UI problems has been addressed; and more ill-considered and contradictory decisions have been imposed on us.

Re:this would be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968256)

my feeling of 'at least they are going somewhere different and interesting' has evaporated now I see Gnome 3.2 is identical to 3,0 in every single cockup

These are my thoughts as well. I've read a few things here and there about how 3.2 is a great improvement over 3.0, but they never mention why. I tried 3.2 and found it practically identical to 3.0.

Re:this would be nice (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968474)

These are my thoughts as well. I've read a few things here and there about how 3.2 is a great improvement over 3.0, but they never mention why.

Gnome 3.2 finally has the weather applet back. At this rate, somewhere around Gnome 3.72 it will be as usable and useful as Gnome 2.

At which point they'll ditch it for Gnome 4.

This is great news! (2, Interesting)

Etherized (1038092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967750)

I know there's a lot of resistance to GNOME Shell, but it's clearly the future of GNOME (like it or not) and the weird non-3d degraded mode that you get with GNOME 3 + no 3d is something that's not really fit for anybody.

Personally, I really like GNOME Shell and I'm glad to see that it will be supported on older hardware. I always found the decision to completely ignore this hardware to be questionable and damaging to Shell's adoption rate (as if it wasn't going to have a hard enough time to begin with). Surely they could have provided a similar UX without the eye candy for older systems - at least now we have a workaround!

Just reached a decent compromise on my machine (3, Insightful)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967782)

Debian Sid introduced Gnome 3 a couple of weeks ago and I had a bit of a tough time to come to terms with it, but now I have reached a good compromise by installing tint2 and the alternate menu extension (which basically brings back the switch off menu item).
I'm rather pleased with this setup and the only thing I am really missing are a couple of applets, but nothing major.

Or, as other have said, XFCE is a great alternative, especially if you NEED external outputs (which gnome-shell still miserably fails to manage properly).

It's about time... (4, Informative)

Zephiris (788562) | more than 2 years ago | (#37967964)

It's about time Slashdot stops accepting 'blogspam' links, such as Phoronix, instead of attributing the actual source itself. Phoronix didn't solve this, a developer did.
A badly written Slash summary (and 'article') which just links twice to the same braindead Phoronix article (which itself is a several day old duplicate) is bad. Very bad.

Dredged from the bottom of Phoronix:
Mailing list post: http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/devel/2011-November/158976.html [fedoraproject.org]
Fedora 17 feature point: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/Gnome_shell_software_rendering [fedoraproject.org]

Personally, I have little doubt that the "anonymous reader" is Michael Larabel himself.

Re:It's about time... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968096)

Yeah, but I wonder who alerted Phoronix? Oh wait,

Adam Williamson awilliam at redhat.com
Thu Nov 3 22:50:32 UTC 2011

        Previous message: F17 heads up: gnome-shell for everyone!
        Next message: F17 heads up: gnome-shell for everyone!
        Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

On Thu, 2011-11-03 at 17:57 -0400, Adam Jackson wrote:
> As of tomorrow's rawhide [1], gnome-session will no longer treat
> llvmpipe as an unsupported driver. This means gnome-shell will run even
> on hardware without a native 3D driver, including virt guests.

I said on IRC, but just to reiterate, this is completely awesome work,
major congratulations! I alerted Phoronix already ;)
--
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | identi.ca: adamwfedora
http://www.happyassassin.net

Gosh, it's almost like someone on the Fedora list wanted this to be published on Phoronix so that the news could get wider distribution! Damn that Adam Williamson and Redhat.com!

Just like Macs (0)

bragr (1612015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37968558)

So there are doing to same thing Apple has been doing for years with LLVM. Which is why LLVM is part of xcode.

Way to innovate Gnome.

Re:Just like Macs (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37968704)

This driver is part of Mesa. Mesa is not part of GNOME.
This story ties into GNOME, because the driver now supports all the features required of Gnome-shell at an adequate speed.

You're right that Apple does do something similar. Shader compilation uses LLVM and if the graphics card is missing features it gets run on the CPU. You're wrong that xcode has anything to do with this. Xcode uses Clang which is a c compiler. Clang uses LLVM, but clang has nothing to do with 3d graphics.
I would rather people copy each other, than suffer from not invented here syndrome. As LLVM is opensource, having extra contributors should be mutually beneficial.

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