Volti and GNOME 3

Luke Kuhn lukekuhn at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 16 18:51:43 UTC 2011

I have installed Volti from a .deb package linked to in the previously mentioned story and it works. You need to add a launcher in /usr/share/gnome/autostart to start it in GNOME, and add  the line "volti &" to the startup file for IceWM. In IceWM no issues, works fine, I would assume the same for any DE where the systwem tray and notification area are together, in the traditional way. There is a problem in gnome-shell, but not a severe one: Because volti puts it's icon in the notification area, in gnome-shell it is hidden until you reveal the notification area, something no new user would  know to do unless they installed it themselves and poked around or saw it before. I don't know enough about writing gnome-shell extensions to move it to the system tray.
With gnome-shell frippery's bottom panel you have to click on the ! at the far right side of the bottom panel to bring up the notification area, adding an extra click. Of course, the big desktops in which I use gnome-shell are all on sound systems with analog volume controls, and the laptop without such a device runs IceWM for previously stated reasons.
GNOME3 has potential, in large part due to it's extension system that allows it to be reconfigured for different needs, something I have NOT seen in Unity even with CCSM. I think the GNOME team is aiming at a common DE for everything from smartphones to workstations, something that really does need to be configurable for entirely different workflows. By the time they get that, they no doubt assume OpenGL/memory badwidth problems will be a thing of the past as CPU's with on-chip GPU's displace the GPU on northbridge/memory controller on CPU problem. I guess they expect older machines to run older DE's as software rendering has got to be a major load on the CPU unless it can "idle" when no window is changing size or popping up subwindows.
Apple really created this situation with their iPhone, and since that is now the path a lot of people first use to get online and therefore the iPhone, iPad, and their numberless clones will be the OS people are familar with, turning up their noses when they can't find what they expect on screen.. Windoze has actually been among the slowest to respond to this, their Windoze 8 tile screen start being something both Unity and Gnome-Shell could do simply by displaying their existing menu overlay on startup if they ever fixed their menus. All have to support a traditional desktop as well because that one task at a time interface is NOT suited to multitasking, something some of those phones aren't even capable of! This is not an issue for a specialized studio (or engineering, etc) distro, but it is an issue for a mainsteam distro like Ubuntu, and for GNOME. This is 1984-1995 all over again, and we don't want Linux to become another DOS. Actually, for studio and other specialized distros there is another paralleel here: Windows 95 had to include DirectX so game developers could use the hardware as they did under DOS and not lose performance.
I bring this up even though I do not use smartphones for security reasons and tablets because typing on one would destrroy my fingers. I've seen others use them and I have in fact come to regard the iOS top bar as "gee-it looks like gnome-shell!"
Here's what I see in GNOME 3's future: Enough extensions to mimic any DE from GNOME 2 to iPhone to Windoze 8 to Windows 95 to whatever Apple is putting on their desktop, all using the same core and the same packages except for the extensions. That way, if I am setting up a Linux box for someone new to Linux, I need only know what they used to use to give them a familiar environment. At a distro intall, it could be as simple as asking a user what type of desktop they want, and mostly the same packages would be used, unlike selecting a DE today. Of course, they will have to remember Page's :Law, and that's one good reason to keep other DE's around for those times when absolute maximum persformance is the only need. 		 	   		  
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