Friday, 17 September 2010

Fedora 14 Beta Artwork Goodies

Fedora 14 Laughlin Beta release is approaching at an amazing speed and so does the Fedora Design Team work on the release artwork. Just before the freeze we got an updated package with the latest and greatest iteration of the default wallpaper and with 15 supplemental wallpapers in. Here's a preview of what the beta wallpaper looks like:

This isn't a final iteration and we're looking for your feedback! Do you think it's awesome? Or not? Do you think that there are some problems? Do you have suggestions for improvements? Don't hesitate to contact us! If you leave a comment here I'll forward it to the design team, but you can also give your opinions at #fedora-design at or at design team mailing list.

Now for the supplemental wallpapers. The full list of those that are included is in a dedicated wiki page. They are ready to use in both gnome (as usual you need a package ending with -gnome) and kde (package ending with -kde) and we hope to make them ready to use in LXDE and XFCE as well in the future (if people know how to do it, so I won't have to figure it myself, it would help a lot ;-)).

And now for the most important part — how to get them? If you're on F14 or rawhide it's as simple as running
# yum update
for the default wallpaper and
# yum install laughlin-backgrounds-extras-gnome
for the supplemental wallpapers ready for use in gnome and
# yum install laughlin-backgrounds-extras-kde
for the supplemental wallpapers ready for use in kde. Both will pull in also laughlin-backgrounds-extras-single where the actual images are stored. The packages can be downloaded from koji otherwise.

There's also bunch of updated splashes for firstboot, anaconda, grub, syslinux, ... See them in a dedicated wiki page.

What I still don't like on gnome-shell

I try to periodically try out gnome-shell which is supposedly going to be the base component of our default DE (desktop environment) in Fedora 15. And each time I try it (at least once per Fedora release) it's better, but for some reason I still don't like it. So here's a post where I try to point out a few things I don't like about it. But let's start a bit more positive. Despite me not liking dark styles, the gnome-shell in F14 is finally looking slick and no major design gliches are present. Good work gnome-design team! Also, even on my Intel GMA 945 the animations are smooth and there're no apparent delays that I could blame on slow graphics.

Running new application can be speedy as well unless you don't know its name. You know, typing first few letters of firefox gets you to firefox really quick, but when you start searching by hand it get's tedious — the menu has absolutelly no sorting into categories… But that's not a big issue, as long as you properly set up your favourite apps (after all, in my usual setup I also use menu rarelly) :-)

And now for the few bad things
  • I'm the type of folks who like to have their favourite apps launchers always on screen, in gnome-shell I need to first zoom out to be able to run an application.
  • Despite the app icon+name in top panel being finally clickable, gnome-shell still thinks window=task which is inherently wrong and makes switching e.g. between two teminal windows or between main evolution window and message composing window terrible. I hope the developers finally get the hint and start treating virtual desktop as equivalent to task.
  • No panel widgets. Which means no weather applet, no CPU and network speed graphs, no always visible task switcher (you have to zoom out to be able to visually identify task which you want to switch to).
  • Notifications. Part of the idea is cool and works great — like when setroubleshooter notifies me of an encountered problem by sliding in a notification from bottom of the desktop, and keeping it in the stack after it disappears. However I haven't found a way how to remove it from the stack other then clicking on some action in the notiffication which obviously does not work e.g. for rhythmbox notification where the only actions are next and prev…

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My simple desktop

In order to relieve some stress from studying for my next exam I decided to participate in the show-your-desktop-on-the-fedora-planet thing.

So here's the screenshot:

  • Gnome of F12, dual-booting with F14 where the desktop looks very similar
  • Simple gradient on top panel, semi-transparency on bottom panel.
  • Exploiting nautilus to show my school timetable on desktop (this is becoming more and more broken with every other release of fedora…)
  • Rather tidy desktop with just a small number of icons, favourite app launchers assorted in bottom panel.
  • One of the candidates for the default F14 wallpaper as background image.
  • Six desktops, task based usage.
  • Echo Perspective icon theme.
  • Nodoka for metacity and gtk.