Totem becomes Videos
Videos is another cool app which has gone through massive make-over and instead of boring Totem, it’s an extremely beautiful app. I was able to play all media formats including .mkv and .mp4 without any issue or need for 3rd-party plugins. The app also comes with ‘channels’ which allow you to watch online videos. At the moment there are only 4 channels – Rai.tv, Blip, The Guardian videos and Apple Trailers. I just don’t know why YouTube or Vimeo is mission. There is no way, from what I can see, for a user to add more channels. I think there can be an option in ‘Preferences’ which allows a user to add more such channels on her own.
Gedit, which should just be called Text Editor, has also gone through major changes. But since I use it mostly to compose text I really didn’t much care for developer features – most notable being the ability to choose which kind of document format; it’s more compact compared to the previous version where it was a long list which used to go across the screen. Gedit now is more compact, clean and offers almost ‘distraction’ free writing.
Gnome teams have been working on support for super high-definition monitors (also known in Apple world as retina displays). Since I don’t have any HiDPI display other than MacBook Pro I was not able to test this feature so I am taking developers words for it.
Ubuntu & Gnome
Since my Gnome journey started with Ubuntu, I always wish Ubuntu should have stayed with Gnome and invested valuable engineering resources in it so both projects could have benefited from each other. I really don’t see any real value for a user from Unity – other than HUD there is no real value – it’ slow and sluggish. Well, it does serve a very important purpose for Canonical and that is to monetize from user activity.
I wish Canonical kept Gnome shell for desktop and invested resources in developing a separate UI for phones (the way Google and Apple are doing with their platform instead of making compromises with the desktop). I think by using the work of the community, instead of doing everything by themselves (which is not bearing fruits, Upstart is replaced by systemd and MIR is also getting delayed while Wayland based devices are already in the market) Canonical would have been at advantage and we would all be using ‘working’ Ubuntu phones and tablets by now.
I also wish NSA was not spying on us.
At the moment you can’t get pure Gnome 3.12 experience on Ubuntu, it won’t be shipped with Ubuntu Gnome 14.04. But from what I have learned, Ubuntu Gnome teams are working hard to get it to their users as soon as possible. There are PPAs that you can try but I think they are not yet ready with full set of Gnome 3.12 packages. I believe if latest versions of Gnome are made available to more distros as soon as possible it will boost adoption as unlike KDE Software, which is often available immediately, people can’t even test it and thus choose something which they know they will get as soon as it’s out.
In a nutshell, I think Gnome teams have done an incredible job with 3.12 and created a desktop which is extremely simple, extremely secure and privacy respecting compared to Unity, and doesn’t need any learning curve. If there are free software advocates who want to convert Windows XP users to GNU/Linux, Gnome’s ease of use will certainly help.
What amazes me the most about Free Software and GNU/Linux is that there is always something for everyone. At one hand, you have KDE Software which is extremely polished, and mature – which can be customized to your very needs. It’s more or less like customizing your own Harley Davidson; on the other hand you have something as simple, secure and elegant as Gnome which doesn’t require any work and offers a very easy PC experience.
Since both these heavyweights of the free software world have matured enough you can now sit back and enjoy. I never miss either because I have them both installed on my openSUSE/Arch side by side.
Why to make compromise when you can have the best of both words!