Linux Mint had been extremely silent lately Clem did not respond to my emails and I thought he was busy packing the next version of Linux Mint, which turned out to be true, but there is more than that.
We just learned that Linux Mint is doing something which was expected from a project like this, yet we never thought of it - a way to embrace newer technologies without having the user to relearn everything or to lose some features or functionality.
That's the discussion I was having with Vincent Untz of Gnome team who was the release manager of Gnome 3.
The issue with Gnome 3 is that it requires a user to relearn the way he/she uses a computer and in the process also loses some functionality.
Yes, I do agree it will improve an much of the functionality will come back. But in the meantime most users will stay away from Gnome 3 which will lead to what happened to KDE post 4.x release -- the user base has gone down.
Linux Mint has found a mid-way
Linux Mint is going Gnome 3 way
To tackle this problem Linux Mint has developed MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions), which is a desktop layer on top of Gnome 3 that makes it possible for you to use Gnome 3 in a traditional way. You can disable all components within MGSE to get a pure Gnome 3 experience, or you can enable all of them to get a Gnome 3 desktop that is similar to what you’ve been using before. Of course you can also pick and only enable the components you like to design your own desktop.
Linux Mint 12, code-named Lisa which will be released later this month will come with Clem's secret weapon 'MGSE'.
Clem writes, "Gnome 3 is changing all that and is developing a better way for us to interact with our computer. From our point of view here at Linux Mint, we’re not sure they’re right, and we’re not sure they’re wrong either. What we’re sure of, is that if people aren’t given the choice they will be frustrated and our vision of an Operating System is that your computer should work for you and make you feel comfortable. So with this in mind, Gnome 3 in Linux Mint 12 needs to let you interact with your computer in two different ways: the traditional way, and the new way, and it’s up to you to decide which way you want to use."
- The bottom panel
- The application menu
- The window list
- A task-centric desktop (i.e. you switch between windows, not applications)
- Visible system tray icons
MGSE also includes additional extensions such as a media player indicator, and multiple enhancements to Gnome 3.