Gnome 3: Not Ready for Prime Time in Fedora 15 Sat, Apr 23. 2011
I've been intrigued by the Gnome 3 desktop and the design decisions that the Gnome project has decided to test. Hearing some members of the Gnome community explain the design decisions in person was very interesting, and helpful when transitioning to the Gnome shell. And I'm proud that the Fedora Project is continuing to lead by incorporating new technologies and designs First.
But I've been using Gnome 3 in the Fedora 15 alpha and beta releases for a while now, and I'm convinced that Gnome 3 is not ready for prime time yet, at least as implemented in Fedora 15 (and this is completely separate from the issue of whether the Gnome 3 design changes are good or bad, and whether the Gnome community is ignoring the needs and wants of the users and downstreams -- both subjects of much debate). As one example, multi-monitor setups are not working as expected, at least for me. In fact, it's a stretch to say that they're working at all:
- On my laptop/netbook, logging in with an external monitor connected results in Gnome 3 running in degraded mode, with Gnome 2-style menus. Logging in without an external monitor connected, and connecting it after login, results in a usable configuration - at least all of the real estate is accessible.
- I run with the external display above my laptop. Maximizing a window on the external display results in it filling the rightmost 1/3 of the screen. Unmaximized windows may be moved, but only to positions where the right edge of the window is within the right-most 1/3 of the screen. You can fill the screen by placing the window all the way to the right and dragging a corner to the left side, though. There are many other behaviours which are just weird.
- The Activities button is on the laptop screen, but the touch-to-activate-Activities corner is on the external monitor.
- Rearranging the position of the monitors using the Displays setting tool results in badly torn, messed up images. They resolve to something that looks almost usable a fraction of a second before the Does this look right? dialog gives up and reverts me to the original configuration, with my desktop backgrounds missing.
This is 2011, and multi-monitor configurations are not a novelty any more. In fact, they're the norm where I work, and I use external monitors with my laptops and netbooks all the time
Perhaps some of these issues are video driver problems, and Gnome 3 isn't to blame. But the problems with Gnome 3 are not limited to just multi-display configurations; for example: GDM's list of users does not scroll properly when the list is long (I went to file a bug on that one, but was disheartened searching through the 253 other open Fedora GDM bugs to see if it was already reported). If something goes wrong during the login process, a message appears telling you that something went wrong, but offering no way to find out what went wrong -- not even through a "Details..." button -- and the only action available to the user is to click a button marked "Ok" (I can't login? It's definitely not OK). The icons at the top of the screen respond to left- and right-click in the same way -- except for the iBus icon -- where's the consistency in that?
We should compare notes in more detail. I've tested a new inspiron 15R laptop with an external monitor and I'm not seeing what you are describing.
I'm installing a beta on a second older laptop today.
I'm also experiencing sme trouble with my Asus X5DIJ Laptop and the extermal monitor with Fedora 15 Beta (if only the external screen should be used the display is just garbage, but everything alright when both screens are used), but this is a Fedora 15 Beta issue. I've been using the Gnome 3 implementation with OpenSuse 11.4 beforehand and that worked like a charme. I think/hope this will be sorted out in the final release ...
Did a second laptop install of the Beta. External Monitor support seems to be working just fine on my second laptop as well as the first. No weird visual artifacts.
The laptop monitor is considered primary and gets the overlay and dash.
The external monitor is basically a static display area that does not participate in the workspaces switching. But it does participate in window alt-tabbing and window expose events.
This all seems to be inline with the new design even if its different than previous workflow.
I'm using F15 Alpha with my HP dv6-300t and a LG Ez8360 LED monitor in dual mode and works great. I using xandr for tweak with confs in two monitors without problems.
FWIW, I've been using Fedora 15 for more than a month and haven't seen problems related to running dual monitors on my desktop. (I'm using the latest NVidia proprietary drivers.)
Remember that Gnome 3 is a big rewrite, so is simply not as mature as gnome2. You may want to wait a release or two if you want to avoid the inevitable glitches of such a big release.
This page looks a little like a Bugzilla entry. Do bugs exist for your grumbles?
I've been seeing similar things when I tested gnome3 on the test day, I will file bugs but I'm seeing issues with the "1/3 but I am maximised" issue even on my netbook with no extra screen. Would love to see a followup post with details of the bugs etc. I think I'm going to be waiting for Fedora 16 and gnome 3.2. IE the SP1 of the windows world!
I can confirm multi-display problems on a samsung Q45, where display settings produces a garbled second screen. Mind you ... it is a beta.
Actual market research would have included the revelation that most people just want a dual head or external monitor to work out of the box, and the revelation that most people don't want their wheels re-invented. Innovate on new platforms, but learn from consumers - there's a reason US products have packaging that's 20 years old, and that MSFT and APPL don't re-invent the whole thing every ten minutes. Make a netbook product already, but don't break with something that has stated to gain actual traction. Sigh. In 10 years, the whole thing will repeat. Again.
It sounds rather like you have an older Intel integrated chip. These can only do 3D acceleration up to a maximum screen size of 2048x2048 pixels, which is why you get fallback mode if you start GNOME with the external display connected. It would be good to improve the behaviour if you go past the display size limit after GNOME has started up, but I'm not sure how easy that would be. It's certainly worth a bug report, though. So is the GDM issue, don't worry about the number of open bugs.