Matthew’s Technology Blog: GNOME 2.20 released
Matthew must be pretty happy: Matthew’s Technology Blog: GNOME 2.20 released
As I and Matthew have always had our differences in choice of Desktop Environments, there’s no sign of it dissolving. GNOME is still following the same path of design: utterly annoying simplicity.
The improvements in GNOME 2.20 include: Improved support for right-to-left languages; desktop search integrated into the file chooser dialog; convenient new features in the Evolution email and calendar client; enhanced browsing of image collections; overlysimplified system preferences; efficient power management and incredibly accurate laptop battery monitoring. Developers receive more help with application development thanks to a new version of the GTK+ toolkit, improved tools, and a great new documentation web site.
Overly simplified is what I would say. GNOME just keeps putting “simplified something” in their roadmap. While that is not a bad thing, if done with a bit of subtlety, GNOME overdoes it. As always.
For GNOME 2.20, the control panels have been reorganized slightly to reduce the number of control panels, making it easier to find what you need.
Some of you who didn’t stick with GNOME and chose a different Desktop Environment may know how overly simplified the File Chooser is in GNOME, how little options you have for the file printing dialog and lack of many other advanced but useful and important features. A total lack, because they are not “smartly” hidden but “smartly” removed!
GNOME thinks it simplifies configuration when it splits all of the configuration modules in several menu entries in the System->Preferences and System->Administration menus but it’s not! Why are several desktop related configuration modules split apart, like Mouse Settings, Screen Resolution or Appearance? I get eyesore trying to point out where the configuration module that I want is. And because of the way modules are named, instead of getting to the configurations I want, I find something totally unrelated to the configuration I clicked (System->Preferences->Appearance->Interface — is that even interface-related? or Preferences->Preferred Applications->Accessibility — what is that doing there? :-?).
In spite of this continued development road to total simplicity, GNOME 2.20 has notable new features and improvements that no-one can deny. Evolution has smartly evolved, Epiphany also, Eye of GNOME has cool new features for managing photos taken with your digital camera, Evince really looks like the PDF/Postscript viewer of choice for the Open-Source platform, the File Chooser dialog integrates desktop searching capabilities using popular desktop searching engines, the GNOME panel is improved, Accessibility has been improved (GNOME’s strong point? lol) and other new improvements and features.
There are developer new features and improvements also, but this post is not targeted at developers though I am going to point out the *new* GNOME Documentation Library site, direct result of a Google Summer of Code project which contains a platform overview. This ensures all online-documentation remains up-to-date.
Please notice that I haven’t made any comparison with other Desktop Environments in this article, not because I want this to seem like a well thought article and wrote after very good prior documentation, because it’s isn’t, but because I don’t want this article to be added to the flame wars that are already going on and because I’m talking about the important things, that GNOME needs to switch mentality and that it is a really good Desktop Environment, it is beautiful, integrated, stable and has a lot of great applications.