Andrew Cowie blogs about 'A good GNOME 3 Experience'. He writes

I think it’s a bit odd not to expect that something that was widely advertised as being such a different user experience is … different.


if they had gone and bought an Apple laptop with Mac OS X on it they would be perfectly reasonably working through learning how to use a new Desktop and not complaining about it at all. But here we are admonishing the GNOME hackers had the temerity to do something new and different.

I think Andrew's phrasing here is a bit disingeneous. Or perhaps he genuinely mistakes the frustration that has been felt by GNOME 3. I don't want to whine on too much, so I'll try to get this out of the way in one paragraph.

F/OSS users are members of a community. There is inevitably a wall between the majority of community members and the blessed: the decision makers, the developers. The art of maintaining a good community is partly to do with making this wall as invisible as possible: encouraging participation, lowering the barrier for contributions; welcoming feedback; etc.1. The GNOME community have invested a lot into the GNOME 2 way of doing things, and GNOME 3, by breaking away from that so fundamentally, has devalued the community's investment. It screams: we don't want your panel widgets! We don't want your themes! Your working practices are wrong: this is the right way! GNOME 3 is opinionated software, and it's opinion differs from a large body of the GNOME community. The result? resentment. Remember: GNOME 3 is not just something new: it's the abrupt termination of something old, tried and tested.

…and hopefully that's the last time I need to vent about my GNOME 3 frustration. It's hear to stay, the question for the frustrated is: are you? Moving on…

Andrew goes on to recommend:

One thing I do recommend is mapping (say) CapsLock as an additional “Hyper” … You do the mapping in:

System Settings → Keyboard Layout → Layout tab → Options..

I used to do this with GNOME 2, but I couldn't find how to do it on GNOME 3. Andrew's post gave me the important hint that it was still possible, but the precise location doesn't match: On my Fedora 16 / GNOME 3.2 system, it's System Settings → Region and Language → Layouts → Options…".

This is especially useful on my beloved UltraNav keyboard which lacks the Windows 95 keys. Sadly it does not work very well through various remote desktop tools: I get an inconsistent capslock state within VMs connected to via VNC. rdesktop seems ok.

  1. I have more to write about GNOME in this context in a future post.