• Pop!_Planet is still very much under development. Data for the wiki is being sourced from the Arch Linux and Ubuntu wikis, along with a bunch of completely unique content specific to Pop!_OS, and sourcing, converting and updating that content takes time; please be patient. If you can't find what you're looking for here, check the Arch Linux and Ubuntu wikis.
  • Happy New Year!

    I'll get straight to the point.

    When I started Pop!_Planet, I launched it because I saw a need for a centralized community for Pop!_OS. To be frank, I never expected the level of popularity it has achieved. Over the last year, we have gone from under 50 users, to almost 400 users. That's awesome! However... it also comes with a downside. We are rapidly running out of disk space on our server, and the bandwidth costs go up every month.

    Pop!_Planet is not affiliated with System76 in any way, and is funded completely out of pocket. From day one, I said that I'd never use on-site ads (I hate them as much as you do), so the only monetization we get is through donations. Right now, the donations we receive don't even cover our overhead.

    I know that most users will ignore this message, and that's ok. However, if even a few of our users are willing and able to donate a few dollars to help offset our expenses, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Support Pop!_Planet

    Thank you for your time,

    Dan Griffiths
    Pop!_Planet Founder

Beginner GNOME Shell desktop workflow explained.

derpOmattic

Pop!_Muse
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I've noticed an increase in requests regarding desktop icons on GNOME desktop. To be more precise, problems with them and caused by them. There's a very logical reason for these problems. Putting it plainly, the GNOME desktop environment was developed from the ground up to be keyboard driven. It was developed to be different to most traditional desktop environments. It is purposely designed to NOT make use of the desktop like a traditional desktop. Forcing it to function like a traditional desktop breaks it's design. Instead, a better way to live with the GNOME desktop is to learn how to use it the way GNOME developers intended it to be used. I can wholeheartedly say that the GNOME desktop is completely stable, or rock solid, when it is kept close to stock and used as intended.

If you're a new convert to Linux, or coming from a more traditional desktop to Pop, you will be greeted with System76's implementation of the GNOME desktop, which includes the default key bindings along with many custom ones. There is a small learning curve to get over, but once mastered, the ease and beauty of this keyboard-centric desktop will make you wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Here is Pop's list of keyboard shortcuts.

For anyone interested, I've included a video tutorial (below) to familiarize yourself with the basics of the GNOME desktop environment. The creator is using Solus, but the GNOME basics are very much the same on Pop. I thought it was a thorough and understandable introduction to GNOME.

Some quotes that I selected from the video;

GNOME shell is not a traditional desktop, and if you try to use it as one you will not be very efficient. Yes, you can add various extensions to force it to function as a traditional desktop, and this is what many people do, but out-of-the-box GNOME Shell will require more movements of the cursor and more mouse clicks than other Linux desktops. Now these extra clicks, mouse movements - they're because GNOME Shell was meant to be keyboard driven. From a functionality and usability standpoint this is highly efficient. On the downside it will take time to learn to use a desktop from a keyboard centric perspective, essentially forcing the user to give up previously learned habits...
... Everything can be controlled through the keyboard. This isn't by accident, as I said earlier, GNOME Shell was developed from the ground up for a keyboard centric workflow.
I hope it's helpful.

 

Gnuserland

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Jul 2, 2019
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I know that you would do something useful but if you reflect a bit, Gnome 3 had deliberately and intentionally cut off all the ones who need to use an approach point and click, and System76 is following the same insane approach. And from a marketing and customer service point of view that is very few clever, unless System76 is targeting just coders and programmers that means that I am not willing to buy anything else from them if they are following that line.
 
Last edited:

derpOmattic

Pop!_Muse
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How System76 approach the user interface in future is something you would have to discuss with them. I do know, however, they certainly try to make Pop as user friendly as possible without breaking the basic design of the desktop. Obviously, anyone can use Pop!_OS, but it was initially made with professionals in mind. You can still maintain all your cursor movements if you wish - the video is just explaining that it isn't efficient or necessary.

Personally, if I wanted to have a traditional desktop with icons, rather than tweak GNOME to some large degree, I'd install a desktop environment like MATE or Xfce that likes to behave in that manner. A lot of people are also using KDE. The stock Pop!_OS product is really stable though. Now that I've familiarized myself with it's intended way of use, I think the traditional desktop is clunky and cluttered. I would find it hard to go back to all the tedious clicking around.
 

Gnuserland

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Jul 2, 2019
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I don't believe I will address those issues with them. There are some technical choice of POP!_Os that I really dislike and I do not consider Ubuntu a good base for anything. However I needed a change and I went with the OS "designed" for my laptop.

Unfortunately I don't see, for me, any way to be productive with Gnome 3 vanilla, that very few distros offer, unless you use few applications at session and you don't need to use the mouse that much. But for that scope exist a huge selection of TWM that works simply better than Gnome.

Without considering that all the distros have their shortcut hence thinking to be designed for being keyboard driven is very silly. Even the most tedious software of the world, in terms of easy of use, I mean Blender, eventually had to change from being only keyboard driven to offer both the solution, mouse and keyboard.

I don't see, for example, how you can be productive scrolling the applications as phone without a simple a rationale organization, and if you are keyboard driven why should you use the mouse to move the windows in the workspaces? With XFCE I can do that through shortcut. I stop here, I have really difficult to understand how people find Gnome 3 usable, even System76 is modifying the shell to make it usable.

Gnome 3 is a total disaster...
 

Gnuserland

Member
Jul 2, 2019
93
1
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write.snopyta.org
Sorry to come back again on that topic but I would like to understand something.

I don't know when you started using Linux but, for my experience, the combination of Gnome 2.36 + Compiz + beryl was the peak of the desktop experience, then Gnome3 that I consider the failure of desktop experience (but I am not alone, the same think Mate, Budgie, Pantheon, LXQT and Cinnamon desktop teams).

Now please explain me why Mate is clunky if compared with Gnome 3?
 

derpOmattic

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This thread was tagged with the beginner prefix so new Linux converts could start making use of GNOME correctly from the beginning. Answering an endless stream of desktop-icon related problems seems counter intuitive when the answer is obvious. GNOME's current desktop environment is extremely popular and is now the default for most known distributions, so it isn't going away any time soon. It would make sense then to educate new users on the most efficient and intended way to use it.

With Windows 7 losing official support it is anticipated that many people will want to try Linux. They will, no doubt, come across GNOME's desktop environment. if they know from the outset that it isn't meant to be used the same as Windows, they can begin to learn to use it properly without heavily modifying it in an attempt to make it familiar to what they're used to, making it unstable. I never intended this to become a discussion on GNOME's weaknesses and perceived design flaws. It's here to stay. It was designed to function a certain way. It's then best to learn the design.

We obviously come from different backgrounds. I've been a life-long mac user and kept my desktop tidy. I'm therefore familiar with the idea of virtual desktops and many of mac's features that are similar to GNOME. My biggest hurdle was learning how to use the Activities / favorites dock with the super key instead of having it right on the desktop. I know I can use an extension, but they often break. So I learned to use the super key. Then I found it was simpler to just press a keyboard combo and launch programs, so I went with it and made many of my own. I found I can navigate "quickly" without touching the mouse, which was better, so I went with it. I've grown so accustomed to keyboard driven efficiency that I've moved on to i3wm, which is extremely stable on Pop. I don't use it all the time or on every machine, but it is brilliant at staying out of your way and letting you get work done.

I know where you're coming from because I have used all those desktops you mentioned, especially MATE, which was my favorite out of those. That is why I said, if I wanted a traditional Windows style desktop on Linux for familiarity, I would install MATE on Pop. So, why is it clunky? It would be clunky for me now that I've learned how to use GNOME (and i3wm) and the soon to be released Pop-shell. Whenever I have to use a mac or Windows machine now, I just seem to be endlessly reaching for the mouse, moving the cursor, clicking some command or function. It takes much longer to do those things than what I'm currently doing with the keyboard centric set up.

It seems you have strong opinions of how a desktop environment should function, and you're allowed to have those ideas and use what you want. That is the beauty of Linux - the power of choice. You seem to be resistant to change and GNOME's dominance is upsetting to you, as it is with many experienced Linux users. Old school Linux advocates still complain about a great many things, and that is Ok, because Linux allows you to install and do what you want, unlike Mac and Windows. The fact is that GNOME is dominant now and not going away. You can choose to install what you like and are familiar with, but I thought it would be a good thing to start educating new converts to Linux with GNOME on how to use the desktop in the manner it was designed.
 

evertiro

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Nov 21, 2018
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Please keep discussions on-topic. As @derpOmattic indicated, this thread was tagged with the Beginner tag and is intended for users who do like (or at least, are using) GNOME 3. While there are certainly plenty of people who agree with you, this isn't a universal opinion, and certainly isn't appropriate for this thread. If you want to discuss the pros and cons of GNOME, please start a new thread.
 

derpOmattic

Pop!_Muse
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It's all good. I understand where you're coming from. I'm not always happy with the direction developers take some software. We can discuss what we like and dislike about GNOME in another thread that isn't a how-to for beginners. No harm, no foul.
 

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