GNOME 3 fall back mode

I’ve been aware of the possibility of gnome fallback mode being dropped for quite some time. I wasn’t aware a decision had been made to definitely do so.

This is somewhat disappointing to me as I know of a lot of users of it. For starters there’s the 2.5 million OLPC XOs that were in the field as of January 2012 (I’m led to believe there’s around 1.5 million more to add from this year) and there’s a lot of ARM devices that have no 3D support because it’s pretty much impossible to use ESGL with gnome-shell at the moment (yes I know there’s plans to refactor mesa and friends to cope with this but that’s not now).

This isn’t designed to be a Federico style rant and if it was it would be aimed as much at the MATE Desktop as the GNOME team. I personally believe MATE would have been better off targeting their resources at properly fixing the GNOME 3 fall back mode to do the things they miss from GNOME 2 as attempting to glue together the GNOME 2 desktop as at least all the core apps are not duplicated and they get to keep the newer code which ultimately will be a lot more maintainable moving forward through the shared development of code. I’m not sure why they went the other route.

Oh well ultimately I believe it will be yet another net loss for GNOME as possibly eventually losing 4+ million odd young users from OLPC deployments (and all the other people such as families that use the devices) when they leave school I think would be a loss for the community moving forward and then add to that the users of it on ARM devices and other old computers in the developing world I think they’re not even aware of the users they have.

N.B. As always the words and thoughts are those of my own and don’t represent anyone else’s opinions.

11 thoughts on “GNOME 3 fall back mode”

    1. In most deployments they ship both. Sugar is still the primary desktop UX but they can switch between both.

  1. Time to ship one of the KDE Plasma shells instead? (Or even all 3.) I know Rex Dieter is working on making them run as well as possible on the XO 1.75 that was sent to him.

  2. I think the logic of the MATE project was that the GNOME2 code was in good working order. It would be several years of work to get GNOME3 fallback up to the same standard. I’m very glad that i had MATE as an option, and did not have to step backwards to XFCE (nothing wrong with XFCE, it is just a bit lightweight compared to GNOME2).

    1. indeed, by design the falback mode is designed to lack features and drive its users to GNOME Shell. fixing-up was not desired, so what MATE did with forking GNOME 2 was the right thing to do.

      1. Driving user to gnome-shell is all very well when they can run the shell. When they can’t all you do is drive them to other desktop environments though. It doesn’t need to be like that, just ended up like that.

      2. The falback mode is essentially the old desktop built with the GNOME 3 stack. What features do you miss in the fallback mode ?

      3. “indeed, by design the falback mode is designed to lack features and drive its users to GNOME Shell”

        that’s not correct, that’s your conspiracy theory. It lacks certain features not to “drive its users to GNOME Shell” but because they’re expensive (in maintainer time) to maintain, and fallback was only ever intended to be a stopgap and the team did not want to waste many of their limited resources on maintaining it.

        The effect is the same, but please don’t peddle your conspiracy theories as if they were gospel truth.

        peter: I’m not sure the GNOME team really _want_ users of XOs as their users. Let’s face it, XOs – especially earlier gen ones – are less powerful than a lot of smartphones. It’s pretty much impossible to design one desktop which is optimal for both an XO and a contemporary Ultrabook, say.

        The GNOME team decided they want to develop a desktop that takes advantage of the capabilities of modern mid-range hardware. That’s obviously going to compromise people using stuff that can be powered by a solar panel, which is unfortunate, but then if you design to the capabilities of Henry Ford’s computer, you compromise the people running something powered by more than two hamsters (I’m having fun with these metaphors, can you tell?) Whichever way you go, there’s a compromise. If you design to the XO, you waste all those capabilities that someone with a $500 laptop from 2009 has.

  3. Wouldn’t Cinnamon do the job? As far as I can tell, it’s based on Gnome 3 but has a 2d desktop option that seems to work well.

      1. Yes, I see, they forked mutter. And the 2d mode uses software rendering like gnome-shell does now. It’s much less load, but maybe still too much for a really low-end system.

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