In short, it is awesome.
Well it’s the first thing you see when you try out Fedora 15. It boots up in seconds! Systemd supports parallel service starting which makes the system boot extremely fast, and gives each daemon it’s own cgroup. Systemd is also easy to configure, and it’s one of the best features on Fedora 15.
GNOME 3 is truly awesome. It is a big change and it takes a while to get used to it, but apart from few annoying bugs (list at the bottom), it works perfectly.
The lack of task-bar, window list or dock was criticized again and again, but I find it one of the best features of the shell. It makes multi-tasking really efficient. You can switch between windows of the same application using alt+` or switch applications using alt+tab, or using the Overview Mode. Plenty of easy ways to switch between windows, without having a distracting window list visible all time.
Pressing the “super key” (aka Winkey) brings the awesome Overview Mode, which allows you to see all open windows, make them bigger using the mouse wheel (so you can see the window a bit better), lunch favorite applications, see your workspaces and such. It allows quick searching in installed applications, nautilus bookmarks and recent documents. Clicking on the search box is unneeded, because it’s always gets your input when you are in overview mode. (eg. if I want to start gedit, I press the super key, write “ge” and press enter). Yay for keyboard control!
Empathy messaging integration is also helpful, the new network manager menu is really easy to use, and the persistent notifications in the hidden notification area is a great solution to the over-crowding of the old gnome 2 notification area.
Getting rid of deprecated libraries: Not fully accomplished yet, but GNOME and Fedora are slowly moving towards this goal. GNOME Shell doesn’t require HAL, Bonobo, gconf , libgnomeui, libpanelapplet and the list goes on and on. For developers, it means code that is easier to maintain. For users, it means faster desktop environment.
When gnome panel will be ported to GSettings, fallback mode won’t require gconf as well, But this probably won’t get into 3.
Although gnome 3 lacks of panel applets and default customization GUIs, it is much more extendable from gnome 2. It is possible to write plugins using JS, which can do much more than legacy panel applets.
Gnome 3 workspaces implementation is awesome. You don’t need to manually create a fixed amount of workspaces – Instead, there is always (I think there is some limit but haven’t found out yet) extra workspace waiting for you below the workspace you are currently using. Workspaces in gnome shell are displayed vertically, so to make sure keyboard shortcuts will make sens, the default key combinations for switching between workspaces is crtl+alt+Arrow Up and crtl+alt+Arrow Down.
I’d recommend reading the Cheat Sheet.
Easy to use control panel
Gnome 3′s control panel is really a great improvement. Keyboard layout configuration moved to the much better fitting panel, “Region and Language” and keyboard shortcuts configuration moved from their own dialog to the keyboard panel. Those are only minor changes. All control panels were updated, and now they are easier to use and understand.
Better (default) fonts
Gnome 3 changed the default font from
sans-serif DejaVu Sans to Cantarell, and it looks much better. That’s the reason I choose Cantarell to be the font of this blog.
Free 3D Acceleration for Everyone
Not exactly everyone, but if you have Intel, Nvidia, or ATI GPU, you can enjoy 3D acceleration with free and open source drivers – out of the box. True, Fedora 14 also had this feature, but it required installing extra experimental package for 3D acceleration support in nouveau (the free nvidia driver). Fedora 15 comes with this support out of the box, and kernel 2.6.38 is a real improvement in this area.
Tons of Other Features
Comparing to the really boring Fedora 14 (the only feature affected end-users in Fedora 14 is faster jpg compression and decompression!), Fedora 15 brings many interesting features that improves end-user’s experience of Fedora.
These are only some the reasons I find Fedora 15 awesome. It is definitely a release you shouldn’t skip, definitely something worth trying. Many bloggers who reviewed gnome 3 (and/or Fedora 15) didn’t try to understand the benefits of the changes, and didn’t try to get used to it. If they will try, I’m sure most of them would find it awesome.
Nothing is perfect, every software has bugs in it, but the only bugs I see are little annoyances, and really not critical:
- Gnome bug #644297 – Empathy icon would not stop blinking if you read your messages only in the shell integration.
- Gnome bug #643595 - The shell doesn’t show urgency hint. Makes me miss pings on IRC if my speakers are off. (This is perhaps the most annoying bug in gnome 3).
- Power off is hidden by default, only shows when pressing alt. This is not discover-able and in my opinion – bad design.
- Instead of using the nice blue-ish folder icons from fedora-icon-theme, Fedora 15 uses the ugly gray gnome-icon-theme folder icons. Why?
- Fedora bug #684688 – nouveau doesn’t support my GPU with DVI (Didn’t work in 13 or 14 either)
- Fedora bug #679373 – Monodevelop is broken in Fedora 15, and I need it for a school project…
- Fedora bug #691042 – python-genshi doesn’t work with python 2.7, which means I’m unable to build my local copy of fedoraproejct.org so I could do some website updates for Fedora 15…