GNOME, an easy to use desktop environment,will teach you how simple a linux OS really is, with its new GNOME shell. GNOME 3 can also be used without using GNOME shell as the interface. GNOME 3, code named Topaz (for three point zero) was released on April 6 this year. Now lets talk about its appearance.
In GNOME shell, the top panel has one button on the left, called Activities. This replaces the old application, system and places menus. The top right corner has indication applets, similar to previous ones, but with the addition of social networking applets using Empathy.
This is a concept already implemented in Ubuntu, called the Ubuntu messaging Menu. There is an entry for system settings in the top right corner menu, where you have the Shutdown and Restart options. The clock is placed in the center of the top panel and clicking on it will display the calender, along with an attractive event scheduler. If you choose to open the calender, you are redirected to Evolution.
Clicking the Activities button displays two tabs: Windows and Applications. The window switcher displays all the open windows in an efficient way, giving users a preview of all of the. When the Activities icon is clicked, you also get an application launcher dock on the left, where you can pin your most used apps by right clicking the apps in its active state and choosing the Add to favorites option. The applications tab is where you can find your desired apps.
It initially displays all the apps, but the category list is located on the right. There is a search bar included above the category list, where you can type the name of the apps or file that you are looking for. However, the search bar failed to work in the GNOME 3 preview.
The shell displays error messages and status messages in a pop up screen, which does not interfere with the application that you are currently using. In the bottom right corner, you will get a Gnome-settings-daemon icon that is used to change the screen resolution, which i believed is a feature of Opensuse.
Deeper integration with the hardware is a key feature of Gnome 3, as mentioned by its developers. When tested on laptop, it automatically added the Suspended option, but failed to start the battery indicator applet. It even started Compiz on detecting the graphics card.
When a device is plunged in, Gnome 3 immediately detects it and displays a status message at the bottom. It does make full use of the hardware, but there is always room for improvement.
Social networking from the desktop:
Social networking is built on Empathy, which uses the Telepathy framework. You can add your Google, Facebook and other chat accounts by entering the details in Empathy. The My account option on the top right corner menu is only to add user details and not chat accounts.
In case you are using some other applications and your friend types a chat message, Empathy will not interfere with the active application, but it displays the messages in the dialogue box.