Before you navigate away / delete this post, let me just say that this is *not* another gnome3 flaming session..
Personally, I’m all up for change – it makes life better, and I’m really, really tired of reading blog posts and IRC dialog which flames gnome3… I have my own opinions on gnome3 and have decided to write about them..
Does It Appeal To The Masses?
I’ve stated from the start, G3 is a massive shift for the end user experience, and a ballsy move in itself. When I first tried G3 it stood out as being an entirely different user experience to the windows-esque DE’s we are used to seeing. This, for me is an uber-cool move forward and more power to gnome for doing it.
My hypothesis at this point in time was; gnome3 will attract more users to Fedora, and linux in general (when it becomes more widespread) because of this new, shiny, compositing experience…but I could be wrong.
Many of my IRC buddies shot it down in flames in a heartbeat…well, sorry guys – but IMHO G3 isn’t meant for you…its meant for the masses. I absolutely DO NOT use G3 for my personal use, I tried it, it was pretty and enjoyable…but it just doesn’t fit my requirements of a desktop environment. However, I am not everyone, and I am definitely not the masses. My (possibly idealistic) thoughts that it would indeed appeal to the masses remained, it just didn’t appeal to my personal needs. That makes it 1-0 against gnome so far (with mitigation I think)
The Proof Is In The Pudding
I’m not a gnome fanboi or anything like that, but I wanted to know if this new user experience was going to appeal to the masses, and attract new users as I had guessed…so I set about finding out.
Firstly I installed it on my girlfriends laptop (Fedora 15 beta at the time), obviously I needed to enable the rpmfusion repos and install a variety of non-free stuff in order to make it a decent user experience for her…but I was really interested in what the reaction would be. In summary, the reaction was exactly as I expected – she loves it, everything comes quickly to hand and the interface is very intuitive….1-1 , In my highly scientific experiment cross-sectioning users – the scores are level
Next, I installed it on my 11 year-old boy’s laptop…although he doesn’t really care about the new interface, it took him all of about 10 minutes to find his way around it….no score, still 1-1
Now the real sadistic test arrived. I chose two of the guys working in my office (currently using windows XP) and net-installed Fedora 15 stable / Gnome3 on their boxes. I’ll note at this point that its not a cool idea to be installing Fedora in a commercial environment unless you know how to back out of things quickly (please don’t bother flaming me over it either, its highly unlikely that I’ll care enough to reply). Now, hats off to Fedora – it worked, straight away – joined the network, accessed the file shares and printers (after a little time spent messing with .PPD’s)…now there may be a tiny amount of this success down to my personal experiences, but not alot – it does actually work, in (my) a commercial environment. Fedora++
Here’s the part the G3 haters won’t like….Gnome 3 made life very easy for me, they both love their new OS and have spent the last 2 days telling me how to do X or how to change Y…evidently it is more intuitive than I originally gave it credit for. 3-1 Gnome, game over….
Summary: Ok, so it doesn’t fit my personal needs, and it also doesn’t fit the personal needs of many of my friends…but the question was – Would it appeal to the masses, and bring more users to Fedora?…Well it did, 4 so far and I’m pretty sure once the video’s get out on youtube / whatever there will be more livecd downloads and more transitions from $(other OS). Although 4 is a particularly small number, lets not forget that it also represents 100% of the people I tried it out on.I’m also particularly proud that the distro I personally contribute toward was the first (afaik) to ship Gnome3…..nice work guys!