Ubuntu 11.10 and GNOME Shell, sitting in a tree

Since updating to Ubuntu 11.10 I’ve been using the GNOME Shell environment on my primary dev workstation. Its dual-monitor behavior seems odd at first — the second screen is sort of like an “extra” workspace that doesn’t switch with your virtual desktops.

But I’m making it work for me by keeping common apps like chat & terminal on the second screen and using the first as a switchable virtual workspace, which tends to jump around between:

  • NetBeans for PHP & JavaScript development
  • Eclipse for Android development
  • VirtualBox for testing things on Windows or IE
  • Gimp for image editing
  • whatever else

If Ubuntu’s Unity is driving you nuts with its funky hidden menu bar and stuff but you kinda like the magic ‘type something and it starts’, give GNOME Shell a try for a few days. You might actually like it!

apt-get install gnome-shell

then log out, and pick GNOME from the desktop options when logging back in.


4 thoughts on “Ubuntu 11.10 and GNOME Shell, sitting in a tree”

  1. Been doing the same thing. I am digging the notifications bar, since i cam chat with people on any space, without fully switching focus.

    What do you use for chat? I need OTR, so I use Pidgin, but it does integrate that well, yet.

    I second the notion about Unity. Gnome Shell is pretty nifty once you get usef to it.

  2. I actually mostly just use X-chat for IRC… I think Empathy ends up being what activates when I turn on my other IM goodies, but I don’t use them much myself. :)

  3. Looks like gnome-shell is the default on Debian. At least I have been using for sometime now and like it a lot.

  4. I’m also now trying it out on a touchscreen machine that I’m also trying Windows 8 Developer preview on… will post more on that later. :)

    Most of the gnome-shell goodies seem to be designed with touch-style interfaces in mind and should work pretty well (as far as things being big enough to tap on, having non-typing workflows feel sane, etc)

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