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How will GNOME 3.0 be Received?

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It could go either way.

After a week of using GNOME Shell, the preview of GNOME 3.0, on Fedora 13, that is the closest I can come to a prediction about how GNOME's new desktop will be received when it is officially released in the spring of 2011.

On the one hand, GNOME Shell is an attractive and easy to use interface that integrates multiple workspaces better than any desktop that I've seen. On the other hand, it requires some adjustments in the way you work, and, in its present form, feels inflexible -- although part of that inflexibility may be due to features that haven't been implemented yet.

GNOME Shell has been available in GNOME releases since version 2.29 last year. It is not a standard part of most installations, but you can find it in the repositories of most major distributions. Once you install the package and its dependencies, you can run it with the command gnome-shell --replace.

After a few seconds, GNOME Shell will replace the existing desktop until you logout (if you want to always use the GNOME Shell, add it to your applications to run on start up). Meanwhile, you can refer to it while following the observations below.

A Skeptical Background

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