Multiple monitors, Primary Monitor, GNOME 3 and the Top Bar

I have generally been a fan of GNOME 3. Innovation makes me happy and it was certainly a foray away from the well known desktop styles. I really like the idea of the dynamic workspaces which gets a lot of use. Searching for applications instead of looking through folders manually makes a whole load of sense.

Ever since google, we seem to be moving more and more towards a search-centric life. Forget about folders and organising things, just use search.

The old way of organising things into folders were never very efficient anyway. Most things needed to be filed under more than one section and this, of course, wasn’t possible. Search on the other hands means that you just plonk everything in one place and let the search worry about finding it.

There are however, several issues with GNOME 3 – and ironically, it seems to be basic functionality that’s missing. It’s technical things too – not a case of philosophy. I use multiple monitors and it is expected that I can choose which monitor displays the top bar. It should be possible to put it on the “Primary Monitor” or one of any secondary monitors.

This does not seem to be possible at all. Let’s adapt – we can just change the primary monitor so that the bar is on the monitor we want it to be on. This seems to work except for two things.

Whenever you log in, you find that the virtual desktop sees the monitors in the wrong order. The “primary” monitor is seen as being on the left side – always. It takes another visit to nvidia-settings or the display settings section to get that corrected.

Furthermore, if you have to restart the shell for whatever reason (and there are a few), you have to go through this exercise again.

A dynamic desktop manager is only a good thing but Linux and its tools / software is supposed to be about flexibility, power and “doing one thing well”. I am disappointed that GNOME 3 seems to be built on what feels like a lot of hardcoding.

It is unfortunate that in addition to this, the other desktop managers are worse. Don’t even get me started on Unity. If I wanted such a rigid “hardcoded” operating environment, I would just use Windows – and games are so much easier to play on there.

I won’t even start on Unity, an absolute and utter waste of so much resources. It feels very much like an ego stroke rather than contributing something positive to the community. This goes for both Unity and Mir.

In an already fragmented marketplace, one in which everything seems to have half-baked, it makes perfect sense to create something new that works. However, instead of doing that, all Canonical seems to have achieved is to fragment the market further with yet another half-baked tool.

There are plenty of people railing about how Windows 8 changes how everything is different and plenty of people did / do that with GNOME 3 and so on. It is not the change itself however, that irks me. It is the direction of change and its quality.

Please, lets not work on converting people from Windows / Mac at the cost of what makes the whole Linux platform awesome in the first place…

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