GNOME Shell tips
So recently I discussed GNOME shell which gave a sneak peak at what GNOME 3 was going to look like (see my article "A sneak peek at GNOME 3"). Although there are many naysayers out there - who seem to either only want more of the same or who doubt the ability of any developer to release anything worth while - I trust that GNOME 3 is going to make quite a major impression.
But how is it used? Being a major change from the usual, it's going to need some serious adjustments on the part of the end users. So I thought I would do a bit of research ("gasp" some of you might be saying) and share a few tips on the basic usage of this new desktop.
It's not all "that" different
When you really get down to it, GNOME 3 will not be all that different. Sure it will look quite different than what most are used to, and there will be features some may never have seen or used, but over all it is still a desktop that creates windows, minimizes windows, launches applications, has a panel, etc. But at first look you might wonder how does one configure GNOME now? Or how do you add applications to the favorites menu? What is the "hot corner"? And what are some of the important key combinations? Let's take a look.
At this moment you will not find an icon or menu entry as a means to configure GNOME Shell. For GNOME 2.x you go to the System > Preferences or System > Administration menus to configure various aspects of GNOME. It looks as if GNOME 3 is going to go the Windows and KDE route by using only the GNOME Control Center. To bring this up you can hit <Alt>F2 and then type gnome-control-center. In this window you can configure the following groups of tasks:
- Look and Feel
- Internet and Network
TIP: If you don't like your window controls on the left, choose a different them and you can get the back to the right side.
Adding apps to the favorite menu
Take a look at Figure 1. In the upper portion of this you will see the APPLICATIONS entry and, below that, a few application icons. Those icons make up the Favorites Menu. These are the applications you use the most. You can easily add to this menu by doing the following:
1. Click on the APPLICATIONS entry (to open the full list of applications).
2. Right-click on the application you want to add.
3. From the resulting menu select "Add to favorites".
The icon will then be added to your favorites menu.
Conversely, you can remove an icon from the Favorites menu by right clicking the icon (in the Favorites menu) and selecting "Remove from favorites".
What is the "hot corner"?
At first you will think the only way to bring up the menu is by clicking the Activities button. Not so. If you take your cursor and place it all the way up in the upper left corner, the menu will open. This will mostly benefit laptop users, but it is still a nice touch.
What is the "overview"
The overview is when you have either clicked the Activities button or placed your cursor in the hot corner, at which point the menu will open and your windows will thumbnail. This is an "overview" of what is going on in your workspace.
Here are some of the more important key combinations you will want to know:
- Windows key: Switch between overview and desktop
- Alt+F1: Switch between overview and desktop
- Alt+F2: Run dialog
- Alt+Tab: Pop up window cycler
- Alt+Shift+Tab: Cycle in reverse direction in the window cycler
- Alt+`: Switch between windows of the same application in Alt+Tab
- Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R: Start/stop screencast recording
- Ctrl+Alt+D: Show desktop
- Ctrl+Alt+Right/Left arrow: Switch between workspaces
- Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Right/Left arrow: Move the current window to a different workspace
Those are all pretty basic. I'm sure as the full release comes more will rise to the surface.
So now you have a good look at what GNOME 3 will be like as well as some tips on how to use the desktop. I know there are a lot of doubters and detractors out there. Many people do not like change. But in the case of he PC desktop - it's about time for a change. And seeing as how stable GNOME Shell already is, I can only imagine what the full release of GNOME 3.0 will be like.Advertisement