A while ago there was a meme at Planet GNOME about the wishes for GNOME 3. Although I don’t have any influence on this, I do also have things I’d like to see in the next major release of my favourite desktop environment. But there is one thing that bugs me the most: the tons of configuration tools. This is not only GNOME’s fault — Ubuntu also adds its share — but it’s something that could and should be improved. Currently there is a tool for every tiny thing on your system.
- Awn manager
- CompizConfig Settings Manager
- GDM theme
The special effects tab of the gnome-appearance-properties program is useless now because I’m using custom settings.
Although I do appreciate the work both the Ubuntu and GNOME developers did to make configuration easier and I have to say that a lot has improved, like the gnome-appearance-properties program bundling all different theme programs. However, it can still become a lot better.
At least some configuration utilities should be looked at to see if they could be merged with others. But I think that some more fundamental changes could even make it better. What about a pluggable system that divides all configuration tools into some basic categories. The ‘System’ menu would contain these categories in its root and all programs like Synaptic would be moved to Application->System tools for the sake of consistency.
Each category would have its own program based on the same framework to make things consistent. When a new configuration tool is installed it would appear as some kind of tab. All settings that require root privileges can be handled with policykit.
This would just make browsing the tools easier, but doesn’t solve the issues like the enabling of Compiz. There is no other solution for this than just going by all settings and see how this could be improved.
There is also an idea at Brainstorm suggesting something similar:
It already has quite a lot of votes, but giving it more attention can’t hurt.
Again, I’m not affilated with GNOME. I don’t know if this is something GNOME developers would like, I don’t even know if they’re ever going to read this. But maybe they’re already working on something like this! I don’t know.
What I do know is that this issue is, at least in my eyes, one of the weakest parts of GNOME. It deserves some attention. I hope I this post helps a bit.