elmagio
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:13 pm

Implement Ubuntu-like QoL improvements to the Solus GNOME spin

Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:02 pm

Many users, like myself, believe GNOME Shell to be a very powerful DE, but one that can be feel a bit unfriendly out of the box and while you can configure it more to your liking or even extend its functionality notably through extensions, sifting through the thousands of extensions to find the one that adds that feature or configuration option you wanted, only to find that it's been deprecated and doesn't work on your Shell version or have it introduce its fair share of bugs, well that's just not the most pleasant of experience and probably the kind of stuff that makes options like Budgie so (deservedly) popular.

Ubuntu's solution to that problem has been to ship by default with a customized version of GNOME that adds a few commonly desired features and configuration options to the standard OOTB experience, while letting 'purists' install the stock Gnome-session if they so wish. And this is just my opinion, but while no drastic changes were introduced I personally can't even imagine myself using the stock GNOME after having tried Ubuntu's modified session. The stuff it adds just seems to make sense and even the littlest things end up adding a lot in my opinion.

Didier Roche's (an Ubuntu dev) blog had a series of posts in the weeks prior to Ubuntu Artful's release on the kind of stuff they modified, but a few examples would be stuff like AppIndicators properly moved to the panel by default with their drop drown menus adopting the Shell style and theme (which can be done through extensions, but had caused me a few headaches in the past), adding an option to enable volume-boost (to 153% for some reason (not that I'm complaining)) permanently (which is absolutely vital on a lot of laptops, and can be buggily enabled through extensions (like the works once every 3 boots kinda bug)) or adding an option to have the shutdown menu pop up when pressing the power button (which can't really be done on Stock GNOME, to my knowledge, and is really essential to my use case at least). There were also flashier, more talked-about added features like having the basic Ubuntu-Dock installed by default, but in my opinion the little things are what really made it worth it. The bigger stuff like the Dock were nice for new users, but I imagine most Linux users already know about or would soon find out about Dash-to-Dock which is basically the Ubuntu Dock on steroids.

So I was thinking that it would be a nice addition to the Solus GNOME UX to have a package similar (or a literal port of it) to the Ubuntu-session one available in the repos or even installed by default, depending on what the devs think would be best (if doing this is even an option at all). I realize that customizing the GNOME-Shell UX isn't your priority when Budgie is the default spin, but I'm making this suggestion in case the Ubuntu modifications could be easily ported to Solus GNOME, I don't really have the technical know-how to figure that out myself, but I couldn't come up with any reason why that wouldn't work either.

Anyway, thanks in advance for your answers and for the amazing work done on Solus both with Budgie and with the OS in general.

sunnyflunk
Development Team
Posts: 2974
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:35 pm

Re: Implement Ubuntu-like QoL improvements to the Solus GNOME spin

Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:09 pm

Have you tried Solus GNOME? It does come with extensions to improve the out of the box experience (which was done well before they were included elsewhere).

elmagio
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: Implement Ubuntu-like QoL improvements to the Solus GNOME spin

Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:31 pm

I do actually use Solus GNOME. My main laptop is still running Ubuntu (17.10) because I'm too lazy to reinstall the system from scratch, but my backup laptop is running Solus (currently GNOME, sometimes I switch to Budgie). And yes it is not a purely default GNOME-Shell experience OOTB, some stuff is improved by default and some additional extensions can be easily enabled directly from the Tweak-Tool.

But it's still vanilla GNOME-Shell + some extensions that one could install on their own, not a (slightly) modified version of GNOME-Shell per se, like Ubuntu's default session. To go back to the examples I mentioned in the OP, if I want properly integrated and properly styled indicators in the panel in Solus, I still have to enable the right extensions and configure them to work properly, whereas on Ubuntu it just works. If I want to enable volume-boost to 153%, on Solus I'll have to install the right extension, enable that specific feature (and it won't always work), on Ubuntu I just have to go into the sound menu and check a box. If I want to make my power button open the shutdown menu, well I can't do that at all on Solus while I just have to go in the Power menu on Ubuntu.

sunnyflunk
Development Team
Posts: 2974
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:35 pm

Re: Implement Ubuntu-like QoL improvements to the Solus GNOME spin

Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:23 am

elmagio wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:31 pm
I do actually use Solus GNOME. My main laptop is still running Ubuntu (17.10) because I'm too lazy to reinstall the system from scratch, but my backup laptop is running Solus (currently GNOME, sometimes I switch to Budgie). And yes it is not a purely default GNOME-Shell experience OOTB, some stuff is improved by default and some additional extensions can be easily enabled directly from the Tweak-Tool.

But it's still vanilla GNOME-Shell + some extensions that one could install on their own, not a (slightly) modified version of GNOME-Shell per se, like Ubuntu's default session. To go back to the examples I mentioned in the OP, if I want properly integrated and properly styled indicators in the panel in Solus, I still have to enable the right extensions and configure them to work properly, whereas on Ubuntu it just works. If I want to enable volume-boost to 153%, on Solus I'll have to install the right extension, enable that specific feature (and it won't always work), on Ubuntu I just have to go into the sound menu and check a box. If I want to make my power button open the shutdown menu, well I can't do that at all on Solus while I just have to go in the Power menu on Ubuntu.
You are welcome to make suggestions of extensions to be enabled via https://dev.solus-project.com/ (I don't use the GNOME edition)

The goal of all that work you are citing was to mimic Unity for continuity (which appears to be the style you prefer). That isn't the goal in Solus. There are different desktops available for different experiences, so there there is less of a need to make them work in a similar manner. It may surprise you that some people prefer a vanilla GNOME than adding extra panels and extensions.

elmagio
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:13 pm

Re: Implement Ubuntu-like QoL improvements to the Solus GNOME spin

Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:19 pm

sunnyflunk wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:23 am
You are welcome to make suggestions of extensions to be enabled via https://dev.solus-project.com/ (I don't use the GNOME edition)

The goal of all that work you are citing was to mimic Unity for continuity (which appears to be the style you prefer). That isn't the goal in Solus. There are different desktops available for different experiences, so there there is less of a need to make them work in a similar manner. It may surprise you that some people prefer a vanilla GNOME than adding extra panels and extensions.
But that's the thing, they're not really extensions (except for the Ubuntu Dock and the Ubuntu Appindicators, but even those aren't available purely as extensions), all those modifications are contained in the Ubuntu-session package AFAIK. And I didn't feel like it would have made sense to request the integration of that package, since I don't think all of it should be ported (Ubuntu Dock, for example, is a feature-stripped version of Dash to Dock which is enabled by default in Solus GNOME, so there would be no point to adding Ubuntu Dock to any Solus install) and I don't even know if the package could actually be ported to Solus or if it would require modifications to Solus' vanilla GNOME install. So I thought the Ideas section of the forum was a better place to start.

I do realize that some people prefer the pure GNOME UX (+ some extensions), but an optional package (let's say named Solus-gnome-session) wouldn't take anything away from them. As for the idea that Ubuntu's modifications were meant to make Unity users feel comfortable, there is truth to that but IMO, but in my opinion that doesn't take much away from them being QoL improvements. For example I've attached images of Solus GNOME's vs Ubuntu's implementations of AppIndicators in the panel, on the first one you see a simple GTK dropdown menu that has to be activated with a right click (when nothing else in the panel requires a right click, so it's counterintuitive), on the second it's a proper Shell menu activated with a left click which provides superior consistency. Edit: It seems like the order of the screenshots attached isn't the one I thought it would be, so to clarify: The one that has "49°C" next to the Skype icon is Ubuntu, the other is Solus GNOME.

I also feel like adding the option to get the shutdown menu from the power-button (instead of being limited to suspend and hibernate) is a straight improvement, GNOME-Shell used to provide that option by default and is even the default behavior on Budgie IIRC (don't have a Solus Budgie install right now to test, so I might be wrong on this). And a checkbox to enable volume boost in the sound menu also seems like a QoL improvement with little to no drawbacks. They may be behaviors inherited from Unity, but that doesn't take away from the added functionality they bring.

I realize I might have taken the wrong approach and that it might look like I'm trying to sell Ubuntu as the gold standard everyone should follow (which isn't the case), but all I meant was that I feel like adding an optional package that adds that kind of QoL improvements to the vanilla GNOME session would be nice. To me those features make sense, maybe they don't to Solus devs and maybe other features would make sense to Solus devs which don't make sense to me, in the end what is and isn't implemented isn't for me to decide, but I still feel like such a package would be a nice addition.
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