While GNOME 3.0 will not be released until September 2010, many of the GNOME packages are beginning to change in preparation for this major overhaul of the GNOME desktop even though the GNOME 2.30 release is still ahead of us. While Zeitgeist, G-Streamer, Clutter/Mutter, and GNOME Shell grab most of the attention, the mature Nautilus file-browser is receiving some improvements too. Nautilus 2.29.1 was released today with some of the first changes in preparation for GNOME 3.0...
Atleast there will be an option to turn it back on. well, there better be. I think Spacial view works (much much) better.
It is not often that you traverse the system directories - unless you are a tinkerer and the home directory layout is pretty simple. I think it is more the tinkerers who had the bigger problems with spacial view.
I never understood spatial mode. I don't like having five file browser windows opened at once just to get to a file a few levels down.
It depends on your personal preference. personally I like having multiple file windows open because when I use a file manager I generally want to move files around. So I prefer drag-n-drop rather then copy-n-paste.
The idea behind spatial interface is not just for the file manager, but for the whole desktop:
Imagine your getting into your car and you put your seat belt on, turn on the car, start it up, fiddle with radio, and so on and so forth. Your little rituals you have to go through to get back to being familiar with the car. After owning a car for a few months it becomes second nature.
You pretty much know were everything is. Like you don't have to search around for your seat belt or feel around the dashboard for your key slot.. You just pop the stuff in and you go.
Now imagine that every time you get out of your car somebody goes in and pretty much randomly re-arranges everything. Each time you get in you got to look around and search like the first time you drove. It would quickly get very irritating.
Before the drive for 'spatial mode' Gnome was a lot like that. When you opened up nautilus windows they did not get arranged according to any sort of placement you normally expect.. instead they can appear and be in different areas each time based on non-obvious factors like the placement of other window not associated with nautilus.
Notice it's not just the lack of controls and simpler UI that made spatial mode different, but it saves the position of the windows, their size, their order, and even where the scroll bar is at when you left it.
Besides that Gnome folks started being aware of UI design like the corners of your screen (as a example).
You could make a 1x1 pixel icon and place it up in the corners of your desktop and be able to click on that icon every time. It does not even take any effort. Just throw the mouse at the corner and it'll just naturally just slide right into that corner.
Just little refinements like that.
Another example that Gnome gets right and things like Compiz gets wrong is that Gnome Metacity treats each virtual desktop as it's own thing. Sure you can't just slide windows back and forth like you can with Compiz, but you also avoid confusing situatiosn were you have windows half-on and half-off the desktop and things like that.
One of the big deals with Gnome that they figured out is that having multiple desktops is very confusing for many users.
If they are new to Linux or don't understand the concept of having multiple desktops (most people could not tell you what a desktop _is_, much less understand the concept of multiple ones)
So what happens is they accidentally click in the wrong spot and *poof* all their applications disappear. This is very disconcerting and most people could not be able figure out what happened and assumed that they crashed all their applications.
Also having that little applet for moving windows back and forth in your panel is pretty horrible. I don't like it and it's hard to click on the little windows when you want to move things around.
But Gnome can't just get rid of multiple desktops. Multiple desktops is the cornerstone of modern Linux desktop UI and is critical for most users that are used to it.
So notice how they solved this problem with Gnome 3.0.
You click on the 'Activities' and are given a list of different things you can do. You can go on the network or do a search or open up applications or whatever else you want. All in one place.
Also you are given a shrunken down representative of your desktop. You can see all the applications line up side-by-side and have a easy visual identification of what each one is and what each one is for.
Then you can click the + button and add more desktops on the fly. You can move windows around through simple drag-n-drop and all that happy stuff.
This way people can take advantage of multiple desktops without having to have everything explained to them. They can see the desktop getting added or removed and they can see were each application is easily.
It's very fast, it's touch-screen friendly, easy to understand, and so on and so forth.
7 things that should seriously be done by the time 3.0 comes around:
a) 8pt default font
b) scrolling speed setting
c) metacity minimize rectangle animation idiotic thingy, dump it in favor of xfwm4 or stop hiding the key--/desktop/gnome/interface/enable_animations/enable_animations
d) provide some neat default theme and icons, make murrine the default gtk engine, and change the depressing brown folder icon--makes me want to jump out of the window
e) provide a neat start menu, even suse's gnome-main-menu is better than default, or change the default nooby, fat bars, seriously wtf?
f) get rid of some of the legacy shit...bonobo...anybody remember the save session paranoia...what a flipping lusers
g) nuke the gconf and xml bloat and do what kde did
and about the fonts, only on linux you'll see big, fat, fuzzy 10pt fonts in 640x480 res on 24" LCD burning up your retina.