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The Official Ubuntu Book, 6th Edition: GNOME 3, GNOME Shell, and More

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This chapter provides and introduction to GNOME 3, including installation and exploration.
This chapter is from the book

Chapter 9. GNOME 3, GNOME Shell, and More

  • A Different Path
  • Installing the GNOME Shell
  • Exploring the GNOME Shell
  • Using the Keyboard
  • Common Questions
  • Summary

A Different Path

This is an exciting time to be using GNOME and Ubuntu because of all the new technology on the horizon. As Ubuntu has been innovating with Unity, Red Hat and others have been working on GNOME Shell, a new way of launching applications and managing programs. Like Unity, GNOME Shell is a replacement for both the panel and the window manager, offering new ways of manipulating windows, notifications, and other secondary functions of a desktop. Unique among desktop applications in GNOME, GNOME Shell is written in JavaScript and rendered with the Mozilla-based gjs. This use of JavaScript and cascading style sheets (CSS) makes adding new effects easy and lowers the barrier for Web developers coming to the GNOME desktop for the first time.

Beyond the use of Javascript, GNOME Shell is also based on mutter, an Intel-driven project that prior versions of Unity and its predecessor, the netbook-launcher, used. Unity has now moved to being written as a Compiz extension (with a Qt-driven 2D version). All this talk brings us to a word of warning: Although mutter is very shiny technology, it has a few rough edges depending on your video card used. Mileage may vary.

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