Gnome shell future plans

Gnome 3 is just around the corner, and I’m writing this from it now thanks to Debian unstable. Things are working pretty well, which is a vast improvement on just a couple of months ago when bugs in the r300g driver prevented me from running it at all. I’m very impressed by how everything has come together and how many bugs have been fixed in all levels of the stack to make it all work.

Other than the system monitor there’s not a whole lot of stuff I miss from Gnome 2. However, there’s lots of room for improvements now that the basic system is working.

* Tracker and Zeitgeist integration is in the works. This is major stuff that will really make the shell rock.

* A system monitor. It would be nice to have a little CPU & memory usage profile in the top bar that would open the system monitor. I’d be very surprised if it didn’t appear as an extension before too long.

* I like Ubuntu’s idea (I think it’s theirs 🙂 of putting ‘now playing’ stuff in with the volume control. This would make it a lot easier to do things like pausing music to watch a video, and keyboard shortcuts could even be included in the shell to change tracks etc. (Songbird on Windows does this, Meta+left/right changes songs and up/down the volume and I used to find this great when working with music playing on shuffle).

* Another great addition would be an indicator to monitor the state of all tasks going on in the system. This would include filesystem operations, downloads, slow things going on in applications and also background tasks like tracker indexing. Some work exists on this front, but there’s a lot still to do to make this happen in the Shell.

* Less obstructions when I want to turn my computer offwould be nice 🙂

I’m sure there’s be plenty of these lists appearing in the next few months. I guess I just wanted to get mine out first. But I do know that I’m excited for the next few years, and with the new centralised and extensible nature of the shell it will be easier than ever to turn some of these ideas into reality.

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