Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Parcellite and GNOME3: A Nice Combination

So I realized I needed a clipboard manager. For whatever reason, LibreOffice data wasn’t staying in my clipboard after I closed out of programs and I forgot often enough for it to become annoying.

I decided to install Parcellite, which I loved in LXDE. Parcellite remembers the last 25 pieces of text copied or cut to the clipboard, so if you forget to paste (or something won’t paste), there’s still a record. I was a bit nervous about how it would run in GNOME3, since the top panel is kind of off limits to everything and Parcellite usually lives in that top panel area. It installed fine, but it took me a while to find it. Eventually, I noticed it. Where was it hiding?

The bottom panel!

screenshot of Parcellite in bottom GNOME3 panel

Now that I know where to find it, I’m enjoying it as an option, although I wish the GNOME bottom panel would appear when my mouse is at the bottom of the screen, rather than making me mouse all the way to the bottom right corner. I can summon Parcellite with the meta key, but I still have to drag my mouse over to open its clipboard. And I try to avoid the mouse/trackball whenever I can.

Despite those minor complaints, Parcellite is a nice addition to GNOME3. If you’re looking for a light, easy clipboard manager, Parcellite’s will do you right.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

GNOME 3.2: Who Invited Nautilus to this Environment?

So to no one’s surprise, I made the switch to OpenSUSE 12.1 on my main laptop, a Lenovo T420i.

The main reason? I fell in love with GNOME shell. Sabayon LXDE was nice, but tiny things kept creeping up, like clamz not working to unpack Amazon music. It was nothing that impacted the usability of the machine, but it was just enough to make me open to switching distros.


I still like all of the OpenSUSE things I liked when I reviewed it a few weeks ago.

I’ve been reading up on GNOME 3 and one thing I didn’t pick up in my review was that OpenSUSE has a curated GNOME shell implementation. They pre-installed some GNOME extensions that have made GNOME much better. For instance, OpenSUSE uses the extension that gives shell an option to power off. They also install the GNOME tweak tool by default.

Of course, that’s a little less necessary thanks to the GNOME extensions site that recently went live as an alpha. It allows one-click extension installation (and removal) from a web interface (as long as that interface is Firefox). There are some cool extensions, but I was most interested in the one that brings back traditional alt-tab behavior (GNOME 3 lets you tab between applications, not windows. To tab through application windows, you need to use alt-`, which just wasn’t ideal for me).

One thing that’s not so great about GNOME shell? The Nautilus file manager. For instance, to delete a file, you actually need to click ctrl-delete. Delete by itself doesn’t actually delete. Also, you can’t drag files into bookmarked folders via the file tree navigation. And apparently, it’s deliberate functionality. I didn’t want to uninstall it, since GNOME seems to have Nautilus do a lot of different things, so I just installed my beloved PCManFM file manager. GNOME treats it as the default, so I don’t even really see Nautilus anymore.

I wish the desktop calendar, which lives along the top panel, could read your Google Calendar directly. There’s a script to make that happen, but it seems easier to just have Evolution import the calendars for me (although it would also be nice if you could choose the calendar GNOME uses — I’m not a huge Evolution fan).

In general, I’m getting used to OpenSUSE. YaST, the software manager, is logical. OpenSUSE uses a lot of repositories, so I’m getting used to finding and adding those sorts of things. For example, KeePassX, my password manager, isn’t in one of the default repositories. I had to add a password management repository. And the restricted codecs are all in another repository. It’s a bit of a shift from Ubuntu and Sabayon, where just about everything is in one giant repository.

In general, though, I’m loving GNOME and OpenSUSE. It’s a very fast desktop environment, but also a very nice looking one. I mentioned the word cohesive in my previous review and I keep coming back to that concept. LXDE felt like a lot of nice parts that worked independently of each other. GNOME feels like all of the parts are in sync. It’s not a knock against LXDE, which is a great desktop environment in its own right, so much as its a tribute to OpenSUSE’s GNOME implementation.

Now, if they could just somehow extract Nautilus from the equation.

Monday, December 5, 2011
I’m loving how customizable GNOME Shell is. I just added DuckDuckGo as a search option from the activities dashboard. It was easy.

I’m loving how customizable GNOME Shell is. I just added DuckDuckGo as a search option from the activities dashboard. It was easy.