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Similar to Mint 11 and 12, Fedora 14 was the last release to have GNOME 2, and for support reasons Fedora 15 moved to GNOME 3. The difference here is that Fedora uses a vanilla GNOME 3 experience (similar to Ubuntu), so I thought I would take a look at this.

Holy crow does GNOME 3 ever blow!

Fedora 15 GNOME Fail
I should have expected this, but it seems that GNOME 3 no longer supports Virtualbox, since none of the distros I have tried could actually start the GNOME 3 desktop, even with 128 MB VRAM (max in VBox) and 3D acceleration enabled. Frankly I think this is ridiculous.

Fedora 15 Desktop
After we install this on a machine that CAN run the GNOME 3 desktop, we can see that there have obviously been a few changes:

  • There are no visible controls for anything.
  • There are no icons on the desktop (and you can't add them either).
  • There are no quick links to launch programs.
  • There is no right-click context menu.
  • There are no visible menus period.

Sound familiar? Good, because it should.

Fedora 15 Date
Clicking on the date pops up this calendar. Unfortunately it defaults to displaying in bizarro 24-hour time, but that can be changed and fortunately if you change it to 12-hour you can set the clock in 12-hour time.

Fedora 15 Universal Access
There is absolutely no accessibility on the desktop by default. This can be changed through the Universal Access control.

Fedora 15 Activities
So how about we actually try and DO something here?

The way to access your programs is totally non-obvious. There are no real menus anywhere. Normally someone migrating from Windows might hit Super/Win+R but then be brought with nothing since that isn't the key to do that in Linux. Alt+F2 does still work, but this is also completely non-obvious and there isn't much documentation anyways.
However, if you move the mouse into the upper left corner (again this should be fairly familiar), it pops up with this Activities thing. You can also click on Activities and it will do that, but again it is not obvious that you can click on it.

Wait, where are my programs? All we can see here is a bunch of pinned applications (like Firefox and the file manager), some thing with a desktop shoved into the right edge of the screen, and if we had any windows open they would show up in the middle, grouped together in an Exposé fashion. So, now what?
If you take a closer look you can see that this Activities "menu" defaults to showing you Windows. You must click on the Applications "button" and then it will bring you to your applications.

Fedora 15 Applications
And here we have applications view.

At least they have the decency to give you a hierarchy similar to that of the old menus, but the fact that it uses gigantic icons is kind of annoying.

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