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Gnome 3.0 To Be Delayed Until September 2010?

Gnome 3.0, which is due to bring the love/hate Gnome-Shell to users desktops, was originally slated in for a March 2010 release.

This may now be pushed back to September 2010 due to the “beta quality” of Gnome-Shell; there is just too much work to be done on it and just not enough time.

As such it seems the March 2010 release of Gnome 2.30 (which was to be renaged and replaced by Gnome 3.0) will be just that – Gnome 2.30.

“Beta quality…”

Red Hat’s Owen Taylor posted a message on the Gnome Shell mailing list describing Gnome-Shell as ‘usable’ in it’s currentl state but goes on to liken it to “beta quality” software. Time, it seems, is not on their side.

We’d have to either lock it down and freeze it without finishing everything, or we’d be changing stuff up to the last minute. … It makes more sense to take our time anddo a really good job.

~ Owen Taylor to the Gnome-Shell mailing list.

He highlights two key areas that need big improvement before he feels a quality release should be made. These are: –

Messaging - how GNOME Shell interacts with nofitications and messaging.

App Browsing - The current way of finding applications is just a “regurita[ting] the gnome menu’s in a slightly different form.”

He also notes another area of the Shell that needs a re-think: Document Browsing:-

There’s no big picture story about how you access and find your documents in GNOME 3. The default here is to just say that GNOME Shell replaces “Recent Documents” in the panel, and the rest stays the same. But all the interest in Tracker, Zeitgeist, etc, shows that people aren’t that satisfied with the current ways this work.

User Testing

Worryingly still he goes on to note that no formal user testing has been done on GNOME Shell!

We have not (in general) set down users in front of GNOME Shell and watch how they succeed and fail with it and how they like it.

That just borders on insane! If GNOME Shell is to succeed, be useful and user-friendly (GNOME ethos here, no?) then not getting feedback along the way is a crazy idea, and judging by the feedback so far on forums, comments and the like there isn’t a wide pool of love as is for GNOME Shell! Devs blindly trotting down a path they think users will like just isn’t good enough. All the “user interface guidelines” in the world won’t tell you if something works in the real world or not.

I am a GNOME boy at heart, but even i fear for GNOME Shell. I do hope that it is delayed and September 2010 becomes the release date.

Excited for GNOME-Shell? Think it’s great enough already? Hate it? Share your thoughts below!

Don’t forget you can easily install a developer preview of Gnome-Shell in Karmic Koala via Synaptic.