gnome-main-menu


Recently Miguel de Icaza blogged about version 2 of gnome-main-menu, available from Gnome’s SVN, so I decided to give it a try.

I’m using gnome-main-menu both on my every day environment (Gnome 2.16 from Debian Experimental) and on the Gnome I build from SVN using jhbuild. For the latter I patched gnome-desktop and gnome-panel with the files found in gnome-main-menu/patch.

gnome-main-menu
gnome-main-menu in action

The version I compiled is uglier than the one shown in the previous screenshot (copied from Miguel’s blog) and it’s lacking some features, such as the “Shutdown” button, does someone know why?

I prefer the newer version because it’s more usable but it isn’t perfect. First of all it’s slow, it leaks memory (it’s using 200 MB after some hours!), but I’m sure that these problems will be solved before a stable release.

I like the idea of the “Applications”, “Documents” and “Places” buttons but I don’t like how they look, they make the interface too chaotic. Moreover they are buttons but behave like tabs.
Probably people using a single panel layout prefer to have only the “Computer” button in the panel but I’d like to put the three buttons directly in the panel, as done by Gimmie. Another idea to steal from Gimmie is the use of different border colors for the different sections.

A thing I hate is to have an external window when “More Applications…” is clicked, why not to put the application links directly in the menu? Windows Vista does it when you click on “All Programs”, but it sucks because the menu is long and deeply nested. The normal menus in Gnome do not have these problems so I would like to have them in the main menu, as in the following mockup.

Applications in gnome-main-menu
Mockup: Kill the application browser

I like the search box at the top, but it opens the beagle-search window! I want the results in the same window! I want to type “gedit” and press return to open my beloved text editor!

Search results in gnome-main-menu
Mockup: Search results in the menu

In gimmie there is a “People” window, would it be possible to have something similar in gnome-main-menu?

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[…] Original post by Marco Barisione’s Weblog and software by Elliott Back   […]

Heh. What you’ve got here now is pretty much the Kickoff menu in OpenSuSe’s KDE. I like the status area on the right hand side of the Gnome main menu though, the Kickoff menu has a few too many tabs.

Here’s a screenshot of Kickoff: http://www.pconline.com.cn/pcedu/softnews/cs/0608/pic/823lin_2.jpg

A-freaking-men! The opening of various windows just screams incomplete, which perhaps is just what it is… One can hope.

From what I am reading, you wish that the text entry box in the gnome-main-panel be in fact the equivalent of the Deskbar applet with all the results being displayed right in the same area, if needed?

Thinking about it makes me wish for it too! That would rock!

I have the same issues that you have with the constant windows opening. Same with the Gnome Control Center, I liked the menu system better.

Nico

So, I’m confused. Why don’t you just use Gimmie? It already does almost everything you’re asking for!

I too checked it out due to Miguel’s writeup. And also was missing the buttons… so I went hunting…

It appears that they use a gnome-session-logout.desktop and gnome-session-shutdown.desktop file (google produced no results, and I couldn’t find them in the source nor SVN) that calls a libssui-tool – not sure where either of those are, but I love the new look. The mockups are quite nice, and the search results in the menu is what I had in mind when I hit search too.

I like your mockup. Also I think the “applications/documents/places” should have icons beside their names.

Nothing too revolutionary though…

Also, shouldn’t the “Applications”, “Documents”, and “Places” buttons be tabs in a notebook instead?

Great post.

The menu needs some love on your theme’s gtkrc to look like that. A work in progress version of Gilouche is used on that screenshot.

I agree with your comment about the buttons being tabs. The application browser is something I like better than a menu, but the Computer thing would have to be bigger to have it embedded.

The in-window search is doable, but the results look so much nicer on Beagle’s interface so I’m undecided on this issue.

One thing though – I don’t get why you’d want a “People” button? Or, why does Gimmie have a “People” button but not a “Music” or “Photos” button. (now that I think about it it’s probably that Gimmie thinks photos and music are documents…)

I do see what the “People” thing is trying to fix (I’d love a simpler addressbook with IM integrated), but I think it should become an application rather than a “computer menu applet”.

I forgot to add that I think the logout and shutdown buttons are missing because they probably require some changes to gnome-session.

So, I’m confused. Why don’t you just use Gimmie? It already does everything you’re asking for!

If you look at the code, you’ll see that logout and shutdown are missing, cause they are calling in a libssui-tool, which contains Novells new logout/shutdown-dialogs. Unfortunately those are not released yet.

btw: you can alter the entries in the system area by editing ~/.local/share/gnome-main-menu/system-items.xbel

You mockup is embedding deskbar, and that matches my exact question. Why the heck aren’t gnome-main-menu and deskbar functionality merged?!

Very interesting post.

I tested gnome-main-menu too after Miguel’s post and here are my comments:
I definitely agree about embedding “more apps” and “beagle search” instead of opening a new window, and I would add the control center to the list.

I have some issue with the arrangement of the widgets too, I’d place them like that:

[Applications] [Documents] [Places]

[Favourite apps list/ Documents list/ …]

[Search entry]

I use a panel at the top of the screen (it has its importance), and most of the time I know what I’m looking for when clicking on the Computer appler (an app, a document, a place). And I’m used to have the search entry at the bottom of the window (firefox’s, epiphany’s, gedit’s behavior).

In Miguel’s post, it was said that studies have been done on the search entry’s placement showing that it was best seen at the top of the applet, but was it done with a top or bottom panel?
I’m sure it has it’s importance in the result.

Thanks for reading.

@Nico:
Yes, I would love to have the deskbar integrated with the menu.

@Alex Graveley:
I’m trying the main menu because I read Miguel’s post on pgo, whenever you blog abut gimmie I always try the new version. BTW I’m not going to use them in the short period as I usualyy launch apps using the icons in the top panel, ALT-F2 or the terminal.
I love some of the features found in gimmie but I dislike other things:

  • The dropdowns at the bottom of the panel when the applet is in the bottom panel.
  • Too many buttons, I would prefer flat buttons that become normal buttons when the mouse is over, as in the main menu.
  • When changing active panel I would like if it could keep the position of the previous panel.

@Boke:
gnome-main-menu does not work very well when used at the top of the desktop and gimmie does not work very well when used at the bottom. I hope that future versions will fix these issues.

Wonderful post, this is exactly what gnome-main-menu should work like! I hope the guys at Novell pick it up and that we’ll see it maybe as soon as openSUSE 10.3? That would seriously, seriously kick some Vista butt.

I also made some mockups for the USP some months ago ( http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=230439 ) and as you can see I couldn`t agree more with you, our ideas are somehow similar in many aspects.

See you

barisione said: The dropdowns at the bottom of the panel when the applet is in the bottom panel.

This has been fixed in Gimmie SVN for some time.

The other two issues you mention are up for debate, but since they strike me as pretty aesthetic, there may not be a correct solution. Feel bring them up in bugzilla or the gimmie-list though, it’s important to hear people’s opinions and reservations.

Alex, can you please spare us the repeated Gimmie advertisments? It is nice that you like it so much that you advertise for it but this discussion is not about Gimmie – so that you asked ‘why don’t you use Gimmie?’ — twice? — isn’t really helpful.

@eet:
Some days ago my anti-spam plugin died, so I activated moderation. Probably Alex posted his message twice because it wasn’t immediately shown on this page, now I’m using another plugin so I have removed the moderation queue.

@Alex:
I was using an old version of gimmie, I want to try a newer version in a near future.

barisione: Ya, I should be making a new release soon. Your post definitely poked me into action, so thanks for that :-)

I agree with you! Hope gnome-main-menu goes this way!

@barisione: One more thing about your performance problems, see:

https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=221143

Emptying ‘~/.recently-used.xbel’ solved my performance problems (and also seems to have reduced the memory hunger)

@suka:
Thanks, it solved my problems too.

Nice stuff, and I think you have rally good points, I haven’t tried this, but I have tried the sled menu and have the same complains, a critical thing for me is to use aplications|places|system as a menu, and that search was actually a embeded deskbar-applet, as I don’t use beagle but tracker.
oh!… and David Keogh, Sled’s menu (which is pretty much the same as this, in fact I’m pretty sure this is based on sled’s menu) had been around quite a long time before that kde thing you show.

The Slab Menu has many many many defects, my dear mouse-clicker,…

In the firt place it is slower to do things with it than with the comon menus in gnome. Not only to find things but to find out things, understand, learn,…. It is closed.
It has a lot of wasted empty space and that’s why it is so BIGGG.
If you want to find what’s the real name of an application (which is usual ecause they never use the real name) in the menus, you need to drag the icon to the desktop, right-click on the new icon, go to properties, close and then move the new icon to the tray… UUHH!!
Why are the games at the top of the list if they are what I use less??…UHHH?
Why are there so many instances of the same application. That akes it dificult to find them… and why are they so stupidly classified?? UHH!!

Why are there recent applications, recent documents but no recent places??
Whay can’t I choose how many recent applications, places and documents I want to have?
Why isn’t there a button to edit it, erase the recent items, and lock it?? THAT’S THE FIRST LESSON YOU LEARN when ou learn how to build an application!

Add, modify and Delete,
Add, modify and Delete,
Add, modify and Delete;
Add, modify and Delete,……

And last, but not least, the lists of recent items and the lists of favurite items should be SCROLLABLE!!!

Bye bye!

The Slab Menu has many many many defects, my dear mouse-clicker,…

In the firt place it is slower to do things with it than with the comon menus in gnome. Not only to find things but to find out things, understand, learn,…. It is closed.
It has a lot of wasted empty space and that’s why it is so BIGGG.
If you want to find what’s the real name of an application (which is usual ecause they never use the real name) in the menus, you need to drag the icon to the desktop, right-click on the new icon, go to properties, close and then move the new icon to the tray… UUHH!!
Why are the games at the top of the list if they are what I use less??…UHHH?
Why are there so many instances of the same application. That akes it dificult to find them… and why are they so stupidly classified?? UHH!!

Why are there recent applications, recent documents but no recent places??
Whay can’t I choose how many recent applications, places and documents I want to have?
Why isn’t there a button to edit it, erase the recent items, and lock it?? THAT’S THE FIRST LESSON YOU LEARN when ou learn how to build an application!

Add, modify and Delete,
Add, modify and Delete,
Add, modify and Delete;
Add, modify and Delete,……

And last, but not least, the lists of recent items and the lists of favurite items should be SCROLLABLE!!!

Bye bye!