GNOME Shell 3.16 in overview mode
|Developer(s)||The GNOME Project|
|Initial release||April 6, 2011|
|Stable release||3.24.3 (20 July 2017)|
|Preview release||3.25.4 (20 July 2017)|
|Available in||75 languages|
GNOME Shell is the graphical shell of the GNOME desktop environment starting with version 3, which was released on April 6, 2011. It provides basic functions like launching applications, switching between windows and is also a widget engine. GNOME Shell replaced GNOME Panel and some ancillary components in GNOME 2.
In contrast to the KDE Plasma Workspaces, a software framework intended to facilitate the creation of multiple graphical shells for different devices, the GNOME Shell is intended to be used on desktop computers with large screens operated via keyboard and mouse, as well as portable computers with smaller screens operated via their keyboard, touchpad or touchscreen. This approach is criticized by some users, as shown in the results of a poll by Distrowatch at November 2016, where most voters (76%) preferred to have separate user interfaces for each type of device.
As graphical shell (graphical front-end/graphical shell/UX/UI) of the GNOME desktop environment, its design is guided by the GNOME UX Design Team.
GNOME Shell Overview mode
The GNOME Shell comprises the following graphical and functional elements:
Changes to the user interface (UI) include, but are not limited to:
GNOME Shell has received mixed reviews: It has been criticized for a variety of reasons, mostly related to design decisions and reduced user control over the environment. For example, users in the free software community have raised concerns that the planned tight integration with Mutter will mean that users of GNOME Shell will not be able to switch to an alternative window manager without breaking their desktop. In particular, users might not be able to use Compiz with GNOME Shell while retaining access to the same types of features that older versions of GNOME allowed.
After criticism of the traditional GNOME desktop and accusations of stagnation and lacking vision, the resulting discussion led to the announcement of GNOME 3.0 in April 2009. Since then Red Hat has been the main driver of GNOME Shell's development.
Pre-release versions of GNOME Shell were first made available in August 2009 and became regular, non-default part of GNOME in version 2.28 in September 2009. It was finally shipped as GNOME's default user interface on April 6, 2011.
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