Here’s a preview of the updated Gnome Main Menu. Isn’t it nicknamed the slab? What is it with SuSE/Novell and main menus? It seems like they have an obsession for it. However, I personally like what developments they have made with the main menus for both Gnome and KDE (kickoff). The main menu is probably one of the most used tool on the desktop, especially for those who are still learning the ways around the Linux desktop environment. Why you could easily get lost in the maze that is the traditional Gnome/KDE menus.
The first time I saw slab, I was like, “Hey, I want that!” The slab is a straight-to-the-point main menu. Nothing fancy. Simple. Efficient. Elegant. For your everyday desktop needs, it gets the job done. And it does it right. Kickoff, on the other hand, is a showoff. But it does look good doing it. From an animated gecko that follows your mouse cursor, drag-and-drop to favorites, horizontal-sliding menus, to a in-menu (is there even a word?) search tool that shows you the results, courtesy of beagle, right within the menu itself. Ok, yamz, stop with Kickoff now. This is about the updated Gnome Menu after all. And yes I am a KDE freak and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
How often do we Linux advocates and enthusiasts hear the complaint that Linux lacks the polish and refinement that users expect from their desktop? For most end users, it doesn’t matter how good the underlying software is. If the interface sucks, then the software itself sucks. While it may pain some avid Linux adherents to say it, this is part of the reason why desktop Linux has yet to catch on with a broader set of users: Linux has struggled for years to come out of the woods and be perceived as visually appealing and pleasant to use.
Those who read this blog probably know that Interaction Design matters a lot to me. It has been one of the things I have advocated extensively in my work with desktop Linux. To be sure, part of why I still like working for Novell* is that the desktop team at Novell continues to produce not only great technical advancements, but also continuous improvements in the look and feel of the desktop. The new Main Menu for Gnome that debuted with SLED10 showed how studying user interaction with the desktop can result in a strikingly improved interface. (I don’t kid myself here–there are many who have vocalized their preference for GNOME’s traditional Applications-Places-System menu. But, many do like it.)
I’m pleased to share that the desktop design team at Novell is working on further improvements to the original Main Menu. The video below comes from the upcoming SLED10 Service Pack 1 as it looks in the current internal beta 3. (The unreleased status means that this is not necessarily the final product, and things may change from what you see today.
*Hope you don’t mind man. I’m already a fan at first reading! And your nickname – Reverend Ted – sounds so approprite.. . a preacher for Linux/Open-Source advocacy. Go Linux!
Below is the original Gnome main menu released with SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.