New Gnome 3 sans Application Categories

Like Ubuntu’s Unity, Gnome 3 and Gnome Shell has its haters and own stories of controversies. A recent post reveals that Gnome 3 is heading for a new controversy!

Reason? Some Gnome 3 developers have uploaded a new mockup which suggests the removal of Application Categories from Gnome Shell dash. This means, when you click on Activities, you will only be presented with a list of icons of applications installed. There will be no categories on the right to quickly filter out applications. To search applications from a list of hundreds of installed apps, you will have to end up typing in the search bar as scrolling through that long list will give you dizziness !

gnome shell dash
The new Gnome Shell dash (sans categories). Image courtesy:
Author of the post made in argues “categories are obsoleted from every modern user interface system, and there are plenty of reasons for this”. So, Gnome  developers are deciding to follow the herd without understanding why (Gnome 3 is not for tablets and smartphones, its for desktops and laptops!!!). 
Justifying the mockup, he goes on to say “First off, you cannot categorize perfectly,” I mean really? Can you not? I think the most basic apps can be categorised just fine. It has been for the last 15-20 years! Continuing his argument “secondly many Apps can belong to two or more categories and that brakes the consistency of the system and more important, systems nowdays are getting quite smart to understand what are you looking for using metadata and searching optimized algorithms like zeitgeist.”  Seriously, why does everyone try to follow Apple? I know Mac OS X does not have categories for a long time but why follow? Personally I hate that. It becomes more difficult to find apps. Sometimes I don’t want to use the keyboard!! So, more work for the lazy and keyboard haters!

There is a big catch when it comes to application categories. These categories help simplify and remember applications easily. For example, I recently remember installing a new desktop recorder application but I do not remember the name. Instead of scrolling through the whole list of applications I would go into the accessories categories and there I would find my application.

The other problem would be applications installed via programs like PlayOnLinux, Wine and CrossOver; for that matter any other program which has sub categories. Where will these options go?

Stringent and non-flexible application categories are already causing headaches in Ubuntu’s Unity dash. This is because, the sub-category options do not show up in the main application list unless and otherwise searched for. But, what will you search for if you don’t remember the option?

If this mockup of Gnome Shell passes the developer’s design boards, expect to see more rants from the likes of Linus Torvalds and many others!

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