There’s a small collective of GNOME programmers maintaining a thing called gnome-flashback, which amounts to adaptors between the GNOME3 system APIs and the GNOME2 interface APIs. The intention is to let people keep running GNOME3 apps with a GNOME2-style panel and the classic Metacity window manager, but it’s reasonably easy to switch it out for any other X11 window manager you prefer.
As a result, I’ve got my lovely keyboard-friendly tiling window manager UI, with desktop-wallpaper and network management and volume keys and USB automounting and all that stuff all working automatically, and still with lower memory overhead than a full GNOME 3 desktop.
gnome-flashback works well in my experience. I’ve asked questions and gotten answers. The code works.
has that been stable for you? i had frequent enough segfaults that i finally gave up on it, though it was indeed very pleasant to use when it worked.
The biggest problem I’ve had is that the hook that replaces the PC speaker beep with a sound through the modern audio hardware doesn’t always work. Sometimes when a new version of GNOME comes out, there’s some extra depedency I have to copy from the “gnome-flashback-with-metacity” session config file to my “gnome-flashback-with-i3” config file.
I don’t recall ever having to deal with segfaults.
“So all this makes me wonder, where is the middle ground? Where is the desktop environment for professionals?”
Great question! There seem to be two Linux User archetypes: the “factory preset” tribe and the “I recompiled gcc itself to remove all the unnecessary bloat” tribe. So you have a lot of people using “least common denominator desktop” and the other camp is a vast variation of components, styles, and integrations. They are mainly united by the trait that they don’t like anything except their own feral setups.
Somewhere there are these people that (for whatever reason) do not care to compile their world from source but also want an optimized UI that does not assume you are yet another Windows/OSX refugee and have your UI spoon fed to you. I don’t know how big this tribe is, but it seems that it is growing, if only because of the quantity and diversity of feedback to your original post.
I am one such user and I started down this path a year or so back. Because my day job only supports Ubuntu, I built a distro (I called it Regolith Linux) based on it that essentially takes the already-packaged i3-gaps and glues it to the gnome system with the excellent https://github.com/deuill/i3-gnome-flashback. I then spent a year trying to remove everything, drinking from the r/unixporn firehose, and see which things are really useful and what is fluff. It is a time intensive process to dogfood your own DE. But it’s also a lot of fun!
In any case, thank you for your post. The discussion it has spawned has given me a lot of food for thought.