ClearLinux and Gnome42
First time user experience of Clearlinux and a returning user of Gnome.
My first experience with ClearLinux was using the LiveUSB, it felt really nice. It was snappy, rapid and somehow stressed my aging laptop much less than the previous OS (KDE Neon).
On actually installing it though, a different story emerged: This is not an OS for folk like me.
- I have to find out about 'bundles'; what they are, what they contain and how they work.
- Deb and apt are not usable which removes the vast majority of programs and ease of installing programs.
- Flatpaks are usable instead, that's fine.
- Because no apt or deb, I could not install MozillaVPN (to stream and download securely) without making it myself.
- Gnome is...not usable and not editable?! More on that below
Once I installed most of what I needed (Librewolf, LibreOffice, NewsFlash, Gajim, various fonts and Nextcloud) I set about trying to decipher the shit-show that is the documentation for compiling MozillaVPN. I needed to install many bundles, I cannot recall which ones (perhaps rust-basic, sysadmin-basic-dev and a few others) and getting it to 'just work' was more difficult than expected as I had not installed the bundles ahead of trying to make the program (my 1st ever attempt at doing so since Karmic Koala). I deleted the 'mozilla-vpn' folder and tried again after having all the bundles installed; it worked.
This experience tells me that this OS is for programmers, for people who know their way around code and errors. That is not me, I coded 'hello world' over two decades ago and that's been it.
My returning experience of #Gnome42 is one of 'what on Earth?' and 'this feels like someone wants people to leave'.
It seems evident that it was designed to be user-hostile. I had and have immediate questions.
- Where are my programs?
- Why does the bottom bar, with the programs, only appear when 'Activities' is pressed?
- Why are they on opposite sides of the screen?
- Why is nothing easily configurable?
- Do I need extensions for all of it?
- Do they work?
- Why do I need extensions?
- What possessed them to do this?
These 1st run questions tell me that the people designed this with very little thought in how it would be viewed by users; 1st time, returning or remaining. This, worryingly, is by design and was a conscious choice. I struggle to believe that to be true, such is the 'this is harder than it needs to be' feel.
I am finding extensions that solve the basic mistakes that the devs put in. This should not be the case but here we are.
Into the future
I will continue to use ClearLinux, for the time being, as it makes my laptop run SO much smoother. It doesn't roar its wee fans and programs load quickly. I have been able to watch HD YouTube videos for the 1st time in months, where my laptop would get loud and the stream become choppy, it is quiet and smooth.
I think there're ways of installing new desktop experience, probably available via a bundle. I will explore that in the future; Gnome42 is rubbish.