Project co-financed by ACIISI

Agencia Canaria de Investigación Ministerio de ... Plan Avanza

Introduction to the GNOME Shell

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Owen Taylor

The GNOME Shell is a major component proposed for GNOME 3.0. It takes over the window management and application launching roles and provides an intuitive unified experience as the user navigates between tasks and documents.

The shell is built on several technologies new to GNOME: the desktop is displayed as an OpenGL scene graph using the Clutter library. It is primary coded in Javascript, and access to the GNOME platform and to low level code written in C is done using gobject-introspection, which eliminates the need for hand-written glue code.

The talk is a general interest introduction to the GNOME Shell - it does not presuppose prior experience programming to the GNOME platform. The talk will start with a description of the design ideas and challenges behind GNOME Shell, and move on to a tour of the shell user interface.

A high-level overview will given of the technology choices behind the shell and the architecture of the shell, with particular emphasis on how they allow rapid prototyping and sophisticated effects with small amounts of code.

The talk will conclude with a look at future work on the shell as we get closer to GNOME 3.0 and how the user interface and technology of the shell can be integrated more deeply with the rest of GNOME.

Author bio: 
Owen has worked on the GNOME platform and desktop for over a decade. Past projects include creating the Pango text layout library, and playing a large role in GTK+ development for a number of years. Currently he leads the team at Red Hat contributing to GNOME Shell.