Gnome 3 Fallback Desktop Better than Gnome 3 itself

I don’t like the Gnome 3 desktop.

angry dude cartoon character
If all you use a computer for is facebook and instant messaging, you’ll probably love it. Gnome 3 desktop hides everything from you under multiple layers of mouse clicks in order to try to simplify the user experience. But what it actually does is over categorize everything!

I don’t like to have to constantly click-click-click to get to where I’m going. I don’t care how easy it is to respond to instant messages as they pop up along the bottom of my screen, I don’t like this new interface at all! This would work just fine on a tablet pc, but I’m on a desktop or full laptop most of the time.

If you’re like me, you try out new .iso image distributions in virtual machines. It’s easier to install, reinstall, and play with different settings all while easily resetting back to a fresh installation with a click of the revert-to-snapshot button.

The only downfall is that I don’t get to fully utilize the pow-wah of my graphics cards. I’m currently using a pair of NVidia GTX 470′s, but inside a Virtual Machine the host is using a slow Virtualbox software driver. Gnome 3 doesn’t even attempt to play with my slow non-3D accelerated graphics.

So it drops to a fallback desktop… that rocks!!

I like Gnome 3′s Fallback Desktop!

Ahh that warm fuzzy comfy feeling I get from the familiar surrounding of Gnome panels along the top and bottom of my desktop. But it’s not just because I’m used to it and know where everything is, it’s the usability. It’s all right there just like before, only now it looks more polished.

In order to try out the fallback desktop, you’ll have to go dig around in the new interface.

1. Click “Activities”
2. Change to the “Applications” tab near the top.
3. Click “System Tools” along the right, near the bottom.
4. Click the button “System Settings”, in the middle area.

Timeout!!!
Do you see how this is going? Jump around here, hunt and peck there. Am I supposed to be feeling productive just because I had to jump all over the place to get a single action performed? Continuing on…

5. System Info
6. Graphics
7. Forced Fallback

The image i’m playing with is the Fedora 15 iso available at http://www.gnome3.org/tryit.html . Your Gnome 3 fallback desktop may not have panels already started, but the methods are the same as Gnome 2. Take a look in ~/.gconf and ~/.gnome2 for the xml files too.

Photomosaic pictures with Metapixel

Install metapixel

mosaic of a woman
Ubuntu/Debian:

$ sudo apt-get install metapixel

Fedora/CentOS

$ sudo yum install metapixel

Put all the images you want to use in a directory, or a set of directories so you can prepare them as tiles. The Pictures directory under your home directory might be a good place to start.
Create a set of tiles for Metapixel to use for the mosiac.

$ mkdir tiles
$ metapixel-prepare -r ~/Pictures ./tiles –width=24 –height=24

Using an image you want the mosaic to look like overall, and at least one tile library directory, create the mosaic. If you have multiple library directories, specify them one after the other with -l or –library. You can also use collage mode, -c or –collage, which will allow the tiles to overlap each other, but this will take longer to compute and may or may not look as crisp.

Generate the mosiac out of the individual tiles

$ metapixel –metapixel ~/Pictures/vangogh.jpg –library=./tiles mosaic.png

If the image doesn’t look like the original vangogh you based it on, try adding scale so it can use more images or shrink the tiles to something smaller than 24×24.

If you see the same pattern repeating too often, try specifying a minimum distance between cells for repeating an image.

Error: cannot find a matching image – try using a shorter minimum distance.

If it can’t find replacements for the optimal images it was going to use, it will complain. In this case, just keep incrementing the distance until it completes.

Pictures with great detail or little contrast require larger canvases. Simple clipart works well with less tiles. Try making one out of famous paintings, abstracts or pointillist work well, like this one by Paul Signac.

$ metapixel –metapixel paul-signac_portrait-felix-feneon.jpg -l ./tiles/ -l ./tiles2/ -l ./tiles3/ –scale=15 –distance=3 output.png

This was made with 3 directories full of images and the canvas scaled 15x as large as the original jpeg. The full mosaic is really large.

$ identify output.png
output.png PNG 11584×9280 11584×9280+0+0 8-bit DirectClass 54.2mb