Posted on Fr 20 April 2007

What I miss in GNOME

A while back there has been a lot of noise about the GNOME "platform" and what GNOME 3.0 should be. Personally -- while I certainly like the progress GNOME makes as a "platform" -- I must say that the platform is already quite good. In my opinion, what is lacking right now are more the tools and utilities that are shipped *with* the GNOME platform than the platform itself. More specifically there are a set of (rather small) tools I am really missing in the standard set of GNOME tools. So, here's my wishlist, in case anybody is interested to know:


  • A simple, usable VNC/RFB client as counterpart to the VNC server vino that has been shipped since early GNOME 2.0 times. Isn't it kind of awkward that we have been shipping a VNC server since ages, but no VNC client? What I want is a client (maybe called vinagre as a pun on vino) that is more than just a simple frontend to xvncviewer, but not necessarily too fancy. Something that integrates well into GNOME, i.e. uses D-Bus, gnome-keyring, avahi-ui. There seems to be a libvncclient library that might make the implementation of this tool easy.
  • I am one of the (apparently not so few) people who run their GNOME session with LANG=de_DE and LC_MESSAGES=C, which enables german dates and everything else, but uses english messages. Right now it's a PITA to configure GNOME that way. It's not really documented how to do that, AFAIK. The best way to do this I found is to edit ~/.gnomerc and set the variables in there. A simple capplet which allows setting these environment variables from gnome-session would be a much better way to configure this. Nothing to fancy again. Just two drop down lists, to choose LANG and LC_MESSAGES and maybe a subset of the other i18n variables, and possibly G_FILENAME_ENCODING (although I might be the only one who still hasn't switched his $HOME to UTF-8)
  • There's no world clock in GNOME. Sure, there are online tools for this, but I am not always online with my laptop.
  • There is no simple tool to take photo snapshots or record short videos from webcams. I want to see something like camorama in gnome-media. Nothing too fancy again. No filters, no TV functionality. Just a small but useful GStreamer frontend.
  • I'd like to see a simple BitTorrent client shipped with GNOME, which is integrated well into the rest of GNOME/Epiphany, so that downloading files from FTP or HTTP looks exactly like downloading them from Bittorrent.


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