Fedora 19 and Gnome 3.8 tweaking

· by Tim Hughes · Read in about 4 min · (668 words)

After a few false starts (Anaconda’s disk configuration is still a mess and very unintuitive) I managed to install the latest and greatest Fedora 19 on my home machine. I like the new introduction and things are looking good. I have noticed a few new things in Settings which are good a welcome site for people that like a little bit of choice. Things such as per application notification settings, media sharing, privacy settings and configuration for what appears in the applications search  are all new. Also is the inclusion of new choices in the Gnome Online Accounts dialogue such as OwnCloud which is something I am looking at to help me break out of my total reliance on Google for all my information applications. All in all the release is nice and I thank and congratulate all the effort people have put in to create this latest release.

That being said there are a few things that I am disappointed in. I am going to list them and then update with mu fixes in the hopes that what I discover is helpful to someone else.

1. There should be a way to make online accounts be the Settings -> Details -> Default Application for things like email and calendaring

This is the best I have managed so far. This is useful for setting default applications for other things as well

Create a desktop file for Google Calendar at  .local/share/applications/google-calendar.desktop with the following content

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Gnome Google Calendar
GenericName=Google Calendar Web Integration
Comment=Integrate Google Calendar with your desktop
Exec=xdg-open https://www.google.com/calendar %U
Icon=stock_calendar
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=GNOME;GTK;Calendar;Network;
StartupNotify=true
X-Panel-Monitor=true
NoDisplay=true

Then create a file at .local/share/applications/defaults.list with the following content

[Default Applications]
text/calendar=google-calendar.desktop

You should now be able to change your default Calendar in Gnome Settings to be “Gnome Google Calendar”. This will make it the calendar that opens when you click “Open Calendar” in the Gnome Shell clock dropdown.

  1. We have lost the ability to set a default terminal.

I prefer terminator as my default terminal emulator as do many people I know. Previously the way to change the default terminal was a not the most obvious config option and it wasn’t where you would expect in Default Applications.
 What you did was change it using the gsettings command line tool like this.

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec 'terminator'

While this still changes the value it appears that it is deprecated and no longer has any effect. I think this is because the handling of the default terminal is now done using the new GIO library. It appears to be hard coded to use gnome-terminal and then a number of fall backs, none of which are terminator but I don’t think this is the case because the change that implemented the hard coding was done back in 2007 so there must be some way of overriding this higher up in the code.

I have given up looking so what I have done is uninstalled gnome-terminal and then created a symlink in its place pointing at terminator

[[email protected]: ~]$ sudo yum -y install terminator
[[email protected]: ~]$ GT_PATH=$(which gnome-terminal)
[[email protected]: ~]$ sudo yum -y remove gnome-terminal
[thughe[email protected]: ~]$ sudo ln -s $(which terminator) $GT_PATH
[[email protected]: ~]$ which gnome-terminal
/usr/bin/gnome-terminal
[[email protected]: ~]$ ll /usr/bin/gnome-terminal
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 15 Jul  7 01:26 /usr/bin/gnome-terminal -> /bin/terminator

3. The menu for things like Files (nautilus) and Empathy is in the top left hand corner next to “Activities”.

This one I just don’t get and find very unintuitive. I use 2 screens and keep Empathy over on the far right which means that I now have to move the cursor a full 2 screens to be able to access the menu and then back again when I want to use the Contacts list. I don’t understand how this one got past the Gnome Human Interface Guidelines guys.I have no answer for this yet and I may raise a bug as it is hard to find and new users will just find it confusing.