Monday, April 7, 2014

Other GNOME Apps

In recent posts I have briefly covered certain popular GNOME apps, such as Files, as well as other newer ones like Maps, Software or Weather. Today I want to quickly talk about others that are maybe less popular, or that I didn't use before and have adopted due to their recent updates.


First off is GNOME MUSIC, a simple music player that looks (or should, I haven't been able to get it to work out of the box) into your Music folder and arranges music by Artist, Album and Song through a simple and clean interface.

I find the artist section particularly well designed.

Personally, I rely on Google Play Music to store all my music in the cloud, but for those who prefer a local music player, I believe GNOME Music will be a rather good option, especially if they appreciate a simple interface. Note that I am saying will be, because as of now, it still needs quite a bit of polish before it can become the default player in GNOME.


GNOME Photos is a bit of a confusing one to me. Initially I thought of it as a photo viewer, maybe a more powerful version of EOG, but it is not. In fact, it depends on EOG for certain tasks. Photos is a simple picture management tool that only displays images from the Pictures folder, allowing users to create their own albums and choose favorites shots. As was the case with Music, Photos is still a young app and it shows. Performance improvements are necessary when displaying pictures, transitioning from one another, etc. Most importantly, though, my main thing with this app is that I don't see much use for it anyways.


Just like Nautilus received a new name, so has Totem, now dubbed Videos. In this last update it has evolved quite significantly, and in the right direction, I must add.

Video files can be imported to Videos and displayed in a grid arrangement. Double clicking on a video file from Files works just as well, but I must admit the visual appeal of this option is rather obvious.

In a surprising and pretty neat twist, Videos offers a few video channels that over a variety of clips, from Blip to Apple Trailers, and apparently some others that have been added recently. I wonder if that will be a trend and more and more video channels will become available without the user actually updating the app. That would be great.

I used to watch Apple Trailers before I started using Linux. Then, because I was testing so many distros, I ended up getting tired of whether the distro would include all the required codecs and the kitchen sink for Apple videos to be displayed correctly, so I started gravitating to watching trailers on YouTube and never looked back. With Videos, though, I have alternatives with none of the hassle.


Sound Recorder is a very simple app that does what it's supposed to do. Probably more meaningful in a mobile device, it can be useful in a laptop/desktop setting as well.

As with the rest of the apps, the UI is clean and simple, never getting in the way of what the app is meant to do.


Formerly know as Epiphany, GNOME Web is another one of those apps I had decided not to use for a while, but I must admit that its latest offer is quite appealing.

The UI is simply superb. The ugly URL bar is cleverly hidden when not in use, and the way tabs are implemented makes Web the best looking browser I can think of today.

Beauty is important, but functionality and performance are key. In that regard, Web still is a bit rough around the edges. I have seen a few webs which are not displayed correctly, but they were the exception. In terms of loading speed, a few informal tests show it doesn't stand far back from Google Chrome, which is quite a good sign.

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