18.10 Suggestion: drop "old" apps and go full GNOME

Shotwell and rhythmbox could be easily replaced by GNOME photos and GNOME music which are apps that are specially designed for the gnome desktop and Ubuntu uses the gnome desktop.

I think it would make sense to drop shotwell and rhythmbox in favour of those:

Rhythmbox vs Music
Rhyhtmbox has more features like using your Mp3 dongle, connecting to online radio stations, last-fm and sharing your music on the network.
Yet, despite several stability issues it also has, most of those features become more and more unused because the user behaviour moves (if this is good or not is not the point of discussion) away from local music or mp3-dongles to online streaming platforms aka spotify/youtube/vice versa. Gnome music on the other side has only one feature: playing local music and present it well (Do one thing and do it well). I think, with the visual advantages like a big album view grid, this would be a perfect addition to a modern desktop installation, whereas rhythmbox feels a bit “overtuned” for the usecases today. Also without the CSD extension rhythmbox looks a bit dated (no CSD). If the user is in need of online radios, there is a modern gnome extension or modern gnome applications that can be installed individually.

Shotwell Vs Photos
Photos is designed for the gnome 3 desktop, doesn’t need a menu (which is a big plus since gnome 3 does not have a global menu and thus much screenspace is wasted), uses client side decorations (again we need this because the title bar is not merged with the top panel anymore).
Photos is also part of the official gnome core apps and frequently updated with every gnome release.

There is also an additional thing I’d like to point out: shipping apps that were designed for an older desktop and are not-so-regular-maintained (I don’t say they are not maintained :slight_smile: ) is not the best “PR” (actually PR is none of my business but I try!) for ubuntu. If there are well working gnome applications out which are designed for the gnome desktop and which are officially in the main gnome stack why shouldn’t ubuntu use them? :slight_smile:


Awesome idea, I completely agree!

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Not sure why you think GNOME photos is anywhere near feature parity with Shotwell. GNOME photos indexes all pictures, even screenshots, etc. - which is just odd (why can’t I restrict it to ~/Pictures ?) . Has no tagging support, does not categorize by date / event, albums are only 1 level deep (so can’t have year / album hierarchy).


Okay, I stand corrected! :slight_smile:
My personal impression is that the UI improvements of modern gnome applications still outweighs the ability to tag photos. I believe the most average user I can think of wants a place where his pictures are gathered and can share those easily with a little editing capabilities.
Additionally shotwells UI may have fitted into unity as unity provided the global menu but since gnome 3 doesn’t, apps which use this old UI design of having a menu at the top (and a treeview at the side) does not look that well designed for the desktop they run on anymore because the menu does not blend into the title bar and the whole usable screenspace shrinks.
So why not use gnome photos? It’s there, it’s modern it’s actively improved with every gnome release like all official gnome apps and most importantly it is designed for the gnome desktop in mind and it has a Google photos connection built in :man_shrugging:
Ofc there are arguments for keeping shotwells though.

Agreed and Gnome Music doesn’t show music unless it’s folder has been indexed. I’d keep both applications due to their maturity. We don’t need new apps just because they’re new and shiny, they must be better than what they’re replacing!


Actually, GNOME music and GNOME photos are not that “new” as you might think.
And maybe I repeat myself, but they are designed for the gnome3 desktop and for the gnome shell in mind.
I try to illustrate how much screenspace none-gnome3 applications waste when running in gnome shell:

Also concerning screenshots, check out the roadmap for 3.32 and 3.30:

Reminder: Ubuntu 18.10 will use gnome 3.30

It seems for you “better” is only feature wise? For me “better” is most importantly the user interface.

Maybe it’s time to let go :wink:

Correct, I prefer the steak as opposed to the sizzle, or as others say ‘substance over style’. You may have overlooked, that I’m a strong advocate of Gnome and have used it since it’s beginning. So I’m pretty well versed as to what’s coming going forward. However I don’t have blinders on, and recognise that some Gnome Apps aren’t up to feature parity and/or are just too simplistic.


It’s not simply “style”. It’s the whole interface and most importantly the fact that it’s not designed for the shell. Design is far more than “style” or “look and feel”.

I do like the look of GNOME photos, and its simplicity. But, there should be at least some grouping to the photos (year / month?). Personally, for me, its just too simple. Even the Android gallery categorizes photos by the date they were taken.

From a very quick play with Photos:

  1. How do I remove a photo from an album?
  2. How to sort albums? They seem to appear with the latest created first.

As to the size taken by the menubar + titlebar, etc - this is only ~75% of the menubar height difference to GNOME Photos. If Communitheme used slimmer non-CSD titlebars, then the difference would be even less. But I agree, headerbar would be much nicer here.


Well as someone who has worked with Apple and it’s HIG, I’m well aware of what good design is. Thank-you very much for your elucidation.

Definitely, if Gnome-Photos could do what the stock Android “Photos” does I’d accept it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately Gnome-Photos is slow as molasses when pulling down from any online gallery such as Google’s too.

Ok great, than why do you write substance over style? When it’s clearly not only the style that changes. A style change is for example switching between adwaita and our new theme. Also, let’s stay a bit more out of that personal flavour you add to your comments. It seems like you use Ubuntu which much passion just like I do but that won’t help. So maybe we can see what others think, both of us where quiet precice in what is important for us when using gnome 3.

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Anyway Gnome applications should be the default, BUT they must be better, or at least have feature parity to what they’re replacing. Gnome-Photos ain’t there yet.


I agree. As much as I am a fan of Photos (I use it; think it’s a brilliant little app) it is far from being a Shotwell replacement.

Superficially it appears to tick all the right boxes but when you try to use it to manage 100s of photos …

Ubuntu should always try to ship with the best free software has to offer. When it comes to photo management, that’s Shotwell (for now).

Music is just a whole pile of nope. It’s incredibly buggy. Rhythmbox may be ancient but it works.


I think that’s the use cases and average user problem I was writing about.
It would be interesting to see what younger people think when they probably use mobile applications before they start Ubuntu for the first time. I doubt that having hundreds of photos autotagged from the usb camera is the average use case. I think that most people have a bunch of photos, on which they want to add a filter fast and easy to and share them.
If shotwell would at least remove that menu and overhaul it’s design to gnome hig. But I don’t think this will happen any time soon.

I think average users probably just browse their photos in Nautilus and EOG rather than through a desktop app. The days of people keeping 1000s of photos locally is long gone thanks to Google Photos, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

But should they want to, then Shotwell will meet their needs just as well as Photos (i.e. "show me photos i took) and also meet the needs of amateur photographers, graphics designers, etc too.


Well said! It’s not like I am young or want to make me younger than I am. I actually never made a selfie on which I want to add a filter fast. But that’s where photos really shines.
Also I won’t be too shocked if shotwells maintainers/devs drop the development completly seeing how much contributions shotwell received in the past years.

Wait a minute: @d0od aren’t you the dude which is the omgubuntu “father”? Could you do me a favour and make a poll on this topic on your site? :slight_smile: maybe because you love communitheme so much? :wink:
If the outcome of such a poll would be rather pro shotwell and rhythmbox I will go into my lonely gnome hig pit (bah that sounds disgusting) and listen to my offline music regretfully.

The alternate-toolbar plugin is shipped by default. Also I think you intended to say headerbar rather than csd.

Exactly…and rhythmbox has many plugins to these popular online services. More importantly it has a powerful api which enables you to do anything.

The problem with the gnome-music is the dependency on tracker. Ubuntu doesn’t ship tracker by default as it deteriorates sata hard-disk and after few months (tested and proven) and has high battery consumption. Without tracker I don’t think you can set custom location for local music. A big big disadvantage.

Photos has same tracker problem.

You can simply use unite and other extensions to do that. To save space.


I use “no titlebar” (deactivated in that screenshot).
It’s not about me, I just purge any application I don’t need and install those I like. It’s about shipping outdated apps when using the gnome3 desktop when gnome has actively developed applications in its official stack. Are those tracker problems HDD specific? Or does this also happen to SSDs?

Lollypop is the way better music player for GNOME-Shell.