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Author Topic: Gnome-Pie: a circular 'dock' type launcher for Linux  (Read 2528 times)

40hz

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Gnome-Pie: a circular 'dock' type launcher for Linux
« on: May 17, 2013, 09:28:32 AM »
Bumped into this app recently on one of my client's machines. It's written by Simon Schneegans and it's called Gnome-Pie. It's a tiered circular dock launcher that is actually quite nice. My client learned about it on the LinuxInsider website (link here) which has a review.

Here's what it looks like at the topmost level:

gnomepie.pngGnome-Pie: a circular 'dock' type launcher for Linux

FWIW I'm not overly crazy about circle docks (or really any sort of dock) for the most part. But DonationCoder still preserves a sub-board for Eric Wong's GPL version of Circle Dock for Windows - so I'm guessing there is still some member interest in this sort of utility.

That said, this app looked pretty nice, was relatively easy to configure, worked smoothly (albeit on a relatively new i7 system with adequate RAM running Debian 7.0) and seemed to perform as advertised.

It also has some interesting design concepts that make it just a little different from your average dock app. Per the author:

Quote
Gnome-Pie

Gnome-Pie is a circular application launcher for Linux. It is made of several pies, each consisting of multiple slices. The user presses a key stroke which opens the desired pie. By activating one of its slices, applications may be launched, key presses may be simulated or files can be opened.

The concept of Gnome-Pie

Gnome-Pie is designed to be fun, fast and visually appealing. It implements Fitts’ law, which…

   [...] is a model of human movement primarily used in human–computer interaction and ergonomics that predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target.- Wikipedia

Many application launchers of today’s Linux desktops are made for people using their keyboard mainly. Launchers like Gnome-Do, Synapse, Kupfer, Unity’s Dash or Gnome-Shell’s Activities are designed for keyboard users. It’s necessary to type the first letters of the desired action in order to launch it.

Gnome-Pie uses a different approach: The user does not need to remember the name of an application – just the direction has to be remembered. Combined with the implementations of Fitts’ law – users don’t have to click directly on the icon of an action, but somewhere on the screen in its direction – Gnome-Pie is an alternative to text-based launchers.

The author also has a few Vimeo-hosted videos on his website showing Gnome-Pie in action.

Dunno...not really my cup of tea, but to paraphrase Abe Lincoln: If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you will like.
 8)



« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 09:34:13 AM by 40hz »

Edvard

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Re: Gnome-Pie: a circular 'dock' type launcher for Linux
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 01:41:02 AM »
I agree, i'm not into circular dock thingies, but the principal is sound; I mean Fitts' law works.  I can see this concept better suited to touch screens, and large ones.  Rectangular elements fit the bounded space of a phone, tablet, or under-21-inch monitor better IMO.  When technology finally ends up with entire surfaces (desks, windows, walls, etc.) being the interaction space, interfaces that utilize organic forms like circular menus and ZUIsw will make more sense.

In my humble opinion, that is.  ;)

ewemoa

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Re: Gnome-Pie: a circular 'dock' type launcher for Linux
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 10:04:47 PM »
A nitpick in the quote...

Quote
Many application launchers of today’s Linux desktops are made for people using their keyboard mainly. Launchers like Gnome-Do, Synapse, Kupfer, Unity’s Dash or Gnome-Shell’s Activities are designed for keyboard users. It’s necessary to type the first letters of the desired action in order to launch it.

AFAICT, this is not quite true.

I use kupfer, and typing 'fox' brings up Firefox as the first candiate.  Also, I presume the author of the above text didn't mean "action" only, at least not in kupfer's case (as, IIUC, the action is what's in the second pane, and I hardly ever choose a non-default action...)

Having said that, the matching doesn't seem as nice as what's provided by FARR's non-contiguous matching (at least not by default).

However, I agree about the importance of being able to get to things without knowing names (or portions of names).