GNOME Classic is a GNOME 3 desktop designed to offer the look-and-feel of a GNOME 2/MATE desktop, that is, of a traditional or classic GNOME desktop.
It’s for people who are not fond of the default GNOME Shell. It comes with every installation of GNOME 3, offered as an option in the login screen’s Session menu.
To use it (GNOME Classic), all you need to do, is select GNOME Classic from the Session menu before logging into the desktop. This screenshot shows part of the login screen from a test installation of a GNOME 3 desktop.
Since Antergos 2014.05.26 was released, I’ve been playing with test installations of the distribution’s GNOME 3 desktop, which is powered by GNOME 3.12.2. The GNOME 3 desktop of that distribution offers a plain-vanilla GNOME Shell in all its annoying glory. So I’ve had to make it a bit more user-friendly by installing a few extensions (see How to customize GNOME 3.12 GNOME Shell). And I’ve also been using the GNOME Classic desktop too.
That made me realize that just by installing three extensions, I can get the GNOME 3 desktop with a default GNOME Shell to look just like GNOME Classic. Just three extensions. Which brings up this question: If I can do that, that is, customize a default GNOME Shell to look exactly like GNOME Classic in less than five minutes, why do we still need GNOME Classic? My answer to that is, we don’t. It’s redundant.
And what are those three extension that will do the magic? They are: Applications Menu, Places Status Indicator, and Window List. Starting from GNOME 3.12, those extensions are usually installed but not enabled in GNOME Tweak Tool. So if you have that utility installed on your GNOME 3 desktop (it is installed by default on GNOME 3.12), just start it, then enable them to experience what GNOME Classic looks and feels like without logging into the default GNOME Classic desktop.
Extra Info: Just before I published this article, Adam Williamson from happyassassin.net said that the Antergos GNOME login screen (first screenshot above) is a customized GDM, and not the stock GNOME 3 GDM. I confirmed that by comparing the login screens of Fedora Rawhide GNOME with that of Mageia 4 GNOME. Both are the same and very different from the Antergos login screen. The screenshot below was taken from a test installation of Fedora Rawhide GNOME. By the way, Mageia 4 GNOME is powered by GNOME 3.10.2, while Fedora Rawhide GNOME is currently running GNOME 3.13.2. Fedora Rawhide is what will become Fedora 21, which is scheduled for release sometime later this year.
The following screenshots show what the custom GNOME 3 and GNOME Classic desktops look like.
This is the customized GNOME 3 desktop showing the applications menu.
And this is the GNOME Classic desktop also showing the applications menu.
The customized GNOME 3 desktop showing the Places Status Indicator.
The GNOME Classic desktop showing the Places Status Indicator.
The customized GNOME 3 desktop showing the Activities overview.
The GNOME Classic desktop showing its Activities overview.
The customized GNOME 3 desktop showing the app view.
The GNOME Classic desktop showing its app view.
The customized GNOME 3 desktop showing a bottom panel with four workspaces, which is made possible by the Window List extension.
The GNOME Classic desktop showing a bottom panel with four workspaces.
So, do you think the developers still need to be supporting GNOME Classic?