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I recently read about next Linux Mint release using GNOME3 but without the shell. Does it mean the panel interface will be revisited? If so, is it possible to build it for testing?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

gnome-panel still exists and is still maintained as far as I know. It's still going to be popular for distributions and people that don't want or need the newer shells right now. I can't see this changing in the immediate future, at least until one of the newcomers has proven themselves significantly "better".

Using it is mostly just configuration and most distributions will offer you the choice between options on log-in. That's certainly the case in Ubuntu; you're offered a "classic" desktop which should be panels as usual.

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As far as I understood, at least for Natty, the gnome-panel will still be the one from GNOME 2.3x; will it be possible to upgrade to 3.x through PPA or such? I tried the Shell and I really liked the way instant messages don't require to switch windows, and I was wondering if Natty will allow this, or only Gnome Shell will, or if there will be a gnome3-panel. – Tigull Mar 11 '11 at 14:58
@Tigull yes, natty is not using gnome 3. – psusi Mar 11 '11 at 17:00

Gnome3 does away with the panels and replaces them with gnome-shell. You can see screen shots of it at

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This answer is partly untrue, as Gnome 3 did not do away with the panels. Gnome-Shell is just the default interface. – RolandiXor Mar 11 '11 at 16:31
@Roland Taylor I suppose technically the code is still there, but it has been depreciated and should not be used and will eventually be removed. As far as the end user is concerned, it is gone. – psusi Mar 11 '11 at 16:56
No, one of the developers recently posted on the planet that he personally will see to it that it hangs around much longer, and it will continue to receive improvements, so for many distros, and many users by extension, it's far from dead :) – RolandiXor Mar 11 '11 at 16:57

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