Reverend Ted’s Blog

Show Me That New GNOME Main Menu


[Update: Please refer to “Show Me That Updated GNOME Main Menu” to see the latest info on the Main Menu, including a video.]

[Audio: There is an interview with developer Jimmy Krehl about this topic on Novell Open Audio.]

[Follow-up: I have posted a follow-on called “Customizing the Main Menu” to answer some questions posted on]

[Note: Since seems to have picked up this post, I should clarify up front that I do not know whether this has been or will be accepted into the main source tree of This is just the menu that I have been showing in public demonstrations of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. The possible implication that it is indeed the stated direction of is not intended. As I am heading to GUADEC next week, this clarification may spare me much flailing from many of my colleagues who are deeply invested in the health of the GNOME community. 21:46 MDT 17-06-06]

A lot of the people I have spoken to at various shows and events have wanted to see more of GNOME’s new Main Menu which Novell aims to deliver with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. The newly overhauled navigation resulted from studies in Novell’s desktop usability labs. (See for some of the information on the findings, methods, etc.) So let’s take a moment to examine it.

The menu is accessed from a single button, labelled “Computer.” There is no “My Computer” on the desktop, as our testing found that newer computer users expected anything but a file system browser to come up when they clicked on the one on Windows. We also found that having a name like “Start” (as Windows does) confuses users when presented with tasks like “shut down your computer.” Nevertheless, a lot of users look to the bottom left for a single all-access button. Hence the Computer button. That’s how the origins of the Computer button have been explained to me.

The Main Menu that pops up from the the Computer button contains:

So, I provide two screens shots of the menu, one of Favorites, and the other of Recently Used Applications.

(Apologies about the layout. I have not had a chace to work out the kinks in my WordPress template.)