I just installed Fedora 34. I was all set to give the new layout a chance.
However, I quickly learned the new layout is increasing the stress on my hands and risks by a factor of three…
The problem is with the vertical layout, everything I needed to use the mouse for was in the same general area. I would move the mouse to my upper left corner to activate. Down just a little to open an application. Up just a little to click on the new application I opened. All except the initial mouse movement to activate very small movements.
Now I have to move my mouse to the upper left to activate. Lower middle to open the app. Back up towards the upper left to click on the application I just opened. I am moving my mouse more than 3 times as much for a simple activity. Which means it takes longer, but more seriously is far worse for repetitive stress injury.
GNOME 3 was the most ergonomic desktop environment I have used. It allowed my hands and wrists to recover the the point I no longer had to wear braces. I was able to get rid of the trackpad that was killing my fingers and go to a verticle mouse.
GNOME 4.0 is a huge step backwards. Now there are probably some keyboard shortcuts I can learn to lesson this.
I tried installing an extension to resolve this:
But it stopped working after my first ‘dnf update’ and I cannot get it to work again.
In anycase, good ergonomics and accessibility should not require an extension.
The windows key does not really address the issue. No keyboard has the windows key in a place where someone with repedative stress injury can press it with introducing more stress… Plus one still needs to move the mouse all the way to the bottom to to open the app, and still all the way back to the top to position the window… It is still significantly more stress than if all the UI elements are centralized in the same zone.
Whoever designed the gnome 3 UI was an ergonomic genius. It was the next best thing after the Dvorak key layout. Whoever, designed the gnome 40 layout just didn’t get it… I could care less if someone finds it inconvient. But when it causes physical injury, that is bad. Really bad.
Now when I read though the goals of the UI redesign swapping the top and bottom of the screen would acheive all the same goals, and at least keep from having to move the mouse up an down the screen repeatedly. I am more partial to the vertical, but only because I am used to it. A swap of top and bottom would work just as well for saving my hands.
The GNOME devs are aware that the increased distance from the hot corner to the dash is a problem, and they are considering possible solutions ( https://gitlab.gnome.org/Teams/Design/os-mockups/-/issues/68 ). In the mean time, you could try the Hot Edge extension, which may help. It eliminates the distance between the hot corner and dash by putting a hot edge across the bottom of the screen, so that when you activate it your cursor is already where the dash is.