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Part of the problem seems to be that the Gnome Control Center is either broken or missing, I'm not sure which. Not Gnome's fault, maybe mine. Have any of my fellow Debian users here upgraded and gotten the control center to work?
The other part of the problem is that they've taken away settings I used to make my panels work. I put the task-list thingy on a panel on the left-hand side of the screen. Obviously, this needs to be wider than your standard panel for enough text to show up to make the task list useful. Unfortunately, in Gnome2 it looks like the task list religiously obeys the size settings of the gnome panel, and the is *flat* *fsking* *stupid* for a vertical panel.
If this stuff can't be fixed in the new Gnome framework, I'll be going back to FVWM with no "desktop environment". <Grump>
There are definitely issues, I got a bunch of gtk2 themes installed but I can't get gnome2 to work with anything but the default theme. The mete-package is broken right now so I installed all the packages individually, maybe there is a dependency that is missing.
You *can* use galeon with gconfd-2, this finally did the trick for me.
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Never had a problem with Galeon, thank goodness. The task list panel app still sucks, but I'm pretty sure thats a misfeature, not a bug. Same with the "workspace switcher" that replaced gnome-desk-guide, as Gnome2 appears to have abandoned the concept of viewports in favor of desktops. I think this sucks. I hate separate workspaces, and love viewports. I've found some mailing-list posts to the effect that this is deliberate, but they might do something to make workspaces almost as good as viewports in 2.1 or 2.2. Maybe I'll wait around for that. Maybe.
I've still got something screwy with gconfd, but I suspect that's a local problem.
Most of the problems I was having boiled down to stale files hanging about. I cleaned them up, everything is now working as advertised.
I'm still a little grumpy about some of the changes to Gnome that resulted from their big usability study, but I'll grant that quite likely Gnome2 is more usable for most people than its predecessors were. It may even beat KDE at this point, though of course I don't know because (a) I have strange tastes and (b) I don't use KDE itself, just an app or two that link against it. This dates back to when KDE wasn't really DFSG-free