From Richard Hughes’ blog on February 2, 2011,
In GNOME 3.0, we’re defaulting to suspending the computer when the user shuts the lid, and not providing any preferences combobox to change this. This is what the UI designers for GNOME 3.0 want, and is probably a step in the right direction. We really can’t keep working around bugs in the kernel with extra UI controls.
This is going too far. I’ve never liked the suspend-on-close behavior, but I tolerate it on the MacBook because suspend always resumes. Apple is in the unique position of fully controlling the software and a finite amount of hardware. GNOME and the Linux kernel are not.
How about the Dell XPS M1330 notebook I depend on heavily that does not reliably resume from suspend? This new feature does not improve my user experience. It makes it worse. I suspect it will be the same for others.
The vast majority of people do not like lots of settings: they find them difficult to use, and it makes them think that GNOME isn’t intended for them. (We do want GNOME to have mass appeal, don’t we?!) ‘It’s just one setting!’, you might say, and that is a fair comment. The question is: when is one more setting a setting too far? Where do we draw the line?
I can see the complexities of doing design and variety of directions things can go. And yet, sometimes, isn’t the beauty of really good design, the ability to provide options and complexity in a simple way without removing functionality?
I’m not sure how GNOME gets mass appeal if, as in my situation, closing the laptop lid has the same result as pushing the power-off button without saving any work. The mass-appeal crowd is not going to say “Oh look, I found a bug in the kernel,” and be fine with the results.