The problem with GNOME 3

Since I started using Linux I used GNOME, v1.2 in those times. It has always done what I needed, maybe not perfectly, and not fully, but for the most part. GNOME 3 changed all that.

I complained about GNOME 3 since day one, and I discussed with GNOME 3 developers many problems with their rationale about why what they were doing made sense, and I foresaw many of the problems they are now facing.

I even started the GNOME user survey, in an effort to make GNOME developers see the light.

I blogged once before about GNOME 3, but only superficially, and even then GNOME developers didn’t take it well. Some GNOME developers might be tired of my arguments in Google+ and other media, but it’s time to dive into the issues with GNOME 3 in this blog.

Two years after the first release of GNOME 3, once GNOME developers have had the time to polish the rough edges, it’s time to make the call; GNOME 3 sucks. Here’s why.

The purpose of GNOME

Before we start, we need to clarify the purpose of GNOME, or rather; the purpose of any software project in general, which is to be useful to the users. Your software might the most efficient at doing certain task, it might have the simpler code, and the best development practices, but it’s all for naught if it’s not useful to anybody.

Software has to be useful for other people, otherwise nobody will use your software, and nobody will contribute to your software. Quite likely there will always be other software that does something similar to yours, so you need to convince users that your software is better than the alternatives, usually by providing a good user experience.

Once the user has spent time analyzing the alternatives and has chosen your software, the user expects your software to keep working, and in the same way. If the software keeps changing the way it behaves from one version to the next, it’s not achieving it’s main goal; to be useful to the users. If you do this, your users will move on to another project that might not have as many features, but at least they can rely on it and they don’t have to spend any more of their valuable time learning what broke now in the new release.

More important than providing a good user experience, is to not break existing user expectations.

You would think this is as obvious as a leopard’s spots, yet many software projects, including GNOME, don’t seem to understand this fact.

No project is more important than the users of the project. — Linus Torvalds

What users want

The problems I’ll talk about are not my invention, but conformed by GNOME user surveys, which show the most important issues according to the users:

  1. Lack of configuration options
  2. Developers don’t listen to users
  3. Bring back traditional interface

I knew these were important issues myself before the survey, but a survey was needed in order to know for sure. Of course, even after the survey, GNOME developers reject these issues are important to their users.

Developer attitude

In my opinion the main problem with GNOME is not just the code, code can be fixed, but the attitude from the developers (which is reflected in the code), and as users made it clear in the survey.

Many open source projects would kill to have the user-base GNOME had, and welcome their input with open arms, but GNOME neglected their users, they thought they were irrelevant, and they tried to dismiss their complaints with typical defenses, which of course don’t make sense.


People hate new things

By far the most widely used defense for the changes in GNOME 3 is that some people are backwards, and always hate new things, so it’s no surprise that they hate GNOME 3.

Any rational person would see the problem with this claim, but unfortunately I must spell it, because I had to explain it at great length to GNOME developers, and based on the responses, one would think they are incapable of seeing hasty generalization fallacies.

Say 50% of users hate GNOME 3, how many of them have legitimate reasons, and how many hate it just because they always hate new things? It’s impossible to know. So to dismiss every complaint saying “people hate new things” is totally stupid; you cannot know beforehand if they belong to this group or not, you first need to hear their complaints, and then decide if the complaints are invalid or not.

Saying “Jon doesn’t have legitimate complaints” makes sense (after analyzing his complaints), saying “people hate new things” does not, and GNOME developers do the later when people complain about GNOME 3.

Users don’t know what they want

Really? People don’t know if they want a punch in the face or not? Some people might not know what they want, but they definitely know what they don’t want.

Moreover, that’s a very rudimentary notion of user choice. Malcolm Gladwell explains rather well how it’s true that people don’t know what they want, or rather; they can’t tell you what they want, but when they get a taste of it, they most definitely can tell you: this is what I want.

If it wasn’t clear by now; GNOME 3 is not what a lot of people wanted.


People complained about GNOME 2 too

Did this actually happen? If you google GNOME 2 for results between 2002 and 2004 you would find barely (if any) results that show negative comments, so if it did happen, the backlash probably wasn’t that bad, and it probably died rather quickly. Check the thread in Slashdot, and try to find one comment suggesting to go back to GNOME 1; I couldn’t find any.

Did anybody create forks after GNOME 2 was released the same way people forked after GNOME 3? No.

Yes, people complained about GNOME 2, but not nearly as much as they do about GNOME 3. There’s even an entire wikipedia article dedicated to the controversy over GNOME 3.

Sorry GNOME developers, none of your excuses for not listening to your users make sense. You should always listen to your users. Without them your project is nothing.


The biggest complaint users had was the lack of configuration options, which could have been solved very easily, if the developers had more than two neurons in their brain, but instead, there’s only sub-par alternatives.

Advanced mode

GNOME 3 got rid of a bunch of useful configurations users relied on, and to defend themselves they said you could use gsettings manually, or install (or write) an extension, and so on, but I argued that there should be an “advanced mode” that the user can optionally turn on in order to further configure the system the way they wanted.

GNOME developers argued that this was a bad idea, because more code would need to be maintained which is absolutely not true for gsettings; the configurations are already there in the code, the only thing missing is the UI. Then they argued that it would mess up the configuration UI, which they wanted to keep clean, but adding a single check box can’t possibly mess with anything. In the end, I never received a single satisfactory answer of why an advanced mode didn’t make sense.

Tweak tool

The tweak tool is the closest thing to a sane configuration interface, however, it should be cleaned up, distributed by default, and integrated in the GNOME control center by adding an “Advanced mode” checkbox that when switched on enables these settings which should be distributed among the different “capplets”.

Even then, the amount of configurations available is not enough.

Shell extensions

Finally, there’s shell extensions which sound like a great idea at first, but if you think about it for thirty seconds, you realize the problem; there’s no APIs for extensions. This means extensions bring many problems.

First, there’s no guarantee that an extension will work the next version of GNOME, because it’s modifying the JavaScript code directly, and there’s no guarantee that the code will remain the same. There’s no extension API like with Chrome, or Firefox. The result is not unexpected; extensions break very easily from one version of GNOME to the next.

The second issue is that extensions can easily break GNOME, because they can modify absolutely anything in the shell.


Another option is to manually change the configurations through the command line. This is obviously not user-friendly, and not ideal either.

GNOME developers made the mistake of not allowing configurability directly into GNOME, and as a result they have made the much needed configurations second class citizens, than no matter what you do, they don’t work as expected. The problem is very easy to solve; the configurations should be integrated into GNOME, and activated by a single switch, so their normal configurations are not disturbed. But talking sense to these guys is next to impossible.

Classic mode

Finally, after so much backlash from the users for years, GNOME developers had to implement the classic mode, so users could be able to run their beloved GNOME 2 interface with GNOME 3 technology.

Unfortunately, GNOME classic is more of a hack than anything else; it’s full of bugs and inconsistencies. Sure, this mode is still in its infancy, and will probably improve in the next releases, but it’s safe to bet that it would never be as polished and usable as GNOME 2 was.

Sorry GNOME devs; too little, too late.


I am not going to list every single reason why GNOME 3 sucks, I would never finish this post, and there’s plenty of people that have already added their share (I’ll list some of them).

Personally for me the most obvious way to see that GNOME 3 defaults are brain-dead is the way alt+tab works. The whole purpose of work-spaces is to separate work, instead of having all your browser windows, terminals, editors, email client, and so on, on the same work-space, you split them among different ones. Even their own design references for GNOME shell say so. So, to make alt-tab cycle through the windows in all works-paces instead of only the current one is idiotic; it undermines the whole purpose of work-spaces.

Linus Torvalds schools Lennart Poettering on the importance of users

Instead of accepting this obvious fact (which many users complained about), they disregard any feedback, and say “oh, you can use an extension for that”. Never mind the fact that a huge percentage of their users need to install the extension just to have a sane behavior, and that the extension can break at any moment.


Another quite obviously stupid behavior is to switch to an already running “application” instead of opening a new one. For example; if I press the Windows key, and type chromium, I expect a new browser window to open, but no, instead I’m unexpectedly dragged to another work-space where there’s already a browser window. This makes sense on single-window applications, but not on other ones.

Linus Torvalds and others complained about this, and I proposed a solution; add a menu item when right clicking on the application that says “Always open new window”; problem solved. Now each time the user tries to open this application, it’s done in a new window. But no, users don’t know what they want; GNOME developers know better what’s best for us.

The list of stupidities in GNOME 3 is never ending:


The Linux way

What GNOME should have done is simple; don’t ever, ever break user experience. This is how the Linux project has managed to become the most successful software project in history. There are no forks of the Linux kernel, simply because there’s no need; user experience is never broken; what works in v2.0, works in v3.0, and will work in v4.0. New features are added carefully, making sure nothing breaks, and users always have a way to make the system work the way they expect it to work.

GNOME shell should have been developed alongside GNOME 2 and users should have given the option to turn this mode on and off. Slowly, GNOME shell would get more features from GNOME 2, until it was a full replacement, and at the same time GNOME 2 would evolve to integrate GNOME 3 technologies (like GTK+ 3.0). Eventually GNOME shell becomes the default, but always with the option to use the classic interface. After some cycles, the GNOME shell interface is bound to be a full replacement for the classic one.

Unfortunately, they chose not to do this.

Going this way requires more effort, of course, but it’s the only way to move forward without loosing developers and users along the way. GNOME developers argued that they didn’t have the resources to do such careful move, but that is clearly false, as the developers working on MATE, Cinnamon and GNOME classic show; there’s developers interested in making things work for the traditional mode.

They chose not to listen to the warnings, and they became impatient and went forward with a move that had the potential of angering a lot of users. Well, this potential was fully realized, and now they are paying the consequences.

They were wrong

They argued this was like GNOME 2; the people complaining about it will eventually learn the new ways, and most will be happy. They were wrong.

Even to this day people keep complaining about GNOME 3, how the interface doesn’t make sense, how the developers don’t listen, and how the design is brain-dead.

There’s no other way to put it; GNOME 3 was a mistake.

205 thoughts on “The problem with GNOME 3

  1. Arun June 12, 2013 / 18:30

    Reblogged this on Lazy Penguin's CrAzY blog and commented:
    Gnome 3 sucks! Somehow they thought they could pull it off like Canonical’s Unity but till now Gnome 3 is a failure. But the reasons discussed by Felipe are not limited to Gnome 3 alone, it has spread to many important opensource applications whose developers think each of them is a Linus Torvalds.


  2. ssam June 12, 2013 / 19:02

    I agree. Now lets install MATE and get back to doing useful things with our computers.


  3. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 19:23

    @Cynic Wow! I didn’t know there were so idiotic.

    People want to configure their desktop. How bizarre!


  4. nuo June 12, 2013 / 19:54

    yes, the settings are a problem, yes there are some problems with alt+tab. But gnome 3 is a really awesome, fast & modern shell. I’m sure they will fix many of the issues in future releases. Please never bring those boring panels back! And yes, people _are_ always complaining about the new stuff.


  5. James June 12, 2013 / 20:03

    The point is that the GNOME developers *don’t want* GNOME to be configurable. They want a single uniform GNOME desktop that will people can recognize as such. Customization gets in the way of that. (See that German magazine’s interview with Jon McCann.) I’m amazed that they still let you change the wallpaper.


  6. NaN June 12, 2013 / 20:06

    “conformed by GNOME user surveys” -> confirmed
    “move forward without loosing developers and users” -> losing

    I myself have used: AmigaOS 1.x, windows 95, windows 3.1, gnome 1, fvwm2, windowmaker, kde3, windows XP (work), gnome2, windows vista (work), kde4, trials of {unity, gnome3, and cinnamon}, windows 7, OS X Mountain Lion (work), and windows 8. I remember Gnome 2.0: it seemed like a meaningless rewrite that didn’t have any options. It wasn’t lighter, faster, or anything; just empty. And there were plenty of us at the time who thought Gnome 1.x had been the best environment we’d seen to that point. But there were plenty of other environments at the time that didn’t sacrifice anything, because the Gnome2 ecosystem wasn’t very well developed yet. So we all switched and let Gnome do its thing.

    I have to say that my top picks today are (best-to-worst) Cinnamon, Windows, and KDE 4.

    I noticed after getting the iMac that Gnome3’s handling of Alt+Tab (and Alt+`) mimics OS X, including the cross-(work)space switching. After 15+ years of managing windows with Alt+Tab, I do not want to add an extra “applications vs. windows” distinction. I still hate it at work six months after the change, and I don’t want to bring that home.


  7. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 20:17


    I’m sure they will fix many of the issues in future releases.

    That’s what I was told two years ago.


  8. Harry June 12, 2013 / 20:28

    So, what should us how likes GNOME 3 do?


  9. Dumindu June 12, 2013 / 20:50

    The problem is not with GNOME 3, it’s with the distributions. Most of the people who blame GNOME 3 is slow and buggy were using GNOME 3 on Ubuntu on those days. Of cause it’s buggy on Ubuntu because of Unity. I totally shifted from Ubuntu to Fedora on the first days and then to openSUSE. openSUSE is a nice distro and It’s GNOME support is better than other distros like Ubuntu and Fedora and very stable. Linux distros was kept only for advanced users and only for Desktop and Mainframe Computers for a long time and I think that’s why Android got it’s popularity on open source world quickly (even it is the most closed open source project). And now we have to move to mobile platforms too and also have to increase the easiness especially for new users. Yes, some people blame developers are not listening to users. But even after giving Gnome 2 look and feel via shell extensions and then via classic mode, some people still blaming and still trying to go backwards. Compared to the things the Gnome developers did from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 Shell is priceless and we have to appreciate them, especially for not giving the things users want sometimes. I’m not telling 100% perfect but for the moment I think it’s the most innovative open source movement in present. And for the moment there is no pure GNOME OS with the latest packages. might be with new releases we might can build the skeleton from servers, APIs will be created, proper GNOME tablets will be released, new developers will be joined, people will love to use it, some of them will blame as usual and GNOME will move forward.


  10. Oscar June 12, 2013 / 21:30

    I’ll just ask one question, any of you know how many people are working (full time) on GNOME? I’ll tell you: probably far less than any other project that you worked on. That’s the reason why they don’t want to “produce” more code, because it will eventually be forgotten.

    On the other side, I agree that some feature deletion rampages they’re having are REALLY bad, but you know what. GNOME 3 performs really well for me, and I’m taking this as a brand new start for GNOME. Do you remember how GNOME 1.2 was? I do.


  11. Jeannie June 12, 2013 / 21:32

    There was a Gnome 2 look and feelalike, called Fallback,but that was sacrificed for the brand identity obsession of the Gnome Devs. It felt too much like Gnome 2 and had to be eradicated completely too. just like extension and theming compatibility is being destroyed with every new version of GTK 3.x ‘to ensure Gnome 3’s idiotic brand identity.


  12. Matthew J. Sahagian June 12, 2013 / 21:35

    Happy GNOME 3 user here. I would go so far as to say I don’t think I could go back to GNOME 2 at this point, and if GNOME 3 were to change rather drastically I’d probably look for something with at least some similar to GNOME 3 (although unfortunately Unity is the only thing I’m aware of and it’s still not even close).

    What I found most interesting about your article was that you attempted to use what essentially amounts to complete agnosticism with regards to knowing what amount of “people hate new things” in order to defend your position. If you actually believe and assert that there’s no way to tell then it’s not a valid argument one way or the other.

    You attempt to correct this by then saying that they have to “listen to complaints.” I’m quite certain at this point that they’ve listened to plenty of complaints. What you’re really trying to say is that they dismiss your complaints at face-value and you don’t feel that they entertained them long enough.

    How long would you like them to analyze your complaints for? 1 hour? 1 day? 1 week? 1 month? What if they analyze all your complaints and still come to the conclusion that your complaints aren’t valid? Do they then have to analyze them longer?

    You see, the problem you are asserting is not a *real* problem and can only be defended with circular logic:

    1) GNOME 3 devs make sweeping changes because they feel it will lead to improvements in overall speed, usability, and focus.

    2) You disagree with GNOME 3 devs and wage complaints based predominately on what existed before.

    3) GNOME 3 disagree with your opinion because they’ve already analyzed the direction they want to head in and believe it will lead to improvements in overall speed, usability, and focus.

    All you have said the second time around is the same thing you said the first, “I don’t agree with GNOME 3 devs and they don’t agree with me.” But this was already clear, otherwise you wouldn’t have waged the complaint in the first place or otherwise the changes they made wouldn’t have caused you to wage a complaint.

    It seems the only evidence you would accept for whether or not they listened to your complaint is if they agreed with it and changed it. These two things are not the same though. In short: You and 61% of GNOME users have been listened to. For whatever percentage of the 61% actually expressed a legitimate well-formed complaint, the GNOME dev team disagreed with you as to whether or not it was even an issue, a priority, or in line with the larger goals of the changes they made.

    Whether those with legitimate complaints is the full 61% (I doubt it) or whether it is only 3% of the 61% is irrelevant. What you are complaining about goes against fundamental decisions that were made and made with reasons already defended elsewhere.

    As such, 39% of us who don’te hate GNOME 3 either realize it’s not that big of a deal, or perhaps even have found it to be a significant improvement. I am in the latter group.

    Strangely, the things I love about GNOME 3 is precisely what others hate:

    1) I love the fact that my desktop isn’t cluttered with all kinds of applets and distractions from my work.

    2) I love the fact that my configuration panels are the same way and provide me only the options I will most frequently change, while other settings can be set once when I first set up my system and left alone forever.

    3) I love the activity view because it keeps my focus on my work until I need to perform some sort of WM task. When I do need to perform that task, it completely lets me focus on that and gives me more control to do that because it can take over the entire focus and workspace.

    GNOME 3 allowed me to stop thinking about my desktop so much and get on with my work. I feel more productive and far less stresed using it than I do any other desktop I’ve tried on any platform. I’m sorry that you don’t feel the same way, but this doesn’t mean myself or the dev team aren’t listening to your complaints, it simply means we’re not willing to give up what we’ve gained for the sake of people who want to change their theme every two seconds or toggle things on and off, or constantly want some flickering system monitor running in the corner of their eye while they’re trying to code.

    Thanks, but no thanks.


  13. Matthew J. Sahagian June 12, 2013 / 21:37

    Oh, and lastely:

    4) I love the fact that GNOME devs aren’t listening to you because then I would lose 1, 2, and 3.


  14. e17releasemanager June 12, 2013 / 21:46

    You might consider giving E17/E18 a try. I’m the only one working on it full-time, but customization and user-influenced development are two of the core philosophies of E software design, and I try to stick to them.


  15. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 21:53

    @ Matthew J. Sahagian

    If you actually believe and assert that there’s no way to tell then it’s not a valid argument one way or the other.

    You must be really, really bad at logic. If somebody says “all water is liquid”, all I have to do is show a single ice cube to show they are wrong. It doesn’t matter if 50% of water is solid, or 20%, or 0.01%; the assumption that “all water is liquid” is wrong.

    And their assumption that everyone that hates GNOME 3, hates new things is wrong too.

    I’m quite certain at this point that they’ve listened to plenty of complaints.

    They might have heard them, that doesn’t mean they have listened.

    I love the fact that GNOME devs aren’t listening to you because then I would lose 1, 2, and 3.

    And now you are proving that you are a moron. You can have one configuration and I another, you don’t have to steal my features for you to have yours, we can have both, which the whole reason why configurations exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 21:56


    You might consider giving E17/E18 a try.

    I did. I expected it to be much smoother, but it wasn’t; simply moving windows was slow. I asked around in the IRC channel and looked everywhere, in the Internet and configurations, and it still was slow. I used Enlightenment a long long time ago, but now Xfce is the best; it just works, everything is snappy and smooth.


  17. e17releasemanager June 12, 2013 / 22:07

    Strange. Was this E17 or E18? I’d be interested to know what your setup (config/hw) is to ensure that it isn’t a corner case I haven’t seen before.

    Either way, it’s great to have so much choice with Linux and not be stuck using uncomfortable software.


  18. Matthew J. Sahagian June 12, 2013 / 22:11


    Are you really going to try and use that kind of logic against me? What you’re asserting is that GNOME 3 devs have taken the approach of saying “all water is liquid,” e.g.: “all complaints are just people hating new things.”

    So, if you really, really want to bring up falsification logic, then all I need to do is find a single example where their response to a complaint was more than, “you’re just hating something new.” Right?

    So no, I’m not bad at logic, I just realize that logic goes both ways. If you say, “all GNOME 3 devs dismiss complaints by asserting people hate new things,” all I have to do is show a single example otherwise in order to show you’re wrong.

    Again, you are trying to defend with an agnostic position, which is completely incapable of defending the position you want to defend. The only logic that is flawed is yours when you think somehow logic doesn’t apply to your or your claims.

    On the issue of “heard vs. listened.” Really? You’re going to argue this from Dr. Phil mentality? Again, address the point, what would actually count as evidence to you that they listened? How long do they have to “listen” for? How soon is too soon to decide against what the complaint is proposing? Hearing is listening + intent to understand. While you may be able to get away with claiming there is a significant difference where audio is actually concerned, you can’t get away with it on the internet when the vast majority of complaints will be written and need to be read. So now what? “They may have read it, but that doesn’t mean they completed a full literary analysis of its meaning?” Give me a break.

    With regards to me having one configuration and you having another, I’m reminded of the commercial where the car salesman is trying to sell the couple a car with buttons. They have, “buttons that control other buttons.” This is the same approach you take. Unfortunately, what you want is necessarily a negation of what I want. I don’t want buttons, let alone buttons that control other buttons, so I don’t want to have to configure my configuration before I can configure my desktop or for that matter even configure my desktop that much. I want simplicity and focus and as little clutter as is meaningfully possible.


  19. Matthew J. Sahagian June 12, 2013 / 22:13

    Misspoke: Listening is hearing + intent to understand. Rest of the point remains valid.


  20. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 22:19


    It’s 0.17.3.

    I’d be interested to know what your setup (config/hw) is to ensure that it isn’t a corner case I haven’t seen before.

    My video card is Intel HD 4000, and now that I recall I enabled SNA mode and tear-free.


  21. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 22:26

    @Matthew J. Sahagian

    What you’re asserting is that GNOME 3 devs have taken the approach of saying “all water is liquid,” e.g.: “all complaints are just people hating new things.”

    That’s exactly what they did. I can show you the conversations in Google+.

    If you say, “all GNOME 3 devs dismiss complaints by asserting people hate new things,”

    I didn’t say that. That would be unreasonable.

    Again, address the point, what would actually count as evidence to you that they listened?

    If they had run a survey, some polls, an ideastorm, or simply enabled voting in bugzilla. Any of those would show they were interested in user feedback.

    I can show you examples in Google+ discussions where they explicitly said they didn’t care about what users wanted, because users don’t know what they want.

    I don’t want buttons, let alone buttons that control other buttons, so I don’t want to have to configure my configuration before I can configure my desktop or for that matter even configure my desktop that much. I want simplicity and focus and as little clutter as is meaningfully possible.

    I just need a single button; “advanced mode”. Are you going to deny me a SINGLE BUTTON? On the basis that you want simplicity.

    This is bullshit, I already tackled the argument in the article. It’s not my problem if you don’t know how to read and think.


  22. Matthew J. Sahagian June 12, 2013 / 22:55


    “I didn’t say that. That would be unreasonable.”

    Then we agree, GNOME devs do listen to users, they simply disagree with ~61% of them.

    In other news, Ford refused to release a car with square wheels and an engine made out of marshmellows after 57% of current Ford drivers said they think it would make a better car. A Ford spokesperson said, “… while we want to be able to serve our customers in every capacity we can, a large majority of our customers are not engineers or assembly line workers or even mechanics. There’s lots of things we don’t design by committee because they’d turn out to be a mess from a standpoing of overall practicality and maintainability over time.” When asked what the marshmellow demanding consumers should do, the spokesperson replied, “There’s lots of other car companies out there, while it would be a shame to lose loyal customers, it’d be a much bigger shame to lose the potential customers we can reach by building cars that are actually useful.”


  23. FelipeC June 12, 2013 / 23:50

    @Matthew J. Sahagian

    Then we agree, GNOME devs do listen to users, they simply disagree with ~61% of them.

    You are saying that because I deny that 100% of the water is liquid, that must mean I think water is solid.

    No, we don’t agree, I didn’t say that. Moron.


  24. jedd June 13, 2013 / 00:37

    “Before we start, we need to clarify the purpose of GNOME”

    The purpose of GNOME *was* to avoid the concerns over the way that Qt was licensed by Trolltech, which resulted in an understandable resistance by many people to adopt KDE. That particular problem was solved (properly) in 2000.


  25. alsuren June 13, 2013 / 01:19

    “There are no forks of the Linux kernel, simply because there’s no need;”

    Off the top of my head, I can count:

    You might want to re-think that section: it doesn’t really hold water.


  26. FelipeC June 13, 2013 / 02:00


    Off the top of my head, I can count:

    They are not fork-forks, they are more like branches; eventually they’ll get merged or rebased.


  27. duskfire June 13, 2013 / 03:43

    Very interesting post, Felipe, thanks. I have a strong bias towards KDE since that was what I used in the early days of my own Linux explorations (Mandrake 8.0), but I tried to give GNOME 3 a fair shake for 3 iterations of Fedora. I found it to be quite good at first, but as it developed through 3.4, I just grew less and less interested in it.
    At this point, I’ve almost given up on it. Fedora itself is really good and it is my 2nd favorite distribution, openSUSE seems decent enough, but I am worried about what awaits me when I get a new opportunity to review them in the fall (currently I don’t have a laptop modern enough to install them on).


  28. S Thomas June 13, 2013 / 12:42

    So true. And so very sad. I’ve moved to XFCE which, while not as nice as GNOME 2, is at least useable.

    M$ and GNOME can’t seem to accept that we got the desktop experience about right in 2000. What we see now is change for change’s sake and the imposition of a UI that might work on a 4″ touch-screen but is hopeless on a multi-monitor desktop. Neither W8.1 and GNOME Classic truly address the problem. How can designers be so distant from the user community??


  29. Eric Espino June 13, 2013 / 17:10

    Take note, I’m not a user affected negatively or positively by GNOME 3. I have been using LinuxMint Cinnamon (I think is base from GNOME 3). In any case, in the last 12-18 months I continue to read very bad reviews and comments from many different people. Seem to me something is wrong and the GNOME 3 team has done nothing to resolved. I repeat: I don’t have any problem but seem to me somebody is not listening.


  30. Ken Tait June 13, 2013 / 17:21

    I have been evaluating a bunch of current linix distros in an effort to totaly get off the windows crap.
    My history with this goes back 40 years, built linux disk drivers for REAL unix many years ago..
    I’v tried pretty much everything, but my real interest is in moving a number of custom programs over, so I need a decent dev environment and a consistent method to re-code the UI parts..

    So far I don’t see this anywhere in the linux world..
    I’ve used eclipse sucks big time, but not very much else to choose from.

    I liked the Gnome 2 ui, I have not played with Gnome 3 very much yet so that’s why I’m reading your blog..
    So far I think Debian with KDE is the most stable, although I’m not a fan of the QT environment and with all the cell phone wars..I don’t think support here will be stable long term…So I ask myself, why make the investment here? Plasma is ok, but this is going the route of bloatware real fast, leaving the possibility of putting it on many of my older machines behind…

    My opinion on Linux is this:

    1. I love it and the concept.
    2. Too little effort put on dev environments, so that’s why existing apps are NOT being ported over from the commercial world. There is a large learning curve here, people ae not going to make it unless they think things are stable for at least 2 years time…
    3. Way too much attention on visual feature crap..NO one but weenies really care about this. Professionals in the real, commercial world do not…If you want glitz and aggravation..get windows 8 or a mac….
    4. No one wants to fix bad code..just release yet another library that’s incompatible with the previous one…This is just lazyness on the developers part, no discipline…
    5. too much attention on cell phones and touch screens..You can’t develope code on these..these shoud be totally separate shells and not shit up the current linux distis..IMHO, this is a passing fad anyway. Real speech recognition is very close to a true reality..then this will go away since most people are inherently lazy….
    6. Unity is total garbage..These people are only interested in making money, they will eventually sell this to someone, and bail. They are using the community only to prop up their efforts..WAKE up people…
    I’ll predict it will eventually destory Ubunto..which started out as a good thing…
    7. Some code, some ports some libs..need to die and fast…

    So..what’s left? You all claim ‘CHOICE’…what a bunch of crap..your choices are truly limited to what each UI supports in the way of apps that can be EASILY installed by non linux savy people…The average user is not going to recompile a package..Do you want the installed base to grow or not? Is this just a nice hobby, or do you really want to take over the world? Think about it…answering these simple questions honestly will point everyone in the right direction.

    If you want linux to survive, you all need to embrace something that lets commercial apps move over without taking years….don’t give me virtual shells and other wrapper crap, this is bad for apps controllling real machines…You need a simple IDE like VS2008 with the appropriate widget libs pre-configured for ONLY C or C++..Forget about the java crap not all comerical apps are web oriented or care about this..

    Just my HO from someone who’s been on the planet a long time…



  31. ahaveland June 13, 2013 / 17:25

    I too am similarly unimpressed with Gnome 3 and could write a long list, but these are my main complaints.
    I use it on a laptop with a touchpad – can’t select a user to log in as using the keyboard – all has to be done with the mouse, instead of using cursor keys to select and enter.
    Can’t log out, power down or restart using a one-handed key combination, which is essential if wanting to pay up and leave an internet cafe quickly, and also if for some reason the display isn’t connected or working. Logging in remotely over ssh to type ‘reboot’ should be unnecessary!
    I miss the desktop weather app too, which was promised years ago.
    Alt+` is a major pain to get used to when alternating usage between windows and gnome 3.
    I’m disappointed with it, and as a result it just gets used for browsing, or opening a terminal and hardly anything else.


  32. themobmob June 13, 2013 / 18:42

    In our office, everyone one was happy with plain vanilla Ubuntu, but since the gnome disaster (and it truelly is a disaster) we are now fragmented with one person using Unity, a couple of KDE machines, a cinnamon flavoured machine and several Xubuntu machine (my personal favourite, as it is so similar to a Gnome 2 enviroment) I am sure the suicidal efforts of the gnome team have given 1000’s of people very unhappy, and had to waste days and weeks finding alternatives. What a terrible waste


  33. Dave June 13, 2013 / 18:49

    Felipe – Speak for your self. Gnome3 is better than Gnome 2; and every version of Windows & Mac OS.


  34. Eric Espino June 13, 2013 / 19:27

    Dave, you are right and GNOME 3 works for you but the point is that I have never seen so many bad reviews for an open source solution. I don’t know why but definitively somebody is not listing it.


    • Dave June 13, 2013 / 19:30

      I seem to recall a large brouhaha when KDE changed recently, I believe from v3 to v4.


  35. Timothy George Rowe June 13, 2013 / 20:11

    @nuo:”awesome”, “modern” and “boring” are relevant descriptions for toys — entertainments. All that matters for me with an OS is that it stays out of the way while I get my work done. Gnome 3 doesn’t, so it can be as “awesome”, “modern” and not “boring” as it likes, it can’t be more than a toy for me, and I don’t think much of it as a toy.


  36. joncr June 14, 2013 / 00:01

    >>”… the purpose of any software project in general, which is to be useful to the users…”

    This incorrectly assumes no differentiation among users, no differences in interests, skills, needs, etc.

    >>”… If the software keeps changing the way it behaves from one version to the next, it’s not achieving it’s main goal; to be useful to the users…”

    This suggests it would be better to release a product and then go immediately into bug-fix mode, with no future changes. FOSS, and Linux, projects lack the resources to test and vet new code before it is released. As a result, Release One of new code is typically something less than beta quality. Ditto Release Two.

    >>”More important than providing a good user experience, is to not break existing user expectations.”

    If this was actually true, we’d all still be using DOS.

    >>”Lack of configuration options”

    Some people like not needing to spend hours fussing with software before it becomes tolerable. Certainly, configurability has its place. So, too, does software that hits the mark out of the box. With about 5 minutes effort, I can have Gnome-Shell configured as I please. Meanwhile, it takes an hour or so to get KDE — king of configurabilty — to be at all tolerable (mostly turning useless things off), and I can never get it to be a useful and enjoyable system.

    >>”… GNOME neglected their users, they thought they were irrelevant..”

    Linux is developer-centric. They run the show, not users. Linux developers have nothing tangible to gain by slavishly catering to user desires. And, that’s assuming they can even get a fair and accurate impression of what users want. (And that’s impossible in Linux.) As it turns out, Gnome Shell works for me and corrects the annoyances I found always present in Gnome 2.

    >>”People hate new things”


    >>”GNOME 3 got rid of a bunch of useful configurations users relied on…”

    Not for me, it didn’t. Gnome 3 fixed short-sighted weaknesses in Gnome 2 as far as I’m concerned.

    Bottom line: You, like so many others, are attacking Gnome 3 because it is not Gnome 2. Of course, it does not work like Gnome 2, and of course you cannot tweak it to really work like Gnome 2. Nor can you tweak a 30-year-old-VW Beetle to function like a 2013 Toyota. Attacking today’s Toyota for not being an ancient VW is irrational. Gnome 2 is dead. Some of us didn’t like Gnome 2 all that much. Gnome 3 isn’t Gnome 2. Some of us like it for that. Get over it.


  37. FelipeC June 14, 2013 / 00:09


    All your comments are wrong. Linux does exactly what you say is not possible.


  38. jonc June 14, 2013 / 03:41



    We aren’t discussing Linux. We are discussing Gnome.

    Don’t believe I addressed anything in terms of what is or is not possible.

    If you think I’m wrong, show me how and where. Don’t just issue a blanket unsubstantiated rejection.


  39. FelipeC June 14, 2013 / 04:02


    We are discussing software. I already showed you are wrong. It’s possible to move forward without breaking user-experience. Proof; Linux.


  40. Jeannie June 14, 2013 / 10:11

    @ joncr

    Gnome 2 isn’t dead, it’s alive and under active development, it’s just called MATE now and works very well for quite a lot of poeple, It actually seems to have more active devs than Gmome 3 these days. If the Gnome devs (or rather designers, why the heck do designers decide about functionality???)) would not have violently and actively had done everything to eradicate anythig that comes close to Gnome 2 ( e.G. the old Fallback mode,which was by the way forked too) they would not have caused so much damage for the sake of their damned, childish ‘brand’ identity idea.

    Instead of having created a unique ‘brand’ identity, they caused more danage to dekstop linux than anyone before, what once was one of the most popular Linux DE has split up into MATE, Gnome Shell, Gnome Classic, Gnome Fallback, Cinnamon, Consort and Unity (Did I forget something? Maybe I did). What do you think is the reason for this massive fragmentation? The high quality and statistfaction of users with the highly tolerable Gnome 3, that breaks every customisation intentionally ( extensions, themes) with every new minor version upgrade again and a gain and again just to make sure that Gnome again looks as designed by these brand identitiy freaks ?

    Regarding your comparison of the Beetle with a Toyota: Why do you think that the basic control elements of cars like acceletator, brake, steering wheel have been adopted by every car maker and not really been changed since Cadillac introduced them in 1916 instead of every car having a unique ‘brand identity’ set of control elements?


  41. Emanuele Aina June 14, 2013 / 11:45

    I happen to like GNOME3 a lot. Not having many little configurations options means that it strives to do the right thing by default and that I don’t have to waste time customizing anything. If it does not do the right thing then it’s a bug, and patches are usually welcome: adding a configuration option just means that no one cares about implementing the right behaviour.

    In any case, GNOME3 is one of the most extensible (note: extensible instead of configurable) DE out there: the customization opportunities offered by the extension system in the Shell are quite unmatched. Choose an already existing extension that does what you want or write one, there’s a lot you can accomplish with just a few lines of JavaScript.


  42. Ričardas Barkauskas June 14, 2013 / 14:40

    And I sill like GNOME3.


  43. Jeannie June 14, 2013 / 18:36

    @ Emanuele Aina:

    The fact that there are so many ( often broken or dysfunctional) ‘extensions’ shows me that gnome 3 by default is what you call ‘a bug’, if people were statisfied with vanilla gnome 3 they would not have to write hundereds and hundereds , often incompatible extensions who get broken intentionally again with the next minor version upgrade because the chief designer of gnome decided that breaking them is the best way to push his idea of a unique brand identity and of a toy device content consumer workflow down user’s throats, The same is valid for gnome 3 themes.


    • Dave June 14, 2013 / 18:57

      Jeannie – Mere existence of extensions does not make something a bug. It only means that peopel want to add features. A bug is something that makes a program not run right.
      If you go by the existence of “extensions” or other bits to make a particular program run better; then that would make Linux itself “a bug”
      As for the non- or bad functioning extensions, well, that’s between the extension writers & Gnome.


  44. FelipeC June 14, 2013 / 19:10


    A bug is something that makes a program not run right.

    Wrong. A bug is unexpected behavior of a program.


    • Dave June 14, 2013 / 19:23

      Felipe – Yes, if it’s the programmer who didn’t expect that behavior. But, if the user didn’t expect the behavior (but the programmer did) then it’s not a bug.


  45. Eric Fitton June 14, 2013 / 22:42

    @Dave I recall the same brouhaha when KDE switched from version 3 to 4. It was so bad for so long that I no longer consider using KDE. I mourn KDE 3 everytime I use a linux box which isn’t very often anymore (and it was all I used from 99-2009). So I have no idea what your point is but if somehow you are saying that all users have forgiven KDE for making the switch and that KDE 4 has surpassed KDE 3 you are very much mistaken. You could look up the Trinity Desktop and see that I am not alone with my disgust at the new paradigm switch that KDE took.

    For those of us that want a full featured Desktop with a proven workflow model on Linux where do we look? GNOME and KDE both use to be exactly that. Now both are experimental DEs.


    • Dave June 14, 2013 / 22:48

      Eric – My only point wiht bringing that up was that it happened, very much like the way people are grumping about the changes introduced in Gnome3. I’m not saying anyone forgave KDE, or whether or not they returned to KDE4.


  46. FelipeC June 15, 2013 / 00:09


    Yes, if it’s the programmer who didn’t expect that behavior. But, if the user didn’t expect the behavior (but the programmer did) then it’s not a bug.

    Wrong again, it’s the user that’s important. If you leave the definition of a bug to a developer, we could always say they are features, not bugs.


    • Dave Woyciesjes June 16, 2013 / 22:36

      >> Yes, if it’s the programmer who didn’t expect that behavior. But, if the user didn’t expect
      >> the behavior (but the programmer did) then it’s not a bug.
      > Wrong again, it’s the user that’s important. If you leave the definition of a bug to a developer,
      > we could always say they are features, not bugs.
      Yes, the user is important. Without us, there is no point to writing the program. if a user wants an say over the desing of a program (which then leads to bugs and finding them), then they need to enter into an agreement with the programmers/developers.
      In our particular case, wiht Gnome, we point out the unexpected behaviour that we believe is a bug; and the programmers reply as to whether it is or not.
      There are cretainly programmers who are enough of a jerk to igonre the users, and try to say there are no bugs, just undocumented features…

      But just because _you_ don’t like a new particular feature in Gnome3, that doesn’t make it a bug.



  47. Eric Fitton June 15, 2013 / 04:32

    @Dave So what was your point? We were grumping about the changes then and we are grumping about the changes now because they don’t work for us and we flat out don’t understand them. I no longer am using FOSS for my operating system because of the decisions of KDE and GNOME. You may like and it and that’s great for you but I am a bit bitter that I am using a nonfree OS (Windows 7) that is technically inferior in every way because the choices of DEs on Linux are simply that irritating for me to use.

    @Emanuele Aina wrote: “adding a configuration option just means that no one cares about implementing the right behaviour.” That is a logical fallacy. I keep reading about how GNOME devs want good defaults. Great, I want good defaults too. But then all the configuration options are unsupported, beta extensions that break with an upgrade. How is that better than a checkbox? Having good defaults does not mean you can’t have configuration choices. Rember the whole discussion about how you should never care about your font? Honestly, the words arrogant assholes is what comes to my mind.


    • Dave Woyciesjes June 16, 2013 / 22:44

      Eric –
      “…@Dave So what was your point? We were grumping about the changes then and we are grumping about the changes now because they don’t work for us and we flat out don’t understand them. I no longer am using FOSS for my operating system because of the decisions of KDE and GNOME. You may like and it and that’s great for you but I am a bit bitter that I am using a nonfree OS (Windows 7) that is technically inferior in every way because the choices of DEs on Linux are simply that irritating for me to use….”
      My point is only a response to “… I have never seen so many bad reviews for an open source solution. …” a statement made by you. I wass simply saying that the KDE hoo-ha s***storm was just as big.
      And you are using an OS that you believe to be inferior “…in every way…” which includes less secure, because of an idealogical difference? Why not just use Mint, or some of the other DE spin offs? Using WIndows just becuase you don’t like the decisions the KDE & Gnome develeopers seem like shooting your foot with a shotgun to spite your face.


  48. FelipeC June 15, 2013 / 04:35

    @Eric Fitton Have you tried Xfce? Many disappointed GNOME users are using that instead.


    • Eric Fitton June 15, 2013 / 05:16

      @FelipeC I tried XFCE and it is ok. I might jump to it later but frankly it is a bit too minimalist for me. Cinnamon will get a look this summer. While my wife would probably find XFCE acceptable, it is not the easiest sell for the household computer.

      @Kelsey Judson So what do you suggest for a full featured proven desktop model on Linux? Or am I permanently banned to Windows? Glad you’re happy but I actually found the desktops four years ago better on Linux. Taking away features doesn’t exactly scream progress to me.

      The claim that there is a majority of silent, happy GNOME 3 users amazes me. I can’t remember another project successfully forked twice. (Shoot, xfree86 and XEMACs stand out with a single fork). I don’t remember nearly the amount of controversy with design decisions (although to be fair, most people unhappy with KDE 4 went to GNOME 2 which might have dampened some of the complaints). And the largest employer of GNOME developers isn’t using it in their commercial project, shipping GNOME Classic instead. Clearly GNOME 3 is problematic with a large portion of Linux users (and some former Linux users) unhappy with its direction and not content with the remaining choices.


  49. Kelsey Judson June 15, 2013 / 04:57

    You’re STILL going on about this? It’s almost absurd at this point. If the developers don’t listen as you claim then you sure have spent a hell of a lot of time shouting for their attention…

    So who isn’t listening here? When (actual) Gnome 3 users come in to offer their side of the story, you just call them “morons” or shrug off their opinions with “all your comments are wrong”. Matthew J. Sahagian in particular in my opinion hits the nail on the head, and is clearly anything but a “moron”. You’re not exactly encouraging intelligent discussion and every time you bring this up, you treat anyone with an opposing view exactly the same way. If you can’t at least respect others’ opinions then how do you expect any of us to take yours seriously? As much as you claim the Gnome devs are putting their fingers in their ears, you’re doing the exact same thing, and have been for what… years now?

    I have to draw attention to your assertion that all they need is an “Advanced” button. Sure, that would be cool. But what exactly would I find under an “Advanced” button that I can’t already achieve with dconf-editor/gsettings? If you’re really an advanced user, I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume you can find your way around these tools. Are you really trying to tell me that the command-line is not ideal for advanced users? Hello, scripts? I’m not going to claim that Gnome 3 doesn’t have it’s flaws, and I do agree that accessible configuration (to casual users) is one of them. Point is the options are there, and it probably would be an improvement to make them more visible but I don’t think it’s as big an issue as you make it out to be.

    Now sure, the minimalistic approach to many of the apps might not suit everyone. In which case, use another (Linux 101) or switch DEs entirely. As much as you seem to believe in this ideal one size fits all, it simply doesn’t exist. That applies to nearly everything in life too. It’s no different in UI design.

    You can design for a wide audience sure, but never for everyone. And really, if you’re going to argue against that, then why have choice? Why should we have XFCE, Unity, Cinnamon, Windows, OS X, Openbox, Tiling Window Managers… Gnome 3 is designed for me, all others who appreciate the direction, and many I’m sure that haven’t discovered it yet. I highly doubt at this point if there were not a significant number of us that the project would still be following the same course. I can’t prove that of course, but it’s no more conjectural than your own assumptions that Gnome is in big trouble and hated by the entire monolithic community. At this point you’re just insulting the intelligence of it’s current userbase as much as you’re insulting the developers.

    The one thing you need to accept whether you like it or not is that Gnome’s vision differs to yours. You hate it, and they’re not changing. Facts are facts. At least they’re consistent in their approach and you know exactly where you stand. You have every right to be annoyed, but whining incessantly solves nothing. Move on.


  50. Dumindu June 15, 2013 / 05:48

    For everyone who want GNOME 2 DE with massive configurations and etc can use MATE DE. As it tells it will be “The Traditional Desktop Environment”. And for others who love to break traditions can use GNOME 3 shell, Cinnamon, KDE or any other DE they like. Everyone who loves modern, minimal and touch friendly environment will use GNOME 3 Shell. Still it’s under development and competing with competitors like KDE, Unity(Canonical), Android(Google), iOS(Apple) and etc. They are going a revolutionary and fast journey to compete with them. So there is no wrong with breaking theme and etc because still it is not fully completed. Some of users are blaming about GNOME 3 developers about giving more priority for designers to define functionality. But I think that’s the best thing happened to GNOME development because as Steve Jobs told once “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”


  51. Kelsey Judson June 15, 2013 / 06:01

    @Eric Fitton: I would probably recommend Unity (because it’s actually not all that different) or Cinnamon (though I don’t mind Cinnamon, I am not a fan of Mint – it’s a mess). Although they’re probably awful recommendatons in your case!

    Honestly, I don’t see why MATE doesn’t fit the bill? As you don’t seem to think much of XFCE I can’t recommend that. I’m not sure what it is you don’t like about KDE4, but I have very little experience with KDE so can’t really comment. You mentioned Trinity yourself though, so what is wrong with that?

    I tend to think that if you’ve been around Linux as long as it sounds like you have, then you must be well aware of what makes Linux special, so surely at least one of those options is worth adopting rather than suffer Windows? Have you tried MATE?

    As for the backlash, the way I see it is that …

    1. Linux has grown
    2. Gnome 2 has/had a huge userbase compared to other projects
    3. Blogs, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter etc. are far more commonplace now than they were then
    3. Yes, the majority of *actual users* are happy (so when people claim that Gnome is ignoring what the users want, they often mean “this is why I chose something else”)
    4. Gnome Classic is Gnome 3, and it makes sense that RHEL would choose it given their target audience (which is not desktop users)
    5. People love drama (that’s not an argument, but come on… this is the internet)

    There are those with genuine complaints, but judging by the amount of misinformation (particularly around the idea that Gnome Shell is predominantly a tablet interface) lead me to believe that there are just as many who are not speaking from first hand experience as a day to day user, and never truly gave Gnome Shell a chance in the first place. It’s perfectly “sane” when you’ve had the chance to develop a workflow. I don’t use it exclusively, but that’s not because I can’t, it’s just because I’m a tinkerer and like a bit of variety. I use it every day, and while it’s not perfect (nothing is), I’ve found very little to complain about.

    There’s no way I can pretend that Gnome Shell doesn’t offend a great deal of people. That doesn’t make it fundamentally bad or wrong though. And it doesn’t mean that each of those people base their hatred on purely rational grounds. In fact, technically it means very little at all. Only the future will tell for sure whether Gnome has made a good or bad choice. Any claim to the contrary is premature.

    I’m perfectly willing to accept though that such a huge change in workflow does suck for long time users of a DE. But given forks such as MATE, the actual impact is a little overblown.


  52. Kelsey Judson June 15, 2013 / 06:06

    @Dumindu: I agree. The Linux comunity seems to have some kind of weird scepticism towards “designers”, while for me the greater influence of designers is the best thing to happen to Linux in years. Some designers will make questionable decisions, but that’s no reason to treat them all like the enemy.


  53. Kelsey Judson June 15, 2013 / 06:12

    Oh and I clearly can’t count (damn it, where’s my edit button).


  54. mishmich June 17, 2013 / 13:02

    I ended up getting a MacBook Pro, with Retina Pro. I can use much of the software I used on Linux. I can run Virtual Box to run Ubuntu (Gnome Classic mode) & WIndows XP to run things I don’t have for OSX. Absolutely fantastic. I dislike Apple’s business practices, but OSX is terrific, and the laptop is great. Why did I wait ten years to switch from Windows to OSX, and why did I bother with Linux along the way?


  55. hayden June 17, 2013 / 16:14

    I’ve been using KDE for years. I think it’s increadibly polished now. Every update new features just ‘slip in’ so well you hardly notice – everything else just carries on as usual. Make sure you disable the file indexing though, a good performance upgrade to be had.

    I have tried Gnome 3.6 and now 3.8. I have found 3.8 to actually have *less* features than 3.6. ie. some of the views in the file manager have been removed, and left click is now hardly worth the effort.


  56. FelipeC June 21, 2013 / 12:45


    But just because _you_ don’t like a new particular feature in Gnome3, that doesn’t make it a bug.

    No, it’s not a bug because I don’t like a particular feature; it’s a bug because any sane human being would not expect it to happen.


    • Dave June 21, 2013 / 20:05

      “.No, it’s not a bug because I don’t like a particular feature; it’s a bug because any sane human being would not expect it to happen.”

      When it comes to bugs, it’s not the public’s idea of what is a bug. From WikiPedia:
      “A software bug is an error, flaw, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or causes it to behave in unintended ways. Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program’s source code or its design, and a few are caused by compilers producing incorrect code. ”
      The key words here are “…by people.. in code.. or design..” Since you (or all the others who don’t like Gnome3) didn’t doi any of the desing or programming, you don’t get to say what is a bug in Gnome3.


  57. FelipeC June 23, 2013 / 23:16


    The key words here are “…by people.. in code.. or design..” Since you (or all the others who don’t like Gnome3) didn’t doi any of the desing or programming, you don’t get to say what is a bug in Gnome3.

    You must be soft in the head. Bug are made by programmers, but they can be found by anyone.


    • Dave June 28, 2013 / 15:58

      FelipeC –
      Sure, I’m soft in the head. brain matter is kinda squishy.
      Yes, you just said what I’ve been saying. So I geuss we agree at this point?


  58. FelipeC June 30, 2013 / 03:37

    @Dave “soft in the head” is an idiom that means you are stupid, witless. Further proof of that is your attempt to argue for the sake of arguing this very point.

    And no, we don’t agree. I said bugs are found by users; users determine whether something is a bug or not, because a bug is defined as unexpected behavior, and unexpected behavior is determined by the people that do have expectations about the software; the people that use it.


    • Dave July 1, 2013 / 17:46

      FelipeC wrote:
      “…@Dave “soft in the head” is an idiom that means you are stupid, witless…”

      I’m fully aware of what you were saying. I was trying to stay away from childish name calling, by “owning” that statement in a way other than what you had intended.

      FelipeC then continued with:
      “…And no, we don’t agree. I said bugs are found by users; users determine whether something is a bug or not, because a bug is defined as unexpected behavior, and unexpected behavior is determined by the people that do have expectations about the software; the people that use it…”

      We do agree on who can find a potential bug, unexpected behaviour – that is anyone; users, designers, etc…
      Where we diverge is on who has the say as to if that particular behaviour is truly a bug, unexpected. You think that people who only use a program can say what a bug is, even though they didn’t specify to the programmer what the behaviour should be. Whereas I said those who design a program know what behaviour is unexpected, a bug.

      Given that you seem rather set in your opinion, and the fact that you decided to strart slinging insults; I’ll leave this discussion here.

      Have a good day.


  59. rafirafi July 1, 2013 / 03:01

    It’s too late, you have to switch to xfce and forget gnome, it’s stable and I’m not sure gnome will ever be stable again, and I’m begining to think that only Red Hat clients can eventually make this happen.


    • Dumindu July 1, 2013 / 06:25

      @rafirafi It is not the problem with GNOME, It’s with your distro. GNOME is very stable on openSUSE and Fedora. I’m using GNOME 3.8.2 on openSUSE and it’s so stable. I shifted from Ubuntu about 2 years ago, mainly because of its Unity Hacks and distro level hacks, GNOME is unstable but It is not a problem with GNOME, Its with Ubuntu. openSUSE is a KDE distro but it’s GNOME support is amazing.


  60. rafirafi July 1, 2013 / 07:20

    ok dumindu, it’s just last time I’ve tested gnome shell (not with ubuntu!) I had to use extensions because the oob experience it’s not ok for me… it was not stable (at all). But I believe you that if you don’t touch anything it’s stable.


    • Dumindu July 1, 2013 / 07:30

      😀 openSUSE 12.3 comes up with GNOME 3.6.


  61. James Cole July 3, 2013 / 05:37

    I actually really like Gnome 3(controversial, I know), I am on 3.6 now and it’s great. I tried 3 initially and didn’t like it but all the other DEs I didn’t really like either(I find Unity really clunky in particular). I decided to give Gnome 3 a try again when 3.4 came out for a couple of weeks in order to re-adjust my workflow and get used to it and now I love it. I find it very fast, pretty and easy to use, sure it takes some time to get used to after Gnome 2(it is a very different UI paradigm). It is perhaps not as customisable as Gnome 2 but there are now a ton of extensions available and I find it works so well I don’t actually need to customise it that much(apart from removing those horrible rounded corners).

    Anyway, not looking to start a flame war but just wanted to put forward the other side of the argument, Gnome 3 is awesome, I’ve used a ton of different DEs and it’s by far the best(for me at least). I recommend using it for a couple of weeks as your primary DE before passing judgement if you are still one the fence.


  62. maarko July 3, 2013 / 08:55

    I DON’T UNDERSTAND THOSE COMPLAINS AT ALL. as for me when i started gnome 3 after fresh install it was first time in my life when i could start using computer without changing anything at all! i am very happy user of gnome 3 and i hate all those complaining people because i’m scared that of all those criticism developers will switch back to gnome 2 concept – which is outdated 30 years old grandpha! you don’t like gnome 3? switch to windows XP, hate smarphone? switch to old nokia? hate cars? buy a horse or bicycle!


  63. oliverthered July 3, 2013 / 12:12

    I didn’t like Gnome 2 either.

    Malcolm Gladwell is a journalist
    Daniel Todd Gilbert (born November 5, 1957) is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University
    Here’s his Ted talks science behind happiness


  64. oliverthered July 3, 2013 / 12:23

    “The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.”
    ― Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments


  65. FelipeC July 3, 2013 / 13:25

    @oliverthered That has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Red herring.


  66. FelipeC July 3, 2013 / 13:25

    @James Cole

    I actually really like Gnome 3

    You don’t understand what is being said.


  67. FelipeC July 3, 2013 / 13:29


    I’m fully aware of what you were saying. I was trying to stay away from childish name calling, by “owning” that statement in a way other than what you had intended.

    If you were truly aware, then you were just trolling. I’m not going to tolerate any more red herrings from you. If you don’t talk about the topic at hand, I’m just going to delete your comments.

    You think that people who only use a program can say what a bug is, even though they didn’t specify to the programmer what the behaviour should be. Whereas I said those who design a program know what behaviour is unexpected, a bug.

    I would like you to act as a sales representative and tell a client that the reported a bugs are not bugs, because your developers decided so.

    By that rationale the only thing a developer has to do to create bug-free software is decide there are no problems with the software.



  68. oliverthered July 3, 2013 / 16:34

    why do we bother?
    61% of people hate Gnome 3, well good job there’s still Gnome 2, KDE, XFE etc… and indeed you could write you’re own UI ontop of Gnome 3 if you wanted to (after all the code can be fixed).

    I did watch the Malcolm Gladwell video, and his main point throughout was that people need a variety of solutions it’s not a case of one size fits all.

    Gnome 3 doesn’t seem to be a thing of hatred for 49% or people.

    As I said I hate Gnome 2 as well, guess what, I don’t run it I run something different.


  69. oliverthered July 3, 2013 / 16:55

    here’s a small, list of more obvious things that get broken from time to time in the Linux kernel that affect end users (of various classes)
    No stable ABI
    Deprecated functions preventing third party source code drivers from compiling
    Move from OSS to Alsa
    Move between various code management tools, i.e. their using GIT at the moment
    Devices can be different at boot or unplugged and replugged (e.g. sda or sdb) …
    ….. This was partly addressed by moving to sysfs….. but that in itself changed the user interface
    On that topic not so long ago sd? was for scsi devices ide hdds where hd?, so that’s another change that impacts on users
    Sometimes there are changes to security that prevent things from being done any more
    386 support removed.


  70. Dave July 3, 2013 / 17:18

    Contgrats, you got me to write a reply, even though I said I would not.
    I have been discussing the topic with you; and how things tha tyou say are bugs, just may not be.

    For the record, working in a call center, I _do_ tell users/customrers that they are wrong, that the behaviour they are seeing (unexpected by them) is actually the way it was desgined to do. Sure, it’s not my definition of a grand time, but it’s my job.

    If you feel the need to act liek a whiny child, and delete my comments becaseu I’m disagreeing wiht you, go on and knock yourself out.


    • oliverthered July 4, 2013 / 13:22

      redherring, he’s never deleted any of my comments.


  71. FelipeC July 5, 2013 / 01:28


    For the record, working in a call center, I _do_ tell users/customrers that they are wrong

    That is not what I said at all.

    If you feel the need to act liek a whiny child, and delete my comments becaseu I’m disagreeing wiht you, go on and knock yourself out.

    I never said that. I said I would do that if you keep your trolling and red herrings, which you demonstrably did.


  72. FelipeC July 5, 2013 / 01:33


    No stable ABI

    This is the exact opposite of what you intend; yes, there’s no stable ABI because everything should be in the kernel, that way nothing gets broken.

    Move from OSS to Alsa

    You can still use OSS.

    Move between various code management tools, i.e. their using GIT at the moment

    That has absolutely no impact to the users.

    Devices can be different at boot or unplugged and replugged (e.g. sda or sdb)

    Totally unrelated to anything. They never decided to do that and break anything willingly.

    On that topic not so long ago sd? was for scsi devices ide hdds where hd?, so that’s another change that impacts on users

    No, it does not. You can still use the hd interface.

    Sometimes there are changes to security that prevent things from being done any more

    Which you can configure.

    386 support removed.

    Which users complained about that?


    • oliverthered July 20, 2013 / 12:22

      everything has never been in the kernel
      you can still use gnome 2
      depends what you mean be ‘users’ now doesn’t it
      what your saying that a system that doesn’t keep a stable user interface whilst running is irrelavant.
      you don’t use linux much do you?you can use the hd (if you want to) by ln -s or mknod, you an call a device anything you like…. but then you can always hack gnome 3 anyway you like.
      not always


  73. Donovan Baarda July 15, 2013 / 02:24

    “People hate new things” IS a legitimate reason! “Intuitive” is just a fancy word for “familiar”, and every time you change an interface you break it. Learning new interfaces takes effort and gets in the way of doing what you really want. The main reason users want configurability is so they can change things to what they are used to… to change it back to how it was before. The number one rule of user interfaces should be DON’T CHANGE IT! The greatest insult you can give a user interface is “innovative”.


  74. CEA July 20, 2013 / 03:19

    @Donovan Baarda: Thank you. I don’t believe that Gnome 3 is bad at being what it is, which is a revolutionary, less configurable, more tablet-friendly, more “branded”, “awesome,” “modern” (and numerous other adjectives) DE. With apologies to Artemus Ward for the paraphrase, people who like that sort of thing are clearly finding that Gnome 3 is the sort of thing that they like.

    What Gnome 3 is awful at being is a credible replacement for its predecessor, a widely-used, well-accepted, well-understood and perfectly serviceable DE about which the worst thing I ever heard said was that its underpinnings were getting old and unwieldy–a problem that could have easily been addressed without a wholesale change to the user interface paradigm. We can argue the semantics of bugs and features ad infinitum, but I would hope that we can all agree that when a long-time user of a popular and trusted Linux distribution naively upgrades to the next minor release and finds that they no longer know how to perform the most basic of user interface tasks, it’s a Bad Thing. To extend @Jeannie’s automotive analogy, imagine that Ford had decided to equip all their 2012 model year vehicles with a joystick instead of pedals and a steering wheel. A joystick might be the best automotive interface ever conceived–a triumph to creativity and innovation–but a lot more than 61% of people would have said that it sucked. They wouldn’t have said it sucked because it didn’t do what its developers intended; they wouldn’t have said it sucked because they “hated new things”; they’d have said it sucked because they bought a car from a venerable and trustworthy manufacturer expecting it to be a car, but it wasn’t–it was some sort of joystick-driven mechanical conveyance that they didn’t want to have to re-learn decades of driving skills in order to operate. It would have been a marketing disaster. Now, if some small and innovative manufacturer–Tesla, say, or Ferrari–were to roll out a line of joystick-driven cars, it might be a marketing coup, and might eventually lead to widespread adoption of a superior technology.

    I’m sure that Ford has some folks in Dearborn who are every bit as visionary, innovative and well-intentioned as the Gnome 3 development team. The difference between Ford and, say, Red Hat, is that the former is smart enough to tell their engineers to try out their radical ideas on the racetrack and in concept cars, whereas the latter is not. _That_ is why Gnome 3 sucks–not because it existentially sucks per se, but because the circumstances of its rollout, the abandonment of Gnome 2, and the “the problem isn’t Gnome 3, it’s you” mentality, all evince a dumbfounding lack of respect for their users on the part of the Gnome developers and their distro-building partners. The fact that many of their design decisions were apparently done in the name of “branding” is even more mind-boggling, because the goodwill of their users borne of long-standing, reliable and consistent distributions based on Gnome 2 _WAS_ their brand. Eventually, they may be able to generate widespread acceptance for their Gnome Shell “joystick”, but they could have picked a hell of a better way to go about it.


  75. Jimmy Pop July 25, 2013 / 15:30

    We are on the same boat. Gnome 3 sucks so much I can hardly believe it. I’ve been using Linux since 2001, I’ve seen things evolve and I’ve always been excited about additions, improvements and new features. However Gnome 3 is completely wrong and it seems they don’t understand it. Gnome 3 is SO wrong that after struggling to use it for like 6 months by sticking to it and customizing it to try to fit my needs I am considering to move to a different desktop environment for the first time ever.


  76. dbaarda July 30, 2013 / 04:35

    @CEA: I think Gome 3 fails at being a “revolutionary new interface too”. They’ve forgotten or ignored some important UI lessons from the past. The following is a list of common mistakes made by most of the “new hotness” interfaces (Unity, Gnome 3, Windows 8, etc);

    1) It’s not intuitive. Even if you are inventing a new UI, you should borrow/reuse as much as possible from past familiar paradigms and symbols. They’ve invented too many unfamiliar symbols and icons… WTF is that spiky star thingy (settings)? WTF is that knob thingy (volume)? etc, and it looks like they continue to re-invent new and less familiar versions of these. Symbols have to be stable for them to become universal. Many clickable controls no longer look like familiar interactive buttons, making them easy to overlook as just decorations.

    2) It’s not discoverable. It should be possible to find functionality by just playing with the UI. If a function has to be pointed out, most people will not find it. Many important functions are hidden behind more and more obscure key/mouse combinations, abandoning existing widely known conventions like using right-click for settings/options. Things like hotkeys are useless unless they are hinted/exposed to you via things like shortcuts shown on menus. The use of non-intuitive symbols/paradigms also effectively hides functionality.

    3) It switches between keyboard/mouse/touch too much. Moving hands from keyboard to mouse is an overhead, and a good UI should be almost entirely drivable from just mouse, or just keyboard (or just touch?). The approach of using a keyword search to expose icons to click on is terrible. I’ve read comments praising Unity; “I just click on the search icon, type the first couple of letters of the program I want, then click on the program icon”… mouse, keyboard, mouse… terrible. Good menus can be navigated entirely by mouse clicks, or by keyboard hotkey.

    4) The interface changes as you use it. As you learn a UI you develop muscle-memory about where things are. A UI that tries to learn your usage and adjusts as you are trying to learn and use it is going to confuse you. “Most recently used” quicklists are less useful than you would think for this reason. They can be OK, but only as a supplement to a more static interface that can be learned by muscle-memory.

    5) They’ve abandoned structure in favor of keyword searching. This is really a specific example of 2), 3), and 4) above. Keyword searching is a great way to navigate huge amounts of unstructured data (ie Google and the internet), but it’s a poor alternative to navigating directly through structured data. Search is too open-ended. It’s never clear if searches fail because it doesn’t exist, or because the keywords are bad. Sometimes I don’t know what the program is called (because it’s name is bizarre like “seahorse”), or exactly what the keywords for what I want to do are. A menu structure allows me with only a few clicks through a guided set of options (log(N) search) to quickly find what I want, or verify that what I want doesn’t exist. The same thing applies to folder hierarchies and data files vs hiding the folders and doing content searches. Search can be a useful supplement to search structured data, but shouldn’t replace it.

    Another common UI mistake is being not consistent, (different themed apps, non-standard windows, app specific menus, etc), but most modern UI’s seem to mostly avoid that mistake.


  77. Harry B. September 2, 2013 / 12:44

    Quick question: is there any push to take control of the Gnome project back from the people who have steered it into gnome-shell and ignored all dissenting views these past couple years?


  78. Michael Olson September 6, 2013 / 19:00

    Hi, Ive used every DE under the sun going back to the early 80’s, the days before windows and mac. I used to play oregon trail on an apple II e and load up software on a tape drive . . . i was about 7 at the time, but i already knew what to do.

    I ventured over to linux because i hated vista/7 and havent even given 8 a shot. I stopped using mac a long time ago because of my interest in making maps for various first person shooter games.

    See, for me, XP was great. It did everyting i wanted it to do with little system cost and all that. I changed over to linux after system 7 was released cause i figured if i was going to have a useless computer i might as well have a free OS.

    I didn’t know what i was getting into. It brought my pc back to life and made more use out of its hardware then xp ever did.

    A couple years later after trying over 50 different distros and pretty much every DE i could install (im a scatter brained person he he), i settled on fedora, and gnome 3.

    Yes, its not so customizable as cinnamon and kde. My experience with the “customizablility” in those two DE’s is that they are far more limited then they let on. Every new addition of cinnamon for example abandons the majority of the old themes and desklettes that people have developed.

    Gnome 3 seems to maximize workspace, and even though its heavy on ram, it runs on my older p4 system as well, and quickly. I have had very VERY few issues with crashes or freezes or whatever. People do complain about change big time, just look at how many pages of complaints there are about the lack of a minimize maximize button on the menu bar, yet my 6 year old daughter can minimize and maximize the windows just fine.

    if you don’t like Gnome 3 then thats fine, your not going to ignite interest in the developers by calling them ignorant, or idiots however. If they are ignorant idiots, why don’t you start developing your own evolution of the gnome 2 DE instead of complaining about this change?


  79. FelipeC September 7, 2013 / 22:36

    @Michael Olson Your arguments have been already refuted.

    1) GNOME works for you? Great. What does that have to do with anything. You don’t break user-experience, period, and GNOME 3 did, big time. I don’t see that being mentioned at all by you.

    2) I cannot write my own operating system, X server, window manager, UI toolkit and applications. I work on my own projects where I fix issues, for the rest I rely on people with common sense that understand that there’s a userdeveloper contract; you break user-experience, I stop using your project. Sane developers understand that.


  80. Michael Moore September 20, 2013 / 20:05

    Linux is developer-centric to a point. Every engineer tends to scratch his own itch. If enough of them on one project become arrogant, the project usually loses crowdfunding and becomes smaller. Despite the fact that I found GNOME 1 ugly and GNOME 2 unexciting, I used both in development work No one has asked me to use GNOME 3. I like to experiment with WMs, from ratpoison and pointless to fluxbox with Rox to LXDE to Xfce to KDE, and of course I watch for improvements in E, which is the best eyecandy in town. I choose to use emacs for development work, and I am mostly a fan of Richard Stallman.

    But I no longer use or follow GNOME Personal preference is the cause. Using it gives me discomfort. For those who like it and find it does everything for them that they desire, I applaud.

    The future of GNOME is cloudy since there may not be enough users left to keep it attractive. That is unfortunate. Usually developers who have made decisions and developed rationales for making them are going to try to defend the positions they have taken, especially against personal attacks or what are perceived to be personal attacks. Felipe has the high ground with the logic and with statistics IF you accept the premise that the primary purpose of a deskop environment or window manager is to provide an attractive appearance for a large body of users. Without that assumption, you can say GNOME sucks only if it has many badly broken components which no longer appears to be the case.

    For my purposes, development, prevention of optic fatigue, and minimizing rework when I log in again, GNOME 3 is decrepit, and KDE stands tall. But then I am just one developer and I am not working on desktops at the moment.


  81. Michael Rhea October 20, 2013 / 18:44

    I quit using Linux altogether due to Unity on Ubuntu. Gnome 3 is a total joke because half the fun of Linux distros was customizing my desktop. Gnome 2 wasn’t that bad in comparison to 3. I use Xubuntu because it reminds me of original Gnome. Never liked KDE in any flavor. Another thing about Gnome 3 is no matter which distro I use, It tells me my nvidia gtx 660 isn’t “good” enough for Gnome 3. Please update. Really?


    • Eric Espino October 20, 2013 / 19:31

      Hi Michael:

      I’m little confused, did you stopped using Linux? I’m asking this because you said that but later you said that you use Xubuntu. I also switch over to Xubuntu but in I was using Linux Mint.




  82. Michael Rhea October 20, 2013 / 19:45

    Hi Eric,

    Sorry I guess I should have clarified. I went to Win 7 and currently using Win 8. I pop in a live cd now and again just to see what’s new. I’m really bummed about the direction Linux went with Gnome. used to really look forward to new releases. Debian based Ubuntu or Debian. (Though they were slow with new releases). Not sure why Gnome thinks we want our desktops to look like a smartphone UI. I’m old school. I like my wired mouse, Huge Dell workstation, and 24 inch monitor. lol



  83. Michael Rhea October 20, 2013 / 19:47

    P.S. I hate Unity and Metro Ui’s. But unity is worse. One click and I’m out of metro UI. You can’t escape Unity.



    • Eric Espino October 20, 2013 / 20:12

      Hi Michael:

      Thanks for the clarification I agree with you in regard to GNOME 3 but I think there are good alternatives on other Linux distributions that worth test before returning to M$ If XUBUNTU doesn’t fill my expectations I’ll try Mac OS X and Android (there are goos all-in-one models with 20+ screen that seem worth give them)



  84. Daivier Torres November 10, 2013 / 09:39

    Gnome 3 sucks, and every distribution that is using it made a mistake!!!!


  85. Philippe Symons November 11, 2013 / 10:45

    Actually I like Gnome 3. I’ve installed it a few days ago and the only things that botter me are the lack of application categories (which I read are coming back in gnome 10) and having to go to the left top corner to get to your favorites. But this last thing is something that might just take some time to get used to.

    There’s just one other thing and that is that it’s not usable without having gpu acceleration (which sometimes is really slow (example: when using virtualbox)). When running natively though, it runs really well.

    Yes of course, it’s no Gnome 2. But should it be? There are enough similar desktops to fill that gap. I just like the minimalistic approach and screen estate that Gnome 3 gives. I believe Gnome 3 is designed for people that just want a desktop that works and looks nice out of the box and doesn’t have a lot of mental load associated with it. I think it would appeal to the same people that like Mac OS X. If you want customization, there are other desktops to consider at. Maybe you should take a look at KDE? But remember: customization often comes with a cost in usability and/or stability and sometimes even performance.

    I do agree with your point on the lack of extension api’s. It’s a mess really. On the other hand it really allows flexibility and the nature of javascript code is that it allows rapid prototyping (read: you don’t have to waste time compiling). (although as a developer myself, I still despise JavaScript, as I consider it a horrible language to work with. *mumbles something about lack of static typing*) But if a developer is serious about a certain gnome extension, the breaking of his/her extension is something that shouldn’t really take long to fix. (unless gnome’s source is unreadable or difficult to debug, at which point it might take several rage quits) The problem is that several developers just aren’t interested in actually maintaining their shell extensions.

    But somehow I imagine your argument on this will be: If you’re designing a platform, you should ensure that no existing applications are harmed by subsequent updates of that platform (much like Linus’ quote: “you don’t break userspace” which applies to kernel development). And you’re absolutely right by that. But you shouldn’t confuse extensions with applications. You should view extensions as part of the gnome source code as they add core functionality/user interface to gnome. By updating core functionality/user interface code in the actual gnome source code, you’re bound to break stuff that depends on its structure. That’s just the way it is, because of the choice they made not to define an API and just let extensions mess around in Gnome’s guts directly.

    Is defining an actual api a solution? Definitely, but it would severely limit flexibility of an extension developer (which was the reason javascript was chosen anyway). IMHO the real question should be: what do we need to change to be usable for 99,7% of the users without having to escape towards extensions? And honestly, I’d really like to hear what kind of customization you’d require. For me it is the application categories and maybe the hot corners. But I can’t really imagine anything else at the moment.

    P.S. I’m not a Gnome 3 dev. I’m just a regular dev/student that has just started using gnome 3 and actually likes it.


  86. FelipeC November 11, 2013 / 16:18

    @Philippe Symons

    Yes of course, it’s no Gnome 2. But should it be?

    This is a false dichotomy. It can be both GNOME 2 and 3. I believe I already explained that. After a lot of pressure the developers finally accepted they needed the classic mode, alas they did it too late, and too badly.

    Maybe you should take a look at KDE? But remember: customization often comes with a cost in usability and/or stability and sometimes even performance.

    That is not true. I tried Cinnamon recently and it has exactly what I suggested; an “Advanced” button. Remember that GNOME 3 already has these configurations in the code, it’s just that they are not enabled in the UI, you need to install a separate program; gnome-tweaks.

    I actually require very few configurations to make GNOME 3 somewhat usable. One of them is the option to resize windows with the right mouse button. I rely on this very heavily sine I first started to use Linux in 2000, and every windows manager has either had this by default, or allowed me to configure it (Cinnamon), but GNOME 3 not changed the default, it removed the configuration completely (from the UI). That is just unacceptable.

    They didn’t need to remove those options, yet they choose to do that. That’s a mistake.

    The specific options are not that important, what is important is that they are not going to add them again, not even through an “Advanced” button like Cinnamon, which is a perfectly sensible choice.

    So yes, you might like GNOME 3, and get used to it, but beware, because when GNOME 4 comes about, they surely will change the defaults, and perhaps break your user-experience, and not give you any option to restore it.


  87. Tsu November 12, 2013 / 08:03

    > they tried to dismiss their complaints with typical defenses, which of course don’t make sense.
    One of those typical defenses, apart from “People hate new things” or total denial, is playing the game of taking a negative feedback as an insult. It starts with saying something like, “Please stay polite!” while there’s no trace of any impolite word in what the reporter has said. See for an example.

    I completely agree that the main problem with Gnome3 is the irrational attitude of its devs. Frankly speaking, their irrationality is amusing to me sometimes.


  88. Tsu November 14, 2013 / 06:15


    >I was banned because…
    So interesting! BTW, I like your rational attitude.

    My experience has shown me that when people are too intolerant, they somehow believe that what they do is wrong and it makes no difference whether that belief is true or not. All in all, any closed system is doomed to failure.

    The Gnome3 devs ruined GTK+, which I liked so much. But, on the bright side, they showed me the merits of Qt and KDE, which I overlooked before. I spent hours to program in GTK3 and find workarounds for its shortcomings but suddenly, my code became “deprecated” with a new GTK3 version that had even more shortcomings. Since I turned to Qt, I’ve encountered no obstacle.


  89. ssam November 18, 2013 / 05:51

    I was unhappy for a while. I tried kde, unity, xfce, lxde, e17 found them lacking in various ways. Then switched to MATE and got back to doing work. I’d be very happy if a few more distros tool MATE seriously.

    (I also know people (ok, 1 person) who likes GNOME3, so each to their own).


  90. Nichtra Bishop November 18, 2013 / 10:09

    0. I don’t speak english, but you will understand what I want to say.
    1. I love gnome-shell, and I know a lot of people that loves too.
    2. I don’t blame you for hating gnome3, you are free to love or hate everything.
    3. You have not the right to disrespect gnome people just because you don’t agree with them.
    4. Yes, posting every time with same concerns about same things that was discussed and voted is some kind of disrespect. And immature.
    5. I hate that some absolute usefull features was seized from nautilus, but I know the facts, and I don’t agree with them.
    6. I hope that gnome will get better. And it is getting better every new version.
    8. I have no time to help gnome coders. They people work for free to me, and you, and everyone, so be more kind and respectfull with them, even if you don’t agree.
    9. I hate mac os, and I never sent a mail to apple saying they are morons or something like.
    10. Well, sometimes is better help than destroy.
    11. Yes, number 7 is missing. Maybe I will put it in some new version of this message.


  91. Tsu November 18, 2013 / 11:20

    @ Nichtra Bishop
    > posting every time with same concerns about same things that was discussed and voted is some kind of disrespect.

    This is a new definition of disrespect. Besides, there’s no voting and the concrens are accompanied by solid examples most of the time.

    > I hope that gnome will get better. And it is getting better every new version.

    Hoping is beside the point. Can you give us some real examples of how Gnome is getting better with every new version? If you search Internet you’l find many counterexamples, some of which are bug reports.

    > Well, sometimes [it] is better [to] help than destroy.

    Many people, who complain anoub Gnome3, have tried to help but the problem is that the Gnome3 devs pretend that there’s no problem at all.


  92. Nichtra Bishop November 18, 2013 / 12:44

    first of all, as you noticed.. sorry for my english.

    >This is a new definition of disrespect.

    Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
    Self explanatory.

    >Hoping is beside the point. Can you give us some real examples of how Gnome is getting better with every new version? If you search Internet you’l find many counterexamples, some of which are bug reports.

    It’s fast, no distracting, well designed, smooth, and it’s fast (again).. all that I wanted for a desktop manager.
    Pretty same as tablets or phones, I don’t need to see all apps every time since I know where they are, and pressing the key (cmd | windows | meta) and typing the app name is very very very faster to find than searching on some list, menu or desktop icons. (ex: to open firefox = meta-key fir enter profit)
    Dual monitor support works perfectly, even in rotated display (I’m using two 23″ screens, one “portrait” other “landscape”).
    Scripts and plugins/extensions looks fine without eat all your ram memory.
    Taskbar is from before 1995 and I don’t need anymore, I know what is running and I know how to reach without looking for distracting buttons.
    And even more…

    >Many people, who complain anoub Gnome3, have tried to help but the problem is that the Gnome3 devs pretend that there’s no problem at all.

    Many people complains about all things because when perfection was created, was saved in /dev/null.
    If you believe in your work you will not listen to haters or riots, you just keep working – taking the good ideas and rejecting offenses. But.. it’s impossible to listen to everybody.

    I simply hated the “new” nautilus – that deleted at least 3 features I need very much. (type search, compact view, dual panel), and I’m not crying like a baby. people discussed it at bugzilla and forums.. serch and read.
    Today I’m using (against my will) nemo file manager, hoping nautilus will back with these features in some short future.


  93. Tsu November 18, 2013 / 13:50

    @ Nichtra Bishop
    > Yes, it is. Yes, it is….
    OK, once was enough. I don’t see anything self-explanatory here but an arbitrary definition that can be easily utilized by those who don’t want to listen to negative feedbacks. Practical people often embrace negative feedbacks and don’t see them as insults.

    > It’s fast, no distracting, well designed, smooth,…
    Gnome was always fast and non-distracting, so this isn’t a new feature. Finding apps with their names was there since Gnome-3.0 (a real and elementary feature indeed), so it isn’t an example of how Gnome3 is getting better version after version.

    >Scripts and plugins/extensions looks fine without eat[ing] all your ram memory.
    Sadly, scripts (extensions) are broken with every new release. You won’t feel the disappointment unless you try to write an extension and see it broken. The same is true for themes.

    For RAM usage, please see . See how they denied the problem at first. That’s typical of Gnome devs.

    >Many people complain about all things…
    Nichtra! I told about resonable people who complain about Gnome3, not about all people who complain about all things. This kind of discussion is futile.

    There are many people, who loved Gnome and tried to make it better with extensions, themes, patches and bug reports. What they got was that hours of their works were ruined by sensless changes in the main code. You might think that those changes were in the direction of progress but they simply weren’t. No one wants to destroy anything or cry like a baby.

    I think I’ve said enough. Apart from hopes and emotions, if you want to know the real situation of Gnome3, please follow technical reports and discussions.


  94. Hugh Caley November 21, 2013 / 16:07

    I am so angry about Gnome 3, I could spit. All the things I loved about Gnome 2, especially the ability to use Compiz, just gone. Gnome3 requires more graphics and processing power than earlier versions, and in return gives you less configurability, and I’ve yet to see an implementation of Gnome3 that wasn’t butt-ugly from the get go. I’ve never been a KDE guy, but this might push me over the edge; KDE 4 has the configurability and the ability to look nice that I miss, but it’s buggy, at least on my hardware. I’ve got MATE and compiz going with Linuxmint, and Cinnamon is a lot better than Gnome3 as well. Can’t believe these guys still haven’t figured out their errors.


  95. CP10 December 26, 2013 / 08:01

    It’s horrible but it is free and runs Google Chrome. There’s a reason Mac OS X still the best UI ironically for open source coders; it costs money.

    God I can’t believe they still haven’t fixed those $#$#@ system and gdm beeps, these people are amazing technical people, but not human factors people.


  96. Jon W December 27, 2013 / 12:44

    Haven’t read all the comments above, but I can see that I’m not alone. I installed Fedora last spring and have had nothing but problems with slow and very buggy graphics since. So I thought I would switch distros, and loaded Debian this morning and the Gnome desktop has many of the same issues from the get go (weird flashing, weird XOR graphics that make the screen go blank), and it is super slow to switch anything. In other words, it is not the distro, it is Gnome. I have been using linux since pretty much the beginning, and Unix for 30 years. I am interested in performance so I can do my job, not conforming to someone’s idea of the manner in which I should do it, which seems to be what they think I want.


  97. Paul December 31, 2013 / 21:08

    When Gnome 3 first showed up in Fedora I felt lost. Years of familiarity gone in an instant. Oh well, I figured once I learned how G3 worked it would be Ok. Wrong. I gave it a solid week but went from feeling lost to anger. Oh well, XFCE mostly did what I wanted. More recently, I switched to Mate. It’s not perfect, but pretty good and I suspect/hope will get better. Today, however, I installed F20 and Gnome 3 just to see if, and how much it had improved. I have to admit that I was able to find the Terminal this time, but it still is slow and difficult to use and figure out. Gnome development sure seems like it’s about the developers, not the users.


  98. oliverthered January 5, 2014 / 07:13

    Hi I took the effort to produce a video (that I shall upload shortly) addressing the vast number of your points across the blog. For instance changes to Gnome make for a very good experience on MODERN touch screen devices, such as tablets, where ease of use is far greater a priority than many of the points you have raised. I also installed KEducu, media ubuntu with mint home all based on debian/gnu/linux.. KDE certainly provides the rich slick GUI that many people would ant, though has a couple of bug in places such as ‘activities’ if you do use those. In short focusing on specific markets, and through that ‘division of labour’ instead of ‘replication’ or as with mint, all bugs laid bare. Allows for a more dynamic and robust future for Gnu/Linux on whatever device that may be.


  99. Laurence January 12, 2014 / 04:27

    The vert first thing I do when installing gnome is:
    sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback


  100. Laurence January 12, 2014 / 04:30

    “changes to Gnome make for a very good experience on MODERN touch screen devices, such as tablets”

    The biggest mistake Microsoft and any one else adopting this philosophy is designing one operating system to work on Desktops AND mobile devices. It may be great on a mobile device but they fail big time on desktops that do not use touch interface. Two different OSs are needed. Its why I use OSX and iOS now.


  101. Tsu January 12, 2014 / 12:06

    > changes to Gnome make for a very good experience on MODERN touch screen devices, such as tablets…

    Sadly, the problem with Gnome3 isn’t just that it’s (supposedly) good on touch screen devices and bad on desktops. It has some bad bugs rooted in its very structure. Besides, how could a group of self-congratulatory developers, that don’t pay attention to user’s feedbacks and break backward compatibility constantly, create something with high quality?


  102. Tsu January 27, 2014 / 09:08

    I just saw “In Defense of Gnome 3” ( I like to leave a comment here:

    Of course, Gnome3 can be made usable! Not only by using Marlin or Nemo instead of Nautilus, replacing gnome-terminal with any other terminal emulator, making and adding extensions, etc. but also by applying some patches to it, some of which were necessary to me. That takes A LOT OF TIME but is possible. Gnome surely has some nice apps too. However:

    (1) Gnome is NOT usable by default unless you just want to search Internet, check your emails, go to FaceBook…;

    (2) If you make it usable or more beautiful, almost all your work will be ruined with the next update;

    (3) It has serious bugs, which an average user may not notice;

    (4) GTK+-3.0 is a mess (for developers); and

    (5) Why should one make Gnome usable when there are other DEs usable by default?

    I like to add a warning too. The current situation of Gnome is good for some nostalgic people who welcome any opportunity to whine about things. Recently I found signs of that here and there. I thought most people know the difference between whining and criticizing but apparently it’s not the case.


  103. thunderkiss65 February 1, 2014 / 13:41

    If Gnome hadn’t failed miserably, we wouldn’t have Cinnamon. Thanks Gnome Team! =o)>


  104. JAMES February 1, 2014 / 16:48



    • Hugh Caley February 1, 2014 / 17:47

      JAMES: was that necessary? It’s either 1) juvenile (if you meant it) or 2) not funny (if you didn’t)


  105. kaddy February 4, 2014 / 00:07

    fabulous article in my opinion


  106. onpon4 February 4, 2014 / 12:25

    > What GNOME should have done is simple; don’t ever, ever break user experience. This is how the Linux project has managed to become the most successful software project in history.

    This statement tells me you don’t even know what Linux is. Linux doesn’t ever break “user experience” because Linux has absolutely nothing to do with user experience. Linux is a kernel. The only thing that could possibly break from a change in the kernel is compatibility: hardware compatibility, and binary compatibility.

    GNOME is not like Linux. GNOME is a desktop environment. To say that its development can be expected to be the same as a freaking kernel is absurd.

    Even if you misspoke and were actually talking about the GNU components that define GNU/Linux systems (coreutils, bash, etc), the comparison is bogus, because GNU is based on a standard: POSIX. If coreutils stopped providing its part of what POSIX systems are supposed to have, it wouldn’t be any good anymore.

    GNOME isn’t based on a standard or even a pseudo-standard. Neither is KDE, Cinnamon, GNOME 2, Xfce, LXDE, or any other DE you can think of. If there isn’t a standard to follow, big changes to the user experience aren’t “breakage”. They’re just *changes*, which might be good or bad, possibly depending on your perspective.


  107. D. Charles Pyle February 14, 2014 / 18:57

    I finally ended up having to abandon GNOME 3. The developers removed transparency from the terminal. I used that feature a lot and had to do an annoying scripting workaround manually every time I needed transparency when they took it away. Then, they took away menu and button icons. Sometimes I have vision issues and used those icons to help compensate for that when it happened. With those gone I had to get up close to the screen almost every time to make sure I was clicking the correct button or menu item.

    It also does not play nice anymore with my dual head setup. The favorites bar sinks more than half of itself below the bottom edge of the screen and enlarges automatically. This began happening this year after a number of updates. Resetting all settings to defaults helps for about a split second after next logon. After that it automatically resets its size to large and submerges more than half of the favorites bar below the bottom edge of the primary screen again, as with a large part of the Activities Overview being shown below the bottom edge of the screen. It is a major cause of annoyance for me that in large part was the last straw that led to going to Mate-desktop. It also was not caused by the monitors. All monitors are working as they should and display just fine under Cinnamon and under Mate.

    It even misidentifies which monitor is number 1 and which one is number 2, setting my primary monitor as number 2. It does not matter what I do to change it Even editing monitors.xml and so forth does not fix the problem.

    Mate has its issues, too, but at least I’ve got my menu and button icons back, as well as terminal transparency. It also plays better with my dual head setup and identifies the monitors correctly. Mate still has issues with keyboard shortcuts not working right in a few places but I can live with that until it gets fixed. But, after getting used to GNOME 3 and using it for some time in coming to like it, I finally had had enough of the feature removals, repeatedly broken extensions after just about every update, and other problems, and had to abandon it for greener pastures.


  108. Hagbard Celine February 15, 2014 / 07:57

    Hi Felipe,

    thank you for this article! I do not hate GNOME 3, and in fact there are some features like the overview-mode that are just amazing to me.

    But as you mention, the GNOME devs took design decisions, that are *really* annoying! Why can’t I change gnome-panel’s color via right-click menu? Why can’t I change gnome-panel’s position? Why can’t I add/remove/change panel-applets via right-click menu? Why can’t I have a bottom panel with all the functions it used to have in Gnome 2? Why do I need an *extension* to *remove* the accessibility-icon? Why are they removing window-decorations from maximized windows, without offering me to keep decorations? Why are the options in tweak-tool not offered (maybe as advanced options) by default? Why did they turn away from system-config-printer, instead offering a tool with only a hand full of options? Why is it so hard to change themes in GNOME 3? I could continue the whole afternoon…

    Of course one can easily say “it’s only a few users complaining, the vast majority is fairly happy with GNOME 3.x …” – but the GNOME-project would “shoot itself in the foot” when beeing so ignorant. I mean, GNOME has been significantly loosing market share, that’s hard facts!
    Which distros do ship with GNOME 3 as default DE?

    When continuously ignoring user’s demand, users will run away. That’s neither in the user’s interests, nor in the developer’s. So developers should care about user’s complaints, regardless if the software behaves as intended by the developer or not, it has to fit the users needs – Period.


  109. csr racing astuce March 17, 2014 / 16:45

    Genuinely movie is the display of some ones feelings; it provides the lesson to the people.


  110. Tom March 21, 2014 / 03:49

    I’ve installed Fedora 20 with the Gnome desktop a week ago (I’ve been running Fedora for years; in the past year with XFCE because of gnome 3). I have to say, the look and feel works for me. HOWEVER, I discovered a feature that I thought only exited in Windows: A complete block of the graphical user interface without any identifiable reason. Every now and then, I have to resort to another terminal (CTRL-ALT-F2; reminds me of the CTRL-ALT-DELETE feature in windows) to shutdown and reboot the system in a decent fashion.
    I’m sick and tired of losing time with unstable desktop systems (tried GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon). Only Xfce seemed to perform fairly well, but is in my experience a little bit less comfortable in its default applications (which means you have to add components of other desktop systems). Sometimes I am wondering if I should go back to an MS-Windows to be more productive (probably episodes of temporary insanity). Any good suggestions on which desktop environment will actually allowing me to focus on my work (science, not IT)? Are there any objective, comprehensive comparison on the net (not commercials)? Should I abandon Fedora and go for another distribution? OpenSuse was here mentioned as a stable alternative.


    • themobmob March 21, 2014 / 04:39

      Nothing will ever be perfect for eeveryone straight out of the box. I like the Bodhi method of adding applications, and enlightenment is massively undervalued, but for everyday work, I cannot fault Xubuntu – but with Nautilus, which is the only real change I have to do. The ubuntu software centre does the rest for me


    • D. Charles Pyle March 21, 2014 / 11:57

      Believe it or not, I am using Fedora 21 rawhide with Mate-Desktop, and it has been pretty stable for me, considering I am working with rawhide. Even in rawhide, I have only had a couple serious issues but they were quickly resolved. I do not recommend messing with rawhide for most people but I find that sometimes I like to live on the edge. 🙂 Try using Mate-Desktop and see where that gets you. If you want it to look nice, make sure that compositing is turned on. You also can enable transparent terminal if you do. It has the look of Gnome 2 because it is based on the older, more stable code of that release.

      If you do decide to abandon Fedora, you always could stay within the Red Hat family and try CentOS. Or you can even use Scientific Linux, which is derived directly from RHEL sources but not connected with Red Hat. Both the latter are completely free. They are a bit behind the times so far as features and versions go, but they are pretty stable releases that are based entirely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, known and renowned for its stability in the business markets.

      Eventually, though, even RHEL will reach a form of Gnome 3. I’ve been hearing that the upcoming version will include Gnome 3 Classic (Gnome 3 with nearly the look of Gnome 2).


  111. Tsu March 21, 2014 / 05:06

    Debian’s and OpenSUSE’s KDEs are quite stable. To me, KDE is the king of DEs. It’s a complete suite with hight customizability.

    As themobmob said, Enlightenment is undervalued by many. I use E18 and it’s stable, advanced and lightweight. However, IMO, Enlightenment is still good only for advanced users, who know how to make an ideal DE out of it. It’s rather just a DE and not a collection of apps.


  112. Daniel B. March 29, 2014 / 08:42

    “Users don’t know what they want” => that’s true. Just take a look at dvorak. People would be 30% faster with dvorak, but they still use qwerty/qwertz because of damn old type-writers.


  113. AW April 3, 2014 / 19:09

    When Gnome 3 first came out I thought it was great, versions 3.0-3.4 were, to me, intutiive, attractive but with a few rough edges and slowness which would hopefully be fixed in later versions…whats happened? No bug fixes, no rough edge polishing, they’ve just thrown out all that was good in 3.4 and lost the plot totally with the newer versions. And the bugs and slowness are even worse.


    • D. Charles Pyle April 3, 2014 / 20:54

      Most recently, the newest version of Gedit has broken a Gedit plugin I used regularly. The plugin I used was very useful because I almost never had to logon as the root user to edit files, and needed no command line commands to do it, either. It was convenient. I just opened the file with Gedit, and selected “Open as root” in the menu once opened, and it was done. No additional typing required.

      Then, they broke it. A person who works for Redhat fixed it and gnome developers broke it again. I fixed it again, and their code changes broke it yet again. This time they broke the plugin so badly that no one seems to be able to get it working again, and we have tried. So far, all we can get working is the new menu structure but the inserted menu item still does not work.

      So, I am now using pluma, which comes with mate-desktop. I had to rewrite it again to work with python 2 code and port it to pluma and but it still works even after several version changes in pluma.


      • Tom April 4, 2014 / 01:32

        I had the same problem. I really liked the way of interacting with gnome, with the reactive corner. It seemed very easy to switch windows, and workspaces, but Gnome is simply too slow and unstable. The fact that gedit plugins for latex and R (the two most important programmes for me) were not working was for me one step too far. To me Gnome 3 is completely disfunctional, and will not return to it any time soon. I’m now running Xubuntu. I use Kate and Kile for R and Latex, and I’m satisfied with it.


        • D. Charles Pyle April 4, 2014 / 10:34

          I also really enjoyed the hot corner and how it made things flow smoothly during work. I even looked for a way to do that in Windows because I got so used to it.

          There is an extension for speeding up things in Gnome. I used it frequently. I use the word ‘frequently’ because with each new version of Gnome 3 the extension was broken for a period of time. The adding of the current version to the json file did not always help to make it work again. But, when it was working, I was able to speed it up considerably. I also added a couple lines to my environment file, which helped immensely with smoothing animations on an AMD Radeon HD5750 graphics card.

          But, Gnome 3 now makes working more difficult. Not only does Gedit no longer function as needed with certain plugins, that now seem unfixable, but when they got rid of transparency in the terminal and got rid of menu and button icons, it made things more difficult for me when my eyes were tired. I no longer could lay the terminal over a webpage when typing text and still read beneath so as not to waste valuable time moving the terminal around as I worked. When my eyes are tired, I used the icons and their colors to help make it so I did not have to focus on the menus and buttons to get work done.

          Gnome 3’s issues with dual monitor use and configuration, and its accompanying automatically enlarging itself and pushing half the favorites dash below the primary screen was the final straw. It was just too much to deal with for me and I ended up going with Mate-Desktop on Fedora. I’ve got all the features my tired eyes need (without having to use high contrast or enlarging fonts) and for convenience in working with the terminal, I’ve got better stability, and I don’t have to deal with repeatedly broken extensions and plugins with every new version.


  114. Tsu April 12, 2014 / 10:18

    It seems that the Gnome devs have a serious treeview-phobia. Recently they removed treeview from Archive Manager too. From a distance, such removals look funny but I don’t know how Gnome users could tolerate them.

    I’ve also seen signs of a tab-phobia. GtkNotebook may be removed from Gnome3 in the future.


    • D. Charles Pyle April 13, 2014 / 01:20

      Something like treeview still is there. It is turned off by default but you can turn it on again. Just make sure that the sidebar menu item in the view section is selected.


  115. Hubert Samm April 15, 2014 / 07:17

    I have to agree, I’ve become frustrated with GNOME 3, and am not really that fond of KDE, I’ve been exposed to XFCE, and for now am using that as my desktop…


  116. Tsu May 2, 2014 / 19:15

    Another serious step toward making GTK3 a Gnome-only toolkit! Today, I updated one of my systems (Debian with Enlightenment) and a few GTK3 apps I had got “client side decorations”, i.e. they didn’t let the WM put any decoration around them. Fortunately I could replace them with Qt/Gtk2 apps.

    As far as I know, there are only two (stable) DE’s that are completely independent of GTK3, namely KDE and Enlightenment. The users of other DE’s might have trouble.


    • FelipeC May 2, 2014 / 20:40

      @Tsu Yeah, I got the same issue, but I think it’s GNOME apps that have the problem, not other GTK3+ apps.


  117. Tsu May 3, 2014 / 04:57

    Yes, that’s right about whole windows but dialogs of other GTK3 apps will suffer from this “feature” too unless their developers do something (like in Audacious). Besides, apps like file-roller or gnome-system-monitor are also used outside Gnome (I use theme with E18, for example).


    • FelipeC May 3, 2014 / 06:15

      I use transmission-gtk which uses GTK3+ and it works fine, so I think it’s only GNOME apps.

      Still bad though, since as you say, you should be able to use them outside GNOME.


  118. Name May 13, 2014 / 12:16

    That’s the trouble with some developers who work in the linux field – they are software “nazi’s” – dictating what the user will have. Well, their product appears now to be doomed with mate going from strength to strength and even debian dumping gnome3 for xfce.


  119. FelipeC May 13, 2014 / 17:43

    @Name That’s right, most of the Linux ecosystem is tainted by these attitudes. Except the Linux kernel itself =/


  120. Alex A. Buzek (@LexRC1) June 20, 2014 / 15:51

    When you enter this world was innocent of the battles within the free software.

    Look my first ditro Linux thanks to Blender, I must say. I found Fedora 16. Wallpaper of Julio Verne, desktop Gnome 3 Shell and fell in love.

    The sensation caused me serenity, focus, beauty and rapides not seen in any other desktop.

    Before I never used Linux for two reasons 1 – I’m a graphic designer, I had no solutions to my problems. 2 – All Linux desktops seemed to me horrible.

    Now I use Ubuntu Gnome, ease of use, the console does not interest me, or customize, or change, I just want to work comfortably.

    This discucion everyone is right, and no, depending on your point of view is used. There are things I like about Gnome and others not, but what are you going to do? that’s life.

    PD: I am still using Gnome Shell and have the wallpaper of Julio Verne:


  121. Chris June 22, 2014 / 10:42

    I honestly don’t mind the Gnome 3 interface, but the reliance on 3D rendering and the developer’s unwillingness to address the memory leak issue (look for bug 685513 on gnome’s bugzilla, it’s closed as WONTFIX) makes it a bit of a deal-breaker.


  122. oliverthered June 22, 2014 / 14:29

    I’ve put together several videos detailing the faults that you describe and showing alternatives. I’ll upload them to youtube and post a link.


  123. required July 27, 2014 / 04:55

    There’s a typo in the title : “problem” -> “problems”


  124. yann August 15, 2014 / 04:34

    I’m back with 3.10 Gnome after giving up for Xfce when G3 got out: 10 sub-versions and still a messy bullshit? What are gnome dev have in mind… A few month ago, they were running out of cash: Not surprising.

    I expected RHEL/CentOS7 would have bring a classic mode in par with good old Gnome 2: At a first glance, it seems… but it’s definitively broken: Extensions hunt, rarely working; tweaking to remove some auto-maximize of windows when clicking (just intending to bring focus on the windows!) on their top bar when located on top of the dektop, or some annoying mouse to the top left bringing the activities shit… Just to bring back what was accessible from a drag&drop on a panel or a checkbox!

    Not being able to reorganize your windows with a top bar right-click and send ton desktop X, but having to go from activities, another waste of time and work-disruptive stuff: Just what they claimed to avoid compared to Gnome 2!

    Well, Xfce look&feel is not perfect: Looks like going back 10 years ago, especially on Debian 7 because integration and appearence polishing is not good (maybe because it’s not default desktop)… So I gave a try to Ubunt-Gnome 14.04.

    What a deception… Too much time trying to have something that used to work for me and impossible to do so! For instance, I always auto-hide low desktop bar: Looks impossible in gnome 3… with all screens now being 16/10 (old where 4/3).


  125. yann August 15, 2014 / 04:54

    Another point: System tray… Applications like Skype/Transmission are just broken under gnome 3: Any of these will need an shitty extension hunt?

    Bloody bastards from Gnome: Your project will die from your stupidity!


  126. Moga October 27, 2014 / 10:42

    How can you have a Linux desktop environment that you can’t touch or modify or at least tweak freely?
    Gnome 3 is screwing with Linux community thinking they will be recognized like Mac OS if they prevented users from customizing their desktop. I actually gave it a try several times with different distros, and I keep hating it more everytime.


    • D. Charles Pyle October 27, 2014 / 10:47

      Who says you cannot tweak and modify it? I did when I was using it, several times over. Learn some Java and Python and you can tweak the heck out of it. Or, use an array of extensions from others to do what you want to modify it. Just expect your tweaks, extensions, and plugins to be broken from time to time with new releases. It will keep you busy, though!. 🙂


  127. Tsu November 7, 2014 / 15:32

    I think the Gnome devs have suceeded in ruining GTK3 by now. I can give many examples to show how GTK3 has become crippled but one of them caught my attention recently.

    GTK menus always had something I missed when I used KDE or Qt apps but I didn’t know what it was until I finally discovered it as a feature lacking in KDE and posted a bug report ( As you can see on that page, the bug is fixed now. That feature was about moving the cursor diagonally to reach a submenu. Those who have used GTK for a long time may haven’t noticed it just because it was always there — always until recently! They removed it from GTK-3.14! Another successful step toward making GTK user-unfriendly.


  128. fatfreepublishing November 15, 2014 / 18:56

    Unity has become everything Gnome 3 should have been. Yet Gnome 3 still sucks. They should pull their head out of the sand and merge with Unity or Cinnamon. Nothing can save plain old Gnome 3 in it’s current state.


  129. lym December 14, 2014 / 04:44

    This extension system is just a pain in the ass. I had good expectations from classic mode, pushed by red-hat for it’s v7 after they heard their corporate business customer base scream after the first presentations using gnoms-shell messy and unproductive interface.

    But classic mode is not good, customisation and useful applets are lost and you can’t say users of an environment that always have targetted easy use to learn java/python or anything else that was a right-clic job under Gnome 2. Most of proposed extensions do not work anymore because a stable API is missing and even their developpers are probably fed-up with updates and just gave-up.

    Being unable to auto-hide lower panel on a laptop tiny screen is really impossible to understand! And it does not work at all even with some install windows that cannot be resized on oldest ones with resolution limits: The auto-hide was the only solution to keep the few pixels than now make you miss confirm buttons on old/low end hardware.

    Anyone just wonder: Is this env really tested by those who design it? The only plausible answer is no. How can such a bullshit be possible in 2014?

    They should do like microsoft: Extract their fingers from there asses and hear the user base. or the gnome project will die.


  130. WB March 6, 2015 / 09:53

    All I want to do is get rid of the top bar and have a Windows style taskbar on the bottom with Gnome 3. It’s 2015 – Is that too much to ask for?


  131. onpon4 March 6, 2015 / 10:05

    > All I want to do is get rid of the top bar and have a Windows style taskbar on the bottom with Gnome 3. It’s 2015 – Is that too much to ask for?

    You could use an extension to move the top bar to the bottom (there might be one already at; if there isn’t, you can write one). GNOME Shell’s extension mechanism is extremely versatile. In fact, Mint did this by default in the one release where it used GNOME 3, before it started using Cinnamon and MATE.

    Even failing that, you can still use GNOME Panel in GNOME 3, just like you could in GNOME 2; you just can’t use it at the same time as GNOME Shell. The current maintenance of GNOME Panel is called GNOME Flashback, and it’s what Trisquel uses by default.


  132. Brandon April 14, 2015 / 15:17

    For once I agree with you Felipe. Unfortunately for me, the solution was to leave the open source world and get a mac. Gnome 3 killed Gnome’s popularity. And with that, what limited good will and support from vendors that existed. I don’t know if we can ever repair the damage.

    I remember back in 2010 when Gnome was really at its peak. Gnome 3 was going be new, and different, and exciting. It was such a good feeling. Where did it all go wrong?

    The best thing that Gnome could do at this point is turn about, admit it screwed up, and try to bring the Mate and Cinnamon communities back into the fold. This fragmentation has absolutely destroyed desktop linux. Even Canonical decided to go its own way, once it was clear that Gnome 3 was a disaster.

    The worst part is what it has done to the application developer. You no longer have a dominant DE for GTK applications that you can target. Some people use Gnome 3, some use Cinnamon, some use Mate. Making sure you application works properly in all of them is really beyond the capabilities of most projects, especially if your’e doing tricky WM-dependent things like full-screening, or multi-monitor.

    I absolutely HATE it when people try to suggest that Mate or Cinnamon is the answer. They’re completely missing the point. Gnome used to be easy. It was the default. It was there. You didn’t have to *do* anything to get it, and you could set it up the way you liked it with a few clicks. We *always* had alternatives to Gnome, but they were always worse, and I always switched back to Gnome once the novelty wore off. Often basic functionality was broken (I tried Xubuntu several times, but I could never just plug in a USB stick and have it mount with the correct permissions: they would always mounted as root). I no longer consider the risk of that sort of breakage an acceptable price to pay.

    Sorry, Gnome. It was fun while it lasted. But you betrayed me. When Christian removed support for translucent terminals from Gnome Terminal, it was the last straw. There was no rhyme or reason for it. Just “I don’t feel like supporting this, and you don’t need it anyways.” Say what? Well, if that’s how you feel, I don’t need Gnome.


  133. themobmob April 14, 2015 / 16:20

    Hi Brandon

    You have said more eloquently what I was trying to state in June 2013, and things have not got any better, the fragmentation continues. I think you are right, the Gnome3 team have destroyed desktop linux. Are they sponsored by the evil empire I wonder ?


  134. tombom bom May 16, 2015 / 07:18

    There are many alternatives for this reason. Use whatever you like and stop complaining about things that some other people like. Everyone isn’t a customize maniac like you. Some like cleanness.


    • FelipeC May 18, 2015 / 08:43

      Linux is incredibly complex, and yet it accommodates everyone. It can be done, there’s no excuse.


  135. onpon4 May 18, 2015 / 09:28

    What does complexity have to do with how many people are going to be satisfied with it? Linux is a kernel. All it needs to do to “accommodate everyone” is be compatible with as much hardware as possible, because the typical user doesn’t interact with the kernel directly.

    Saying “LInux accommodates everyone, so GNOME should” is like saying, “x86 CPUs accommodate everyone, so this computer should”, ignoring important factors like what tasks the user wants to do and where.


    • FelipeC May 18, 2015 / 12:32

      I’m not ignoring important factors. There are ways how the Linux kernel achieves this, and GNOME does exactly the opposite. They are not even trying, and it shows.


  136. Tsu May 18, 2015 / 13:03

    > Everyone isn’t a customize maniac like you. Some like cleanness.

    Who dislikes cleanness? Gnome2 was both clean and usable. Gnome3 is more of a hindrance than a clean and usable DE.


  137. onpon4 May 18, 2015 / 20:50

    FelipeC: You completely missed my point. You can’t compare a *kernel* like Linux to a *desktop environment* like GNOME. These are two completely different things that do completely different jobs, and developing a “one size fits all” solution being feasible for a *kernel* doesn’t mean it’s also feasible for a *desktop environment*.

    I find GNOME Shell to be extremely convenient and efficient. I’m currently using GNOME Flashback, but that’s because of a bug in GNOME 3.10 that renders the Activities overview mostly unusable. For some people, GNOME Shell legitimately isn’t convenient. But you seem to be fixated on this absurd idea that GNOME Shell is bad for everybody despite clear evidence to the contrary (i.e. people using it and saying that they like it), as well as the even more absurd idea that a desktop environment can necessarily borrow essential design principles from a kernel, when these are two completely different kinds of software.


    • FelipeC May 19, 2015 / 00:19

      People said the same thing; you can’t build a one size fits all kernel. And guess what? They were wrong.

      And you are right, you can’t compare a kernel to a desktop environment. It’s much more difficult to build a one size fits all kernel.


  138. onpon4 May 19, 2015 / 06:49

    > It’s much more difficult to build a one size fits all kernel.

    This is a completely unjustified assertion.


    • FelipeC May 19, 2015 / 15:06

      Says somebody that has never built a kernel. There is a reason there’s only one kernel like that, and not even the most powerful software company in the world could do it.


  139. Tsu May 19, 2015 / 07:22

    > But you seem to be fixated on this absurd idea that GNOME Shell is bad for everybody…

    I don’t think Felipe has the idea you attribute to him. Here he has explained the most important problems of Gnome3 and, I think, his opinion is objective and based on facts. However, nothing is good or bad for everybody.

    The comparison with Linux Kernel is obvious: Linux kernel is so complex and if it fulfills the “one-size-fits-all” criterion, any DE could too. In case of Gnome3, there’s no obstacle other than a lack of will. (Or a will in the opposite direction?)


    • FelipeC May 19, 2015 / 15:08

      Perhaps it will indeed be very difficult to create a one-size-fits-all DE, who knows. Either way no one is trying, GNOME is certainly not.


  140. onpon4 May 19, 2015 / 07:53

    > The comparison with Linux Kernel is obvious: Linux kernel is so complex and if it fulfills the “one-size-fits-all” criterion, any DE could too.

    Well, since Linux is such a perfect DE, why aren’t you using that? Oh, right. Linux isn’t a desktop environment.

    Stop making bogus comparisons like this. Compare apples to other apples, not to oranges. If there is a DE which succeeds at being “one size fits all”, show me *that*.


  141. Tsu May 19, 2015 / 08:49

    The concept of “one-size-fits-all” means that users with different priorities, needs, or tastes could be relatively satisfied with a product. It’s applicable to Linux Kernel as well as to a DE. And, BTW, both of them belong to the category of computer programs, under which and for which other programs can be used and made — as both apple and orange belong to the category of edible fruits. Hence the comparison.

    I think it’s a waste of time to enumerate so many examples of how Gnome3 has gone against the “one-size-fits-all” criterion.

    No DE is perfect but there are DE’s far better than Gnome3 in this regard. I don’t name any to avoid a DE war but Gnome2 WAS one of them!


    • Eric Espino May 19, 2015 / 09:47

      Felipe, many months ago after I read for the first time your comments about how GNOME was trashed on version 3 I couldn’t agree more with you on that. Since then I have tested and used Mate, Unity, and Cinnamon and at the end I selected the former as the DE. I can tell you that Mate wasn’t selected because it was “second best choice” but (the contrary) because it is what I expected Gnome would have been. Forget about Gnome do what I did and move on. 🙂

      By the way:

      In the case of Cinnamon, it was a very closed runner-up.
      Finally Unity leaved me clueless the true is I didn’t get it. : (


      • FelipeC May 19, 2015 / 15:12

        Eric, I did move on long ago, even before GNOME 3 was released. That doesn’t mean I can’t share my opinion on GNOME.


  142. lym August 7, 2015 / 08:12

    It will not help with DE fragmentation, but Debian with Jessie now offers good “gnome 2 like” alternatives for those disliking KDE and thinking XFCE and others just bring you back 15 years ago…

    Those are Mate and Cinnamon. The former for lower end hardware with poor or no 3D graphics, the last for the rest.

    Mate: It’s juste gnome-2. Nothing more to say.

    Cinnamon: It’s what Gnome 3 should have been and can be made a standard gnome-2 layout in a few clicks (dual panel, auto-hide, creating shortcuts is again just a mouse slide job). I just had to be a bit careful about applets choice (like a good, and working!, system monitor) outside those integrated with the DE.

    There is probably some remaining problems indeed: For the moment, a Bluetooth applet/notifier lacks in Cinnamon for instance (that may be a blocking issue for many laptop users).

    But that solves my Linux DE for a few more years! Let’s hope Gnome 3 team will understand users problem in the meantime?


  143. LinuxLove August 28, 2015 / 03:15

    The problem with GNOME 3 is not that it is bad or difficult to use. Yes it is shit. But the real problem here is that GNOME 2 was total shit also. And if you look at _that_ problem you can start trailing a line where you will find yourself at final conclusion – root and cause of all the flame here – linux is a pile of utter crap.


    • Hugh Caley August 28, 2015 / 03:37

      What a pointless comment! It’s not a pile of crap, it’s a miraculous pile of freedom, for no cost other than the time it takes to learn it.


      • Eric August 28, 2015 / 07:39

        I agree with Hugh about your unsubstantiated comment in regards to GNOME2. As a proof check the relatively success that MATE DE (which is based on GNOME2) has achieved.


  144. Ganz March 3, 2016 / 09:39

    Hate Gnome 3. It has ruined my productivity


  145. Ganz March 3, 2016 / 09:40

    To LinuxLove.. What are you comparing Linux to?


  146. Suren May 7, 2016 / 06:42

    Gnome 3 alongside with Unity are pure cancer. I wonder why this shit is the default DE in most mainstream distros. Riddles me this: why they don’t simply install another adequate and more customizable DEs, such as Cinnamon?! It’s easy!!!!! But unfortunately, the most distro makers are brain damaged retards.


    • D. Charles Pyle May 7, 2016 / 14:23

      Many distros do install Cinnamon, or at least make it available in the repositories. Just updated Ubuntu to the latest LTS version. After doing that I noticed that Cinnamon was there as a logon option. I didn’t install it but it was there. Don’t know how it got there but it is there. I used to use other DEs but have recently found myself going back to Unity in Ubuntu and GNOME 3 in Fedora. Too many serious problems have cropped up with the others from time to time, and I found myself having to go back to the defaults each time if I wanted to get serious work done until the next updates that fixed the issues. I went for several days at a time having MATE stopping working right and frequently crashing me out of my session. Same for Cinnamon although less often. After weeks of this I finally just uninstalled all traces of MATE, and stuck with GNOME 3 on my Fedora machine. I have customized it enough for my needs, and it really looks nice these days with a theme or two thrown in the mix. Most extensions broken by undocumented or badly documented changes to the GNOME 3 DE are fixable enough. The few that aren’t easily fixable haven’t been all that necessary or haven’t been something that couldn’t be made workable with a workaround in the meantime. But, your mileage may vary. On the Ubuntu side I have left Cinnamon on it and installed Xfce for my wife and our guests. But, I still use Unity. Go figure.


      • Tsu May 7, 2016 / 14:59

        I never looked back after leaving Gnome+GTK. Last week, a friend of mine wanted me to install Linux on his laptop. I chose Manjaro and installed both KDE and a polished version of LXQt compiled by myself. Then I made an experiment. I told him, “BTW, do you want to have the most famous DE?” I didn’t told him anything bad about Gnome. He agreed and I installed Gnome-3.20. Long story short, he forced me to remove all those Gnome packages after an hour.


        • D. Charles Pyle May 7, 2016 / 18:14

          Did you tell him anything about customizability? Did you include all the packages he would need to do that? If not, it really wasn’t a fair experiment. I would never again use plain, vanilla GNOME3, either. When you installed LXQt, did you incorporate all of the patches he would need to protect his system from intrusion and instability? It is work-in-progress, which is why I have no intention of using it until it is more secure and more stable. Your friend may yet curse your name, when serious Qt instabilities hit, and go back to Windows. Just saying. 🙂


          • Tsu May 7, 2016 / 18:55

            @ D. Charles Pyle
            After he examined Gnome for 10 minutes, he was intelligent enough to know that I was joking. “Where is desktop? How can I log out? How can I create a …?” “Are you so stupid?” I said to him. Then I showed him how “stupid” he and I were according to Gnome “standards” and we laughed together. It took him about an hour to believe that my jokes were based on real quotations — I showed Gnome bugzilla to him.

            As for LXQt, I’m one of its devs, so what I gave to him was above its current official release — damn stable and elegant. He was so fascinated by Plasma5 but I explained its bugs to him and told him to wait for Manjaro/Arch updates.


          • FelipeC May 16, 2016 / 01:17

            If your DE needs customization in order to make it usable, you have failed in your design.


            • D. Charles Pyle May 16, 2016 / 06:51

              Probably so. But, then again, I have always had to customize just about every DE in Linux just to make it usable for my purposes. I’ve pretty much given up the idea that I can get an out-of-box experience that just works as expected without some issue when it comes to Linux.


              • FelipeC May 16, 2016 / 13:25

                Xfce works perfectly fine by default for me. It’s called having sane defaults. GNOME defaults are insane.


                • D. Charles Pyle May 19, 2016 / 11:35

                  Xfce didn’t work as well by default for me, I’m afraid. I had all sorts of problems crop up, too, usually after updates. And, then, there was that irritation I experienced with the default wallpaper showing up again after I had just changed it a few weeks before. I really hated having that default wallpaper show up again. I have been using Linux for a very long time, and used Unix before that. I count myself lucky when everything just works in Linux. Most of the time I am cleaning up messes left over, such as dependency issues, broken programs and crashes, after upgrading. The only reasons I keep two variants of Linux on my system at all times is because I have to support them and because I hold high hopes for Linux distributions that I have yet to fully realize.


  147. Tsu May 27, 2016 / 17:43

    On Manjaro, Firefox uses gtk3 dialogs. I wanted to upload a file to dropbox with it, used “Open file” dialog and typed a few letters of the file name. I couldn’t find it easily because that crappy dialog showed many files from the subfolders too.

    Another example: I compiled CCSM- against gtk3 by mistake but tried it. The gtk3 color chooser didn’t allow me to choose a color with a specific alpha — the alpha slider was there but didn’t let the user enter an exact value.

    My point: this isn’t just about how Gnome is counterproductive anymore; there are several examples that show gtk3 is so too.


  148. Tsu May 31, 2016 / 01:42

    To get rid of those terrible gtk3 dialogs in Firefox, change “ui.allow_platform_file_picker” to false in “about:config” 🙂


  149. Oliver Stieber June 11, 2016 / 14:24

    The problem is,,,, you’ve got hearing AIDS!


  150. Daniel Gomes October 25, 2016 / 16:16

    I blame Apple. This is typical Apple mentality: users don’t know what they want; they need us to tell them. Our way or the highway. What a bunch of pricks!!

    I bet all of the gnome team use Macbooks and iPhone’s and code in coffee shops. It’s disgusting.

    They should go work for Apple and leave Linux the hell alone!


  151. Christian Brolin (@1chb) October 18, 2017 / 09:27

    I just unlocked my screen and all the windows from my six different desktops are now visible on all the desktops! And it is not possible to (manually) move them back. I guess I have to log out and in again. This will cost me an hour and my temper.


  152. Ron Foster December 10, 2017 / 14:07

    Your so right, Gnome totally sucks!!!
    ITS been over 4 Years since You wrote this article, and GOME STILL SUCKS BIG TIMES!!!

    Gnome makes me go nuts! Shitty Gnome has serious bugs all over the place, stupid interface-design & behavior and missing basic features… Gnome is a total disaster and I hate every piece of this shitty, crappy hipster-software. I can’t describe how much I f*ckin hate gnome!!!!!!!!!

    Gnome is like really dirty shit which sticks to Your fingers very nasty so I don’t wanna touch nor even want I hear about this f*cking random shit of code.

    Thanks for this great writeup, it was brilliant. You should maybe join the gnome dev-team and help them out. 🙂 It seems they have some serious lack in rational thinking people.

    Gnome: the biggest fail in Opensource-history.


    • ejespino1127 December 10, 2017 / 15:15

      KDE learned its leason after it screwed up with KDE4. KDE Plasma is one of the best DE for Linux. But, sadly, it seems that Gnome team won’t any change to its strategy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.