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GNOME: Staring Into the Abyss

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-bet-the-abyss-whines-about-application-menus dept.


New submitter zixxt writes "GTK+ Developer Benjamin Otte talks about the stagnation and decline of the Gnome Project. He describes how core developers are leaving GNOME development, how GNOME is understaffed, why GNOME is a Red Hat project and why GNOME is losing market and mind share. Is the Gnome project on its deathbed? Quoting: 'I first noticed this in 2005 when Jeff Waugh gave his 10×10 talk. Back then, the GNOME project had essentially achieved what it set out to do: a working Free desktop environment. Since then, nobody has managed to set new goals for the project. In fact, these days GNOME describes itself as a “community that makes great software”, which is as nondescript as you can get for software development. The biggest problem with having no goals is that you can’t measure yourself. Nobody can say if GNOME 3 is better or worse than GNOME 2. There is no recognized metric anywhere. This also leads to frustration in lots of places.'"

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Reason? GNOME3 (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 2 years ago | (#40797479)

GNOME was a good thing until version 3. It changed everything. The warning signs were there for years before. The attitude of a few dictating what was 'best' for the users, even when the users were screaming NO! NO! NO! started with the GNOME2 rewrite. They finally listened to some of the loudest arguments that time and restored enough functionality that it could become the standard Free Desktop.

GNOME3 turned that stupid up to eleven though, putting it a whole different category. It is explicitly declared it OK if any/all existing users leave, a pure "my way to the highway" deal. It is pretty much accepted that it is unusable on a standard desktop with a mouse and this isn't debatable as an issue in need of repair. The only rational explanation is that somehow, someone in that project assumes they are going to get an OEM preload deal on tablets somewhere. But GNOME's hardware requirements are higher than Android so it won't be some low end creep into the market through the back door deal, it will have to be on somebody's mid to top end hardware. Maybe RedHat has struck the deal in secret already and we are all going to be in awe of their mad negotiating skills. But it isn't the way to bet.

Or perhaps they assume that Win8 will force everyone to accept touchscreens and everything running maximized... even on 27" displays... so they just want to be there first, like how Compiz was doing the Vista eye candy a year or so before Vista shipped. Doubtful. If Win8 doesn't quickly get a recognizable default desktop on desktop class hardware users will just insist on Win7. Everything doesn't benefit from a touchscreen, keyboards and mice still have a place and aren't likely to go the way of the dodo anytime soon.

Guess if the article is right about the number of active devs left it really doesn't matter anymore because there doesn't appear to be enough left to rewrite their way out the the GNOME Shell disaster. Several of the alternates have similar manpower except KDE which has much more. It was a good desktop, it will be missed.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (5, Insightful)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 2 years ago | (#40797521)

GNOME was a good thing until version 3. It changed everything.

Mod up. The purpose of a DE is to enable the user to get his work done as fast and as efficiently as possible. Not eye-candy bullshit. If you can imlement eye candy that doesn't hinder or get in the way, I'm all for that, but never forget: **Enable the user to get work done fast**

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (5, Interesting)

aztektum (170569) | about 2 years ago | (#40797847)

You know, I felt the same way a year ago. I still wish it was more tweakable, but the extensions are helping. I am much faster at getting around my desktop in Gnome-Shell than I am with Gnome2. Reason being is I can do more with just the keyboard.

I was a big Gnome-Do user. That's pretty much built-in now. I don't have to touch my mouse to move around apps. Their Alt+Tab feature is pretty slick. It shows Chromium and Alt+~ moves through the multiple instances I have open (OK so I don't usually have more than one thanks to tabs, but as an example...)

It's a bigger resource hog, but I have 12GB of RAM in the box I run it on. It doesn't feel that polished, but I really have few serious problems.

What they should be doing is focusing on the extensions paradigm. Let people create extensions to turn it into whatever type of system they want. If you want a traditional taskbar, get an extension. Distros could apply whatever extensions they want to create varying types of "Gnome". That would give them some direction that they say the project has lost.

Re:Reason? NIGGERS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797945)

Gnome is staring into the ABYSS. The thing about the ABYSS is that its BLACK. BLACK just like a bunch of NIGGERS!

Niggery niggers! Nigger nigger nigger! Hahahaha! Watch the liberal bedwetters get their panties in a bunch. Oh ho ho ho mod me down quick now, to restore your sense of how the world should be. Yes, your down-mod will be my confirmation that I offended somebody. Oh baby I can't wait. -1 here I go! Niggers! NIGGERS!

Re:Reason? NIGGERS! (-1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40798065)

I hope you die of cancer

The care and feeding of trolls (1, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 2 years ago | (#40798185)

Don't feed the troll. They feed on your sense of outrage. And that one isn't even very skilled... doing it as an AC is so lame. That guy would have to study and try a lot harder just to make it up to the GNAA's low standards.

At least when I decide to go atrolling I try to at least launch some good threads with it. After all, karma doesn't accumulate much beyond excellent and I can bounce from terrible back to excellent in short enough order. :) Why not be a prankster once in a while?

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#40798177)

Reason being is I can do more with just the keyboard.

So why use a GUI?

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2, Informative)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#40797549)

I switched from GNOME to KDE because of GNOME 3.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (3, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 years ago | (#40797617)

I switched to Xfce (on Fedora) without even trying Gnome 3. Just the description of what it was going to be like was enough to drive me away. My sister uses Ubuntu. After about a year trying to learn how to like Unity (Ubuntu's version of Gnome 3) she asked me to help her migrate to Xfce because it doesn't keep getting in her way and making it hard for her to do things.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797799)

When some of my classmates who have never touched another OS ask me for a recommendation on a Linux distro, I've always recommended Xubuntu ever since Unity came. XFCE is just very useable and customize.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797909)

I have two suggestions for people when it come to those. Lower level people get LXDE and higher level get Xfce. Personally, I flip between which I like more. LXDE has more windows-like UI features, which makes going between the two easier; Xfce always seems to follow what I want, rather than fighting it or figuring out how it wants me to do it.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798031)

My sister uses Ubuntu.

Is she hot? If not I bet she's fat.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798115)

I can't say with certainty that you would consider her "hot."

However, she did tease my foreskin with her tongue under her desk while I sat at her chair, my erect pecker peeking through the zipper-fly she ever-so-eagerly opened with her teeth. I said, "Jess, you can't do might walk in," as Precise Pangolin was installing itself onto her hard drive. "What the fuck is a pangolin," I wondered, thinking to myself "and why did P.P. coincide with the fact that my peepee was in fact being sucked by the chubby, awkward girl who grew to inherit mom's breasts?"

We both went to my bed to lie down and
  Spiderman Thread!


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798133)

I did the same... Thanks but no thanks to GNOME3.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797619)

KDE not for me i am afraid. It just looks nice and that's about it. I am experimenting with Cinnamon and at this moment in time it is functioning well. I hope that by version 2 it should have have gotten rid of some of its frailties.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797653)

Whoops i am a anonymous coward. I think i will stay that way. I am not hiding behind anonimity, i am just making a comment. I am certainly not a coward so slashdot wake up. We are not all attention seekers and i will not hide behind a tag.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2)

archen (447353) | about 2 years ago | (#40797905)

I've pretty much always used KDE (or fluxbox / i3 depending on what I'm doing), and have never liked Gnome. However the prospect of Gnome's death troubles me. We can't say for sure the software we use now isn't going to go in some assinine direction. If KDE completely screws up next, then where do us KDE users go for an equivalent desktop? Xfce and other options exist, but it's always been KDE and Gnome as the full featured options.I think the real health of either project depends on the strength of the other, and not having all the eggs in one basket is a good thing in open source.

I'm hopeful Gnome won't die, but if it gets to that point I hope it'll be forked so we can move on. And I hope it'll be so awesome that I'll switch from KDE :)

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (4, Insightful)

Clived (106409) | about 2 years ago | (#40798259)

Well I run Gnome 3 on my Fedora 17 box and Cinnamon 1.4 on my Mint 13 box. Both desktops are new and there are a few rough edges, but I enjoy using both. Remember, we are Linux guys (and gals), we are supposed to work around the edges, tweak stuff, and stuff, goes with the territory ..:P

My two bits

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2, Interesting)

iserlohn (49556) | about 2 years ago | (#40797557)

People love complaining about Gnome Shell. I'm sure that the number of people that have been converted to Linux because of Gnome Shell greatly outnumber the gnome/start menu diehards from the 1990. What is actually preventing you from using Gnome Shell with a mouse? I do it everyday on 2 computers and 4 screens. Controls are logical and the default settings customise the desktop to you - virtual desktops are created automatically, you can drag and drop windows between desktops in the windows screen, and so on. Animations are smooth and the whole design works around the lack of support for minimized composite windows in X.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40797649)

Because it tried to fix something that wasn't broken. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Gnome Panel for mouse and keyboard. Sure, GNOME shell might be nice if you've got a 10 inch touchscreen, but it gets in the way if you use a keyboard or mouse.

Don't "fix" what is broken, especially when it is a basic part of the system.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1, Funny)

Zamphatta (1760346) | about 2 years ago | (#40797691)

Fact is... on Unity or Cinnamon or KDE, I can just switch to a new windows with one step -- move my mouse over to the window & click to bring the focus to it. On Gnome 3, I have to move my mouse up to the top left corner and click on a word, then move my mouse back down to click on the window I want to do something in. That's a convoluted way to just go to another window. It's akin to go to the bathroom by walking in the opposite direction, and touching the wall, then walking over to the bathroom. How could that be a better workflow than just going straight from point A to point B? And this is just the simplest of annoyances about Gnome 3's insanity. The basic stuff should never be a process to do.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797821)

What's this one step? Move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and click on the window list, then move your mouse back to the application?
On gnome-shell you don't have to click on the activities button to bring up the windows menu, just use the windows/super key and you can keep your mouse in the centre of the screen.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797951)

What's this one step? Move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and click on the window list, then move your mouse back to the application?

As GP plainly stated: move your mouse to the window desired and click it. You can be forgiven for thinking that GUIs can only show one program window at a time if the abomination that is Unity is your only GUI experience.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (0, Offtopic)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40797701)

off-topic, but your signature is truncated. looks like this:

":. Ultimate Control Dedicated/VM Servers [] + Ser"

suggestion: try using something like to shrink the URL down, then you might be able to fit it. It's limited by the length of the data, not the apparent length after rendering the HTML. Also those symbols at the beginning are just eating space.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (4, Interesting)

rtkluttz (244325) | about 2 years ago | (#40797735)

I'm feeding a troll, but here are the few no go's I have personally ran in to. The lack of configuration options are enough by themself but these are functionality that is lost. Over and under dual monitors doesn't work, such as a laptop panel as the primary lower and secondary monitor above. No go.. can't move apps through the ENFORCED top bar. Static IP addresses can't be done with the gui with default software. When trying to add Network printers from the gui, it doesn't allow you to see properties for each printer until AFTER it has been added, so no way from the gui to tell which printer is which in the list if you have multiple printers of the same model on the same network. You have to use the CUPS web interface. The old gnome 2 printer additions dialogs and wizards were just fine. The programmers are idiot control freaks..... their way or the highway.. at least cinnamon restores some level of sanity to the gnome 3 desktop.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797787)

People don't love that. People need two menu bars (panels) - one top of the screen, one bottom of the screen to be able to show that task list and a number of active widgets(panel applets)/shortcut accelerators.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 years ago | (#40797943)

No we don't, or at least, I certainly don't! I have Xfce configured to use one panel, on the bottom because I find two to be a waste of screen real estate. Yes, I have ample room on my monitor, especially with four workspaces, but I'm old-school enough to believe that the old maxim "wast not, want not" still applies.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (5, Interesting)

hazem (472289) | about 2 years ago | (#40797803)

The one thing I like on gnome 3 is pushing the mouse cursor up in the upper left and getting a choice of windows. But other than that, it makes things harder.

I tried for a while to find a way to have a CPU and Network monitor like you could have it docked on a panel in gnome 2 but finally gave up.

I also often use more than one terminal window, but when you click on the terminal icon in the apps list, it just takes you back to the terminal you already have open.

For vitual desktops, I personally prefer a fixed layout... email and web browser in upper left, work vitrual computer in lower left, etc. The ever-changing dynamic list doesn't work well for me.

The worst is that I can't get it to behave right with my laptop and external monitor. Laptops today come with shitty short screens, so when I work at home, I keep the lid closed and just use my external monitor. Gnome3 can't seem to grasp this and always assumes the laptop's monitor is the primary monitor, so I can't reach the widgets, menus, etc. Sure, I can muck with the display settings to fix it during a session, but I have to do it all over again if I reboot or need to open the lid for some reason.

For me, it just has an illogical way of doing things and completely breaks my work flow.

I've used a lot of linux variants over the years, but I don't really enjoy having to keep figuring out all the obscure ways to get it work right again... over and over.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (3, Interesting)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | about 2 years ago | (#40798141)


I was a 4 year user of linux (RedHat, Fedora, Ubuntu, Centos, Mandriva, and Yellow Dog off the top of my head) until Gnome 3 came along. Then the configuration became a chore every time I wanted to use my home computer. Then I switched jobs into a position which forces Win7 use. Then I wanted to play Borderlands with a few friends of mine. Then I was/am writing a dissertation across the library/home/work/school/travel computers and need EndNote and Word to work.

My computer still dual-boots, but it has been over 9 months since I've booted to Linux.

I was using Linux when it easy, and wasn't getting in the way. Now I use Windows 7 for the same reason. I will happily switch in the event that things reverse themselves again.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (3, Interesting)

dosius (230542) | about 2 years ago | (#40797577)

Yeah... MATE is GNOME now, far as I'm concerned.


Re:Reason? GNOME3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797673)

I'll second MATE.
Gnome3 sux!

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40797685)

GNOME was a good thing until version 3. It changed everything. The warning signs were there for years before. The attitude of a few dictating what was 'best' for the users, even when the users were screaming NO! NO! NO! started with the GNOME2 rewrite.

First thing I do when I install a new system is try to get my desktop working like I had it under GNOME-1. (Usually gets harder every time, too.)

I mostly use the old applications, though I finally abandoned Galeon when Firefox finally got add-ons that let me put the tabs on the side. Still use Sawfish for my WM, too.

I think the only visible thing I'm using GNOME for these days is the panel.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1)

lagartoflojo (998588) | about 2 years ago | (#40797777)

I guess there's something for everyone. I really like Gnome 3. It just stays out of the way lets me get my work done.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40797805)

>>>Win 8...everything running maximized even on 27" displays...

Say what? You can't layer tiny windows overlapping each other??

I use LXDE (lubuntu). I want a fast responsive desktop and Gnome is not that.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1)

Burz (138833) | about 2 years ago | (#40797843)

Most of GNOME2's history was a slow, almost agonizing crawl up from a crash-prone and feature-truncated state.

I haven't looked at KDE recently, but I enjoyed v3.x until it was left behind for 4.x which was so bad that I had to leave it.

Maybe DE projects by themselves have outlived their usefulness. Ubuntu is pressing ahead with Unity, I think with the idea that a DE should be native to a particular OS. If that is so, then they are moving closer to Windows and OS X architecturally and organizationally; they would be able to achieve levels of vertical integration that a typical PC user expects.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 2 years ago | (#40797979)

Worst is Firefox and Thunderbird. Why cannot they obey X session? Why cannot they start up in the desktop I would like them to (Ileft them when I restarted).

WHY CANNOT LINUX DESTOP STARTUP AUTOMATICALLY AS I WANT IT? Why is everything randomly placed? I used quite a lot of time putting certain programs to certain desktops. But no, some asshole thinks s/he "knows better".

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (4, Insightful)

Windwraith (932426) | about 2 years ago | (#40798167)

KDE, or Kwin to be more accurate, would allow you to do that and more. It's their killer feature for me.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2)

Nethead (1563) | about 2 years ago | (#40798003)

I know that I "unfriended" you a while ago but I have to say that I would give this rant +5000 insightful. Maybe I need to get off your lawn.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (1, Informative)

danbuter (2019760) | about 2 years ago | (#40798005)

Gnome 2 was a great DE. Unfortunately, whoever made the user interface for Gnome 3 made an epic fail. It's just not usable, to me. It changes a lot of stuff in an effort to be innovative, but some of the changes just make the system harder to use. I highly recommend people switch to MATE (a fork of Gnome2) or try out XFCE. Either one is better than Gnome 3.

Re:Reason? GNOME3 (2)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#40798241)

Gnome3 is good for the people who replace their PC with a tablet because it's easier. Some sources would have it that there's lots of those people. Getting them to contribute code could be a challenge, though.

I'll say it! (5, Insightful)

00Monkey (264977) | about 2 years ago | (#40797497)

"Nobody can say if GNOME 3 is better or worse than GNOME 2."

GNOME 3 is *worse* than GNOME 2. By far. Plus more.

Nigerfaget says what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797503)

GNOME3 = nigerfaget shit.

Minimalism Sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797519)

Gnome has always sucked. I hate minimalism and think it's simple minded.

Microsoft Sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797675)

Microsoft has always sucked. I hate Windows and think it's simple minded.

Re:Minimalism Sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797737)

Funny, I hate complexity and think it's wasteful.

Re:Minimalism Sucks (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#40797831)

Gnome 1.4 was pretty good.

Re:Minimalism Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798015)

Ya know, I thought so too.

chasing the "dumb it down" crowd (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797525)

The big issue with many modern desktops including Gnome and Win8 is they are hell bent on chasing the "dumb it down! dumb it all down! moaarrr dumber!!" crowd. Ripping out power user functionality, removing configurability, and generally making it about as annoying to use for proficient users as possible.

There aren't many "real" desktops left. KDE is left. Some like it, some don't, but at least it hasn't dumbed itself down to placate the LCD who think computers shouldn't be any more complex than operating a toaster. Win7 is alright. Most of the others have gone off the deep end in their quest to satisfy people who need the most simplistic interface possible at the expense of power features and customization.

Re:chasing the "dumb it down" crowd (5, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 2 years ago | (#40797593)

XFCE is still around and became my desktop after Gnome2 support was dropped on Arch Linux.

Linux Mint also has Cinnamon.

Re:chasing the "dumb it down" crowd (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#40798153)

The big issue with many modern desktops including Gnome and Win8 is they are hell bent on chasing the "dumb it down! dumb it all down! moaarrr dumber!!" crowd. Ripping out power user functionality, removing configurability, and generally making it about as annoying to use for proficient users as possible.

For some reason stagnation is expected in computing, even when this is rare elsewhere. I call them "permanant noobs".

When you got your first bicycle and used it with training wheels, no one expected that you would still use those training wheels years later. When you got your learner's permit, it was expected that this was a stepping stone you would use to ultimatley gain enough skill to get your own proper driver's license. No one actually expected that these early learning stages would or should be permanent.

The "dumb it down" mentality with computing is the assumption that the early learning stages should be sanctified and made permanent, that they are some kind of perfect ideal, that it's not reasonable to ever expect a user's skill to grow with time. Sure, some users have more aptitude than others, some learn faster than others, but the "dumb it down" idea throws all of that out and assumes no one should ever learn anything.

It's like anything else. It grows if you feed it. It shrinks if you starve it. The constant feeding of it in mainstream thought has led to users who can operate a computer for 5+ years and still know nothing more about it than when they started. They get frustrated at the same problems that frustrated them five years ago because they have not learned anything. They demand overly-simplified interfaces and balk at the slightest investment of learning (and even then, nothing major, just paying attention and picking up facts here and there with experience would make a big difference).

It's standard penny-wise, dollar-stupid thinking. It's saving a slight effort in the short term in order to screw oneself in the long term. An intermediate user with an interface that presents the available options in an intelligent way has a much better experience than any user with an interface built on the assumption that you're an idiot. But the concept of making an investment is alien to this mentality. It's by no means limited to computing. You see it in corporations all the time, where everything is all about this quarter's earnings even when this leads to long-term sustainability problems.

GNOME 3 is worse than GNOME 2! (-1, Redundant)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 years ago | (#40797571)

There, I said it.

Re:GNOME 3 is worse than GNOME 2! (2)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#40797755)

I'll second your post, I'm sticking with 10.04 until I can find a distro that looks like gnome 2

Re:GNOME 3 is worse than GNOME 2! (1)

armanox (826486) | about 2 years ago | (#40798135)

I'm using MATE (which you're probably tired of hearing about at this point) in place of GNOME2, on both my Fedora and Ubuntu boxes (aside from the really old laptop, that's running WindowMaker).

Re:GNOME 3 is worse than GNOME 2! (3, Informative)

jobdrb (920458) | about 2 years ago | (#40798245)

Linux Mint Mate Edition or Linux Mint Cinnamon

I won't believe it... (2, Funny)

heptapod (243146) | about 2 years ago | (#40797575)

...until Netcraft confirms it.

I have seen the abyss... (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | about 2 years ago | (#40797581)

...and I like it.

TFA seems to be describing a mature software project that has entered maintenance mode. Why would this be a bad thing?

TFA says, "Distros are dropping GNOME for other environments instead of working with GNOME," with "other" and "environments" hyperlinked to Unity and Cinnamon. Actually, aren't these projects that share a ton of code with GNOME? So what's the problem? Users have a bunch of different choices. The developers offering these choices are sharing code. Users who prefer something outside this family of choices, such as KDE or Fluxbox or XFCE, can also do their own thing. This is also good. All the same apps run just fine in all these different environments. This is also good.

TFA says, "The claimed target users for GNOME are leaving desktop computers behind for types of devices GNOME doesn't work on," with hyperlinks referring to smartphones and tablet computers. Again, I don't see the problem. Users have other choices besides keyboard-and-mouse computers. I kind of doubt that anyone is choosing to use a smartphone to write their novel, so maybe users are actually using the correct tool for the correct job: desktops for the jobs that desktops are good for, smartphones for the jobs that smartphones are good for. Once again, what's the problem?

Re:I have seen the abyss... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40797707)

Because when it comes to open source software, when it stops becoming interesting and fun the projects stop being really maintained and start developing bugs with new hardware, security flaws that are unpatched, etc.

Re:I have seen the abyss... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797947)

When it comes to all software...


Re:I have seen the abyss... (2)

bcrowell (177657) | about 2 years ago | (#40798045)

Because when it comes to open source software, when it stops becoming interesting and fun the projects stop being really maintained and start developing bugs with new hardware, security flaws that are unpatched, etc.

It's mature software. Mature software is pretty much by definition not interesting or fun. But TFA describes how Red Hat is paying 10 people to work on GNOME. Presumably these people are still there because they get a paycheck, and they can endure the fact that the project is mature and not bleeding edge.

Re:I have seen the abyss... (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40798209)

TFA seems to be describing a mature software project that has entered maintenance mode. Why would this be a bad thing?

It would be a bad thing if that mature design is incomplete and unpolished in many ways.

MATE (4, Informative)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 2 years ago | (#40797587)

I recently deployed a Debian Testing system and I didn't like GNOME 3. (it reminded me of KDE 4.0's initial release several years ago when everything was glitchy and barely functional) GNOME3 might eventually develop into something usable like KDE 4 did, but it just needs more time and a lot more polish.

If you want to keep using GNOME2, I suggest using MATE [] . It's basically a renamed GNOME2 fork.

Re:MATE (3, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40797761)

Hopefully those developers leaving GNOME are heading over to work on MATE. Hopefully.

I'd love to use MATE, but I don't want to get invested when it's still essentially someone's personal project.

KDE4 or XFCE for me, meanwhile. I keep flirting with fluxbox too, but I miss some of the more integrated aspects of a full DM like KDE.

Missing the point of a DE... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40797597)

GNOME 3 missed the point of being a desktop environment which is to act like its supposed to and not get in the way of the user. The users of GNOME don't like GNOME 3, but the developers think that they somehow know better than the users of their product, naturally this lead to many users abandoning GNOME and forking it in projects like MATE.

GNOME was badly managed for years, but it was tolerable until GNOME 3.

Re:Missing the point of a DE... (4, Informative)

kiore (734594) | about 2 years ago | (#40797741)

I'm a KDE user so don't directly experience this, but I went through similar pain with KDE 4. I hated it when it came out, and I still don't like it as much as I liked the earlier less ambitious versions, but I did eventually get used to most of it, especially once I found out how to replace its menu system with the classic view.

It beats me why developers of alternate desktops feel the need to repeat the worst mistakes of the market leaders.

GNOME or something else? (2)

pentabular (2609873) | about 2 years ago | (#40797611)

Well I use something calle Unity, not this "GNOME" of which you speak. Desktops have always been on shifting sands, but I'm pretty sure we're not about to plunge back into Winidows 3.x.

What's wrong with the old goals? (1, Flamebait)

mbkennel (97636) | about 2 years ago | (#40797671)

"Back then, the GNOME project had essentially achieved what it set out to do: a working Free desktop environment. Since then, nobody has managed to set new goals for the project"

What's wrong with the old goals? as in "Make a working Free desktop environment work better and better".

Nobody questions what the goals of GCC project are: make better compilers which work better with new hardware. It's at least 20 years old.

My opinion unburdened with empirical fact: The new GNOME developers were young and they really wanted to do something New Kewl Different because they needed a sexy project to put in their portfolio so they can get a better job.

"Nobody can say if GNOME 3 is better or worse..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797695)

How about the number of users who state "this is shit" repeatedly?

How's that for a recognized metric?


I must not be part of "everyone" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797703)

I actually like Gnome 3 better than Gnome 2. I have 2 at work and three at home and thus use both of them most days. Neither really get in my way and I don't have any trouble going from one to the other. However, I find myself more often trying to do Gnome 3 things on Gnome 2 than the reverse.

It's mostly just getting used to the different flow of things in Gnome 3. Also, a few judicious extensions smooth things out as well. Personally, I just don't get all the griping. Try it long enough to make an informed opinion, then use it or don't. Bitching is just silly.

A direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797715)

It's the utter other direction than it's been going, but it'd be interesting to see an interface shell/environment that's natively easily customizable and changable in appearance, behavior, etc and able to be easily taken from one machine to the next.

But that's going the other way entirely, and saying 'the user is the one who decides what's best for the user'. win 8, unity, and gnome3 all seem to be going 'no, THIS is what you want, so shut up and eat your cheese sandwich!' ....and everyone's lactose intolerant.

Gnome 3 sucks .... as doe its pimped-out hoe Unity (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 2 years ago | (#40797719)

Feckin-A byteboy pillpullers ... swallow a poison mushroom or sonthin'. Truth is easy to say: GNOME-3 sucks, GNOME-2 is good enough for every casual Linux lusr desktop both in common function and in discover-ability. Incremental improvements for the next fifty years will be quite sufficient.

Olds Dogs vs New Tricks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797791)

The amount of howling that was done about changes to the GNOME interface between GNOME2 and GNOME3 is on one hand quite comical and on the other hand quite pathetic. When I started using Linux, I had to choose between GNOME and KDE. At that time KDE was clearly better, but there was also the notion that GNOME was freer (not dependent on QT) or more true to our beliefs/culture (written in C, not that weird C++ language). I remember when KDE2 was released, and how for me it was something really remarkable compared to the kludgey and disparate pile steaming software called GNOME. It was elegant, integrated, functional, efficient, and so on. It even had its own window manager, whereas major Linux distributions were packaging GNOME with a bizarre assortment of different WM's.

GNOME2 changed everything. I didn't care at all for KDE3, and GNOME2 did away with everything bad I had recognized in GNOME and replaced it with pure awesomeness that I used to associate with KDE. I ended up using GNOME2 religiously for several years--it was probably the most time I had ever spent with a single desktop environement. Of course, I had gone through phases of using every other GUI I could find, such as WindowMaker, XFCE, Fluxbox, Englightenment, etc. Using GNOME2 is second nature for me.

Right now it's 2012--GNOME2 is showing its age. It started showing its age like 5 years ago. It's a desktop that resembles Windows XP in a Windows 7 (soon to be 8) world. GNOME2 is still definitely usable, but as the OP mentioned, the project achieved what it set out to do. If GNOME3 were not to be a radical departure from the design of GNOME2, then there is basically really nothing for the GNOME project to be doing anymore.

GNOME3 is not really that radically different from GNOME2, and it's also not worse than GNOME2. It's just different, and I have used it and think it's quite alright. Listening to people whining about how much they hate the design changes is like listening to the whiners who come out every time Facebook makes a design change. Don't get mad because you have to learn to do things differently and are too lazy or incompetent to do that.

Re:Olds Dogs vs New Tricks (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40798107)

the only thing you listed that might be a minor gripe is gnome2's aesthetics.. ok. that requires a new skin, not a codebase rewrite.

Re:Olds Dogs vs New Tricks (1)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#40798159)

Why do they have to keep changing shit? Even when I'm using Gnome, I set the theme to Redmond or Clearlooks, and turn the animation off. KDE has always been too Fisher Price. Aero? Transparent windows are overrated for the memory they consume. That ribbon interface, how'd that work out for ya? I've never been interested in bloated eye candy.

Desktop Environment Fad is finally ending. (5, Insightful)

Technomancer (51963) | about 2 years ago | (#40797795)

I never quite understood the attraction. What exactly is this whole GNOME or KDE package for? Granted, there are some decent programs that came with them, but do they really require all the extra baggage of 10 layers of crappy libraries with fancy names? Both KDE and GNOME are just pointless empire building exercises by bunch of people who want to force their way of computer interaction on everyone else.

The OS should do one thing, provide services to programs. On UI level that includes managing windows and provide some way of task switching. Widget library is nice too since it saves some time for programmers, but it doesn't really have to be part of OS. On Windows this functionality is pretty much built in to the point of being (almost) non replaceable. Thankfully on Unix one has a choice of window manager, task switchers/panels, widget libraries etc. The users should be able to mix and match them to fulfill their needs. Some distros like Ubuntu may make these choices for the users that do not care much what they use. Where do mega projects "we gonna takeover your computer and make you do things our way" like GNOME and KDE fit? Nowhere, and finally people realize that.

The only thing that can be done with these projects is to salvage any good apps they have created and make them into independent projects. There is less and less to salvage though because GNOME managed to create dumber and dumber versions of the same things (like image viewers or browsers or file managers etc).

For instance, why would anyone ever use web browsers that GNOME has created (is the latest one Epiphany or something?) when there is Firefox, Chrome or Seamonkey made by people who know what they are doing?

There are some nice projects like LXDE, and to lesser degree XFCE which are actually helpful, they put together bunch of tools, most of them optional, and give you quite a lot of choice. Although XFCE is getting fatter and fatter.

Re:Desktop Environment Fad is finally ending. (2)

Burz (138833) | about 2 years ago | (#40797961)

The OS should do one thing, provide services to programs.

An opinion you will only encounter on /. and Linux sites.

A UI is a type of interface, which is a "contract" for consistent interaction. What you are saying is that consistency should only be a goal when coding for other programmers (users don't need or deserve it). There is no contract between the programmer and users. The problem is, you can't even give an inconsistent product away for free -- people won't take it, and in threads like this one I find that knowledge to be extremely gratifying.

Re:Desktop Environment Fad is finally ending. (1)

Technomancer (51963) | about 2 years ago | (#40798163)

For that you have user interface guidelines and standard widget libraries. In case of Linux the guidelines should be published by standard bodies or by Linux distros themselves. Ubuntu for instance makes good job making things consistent.
Microsoft, Google, and Apple do provide standard widgets in their OSes and UI guidelines. They also enforce them to various degree. Personally I don't want to live in a nazi (Goodwin law bingo!) like world where only one "UI contract" is enforced on everyone.
It is true that programmers still produce "skinned" program abominations started by "why can't you die already" Winamp. That is the cost of living in a free world.
Most Linux GUI programs do use standard widget libraries like QT and GTK and to some degree follow UI guidelines. The additional theming can be added by the user or distro in form of theme packs.

Re:Desktop Environment Fad is finally ending. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797987)

Although XFCE is getting fatter and fatter.


Re:Desktop Environment Fad is finally ending. (2)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 2 years ago | (#40798233)

What exactly is this whole GNOME or KDE package for?

Providing a whole slew of handy things that a program can reuse for its own ends. For instance, KDE provides "KIO slaves" so that apps loading and saving files through a KDE backend can read/write with any filesystem that KDE supports. If you install the SFTP KIO slave, every KDE app gains the ability to save files to an SFTP server instead of having to implement that functionality themselves. That's what GNOME and KDE are for.

Unity wins (3, Interesting)

InlawBiker (1124825) | about 2 years ago | (#40797797)

Everybody was all up in arms with Ubuntu went with Unity. It was a head scratcher for a lot of folks unless you think about it from their point of view. The desktop is arguably the most important part - if users don't like it, that's it baby game over. Now imagine putting your whole product's future in the hands of Gnome or KDE. Those teams are like herds of ADHD children running amok with knives. KDE and Gnome had a decade to get their act together, they missed the boat on a Windows CE epic scale.

Mate aint bad - Gnome3 is (3, Insightful)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#40797845)

I am quite liking Mate and can say it's a helluva lot better than Gnome3; it's basically Gnome2, which is why I'm using it. Maybe the Gnome3 crowd would have been more successful in North Korea, or some Japanese underground fetish club, with Unity wiggling about on stage. If Gnome3 had a voice, it would sound like an angry high-pitched Arnold Schwarzenegger. Anyway, suicide is almost always depressing to witness, but in this case, I wish them expedience and success.

It wasn't GNOME 3 (4, Interesting)

ronmon (95471) | about 2 years ago | (#40797863)

The day that Miguel abandoned it and handed the reins to Havoc was the day the music died. That was the start of a downward spiral that never ended. What was the users' DE became Czar Havoc's DE. Shortly thereafter I switched to XFCE and never looked back.

Daft (0)

anomaly256 (1243020) | about 2 years ago | (#40797865)

In fact, these days GNOME describes itself as a “community that makes great software”, which is as nondescript as you can get for software development. The biggest problem with having no goals is that you can’t measure yourself. Nobody can say if GNOME 3 is better or worse than GNOME 2

Prrrrrrrrretty sure your users are telling you everything you need to know. They're saying 'Gnome 3 SUCKS, we want things back the way they used to be in Gnome 2'.
Mayyyyyyybe you should try listening to them for direction and goals, hmmm? Just a thought.

Gnome 3 is the Digg v.4 of Desktops. (2, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40797877)

Gnome is one of those things where everybody can clearly point at the exact moment it became a fucking mess.

Gnome 3 turned me into a KDE user. KDE has it's own problems, but not like Gnome.

Nobody can say? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#40797887)

The end users can say if gnome3 is better or worse than gnome2 (and have!). I'm using xfce until gnome and kde get their acts together (if ever).

GNOME3 and one other thing (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40797889)

GNOME 3 represents the kind of "I'm not going to listen to the users" once displayed by XFree86. But there are other problems as well. Recently I have come to realize that there is a problem that few have noticed.

Imagine an application and an OS sharing the same libraries... not unusual in some instances, but I have come to realize that I can't run GiMP 2.8.0 on CentOS 6.x because the GTK and related libraries and dependencies are so connected with GNOME that all of GNOME needs to be upgraded in order to be able to run the application! While that's not 100% true in that I was able to compile all the needed libraries in /opt/gnome-2.8, the resulting compiled code doesn't integrate well with my existing GNOME 2.x desktop. It's frustrating and annoying. The operating environment shouldn't be such that it conflicts with applications. Someone wasn't paying attention to certain unexpected consequences. So here I sit with Windows having better support for GiMP than a current Linux distribution. Sad and pathetic.

GNOME is breaking my heart with all of this. I was quite loyal to its use but damn... GNOME3, then Unity? People have made it clear they don't want this. They keep going as if by forcing it down our thoats, we will learn to accept it. The missing ingredient here is CRITICAL MASS. Critical mass is the main ingredient in Microsoft's disgusting recipe. We all hate it but we eat it because there's nothing else. GNOME doesn't have that ingredient. Whatever they are trying to do isn't going to work and will result in their becoming another failed project... another lesson learned in failed Linux projects.

I use Gnome 3.4 every day and would never go back (2, Informative)

grege1 (1065244) | about 2 years ago | (#40797911)

I use Gnome 3.4 every day and would never go back to the old ways. Extension are a terrific idea and there is plenty of development in that area. The future of the desktop is as a seamless connection to the Internet, so that local apps and online apps are both available as if they are all installed locally. Queue the naysayers who will go on about what happens when you do not have a connection. That is why Gnome can be a mixture of local and remote. You can stay stuck in the past with Mate, or move into the future. It does not bother me if you stay stuck in the past, but I look forward to the next generation of Gnome, and the one after that. Lastly, there would not be a Unity or a Cinnamon without Gnome. Both are merely alternate shells to Gnome 3.x. But that is the strength of the new Gnome, you can make alternate shells.

DE's are simply boring to develop (1)

gtaluvit (218726) | about 2 years ago | (#40797929)

The issue isn't Gnome 3 vs. Gnome 2 at all. The issue is DE's are boring. Remember when Compiz was first being developed? There were crazy plugins to make the windows dissolve into flames and wobble and all that. Gimmicks. Fun for a second but they're gimmicks. What ended up happening was DE's merging the compositing effects into the DE and sticking to keeping out of the way of the user. BOOORRING. All the DE needs to do is provide a way to launch apps and manage settings and that's not fun to work on if there's no new ground to cover. Windows 8, Mac OS, IOS, Unity are all going the same direction: big button toolbar for touch and search. Gnome 3 did the same thing and you can't fault the devs for that.

As for the Gnome 3 sucks, use Cinnamon or MATE crowd, let me ask this: what makes more sense to you? Use that.

Wait, GNOME3 is actually nice (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797935)

I use it, most of my coworkers use it. Sure, the linux desktop is in crisis, but actually, it always was if you wanted something more than a simple xfce. KDE 1.x was a PITA for over a year too long with KDE 2's delays. GNOME 2.x always seemed like taking Apple's idea of designing for minimal user choice, just without having Apple's designers. But for some time KDE3 and GNOME2 provided stable work environments, yet always lacking some (less or more) usability, design and ergonomics. Unfortunately I have never managed to set up a KDE4 environment that would not barf after several logins. Something similar happens with Unity, works works works, and then gradually some things stop working.

And GNOME3 is different, it is probably the only stable desktop environment that is more sophisticated than xfce.

To go against the crowd... (1, Redundant)

gQuigs (913879) | about 2 years ago | (#40797941)

Gnome 3 rocks...

Try the latest with:
  * Extensions for the stuff that really should be changed and also for some really cool enhancements []
  * The Activities menu. I love that the launcher is full screen. I am attempting to launch a new program. I don't care what I currently have open and certainly don't want transparency to fuzzily show it.
  * Accessibility as close to a first class citizen as I've seen. I always want to increase font size, they make it easy. Button in top right.

There are negatives of course.. (pressing alt to shutdown, that's just stupid) but I really miss the launcher when I use LXDE.

Re:To go against the crowd... (3, Insightful)

glebovitz (202712) | about 2 years ago | (#40798121)

I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but please turn me on to your weed supplier because you are smoking some really good stuff. I wish I was hallucinating like that.

I finally mostly like Gnome 3.4 (5, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#40797991)

Gnome 3.0 had me trying out various tiling window managers to get rid of the horrible Shell.

Gnome 3.2 came out and I went back to the Shell. I needed a ton of extensions to get a usable desktop.

Now, with 3.4, all I need to add is a direct shortcut to each desktop. Alas, the GUI offers me shortcuts only for the first four desktops, but at least it is possible to set shortcuts for all of them on the command line. I no longer have any extensions installed. Super + typing part of the application name is wonderful.

All in all, 3.4 is IMHO nicer than Gnome 2. The road to get there has been horrendous and it may have cost too many users and developers for Gnome to be viable in the future. I hope Gnome will survive, because it is the best desktop I have tried so far.

Stick a fork in Gnome, try LXDE/OpenBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40797997)

Try Crunchbang for OpenBox as a WM, or the little known WattOS, also using OpenBox. If you want something more, try Lubuntu or any of the other distros which roll a LXDE/Open Box setup.

Linux Mint 12 LXDE Edition may or may not be updated to a version 13 or higher, but for now, it has almost anything you'd need and it's slim and fast with LXDE!

Honestly, when you start trying more distros featured on Distrowatch, (some aren't visible at right in rankings but are available from the top/left drop down box, just select and go!) the more you really wonder why Ubuntu, as well known as it is, had to have someone take a massive dump on it with Unity, as if the previous brown desktop schemes weren't bad enough.

If you're not happy with anything you try, even BSD, try grabbing a mini install of your favorite distro and build from there. I really do encourage everyone to try out Crunchbang and any other distro using LXDE/Open Box, it screams and performs well, even better than XFCE on older systems.

I didn't abandon Gnome, Gnome abandoned me. (4, Insightful)

efalk (935211) | about 2 years ago | (#40798035)

I wrote a couple of major apps under Gnome/Gtk 1 and put them up on Sourceforge. I packaged them for RH7 and Ubuntu 6.

Gnome 2 came out, breaking both binary AND source compatibility. The new interfaces were baroque and I just didn't have the time to learn them.

Ubuntu 8 renamed a key package and now my Ubuntu 6 .deb files no longer installed.

Ubuntu 9 dropped support for Gnome/Gtk 1 completely.

The only question that remains now is: port to QT or go the whole nine yards and port the app to Java/Swing?

Re:I didn't abandon Gnome, Gnome abandoned me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798235)

mod parent up

QT? Doesn't M$ own that? No, please no Java. Aren't there other options?

Bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798049)

Need a new goal? efficiency! I gave-up on Linux when it's major distributions became more(much) bloat than Windows XP, and have remained with XP sP2 while bloat in both MS and Linux products exploded. If linux distributions would reverse their direction and become lean and fast like it once was(vs windows) then it might have something IMO.

Unity works for me (1)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 2 years ago | (#40798069)

I log in, I click firefox. Sometimes I click the OpenOffice button. Frequently I click the I don't know what the thing's named button, type the name of the program I want to use, and click the icon.

Very infrequently do I need to do anything else. 90% of my usage is provided with an easy button. The program starts.

I'm frankly happy. I only have 2gb of RAM, everything works fine for me.

What's all the complaining about? It works. Dual monitor works. Everything is easy to find. Occasionally I get miffed at all the crud in the "Ubuntu Software Center", but that's not Unity's fault.... :D

/Shrug. Non issue to me.

What? I just installed CentOS for Gnome2 (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | about 2 years ago | (#40798137)

I hate Unity. I hate Gnome3. I hate that Gnome3 classic isn't quite the same as Gnome2. KDE is decent, but has (had?) several annoying things about it.
So I ditched Ubuntu and went with CentOS 6.

I like tweaking my UI to perfection. Some don't, that's cool, I do. Gnome2 + compiz + other gtk trickery, has always resulted in the perfect desktop.

I Don't Like Losing Features (2)

echusarcana (832151) | about 2 years ago | (#40798143)

When I lose features I use, it makes me mad. Gnome 3 has this problem. It is hard to customize my colors the way I like. My computer temperature no longer sits there on my title bar. My CPU monitor is no longer there on my title bar. Gnome keeps popping up title bars over my movie playing.

Sadly, Unity is even more frustrating and XFCE is still very rudimentary.


geeks hate change, news at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40798179)

if there's one group most likely to be stuck living in the past, it's geeks.

Rise of KDE (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40798191)

While Gnome flounders, KDE went through its identity crisis years ago and is back to being stable, fast, complete and nicer than ever before.

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