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Linus Torvalds Ditches GNOME 3 For Xfce 835

kai_hiwatari writes "In Google+, Torvalds criticized the direction that GNOME has taken with GNOME 3. He called GNOME 3 an 'unholy mess' and said that the user experience is unacceptable, adding that because of GNOME 3, he has ditched GNOME for Xfce. He said that Xfce is a step down from GNOME 2 — but a huge step up from GNOME 3."
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Linus Torvalds Ditches GNOME 3 For Xfce

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  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:03PM (#36980604) Homepage Journal
    I think both the GNOME group, and Torvalds as well, are guilty of change for the sake of change. Sure, he calls GNOME 3 an "unholy mess", but if

    Xfce is a step down from GNOME 2 â" but a huge step up from GNOME 3.

    Then why didn't he just stay with GNOME 2?

    Of course as a KDE user myself I want to ask why he didn't switch to KDE instead, but I know better than to open that can of worms. It is almost like asking an emacs user why they don't just switch to vi...

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:13PM (#36980700)

    Unfortunately that's not always an option. Code tends to rot in a number of ways -- old bugs go unpatched, it no longer plays nice with system libraries. Particularly with an octopus like GNOME that interferes with every part of the system, you can start to see package conflicts, dependencies on old system libraries, etc. This is slow, gradual, and can often be worked around item by item, especially for a hacker like Torvalds, but it takes time and energy.

    I had this experience myself with Amarok. I really loved the old amarok (1.4), when it had all the features of the full-on bloated clients like iTunes yet was still light and fast like Rhythmbox. Also fully customizable and scriptable with dcop. I kept pulling it in from backports, and eventually even compiling it myself, when Amarok 2 started coming standard (hoping that the developers would realize the mistake they'd made in throwing away such a perfect interface for that crap). Eventually, I gave up, as it failed to compile due to newer libs one time too many.

    Thankfully, some kind folks forked 1.4 and made clementine, but it still lacks many of the features Amarok had at its height (automated album art and lyrics fetching being some of my favorites).

    All change is relative. When you stand still, the world moves around you.

    The beauty of the desktop vs the cloud is you at least have some control over when you migrate to the new interface.

  • Who cares? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:16PM (#36980724)

    Steve Jobs says "BOO!"
    Linus Torvalds says "WOO!"
    Mark Zuckerberg says "POO!"

    This is TMZ for nerds. Swap Kardashians for Zuckerberg. Snookie for Torvalds. And Lohan for Jobs. Or whatever.

    I care more what my friends or coworkers suggest for tools, distros, sites, etc., than I really care about the opinions of these guys. Even then, I just check it out for myself.

  • by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:16PM (#36980730)

    I've worked as a sysadmin in academic HPC for 10+ years. 1000+ Linux servers. I've worked with Gnome for years, since the 1.x days.

    Gnome 3 is so bad I've switched to using Windows 7. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot were the Gnome3 developers "thinking"?

    Want to refactor a crap ton of code? I understand completely. Want to completely trash the most usable Linux UI? Go die in a fire. Seriously.

    Start listening to your user base, or you'll quickly cease to have one.

  • by lejerdemayn ( 823082 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:30PM (#36980852)
    I still can't get it out of my head: Amarok depends on mysql. Comon guys.. you need the whole fucking mysql for a fucking music player?
  • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:34PM (#36980884)

    Yeah let's just have everything stagnate and stay the same forever because poor lusers can't figure out the button moved 100 pixels and has a different icon. Wah wah wah.

    Yeah, let's add silly animations and flashy icons that make the desktop dramatically less useful just so we can show everyone how cool we are.

    Hopefully with a few more famous users switching to xfce it can progress to something as good as Gnome 2 was before they started Windowizing it.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:36PM (#36980898)

    Because he is a brilliant and positive influence in the community who is outspoken and contributes in a major way. Because if it weren't for him there wouldn't be a gnome or kde. The man has created more jobs than Obama with his "free" code. I may not always agree with him but I'll be damned if I don't lend him my ear.

  • by blai ( 1380673 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:39PM (#36980926)
    The problem here might have been that they actually *are* listening to the user base, but the user base doesn't know that it wants. "I want it easier to use", oh "let's make something something more prominent" and here's what you get.

    Instead of just listening, I think developers need some sort of intelligence of their own, too.
  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @11:07PM (#36981148)

    They fall into the trap that all GUI makers do. Once the GUI works, and works well, it only needs to be maintained, not changed. But, since they want to feel like they're doing something, they actually change it. The result is a different feel, which whether it technically works better or not alienates users. Witness Firefox. Now, it is possible to make changes that result in improvements, or at least maintaining the same level of usefulness. But those are rare. The GUI system has been in major use for 20 years or so, and it more or less reached maturity 15 years ago.

    There is a reason the GUI for XP is nearly the same as that for Win95. It looks a bit different, but someone could go from one to the other almost instantly. (Compare that to OS X, which I've only used a couple of times but managed to confuse the hell out of me. Worse, every similar implementation has its own rules that make shifting from one to the other nearly impossible without relearning the whole system.) Refinements have been made to the point where no further changes were needed. GUI designers still wanted to find something better, not realizing that for the way we use computers, it doesn't really exist. And then we got KDE 4, GNOME 3, and to a lesser extent Win 7 and Vista (MS prudently, for once, made pretty minor changes that were easy to revert. And actually work pretty well, because they didn't abandon the old system entirely). Minor change is the key. The Desktop isn't going to undergo any paradigm shifts anytime soon, and that is a good thing. It works, it works well, and new interfaces are just solutions looking for problems.

  • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @11:39PM (#36981370)

    Earlier GNOMES and KDEs imitated Windows. One thing Windows did right was the Taskbar. It is, in all seriousness, an extremely good metaphor. It separates the acts of launching programs from managing which ones are running, because, dammit, those are different things.

    OSX, with its Dock, conflates launching a program with looking at a window that it has opened. The implicit metaphor is that all programs are always "running," and that the messy details of actually starting a process should be wrapped up by the operating system so that we don't need to think about it. Then, multitasking within a program falls to the program itself. Everybody ends up implementing their own tabs.

    This is not a Taskbar vs Dock issue. The issue is that in OSX the act of closing a window does not equate to closing a program. This is why so many Windows users new to OSX mistake the Dock for leaving programs running when in Windows clicking the red X means quit. In OSX the user has to specifically choose Quit from the menu bar, right click on the icon in the Dock and select Quit, or press Command-Q. Whether this is a good idea is another debate topic.

    But for the Taskbar vs Dock metaphor, give me the simplified idea of the icon is the program, therefore clicking it brings it up no matter if it's already launched or not. Even Windows 7 went this direction.

  • Re:GNOME shell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jazzmans ( 622827 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @11:39PM (#36981374) Journal

    Haha! I've been using XFCE as my desktop environment for years and years, and for the same reasons, kde became to big, gnome stupidified the desktop to the point I couldn't do WHAT I WANT with my own desktop.

    XFCE4 for the win!


  • by Kernel Krumpit ( 1912708 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @12:04AM (#36981552)
    There's a sig out there by someone in Slashdot land attributed to Henry Ford: If i'd 've asked my customers what they wanted they'd 've said "a faster horse"...
  • by Bloodwine77 ( 913355 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @12:15AM (#36981638)

    Gnome 3 and Unity both have a hard-on for tablets. It is as if the people behind the projects think desktops and laptops will disappear within the next couple years and everybody will either be using tablets or smart phones instead.

  • Re:GNOME shell (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Thursday August 04, 2011 @12:35AM (#36981780)

    I have a bigger question. Why is this even news? Who cares what desktop environment Linux Torvalds chooses to use? It doesn't mean anything. In that context, he's just another user and has no unique insight or authority to comment on user experience.

  • by smash ( 1351 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @01:12AM (#36981992) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps because linus is not interested in a window manager holy war, and just wants to "get shit done" in a sane and efficient manner. KDE used to allow this. Gnome used to allow this. When KDE4 came out, my workflows were broken to the extent that I couldn't be bothered spending the excessive amount of time required to get them back. I have not yet used Gnome 3, but I suspect Linus is in the same situation. When its easier and less painful to change to a competing desktop environment than it is to use the new version of your previous choice, something is seriously wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @01:12AM (#36982000)

    So lets find out which toilet roll he uses.

    Just because he is smart in one area doesn't make *all* of his opinions good or even ok.

  • by MasaMuneCyrus ( 779918 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @01:24AM (#36982048)

    ...GNOME/KDE decided to become the DEs for the rest of us: environments that are more suitable to entertainment than actual work.

    This is one thing I've never understood about Linux.

    I've been in the sciences for a couple years and I use Linux for a lot of things. Even before that, I have dabbled with Linux on and off over the years. Mostly I use Windows for my personal desktop; it's not 100% stable, but neither is XFCE which I use on my work laptop (which is not a beefy laptop, so I wanted something lighter than Gnome or KDE).

    It seems to be, though, that the hardcore Linux base obsesses over customization and work. That's great. But apparently, "customization" means that you have to edit simple things in obscure config files deep in system directions, and "work" means that it has to look like a desktop from 1991.

    What is wrong with a desktop environment where everything is controllable with a GUI, and that GUI edits some config files in a system directory? What is wrong with a pretty desktop environment? If all we care about is "work", we might as well go back to using 256 colors.

  • Re:GNOME shell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @01:56AM (#36982218)

    Its news because when someone notable decided to criticize the crappy unholy mess that was CUPS administration, something actually got done about it. Now adays CUPS is still not perfect, but leaps and bounds better than the heaping pile (UI wise) than it was in years past.

  • by mug funky ( 910186 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @02:35AM (#36982460)

    maybe you should work less on your desktop environment and more on your people skills?

    i'd rather have malware than deal with you.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday August 04, 2011 @03:29AM (#36982710)

    Them - "So what, do you think you are smarter than me or something?"

    You (correct answer) - "It's not that I think I'm smarter than you; it's that I spend my life learning this shit and you have better things to do."

  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @05:39AM (#36983314) Journal

    I think the problem is that GNOME/KDE decided to become the DEs for the rest of us

    Not the rest of "us". That's the problem: GNOME (and, to a lesser extent, KDE) have decided, for some reason, to become desktop environments primarily targeted at the sort of person who isn't even remotely interested in using GNOME or KDE.

    It's like the Pope turned round one day and said "okay, we're going to rewrite our doctrines to make them more appealing to atheists!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:12AM (#36983776)
    Why is it that so many people on Slashdot confuse knowledge with intelligence?

Science may someday discover what faith has always known.