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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 MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:14PM (#36980718)

    To answer your unasked question, he did use KDE a few years back (and I think that he had some rather harsh words for GNOME at the the time). Thing is, he left KDE when it had its radical overhaul.

    I think the problem is that GNOME/KDE decided to become the DEs for the rest of us: environments that are more suitable to entertainment than actual work. It also strikes me that Torvalds is the type of guy who works pretty hard, so neither environment is suitable for him anymore.

  • by TerranFury ( 726743 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:14PM (#36980720)

    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.

    Android does the same thing as OSX. All "apps" are always "running," more-or-less, from a GUI point of view. Under-the-hood, they obviously are not; they have to restore themselves from saved state. But this varies from program to program, and is one of the reasons Android has an inconsistent user experience. Given an unfamiliar program, you don't know at first when you're quitting it, and when you're leaving it running in the background.

    Now, Gnome3 appears also to falling into the OSX camp.

    What Torvalds seems to prefer, in KDE3.5, Gnome2, and now XFCE, is a more Windows-like metaphor for multitasking. I'm with him. I think that's one thing Windows did right.

    Personally, I think KDE 3.5 was the height of full-featured Linux desktop environments, and it's degraded into so much juvenile bullshit ever since. Now, just give me something lightweight that uses a reasonable multitasking paradigm and gets out of the way. XFCE fits the bill.

  • by macemoneta ( 154740 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:33PM (#36980878) Homepage

    LXDE [lxde.org].

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:44PM (#36980970) Homepage

    I started using Linux full-time in 1994, wrote a number of Linux books, did a whole bunch of server and desktop installations and was a huge fan of Linux+KDE beginning with KDE pre-1.0 releases. I was religiously all-Linux, all-KDE, all the time until KDE 4 on Fedora 9.

    I stuck with KDE4 for several months; at first, I couldn't imagine changing the desktop environment I'd had for so long.

    Eventually, however, I realized I spent far too much time trying to configure and reconfigure my KDE4 desktop to behave and appear in ways that were acceptable to me. It seemed like I was always spending time configuring my desktop, yet never getting it quite right. I'd be in the middle of a real task and something would annoy the hell out of me and the next thing you know I'd be knee-deep in configuration and kludging and after a couple hours I'd determinedly force myself to give up and live with it (frown, frown) only to find myself configuring once again before the day was out.

    After about three months of that, I switched to GNOME 2 on Fedora. It worked well for me and I decided I actually rather liked GNOME. Once again I settled into an environment, developed a workflow and keyboard and mouse habits and figured out how to do all of the little tweaks I wanted to do each time I did a new distro install to support new hardware, etc.

    But when GNOME3 details came out and as the KDE4/GNOME3/Unity trifecta started to overtake the Linux world, I got really frustrated. I switched to Xfce for a while, but like Linus, found it not quite where I wanted to be. I tried to return to Windowmaker, which I'd used back in the day before KDE-1pre releases. But all these years later and no native file manager? No drag-and-drop? Yes, I *can* use the command line, but sometimes I'd like to have a working desktop metaphor as well.

    So I tried Enlightenment. Nightmare; a toy project. You spend all of your time just trying to get the install consistent.

    Then I realized that I felt really good about the Macs I was encountering at the university where I am faculty. So I committed my first Linux-betrayal since 1994, repartitioned, and installed a Hackintosh partition to "test out" OSX.

    Three months later I'd built a brand new Hackintosh desktop and bought all Apple software, the first software I'd bought in decades after decades as a free software user. The Linux partition, while still there, was rarely booted any longer. Six months later I'd ditched the Hackintosh desktop and bought a MacBook Pro and reformatted all of my long-term archival media to be Mac-readable.

    There are things that frustrate me about Macs (most notably the spinning beach ball moments and the inadequacy of Mac Ports next to the RedHat and Debian repositories, less notably but still there the cost of the hardware and difficulty of cheap repairs with eBay spare parts), but I am in all honesty more productive than I've been in a very, very long time, and once again rarely have to worry about being pissed off by, or spending time I don't have reconfiguring or trying to kludge apart, my desktop—just like back in the KDE3 and GNOME2 days.

    Too bad those days are over, but I fear that free software has lost this padawan to the dark side for life. Once you get used to no configuration, no kludges, everything works to your satisfaction 95 percent of the time, it's really hard to imagine going back to tweaks, hacks, editing configuration files, and new releases that routinely require that all of these be rediscovered and that come down the pipe in regular updates and are required for recent hardware support.

  • by datakid23 ( 1706976 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @10:50PM (#36981022)
    While I mostly agree - why hasn't anyone just forked Gnome2 and run with it - it is under the GPL isn't it?
  • by J Story ( 30227 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @11:48PM (#36981424) Homepage

    Is everyone in the Gnome / KDE / Unity groups a Microsoft mole, engaged in sucking out utility from those desktop environments? Is there no one there who realizes how big a mistake they made?

    It's one thing for a single group to screw the pooch, but for all three to get the same brain-dead urge to redesign smacks of conspiracy.

  • by Larryish ( 1215510 ) <larryish.gmail@com> on Thursday August 04, 2011 @12:09AM (#36981598)

    Me - "You should try Ubuntu, it is more secure than Windows, faster, and simpler, as long as you aren't a gamer."

    Them - "Is that what you use?"

    Me - "No, I use Debian, the version that Ubuntu is based on. It is a bit more difficult to use, but I like it."

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

    And then they go back to Outlook Express and get their 47389743rd malware infection before they go watch American Idol or CSI or whatever the cattle are eating these days.

  • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Thursday August 04, 2011 @01:04AM (#36981952)

    The latter. In particular, hitting the windows key opens the "overview", which is the replacement for the Gnome menus combined with a type-to-search bar and tonnes of transparent eye candy. The alternative is to move your mouse to the top left corner of your leftmost monitor, and wait. I'm sure changing it is possible, but they sure hasn't made it easy.

    Then that sucks.

    Nor provided sane defaults that doesn't require a 104/105-key keyboard.

    See, here is where we disagree: I think the win key is the sane default (provided you present a reasonable way to change it).

    I may be biased by my window manager setup, but the way I view thing nowadays is that programs should get the ctrl, alt, and shift modifiers, and the WM should get shortcuts involving the Windows key.

  • Desktop schmesktop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @05:39AM (#36983318) Homepage Journal

    Does somebody have an idea why a hardcore Linux guy would ever like to use a Windows/OSX lookalike? I think a plain window manager like Fluxbox makes much more sense. No panels to take up space and attention, just the application windows. Programs themselves can be launched from the command line, which I think is more convenient than managing a graphical menu, and I only have menu items for terminals and browsers.

    To me, the great thing about computers is that they can handle much more data than what can be visible at a time. The problem with Windows/OSX style is trying to cram everything into one screen, while I prefer one virtual screen per task for better concentration.

    I've been using Fluxbox for about 9 years, after first using Gnome and then Enlightenment for a while, so I've probably been after more minimalism all the time. Of course, there are still more minimal window managers, but none of them has really caught my attention. For example, tiling WMs are probably great for large screens, but I generally use a laptop and other smaller screens (again, one task per virtual screen for better concentration).

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming