Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
GNOME Open Source Software Linux

GNOME 3 Winning Back Users 267

Mcusanelli writes: GNOME 3, the open source desktop environment for Linux systems that once earned a lot of ire, is receiving newfound praise for the maturity of GNOME Shell and other improvements. The recent release of version 3.14 capped off a series of updates that have gone a long way toward resolving users' problems and addressing complaints. One of the big pieces was the addition of "Classic mode" in 3.8, which got it into RHEL 7, and Debian is switching back as well.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

GNOME 3 Winning Back Users

Comments Filter:
  • by Jagungal ( 36053 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @05:40AM (#48089791)

    Personally I still like KDE's way of thinking about things, that you are far better off creating multiple workspaces all based on a common desktop environment that suit different types of hardware (Desktop, Netbook and future touch interfaces) rather than creating a monolithic interface that tries to bridge across all types of hardware it might be used on.

    In any case anything is better than Unity and they both beat the rubbish Windows 8 interface.

  • But if it still tries to force someone else's idea of how a desktop should behave I doubt that I will move back. Really, why do Gnome developers find it so hard to allow users to change things to their likings anyway?

    • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @05:56AM (#48089821) Homepage

      Really, why do Gnome developers find it so hard to allow users to change things to their likings anyway?

      Gnome's reduction of customizability began in the early millennium when it partnered with some large companies who had carried out formal UI studies and found that for the vast majority of users, options only confuse them. Yes, power users like being able to tweak everything, but there are already a number of *nix graphical interfaces for nerds, and why shouldn't ordinary people get a desktop for them too? Furthermore, a niche that GNOME was chasing was the corporate desktop, where system administrators would decide how everything would work, not end users (this goal also led to the use of gconf to hold settings and allow one to roll them out en masse).

      • by jonnyj ( 1011131 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @07:20AM (#48090069)

        Gnome's reduction of customizability began in the early millennium when it partnered with some large companies who had carried out formal UI studies and found that for the vast majority of users, options only confuse them. Yes, power users like being able to tweak everything, but there are already a number of *nix graphical interfaces for nerds, and why shouldn't ordinary people get a desktop for them too?

        Quite. I really don't get why folk need to hate on someone else's user interface. If it's not for you, move on: the diversity of Linux is a strength, not something to get angry about.

        It might be an unpopular view, but I really, really like Unity, for example. It fits in with my workflow and I forget it's there - just what should happen with a desktop environment. It also works well for my mother-in-law, my father and my wife: none of them are computer literate and they enjoy its simplicity.

        I've been looking again at Gnome 3 and I also can see its appeal. The way it handles multiple desktops is great, for example, and some of the default apps superficially appear to be excellent. It might not be for everyone, but it has its niche. I might yet be persuaded.

        Similarly, I can see the appeal of XFCE, KDE and LWM. They're not for me, but I can understand why people like them. Sometimes you need customisability (KDE) or something that doesn't need loads of RAM or hardware-enabled graphics acceleration (XFCE/LWM). If they work for you, then great.

        Why the negativity? I know what I don't like, and I have very little interest in hearing what you don't like; what interests me is the chance of discovering the good stuff out there that I don't yet know about.

        • by ADRA ( 37398 )

          The negativity was turning one product into an entirely brand new product. If you hate XFCE, then you also hate Gnome 2, which was largely the same. The hate as you'd put it was that they decide they didn't want to be an Apple anymore, instead they wanted to produce Oranges. They just assumed that everyone should be eating Oranges now because... why? They were perfectly in their right to build the best Orange they can, but assuming that they wouldn't piss off their entire existing userbase of Apple eaters i

      • Gnome's reduction of customizability began in the early millennium when it partnered with some large companies who had carried out formal UI studies and found that for the vast majority of users, options only confuse them.

        And it's probably true - give most people a system that is set up for them and they are probably happier than having lots of options. The problem with this, of course, is that "set up for them" is different for each user, and out of the box it isn't really set up right for anyone.

        They also made some bonkers design decisions that didn't reduce the configurability but not the complexity of the UI - for example, for a long time they claimed no one needed to turn off DPMS, so the "turn off screen" option just

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Simple: If they do that, they will be replaced by other Window-Managers (and yes, despite their claims of grandeur, Gnome and KDS are just Window-Managers and can be replaced) that have had great user freedom forever. Personally, I see zero need for either Gnome or KDE. fvwm had all features I need back in 1993 and I am still using a modified version of its config that I did back then on SunOS. And yes, incidentally, it has had well-working virtual desktops back then and they are an absolute killer feature

      • GNOME is a lot more than a window manager, it's a set of applications too. I run Enlightenment as my window manager, but I use GNOME applications like Shotwell, Evince and gucharmap. Each of those individual applications has undergone changes based on goals pursued by the desktop project as a whole, and even GIMP (historically not a GNOME application) has been affected by the evolving GNOME philosophy. Lots of people who don't use the GNOME desktop use a few GNOME applications, so the direction of the proje
        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Only moderately so. The only Gnome application I use knowingly is gparted and that should not be to difficult to move to a different toolkit. Also, the Gnome toolkit is not Gnome with its insane dependency on systemd and its broken desktop and a lot of other foolishness from apparently inexperienced designers. The toolkit is also much more stable.

          • by rioki ( 1328185 )

            GTK is not the Gnome Toolkit, it is the Gimp Toolkit. That it sort of was absorbed into the Gnome project is rather a sad reality. While the Gnome 2 days it seemed like an OK trade of. But as they purposefully broke Windows support in GTK 3 for Gnome 3, the writing was on the wall. Although they brought Windows and Mac OS support back in line, GTK stopped being the reliable UI library it once was.

          • Only moderately so. The only Gnome application I use knowingly is gparted and that should not be to difficult to move to a different toolkit.

            But you know that you are not everyone, that there are other people with other setups even within the fairly small community of *nix fans, right?

            Also, the Gnome toolkit is not Gnome with its insane dependency on systemd and its broken desktop and a lot of other foolishness from apparently inexperienced designers. The toolkit is also much more stable.

            For a few years

            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              You are right. This whole cabal seems to have forgotten what made Unix reach things way back that other OSes still try to do.

  • But Still (Score:2, Insightful)

    No matter what Gnome does, systemd is still driving people away from Linux and toward other unices. Debian will eventually be a fringe distro.

    • Re:But Still (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @05:57AM (#48089825) Homepage Journal

      No matter what Gnome does, systemd is still driving people away from Linux and toward other unices. Debian will eventually be a fringe distro.

      Well, that's what I came to say. If GNOME3 did have a chance to win me back, they flushed it with systemd. First they castrate the interface, then they shit up my init. No thanks, GNOME. You had your chance, and you blew it. Prepare for also-ran status.

    • Yes, because everyone who uses GNU/Linux is desperate to write their own init scripts...

      The reality is, I suspect, opposite to what systemd's opponents say. I suspect most people are glad of the move away from plain old init, and insofar as they have a problem with systemd, it's that it could be done better.

      • It would be nice if they could have done better by forking distros and working out the bugs and showing us it's better, such that it would be naturally adopted by users. It would win on merit. Instead it's buggy, bloated, breaks all sorts of simple tasks (like parsing log files, really?) and has been shimmied into popular distros via slimy political means. Now I have to either put up with their unproven bullshit or switch distros. I liked Debian.

        • by bulled ( 956533 )
          Did you actually follow the discussion on the Debian list? It was not slimy and it was only political in that the vote was close (and was always going to be given the strong opinions on both sides).

          But most importantly, while several Committee memebers were upset in the moment, the discussion stayed remarkably on topic and avoided decending into "No, you're stupid".
  • by Pav ( 4298 )
    I've discovered LXDE, and I think the lighter desktop options and alternatives in general got a lot of love when Gnome dropped the ball. And (at least for me) that has turned out to be a great thing... I've rediscovered "snap".
  • by joelholdsworth ( 1095165 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @06:23AM (#48089905)
    • - Gnome3 sucks forever, permanently always.
    • - Lennart is making an evil conspiricy to force me to use systemd.
    • - systemd is teh suck send to destroy beautiful SysV init - which is the true embodyment of perfection and any faults mentioned about it are by no-nothing windows script kiddies and mac wannabies.
    • - Ditto PulseAudio - except not so much now? now we quite like it because I can turn the volume up and down without it making a clicking sound.
    • - They're turning my precious Linux into Windowz!
    • - I'm leaving for the BSDs - don't try to stop me.
    • - wayland is teh suxxors because I can't run xeyes over a network any more. These people don't understand X! - wait what? it's by X developers? No way.

    Look slashdot: If you don't like something stop being whiny luddite bitches and fix it. That's what open source is about.

    And while you're at it stop trashing good work that's going on in other projects - even if you don't agree with the direction it's going in.

    • by goulo ( 715031 )
      " If you don't like something stop being whiny luddite bitches and fix it."

      Why in the world should people have to FIX something (e.g. Gnome or systemd) which they not only don't LIKE, but don't even WANT or USE on their computers? That makes no sense.

      Do YOU make a habit of fixing stuff which you neither like nor want nor use?

      • his point is if you don't use it, stop whining and if you don;t like it, use something else and stop whining
      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        Your comment makes no sense. If you don't like or want to use it then don't! What a bizarre notion. You act as if you're forced to use it. Besides all that you're using something that is provided for free! How dare they mess with my precious linux! If you don't like it, move on. Use something better. You might have to pay for it, but that's the way the world works. Windows 9 with classic shell isn't that bad.

        What the op is saying is that whining about free software makes you a freeloader, plain and s

      • Do YOU make a habit of fixing stuff which you neither like nor want nor use?

        Yes, I'm a Windows sysadmin.

    • by Uecker ( 1842596 )

      Linux with something as gnome3 as UI (and yes I tried), binary log files, and no network transparency (I use it every day and it works perfectly) and - even worse - broken backwards compatibility, indeed as no appeal to me anymore.

      Now, I am not complaining that people develop such stuff - they are - of course - free to develop whatever they want. The problem I people have is that it is forced down on us on a regular upgrade path - instead of offered as an option. I also hate the lying and FUD (e.g. the netw

    • by noldrin ( 635339 )
      > Look slashdot: If you don't like something stop being whiny luddite bitches and fix it. That's what open source is about.

      People would rather give excuses which reveal they haven't even done a cursory review of the technical aspects involved. People confuse passion with effort, and actually working on open source takes effort.
    • These people don't understand X! - wait what? it's by X developers? No way.

      To be fair, the x.org guys have never been known for quality project management.

  • by pholus ( 127383 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @06:25AM (#48089921)

    Nice to see the primary article admit that the launch was immature I guess.

    Once again, the media around Gnome seems to display tone-deafness. The third article gave not a single specific other than Linus uses it though he still has problems. The first article lists all the "improvements" that are supposed to lure me back into the fold. Let's see how they stack up.

    FTFA:

    1) Classic mode offers "enough familiarity" -- at this point XFCE does what I need it to do. I don't need to use Gnome's idea of how the "old folks" used to work. I heard enough times that "classic" was going to die anyway -- too much risk in switching to something with no clear future.

    2) "Weather app" -- okay. Yeah that increases my productivity!

    3) Evince has less interface -- great. You guys do realize it was the LACK OF CONTROLS on your apps that drove me away, right?

    4) Multitouch support -- worthless to me, no touch interfaces, don't want them.

    5) Photo app gained support for Google accounts -- so it reached feature parity with my smartphone. Yay!

    6) "Captive portal handling" -- this was an actual problem? I don't recall every failing in that task.

    Are you kidding me? That adds up to a lot of shined poo.

    Neither article answered a single question I actually would have:

    Can I configure it simply without third party plugins?
    Can I kill the hot corners? In fact, the whole "Fisher Price Activities" screen?
    Can I set unchangable defaults on the launcher instead of it deciding incorrectly what I think is important.
    Can I change the terminal and screen layout so my 30" monitor is not trying to make one huge xterm all the time?
    Can I get a "heads up display" of my multiple desktops that I don't have to cycle through buttons or move the mouse to see?
    Does the terminal launcher continue to assume I need just one terminal and unhelpfully bring up the last instance when I actually wanted a new one?
    Does the file browser do something sane finally?
    Do I still have to have a global menu?
    Can I have focus follows the fricking mouse please? I have a huge legacy program that won't work if this doesn't and I am not rewriting it.

    Nope. I don't see a lot of evidence from the articles that it is worth my time to come back. Gnome's new design was for intro users who wanted lots of pizzaz. They were VERY clear about how my problems were because I knew nothing about how I should use the computer. The problem is, I know what jobs I am trying to do, and Gnome just didn't work.

  • by BrendaEM ( 871664 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @06:46AM (#48089955) Homepage

    The problems:
    Standard Gnome 3 is desktop/power user hostile.
    Mate and Cinnamon don't do touch screens.
    Cinnamon depends on Gnome 3
    Because of it's Gnome 2 underpinnings, Mate does not scale well, but I am sure they can add to the final product.

    Reform the Gnome organization, giving the Cinnamon and Mate devs a good voice in the final product.

    BTW, I am using Cinnamon right now.

  • Can't forgive. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jurgen ( 14843 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @06:52AM (#48089969)

    Gnome 3 may be getting better... and I do think that many of the their engineering decissions were addressing real needs even if I personally would have preferred addressing them differently. But I still don't care for the UI and I can NEVER forgive Gnome for the way they pulled the rug out under my workflow. I had something that worked, that was well tuned to my needs, and these self-righteous ASSHOLES just plain simply and utterly BROKE it. For a year and a half after Gnome 3 went into Fedora I stayed with Gnome 2 by not upgrading my system, but I needed up-to-date apps, security fixes, etc. I did give Gnome 3 a chance... but aside from hating the UI it was missing features I needed and worse, at the time it was unstable on the graphics in my laptop! For a while I ended up using Xfce, which is ok but getting rather stale, then I switched to MATE which I'm still using now.

    But the real point of this message is this... by breaking my desktop the Gnome people cost me hundreds of hours of lost productivity, and the same was probably true for tens of thousands of other Linux desktop users, so we're talking about millions of lost hour of productivity, amounting to probably several billion dollars. The sheer arrogance of this is staggering to me. Linus never did anything like this, it was always a principle of Linux development not to break userland exactly for this reason. Yeah, Gnome is "only UI", but it isn't as easy as just switching some habits... people have developed workflows around their UIs, so it amounts to the same thing... breakage.

    So I'll never forgive Gnome, I'll never trust my productivity to them again. And I'm that many other Linux desktop uses feel the same way... although most of us are techies, we want to work, not wrestle with our desktop UI. I suspect this debacle has been a massive setback for Linux on the desktop. I'm as hardcore an open source you'll find, I haven't run a closed-source OS in over 20 years, but I was almost ready to throw in the towel and install Windows during the height of this!

    • This is an attitude that I see a lot and no doubt will come up multiple in times in this thread, and I've got to say - I just don't get it.

      When Gnome 3 came out I hated it as well so I switched to Xfce and I've been happy with that. I didn't rant and rave about the Gnome guys though because the way I see it, they're volunteers. The attitude above is tinged with a real sense of entitlement like they owe you something, but they absolutely don't.

      I'm sorry that you don't like their changes, I didn't either. How

      • by jurgen ( 14843 )

        Sorry, but that's nonsense.

        First of all, I have contributed code to many Open Source projects, including Gnome (just fixes here and there, but in all it wasn't an insignificant amount of my time). Secondly I'm not complaining about them not implementing features I want... I'm complaining about them wantonly killing a product that I and thousands of others had a lot of investment in. And there's no other way to put it... they killed Gnome 2 and replaced with something completely incompatible and feature-in

        • by Uecker ( 1842596 )

          I can't agree more. It is not that they are not free to develop whatever they want or that they are not free to stop working on Gnome 2.. The issue is that they misused the trust people put into Gnome 2 to switch people over to their completely incompatible and different Gnome 3 - breaking user experience.

          Compare that with the philosophy of the Linux kernel:

          "The biggest thing any program can do is not the technical details of the program itself; it’s how useful the program is to users. So any time any

      • I didn't rant and rave about the Gnome guys though because the way I see it, they're volunteers.

        Actually, they're not. Most of them are employed by Red Hat. Why RH thinks that the broken-by-design Gnome3 desktop is going to help them earn the business of corporations (Red Hat's target market), I have no idea at all; a Windows clone makes far more sense here if you want to get corporation to adopt desktop Linux, and Gnome3 doesn't make any sense at all for servers, their primary market.

        I suppose you could

    • by CRC'99 ( 96526 )

      I suspect this debacle has been a massive setback for Linux on the desktop. I'm as hardcore an open source you'll find, I haven't run a closed-source OS in over 20 years, but I was almost ready to throw in the towel and install Windows during the height of this!

      I did exactly this... I run linux on just about every non-GUI bit of equipment I have - virtualisation, the lot - but everything that I actually have to look at a screen for, I use Windows 7 again. Gnome 3 killed it for me... I have 3 x 24" 1920x1080 screens that Gnome 3 could never handle right. I was running Fedora 20 until Gnome 3.

      TBH, XFCE would be perfect IF it was using wayland. The graphics tearing issues I had with my tri-head video card + XFCE was horrible. The sad fact was the only real fix was th

  • Once I got used to Gnome 3, I had no real issue with it.
  • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Wednesday October 08, 2014 @07:58AM (#48090207)

    In this age of widescreen LCDs, the vertical space is limited. Yet, Gnome seems to be wasting it with not just one, but two horizontal panels. Wouldn't it make more sense to make them vertical?

  • One of the big pieces was the addition of "Classic mode" in 3.8

    I wonder, how far back the "Classic" goes... Does it offer the look-and-feel of Motif X-sessions of the early 1990ies — or the skimpy twm? Or the fvwm of the slightly later years? What exactly is "classic" today?

  • Have they fixed it yet?

    Gnome 3 may be great, but if they make an update to it and that breaks all the apps or components whose support groups can't keep up with releases, who cares?

  • I think Gnome 3 is the New Coke of the DE world. It wasn't so much that it was a horrible idea... taste tests seemed promising, and change is good, right? It just seems to be what happens when makers 'mess' with a product. Now that they've reintroduced Gnome 'Classic', (see where I went with the Coke thing?), people are simmering down a bit and reluctantly muttering, "Oh, well.... that's okay then, I guess. Watch it - we've got our eyes on you!"

    Where it's nothing like New Coke is that the Gnome develope

"If you don't want your dog to have bad breath, do what I do: Pour a little Lavoris in the toilet." -- Comedian Jay Leno

Working...