Open Ballot: What does Gnome have to do to win back users and developers?

Podcast

A few months back, we asked whether or not KDE had become a third class citizen on desktop Linux, but maybe we got the question wrong.

A recent post on Planet Gnome revealed to the world that not all is well in the land of gnomes. Gnome and GTK, according to the post, are understaffed, with some key developers having left the project, Gnome has no real goals left, and perhaps most importantly, Gnome is losing mind and market share: distributions like Mint and Ubuntu are dropping Gnome and many important applications aren't planning to port to GTK 3.

While the discussion in the comments reveals that not all of the author's arguments stand up to criticism, there's truth in much of what is said. We want you to tell us, and the developers of Gnome, what do they need to do in order to win back users and developers?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and we'll read out the best in our internet famous open ballot.

You should follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter


Your comments

Keep on keeping on.

Gnome in my opinion are doing just fine, Heard a lot in the past few days which would suggest otherwise but they are going to find it hard in the next while.

Having said that, they still remain a very important part of my everyday life(due to me being a developer, and spending 7+ hours looking at gnome every day monday-Friday)

I have never got into Gnome 3 yet but its more out of sheer laziness on my behalf and the fact that gnome2 just works so well for me.

Gnome in the form of Gnome 3 has a huge future, but unfortunately it may have to take a backplace to some of the more flashy mobile interfaces popping up. realistically having a good desktop (and primarily desktop, not some sort of weird mobile/desktop mutation) will remain relevant for at least the next 5-6 years.

My advice would be not to panic that there is not much development, Gnome developers keep doing the bit you can, and keep on creating the best desktop experiences.

Customization

Bring our easily and deeply customizable old desktop capabilities back. That's all.

@ Newky

You said it " the fact that gnome2 just works so well for me. " and for lots of other people. I agree that we need a proper desktop not some sort of hybrid.

focus on differentiators, embrace external projects

It saddens me each time a new GNOME is released and I read a bunch of changes being made to Epiphany. Why is the GNOME team developing any resources at all to this web browser, when it would be so easy to just use Firefox, Chrome or Chromium?

If the word-on-the-street about the decreasing development resources is true, then surely it makes sense to stop developing the GNOME-version of everything and just focus on what GNOME does best? GNOME has no business developing yet another web browser, and I'd argue they wasted time with Empathy (instead of using Pidgin).

I'm using Fedora 17, and I think GNOME is pretty darn polished. It'll be even better once the shutdown option comes back. My fingers are crossed that a new default theme might be more space efficient (what's with the massive title bars?), but I'm happy for the most part.

Evolution not revolution

Most technological developments evolve out of previous developments. Even Apple's phones have elements of the Palm organiser in their make up, it evolved out of what had gone before. But Gnome, instead of developing the very successful and popular Gnome 2 Desktop Environment decided to revolutionize it for Gnome 3. I'm sure the paymasters of Gnome are responsible for this as they want a Tablet Environment for their new products. They don't care about the users of Gnome's traditional desktop and the majority are now searching around for an alternative.

No doubt the Tablet computers will be a very popular for those who consume media but they are next to useless for those who create and this is why the desktop/laptop are a long way from being dead. These devices will need a suitable desktop environment and it isn't Gnome 3.

Perhaps the Gnome Foundation should give some help toward Ikey Doherty (SolusOS) who is currently developing a Desktop Environment which will work on Gnome 3 without taking all the resources the computer has. (Running standard Gnome 3, Unity or Cinnamon on a VirtualBox system quickly reveals the short comings of these resource hogs).

We must remember; the Desktop Environment is there to enable you to easily employ Applications and enable them to work with each other, nothing else.

It is hard to change the desktop metafore

Gnome and Unity are trying to move the desktop on from the start button menu mindset. This is VERY HARD to do. In that they are changing the fundamental interaction of the user with the system.

What do they need to do. Persist in producing a consistent design, listen to criticism, and keep going.

Things like hiding the shutdown option behind the alt key I can understand, they want people to suspend their machines rather than restart. Using Gnome 3 I have change my behaviour in this, but I still think it should at least be an easily changeable option as to what items appear in that menu.

Microsoft are now going to embark on changing the user interface fundamentally with the metro interface. This will be even harder for them to achieve.

o_O

Hi,

I really dont understand the gnome 2 and 3 thing, i use
ubuntu 12.04(gnome 3?) and xubuntu 12.04(xfce?). I use to use
the gnome-fallback session for ubuntu 11.10 before taking
a dive into using unity fulltime,,,anyway, what i wanted to
ask was perhapes you can do an article on this gnome 2/3
thing, because for noobs like me i dont really understand
the difference, for me kde is obviously different.

/Rob.

They need to save themselves, stop being morons

I lost interest in gnome developments after the whole confuffle with the shut down buttons. It was clear what the user's wanted, that all important button in an easy place, and would they put it there.... no!
That sort of blind leadership, "Lets do what we please, screw what the users want, what do they know anyways?" is ridiculous.

They deserve everything they get now in my opinion, if they aren't willing to listen, then they have become what they hate most, Microsoft.

carry on development of gnome2

Accept that a large number of users don't want this. It's really fast an send and I like that, but feel like I'm in a straight jacket. . Things are slower, mice to corner then go to application, whereas before, click on icon on bar . Virtual desktop are now not worth the effort, no more sweeping left or right. All this to support crap laptops (tablets) and phones, but is anyone running gnome on these devices.

abandon "user-friendliness"

Leave the unity style we know what you want better then you do and we don't want to confuse you with options approach to Ubuntu. That's what it's for. They can invest money in it to pay devs to do it - it's beneficial for them to get non-programmers as users.

This is not the case for Gnome which relies on users to be programmers and develop it. If they can't use it because it's no longer for them then they will not contribute to it.

Gnome 3 is dead, get it and move forward

Gnome 3 desktop as it is now should be abandoned. It is really underpowered, neutered old Gnome. Gnome even before was pretty much underfeatured compared to KDE or even XFCE. To succeed Gnome need loose mindset, that simple apps with no right click, with two buttons in toolbar are the best, while in reality they lead nowhere. If you create DE suitable for mentally ill(no offence for really disabled, only for Gnome Devs), only retards will use it. Also they waste valuable screen estate for no functionality at all (look default taskbars of gnome 3, size of icons in toolbars, new Ephipany waste of upper space for nothing, etc).
They should pack stuff(GTK 3, Gnome shell) and move to cinnamon or somewhere else, pack some old GTK+ 2 apps to GTK+ 3, offer help for converting other desktops to GTK+ 3. For Gnome3 it is dead end. Also their documentation is pretty much useless.
KDE and E17 are the desktops who will succeed as the ones who bring Linux forward. Kde and E17 looks both modern and are powerfull.

Gnome lost it big time.

They used to be so adaptable. Now it's nowhere near as flexible as it used to be. Sure it's pretty, but only if you like what they've done with it.

Screensavers. Toolbar positions. Icon view only for menus.

Need I say more?

As someone who uses detailed view exclusively, I was severely at odds with their new netbook-friendly menu system. Pants I say!

What do they need to do? Make Gnome 2 pretty like Gnome 3 and then leave it be!

To Win Back Users, Give Away Free Gnome Tablets

Gnome 3 is obviously a tablet-oriented GUI, so in order to best showcase its features and ease-of-use, give all of the Gnome 3 doubters a free tablet to try it out! (Be sure not to forget Linus Torvalds.) Then, once everyone is frustrated with their complete lack of productivity and speed, they can go back to KDE on a real computer to get their work done - maybe once a day pulling out the tablet to read an ebook or watch a movie, which is all that tablets seem to be good for.

Seriously though, Gnome 3 has GOT to allow some configuration to be useful on the desktop. Allow right-click configuration of elements (like KDE). Allow configuring the Activities to display a menu-driven system similar to the old Gnome 2 / Windows "start button" (instead of the full-screen application selection menu). Nautilus always allowed view changes between "Icons" and "List/Detailed" views; the Activities menu could act the same way.

The new app-switching in Gnome 3 is nice; however why not allow that to be triggered from Alt-Tab instead of clicking the Activities menu? There is too much mouse-dragging all over the place for a desktop GUI. There has to be some middle ground that can be reached via configuration to make this thing usable on the desktop.

I've always said the best thing about Gnome 3 is it showed me how great KDE is, and until Gnome realizes that the desktop needs a GUI too, it will be relegated to competing with Android and Apple, an endeavor that will surely fail.

Gnome 3 for me

I've grown to love Gnome 3, but it didn't happen overnight. At first I thought she was one of those desktops that looked really sexy but her personality was just too difficult for any meaningful relationship to form. I mean, having to look up how to shutdown, and basic things like that, was a bit of a rude shock, but, because she is just so pretty, I made the effort - and it was worth it. Now when I'm at work my mind wanders off to dream of coming home and mousing into her hot corner.

This said, the lack of easy customization options are a pain and felt like a bit of an insult when I first tried it.

!Tablet

A tablet seems to me to be pretty useless. Drop the phone interfaces (Windows8, Unity, Gnome 3) and get back to desktops. When Ubuntu 10.04 is no longer supported, I will be moving to Bhodi Linux or something similar, that I can use with a keyboard.

Gnome Relevance

Other desktops seem to be taking the limelight that Gnome once had eg LXDE for lower powered machines and XFCE are basically taking Gnomes' place.

They need to go back to simple values of functionality, be pratical, and usable that Gnome 2 had.

Ben nice to see you back

Nice to see you back Ben

Old dogs never learn new tricks

Gnome 3 just show us how a user desktop should be:

- no task bar, just a preview of the running apps;
- dynamic virtual Desktops that grow as you need;
- fast, much faster then unity or gnome 2 (compared on 2 desktops and 1 notebook running both with Ubuntu 12.04);
- focus with a smart hiding tray;
- extensions management on the browser (the easiest way until now);
- the best implementation/integration of instant messaging with the desktop.

I really to like hear what all others developers that dropped the project had to say about it. Is this the only vision we have?

I just wish a better approach with the title bar of apps stealing many pixels and a global menu integration (menus must die or find their place). But I guess it will come on the near future.

The Gnome OS vision is something I share.

Three Things

1. Don't treat fallback mode like a second class citizen
2. Listen to it's user base
3. Don't chase after being all things to everyone I.e. build on it's established strengths instead if chasing after a pipe dream.

Gnome is relevant and I like it

Gnome has been turned into the desktop I have always used. In case anyone is curious - I am not, nor have I ever been, more than just a user of Gnome - I don't even use their forums.

1. My work flow has always been to open the window I am working with to full screen; to focus on the task at hand.
2. I have never really got the virtual desktops thing, because all they offered is hiding running applications and/or taking the application off my task bar - see point 1 for me. Funnily enough, having learnt the keyboard shortcuts, I find myself occasionally using virtual desktops now.
3. Keyboard shortcuts make it very fast to use Gnome 3 - I write a lot so the keyboard is important to me.
4. I have primarily suspended my laptop for years now, usually only rebooting when I updated the kernel.
5. I have never been one to modify my desktop much; bling is nice, but doesn't get my work done!
6. Changes that I used to make where focused on keyboard and application shortcuts - both well handled in Gnome 3.
7. Applications and data are quickly accessible - either with the keyboard or mouse.
8. I rarely used to put documents and application shortcuts on my desktop, I always preferred the clean look.

So I love the Gnome 3 desktop - it suites me fine, because it lets me get on with doing work and focusing on what I am doing.

As for this "only suitable for tablets" crap - my laptop has a largish screen 1600 * 900 and I have a second screen that is 1920 * 1200 that operates in portrait mode - not super large, but the point is, I don't have a problem with the way Gnome uses the screen real estate, or the mouse.

I appreciate that for some people, Gnome 3 is not what they want, but again, this is Linux, use a different desktop or learn the faster ways to use Gnome 3. It is efficient if you take 20 mins to learn how to be efficient with it.

It is NOT perfect though - what desktop is! I do miss the panel applets and I think they have taken away too many of the configuration options, but there are applications you can install that give you a lot of those items back, including the shutdown, reboot and minimise etc. BTW: It is just as quick to use the power button (or laptop lid for laptop users) to enact power down if that is what you want.

You might argue that if the developers listened to feedback then you wouldn't need to add these extensions, but in nearly 30 years of computing I am yet to use a desktop that is perfect and doesn't require some addons, or modification to work the way I want to work. That is partly because no one works the same way as anyone else - I think we call that "being human!"

I think the power of the new framework is obvious with alternatives like "cinnamon" showing what can be done, if someone wants something different.

Some of the Gnome apps seem irrelevant, or still need work in my view. However, this is Linux, just install what works for you instead. Of course having Gnome developers focus on the desktop would be better than all of those "apps", but as has been stated in many other places, this is open source, developers work on what interests them, not what we want. We should be thankful for the efforts they choose to put in and be prepared to offer help and "constructive" criticism, not this constant whining that seems to be the hallmark of today. Neither the developers, or for that matter the world, owe you anything! It is, after all, their time to use how they see fit.

Projects will live and die by, ultimately, the enthusiasm of the developers (which is almost always influenced by the success the project receives in the public domain). Enthusiasm wanes eventually, projects mature and new, motivated developers are harder to find, and of course, most of these projects survive using unpaid developers. If you don't like the direction a project takes, you have three choices;
1. become actively involved and help guide the direction (join the design/usability/UI/documetation team if you can't code);
2. be passively involved, which includes using the project and providing feedback - knowing that it may not be taken on board, but then again it may be;
3. move on, and find something that does meet your needs.
Various commercial interests work on this basis; the project is important to them, so they engage in a proactive way, usually financially with either developers of sponsorship. Sometimes that results in conflicts, but did someone mention "fork".

Linux gives you choice, freedom and the ability to make a difference yourself (if you choose to do so), use those things wisely.

Remember: If you are not part of the solution, then you are not part of the solution!

People say the darnest things.

@Anonymous Gnome Refugee

> Allow configuring the Activities to display a menu-driven system similar to the old Gnome 2 / Windows "start button"

Never mind the terrible user experience that is the Windows start menu; that software developers consider it ok to bury their applications three or more levels deep, where a click that misses by only a few pixels can drop you back to the desktop, or worse, accidentally start a resource hog like Photoshop.

No. That is a stupid way of doing things. Spotlight on OSX has provided a much better interface for launching applications, all Gnome 3 does is provide a similar interface, combined with the ability to manually look through your applications if you so desire.

> The new app-switching in Gnome 3 is nice; however why not allow that to be triggered from Alt-Tab instead of clicking the Activities menu? There is too much mouse-dragging all over the place for a desktop GUI. There has to be some middle ground that can be reached via configuration to make this thing usable on the desktop.

App switching is triggered by Alt+Tab, window switching by ~+Tab. What are you talking about here?

@Heiowge

> Screensavers. Toolbar positions. Icon view only for menus.

Screensavers? Doesn't everyone just blank their screens now anyway?

Toolbar positions; would you place the top bar at the bottom, the left or right sides? Should theme developers be expected to deal with this?

Sure it's less flexible, but it's not a missing "shutdown" button we're talking about. Sure it's an OSX clone, but you know what? It works extremely well.

> Need I say more?

Yeah, actually. Your position doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

@Angry Mob

> If you create DE suitable for mentally ill(no offence for really disabled, only for Gnome Devs), only retards will use it.

I think you forgot to list "Gnome users" in the list of people who will be offended.

> new Ephipany waste of upper space for nothing, etc

Because empty space is wasted space... give us a break.

> Also their documentation is pretty much useless

Yeah, kind of annoyed about their documentation myself.

Radical Change rarely accepted by the common people!

Radical Change rarely accepted by the common people! If the developer insist they are right, then stick to it. Time will give us the answer! No need to change to cater to the common taste. Maybe Gnome3 is the future.

Let users choose

I think Gnome should let users choose between the touch-orientated Gnome3 desktop environment and the classic desktop-orientated Gnome2 desktop environment. I say that, because I think that some users are less productive when using the new look of gnome,so those users shall choose which look better suits them.

Just combine old & new.

@buzzomatic
> Screensavers? Doesn't everyone just blank their screens now anyway?

If everyone just jumped off a cliff because it was the in thing, would you do it to? Nuff said.

Now on to topic.

No matter how much the gnome devs state Gnome 3 is desktop oriented, there is no doubting it is geared towards tablets and touch interfaces, and guess what, it is ideally suited to that (come on, icons the size of a truck, massive title bars, little to no configurability, you can't tell me touch is not the primary goal).

I think gnome 2 should be brought up to scratch on the new libraries and gtk3, and presented as the desktop interface, while shell should be an alternative window manager (alongside metacity) for a tablet/touch interface.

So we will have a gnome 3 suitable for all use cases, a fully functional and configurable desktop interface and a simplified non-configurable tablet interface, just a matter of switching WM.

The failing shell has is trying to shoehorn desktop users into a tablet interface.

Cheers.

@Padfoot > If everyone just

@Padfoot

> If everyone just jumped off a cliff because it was the in thing, would you do it to? Nuff said.

I wasn't suggesting anything like that. The point is it's not a huge loss for most people, and for the people that want it there are other solutions.

> The failing shell has is trying to shoehorn desktop users into a tablet interface.

It works pretty damn well as a desktop from my perspective.

You'd have the dwindling team at Gnome support the very obsolete Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 at the same time? For what gains?

If you truly need to be able to configure every pixel of your desktop environment, then there are other better solutions.

If you want a nice stable platform that can be extended while maintaining a uniform look and feel, there's Gnome 3.

Yes it has shortcomings in regards to configuration, and yes the extensions website is rather minimal. However every release sees more of what *we* want introduced, and every week more extensions are released to cover what was missed.

The biggest shortcoming from my perspective is actually the ease of extension development. I found the documentation to be quite poor, and the tools to develop quickly and easily simply missing.

I'd like to see critics offer objective criticisms instead of bullshit arguments like your "tablet interface" argument.

What choice do I have?

@buzzomatic

Screensavers: No, we all only blank our screens because we don't have the choice. I liked using Electric Sheep screensaver. Something new and funky everyday. It doesn't work under KDE and all the gnome 3 spins don't have screensavers. If I want them, should I be forced back to Windows?

Toolbar positions: I would like the option to decide where my toolbars are positioned, their colours, opacity, how many toolbars, their visibility etc. None of the current main desktops (unity, Gnome3, Cinnamon or KDE) make it easy as gnome 2 did to adjust these.

Need I say more?

Yes. Ok, I'm not impressed with these "improvements". While it's prettier and there is more functionality for those who use it, it isn't as productive as it was with Gnome 2. It's almost like they've made a Vista. Changed things to make it seem different enough to sell, but not actually improved a whole lot. Later versions made things a bit better, but there's still a lot missing and it feels a lot clunkier.

@buzzomatic

>> If everyone just jumped off a cliff because it was the in thing, would you do it to? Nuff said.
>
>I wasn't suggesting anything like that. The point is it's not a huge loss for most people, and for the people that want it there are >other solutions

Yes there are other solutions, but they do not integrate into gnome and it's power management. Many people still use and like screensavers, so why not have them available, but with an option to just blank the screen, hang on, we did have that in gnome2!

>You'd have the dwindling team at Gnome support the very obsolete Gnome 2 and Gnome 3 at the same time? For what gains?

No, read again, I said bring gnome2 up to scratch, and provide the shell as an alternative WM to metacity, so only maintaining one DE, but providing alternative WMs for different use cases.

>If you want a nice stable platform that can be extended while maintaining a uniform look and feel, there's Gnome 3.

Uniform look and feel is key here, read lock in, you will have it our way only. It is this bloody mindedness from gnome which pisses everyone off. The linux community do not take kindly to being told how they should use their computer.

Overall, it's the fact that the options available in gnome 2, rather than being re-implemented in gnome 3, have been ripped out and the dev team has no intention of replacing them, what many will phrase as "dumbing down".

>I'd like to see critics offer objective criticisms instead of bullshit arguments like your "tablet interface" argument

How is that not an objective criticism, considering I provided examples to back up the statement? I am not sayingvyou have to agree with me, but just because you do nt agree, does not make it a "bullshit argument"

Cherrs.

The king is dead

Long live Qt and the glorious plasma desktop.

> Yes there are other

> Yes there are other solutions, but they do not integrate into gnome and it's power management. Many people still use and like screensavers, so why not have them available, but with an option to just blank the screen, hang on, we did have that in gnome2!

Fair point, as I said I just use blank screen so I wasn't aware of any issues with using screensavers.

> No, read again, I said bring gnome2 up to scratch, and provide the shell as an alternative WM to metacity, so only maintaining one DE, but providing alternative WMs for different use cases.

Do you mean that by updating Gnome 2 to use GTK3 and other new libraries that they could maintain those core libraries and Gnome 2/3 at the same time? It's possible, but I wonder; why not use XFCE and some Gnome 3 applications?

> Uniform look and feel is key here, read lock in, you will have it our way only. It is this bloody mindedness from gnome which pisses everyone off. The linux community do not take kindly to being told how they should use their computer.

I understand that you want to be able to make it do anything, but it's really not desirable for a professional desktop environment to cater to that.

I also don't believe that Gnome 3 being different removes any choices, especially considering the similarities between Gnome 2 and XFCE. Really it's given us a totally new option and a new way of doing things.

> Overall, it's the fact that the options available in gnome 2, rather than being re-implemented in gnome 3, have been ripped out and the dev team has no intention of replacing them, what many will phrase as "dumbing down".

Which options (other than the obvious shut down button) are these? I miss very little from Gnome 2, so there's likely something blindingly obvious I'm missing.

> How is that not an objective criticism, considering I provided examples to back up the statement? I am not sayingvyou have to agree with me, but just because you do nt agree, does not make it a "bullshit argument"

I called it "bullshit" because Gnome 3 clearly works very well as a desktop environment or no bugger would be using it.

weed wacking the garden gnomes

I can comment further on the points already made, but I will rather raise 2 more that they can ask themselves.

Opensource communities are built on trust and what does bother me is how transparency and users are managed. The shutdown button case in-point. If nobody (under correction, from what I have read) wants to own the decision ie. "Sorry I decided to remove it and it was a mistake, now we are putting it back" then how are they going to keep user trust when they do something bigger. Remarks like use something else is not a reply as it is disrespectful in the vain of "we don't need you, buzz-off".

I am trying to remember in what book, but the number complaints to people not using you again has been pegged at is 5%:95%. I have found that number in business is very accurate. So if a 1000 people complain, 20000 are unhappy. If you only have 80000 people that means you have decreased your income potential with 25%. Having people fork or write a tweaking app further reduces the number of people that would have complained. So how many people are now unhappy with gnome? By the mere fact that someone has forked, someone else has written a different frontend and another group has gone there own direction tells me "management" has done a bad job of managing the situation. Open source is about choice, but instead of having one project with x amount of developers you now have 4 projects with the same amount of developers spread unequally among them.

If Gnome is to survive ...

... the project has to make some drastic changes:

- Heads must roll. Hold those to account who over a long period pigheadedly ignored any sort of user feedback, suggestions, criticism etc. It can't be that a handful of vain and arrogant "designer" divas continue to call the shots at Gnome and thus bring the whole project down.

- Free the project from harmful corporate influences, even if this means economic problems. Be a truly free and independent project again, that maintains a friendly and open relationship with a broad and supportive user base.

- Stop treating the PC desktop like it was an 8 square inch mobile phone display. A PC desktop and a mobile device are two different apparatuses whose user interfaces cannot be merged. If you must make a UI for mobile devices (as I suppose you do), design a bespoke interface for it. Reuse as much code as possible between the two projects but develop their interfaces completely (!) separately.

- Port the Gnome 2 desktop environment to GTK+ 3 and continue to carefully improve and maintain it for a long time to come. Maybe a merger with the then obsolete Mate project, which has already made some steps in that direction, would then be a good idea ...

Listen to Users

I have many grumbles about gnome-shell, which are much harder to fix than the missing shutdown button. When I see them arguing over something so trivial, I realise that the chance of the other things being fixed is small. But none-the-less here would be my suggestions:

1. Listen to the users, and seriously consider their criticisms - though I'm not saying do everything everyone says.

2. Bring back 'places' and the desktop - they are not old, useless paradigms.

3. Bring workspaces to the fore - it is a prime feature of linux, and hiding it away doesn't do it justice, nor makes it useful/easy to use.

4. Keep gnome-panels as an alternative shell for lesser graphic'd computers. It was pretty much perfected in gnome2, so I don't think this would be too hard.

duncan

Give it up and join KDE?

The heart says: The issues surrounding the freedom of the licence under which Qt was available in the early days of KDE, which was what gave the impetus to start the Gnome project, are long gone. KDE is a fantastic desktop, and it is pretty, too. Qt is a fine ui tool kit, with a major company (Nokia) behind it and many notable projects and organisations using it, such as ESA. Therefore wouldn't it be best for all if we gave up on Gnome and the ugly GTK tool kit, and concentrated our efforts on at least a "one true full-cream desktop to rule them all"?

The head says: One of the major drivers of innovation is competition. It's by no means the only one, but it is an important one. Therefore having at least one other player in the full-cream desktop market is good for both projects. It may result in some duplication of effort, but remember the dark days at the end of the browser wars in 2001. A lack of anything to compete with IE 6 resulted in no browser innovation for 5 years.

Back to Linux desktops, and KDE and Gnome are not always competitors, a degree of cross pollination occurs. If I am correct: Gnome uses dbus, a KDE technology, thus all applications can make use of dbus, whether Qt or GTK based. On my system, the distro vendor has integrated pulseaudio and network manager with KDE, both originally Gnome technologies, if I've got it right. Proof that both projects are of benefit to each other.

As a compromise, stick with Gnome development, listen to the gripes of users and implement the many sensible changes they would like to see but drop GTK in favour of Qt to concentrate developer effort where it is needed. It holds back the development of Linux as a platform as some key apps look out of place and (whilst less of an issue these days, for sure) don't always play nicely with another DE, thus hindering the ability to write one programme for all DEs.

PS Some months ago, you asked if KDE was a second class citizen, not a third class citizen.

I use gnome-shell and I don't think it's too bad but...

Being a (as of July) 1 year user of linux, I don't really have a detailed vision into the history of desktop environments but I do know about recent happenings. As gnome-shell gets more and more bashed and KDE, as well as MATE, xfce, lxde, etc get more praised, I have one suggestion for the GNOME team: Look at whatever KDE did after it hit rock-bottom and do that (if you aren't already).

After that certain major version of KDE was released, everyone hated it. It became one of the inside jokes of the linux world - including tuxradar podcasts. Is this situation much different? Compare that desktop environment to what it is now: a viable alternative to the now (by popular belief) sucky GNOME3 and possibly-even-suckier Unity. Perhaps a KDE project manager could give some insight as to how their project recovered in the way that it did. Perhaps also, the GNOME team can thoughtfully consider such advice.

On a side note: I'd like to give a shout out to KDE team working on Krita. Those guys are speedily developing the ultimate mixture of GIMP and MyPaint. If you have a drawing tablet, give it a whirl! (Also, thanks for telling me about it Effy.)

eages

Focus on the desktop...

... and don't follow the tablet hype. Not every damn interface has to be touch friendly (a lesson that Microsoft will learn the hard way...)

gstop it already!

I think they should get back to basics. It seems there has been little "improvement" but mostly eye candy and moving things about, at this point, no unlike Rearranging the Furniture on the Titanic. Stop trying to look fancy and slick and focus on getting the desktop right. Although he goes off like a loose cannon, I agree with Linus feelings here.

More thatn that, from the beginning, I was really put off with the obsession to name everything G-this G-that (sit down KDE, you're just as bad). Then half the people are saying Nome while others insist on Guh-nome. KDE is slightly better in that they mostly choose words that begin with K whereas Gnome will stick it on anything. THAT alone is why I don't use Gnome. They can win me back by stopping this obsessive compulsive, anal-retentive gneed to gname every-gthing. 'K?

(I run debian, debian mint, and slackware usually with XFCE.)

In short...

Be XFCE.

Gnome 2 is awesome!!!

I love Gnome 2 so much that after all this time I am still running Ubuntu 10.10. I agree with those who liked the fact that Gnome 2 was more flexible than Gnome 3 is. While it may improve over time, right now I am just not feeling it. I prefer working with Gnome 2 because it is what I got used to when I first started working with Linux a few years ago. Gnome in general will do well if they don't forget about those that have fallen in love with Linux over the years. I am so grateful for the MATE project and I feel as though it will take over where Gnome 2 left off.

give back the tweaks and screen space

Gnome went down the path of dumbing it down for the average MS Windows user, I suppose to attract them. That's my suspicion, and perhaps its not right.

In any event, stop trying to take up lots of screen space, and stop eliminating tweaks. People want to customize their desktop and not supporting that need, makes it extremely boring and does not allow me (as the user) to be as effective. I switched to KDE a long time ago because of this. The few times I've played with Gnome since then only re-enforced my opinion of Gnome.

Its great to have some competition between desktops, and I'd hate to see Gnome go away. I truly hope it makes a come-back.

For starters, adopt Cinnamon

For starters, adopt Cinnamon as the official Gnome 3 shell. It would also be helpful if they also started listening to their users (like the Mint developers do) instead of simply assuming that their users were idiots. I am not adverse to change; in fact, I welcome it when it's based on good design principles. But many of the decisions the Gnome developers have taken over the last 5 years (for instance, in the days of Gnome 2: their pointless hostility to the system tray, their attempt to remove the ability to edit the Applications menu, the limits placed on the number of entries in the Places menu) to finally the ridiculous mess of the Gnome 3 shell have convinced me that they do not understand but are too arrogant to admit this.

Digikam

Add a decent photo manager like Digikam, that will import Digikam settings.

Or a way to run Digikam under Gnome that does not pull in half of KDE, too.

Until then, I'm stuck with KDE.

Gnome3 Unites As Well as Unity does!

Not an issue however, xfce4 is solid and does what is needed.

I think it would be better if Gnome would take a break, rethink, and start over. Anything between xfce4 and gnome2 standard desktops would be a sound and reasonable effort IMO.

xfce4 is very nice and my main desktop since gnome3.

My contribution

I have used Gnome a lot for several years now. And, I like it.
But, I think, as many of you, recently they're goining on a wrong way.

Maybe some kind of a new(ok, not that new, indeed!) strategy.

I know you all use Linux. But probably you even use Win, for some sort of things. That said, you are acknowledge about the several Win Flavors for 7, as home basic, home premium, office this office that, bla bla bla. Yes, a lot of the same ;-)

But, since we(users) have specific needs and levels of use, the concept could be useful for Gnome. Let me explain:

There should be a Gnome basic, other Premium, yet other Professional, and so on. In fact, all "flavors" inside of a single Pack, with different ways to be installed. This way, you'll be able to chose the one of what more adherent of your needs. And, everyone could be happy!!

MATE

I like MATE, the Gnome 2-like desktop for Gnome 3. Works really well, just as I was used to with Gnome 2, instead those awful new things like Unity and Gnome Shell (neither of which are useful on a desktop). Unity would work on a TV set or maybe a tablet.

An Applications menu, themes, fonts and widgets

Just switched to openSuse as my dist. Have installed the kde and gnome 3 version. The difference between the 2 is an Applications menu, themes, smooth fonts and widgets.

Yes I know that 3rd parties have made a few "extensions", but shouldn't these 4 things be part of a good desktop?

Just keep being better than KDE.

Gnome right now kind of reminds me of a less shitty version of the Windows 8 interface. Personally, I love Gnome, over KDE especially, but it feels as if they are trying to merge the touchscreen and desktop experience. If you think about it, there wouldn't be too many things that would need to change for Gnome 3 to be a nice tablet interface.

Gnome 3, I believe, is fine with what they are doing now. Most people are just too used to the same style interface that they have seen for years and get cranky when you try to make it easier for them, but people will come around to it eventually.

Gnome Classic

On a new computer I installed Gnome 3, played around with it then went back to using Gnome Classic.

However I then had to use the gnome-tweak-tool to configure the Gnome Classic to make it look like my previous desktop.

I mean features like. Menus have Icons and Buttons Have Icons were turned off by default. The core Desktop icons like Computer, Home were missing too which I had to manually enable.

BTW you're CAPTCHA is really hard to read...

Kill IT

A desktop should make the computer accesible to the user not require that the user think like a computer. There is no hope for gnome 3. At this point you should not have to LEARN a new desktop. It should build on and more intuitively perform the tasks which we have already been doing on previous desktops. Take Gnome 3 and metaphorically put a bullet through its empty head. Take a look at Gnome 2 and make it EASIER, use gtk3 widgets etc, , maybe add a few bells and whistles, if they do not get in the way.

If you want to buld an interface for smart phones and tablets go ahead do so, but do not try to foist it on desktop users.

Go back to Gnome 2

My suggestion would be to go back to Gnome 2 since they already have all the sources to it and add just a little more eye candy such as allowing the desktop and applications to spin on a cube vertically and horizontally like a MAC and make Microsoft die with envy.

Gnome not that bad, just but too radical change

Radical change maybe needed in time of needs (revolution against corruption official maybe). But if not needed its just make simple problem become complex hence harder (not easier). The psychology of human behaviour always seek the easier path not the harder one (Well that's for demon advantage because the right path is not always easy one, often it's the hard one).

By the way for community to growing (or even survive) it's will need support, and to get one you need to listen to your supporter. Thank you

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
We can't accept links (unless you obfuscate them). You also need to negotiate the following CAPTCHA...

Username:   Password:
Create Account | About TuxRadar