I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

Summary: What's your next desktop OS or desktop manager going to look like? Have you been sucked into the dumbed-down, new-fangled garbage floating your way or are you going retro?


I've complained for years that since the release of Windows 95 that operating systems have stagnated and have all converged on that same look and feel that began the Great Desktop Revolution way back in 1995. I observed a nasty trend in 1996, when I first saw FVWM95. It was cute and clever and it was Linux with that same great Windows 95 theme going on. Though it took some getting used to, I was a relatively early adopter of Windows 95--yes, before Microsoft fixed it with Windows 95B.

But, still somehow I wanted Linux to be different and better than its arch nemesis from the great NorthWest. Linux should be better. It should look better, respond better, perform better and be better because it's free. I'm finding, however, that even free isn't good enough because I'm still in search of the ultimate desktop.

Words to Unity

I'm not exactly sure how Canonical can defend Unity--athough, I've seen them try--and I'm not sure how anyone can use it. It takes me ten minutes to find my Terminal every time I try to find it. Finally, I added it to that goofy hanging chad thingy on the left side of my screen. I can't efficiently find anything using it. I uninstalled it and installed GNOME in its place. Imagine my shock when I looked at GNOME 3.x for the first time. I went into a fit of cussing and throwing that made me look like a spoiled toddler.

I am spoiled--spoiled by "GNOME Classic." Apparently, if I like anything that's works well, it's now classic, retro or my favorite, legacy. I love (and by love, I mean hate) it when people refer to legacy this and legacy that. Legacy? It makes me ill to hear someone call something legacy that's barely five years old.

I digress. Sorry, sometimes my rants diverge like that. It's a combination of poor segue planning and my own battle with ADD.

Anyway, I hate Unity. I can't find anything without having to page through every application on my system and it just feels clunky. A desktop manager should do two things: Provide a graphical background on which to work with applications and be easy to use--transparent, in fact.

I want to be able to sit down at my computer and launch any application within two or three seconds. I don't want to search for anything unless I'm purposely searching for it.

Unity is a big flop. I hope it didn't take a lot of effort to develop because it sucks. And, I'm trying desperately hard to express my opinion of it without using expletives.


The new GNOME isn't it. In fact, my Linux systems have all been reverted back to GNOME Classic as they're calling now. Classic? Really? Just a month or so ago, it was just GNOME and I liked it. I liked it fine. It is clean, fast, efficient...and OK, it's a little Windowsy but still better than KDE 4.x. And, the hate for KDE 4.x comes from a guy who used to love KDE. I used it instead of GNOME. GNOME seemed a little buggy in its earlier iterations.

But, when KDE made the great switch to widget weirdness, I said, "Nope, no way. I have a choice. I'm moving to GNOME." I did and I've never looked back. Until now, that is.

I'm at a crossroads in my decision about a desktop manager, GUI, window manager or whatever you want to call it. I hate the new GNOME. It's cheesy and I can't find stuff. It's as if the developers took Unity to be the new Windows 95 and tried to copy its suckiness into what used to be a cool desktop manager.

Unity and GNOME 3.x both fail for me.

Windows 8

I thought when Microsoft got rid of its DOS-based operating system in favor of its NT-based flavor that the company had begun a new life. I was happy with Windows XP and think that might go down in history as one of the greatest desktop operating systems ever. Vista was a major fail. Windows 7 has somewhat redeemed Microsoft. It has a few quirks that I can't get used to like having to reinstall my printer driver every few days. It gets old. Rebooting for every update gets a little irritating. But, overall, Windows 7 is cool. Well, with the exception of Windows 7 Starter Edition, that is. It's a waste of media, time and disk space.

Windows 8 is a whole new animal that's really a vegetable. I hate it. I hate the look with all those ridiculously large icon things that you have to swipe through. It looks like it was designed for preschoolers not adults and certainly not for technically savvy folks like you and me.

I know it's in beta or alpha or whatever--blah, blah, blah--it's crap. I won't be using it. Oh sure, most of the goodies are still somewhere on the disk but finding them can be a real challenge.

What's with the three new desktop systems I've described here? Is the new thing to make you search endlessly for your applications and things you work with? I don't want to do that. I want to know where my programs are. I want to know where my documents are. I want to be able to work efficiently. And, searching through a bunch of flippy, gloppy icons is not my idea of efficient.

Who's designing this stuff? Monkeys? Aliens? Vampires?

How can you take something that works and then make it not work? GNOME, Unity and Windows 8--I won't use you. Any of you. Ever. I'd rather use TWM or the Chrome OS. And, I kind of hate both of those too.

Yes, I know there's Mac OS X. I'm reluctantly leaning in that direction. Unfortunately, it's so expensive to try anything Apple that I'd hate to find out that I hate Mac OS X too after making the investment.

Maybe I'll give LXDE a try again. Hopefully, it's less buggy than it was a couple of years ago when I installed it the first time. Whatever I try, I'll first put it in a VM and give it a good test run. If it won't install into a VM, forget it. I won't use it either.

I hope that by the time my current computer draws its last Watt that someone will have come up with something usable, efficient and not crappy. I don't like the dumbed-down garbage that they're tossing my way. If you're trying to appeal to a wider audience, don't. If people are too dumb to use a computer, then so be it. Don't waste everyone's time on something that looks like it should be teaching babies to speak and spell.

What do you use? What will you use in the next two years? Are you in the mood to change? What do you think of Unity, the new GNOME and Windows 8? Talk back and let me know.

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Linux, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Linux Mint is the new Ubuntu.

    At least they are making an attempt to backport the classic Gnome 2.32 feature set into Mate and into the Gnome Shell Extensions for version 12.

    In the meantime, I am trying to download to a pendrive chakra (a Distro from Spain) which purports to have the option to use Trinity (a fork of KDE 3.5.x).

    I hate KDE4 like the heat of a Nova.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate Err, what about #! (CrunchBang)? Sure I'd never install it on my mother's computer - but it is "easy" (assuming you grew up on a PDP-11... yes, I'm THAT old).
      • Who ever said you can't go home?


        Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
      • #!'s UI is Openbox

        And Openbox isn't limited to #!.

        That's the huge advantage to Linux: choice. Unfortunately, most people aren't prepared for choice.
    • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
      I had a Chevy Nova. They weren't that hot.
    • Well said...

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      Ah, Dietrich, I've been away for quite some time but glad to see you are still here. We are in the same boat when it comes to desktops. I abandoned KDE upon the forced upgrade to 4.x to Gnome which I reluctantly moved too, then ugh Unity..., then 3.2... wtf are they thinking?

      I've noticed Windows had tried starting with Vista to be like OSX, KDE tried becoming Windows, and Gnome now is trying to be Vista meets OS X.

      I tried LXDE a couple of years ago but was about as user friendly as XFCE at the time when it came to talioring the system using the GUI, lets hope they've improved or I'm screwed since I suck at the CLI, I've hit my 40's and my memory has hit the toilet.

      It looks like it is time to surf the available desktops again..... I feel bad for the Windows users who have no option to change desktops.

      Hey, where are the old GeoWorks developers? ;-}
    • kde

      I feel the same about kde I just tried fedora 19 with kde 64bit and it uses 1GB on a cold boot whichis even more than windows 8 I have always hated windows for being an operating system that uses so much memory for instance take windows xp service pack 3 32bit it uses 185 MBs of memory on a cold boot compared to enlightenment which uses 75 on a cold boot same computer and if you count antivirus which in my case is microsoft sucurity essentials windows xp uses 228MB another thing i hate about kde is the boot time it is really anoying to watch the icon sort of thing appear so slowly like they do when you turn on the computer and kde couldnt' be complete without lazy devolopers who don't give a shit about something that matters you know how khtml is crap not because it has to be that way but because as soon as webkit was made better than khtml the developers decided oh lets be dog shit and stop making khtml better and use webkit yeah so there is why i hate the kde community and desktop
      Ricky Haden
    • Ubuntu is degrading... A new contender shows up on the Linux Stage...

      You are so right. With every release since 13.04, I have started to really dislike Ubuntu, which I've been using since 10.10. My 6-year-old machine is quickly losing it's consistent battle to Unity, and although in my mind GNOME is very good, only my newer machine can take a stab at it. I tried Linux Mint, but I got boerd of all of the Debian-based linux distros and tried openSUSE. Ever since then, I have despised YaST, KDE, and everything else about oprnSUSE... except for the luxury of RPM packages! I went to Arch next, and I spent a whole day failing at installing it on my old computer, and gave up after 9 hours of trying. I went to Arch-Based, and I found Manjaro. Best. Discovery. Ever. I love Manjaro linux. It has Pacman and it's visual package manager for pacman called Pacmac. Everything works beautifully, and it has rolling release.
  • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

    Here's a simple solution. If you don't like an upgrade of a favorite Linux distro, don't use it.
    roger that
    • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

      @roger that <br>Not so fast - ditching a distro because of GUI - doesn't work for most people. I'm very comfortable with RedHat base distros, like Fedora, i like what they're doing - aside from move to Gnome 3. So, i would like to stay with the distro (and refuse to learn yet another linux variant) - but won't be using Gnome 3.<br>So far, i only see 2 choices - LXDE and XFCE - not happy with either, but they're bearable.<br>Problem is - i like to stay with default GUI of my distro: it receives more attention in development, admin tools are more polished, etc. <br>Bottom line - i'll be very annoyed in the near future one way or another... and what you get when your sysadmin is annoyed? <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/sad.gif" alt="sad">
      • SL6/CentOS6 for now

        I've been a Redhat/Fedora user since the late 90s but Gnome3 has prevented me from upgrading to F15 or F16. I've tried XFCE and Cinnamon but neither is a replacement for Gnome2 although XFCE is almost good enough. For now I've moved all of my systems to Scientific Linux 6.2. RHEL6/SL6/CentOS6 will be supporting Gnome2 for the next 10 years, the only problem is that RHEL does a lousy job of supporting new hardware because the kernel is upgraded so slowly. However RHEL6/SL6/CentOS6 will provide a couple of years of breathing room until a solution is found for the Gnome disaster.
      • enlightenment

        try enlightenment I love it hope you do too
        Ricky Haden
  • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

    Ken, when you start lumping Linux customization as a bad thing (as in Windows), <br>it's time to take a nap.
    • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.


      Sorry, what? I just woke up.
      • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.


        Great, now you are awake, you might like to take the whiny tone out of the article.

        As for Windows 8 - get used to it. WP7 is already vastly superior to the grid of static icons used by just about every other OS - why not get a Windows Phone and you may even see the benefit of it.

        Future UIs will be gesture/touch/voice/kb/mouse and the Win 8 interface supports all of them. What you dismiss so casually is based on a lot of research and design and the work of a large number of people who (dare I say it) have a lot more experience in designing UIs than you.

        I see most of your experience is in large data centers - you would probably be happier with a teletype.
        • I know it's an old thread, but

          Okay, so, after the release & use of Windows 8, are you still supportive? If you are, you're in the minority.

          Progress should move something forward; where's the forward moving aspects in Windows 8? How about Unity?

          If they want to market their hardware/software platform (UEFI) to children or the elderly, then let them; that does not mean I, or anyone else for that matter, have to support them, especially those of whom develop for or on those systems, or, at least, are power users.

          In Windows 8 I have to PAY for simple UI functionality; now, whether it's a dollar or $1,000, it's ridiculous to force your customers to do that. The only reason MS gets away with that is because they have money; given their current financial status (as of 25 Dec 2012), they may not have as much of it in the near future.

          GNOME & Unity, well, they may lose their users and investors, after all, seeing the dismal implementation & adoption of Windows 8, how would you like to throw money at a shinking ship?
          • I know it's an even older thread but...

            I'm about tired of hearing about how "horrible" Windows 8 is. It's by far the best OS to have ever come out. The keyboard shortcuts have now surpassed any Linux distro in usability, it's faster (faster even than Ubuntu 13.04 / Fedora 18 on the same hardware). The UI is in no way simple, but it's also intuitive enough to be easy.

            I can hear the response now "Blah blah, what about power users" ok, I am a power user. I've been with Windows since 3.1. I can honestly say that Windows 8.1 helps my workflow and saves me about 15 minutes a day off extra clicks.

            As to people who have to "re-learn their OS", bull crap. Get over yourselves. I just upgraded my 60 year old father to Windows 8, and I'll admit, I was worried how he would adjust. He's the type of person that thinks the harder you click the mouse button or press keys on the keyboard, the more responsive it will be. So I upgraded him. I showed him the start screen, the charms bars, the ribbon on explorer. And he said "Oh wow, that's neat. Now it looks like my office, I shouldn't be as confused" and "That's pretty simple. I think I've got this".

            Not once has he called me for help, and I very seriously doubt he's Googling his own issues.
      • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.

        @khess Hey... I just wanted to comment that you actually couldn't say a thing about Windows 8 that is bad (aside it isn't free).

        "It looks like it was designed for preschoolers not adults"
        Well, for me it looks like it was designed to simplify the things, whether you're child or adult the Metro UI gives a bit more of practicality on the most common tasks and the interaction between different applications was greatly improved (you can see the splitting of the screen between two [or more?] apps in Win8 as the direct successor of Aero Snap and copy and paste killer in some situations).

        It has both the desktop UI similar to Win7's and the new Metro interface so there's no bad point. How the ribbon interface will please you or not is yet to be seen though.
    • RE: I hate Unity. I hate GNOME. I hate Windows 8. The ultimate desktop search continues.


      Umm, Windows8 is a Unity like move. Not sure why MS aped Unity and then made it worse, but they did. So it is a valid comparison.
    • aggreed

      so so so so true
      Ricky Haden