Linus Torvalds switches back to Gnome 3.x desktop

Linus Torvalds switches back to Gnome 3.x desktop

Summary: Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, has switched by the Gnome 3, saying the desktop's shortcomings can be fixed via the use of extensions.

Linus Torvalds says that extensions provide a way to fix the problems he has with the Gnome 3.x desktop

The creator of the Linux kernel Linus Torvalds has swapped back to using Gnome 3.x desktop it has emerged, after he fixed many of the problems he has with the desktop.

Gnome 3.x provides a desktop environment and graphical user interface and can be used with various GNU/Linux distros.

Torvalds switched from using the Gnome 3 desktop to Xfce in 2011 but switched back to KDE last year. Gnome 3 has been heavily criticised by Torvalds in the past for its design choices and removing certain features from Gnome 2, with the Linux creator describing Gnome 3.4 is "a total UX (user experience design) failure".

He still has criticisms of the desktop but said he has switched back to using Gnome 3.x because it can be fixed with the use of extensions, particularly Frippery, and the Gnome Tweak Tool.

"People don't want Gnome 2 because it was a pinnacle of some GUI design. They want it because Gnome 3 removed features they used, and made it harder to get their work done," he wrote on the Google+ social network.

"But I'm actually back to Gnome 3 because with the right extensions it is more pleasant," he wrote in a separate post.

"Frippery + gnome-tweak-tool really make a huge difference. I don't understand why Gnome 3 hasn't just merged them."

Topic: Linux


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • wondering why linus left KDE again

    why do i need these extensions and multiple (sometimes) conflicting configuration utilities just to get the DE usable? KDE does it all out of the box and I'm curious why its so important for some people to be gnome/gtk based. KDE has tons of settings but that just makes it easier to quickly get it the way I want it. One basic problem is that the default in gnome is huge UI controls and fonts, with lots of wasted space.
    • kde is not fast enough the best of them is Cinnamon

      even if someone enables extensions and make it more usable what you are gonna do with shitty new nautilus which is completely integrated with gnome shell?!
      gnome shell + nautilus = usability nightmare, end of the story!
      • Never could get Cinnamon to work every time

        I could never get the three computers I use to accept Cinnamon without issues on Ubuntu rig or Mint install. There was always some issue so seems to be the same problem. I just did a full install of gnome 3 over Ubuntu 12.10 and so far very clean and easy to navigate. I have been trying at Linux OS's for the last 4 months trying to find a "replacement" option for Windows and at this point I have the highest hopes of Gnome 3, even after tacking a stab at it a month ago with issues.
        Shane Reaume
    • did Torvalds ever use KDE?

      I thought he replaced earlier GNOME 3 with xfce, not KDE.

      GNOME isn't perfect, but KDE isn't either. There are as many reasons to avoid KDE as any other DE.

      If you like wasting time tweaking the UI, nothing beats OpenBox. If you want light & fast with minimal resource use, LXDE is best. If you like nostalgia, there's WindowMaker. Not to mention just using the command line.
    • Linus uses Flippery with Gnome

      I was not aware of Flippery for Gnome, Will have to look at.
      It's nice that there are ways to make something just as sweet.

      Kudos Linus Torvalds.
  • Ever since 11.04. I have been depressed.

    I switched to Linux for one reason, freedom and not to follow the rest of the crowd. With Linux I was able to setup my UI exactly the way I feel it reflects my personality. After 11.04. I was very upset and decided to never leave 10.04 and 10.10. As time went on I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have to upgrade so I can continue to receive support updates. If I'm going to use a locked down OS, then I'm going to pay money and get a well polished OS. I switch to apple and use OS X. There are a lot of similarities between the two and its a pleasure to use. My heart will always belong to Linux and for what it stands for. Freedom and choice.
    Brendon Jarrett
    • there is MATE

      which would give you back the appearance of Ubuntu 10.04.
    • Not sure how you attain "Freedom and Choice" in the Apple environment

      Apple products are the antithesis of freedom and choice. Don't get me wrong, if you are willing to accept the constraints and pay the dough, Apple makes some wonderful products. But, in the desktop environment, it's pretty much their way or the highway.

      I agree that Unity is crap from a freedom and choice point of view, kde is mostly crap, ldxe is somewhat crappy. You should try Mint's Mate desktop. It's far from perfect, but it is configurable. You want three toolbars stacked on top of each other, you got it. You want folders on your toolbars, you got that too. Don't like where the menu shows up or what's in it, easy to change, etc. If you like hot spots and all that so called "modern UI" stuff, Mate's probably not for you, but you can download cinnamon or ubuntu unity and run your desired session instead.
  • I use Gnome 3 everyday for real work

    Not sure what Linux is talking about but i do not miss the "Windows like" Gnome interface. Unlike windows 8's UI Gnome 3 seems to have actually had some thought put into the design i find myself clicking in the upper right corner on my windows 7 gaming rig sometimes. I ran xfce as well before i actually tried Gnome 3 and got used to it now i can't imagine running a desktop linux system without it.
    • Gnome 3 is...

      Its bad, plain and simple. So much developer time, for what? A product that has more requirements, messed up interface and less features and more serious bugs than the previous one?
      KDE at least lets you to configure the hell out of it if you really feel like AND you can actually disable the hardware compositing without losing any features - also they do deliver features with the same amount of bloat as Gnome 3/shell brings... nothing.

      It boggles my mind that former disgruntled Gnome 2 users start to go back to Gnome 3 "because if you use plugins, hacks and workarounds its almost as usable as Gnome 2 was".
      C'mon, we are talking Linux here, people dont have to bend over for every developer brain fart. There are other environments out there, for example Xfce.
      Xfce at version 4.10 is really fleshed out now - it is simple and straightforward as Gnome was only with less bloat. Thunar 1.6.2 has everything Nautilus had (tabs, network mount support etc) + its lightning fast and stable. Additionally there is NO opengl composition = no compiz related bugs.
      • when you boot up KDE

        it is the most cluttered PoS I've ever seen. I don't have the time or desire to configure all that crap, even if it would turn out nice in the end.
        • I agree

          Never saw the attraction of KDE crap stacked on top of crap.
          • But WHY do you agree?

            I don't see this 'clutter' at all. I didn't see it on my first day of running KDE to get away from Gnome 3, either.
  • Eating your owns Linus?

    Maybe I am wrong, but I always thought that Linux was all about freedom. Freedom to choose whatever YOU liked and use it. Fot those that can program, you are even invited to change what you don't like, and make things the way you like them. Now, for Linus to say he doesn't like Gnome 3, but goes back to it ANYWAY and then says "But I'm actually back to Gnome 3 because with the right extensions it is more pleasant". Why not, make something better if you do not lkike what is out there? You gave birth to Linux right? Then, pray tell, don't you fix what you don't like and see what causes problems for many users? Sounds like a cop out. He'd prefer to blame Gnome 3 for not working the way he thinks it should, causing problems for users. Then he uses that SAME interface. Sounds like he should decide: you like it? Use it. If you don't, FIX IT!
    • first of all he maintains kernel not DEs

      2- there is alternatives and better ones (unlike windows 8 which you should either stick with the past or STFU)
      3- being open source and be able to fork something and actually innovate has nothing to do with criticizing a software if you had gone to that discussion you would see that he was arguing and telling them where he thinks they went wrong(which they didn't accept)
    • freedom to choose

      doesn't mean you don't get to have an opinion, and whine about it. after all, that's what we as forum posters enjoy doing every day!
    • Let's *NOT* have Linus start working on desktop environments...

      Linus is the god emperor of the Linux kernel. He has more than enough on his plate.

      He shouldn't be out there programming changes/fixes for desktop environments without a really, really good reason.
    • Dairy farmer, grow your OWN vegetables if you don't like the market's

      C'mon ... this is so obvious ... he works on the kernel, and by all reports very hard. Why should he have to fix his desktop software? Filing bug reports and feature requests are a part of the process, as is coding fixes/changes - it's not like coding is more noble or something.
  • Linux Mints 14 Cinnamon, Mate or KDE are all fine.

    I prefer anything as long as I have at least 4 Virtual desktops. Fedora Gnome3 is just Ok for me and Fedora KDE is good also. PCLinux KDE is also very good. Ubuntus 13.04 Unity desktop UI is my least favorable at this point. W-7 is good and W-8 became so annoying that I wiped my drive of it.
    Over and Out
  • Too funny

    So funny to see people who claim Linux is perfect now go off on how terrible it is.

    I'm sticking with Windows, thanks.