Slackware ditches GNOME service

There's no place for GNOME in the standard build of the Linux distro, but lovers of the desktop environment can still get their fix in other ways
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor

Linux distribution Slackware has dropped the GNOME desktop environment from its version of the open source operating system, claiming that it is too much work to maintain it.

The most recent release of Slackware, version 10.1, included three Linux desktop environments — GNOME, KDE and XFce. But Slackware maintainer Patrick Volkerding said in a posting last week that GNOME has been removed from the current development tree, which means that future versions of Slackware will no longer include GNOME.

Volkerding said that maintaining GNOME requires too much work as its releases cannot be directly incorporated into the operating system without making changes, unlike alternative desktops KDE and XFce.

"Please do not incorrectly interpret any of this as a slight against GNOME itself, which (although it does usually need to be fixed and polished beyond the way it ships from upstream more so than, say, KDE or XFce) is a decent desktop choice," said Volkerding in the posting. "GNOME is and always has been a moving target (even the "stable" releases usually aren't quite ready yet) that really does demand a team to keep up on all the changes (many of which are not always well documented)."

He pointed out that GNOME fans can still use Slackware by downloading GNOME Slackbuild (GSB), GWARE or Dropline. He said these projects do a better job of implementing GNOME within Slackware. "There are already good projects in place to provide Slackware GNOME for those who want it, and these are more complete than what Slackware has shipped in the past," said Volkerding.

Jeff Waugh, the release manager at GNOME, said he understands Slackware's decision as the Linux distribution has limited resources.

"GNOME is a detailed software stack that benefits from expert integration, so it is not surprising that Slackware's small maintenance team chose to pass this task over to the keen community projects supporting GNOME on Slackware, such as Dropline, GSB and GWARE," said Waugh.

"This is how open source is supposed to work — new projects spring up to replace and sometimes supersede the old ones. These great GNOME projects for Slackware provide beautifully integrated, up-to-the-minute releases of GNOME, similar to those you'll find in major distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu."

Many of the commercial Linux distributions offer a choice between GNOME and KDE, including Novell Linux Desktop 9, Red Hat Linux 9 Professional and Mandrakelinux 10.1.

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