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Linus Torvalds dubs GNOME 3 'unholy mess'

'Head up the a*** behavior'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Linux daddy Linus Torvalds has dropped GNOME 3 in favor of the Xfce graphical desktop interface, dubbing GNOME 3 an "unholy mess".

Last week, on Google+, various penguins discussed the possibility of creating an incarnation of the Linux 3.0 kernel that would masquerade as version 2.6.40 – a 3.0 version number, you see, causes problems with Fedora 15 – and at one point, Linus took the opportunity to have a go at the latest GNOME.

"While you are at it, could you also fork gnome, and support a gnome-2 environment?" he wrote. "I want my sane interfaces back. I have yet to meet anybody who likes the unholy mess that is gnome-3."

Then, later in the discussion, Torvalds expanded on his dislike, saying his beef extends beyond mere rendering problems that could be corrected with "Forced Fallback Mode".

"It's not that I have rendering problems with gnome3 (although I do have those too). It's that the user experience of Gnome3 even without rendering problems is unacceptable," he said. "Why can't I have shortcuts on my desktop? Why can't I have the expose functionality? Wobbly windows? Why does anybody sane think that it's a good idea to have that 'go to the crazy "activities"' menu mode?"

An example? He's got one. And it's not just crazy. It's insane. "You want a new terminal window. So you go to 'activities' and press the 'terminal' thing that you've made part of your normal desktop thing (but why can't I just have it on the desktop, instead of in that insane 'activities' mode?). What happens? Nothing. It brings your existing terminal to the forefront," he wrote. "That's just crazy crap. Now I need to use Shift-Control-N in an old terminal to bring up a new one. Yeah, that's a real user experience improvement. Sure.

"I'm sure there are other ways, but that's just an example of the kind of 'head up the arse' behavior of gnome3. Seriously. I have been asking other developers about gnome3, they all think it's crazy."

As The H Online points out, this isn't the first time Linus has had a right go at GNOME. In 2005, he took aim at GNOME developers for trying to oversimplify things. "This 'users are idiots, and are confused by functionality' mentality of Gnome is a disease," he said. "If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it." He used KDE instead, but then he switched to GNOME in early 2009 after the arrival of KDE 4.

Now, he's going with Xfce. He says this is a step down from GNOME 2 as well. But he can't help but add that it's "a huge step up from gnome3. Really." ®

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