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Friday, 05 August 2011 09:22

Torvalds slams 'head up the a*** behaviour' of GNOME 3


Linus Benedict Torvalds is a man who is generally very definite in his views and speech. And when he dislikes something, when something gives him the shudders and the shakes, boy do you get to know about it!

In the past, Torvalds has once described the GNOME developers as interface nazis. Recently, when confronted with the new release, GNOME 3, he was no less forthcoming, describing the developers behind it as having their heads up their arses.

His initial outburst came during an exchange of views about some aspects of recent kernel releases on Google+; in response to a post from developer Dave Jones about fixing some bugs, Torvalds wrote: "While you are at it, could you also fork gnome, and support a gnome-2 environment? I want my sane interfaces back. I have yet to meet anybody who likes the unholy mess that is gnome-3."

Intel FOSS chief Dirk Hohndel added his voice: "Even if Gnome developers like it (and I doubt that they are using their laptops for actual work if they do), that still means that the rest of us are going AAAAAHHHHHHHHGGGGGGRRRRRRLLLLLLL!!!!!!! I have actually switched to xfce - and I remember you, Dave, aren't using Gnome, either. xfce is way inferior to Gnome 2. But Gnome 3 is just completely unusable as far as I'm concerned. As is the latest flavor of KDE :-("

And Hohndel, a man who adept at the art of sarcasm, added: "Hey, I'm giving the opening keynote at the desktop summit in Berlin next week. Those would be great opening statements, don't you think?"

Torvalds wasn't finished with his opinion. If he hadn't made his point clearly enough, he wanted to make sure that nobody was in any doubt.

"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 wrote.

"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?

"I used to be upset when gnome developers decided it was 'too complicated' for the user to remap some mouse buttons. In gnome3, the developers have apparently decided that it's 'too complicated' to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do."


Torvalds continued: "Here's an example of 'the crazy': 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.

"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.

"I'm using Xfce. I think it's a step down from gnome2, but it's a huge step up from gnome3. Really."

Hohndel responded: "We had a little event in Portland last week where we brought about 20 top Linux developers together. ZERO people in the room were using Gnome3."

And another developer David Miller chimed in: "Because of the gnome3 mess I've finally looked into tiling window managers, and I'd like the thank the Gnome folks because I'm never going back. :-)"

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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