Reasons to not use GNOME 3

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Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Onsemeliot » 2019-07-07 09:11

Over the last few weeks I have researched quite a lot concerning different desktops since I wanted to finally decide which desktop to use with Buster. During that time I found an incredible web page that makes testing different distributions and desktops much less work: distrotest.net

I ended up finding more reasons for GNOME 3 than I had before. To help my decision I would love to know your practical reasons why you wouldn't recommend using GNOME 3. So I want to get exposed to arguments that challenge my impression. This should enable me to find the best available solution for me. Further down I will start with the very few counterpoints I know of.

I wanted to prefer Xfce. But after finding out more about the great keyboard functionality GNOME 3 has by default I can't help but prefer it over Xfce. Especially the way multi file renaming is implemented in Nautilus impresses me a lot. It is incredibly easy to use and in my view much better than the Thunar interface (which actually had the feature earlier – if I am informed propperly).

I admit that using the factor 1000 instead of 1024 for file sizes is rather annoying. On the other hand it is a better fit for how retailers describe the capacity of hard disc drives nowadays – at least where I live. Mate feels very outdated to me and most other desktops leave me with the impression they are just kind of more or less altered versions of KDE or GNOME mostly with less functional tools. KDE was never my cup of tea because it feels much to messy.

The lags in GNOME I have been complaining about before might have been due to an outdated installation. (Soon I will see if 3.30 is really faster than 3.22.) The non-intrusive user interface of GNOME is just beautiful and still very efficient. (Using the super key with the arrow keys for example is a real pleasure and it is very responsive too. I might even start using different workspaces now since switching is so efficient with using the super key and page-up and page-down keys.) I am aware that I can enable Xfce rather easily to use personal key bindings which could often do very similar things. But when I am sitting in front of Xfce I so far was unable to be as fast and I still didn't find an easy way to show me an overview of the most important system configuration details like RAM, CPU, operating system version. (Do I really need to use the terminal for getting that?) The graphical disc management in GNOME feels exceptionally pleasant to me also.

Xfce isn't bad of course but it feels limited and cumbersome to me in many aspects and sitting in front of it I wonder what value it offers me that I wouldn't have with the even lighter LXDE or LXQt. Of course it is sometimes fun to tinker with panels and designs in order to get as close as possible to my optimal structure and design. But in the end I actually love how GNOME and its tools look and work. My only beef with it is its high footprint. I guess I need to check out optimisation tips more closely.

Why not to use GNOME 3:
  • It (needlessly) eats RAM (In my experience it is not very usable with less than 8 GB RAM.)
  • It breaks the traditional usability concept (It is keyboard or touch-driven but not optimised for heavy mouse usage)
  • Many features are hidden from menus and can often be only accessed using keyboard shortcuts one just has to know.
What relevant downsides of GNOME 3 do I miss?
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-07-07 09:21

I think GNOME is the best full desktop environment available and I disagree with your second and third reasons — I find the usability to be superb once you adapt to the workflow, the "hidden" features prevent menu overload — the Plasma desktop suffers badly from this — and the ability to control every single setting from the command line with gsettings(1) is just brilliant and allows for scripting of the configuration. Additionally the Wayland support is the best of all the desktops and this confers a security advantage, along with other benefits.

And no other desktop supports accessibility as well as GNOME, which is very important.

Onsemeliot wrote:The lags in GNOME

If you have a half decent graphics card then GNOME can be faster than more basic window managers because it uses hardware acceleration.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2019-07-07 09:23

I prefer to find positive upsides to doing something, rather than waste my time with negative downsides. Complaining about GNOME 3 in Debian is a non-issue, because Debian offers wide range of DEs to choose from in the default netinstall iso. Since Debian 10's official release yesterday, you can also just download live iso of your favorite DE and install it using the now included Calamares installer.

I use GNOME heavily and it's one of the most polished, easiest to use DEs ever. It is what Windows 8's GUI was supposed to be. Debian 10 ships much improved GNOME 3.30 version, which even eliminated heavy input lag for me. I am using it on Wayland and it's smooth enough. If you don't like it, choose Cinnamon or MATE. Both are great forks that follow traditional user experience paradigm.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Onsemeliot » 2019-07-07 10:09

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:I disagree with your second and third reasons

Well, You actually confirm the second by stating that you need to get used to it: "once you adapt to the workflow".
If the lean menus and clean UI come from hiding features I think it is fair to actually point that fact out. (It isn't even a complaint. it is just plainly stating the obvious.
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:If you have a half decent graphics card then GNOME can be faster than more basic window managers because it uses hardware acceleration.

I don't know what you consider of being a "half way decent graphics card" but I use rather old hardware. My fully upgraded ThinkPad T400s seems to be just enough to use it properly.

Wheelerof4te wrote:I prefer to find positive upsides to doing something, rather than waste my time with negative downsides.

If I only search for confirming information then I will hardly ever learn something new.
Wheelerof4te wrote:Complaining about GNOME 3 in Debian is a non-issue, because Debian offers wide range of DEs

I have the impression you didn't actually read my posting. I wasn't complaining about GNOME 3. Actually I did the opposite. But I still want to consider what people dislike about it since I am about to make a decision I don't want to regret. I don't want to change my opinion later when I have set-up everything. I don't want to waste my time with trial and error if I can do my "homework" properly beforehand instead.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2019-07-07 10:24

Onsemeliot wrote:I don't want to waste my time with trial and error if I can do my "homework" properly beforehand instead.


You did not do your homework, then. Flash a live image of Debian 10 with GNOME onto a USB stick and play with it for a while. Note, it will be faster when it's installed.
Test everything, look if you can adapt to it's workflow. Mind you, having to adapt to a new workflow is not a downside. Everyone had to learn how to use Windows once, for example.
If you still end up not buying it, then choose a different DE. It is honestly easy, especially now with the new live installer images.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-07-07 10:42

Onsemeliot wrote:I don't know what you consider of being a "half way decent graphics card" but I use rather old hardware. My fully upgraded ThinkPad T400s seems to be just enough to use it properly.

Yeah, that sounds about right. My ThinkPad X201 can run GNOME well and it's almost ten years old now.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Onsemeliot » 2019-07-07 12:05

Wheelerof4te wrote:You did not do your homework

Well, I have been using GNOME 3 for several years now. To a much lesser extend I have tested Unity, LXDE, Xfce and MATE. In my view it is ridiculous to test all desktops out there sufficiently long to be able to compare them in a sensible way. And I expect to find a diverse community here. Surely many people here have had a much different path concerning Desktops. If those people share why they prefer specific other desktops over GNOME 3 I can maybe learn what I miss if I stick with it and if that is relevant enough for me to consider switching.

I watched many videos and studied almost all comparisons on slant.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Nili » 2019-07-07 12:19

Onsemeliot wrote:I watched many videos and studied almost all comparisons on slant.

In every case WM don't suffer from complexity. Think about it if DE doesn't meet your needs. See that said "Minimal and fast" from the above link.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2019-07-07 12:40

Onsemeliot wrote:And I expect to find a diverse community here.

We are a very diverse community. For example H.o.a.S and me like GNOME and improvements it brought to the Linux world. Plenty of others use a different DE, and many use a simple WM like Openbox. sunrat and hallivor (spelling, sorry) use KDE's Plasma. stevepusser uses XFCE, I believe. The thing is, everyone can choose their owm DE and be happy on Debian. That's the point of choice, you are not limited to one GUI like on Windows and Mac OS.

And those who don't use GNOME, surely won't go out of their way to list their reasons why. They simply don't care, they use what they like. As should you :)
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby GarryRicketson » 2019-07-07 12:58

I stopped using Gnome over 5 years ago, my reasons mostly were I got tired of all the problems, and the stupid "Oh no something went wrong" messages, but really it does not matter what reasons I have, I just plain don't like it any more,
So instead of depending on some body or some website, to tell me what DE I should use,
EG:
I found an incredible web page that makes testing different distributions and desktops much less work: distrotest-net

I tried some different DE's, including Xfce, Kde, Cinnamon, Lxde, and none of them were even close to what I imagined I would like, so I looked at Window Managers, instead, and quickly found that starting with a basic WM, like CWM, and TWM, I could configure it to fit exactly what I like, well then I also discovered some other WM's that all ready were more configured, and still to my liking, and started using them, simply because it was easier to install one with more features, then to customizing a basic one.
I think the biggest pit fall, people fall into is that they do not know what they like, and depend on others to tell them what they should like. I don't care what others like, nor what their reasons are for liking or disliking a DE or WM, nor do I care about the reasons, I like what I like, and use what I prefer, that is enough reasons for me. I don't use what I don't like, and that is enough reasons for me.
I don't let some website tell me what I should be using, and their reasons for promoting it.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Onsemeliot » 2019-07-07 15:11

GarryRicketson wrote:I like what I like, and use what I prefer, that is enough reasons for me.

Certainly. But there is still the option that I would like what I'm not familiar with after getting used to it.

I was a happy mouse user until I discovered how much quicker and more fun it is to not have to move the mouse everywhere. I wouldn't have asked for GNOME 3 but after knowing it I don't want to miss what I have learned to value in it. i3 sounds good for example but I have the impression using just a tiling window manager would leave me unsatisfied because I probably would miss many tools. The terminal is great but it's not always the most convenient option.

Today I learned that in i3 it is a simple option to start certain applications in specific work spaces. This seems like a fantastic feature to me and I am searching now if I can do the same thing in GNOME in a convenient way because switching between work spaces is already very nice.

I expected that many people here would be happy to explain why they prefer the desktops they use but my question is of course no obligation to anyone. I will be able to manage without this feedback also.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Zjho » 2019-07-08 20:17

An intermittent bug my system suffered while recovering from suspend was main reason for no longer using Gnome3.
Bug only struck about one in eight times forcing system to reboot but that made work resetting numerous workspaces.
Never reported bug because have always assumed suspend is a bit weak on Linux. Surprising to me, since switching to xfce about three months ago, there has been no problem. Quickly installed packages such as Nautilus file browser for xfce but do miss customizable overview, panel content of xfce doesn't compare.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby 4D696B65 » 2019-07-08 20:27

Onsemeliot wrote:Today I learned that in i3 it is a simple option to start certain applications in specific work spaces. This seems like a fantastic feature to me and I am searching now if I can do the same thing in GNOME in a convenient way because switching between work spaces is already very nice.

Maybe this does what you want
Auto Move Windows
https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/16/auto-move-windows/
https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-shell-extensions
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby theblueplll » 2019-07-08 22:38

I actually thought Gnome was cool as hell when I tried it for about a week.
I love the way the desktop is setup and wish I could figure out how to setup Mate like that(I bet it's possible although I haven't looked very hard yet).

Unfortunately my current daily driver didn't seem to like it much and I didn't know enough then to find out why or if I could make it better.

Now I am just so used to Mate that when I think about switching to test it out again I don't get all that motivated to go through the hassle.
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Re: Reasons to not use GNOME 3

Postby Deb-fan » 2019-07-09 00:55

Don't have any compelling reasons not to use Gnome, you obviously like it and with all the development efforts poured into it would be shocked if it wasn't a highly polished and robust DE. Though last time I'd used it was gnome 2.4, so don't really have a valid opinion on this. My main concern would have to be system resource overhead. Openbox does everything I need-want at a drop in the bucket compared. Though am sure Gnome 3 can be trimmed down too.

You like it, use it. Agree with @Wheeler, guess a person really isn't going to know which they prefer w/o some hands on experience. Obviously someone doesn't have to try every single DE/WM in the world. Just those which pique their interest. No hard right/wrong when personal preference gets involved. If someone's tastes run completely contrary to mine,doesn't make them wrong.

They just have bad taste. :D
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