No Linux desktop, including Unity, has generated more heated arguments than GNOME 3. Some people love it and some people despise it. Love it or hate it, GNOME 3 is here to stay and I think that’s a good thing. It’s time to let go of the past and enjoy GNOME for what it is, not what some of us would have it be.
Datamation has an article that spells out why the writer switched to GNOME, and I think it’s well worth a read since it embodies the spirit of moving on and also of accepting GNOME as it is without comparing it to other desktop environments.
Letting go of GNOME 2 to accept GNOME 3
I have to confess to you that moving on from the days of GNOME 2 have been very hard for me. I used to be a GNOME junkie, but they lost me with GNOME 3. I tried to like it but could never warm up to it because in the back of my mind I kept thinking about GNOME 2 and how much I missed it. It was a bad way of psyching myself out and not really giving GNOME 3 a chance in its own right.
I think the best thing I did when I decided to make the switch a permanent one, is to stop comparing it to other desktop environments. This allowed me to fully experience the GNOME 3 desktop without comparing it with KDE, XFCE and so on. With this new mindset, I found that the integration and work-flow were actually quite refreshing.
Speaking for myself, I think GNOME 3 is fantastic. Sure, it took some work to get used to a “new” way of doing things, yet at the end of the day I couldn’t be happier with its feature set and performance. In the interest of full disclosure, I do run XFCE on my nephew’s old laptop, since it’s the desktop he’s more satisfied with. But speaking for myself, I think GNOME is going to be my goto desktop environment for the foreseeable future. That is, of course, unless KDE woos me back somehow. And, considering I used to be a KDE user years ago, it could happen.
Image credit: GNOME.org
A good example of this mindset cropped up in a review of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 that I did for Desktop Linux Reviews a while back. When I wrote that review I was in the “GNOME 3 sucks” mindset, and I was not very fair in my criticisms of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10. Well, you can imagine what happened when some devoted GNOME users piled into the comments section of the review.
At first I was annoyed by their criticisms of the review. But then I realized…they were right. I was letting my own personal preferences and GNOME 2 hangups cloud my judgement about Ubuntu GNOME 13.10. So I did something I almost never do, I took another stab at the review and did an edit of it, complete with an apology note for the users of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10.
Here’s the text of my note:
“Note: I’ve done some edits to this review after getting feedback from readers. The initial version was too skewed by my own lack of enthusiasm for GNOME 3. I’ve added some content and bumped up the score to better reflect the overall value of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 rather than my own feelings toward GNOME 3. Thanks to my readers for sharing their thoughts, my apologies for the earlier take on this distro. “
You can read through the comments at the bottom of the review that I linked to above. Suffice to say, I got quite an earful from the GNOME users. In retrospect I’m very glad that they spoke up as it gave me a reality check about my perceptions of GNOME 3, and the Datamation article is another confirmation for me that GNOME 3 – while still not my cup of tea – deserves to be judged independently of other desktop environments.
No single Linux desktop is right for all users
Let’s face it, there really is no single desktop environment in Linux that is going to make everybody happy. So when we talk about them it makes more sense to focus what each of them has to offer that might appeal to a user, rather than engaging in heated comparisons that ultimately miss the point that each of them is different, and none of them is perfect for every user out there.
And this is not a bad thing in any way. One of the best things about desktop Linux is that there are so many different choices, and each user can pick what he or she wants to use. No other computer operating system out there offers as large a range of choices, and this is something that we should celebrate rather than argue about. Who in their right mind would ever want Linux to offer a lesser number of choices? Not me, that’s for sure.
GNOME 3 has its place in the great pantheon of Linux desktops. It may not be right for me or for you, but it sure is right for somebody out there. So more power to them if it’s what they want to use. We should be glad that the GNOME developers have chosen a path that adds another unique choice to what we have for desktop environments.
What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.