GNOME: who saw you, who has seen you and who sees you [Opinion, and a bit of history]

GNOME, good and bad

A few moments ago I have been doing some things in Ubuntu. I, who now almost always use KDE / Plasma, find it heavy. When I want to multitask, I see a "This app is not responding" message and the ability to force quit. It is something that I have seen very little in Linux and quite a bit in GNOME, but I have to say that I use it on a fairly discreet computer. Hence, you look back and remember what GNOME was like years ago.

I used Linux for the first time in the summer of 2006. I did it in a virtual machine, and Ubuntu I was going faster as a guest than my host Windows XP. When I found that I could live without the Microsoft system I switched to Linux, and at that time it was GNOME 2.6. It wasn't pretty, but it was fast and stable. My pointer stopped showing the icon that I was striving for, and I left my computer headaches and stress behind.

GNOME 3.x does not suit discrete computers so well

When Canonical released Unity, many Linux users began to try alternatives. There was an official flavor called Ubuntu GNOME, but it disappeared when they returned to the desktop they still use today. Unity destroyed the computers that Ubuntu did work on days before, and with the return to GNOME it regained some speed. Something.

From the moment Ubuntu returned to GNOME, the desktop was used in the major version of the most popular Linux operating systems, including Debian and Fedora. Currently, about 40% use the desktop that we are talking about in this article, but also there are many of us who prefer something more customizable and make it run a little lighter.

The "Windows of Linux" ... somehow

Yes, in a way, GNOME is Linux Windows. Although I know that in this community there are people with knowledge and they do not stay in the first thing they are offered, I also know that there are many who stay in GNOME because it is "normal" in Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian and even Manjaro offers it as a version official. Also, many computers that ship with Linux pre-installed do so with the major version of Ubuntu.

It also resembles Windows in that it is less customizable and heavier than other desks, like KDE / Plasma. My weakest laptop, the poor one with an i3, 4GB of RAM and a hard drive, doesn't move either Ubuntu or the Manjaro edition with GNOME at all. Every two by three I see the message that there is an application that is not responding, something rare to see in Plasma, Xfce or LXQt.

But beware, not everything in "Windows" is bad. It is easier to use, and in a decent team, by not offering so many options, you do not usually see the small bugs that we saw in the tons in the old versions of other desktops. Also, gestures from GNOME 40 onwards are something other projects envy.

Things will get better, but some of us will be left behind

GNOME has been taking steps forward in the latest versions, and in v40, in addition to gestures, it gained fluency, something that was even better in v41. In addition, next March they will include news such as the new screenshot tool that will also allow you to record videos, so we can't say it's a bad option. This article is not about that. It's about balance. On whether the simple and beautiful is better or the more complicated and less beautiful, but faster.

In part, this article is from someone who is envious. Someone jilted. Disenchanted. Someone who would like to use GNOME if it were faster on all their computers and applications were like KDE Gear. The latter is not 100% necessary, but I would like not to see those "Force Quit" messages.

In my opinionIf the project continues on this path, and even more so now that they have opened their "Circle" of apps, the most used desk might be the best too, at least for those with a decent average team. As for whether I'll use it as the main desktop, chances are, if KDE doesn't change some things like gestures. Of course, I will have to do it on my best laptop or when I remove the less powerful one.

I like it. And I dislike it. And, well, this article is an opinion piece.


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  1.   Marcelo said

    Exactly, the reason why I stopped using KDE (Kubuntu) is because it does not have gestures, at this point it is very rare that they do not have them.

  2.   Alvaro said

    I agree with you. I have two discs, one with Kde Neon and the other with Debian 11 gnome.
    I have an aging computer with an Intel® Core ™ i5-3470 and 16 gigs of ram that I expanded.
    I love plasma and also gnome but I have to say that the team feels lighter with plasma.
    But Debian's stability didn't change it for nothing. Greetings.

  3.   xfce said

    Your problem is that if you want to use heavy desktops on less powerful computers, then you are a firefighter and you have a problem, gnome and kde, no matter how much they speed up, they are still heavy desktops. What you have to have lights and if it is a modest team, then xfce and ballpoint.

    1.    pablinux said

      I use KDE / Plasma without problems.

  4.   Sebastian said

    I went through many desks and lately I was using Plasma, but a few months ago I returned to Gnome and nowadays it is barbarous, as of version 40 it is super fast and stable, it made me gain a lot of speed in the work. With an AMD A10 trinity APU that is 10 years old it flies.

  5.   Fernando said

    I have been using Ubuntu for years and it does not feel heavy at all and I compare it to plasma that I also used. Ubuntu was never a distro for discrete computers, with little RAM and no matter what era we are talking about, IT WAS ALWAYS MORE FLUID THAN THE CONTEMPORARY VERSION OF WINDOWS YOU WERE. On the same laptop I have Windows 10 updated, legal and Ubuntu 20.04 installed, as always happened Ubuntu is much faster and fluid than Windows, not to mention the consumption of RAM on the desktop, Windows always consumed more RAM. The current Gnome was never a desktop for discrete teams, if you want a buntu for more limited teams use Ubuntu Mate (which evokes the old Gnome) or Lubuntu and you will see that you do much better.

  6.   Liam said

    What do you mean by "Heavy GNOME"?

    I tried Manjaro KDE for over a month and it was an ordeal of Dolphin errors etc, ahem:
    - Headaches when connecting phones via MTP.
    - Absurd permissions with reading files.
    - Bundled interfaces and nonsense buttons and so on.
    - When I wanted to format disks from the KDE partition manager, apart from the horrendous and messy interface that it handles (like everything else in KDE) it gave errors when formatting.
    FORMAT.
    - When closing programs in Plasma, lines that look horrible appear, I suppose it is because of X11.

    And especially slow as hell on a computer with 4GB of RAM.

    I tried Manjaro GNOME and it worked incredibly better, much faster, simpler and cleaner interfaces, to the point in the tasks I wanted to do, obviously with the default Manjaro extensions in GNOME.
    Better polish for laptops.

    The truth is I stayed with GNOME, it's my thing.
    And it's not from being a fan, but I just tried its direct rival (Plasma) and found GNOME more polished.

    1.    pablinux said

      That, from what I have tested, everything is slower on the same laptop. That and the "This program is not responding, Force Quit" that I see often, both in Ubuntu and Manjaro GNOME. These are things that do not happen to me in Kubuntu or Manjaro KDE.

      There are also other comments that agree with this.

      A greeting.

      1.    Liam said

        Well, different experiences.
        But that KDE is much slower for me (personal experience) is totally true.

        1.    jony127 said

          Well, you also have to take into account possible hardware conflicts because there are users with similar hardware that do well with gnome or plasma and others don't. I use plasma on a discrete laptop with 4gb of ram and have no problem using it and never have.

          I have also used kde partitioner to format pen-drive and zero problems. If they were software bugs it would fail us all……

  7.   piticlin said

    It seems ridiculous to me that in 2021 an i3 would have a hard time moving the graphical interface of an OS.

    The problem is the graphical interface developers, with the power they have at their disposal it is unfortunate that everything does not go as a shot.

    Remember that we already moved compiz (and fluidly) in the first decade of the century, the fluidity in the graphical interface is something that we should have already overcome with current equipment (they do not need to be top of the range, far from it).