What a complete disaster. More troubling than the technical implications is the attitude prevalent among developers and fans of this holy new version of Gnome that we should adapt to our computers rather than have them adapt to us. A perfect example of why programmers, just like many other types of smart people, suck. They think their intelligence qualifies them to make better choices for others.
Open source is a fantastic development model. It produces superior software at an obviously lower price, which results in a win-win situation for the consumer. I do however believe that one of the underlying causes of what I will refer to as “the Gnome 3 problem” is the simple fact that free and open source software is not market-driven to the extent that commercial software is. A commercial software firm would never dream of implementing such radical and unpopular changes especially in such a short period of time. It would be disastrous. Users would revolt with their wallets and money would be lost. Just imagine if Microsoft Windows were to completely revamp their front-end; remove desktop icons, minimize and maximize buttons, and kill the start menu. It would be suicide.
Of course in certain cases this dynamic can obstruct improvement by constraining the advancement of commercial software, but this particular case highlights a flaw that is only applicable to the open source model: the user doesn’t really matter that much. In the world of free software, the ratio of power between developer and user is substantially higher than in the for profit (and therefore customer oriented, since profit comes from customers) world. This is not a problem that is specific to Gnome or any single piece of software. This scenario is however one of the best recent examples of this phenomena.
Gnome 2 was a good piece of software. It was stable, fast, and relatively customizable but not at the expense of user friendliness. It wasn’t perfect of course, but in my opinion, and in many others’ (indicated by its use as the default desktop manager in a number of popular Linux distributions) it was the best option available.
I’ve been using Ubuntu on my desktop for approximately 5 years now, I’ve been incredibly satisfied with it along with Gnome, and have even persuaded other Windows users to make the switch. I will however be expecting some phone calls as they make the upgrades to 11.10 and the systems they are familiar and comfortable with are practically wiped out. This would be a complete non-issue if this new interface were optional instead of forced upon users.
And before you suggest it “fallback” or as I call it ”slightly less crappy” mode is worthless. I have no choice but to stick with it for now and will advise others to do the same but eventually I and many others will have to find a new home.
I’m thinking XFCE.
The geek community and even to some extent the less technically inclined community is by and large not willing to trade functionality for lame attempts to be “cool” and tablet-like with pretty graphics. This is a self centered approach that has been tried and failed numerous times in all sectors of the tech industry. Look at the most successful web sites on the internet for example. They didn’t get there by looking good, they got there by being functional, intuitive, and most importantly, simple. Craigslist anyone?
Why Gnome 3 Sucks
These are just a few reasons, but there are countless others.
No, change is not always good. Forced change (key word: forced), by definition, causes friction and therefore hurts productivity. Of course if done right and implemented properly the benefits can outweigh the harm in the long term, but the fact by itself that it is ”progress” doesn’t mean it’s positive, it just means it’s different than it was before. So no, I’m not going to adapt because some guy on the internet says I should, because this is a step backwards, especially for a power user such as myself.
Forget all that though, I’ll just say this: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
It seems that much has been done to intentionally limit options for customization, supposedly in the name of ease of use. Newsflash: This is Linux. One of the greatest things about this OS is the emphasis on openness and flexibility. This is not a toy OS for grannies who only want to check email and will be scared off by any optional settings; stop trying to make it one. And if you do, at least leave some options open for the people that actually want to *gasp* use their computers.
What disturbs me more than the lack of any particular feature is that I have to ask the question: Why are the fundamental concepts of flexibility and power that make Linux great directly under attack, in its most popular DE nonetheless?
Countless features seem to have all but disappeared for no good reasons I can think of. My desktop is practically dead, I can’t even right click it. The “compact” option for icon view in Nautilus is gone. The workspace boxes in my panel no longer show the icon of the maximized application in that workspace. The mail icon in my panel is gone.
Of course many of these features are trivial, but why remove them?
- Ease of Use
The worst part about the destruction of customization options in the name of “ease of use” is that it seems to have backfired horribly. Gnome 3 is not easy to use. For the developers who created it, maybe, for all of us normal people, no. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Three clicks to get to an application? Then when you complain, some Gnome 3 fanboy tells you it’s actually easier, since you can just type the name of the application? Brilliant! If I wanted to type the names of my applications, I would be using the freaking command line.
- Peer Pressure
Gnome 3 sucks because people like Linus Torvalds say it sucks.
Update: Luckily someone in the open source community has decided to create a fork of Gnome 2, the MATE Desktop Environment.
Update: It looks like we are not alone in our disappointment.
- Why Gnome 3′s Fallback mode sucks
- After two weeks of using GNOME 3, I officially hate it
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
- GNOME 3 – Built for people who would never use Linux in the first place
- Gnome Developer Quote of the Day
- Has Gnome 3 decided that people shouldn’t want screen savers?
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