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04 August 2011, 16:08

Torvalds: GNOME over as Linux creator switches to Xfce

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Tux with a pointer Recent changes to Linux's graphical desktops have seen many complaints and defections but none so high profile as Linus Torvalds, who has revealed in a discussion on Google+ that he has given up on GNOME 3 and has switched to Xfce. The Google+ discussion was initially about a plan to create a version of the Linux 3.0 kernel with the version number 2.6.40 so it could be used in Fedora 15 without breaking any tools that expect the 3 digit version number.

Torvalds joined the discussion commenting that "While you are at it, could you also fork gnome, and support a gnome-2 environment?" asking for his "sane interfaces back" and noting he has yet to meet anybody who likes "the unholy mess that is gnome-3".

Torvalds later expanded on his dislike of GNOME 3, explaining that he didn't have rendering problems with it; what he disliked was the user experience. "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?" he asked. He gave as example the complexity of using a plain terminal through the "insane 'activities' mode". Torvalds describes this as "the kind of 'head up the arse' behavior of gnome3" and says he has switched: "I'm using Xfce. I think it's a step down from gnome2, but it's a huge step up from gnome3. Really."

This isn't the first time that Torvalds has been infuriated by desktops and got a lot of attention. Before 2005, he used GNOME but had become irritated as the GNOME developers applied the aggressive simplification philosophy that is their hallmark. "This 'users are idiots, and are confused by functionality' mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it" he wrote, saying he was recommending KDE, which he continued to use up until early 2009 when he switched back to GNOME after he found KDE 4 disappointing.


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