back to article Linux Mint moves to Gnome 3, keeps Gnome 2 MATEy

The forthcoming release of Linux Mint will see it shift to the Gnome 3 desktop for the first time, but it will continue to support Gnome 2 users with a separate root, and has a shell to ease the transition between the platforms. The Linux Mint team does see Gnome 3 as the way forward, it explained in a blog post, but …


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  1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The next Ubuntu

    Linux Mint offers what Ubuntu has lost: an effortless, Linux based desktop that combines computing efficiency with the ease of use Ubuntu started out with.

    Well done - I know many are switching.

    1. Goat Jam

      Well It Depends Really

      It depends on how many resources they (and the Mate people) will be able to maintain towards keeping the 2.xx line working and updated as the world inevitably moves on with Gnome 3.

      True, it is possible that we will see an XFree86 style "fork off" event but this type of thing requires significant input from the community as well as credible leadership in order for a seismic shift to occur.

      I can't say I have seen much evidence of this happening despite the amount of derision that has been directed towards the incumbent Gnome developers.

      Also, such a sustained effort would be much easier to maintain if people like the Mint folks (and others) were to draw a line in the sand rather than take an each way bet by choosing to support both Gnome 3 and Gnome 2.

      It is inevitable that sooner or later one of these will fall by the wayside and given that Mint are already saying they are shifting to Gnome 3 with Gnome 2 support as an afterthought then I am finding it hard to convince myself that Gnome 2 has much of a future after the current to next release of Mint.

      Personally I hope it does, because I am a crusty old phart who is set in m y ways and I like my desktop setup the way it is, but then I'm also a glass is half empty kind of guy.

      Having said that, I still think it is too early to call which way the community will go so here's hoping that Gnome 2 and its descendants have a long and healthy future.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Let's buy the Gnome Devs a coffee pot

    Let's all chip in and buy the Gnome developers a coffee pot - one with an alarm clock that will start the brewing automatically.

    Perhaps THEN, they will WAKE UP and smell the coffee!

    Designing the system to *allow* for use on a tablet - great idea!

    Designing the system to ONLY operate as though it were on a tablet - VERY BAD IDEA.

    Part of GOOD software design is abstracting the concepts so that you can have a multitude of implementations for a programming interface - as in, "you can have a library that supports a tablet look and feel, or you can have a library that supports a desktop look and feel, and the client has no need to worry which library it is using."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only if the alarm is set to go off at 6:30am with no way to change it, because the makers of the coffee pot know better than you what time you should be waking up at, and hey, you'll just have to adapt to their way of doing things...

    2. Owen Carter
      Thumb Up

      Very well said; there is so much potential in what they are doing; and some really excellent innovative stuff.. but then they throw it all away by failing to put it together coherently or appropriately.

      The best bit of news in this article is the appearance of the MGSE extensions; I suspect they will be rapidly ported to other distros (cough..Fedora..cough) and widely adopted.

      It will be interesting to see if the small band of dorks currently dragging Gnome3 down will then try to kill MGSE by changing the extensions mechanism... I would not put it past them; their immature reaction to the current criticism does not bode well for this.

  3. yeahyeahno

    Very tempted to switch to Mint from Ubuntu.

    I've used Unity, and I really don't like it.

    The only fear I have is the lack of relative support in 3rd party projects for Mint compared to Ubuntu.

    1. Richard 22

      The main version of mint is based on Ubuntu, and uses the Ubuntu repositories for most things, so if you want something which isn't in the standard repos you can just follow the instructions for the relevant ubuntu version directly on Mint (v12 will be based on Ubuntu 11.11). It gives the best of both worlds - most third party sources seem to offer Ubuntu repos, but you don't have to use the dreadful Unity UI.

  4. Forget It

    Mint is likely to overtake Ubuntu as most popular Linux distro in the next few months

  5. pabc

    50% migration from Ubuntu to Mint here

    my son likes Mint11 over Lucid due to the default colors - fine as reasons go if you are 11yo. My daughter prefers gnome3 so is on ubuntu 11.11 but will be the first to switch to Mint12 as the house guinea pig. My netbook will get Mint12 shortly after but desktop is staying at Lucid until LTS runs out.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Well, I'll give it a try...

    I seem to giving quite a lot a try these days, trying to find something usable. Let's see how it goes, or if it's back to Mint10 or Ubuntu 10.4

  7. Shagbag

    As a well-known Physicist said:

    "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants."

    1. Owen Carter

      I prefer:

      'If I seem shorter it is because I have giants standing on my shoulders'

      (thanks to /usr/bin/fortune for that)

    2. llewton
      Thumb Up

      yes, debian is that buntu african word that means, "giant".

  8. John Sanders
    Thumb Up

    Well done el Reg!

    For bringing this to the public's attention in such a well explained way.

  9. JDX Gold badge


    They bundle all Windows OSes as one result? And then list Linuxes separately?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's a huge drop-off...

      ...after number 1:

      Windows - 90.8%

      OS X - 7%

      Unknown/Other - 1.4%

      GNU/Linux - 0.8% (i.e. within a rounding error)

      Yes, Linux Mint may well be first in the GNU/Linux world, but that world is so small as to be an utter irrelevance in the real one. And all the in-fighting over which twiddle knobs look better just make the whole GNU/Linux experiment even more of a laughing stock.

      1. llewton
        Thumb Up


        ... and that's *exactly* why MS trolls waste their time and energy day after day, year after year, busily typing their little fingers until they bleed, manipulating unreliable and unofficial data, explaining how irrelevant linux is?

        imo one would have to be either batshit crazy or earn 0.05 cents-per-post to waste time in this way.

  10. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

    Xfce is the way to go

    Like many others I have shifted to Mint. In my case, LMDE with Xfce. LMDE because it is Debian based rather than Ubuntu and Xfce because it matches the way I prefer to work rather than the way somebody else thinks I should work. And with luck the Xfce guys won't feel the need to fsck with the desktop in version 5.0

  11. mrmond

    Mate or MGSE ?

    It seems that you're reporting Mate is definite, yet I read it to be that while MGSE is being included the final descision to include MATE on the RC hasn't been made yet.

    Only if they succeed in making it work correctly will it be on there.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gnome 3 is the way to go

    pabc said:

    "My daughter prefers gnome3 so is on ubuntu 11.11"

    What? Ubuntu uses Unity, which is not Gnome3. Get Fedora 15 (or the beta of 16) to see Gnome3 at its best. I've been trying it for a while and I like it.

    Regarding Linus's dislikes, it seems to me that he just didn't RTFM, as you can do what he complains that you can't just by pressing the CTRL key. Or am I understanding him wrongly?

    1. Owen Carter
      Thumb Down

      The 'Manual' as you describe it doesn't exist; there is a flashy web tutorial that is 90% screenshot and 100% on-message; is that what you were thinking of?

      - The workarounds to G3's deficiencies had to be found by pouring through forum threads and ignoring the idiots posts (yours would be a good example of one such post) to find the info that actually helped.

      - Retrospectively some decent articles on how to regain your productivity have appeared but this is too little, too late.

      You post encapsulates a lot of what has gone wrong with G3.. An anonymous low-level spod, bereft of comprehension, trying to put down someone who manifestly knows vastly more about IT then you ever will. And all because he thinks having to use undocumented modifier keys to compensate for bad design sucks.

    2. pabc


      @AC 23:20

      well she was on 11.04 and didn't like Unity so I dist upgraded to 11.11 and stuck gnome 3 on.

      Just Because I'm lazy and it was the easiest/quickest way.

    3. llewton

      gnome 3 and gnome shell might be two separate things.

  13. Uwe Dippel

    ... and if I am the only one here ...

    I hate and don't use Gnome3.

    But when I click that screenshot of the new Mint, I know all too well, that this cluttered mess-up is not going to take over my desktop.

    What about KDE? Here it does what I want it to do.

    1. Owen Carter

      A KDE user who thinks Gnome3 is cluttered... wow. KDE Plasma is a lot less cluttered than KDE used to be; but by default it is about the same as Gnome2. Gnome3 has many faults, but clutter is not one of them.

  14. Eddy Ito

    No girl scouts there

    With 2 Gnomes on board, it surly isn't going to be a thin Mint.

  15. Suhana

    ""keeping an open mind and an ear for the community"" - Well that will be a first. As an OS, it has many fundamental flaws and idiotic design decisions which actually make it far more difficult to use than it should be.

    The bundled mint tools have been very shoddy, often requiring levels of skill well above that which the OS is aimed at to tweak, and I know from hard experience that a number of them simply do not work at all.

    Testing was a joke, with testers including myself spending a large amount of time testing each and every ISO only to have our test reports ignored or in one case actually deleted. The tests were far from comprehensive with only 50 or so different items looked at.

    As for being the ""the fourth most popular desktop OS in the world"", that is simply worrying. For one, I suspect that laughable statement is taken from DistroWatch's rankings which to my knowledge are page-hit based (and therefore easy enough to manipulate). No matter what, re-releasing a product every 6 months complete with bugs just to keep it in the public eye does not make for a good OS.

    Mint is at best, a toy; at worst, I feel it is actually capable of turning people away from *nix due to its design. Me, I'll be sticking to a decent OS thank you.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Search Engines

    From the blog : "Search engines who do not share the income generated by our users, are removed from Linux Mint and might get their ads blocked."

    Does this simply mean that the default browser installation will not include certain search providers, or is it an active blocking of search engines that don't give them a cut? The former, hopefully.

    Not that I really like Ads, but I find the last bit disturbing : if I happen to use Bing and the OS screws with my "Bing Experience" then they have gone way too far. I'm used to Google etc. treating me as a revenue generator, but I don't expect the OS to do so as well. I wouldn't expect this level of interference even from Microsoft.

    Yes, I know it's free, and I don't have to use it, so I won't. Unless of course it turns out that they're all at it anyway, and it's just that I'm ignorant of that fact.

  17. spegru

    @ AC 7th November 2011 23:32

    1st. Rounding Error? I have to point out that if you suggest that might in fact be NO Mint users then that really IS laughable. 1% may be a small proportion but users are still in the millions!

    2nd. What is this business of Market Share? Who Cares? This is OpenSource so there's no way that Mint or Linux in general is going to go out of business due to poor market share.

    Mint & Linux is highly relevant to me and it ought to be for you too - it keeps perfectly serviceable PCs out of landfill, saving you cash and the planet as well.

    I've been using Mint (Mint7) since 2008 and has been my main OS since 2009, using it all day every day - for real work! I just does everything I need, be it Media, Office apps, Email, Social stuff, whatever. Oh and it runs at about 2x windowsXP speed on the same hardware

  18. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    RE: There's a huge drop-off... #

    Well unlike the great "90% relevant desktops" or the "7%" fruit based desktops; Linux users have a choice on *DESKTOP ENVIROMENTS* and how they work for them.

    I'll say it again - choice ; and as a result *debate* and *opinion* ( even agument and flaming??? !). Think that shows signs of "interest" and "life" in a subject. If you find that 0.8% is a rounding error and and the whole thing a "laughing stock" I suggest you save your time and typing and stick to witing about improving your 90% (which after using it since Windows 1, I consider a dogs dinnner) or even the other 7% (I have no experience so cannot comment) and leave those intrested in the rounding error to post.

  19. NB


    Gnome 3 and Unity are fucking horrible, I went the same way as Linus and switched to xfce so I could keep using a desktop that did what I wanted and didn't force an ugly and inefficient use model on me that I never asked for. I'm seriously considering switching over to LMDE+xfce4 at the moment as I suspect it'd probably be a far better experience than what I'm getting out of the various *buntu flavours.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still on Mint 9

    'cos Mint 10 changed the sound system which prevents me using gMFSK

    Other than that, Mint runs superbly on my HP2133.

  21. mhenriday
    Thumb Up

    I'll certainly be giving Mint 12 a whirl,

    as none of the options offered by Ubuntu Oneiric allow me to configure my desktop the way I want, as in GNOME 2.3 (I'm presently using Unity with the Docky toolbar, which, however, is a bit too Applish for my taste and doesn't quite offer the flexibility of GNOME 2.3. Pity, however, that Unetbootin is so far behind with Mint ; the latest version offered there is 10....


  22. John Sanders


    On LMDE works quite well and it has surprisingly few bugs.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XFCE on debian-testing for me. I tried LMDE but their old Firefox 5 build, twiddled to inject Linux Mint sponsored search results,.along with their constant marketdroid speak about 'maximising revenue generation opportunities via partnerships with selected business partners' infuriated me. Seems the Debian volunteers do it just for the joy of releasing open source software, rather than any monetary motive. Plus, if you add contrib and non-free to your apt sources, you can still get the codecy and proprietary graphics drivery goodness that Mint comes with, and the Mint Menu is no great loss...

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