back to article Feeling brave? GNOME 40 is here and you can have a poke around in the Fedora 34 beta

The GNOME project has released version 40 of its Linux desktop, with a new design for finding and launching applications and updated core apps. GNOME is the default desktop for numerous Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Red Hat and variants such as Fedora and CentOS Stream, SUSE, and many more. Version 40 is the first to …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Not coming here

    I never liked gnome 2, from what I've read, this is even worse.

    Coat 'cos i got out of it as soon as I could!

    1. ovation1357

      Re: Not coming here

      I did like GNOME 2 and after they shafted all of us by axing it and replacing it with a half-baked, incompatible and completely different GNOME 3 I switched to MATE (a maintained desktop forked from GNOME 2) and have been extremely happy with that choice..

      Unfortunately, this goes beyond just the GNOME desktop because the majority of the major Linux applications are based on GTK and it's the underpinning library for many of the desktop environments including MATE and XFCE which means that some of the terrible GUI design decisions by GNOME are now bleeding through into the other desktops. This includes the use of client-side decisions for windows (meaning you get a fat, horrible title bar with nested buttons and a hamburger menu) as well as replacing traditional contextual menus with things called 'pop overs' which (in my opinion) look ridiculous but also behave more like mobile phone menus - I.e. very touch centric and useless for mouse users.

      As for calling it GNOME 40 - well this to me just stinks of how corporate it's become. The marketing department has decided to ditch that pesky major number with no clear understanding of the implications.

      It's a sorry state of affairs and I'm most upset that my non-GNOME desktop is now unavoidably behaving like GNOME 3.x :-(

      Just wait until a few more of the XFCE users find themselves faced with hamburger menus after their next LTS distro upgrade!

      1. drankinatty

        Re: Not coming here

        I've lived thought it all... Gnome2 was a real gem. Artfully designed, good compiz integration and provided excellent control to the user to configure just about every aspect of the desktop through gconf-editor and gconftool2. There were literally hundreds of excellent Gtk+2/metacity themes on gnome-store and everything seemed to work just fine (though gedit and gnome-terminal were always a bit lacking compared to KDE3 kate and konsole...)

        Gnome3 (gnome-desktop) and the new "webized" css theming destroyed the look and feel of the desktop, and gnome3 was no more ready for public use than KDE4 4.04a in May 2008. Gnome3 provided a completely dumbed-down interface and all the user-control for the desktop evaporated. Icons no longer fit in toolbars (we have all seen css spillover and only 5 icons fit where a dozen fit nicely before). It was a holy train-wreck. None of the css themes worked or sized any of the widgets the same and there was a complete dearth of any usable themes compared to hundreds for Gtk+2.

        Judging from the screenshot, the file-manager now looks a lot like KDE dolphin (the dumbed-down konqueror) and the settings bares a striking resemblance to Win10 (I suspect they are less useful than the settings in Gnome3).

        Desktop and user-interface design has been a complete disappointment. Much of it do to the seasoned UI programmers skilled in ergonomics and minimization of the number of key-strokes or mouse-clicks needed being replaced by "designers" who could work with the web-ized css model rather than actually having to develop and program an interface (there is a huge difference between the two, like the difference between a 4-star chef and the high schooler who puts patties on buns)

        That's how Linux desktop "progress" has been for the better part of the last decade and a half -- that's before even getting to the Qt5/6 debacle. Now its up to the "marketing" geniuses to make a lot of noise talking about "40" instead of 4.0 and doing their best to distract and deflect the hard questions about why POSIX versioning means nothing anymore... And they wonder why there is no such thing as the Linux business desktop...

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Not coming here

          Dolphin's getting worse recently.

          Slow as hell, memory gobbling, and can suddenly disappear. The rest of the applications on my KDE PCLinuxOS are fast and stable. Plus takes ages to set up to be useful: like a side tree view panel [ one needs the 'Folders' view, not the Places, or Information; Show Menu Bar and Split View --- which are all things hidden from a new user.

          For finding things it is so useless I have to fire up Double Commander or Krusader.



          Worst of all, saving an image from any browser freezes, then takes half a minute each. I mostly switched to other contrivances like an image downloader or DownLoadThemAll!, even at the last saving from Page Info...


          I always said Konqueror was an indifferent browser, but a great file-manager. Never understood why they switched from that

  2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    I wonder what useful features they've removed this time?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      re: what useful features they've removed this time?

      Are there any left? The move from Gnome 2 to the monstrosity that was and still is Gnome 3 did so much damage, there is IMHO little left to recommend it.

      I say Fuck you to those promoting keyboard shortcuts. They have always been and always will be only useful for right-handed people. Us lefties... you know those of us who have the temerity to use the mouse with their left hand find them a total PITA and then some.

      People say that they only use the default browser on windows in order to download the one they want to use. The same applies here. I only suffer Gnome 3 long enough to get Mate installed and working.

      Die Gnome developers... die. May you all go to hell for the pain that you have needlessly subjected us poor users to over the years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: what useful features they've removed this time?

        Not just lefties - I'm a rightie who uses the mouse in the left hand.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: re: what useful features they've removed this time?

          And I alternate between the two as an anti-RSI measure

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A redesigned Weather app ?

    Weather app a core app ? WTF? It seems they sincerely believe this was badly needed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gnome default desktop for SUSE ?

    Isn't it KDE ?

    1. wintergirl

      Re: Gnome default desktop for SUSE ?

      Insofar as there is a default desktop for SUSE, it's KDE. It appears at the top of the list during installation, anyway.

      1. sreynolds

        Re: Gnome default desktop for SUSE ?

        Qt shite - no thank you

        1. nematoad

          Re: Gnome default desktop for SUSE ?

          "Qt shite - no thank you"

          Then don't bloody well use it!

          This is Linux we are talking about.

          You have a choice.

    2. drankinatty

      Re: Gnome default desktop for SUSE ?

      openSUSE defaults to KDE on Leap and Tumbleweed (their rolling release). In the past they have normally also provided Live-CD ISOs, (we'll now USB install media) that had Gnome and other Desktops. They also provide the ability to install nearly every desktop you can think of side-by-side and use a desktop manager to launch what you like at login. (not to mention they still provide the best KDE3 on the planet)

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Version 40 is the first to use a new numbering scheme. The previous version was 3.38, but the project did not want to get to 4.0 out of concern that it would be perceived as too big a shift. "If we ever did release 4, then people would see it as a huge change in [that] everything's going to be broken again, and that's not really what we've got,"

    So instead of 3.38 to 3.40 or 3.38 to 4.0 they went from 3.38 to 40.

    1. sreynolds

      If they had asked us, we could have told them that 4.0 - 3.8 is 0.2, but 3.8 to 40 is a WTF are you guys smoking at the moment.

  6. pip25

    But why 40?

    If 4.0 would have been "perceived as too big a shift", why would adding 37 to the major version be seen any differently? I don't understand this logic at all.

    1. cosmodrome

      Re: But why 40?

      "Users don't want minor numbers".

      1. sreynolds

        Re: But why 40?

        But what about the symbolic link for the libgnome so? Or have they given up on versioning and just building one big blog, and do the rest in JavaShite?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you honestly say that you are happy with the state of this project?

    Just a few of the issues that come to mind:

    - You unmount the memory stick and have absolutely no indication of if it has succeeded or not

    - When you move the brightness slider it flickers around like mad and generally resets every so often

    - When you disable IPv6 DHCP client, it still grabs an address. Not properly connected to NetworkManager daemon or systemd-networkd.

    - You try to open up two file managers to drag and drop a file across. Have to hold alt, or was it ctrl? Or was it shift and middle mouse? Doesn't matter because it will change next week.

    - When you want to add a package you can't because the rpm database is locked because the silly fake store app is constantly checking for updates.

    - You feel flustered because all the big windows are in your face and none of them have minimize buttons by default. You also have no task bar.

    - You click activities and all the windows are in different places each time, leading to no consistency and breaking you out of focus

    - Some (even default) apps are just missing icons making the whole thing look scrappy.

    - You open a window and see nothing but a notification saying the window is ready only to realize it has appeared at the bottom of the stack randomly

    - SELinux alert. Was it a false positive? Who knows. Gnome certainly doesn't.

    - You realize all of these issues suggests that no-one actually uses Gnome and that you are wasting your time being the only mug using it.

    - All the extensions required to fix Gnome to make it usable would amount to more code than a new desktop environment from scratch.

    - You realize all the kids around you love it because they have never actually experienced anything better. Gnome 2, KDE 3.5. Heck even Windows 95's UI.

    It really is just terrible. Gnome 3+ has set back the Linux desktop by ~10 years.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Can you honestly say that you are happy with the state of this project?

      "You realize all the kids around you love it because they have never actually experienced anything better. Gnome 2, KDE 3.5. Heck even Windows 95's UI."

      It's like fashion, or movie reboots. It's (usually) generational. The news kids on ther block didn't see the last but one incarnation and think they are cever becuase the (re-)invented something "new".

      The most obvious is my Lenovo laptop. Years ago, if something failed hardware wise and the screen didn't display anything, the system would beep a short, memorable sequence of long and shot beeps. When everthing was placed on the main board instead of being expansion cards, the beeps went away because all the faults were the same thing. Main board. Now Lenovo have "invented" a new system of error beeps whereby it plays a little tune. Unless you have a eidetic memory and perfect pitch, you can't easily figure it out, not even from the manual. No, the "new and better" invention needs a few 100 quids worth of mobile phone and an app that can "listen" to the tune and tell you what the error is.

      Likewise, if you need to set the date and time in the BIOS, there's no option to type the numbers in any more. You have to click the dropdown and scroll down potentially 31 rows to set the day!

      All becuase new young "designers" think it's cool with little or no concept of usabilty,


      (sorry, but it really bugs me when things change for the sake of "cool" and not usuability and don't at least retain the option to switch the shiny off - especially when it's Linux and the mantra has always been "There's a choice". Well, no, the choices are getting limited as more stuff depends on big projects)

      Now, git of ma lawn!!!

    2. sreynolds

      Re: Can you honestly say that you are happy with the state of this project?

      Sorry, what is this file manager and gsd thing? Are you sure you are using the project correctly? You just need the gnome-shell and the gnome-terminal and dconf and the gsettings.. Everything else is just there to keep the people that shouldn't be using gnome in the first place away. It's some kind of perverse Darwinian software nature selection.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: all you need is dconf and the gsettings

        and a 2ft thick volume of mystical incantations.

        The average user would not know where to start with those utilities.

        Gnome devs lost the idea of KISS back around 2006 and have never found it.

        They went off down this path (to oblivion) where they make everything so complex that no one bothers trying to customise it. Instead, they suffer just long enough for the whole stinking mess to remind them how bad it is in reality. Then they turn to their own favourite GUI and consign Gnome to history until an update overwrites their settings and it appears again, like the Daleks in Dr Who. They get totally wipes out every series or two but still keep returning.

        1. sreynolds

          Re: all you need is dconf and the gsettings

          I am sorry, there really isn't any customization. Your either do things their way, which means removing all shit and getting the darkest theme you have (if you work in the wee hours and/or use high contrast displays) or you feck off.

    3. PerlyKing

      Re: Gnome 3+ has set back the Linux desktop by ~10 years.

      Yikes! So is that before or after fusion power?

      1. Gnomalarta

        Re: Gnome 3+ has set back the Linux desktop by ~10 years.

        I was seriously wondering about my parallel universe experience wherein Fedora 34 Beta with Gnome 40 and KDE work a charm. Where W95 was crap but better than 3.1 and where moaning was banned on Fridays.

  8. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

    There is history

    I have forgotten the last time I used Gnome or KDE. Gnome I think after Gnome moved from 2 to 3 and KDE because of the Qt license problems. I see no improvement in either,

    Gnome seems to be stuck in some usability weirdness loop. And Qt flip flopping on its license terms, so KDE usability I have not even looked at.

    So, left with icewm + xfe (if required). I have used xfce and it looks nice, but icewm is way lighter. Of course, no X server on boot, but login and startx.

    The nice thing is I can easily use the same environment on a *BSD box.

    1. NATTtrash

      Re: There is history

      You do know about the changes coming to xfce right?

      Xfce 4.16 is Adopting Client Side Decoration by Default

      Xfce 4.16 will look a little different to long time users when it arrives later this year, as the popular desktop environment is adopting client side decoration by default.

      And I'm sure you can find much more on this highly incendiary development/ discussion if you search for it...

  9. DrXym

    GNOME 3.0 was always on the right track

    I think GNOME did the right thing for 3.0. They designed the desktop to be attractive, intuitive and simple to use without a gazillion menus or options. If people want a more traditional desktop then that's what extensions are for, and of course there are other desktop options. But out of the box you get something which is not overwhelming and lets people get on with what a desktop is there for - to run applications.

    1. sebacoustic

      Re: GNOME 3.0 was always on the right track

      I tend to agree... i used Fedora for my work laptop for most of lockdown now... have a new one with windows 10 now and it feels like switching a race bike for a pedado. Honestly, it can't really be that bad, from what i hear, Windows is quite popular, but for me it's currently just a productivity drain. Anything _differnt_ just makes life hard for a while i guess. Sure there is room for improvement in Gnome 3.x / 40 but I'm used to it and it does everything I want/need.

      Switching between different RDP sessions, and between windows inside RDP sessions, is something I do a lot, and it just sucks ass in Windows, no keyboard shortcuts so I always have to use the mouse.

  10. _LC_


    By the looks I'm guessing that Win 3.11 is the new thing. X-|

  11. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    Please god NOOOOOOO!

    No top bar.

    No hot corners.

    No fucking stupid sticky-out thing on the side (or bottom).

    PUT BACK the ticks at the top and bottom of each slide bar.

    MAKE SURE the slide bars don't disapear when your mouse moves away.

    Let me have just ONE BAR at the bottom, that has EVERYTHING (open windows, launchers, time/date, battery, etc.


    I see from the demo page it looks as shite as Gnome 3.

    Gnome 3 is shite, and many have complained. Have they listened? Of course they haven't.

    1. chroot
      Thumb Up

      Re: Please god NOOOOOOO!

      "Gnome 3 is shite, and many have complained."

      Don't forget that YOU think it is shite. You know, an opinion. I actually love Gnome 3. I don't want to stay stuck in the past. I want a modern computer to have a modern desktop that takes advantage of modern technologies.

      It is logical that every major step forward gets a negative response from some. That is unavoidable.

      On my Archlinux installation I already have Gnome 40! :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please god NOOOOOOO!

        You use the term modern a lot...

        Hmm. Interesting. Can you explain what is "modern" about Gnome 3+?

        Is it the default backgrounds? The lack of a minimize button? The absurd GPU requirements?

        What specifically makes you think it is modern compared to Gnome 2?

        Or do you just mean, because it looks a little bit like macOS it must be modern?

  12. boblongii

    No titlebar, no use

    The Gnome UI is so ugly it actually makes me feel ill when I look at it. I can't believe that people get paid to do this shit.

    As to the numbering, well that just shows how far up their own arses the Gnome team are, doesn't it?

  13. Blackjack Silver badge

    [There is also a push towards using Flatpak for packaging applications]

    Here is my flat "No."

  14. Zarno

    I remember running Gnome way long ago with ubuntu 6.06, and I think that was V2.

    After a while, there seemed to be a merge of Ubuntu/Gnome devel towards what Canonical had as their vision, and it was, er, a little weird.

    Extra added stuff, removed stuff, change for sake of change.

    Last straw with Ubuntu was when I found I couldn't dist-upgrade properly from one release to another, and figured I'd take off the training wheels.

    Went to Debian with XFCE or LXDE after that.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thick title bars

    I see the window title bars are still way too thick and take up far too much space.

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