back to article GNOME 41: Slick with heaps of new features for users and devs – but annoyances remain

The GNOME Foundation has released GNOME 41 - six months after GNOME 40, which was the first to be based on the GTK4 toolkit. Although GNOME 41 is out, it will take time before the various distros support it and even longer before it turns up as a default desktop environment. We used a pre-release of Fedora 35 (full release …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge


    I'm waiting for a commit written by Alistair Dabbs... that'll probably be worth posting on the wall.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Connections

      The screen has got a penguin, a smiley Mac icon, and that ridiculous 2D FLATSO twisted-to-one-side windows logo, but it's missing a BSD Daemon. I guess 'Connections' isn't "inclusive enough". Heh.

  2. ShadowSystems

    Of all the places I love...

    There's no place like Gnome. =-D

    1. JassMan

      Re: Of all the places I love...

      Just like there is no I in team, there is gno me in desktop.

      Oh wait, it is a desktop. But then, I am a minty XFCE user.

  3. Scotthva5


    I'd love to see the application launcher stop truncating file names that won't fit on a single line and adopt double line names. This was teased awhile back but so far hasn't made it to release. Everything else looks quite nice, obviously the Gnome devs have been busy.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Nice

      I disagree. Other than a slightly "new shiny" look, it's apparently still the same:

      * attempting to make your desktop look like a phone

      * 2D FLATSO FLATTY McFLATFACE (like Windows, Chrome, Australis, ...) lock-step compliance with mediocrity and the "kiddie pool" 'programmers' who FEEL (instead of think) it's a GOOD thing

      * apparent focus on the optics in lieu of ACTUAL improvements (how long does a 'file open' dialog take to display the entire contents of /usr/bin, for example??? And WHY so PIG SLOW like WINDOWS???) (I wrote one using my own X11 toolkit, that's still not done because I have to earn money to live on, that displays a list of files like /usr/bin in about 2 seconds, anecdotally >10 times faster than the gnome-ish ones, since mine doesn't have to scan EVERY! STINKING! FILE! for mostly unnecessary information BEFORE listing the names, that's why)

      * apparent CHANGE for the SAKE of CHANGE, and not necessary, or even necessarily a GOOD change.

      and so on.

      and I do not see any of *THAT* as "an improvement". But I did not expect it would be.

      (still using Mate and/or Cinnammon, and SCREAMING if I ever have to select a custom application for a file type in firefox because it STILL takes FOR-EV-AR to load up /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin just so I can pick 'atril' or whatever because there is NO PLACE TO TYPE IN THE NAME and it's probably the GTK toolkit doing that).

      So yeah, how about REAL improvements?

      1. ovation1357

        Re: Nice

        I hear your pain about choosing a /usr/bin binary for opening file types Bob!

        Although it's not at all obvious, you can actually type a file path into the application chooser... You'll see that if you hit the forward slash button then the 'buttons' representing each segment of the path turn into a regular text input and it even auto-completes as you type! I discovered it by accident but you might find it useful next time.

        As for the 2D Flatty McFlatFace I couldn't agree more! Plus the abomination of the CSD title bar with embedded buttons and evil hamburger menu.

        Sadly, some of this stuff is creeping into MATE and basically anything that runs GTK based applications but I'm hoping that by the time it gets forced on us they'll either have changed their minds or somebody will have come up with a stable fork to avoid it completely.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "imaginatively called Software"

    oooh, burn !

    Yeah, I think the guy who thought that up is going to have a brilliant career in whalesong ahead of him.


  5. JassMan

    The real question is...

    Will the next version be the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything?

    I'll get my coat.

    ... and towell and packet of nuts.

    1. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: The real question is...

      Unfortunately, shortly before release the repos holding the source code will be destroyed to make way for a new super version control system which bypasses all the short comings of the existing one.

      Or at a probability of 8,767,128 to 1 against it'll suddenly turn into a bowl of petunias miles above the planet.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: The real question is...

        Or at a probability of 8,767,128 to 1 against it'll suddenly turn into a bowl of petunias miles above the planet.

        “Oh no, not again.”

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Title bar

    What's with all the crap in the title bar, which should - in my humble but no doubt disagreed-with opinion - contain only the title and window sizing buttons.

    It's not the place for menus, hamburgers, settings, or indeed anything else.

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Title bar

      Definitely the title bar should relate only to the window itself.

      My MATE desktop has the resize icons on the right. On the left is an icon of the app to remind me which app it is, and when clicked this opens a menu of various window manipulation options, such as moving to another desktop. No other crap. Very civilised.

      My only change would be to move the window menu, as a standard menu icon (three stacked horizontal lines), to join the others on the right, but keep the app icon as it is very useful on a cluttered screen. I feel that clicking it should do something useful, as it seems a shame to waste the opportunity. But what, relating to both the app and just the current window, could be appropriate? Some kind of system/diagnostic stats?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Title bar

        You had me agreeing and then you JUST had to say NICE things about that BLASTED DAMNABLE HAMBURGER "so-called STANDARD" MENU ICON, which *I* *HATE* and should be *NUKED* *FROM* *HIGH* *ORBIT* with *GREAT* PREJUDICE*.

        Still, I also like the title bar AS IS. BUT *NO* HAMBURGER IN IT. The title bar sometimes becomes informational, let's say when I run firefox as another user to completely sandbox it, and the title will say "(as otheruser)" along with everything else. This is helpful to me in a LOT of ways, like a warning to NOT do something in THAT instance of Firefox that might track me.with cookies, script, or anything ELSE I had to enable to "access that one thing" (like an electronics distributor's order pages).

        So YES, keep the title bar. But, ***NO*** do ***NOT*** ***CORRUPT*** ***IT*** by putting a HAMBURGER MENU ICON IN IT!

        1. ovation1357

          Re: Title bar

          I'm totally with you Bob. Hamburgers are, at best, for touchscreens only.

          I know I'm repeating myself here now, but the only thing I actually want is for this to be a user choice. You and me, we'll clutch to our title bars until the day we shuffle off this planet - some other folks quite like it.

          I'm happy for those people to like hamburgers and to use hamburgers if that's their choice. I'm quite happy for some fresh-faced kid to go and invent a 'pizza' menu or whatever... Go ahead and add that to the list of UI options. Heck, make it the default option if you love it that much. But please remember to make it an option!

          MATE is especially good in this regard - using the mate tweak tool you can quickly switch between having a desktop which looks like GNOME2, Windows, MacOS and others, and you can freely pick and choose. Want an icon dock but also a Windows-style start menu? No problem!

          LibreOffice has taken a similar approach. You want a ribbon? Sure you can have that! You hate the ribbon with all of your being? No worries, have classic menus and several other options instead...

          These folks are showing us that personal choice is completely possible and mainly also practical to offer and maintain. Long may those guys keep this up, and maybe they could have a word with the CSD / Hamburger zealots over at GNOME HQ

    2. ovation1357

      Re: Title bar

      The almighty self-appointed deities of GNOME declare that you are wrong about this puny human! All hail the almighty Wayland, harbinger of client side decorations!

      Basically some guy at GNOME has declared that title bars are a waste of space and that allowing them to adopt the theme of your desktop environment or, heaven forbid change colour to highlight the active window, is just plain folly.

      Personally I'm with you. I hate it! But more than that I'm pro-choice. There's simply no excuse for this being made into the only option - Linux is all about choice and GNOME gives none whatsoever in this regard :-(

  7. Youngone Silver badge


    The lack of minimize and maximise icons is a weird quirk of Gnome but apart from that I really like Gnome 41.

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Nice

      So let's see. Is it better? Does it:

      * Still have those annoying hot corners?

      * That stupid, stupid window slide bar:

      - that was too thin

      - that disappears

      - that takes you to the point in the file, rather than down a page when you click somewhere else on it

      - that had removed the ticks at the top and bottom so it's dead easy to navigate a 30,000 line file when the next line is just off screen? Have you put them back?

      * has gedit got its menu back yet? There was nothing worse than not being able to do what I have done since about 1991 -- ALT-F-S to save my file. I DON'T WANT TO LEARN A NEW KEYSTROKE (Don't say CRTL-S, I use ALT-F-S) I don't use gedit any more because of that.

      * still have that stupid thing on the side that gobbles up your desktop?

      * have a top bar? (Why the fuck do I want a top bar when I have a bottom bar? Are you doing it to take the piss, and the big question, have you learned that it's shit and to get rid of it?)

      * have still too many key bindings so when you accidentally hit the 'window' key and and arrow key, or some other combination, does weird things to the window -- like tiling left, right or where ever, rather than just LEAVING MY FUCKING WINDOW ALONE. I hate those keys.

      * And does it have a proper tweaks control panel where you don't have to install some (probably soon to be unsupported) third party fix to let you change things?

      Gnome 2 was fine. Then some bright spark decided it had to compete with Microsoft and Apple and turned it into an enormous steaming pile of ... So if I upgrade and chose not to change what I like now, will that be easy or have you made it a pain in the arse to get back to what has worked perfectly well for years?

      So in summary: If I'm forced to upgrade in the years to come, am I going to regret it?

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Nice

        am I going to regret it?

        Just a wild guess here... but yes?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standards -- Yup...they have their place, but GNOME and GTK4 don't make the cut!!!!

    Some of us have read the advice for moving from GTK3 to GTK4.


    How many times do I have to read "Do not do X"? Actually, hundreds of times!


    Some of us think Gnome3 is an abomination.


    Some of us have written nice stuff in GTK3 (you know, Glade, Python3, gi.repository, and so on) ....and simply DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO with GTk4.


    So.........please tell me why Gnome4.x and/or GTK4 might be of ANY INTEREST here?

    1. W.S.Gosset

      Re: Standards -- Yup...they have their place, but GNOME and GTK4 don't make the cut!!!!

      It's got a "4" in it. 4>3. Better.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Standards -- Yup...they have their place, but GNOME and GTK4 don't make the cut!!!!

        Well it'll certainly be bigger and more bloated.

  9. drankinatty

    Imagine Multiple Desktops And The Ability To Change How Alt-Tab works!

    Features already standard on Gnome2 and KDE3....

    I've followed and used just about every Linux desktop since the turn of the century. From Blackbox to WMII and everything in between. Absolutely loved Gnome2 but then both Gnome and kde decided to commit desktop suicide together. KDE4 and Gnome3 joined hands and both took the leap into endless black-hole of porting apps and libraries from Qt3 and Gtk+2 to Qt4 and Gtk+3 -- neither has ever recovered.

    What killed GTK was the replacement of its theming from a traditional desktop theme API to a CSS model. The end-effect for the user was 1000+ superbly created themes available on became useless overnight. With a standard theme API, any Gtk+2 theme would work equally well with any Gtk+2 app.

    Surely then there would be an equal number of new quality CSS themes for the new model that would work equally well with any Gtk+3 app?. Alas no. That is the self-inflicted wound that lingers with no end in sight. To pour salt in the theming wound, the CSS model remained a moving target throughout Gtk+3 development. Each new release changed (or broke) the CSS model applicable to the version before and after a few years the community just gave up.

    The Achilles' heel of the new CSS model for app developers? -- control over toolbar icon spacing. (which of course is part of the CSS theme). Early ports of all apps would have toolbars where only half of the original icons fit in the same space as when built against Gtk+2. Instead of a familiar toolbar appearance, relatively few icons were displayed with the rest spilling off the side of the screen in a new ellipsized menu.

    There is a reason LibreOffice, etc., provide only a limited few icon themes of their own. Inkscape really had a hard time porting to Gtk+3, and there is a reason Gimp is still Gtk+2. Instead of a standard icon spacing that works with every theme, now it's up to the theme, and if the theme doesn't specify a spacing for a particular toolbar ... you get the picture.

    So Gnome4 touting desktop control that was already present almost two decades ago in Gnome2 and KDE3 -- Meh..

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Gnome4 (and Plasma for that matter) both be the greatest things since sliced-bread. All apps tightly integrated with a consistent look and feel regardless of what theme you choose. Don't kid yourself. Until Gnome4 can provide a comparable level of desktop control and entice quality theme developers back to take another chance on the moving target CSS model, the desktop will never have the same draw tor power-users as it did two decades ago.

    The lesson never learned -- you can't pick a new toolkit and port your way to a better desktop. A desktop created from the ground up is something that simply cannot be replaced.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still not listening to users

    One day the window minimise option will be in the default install.

    Until then, no one will believe that they listen to users…

    It’s a shame, because Gnome could be quite good. If you know there were options to:

    - have a start menu

    - have minimise/maximise icon

    - have a task bar (or move the one stuck at the top)

    I know these can be done by installing other stuff…. But none of the above counts as “other stuff” - it’s what a lot of people expect on their desktops…

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Still not listening to users

      Truly Micros~1 got it RIGHT back in the '95 days, as far as general usability and customization went. I think Gnome 2 (and the earlier KDE) captured that.

      * Windows 3.0 - 3D Skeuomorphic. Sold like CRAZY because of the superior appearance and built-in games like Solitaire.

      * Windows '9x - Start menu, hierarchical, backward compatible [mostly], still 3D Skeuomorphic, and games.

      * Windows 2k and XP - merge to NT backend. Mostly compatible, interface still more or less the same (and you could make XP look like 2K if you wanted).

      * Windows 7 - mostly like XP, a little more irritating at times

      * Windows 8+ - total dismal FREAKING FAIL and FORCE-MARKETED because, SHUT UP USERS and TAKE YOUR OS MEDICINE so we can MARKET YOU.

      Compare that to gnome, etc.

      * Gnome the original - Sawfish - BzzzZZZZ! - it worked

      * Gnome 2 which I used for SEVERAL YEARS (such that it FINALLY became stable to the point of reliability on FreeBSD) past its expiration date.

      * Mate/Cinnamon essentially GTK2 and/or GTK3 versions of Gnome 2 (which I still use)

      * Gnome 3 - even Linus ranted all over it

      * And now... GNOME 4!!! (wheeeeeee...)

      and all of this "new shiny" looks more like Windows 2.0 from the 80's than it looks "modern" unless you think of "modern" as "being different from last decade" except it's NOT any more.

      Change CAN be, but is is NOT necessarily, for the better.

  11. -v(o.o)v-
    Thumb Down

    Lessons from Microsoft

    And those title bars. Why oh why do they need to be so *massive*? They waste a ton of vertical real estate. They should be a quarter. And they don't even have the usual buttons like maximize/minimize? Seriously??

    Are they taking lessons from Microsoft on "shut up and take what you are given, and be happy about it"?

  12. jake Silver badge


    Slackware saw which way the wind was blowing and finally dropped Gnome back in 2005 after it had been hanging on as a vestigial appendage for a few years. Gnome has only gone downhill from there.

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