back to article There's no place like GNOME: Project hits 25, going on 43

The two original developers behind the GNOME project started work 25 years ago, and the 43rd version of their brainchild is nearly here. The GNOME project is celebrating its quarter century, not long behind that of the KDE project, whose version 5.23 was its corresponding birthday last year. They're close for a reason, but it' …

  1. Lon24

    Plus ca change - lentement

    Nope in 2047 Windows 25 will be sporting slightly sharpened corners, IBM Red will be run as a service and the Linux world will still be divided between GT & GTK.

    The first 50 years of aviation took us from the bi-plane to the 747. The next 50 years took us from the 747-100 to the 747-800. Fast moving stuff can head in only one direction - slower. As it becomes established people change from wanting change to no change.

    What will probably happen is 'desktop computing' will go niche with everything else using more 'handy' devices where gesture and sound may be the chief inputs. TheRegister will become the new Saga magazine for care home techies hacking their health monitors and their BBC Netflix account.

    I'll soon be a pathfinder with time to maybe escape from systemd.

    1. Marco van de Voort

      Re: Plus ca change - lentement

      ////And a new preferred GTK version will become default in distros as soon as the previous one is somewhat usable.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Plus ca change - lentement

        For some value of "somewhat".

        1. Marco van de Voort

          Re: Plus ca change - lentement

          The illusion that GTK3 will be a worthy successor to GTK2 has been abandoned long ago, as soon as externally reported bugs were no longer resolved.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Plus ca change - lentement

            GTK4 makes GTK3 look brilliant.

            1. MarcoV

              Re: Plus ca change - lentement

              No experience with that yet. We are only now migrating to GTK3, but I see users defecting to deliver their apps with QT all the time.

              Most of the apps made with our tool are quite densely packed with controls, and GTK never did that particularly well, but it seems to be deteriorating as the version goes up.

      2. drankinatty

        Re: Plus ca change - lentement

        "Usable" is subjective -- just try and write an interface in Gtk4 that doesn't look like milk-toast (you have no choice it's libadwaita or nothing) -- somehow the exciting part of Gtk was several usable versions ago before backwards compatibility was intentionally broken with every minor version bump for what seemed like a decade..

      3. hittitezombie

        Re: Plus ca change - lentement

        Latest version of GTK will tidy up the UI significantly.

        You'll be allowed one button on the whole screen, one mouse button that works, and if you click on it it will tell you not to do it again.

        And then the GNOME project will have had achieved their usability target.

    2. Tom Graham

      Re: Plus ca change - lentement

      The first 50 years of aviation took us almost to the 707, not the 747. That took anther 15 years or so.

      And that is assuming that aviation = heavier than air powered flight.

      1. richdin

        Re: Plus ca change - lentement

        If aviation advanced at the rate that computers have - we would have landed on the moon in 1912 (9 years after Wilbur and Orville first flew at Kitty Hawk.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wonder what the split would be between the various Linux/BSD desktop managers. Perhaps there's scope for a Register survey. FWIW my vote would be KDE.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Back in the days of KDE 3 is was about 60% KDE, 60% Gnome: more than 10% had at least two desktop managers installed and swapped between them. No idea what the current split is. My personal opinion is that desktop managers do too much and I am much happier with a lean window manager like XFCE.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        -> My personal opinion is that desktop managers do too much and I am much happier with a lean window manager like XFCE.

        Agreed. The thing is they are no longer desktop managers but desktop environments, hence the scope to do whatever that means.

        What I don't understand, or rather don't accept, is how large and bloated and how much/many resources in the form of disk space and RAM these desktop environments consume in comparison to, say, OS/2 Warp 3 or even Windows XP.

        XFCE is the go-to place to regain some sense of a functional but not too intrusive desktop.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "My personal opinion is that desktop managers do too much"

        I keep hearing this and I'm not sure what's meant by it, especially as my objections to certain DMs has been that they do too little. What is it that desktop managers do that's too much?

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          I'm not sure what the problem is either.

          I'm a happy Fedora workstation user, and I was given a printer a few weeks ago. After I turned it on and connected it to my network I asked Gnome to look for it.

          Gnome discovered it and installed a driver for it and now I can print to it.

          If that's an example of the Desktop Environment doing too much I'm ok with it.

        2. ChoHag Silver badge

          I think the problem is that they do too little *with* too much.

    2. YetAnotherXyzzy

      "Perhaps there's scope for a Register survey."

      I second the motion. In the meantime, Xfce here, for the same reasons others have stated.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Xfce or Openbox on all my machines here - don't want all the bloat.

    3. hittitezombie

      Vote for KDE. I have been using it over 20y now.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Looks like sh*t

    So I have Prusaslicer, which is the gcode generator for my 3D printer. It's linked to GNOME 3 which looks ok. You can also get it linked to GNOME 4 which looks like absolute garish crap. A lot of the UI features which are obvious in 3, are pretty much invisible/undiscoverable in 4, even though it's the same widgets.

  4. Kubla Cant


    These days, GNOME Shell itself is written in JavaScript

    JavaScript has its strengths, but it's a difficult language to write safe, unambiguous code in. It also suffers the inevitable performance penalty of interpreted script, even when JIT compiled. The reason that's always given for the persistence of JavaScript in web apps is that it's installed on billions of browsers so using anything else will be swimming against the stream.

    The idea that a project that installs its own runtime environment and can therefore use any language it wants, would choose JavaScript, has me gasping for breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: JavaScript?

      Then what should it be? C++? Strange manipulations of XML files? As a KDE user, I know about these woes.

      I don't see anything wrong with it and if the GNOME project wants to become a commercial success it will need an API anyone can use. The problem is, it's GNOME. Without articles like these being written and Ubuntu sticking with it, it wouldn't have articles written about it (circular dependency detected). Anyone who uses GNOME and tells you it's great... doesn't use GNOME.

      As for gasping for breath, well, the fact that it's 2022 and GNOME seemingly has less options than win98 and is hanging on to a UI KDE deemed trash in 1999 which was then copied by Apple for their BSD OS 10 "OS X" but then they as well deemed it trash in ~2007... well... it's just all sad for GNOME.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: JavaScript?

        "Strange manipulations of XML files? As a KDE user, I know about these woes."

        Interesting. I just check the contents of my /usr/share/plasma directory. There are over 10 times as many QML files as XML. What really surprised me was that there were almost twice as many JSON files as XML.

    2. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: JavaScript?

      A hefty chunk of the Risc OS user space was written in BASIC and interpreted at runtime before JavaScript was even thought of.

      Gnome is crap, but JavaScript is a symptom not a cause.

      > The idea that a project that installs its own runtime environment and can therefore use any language it wants, would choose JavaScript, has me gasping for breath.

      Market share.

    3. hittitezombie

      Re: JavaScript?

      I get you, but consider this.

      At least it's not Mono.

    4. druck Silver badge

      Re: JavaScript?

      KDE used to be vastly more memory hungry than Gnome.

      Gnome is now far more bloated than KDE.

      KDE is still C++, Gnome is now JavaScript, draw your own conclusions.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    Should have stopped before 2011

    which is when Gnome 3 was released.

    Thanks very much for the Mate fork (of Gnome 2) which provides a usable version of Gnome.

  6. Bruce Ordway


    Gnome...GNO for me.

    KDE has always "felt" more comfortable to me... the choice is not based on anything technical.

    but... just because I've just never warmed up to Gnome, I am still grateful to the group and all their effort.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: GNOME

      Preferring KDE to Gnome is an entirely reasonable thing, in my opinion.

      I prefer Gnome to KDE myself, and that is one of the great strengths of Linux.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: GNOME

        "I prefer Gnome to KDE myself"

        So you're the one.

        Seriously, it's good to have options. And preferences. Have a beer of your choice.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backward Compatibility Anyone?

    Quote: "...have been ported to GTK4..."

    Has anyone out there looked at changing a WORKING GTK3 application over to GTK4? I have! It's a nightmare!


    How often do I need to pay attention to: "Do not use..." or "Stop using..." before I puke?

    In my case, my existing (WORKING) GTK3 code already disobeys almost all of these ugly pieces of advice!

    No wonder the Glade project is absolutely not moving from GTK3 to GTK4. Neither am I!!!

    Whatever happened to that old fashioned concept called "Backwards Compatibility". No....I don't know either!!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Backward Compatibility Anyone?

      I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

  8. bofh1961

    Gnomes true purpose

    Sometimes appears to be making desktop Linux unusable... dunno who would be interested in funding that effort.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Gnomes true purpose


    2. hittitezombie

      Re: Gnomes true purpose

      de Icaza. FUD against KDE, creates GNOME. Then creates Mono. Prefers a Mac for a desktop. I have no words...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Gnomes true purpose

        "I have no words..."

        Have a few more: "Went to work for Microsoft."

        It all fits a pattern.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    This particular vulture very much hopes that by 2047, such primitive tools as Unix-like OSes and desktop user interfaces are fading memories, just as 1970s computing with punched cards and paper tape are today.

    As Churchill might have said, "Unix-like OSes are the worst form of operating system, except for all the others".

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