back to article GNOME 46 beta has more tweaks than a coffee shop

GNOME 46 has entered beta testing, and is expected to be released in just over a month. The new version of the GNOME desktop is nearly ready, and the release of the finished GNOME 46 is scheduled for March 20. The project just announced the beta release, with a lengthy change list. The list of changes in this release is less …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A graphical (s)hell for masochists

    One positive thing about GNOME 3+: It’s the graphical shell that forced me to learn to use the command line. For everything.

    I keep on hoping that GNOME will switch from a user-hostile design philosophy (“Let’s make it hard as possible to do anything productive!”*) to something more in line with basic principles of usability known from research dating all the way back to the 1980s.

    Top priorities:

    1. Reversing the regression that happened between GTK3 and GTK4 that discards ~1/2 of the horizontal resolution when rendering text. Blurred text is hard on the eyes. Eyestrain is a universal problem for everyone who uses a display for more than a few minutes at a time. Let’s not make the problem worse!

    2. Placing the most-frequently needed functions in the forefront, somewhere accessible, not deeply buried in multiple nested levels of hidden menus or hamburger menus.

    3. Make proper use of menu bars.

    4. Someone please, please, please smuggle a laptop/desktop-oriented application launcher into GNOME. There’s no need to duplicate smartphone-optimised interfaces on a device that has a large display plus a keyboard and pointing device.

    Yes, I know it’s hopelessly passé to call for user-friendly design, but I’m one of those people who still use a computer for work (ie. a museum-quality, obsolete fossil).

    *It may actually not be deliberate on the part of many of the GNOME developers. There’s an industry-wide pattern of adding more features to products instead of making sure existing features still work. Adding and promoting new features – even useless, counterproductive ones – is more fun, better for sales, and better for career advancement. See Bruce Tognazzini's essay "The Third User, or Exactly Why Apple Keeps Doing Foolish Things":

    https://asktog.com/atc/the-third-user/

    macOS and Windows suffer from some of the same problems. At least macOS can be customised to some extent, unlike recent versions of GNOME.

    1. ldo

      Re: I keep on hoping that GNOME will switch

      Or you could switch to any other of the vast array of GUI choices available on Linux.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I keep on hoping that GNOME will switch

        Indeed. The ship has sailed on GNOME these days, the developer-artist types making decision about GNOME direction, style, etc. have charted the course for the foreseeable future, and many if not most of the things OP mentions simply aren't on the map.

        Try another Linux desktop GUI and see how it suits you -- I'd suggest XFCE -- and if that's not to your liking, go on to another. Plenty of choices, and depending on your underlying OS it's probably not even that hard to audition several of them.

        I'm not necessarily bashing GNOME, btw; even though they lost me all but completely after GNOME2, I recognize there are folks who like The GNOME3 Way, and my XFCE tendencies are probably antiquated to them. That's OK.

        But hoping that GNOME will somehow become something that it is not, is probably a lost cause these days.

        1. ldo

          Re: hoping that GNOME will somehow become something that it is not

          Isn’t that why you have forks? E.g. Mate for those who still like GNOME 2, Cinnamon for those who want something derived from GNOME 3. All the good distros will offer both.

      2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: I keep on hoping that GNOME will switch

        [Author here]

        > Or you could switch to any other of the vast array of GUI choices available on Linux.

        While this is true, it misses the core point.

        Want paid-for pro version of Ubuntu, RHEL, SUSE? GNOME; no other supported options.

        Hear about Linux, Google it, download the default edition of Ubuntu or Fedora? GNOME.

        Default desktop on Debian? GNOME.

        If you know what a "desktop" is or know you can choose, there are many alternatives. Sure, no argument. But if you don't know, and you choose the defaults, you get GNOME.

        1. coredump

          Re: I keep on hoping that GNOME will switch

          > Default desktop on Debian? GNOME.

          Well, yes; but Debian makes it pretty easy at installation time to pick something else. It's not necessary to select GNOME at all and e.g. install XFCE instead. But yes: you *do* have to (un-)click a couple boxes to make this choice vs. the default, so I do take your point.

          IME Debian makes it easier to choose something else at install time than the Red Hat family anaconda installers did, which is one of the reasons I prefer it these days.

          I admittedly haven't done an interactive install on a Red Hat flavor since circa RHEL/CentOS 8, and they were non-graphical servers. The AlmaLinux laptop I dabbled with for a while was upgraded from CentOS 8 during the Stream mess, and I'd previously installed XFCE from EPEL so I never experienced GNOME there either. But I can't imagine Red Hat's defaults or installation has changed very much, even with RHEL 9 -- Red Hat is (and has been for some time) all in on GNOME, for better or worse. Again, your point.

          1. I like fruits
            Happy

            Re: I keep on hoping that GNOME will switch

            Same with Ubuntu. Installed Ubuntu MATE a month ago and love it. I don't feel myself to be a second-class Ubuntu citizen in any way.

        2. ldo

          Re: While this is true, it misses the core point.

          No, it does not. If you want paid-for support, then hire someone who can provide it. That doesn’t have to be someone at some big-name BigCorp™, it can be someone in your own town who has demonstrated expertise in working with the software.

          Because that’s how Open Source works: nobody owns the platform, therefore nobody has exclusive control over it or exclusive knowledge about how it works.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A graphical (s)hell for masochists

      > “Let’s make it hard as possible to do anything productive!”

      That may actually be true as far as it goes, but my slightly more charitable take is GNOME expects you to be productive *their* way. And if you're trying something else then "you're doing it wrong".

      I won't pretend to know or understand what happens behind the scenes at GNOME, but it somewhat seems like they have a vision or methodology ("design language"??) that guides their decisions, for better or worse. It tends to be polarizing, ie. most people love or hate it, few are "meh, it's fine I guess".

      I'd rather have something basic and not so ... active, e.g. pop/hide/shrink/grow windows based on where my mouse pointer might be or whatever. I'm admittedly a bit old-school, so a simple desktop with a tool bar and some xterms arranged the way I like is about my speed. I effectively treat my desktop like a bunch of VT100's, really. I do run a workspace manager widget so I can have multiple desktops on the same screen, but that's about the fanciest part of my setup.

      Frankly I could probably still be using fvwm, if not twm. ;-)

    3. david1024

      Re: A graphical (s)hell for masochists

      yes, I will never understand how something so far removed from what xerox did remains so popular. Maybe because you getore unobstructed views of your wallpapers?

    4. I like fruits
      Pint

      Re: A graphical (s)hell for masochists

      I also hate that Touchy/Smartphony nonsense in my UI. A month ago I upgraded my laptop and got the MATE desktop environment. I love it. Proper productive desktop, just the way I like it.

  2. oldandgrey
    Happy

    Interesting headline

    "... more tweaks than a coffee shop."

    Being a Dutchman, the headline caught my attention.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffeeshop_(Netherlands)

  3. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

    Only for the masochist!

    Nothing they do can make this steaming pile of shite appealing to anyone but a total masochist!

    I'll stick with Cinnamon, so ai can actually work instead of fighting with a Desktop.

  4. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    Still waiting for a taskbar, tray icons, minimize/maximize icons by default, type-ahead find in the file manager, properly working thumbnails in the file picker, fractional scaling, support for server-side window decorations on Wayland, and much more.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy Theorist Here................

    .......suggesting that the funding for Gnome 4x comes from some anonymous Linux-hater........

    .......the idea being that Gnome 4x (or Gnome 3x for that matter) is so bad that people will spend money on something else.......say cash for folk in Redmond or Cupertino.

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