Home > GNOME, GNU/Linux, Linus Torvalds, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Ubuntu, Unity > As Linus was saying . . . .

As Linus was saying . . . .

August 3, 2011

Yes, I know LinuxCon is next, and that’s in mid-August, but I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the 20-year thing and with Linus being there and all. But if you’re going to the next show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting, so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!)

Until recently, I had several of my lab machines using GNOME — until my hardware and I were relegated to second-class status by being only able to use the GNOME 3 Fallback Mode while the rest of the world went on its merry way using GNOME 3. But in the grand scheme of things, that’s OK: Regular readers of this blog also know that in the recent past I have taken both GNOME 3 and Unity to task for bailing on already experienced users in an effort to dumb down the desktop for those who are new to Linux.

Of course, the woe I documented in past blogs about it is nothing compared to the choice words Linus Torvalds has for GNOME 3.

As widely reported by ZDNet and others, Linus had some — how can we put this tactfully? — issues with GNOME 3, which he outlined in a Google+ message.

Also, as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols points out in the ZDNet article linked above, the request by Linus to fork GNOME 2.x “started in a public Google+ posting by Dave Jones, a Red Hat engineer and one of the maintainers of Fedora Linux, where Jones announced some minor Linux kernel news for a Fedora update. As the discussion continued, Torvalds joined in and remarked, ‘Could you also fork gnome, and support a gnome-2 environment? I want my sane interfaces back. I have yet to meet anybody who likes the unholy mess that is gnome-3.’ ”

Well, now . . .

As just about everyone in FOSS knows, Linus is not one to mince words. Not only this, there’s a Wikiquote page that backs up this assertion.

But it’s not like Linus T. becomes Mr. T when in disagreement. Since he is particularly charming and well spoken in person, I would think those words coming from him verbally would not have the same edge as they do when you read them on the screen. Opinionated as he is, it doesn’t appear that Linus is a jerk about taking a stand on an issue, which cannot be said for everyone in the FOSS realm.

I like to think that the GNOME 3 situation is one that’s akin to what happened with KDE 4: The latter had a rough start before levelling out to a pretty decent KDE 4.7. For GNOME’s sake, I just hope this is a repeat of KDE’s experience. Though it appears that GNOME 3 has done something significantly radical in this new desktop, I think the curve for “correction” — for lack of a better term — could be more steep.

But as I’ve mentioned in past blogs, GNOME 3 — and to a great extent, Unity — and their attempts to dumb down the desktop were a mistake from the start. Whether that gets fixed or not remains to be seen.

Now to get those “Linus T. speaks for me!” T-shirts and buttons produced and out . . . .

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

[FSF Associate Member] (Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
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  1. Bob McKeand
    August 4, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I take one of those shirts, please.

  2. Whitey
    August 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Me too

  3. istok
    August 5, 2011 at 4:16 am

    linus’ online persona has always been a delightful blend of ox dung, mice droppings, and infinite wit. so this is no different.
    the only objection i have to that google+ message of his would be the context in which he mentioned Xfce. no, it is not inferior to gnome 2. run it and enjoy for yourself. if i ever needed a full DE Xfce is precisely what i’d use.

    one striking thing that happened when i tested gnome shell on fedora was, well apart from stuff crashing all the time, was that i could not change the bright default gtk theme. #ffffff hurts my eyes and so it’s a medical emergency – first i adjust the environment, then i go and get some work done on my computer. but apparently, there is no way to change your themes. you must install some unofficial program from somewhere to do that. what this reveals about the minds who cooked up gnome shell is in equal measure funny and shocking.

    when i first tested the horror that is the so-called unity, i honestly thought nothing in linux could be worse. gnome shell really seems worse. and i don’t think the nature of complaints against KDE 4 when it first came out was similar to criticism of these two disasters. and therefore i don’t think it will play out in the same way.

  1. August 9, 2011 at 4:18 am
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