11 Jul 2006 22:27 Subscribe

My personal GNOME experience

About three weeks ago, something must have happened with my mind. KDE became too boring, WindowMaker was already gone for some time and I needed something new. Well, I always used GNOME applications before, I really like the design and it's the business desktop number one, so I gave it a try. And I don't mean something like starting it, clicking around and leaving. This I've already done multiple times like when testing the gnome-power-manager or other applications. I really ment to try to get familiar with it and working with it on a daily basis. So I opened my mind for something which is known as "the bad thing" among KDE developers

After all, I decided to write down everything I would like or dislike. And now, after 3 weeks of continuous GNOME usage, here are the results. If anything is wrong, or maybe I just oversaw a gconf key, please tell me.

Window resizing

The most likely most popular example that also hit me is the not existing possibility to resize windows with ALT-Right-Click. Well if you are used to that behaviour, it's really hard to forget this feature. Additionally, when working in a fast way, moving windows around, resizing many of them, it's sometimes hard to catch the bottom right area to bring up an arrow to finally change the size. After one week or so, I got along with it and it wasn't that painful anymore

Workspace switching

I'm used to a one dimensional workspace layout, four workspaces in a row. And of course, after the last workspace I want to wrap around to the first. Well, not possible with GNOME. There's already a detailed bugreport about this issue but was rejected because it would confuse the users. Oh what a mess. So I changed the layout to have two rows, each one having two desktops.

Icons on the desktop [UPDATE]

There's no possibility to remove all icons from the desktop, two will stay there whatever you do. Oh stop, I finally found a possibility, killing the nautilus process. Unfortunatelly, my desktop wallpaper disappears, but that's something I can cope with.

Thanks for the comments. It is possible to remove the icons, gconf-editor –> apps –> nautilus –> desktop. Looks easy, so I'm just too dumb to find it :-)

Changing the interface language

If english is not your native language, like in my case, but you still have to deal with bugreports, reproducing, confirming, etc., you like to switch the language of the GUIs at runtime. Not possible. You have to specify the language at login time. But that's one of the smaller issues, it would just be "nice to have". Nevetheless, annoying.

Bad session management for non-GNOME applications

One might argue that you simply should use GNOME applications in this case, but that's not the way I'm working. I use a mixture of all, GNOME, KDE, QT, tcl applications and so on. Yes, you can't support all crappy applications, but why isn't emacs recognized at all for example? Just strange that KDE can handle this.

The hidden monster

Although it has a rather minimalistic style and design (What I really like actually), it's as slow as KDE. Also the memory usage is as high as with KDE. I just recall people telling me that C++ applications are a performance loss…

Panel application starter

When invoking the panel application starter with ALT-F2, I can't figure out the system how applications are stored in the history. I would expect that if I press the up-arrow-key, the previous executed application would come up. There's lots of applications in the history, but not the last or the second to the last. But I really can't say were the application which come up do come from.

And again, this application is so fucking slow. Even on startup. After typing a command, it seems to be that it has some sort of completion mechanism and tries to find the corresponding icon for the application typed. And this can last up to 3 seconds.


My favourite terminal is konsole. Actually I would use xterm if it wouldn't lose it's focus sometimes when switching workspaces. So it's some kind of comparison between konsole and the gnome-terminal. Because if I'm using GNOME, I also want to use its utilities.

  • Not possible to scroll single lines with shift-up/down
  • Not possible to store tabs in profiles
  • Just a personal opinion, the tabs on top of the window really look ugly ;-)
  • Same problem like with workspaces, not possible to wrap around from the last tab to the first one
  • gnome-terminal seems to be incompatible with some key combinations like ALT-. They are not working in the default configuration for zsh and irssi. And I wasn't able to change this via the provided menus like I can do for konsole.

All in all, no, gnome-terminal is nothing for me if I like to do productive working.


On disconnect, for whatever reason (Network, ICQ) , I get a reconnect window on the desktop which is currently active. But why? My gaim main window is open on a completely different workspace.


I really like the look and feel of gtk. It's simple but very nice. And I really think that the GNOME desktop is better suited for business use or for unexperienced users in contrast to KDE in its current state. In KDE the user is striked daed by hundred of menus and settings which is really confusing in the first place. Although I didn't elaborate these two advantages much, they are very very strong.

I used and worked with it for 3 weeks now. I changed my personal working behaviour and I really became inured to it. I can work with it now after adopting to what this desktop (matacity, whatever) pretends. But I think this is actually the problem. I simply don't want to adopt! That's not how I see this open source thing these days. If a developer started with GNOME and got used to it, he wouldn't ever notice that this desktop doesn't do what he actually wants. He just fits his working behaviour into the desktop guidelines. If that would be the way he works anyway, then he's the lucky one. But for anyone else I can't understand how a developer actually likes to use it. Yes, developing it, extending it, making it better, but not using it. Everytime I have an idea how to perfect the way I work a little bit more to get the best out of it, I'm limited by the desktop. That's not satisfying. So the day before yesterday, I switched back to KDE although I don't like the look and feel that much. Fortunately, everybody can make this decision on his own.


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