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What Linux Users Are Saying About GNOME In 2012

Michael Larabel

Published on 18 December 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 10 - 66 Comments

With the 2012 GNOME User Survey now officially over, here's the start of the results. In this posting are the first (of two) batches of feedback that users supplied while filling out the survey. This year there were 4,494 people participating in the annual yet independent GNOME survey. Of the nearly 4.5k respondents, 1,950 of them also provided feedback with this first batch consisting of the first one thousand responses. The results from the survey in full will also be published this week.

The feedback is sorted in the order that the survey submissions were received. Like last year, the survey and its questions were developed independent of the GNOME Foundation and Phoronix by the GNOME community of users and developers. Phoronix simply participated as the host of the survey.

1: Go back to GNOME2. Add back the fallback mode...

2: Keep development going strong. GNOME has its bugs, but we're moving along well enough. PLEASE improve evolution, and possibly performance on open-source drivers.

3: found a solution to arrange multiple desktop panel in square.....please !!!

4: Keep traditional GNOME2-style interface, GNOME3 ist horrible to use and confuses new users used to the classic desktop paradigm.

5: Integrate gnome-tweak-tool

6: Nothing. I finally have fled, and switched to KDE. It has problems, but at least is usable and didn't feel a need to «revolutionize» the way I work with inefficient notifications, no task bar, no application menu, just for the sake of change.

7: No, thank you

8: Transitioning to a new UX is hard when you have people holding you back. I understand you want GNOME to run on touch devices, but don't forget about us stone age mouse users :) Best of luck, and follow your vision.

9: Bring back Gnome 2, expand it and provide a home for every Windows 95 - Windows 7 user that understands that type of interface instead of the clunky unproductive Gnome 3 interface that is about on par with Windows 8.

10: problem is, there have to be more applications that do completely fit into gnome, like the apple apps are doing

11: I'd like to see better GMail support (without having to use Evolution) [e.g. mail notification when using online accounts].
Also unread notifications should not be hidden in the lower right corner. It would be nice, if you see them with the first view after returning to the computer.

12: Forget about tablets :)

13: Please, screensaver disconnect!!!

14: Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users Listen to users!

15: There would be less unsatisfied users if it was possible to configure the GNOME shell in a more ordinary way than installing plugins that can do it and even they can't do it properly.

16: I would love it if we had more desktop/laptop features in the base interface, i can see why you only need close and to hide windows on a tablet it makes perfect sense, but if a touchscreen is not detected why cant we have minimize, maximize, and close buttons by default? Also it would be nice to have some way by default to display or move the dash without the use of buggy extensions. gnome-shell is easily becoming the most beautiful DE but I would love it if there was a bit more focus on desktop and laptop users than on tablet users since i can guarantee that almost all the linux user base using gnome-shell is on a desktop/laptop.

My only other qualm is that it seems like the designers dont listen to the community at all or even strike an intelligent conversation with them about how things should be designed or tweaked to fit the needs of their users. As stated above for a tablet interface it works mostly well but since near 99.9% of all linux users are using laptops/desktops it would be great if there was more focus on making gnome-shell more usable on them.

17: Do user testing. Don't make changes based on your own whims and then commit them.

18: Keep up the good work.

19: GNOME is mostly obsolete nowdays. KDE Plasma is so flexible it can do anything GNOME 2 did an a lot more and you can construct any environment you like with KDE Plasma.

20: The biggest issues I have with Gnome3 is the lack of configuration.
That and on the program list it would be nice to have a customizable list to use an example Microsofts Metro interface with Win8.
I like how I can make screens of just my most used apps so I do not have to scroll through a long list.

Overall Gnome3 is a much better option then Unity and most machines I use run Ubuntu and run Gnome3 in fallback however I have been getting more interested in XFCE however it lacks the theme support of gnome.

21: Please restore the earth night/day view in the date/time panel.

22: Gnome is the most illogical and buggy desktop in the history.

23: Yes, change or die. And I think you all are paid by enemies of the FLOSS/Linux community. Otherwise kill yourselves.

24: Stop removing useful features.

25: 1) I can't believe the amount of FEATURES that are being removed. Nothing is configurable anymore, or hardly.
2) Remove statusbar in nautilus for instance. What for? I read the thread where this was decided and the argument was "you can read the free space in the system monitor". This is ridiculous!
3) That was just an example, but there are many more. Now we can't even change the panel position (top), size, colour? We can't easily customize colour in general or anything? Plus, white letters on a black panel? It is just a HORRIBLE default setup.
4) Type-ahead search in nautilus is super-comfortable. The new behaviour is just slow and too much of a hassle. Is it possible to make this optional?
5) Condensing menus in a sole button is just very uncomfortable. It is also difficult for other spin-offs to configure these things!
6) Many, many more comments, but all of them are basically all over the net! Reading forums and rants on the internet will give you an idea. I am dropping GNOME for XFCE in a near future.

26: Listen to the users!

27: Please don't kill GNOME Fallback Session (GNOME Panel).

GNOME Shell is not my deal, it has too many clicks. It does not work with me, it works against me. It forces its ways and paradigms on me. I don't like it, and I don't find it useful.

Please allow me to easily use my own themes, as the stock theme does have poor usability without defined frames/borders/edges, such as on context-menu against a white background.

28: gnome 3 is awesome

29: Consider a world where tabs do not exist. How elegant is your window management then? Can it handle 15 windows or more eloquently?

This is not a GNOME-specific problem. No other open source desktop environment except for KDE cares about window management. They can't see past the internet browser.

Here's what I want, since it's 2012:

I want an environment better than Windows 98. Do you remember that? I do. Internet Explorer, no tabs, full taskbar. GNOME is no better. Yes, I am disappointed.

30: Look at what the Cinnamon People are doing. Having a easy to customize panel adds a lot to my productivty which was taken away by Gnome 2->3

31: Let the user configure things - at least, put some level on the configurability (complete noob - average user - advanced user - expert user)

32: Gnome is pretty and makes me want to use it, but it crashes and then I go back to Crunchbang. And so on...

33: go, fetch some sleep ;)

34: Excellerate improvements. 3.6 is definitely far better than previous versions. I am looking forward to improvements to Totem/Vidoes but would like to see Evolution get some love

With regards to Gnome Shell I would like to see more configuration options for top panel and improvements to dash like this extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/307/dash-to-dock/

35: I want: consistency of the look, maturedness of the core applications, software center, more appealing interface and seamless work with videocards.

36: GNOME3 is completely the wrong directly. Unity does what GNOME3 is attempting much more successfully, GNOME should go back to the 2.x style of desktop management if it hopes to stay relevant.

37: I use Cinnamon on top of GNOME not GNOME-shell

38: keep it up and don't fragment the linux ecosystem

39: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, GNOME 3 IS REALLY GREAT

40: Although I'm not using Gnome 3 and I currently prefer other DEs, I believe that Gnome 3 will keep improving and I hope to go back to Gnome in the future.
Thanks for all the hard work.

41: Combine shell/window theme/background/other appearance option as ONE option named "theme" :)

42: Fix nautilus, and keep up the god work :)

43: The search function of gnome shell is shit. There are no results from tracker and you can't search emails, contacts or documents. Gnome documents is awkward by the way. The poppler library is crap too, its fucking slow. I guess the Mozilla javascript PDF library is even faster than poppler. The evince pdf reader is crap too, it doesnt have annotation functions and uses poppler. Stop developing additional software as part of the Gnome project but concentrate on the core Gnome shell. Gimp is good, everything else is crap. Epiphany is awkward, only 4-5 year old kids may use this browser. Evolution for example is much worse than Thunderbird. ... Use mupdf instead of poppler!

44: Ignore the haters.

45: keep up the good work and your vision.

don't listen to the people who want the old crappy Gnome 2!

but please do not become the next OSX clone!

46: I would be happy with Gnome Shell, but it has several problems. They break extensions every 6 months, and extension authors then fade away, so you have to find a new set of extensions for the same functionality every six months.

There aren't an official set of extensions - I really do not need to choose in 3 pages of search results for "system monitor" - I just need one good one like there was in Gnome 2.

The most important problem is that I have multiple windows open from the same app (eg two emacs frames, two chromes, about 8 terminals etc). The most productive way I have found of dealing with them is a panel - especially one that lets you drag and drop to set the order of the items. Gnome are welcome to solve that problem in another way, but the Gnome Shell is not the solution. I did use shell for a while but the panel extensions were incomplete and broke every six months. I have resorted to using fallback mode because it works and works well. Apparently that is now going to be removed, so I will be forced to stop using Gnome 3 desktop.

I also wrote this comment which has many votes and some responses http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4770259

47: I know the gnome guys have gotten a lot of flack, but they are making some really good choices. Keep it up, but continue to listen to the sane feedback.

48: Keep up the good work. And always be open for new ways of solving user interaction.

49: You seem to forget what the word _free_ in 'free software' means. You are making it harder and harder for people to change GNOME to their liking. The theming engine is a prime example here.

Lose the arrogance: who are you to decide what other users want/need?

And for what? You want to have a look that screams 'this is GNOME'? Some sort of brand-desire? You know what, I don't care about _your_ brand. My desktop – _my_ brand. If you want to have a 'brand', fork Metro, oh wait.. you can't.

50: Bring the GTK3 enhancements to the Gnome2 layout and drop Gnome-Shell like you would a bad date with a herpes sore.

51: I know the things like "bring back gnome 2" will never happen, but please stop trying to break compatibility to other environments, e.g. by removing traditional menues. Unity's HUD uses them, KDE uses them, XFCE uses them, the others use them, Mac uses them and Microsoft had their shitstorm when they removed them.

52: Good Job!

53: Keep rocking!

54: Remove the damn evolution suite. It's bloody annoying.

55: Nope, thanks!

56: I like the overall design and slick look/feel of GNOME 3. But configuration options need to be improved. In my humble opinion, the current settings tool needs to be expanded to include some of the very useful options that Gnome Tweak Tool has and some of the best features/configuration options that the most popular/useful extensions provide.

57: Please don't try to use generic names all the time ... Files, Web, Boxes ... It make no sense.
Please don't try to shoot down menus, they are usefull when you search for something.
Please continue to add fonctionnalities :)

58: I like "every detail matters" as well as the stream-lined gnome user interface. However, if you want to add touch-screen support, as e.g. in "Documents", do not remove mouse/touchpad features, e.g. when selecting files. I think it's not a good idea to force non-touch-screen users to use the "selection" button before one or more files can be selected!

Oh, and if you'd streamline/simplify the interface of evolution, I'd really appreciate it.

59: Keep up the good work!

60: I miss application applets from Gnome 2 - e.g. now I cannot change Rhythmbox volume with just pointing cursor on the icon and adjusting the volume with mouse wheel - i have to switch to the application and set the volume level there.

61: Add evdo cdma support on network manager.
Integrate with dropbox and google drive.
Listen to users please or more will switch to another DE.

62: Make the virtual desktops a two-dimensional grid again, for spatial orientation.

Don't use as much vertical space (Unity does mostly ok with that (for laptop use at least), my desktop uses an fvwm configured without window decorations and horizontal toolbars, so 100% vertical height for applications).

63: Please fix the standard theme and icons stuff, it looks like crap. I would like it to be less "clean", now it feels like im in a nonpixelish cube with stripes on it. I want it to bee more like im hanging out with wild animals, plants or fungi in some sort way. We are humans and should stay that way.

It would also be very very very very nice if you fix all your gnome stuff for Wayland/Weston very fast so we (as linux community) can spank the windows/Mac guys in their asses.

I like that you are experimenting with nautilus so it might become the best filemanager ever. The problem with that tho is its shown for the next release so ppl think you are going to do something bad with their puppy. You should split it up so you have a experimental nautilus and a stable.

The last thing i want to mention is that i want you to fix gtk so it will be faster, i guess the developing countries need that.

//thanks for reading my survey, and glhf with your programming stuff!

64: You are alienating your userbase. :*(

65: You have to realize that your users are not "average idiots".

66: network manager tray to connect to not my accespoin over and over again :(

67: Gnome is getting pretty good, i use Kde because its also pretty good and I like to see my currently running applications and "tray" all the time

68: Gnome 3 lacks the ability to put the main bar on the bottom of the screen so tabs of a tabbed browser can be directly on the top and more easily clicked on (also applies to close button and whatever toolbar in a maximized window).

The ability to easily tile windows by dragging them to the mouse is missing (there is some basic stuff : maximize, left half of screen, right half, but Win 7 does a better job at this and is several years old).

69: GNOME Shell is a failure. Stop trying to dumb everything down and start taking your design cues from Cinnamon, which is the sort of incremental update that GNOME 3 should have been.

70: Gnome 3 has some promise, but overall it seems like it's a downgrade from Gnome 2. It's missing fundamental configuration options and is not an intuitive interface. Upgrading from 2 to 3 was a jarring experience. The existence of MATE and Cinnamon just show exactly how much people dislike the new interface.

On top of the UI design, I find it to be very unstable and difficult to configure even basic things like theme changes, fonts, etc. I shouldn't have to install a tweak tool to change basic things like that.

I know this is all pretty negative, so I'll put one positive thing in here. I like how you can install extensions through Firefox. That's one of the few user experience improvements I see in Gnome 3.

71: Make sure Sandybridge never tears with Clutter again

72: To me, Gnome is becoming more and more like the GNU system. It feel more like a couple of bundled tools than a solid user environment, mostly because of the bad choices Gnome developers made on Gnomes direction. It feels like some parts of the Gnome desktop are moving too fast (Gnome Shell) while other struggle to keep up (Nautilus) and others do not seem to move at all (Evolution). That makes it difficult to look at Gnome as a whole, so even though I use Nautilus and Empathy and some other Gnome components, I stopped calling myself a "Gnome" user.

73: simple configurations to make shell behave like cinnamon, unity, even other desktops, eliminate the need for forks! (maybe via plugins)
rework is killing linux desktop

74: make the window bars smaller

75: Please make the workspace switcher show the second monitor.

76: Get rid of this monstrosity and quite following on the coat tails of Microsoft for your inspiration. The user doesn't want a completely redesigned desktop that is so different from what they are used to that the learning curve is more than incremental. Thanks for pushing me toward LXDE and other, lightweight, traditionally laid out desktops with sane configurations that don't require extensions be installed just to have basic functionality.

77: Great job guys, keep going !

78: Allow users to drag icons to the desktop , top and bottom menu bars. Taking Away the most essential ability of desktop management was crazy. Not everyone likes creating icon launchers an finding the launcher string. Yes I want to clutter my desktops with icons.. The gnome team and Microsoft don't realize that icons littered all over your desktop is how humans use desktops & laptops. Gnome 3 on tablets and smart phones would be unusable without home screen icons. If to many icons on the desktop is an issue for a gnome developer then copy OSx/Android an add icon grouping. Again if I want a messy desktop that's my business

Thanks to gnome 3 I have recently started using mate with compiz. I do try to stick with current desktops with real support but gnome 3 in its present form is good for making reflect on the glory days of gnome 2x.

79: Gnome 3 is a leap forward in UI design. For those that do prefer the more 'traditional' UI, there's MATE, etc.

80: You are not designers, please just put your pride aside and listen to your users, add a minimize button and some form of dock/window space there is a reason dock addons are so popular. Unity, Windiws and Mac all the most popular environments all have them and understand what users want you clearly dont.

Gnome 3 as a shell and toolkit are a vast improvement over gnome 2 but add some sane defaults in like the window buttons.

81: Add a taskbar and quick launcher. I HATE having to open more than one application at a time and repleatedly click the corner or hit the super key and see some flashy animation.

Also add more panel gadgets built in and then let me add items gnome2 style. Missing systemmonitor and cpu speed for example.

And add more options to the control panel. It just seems incomplete. It can't be true that i need gnome-tweak-tool to change simple and understandable settings like: "Show date in clock" or font antialiasing settings. And why the hell is default applications and removable media settings in System -> details?

82: Remove the fast alt-tab delay, it makes it look like it lags.
The 3.6 message tray needs work, right clicking on items in it is awkward (message tray slides down, menu is left hanging in the air).
The delay for it is too big as well, I'd say another hot spot (bottom right) would be good for me, or a 100ms delay for open.
Keyboard layout switching is broken, how can I have a keyboard shortcut for it if I'm using latin and cyrrilic layouts interchangeably? If I bind for example Ctrl Alt K then I can switch
out of the latin layout, but in the cyrillic one there is no K, I'm stuck. Sucks.

83: Kill of Gnome3, focus all effort on Cinnamon.

84: Gj GNOME team, keep it up! :)

85: Be more compatible to the Unity! The Unity userbase needs GNOME.

86: I want old features returned in Gnome 3. Things like Applets, minimize + Maximize Buttons, bring back features of Nautilus.

I hate it when features are removed. If I wanted less features, I would buy a fucking iPad!

87: Stop breaking backwards compatibility .. Especially this. Even with point releases there's breakage! And it destroys many things. Make it easier for non Gnome developers to maintain their software and themes, etc. There's many configuration options available, but due to difficulty of accessing them many people don't even know, so make configuration easier, like in app theme search(see KDE) as well as built-in tools(there shouldn't be need to explicitly install gnome-tweak-tool, etc, and sometimes 3rd party software, also an app for managing extension, like the site, would be very good).
I don't know how, but the Gala window manager(from elementary project, also based on mutter) seems VERY smooth and fast compared to most other WM in Linux I've seen, competing well with non-compositing ones, while it has some good features and effects. Maybe port improvements from them. Also have a look at the settings they provide(based on gnome-control-center) those would be great for vanilla Gnome.
Optional tour through the desktop on first and the way it works launch for new users. Possibly even with a small video.
Invest more on Anjuta and make it a very good IDE to help developers. 3.4 is nigh unusable to me due to random crashes/lockups that ruin my work. 3.6 seems much better, but has some way to go ..
Better backwards compatibility. Again. There's a reason there's newly released apps still using GTK 2.x and not 3.x.
Make use of the desktop somehow. I mean where the background is shows. It's a waste to do nothing .. Widgets, desktop icons(classic), heck even making it able to show a webpage should be better. I hope that at least the optional nautilus desktop icons are kept if nothing is done for the desktop ...

Make the Shell more modular. The whole shell running as one process(if not mistaken) makes it vulnerable to crashes. When the WM(window manager) crashes, everything goes down. Maybe if there were different processes for panel, WM, etc(as to keep a very similar implementation) or better error handling(including a daemon to restart crashed services/processes, let's say if the panel crashes or something similar) could help in this section.(I realize making a panel program etc would make it difficult to use extensions on those). Also, a way to detect broken extensions and relaunch without them in case of a crash or in a "safe mode" with no extensions activated and a proper notification.(I recall it was very improved in the last version, but not sure if similar things have been implemented).

88: A lot, but you didn't listen do you? I want the default Gnome 2 behavior, because current shell is a mess (launching applications is a pain). I want to be able to configure fonts, because I know better than you. I want feature rich Nautilus and I want you to cut Icaza's bullshit off, because he's anti-Linux moron, I want you to avoid c# crap. I'd love to see Gnome being Linux only and using Linux specified features. I like some Gnome applications like Cheese, but I prefer to use them in Unity which is more configurable (but launcher is messed up as well). I like you're not using compiz and fullscreen 3D applications are running fast.

89: They are almost on the right track, very nice base.
Gnome need more polishing, better(more comprehensive) configurations and less bugs.

Also as an extension developer I am just writing code with almost no documentation! Gnome needs proper documentation for St, GTK, ... in js. This would give gnome nice extension and that can fill the gap for choices users want.

Overall good job!

90: Keep up the good work & puristic design. Please do not remove features before better alternatives are implemented.

91: Stop taking away advanced (or even basic) options and features please. I don't know who you're aiming at but even Apple does pandering to the new/idiot crowd much, much better.

92: Please, include some file search in dash.

93: Killer feature missing in 3 that was in 2: multi-tz clock with weather, very useful for multi-national conference calls. The weather makes easy small-talk intro to the call, all easily available at a glance.
Gnome 3.6 is a massive improvement though.

94: Unity sucks hard, but i dont know if that is GNOMEs problem. One thing i like with "linux" is all the possibilities to configure a lot of stuffs. But how do i configure gnome to look like i want? In older days i used gconf-editor, but now i have this shit called unity. And i know i can download themes etc. But let the user/distibrution decide how they want their desktop to look. Make it easier and make guides on how to configure your gnome environment to look just like you want. Then make it easy to export your look so you can add it again if needed.

Dont fokus to much on how you want it to look, or how to plead a lot of people. Fokus on making people do their own look, That would be special!

95: Let it die.

96: iam only using fallback 2d mode
if you kick it ill have to leave gnome

97: great job, guys! thank you for all your immense work. I do appreciate and like what direction gnome heads to. with projects like every detail matters I think we can get a de that simply works, visual appealing. . I would love to see improvements in performance and speed of the gnome shell, especially under heavy load. also support and improvement of extensions and documentation. gnome 3 its just the begging. there is a lot of perspective for this platform. 3d perspective view in overview mode, implementetion of arbor.js and tagcanvas for the actors in gnome shell, auto adjusting chameleone shell theming. Last thing I have to add that gnome is ahead of its time, that's what I like about it and that's why a lot of people are complaining becouse its hard for them to switch the old patterns of interaction

98: Please make Nautilus have more features instead of less
More configuration options
Folders again to organise applications like old application menu

99: - More configurability, especially for controversial changes. It should be possible to get very close to a GNOME2-like experience out of the box.
- Encourage alternative projects on top of the GNOME3 platform, and pick some of their good ideas.

100: Communicate better with the community. Stop making people angry.

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