What Linux Users Are Saying About GNOME In 2012
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 18 December 2012. Page 1 of 10. 6 Comments

The first batch of user feedback was published this morning from the 2012 GNOME User Survey. Here's now the second and final batch of GNOME user feedback collected through the annual desktop survey. The results from the actual survey questions will be published later 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.

1001: Tiled window management is a must. Would also like to see the ability to completely disable all window titlebars - they're useless to me. Before (temporarily?) switching to xmonad, I had modified all of my themes to remove as much window ornamentation as possible.

1002: What were you thinking?

1003: I understand that the GNOME team is attempting to improve usability with the 3.x series, but while the changes are decent on a laptop/media computer, they're horrid for workstation usability. Please focus on improving the multi-monitor workstation experience! GNOME 2 did better in this area.

1004: The ecosystem is still tied to a small number of developers, and the final user is not seen as the real client of GNOME.

One day, GNOME will be forked for good.

1005: Bring back gnome 2 :(

1006: Gnome has lost me, to many bullshit choices in search of "the user".
Gnome developers should have a look at the Cinnamon project and learn how to do user interfaces for actual users.

1007: Improve Nautilus means get back the tree view in the sidebar.
Reduce the resourcehunger.

1008: Keep the fallback session! Or at least, make GNOME Shell able to have such a layout, with the 2D-arranged virtual desktops.

1009: I'm miffed at how GNOME can keep adding in new dependencies while stripping out features and functionality.

1010: Good integration with distributions is the key to success!

1011: Please please include the ability to have program icons in the top bar. You know, like when you start Pidgin or Skype or Transmission and you have this nice small icon that you can interact with? Yes, that.

1012: Ni!

Conversation integration reached an all-time high with Gnome 3.4, and from there it worsened by introducing more moving, clicking and waiting in between cycling from some activity to engage in conversation and back to that activity.

Also, Evolution needs a cleaner interface that still packs the most used features. Right now, using it on netbooks is just painful. I can't get rid of the sidebar without even sacrificing the ability to change the folder I'm reading, and I can't have a shortcut to switch the sidebar. I also can't get a summarized view of a thread, so I must manually move through each message in a thread, which makes it hard to follow some conversations.

Finally, it seems a way must still be figured out to pop up a new message or notification while one is interacting with the screen in the centre bottom position. Most common case is typing, but could also be the cursor. One solution would be to make the box come from above, not below. Another solution would be to make it so transparent that one could still keep doing what he's doing, however he'd know something is going on and can push the mouse to the centre bottom or activate the activities or notification view to read it.

Other than those issues, and in general, I'm really happy with Gnome!

And tanks for putting out this survey =)

1013: Linux should stay open and customizable. The less dependencies the better. Do not try to take over the desktop by forcing dependencies to some init, window manager or similar.

The advanced configuration tool should have been a default control panel item since day one. If the product is so unfinished even that little amount of customization was deemed potential to break it, then it tells something about the state of your product.

Treating your users like braindead windows users will not help.

1014: - Get an idea about the rate of happy vs. unhappy users of GNOME3. Only unhappy users are loud currently, which makes it hard to get the full picture.
- Don't kill the fallback mode without providing an alternative (e.g. via official extension). I don't really care about 2d vs 3d, but many people like a panel instead of the gnome-shell. (I like the shell, but it still needs UX improvements to allow classic functionality like minimize/maximize windows)
- I like the rate and stability of improvements with every new GNOME version! Thanks a lot!

1015: Linux Software management is different from distro to distro. If Some common interface is there, it would be really nice. If you check android platform, Popularity due to same software center even with different vendors.

1016: I think the biggest drawback of GNOME shell compared to GNOME 2 and KDE etc is the way of launching applications.
If you know the application installed for your need and its exact name, it works perfectly. So, GNOME shell works for geeks and those users that only use Firefox and Libreoffice and nothing else. But most users are somewhere in between and for them it's crap.

1017: I would love to see a better window overview in activities e.g.
- group windows by application
- show windows from all virtual desktops
- search for window by typing partial application/document name
- show application icon next to window (large one)

1018: * provide and improve basic functionality, so it works perfectly for every day tasks:
- connecting to networks
- recently used (folders *and* files) item in Nautilus and open/save dialoags
- improve window switching without keyboard

* don't forget corporate users as target: they need foolproof solutions and some sort of continuity

1019: Sometimes, shifting known paradigms is not a very good ideia. Even though there has been some improvements in the overall state of the desktop, it remains counter-intuitive. As for my personal opinion, I think DEs shold work well with their stock configuration - thus, no need for thousands and thousands of extensions. And the fact that GNOME3 is only usable after some heavy configuration is, indeed, for me, a blocking issue.

1020: Use KDE technology (plasma, kwin, kdelibs): stop reinventing the wheel!!

1021: Take a step back and listen to your users because they're complaining with good reason. GNOME 3 development is more of a religion than a desktop environment and any "idea" put forward by a developer is blindly believed to be correct (even when facing harsh criticism) without backing it up with actual facts. No one is that infallible. It's faith - not software development.

With regard to GNOME removing features - ask yourself this: Why does someone choose one program over another? Because program X can do something Y can't. Features. Generally it's that simple, with few exceptions.

1022: I tried _really_ hard to get used to GNOME 3.x (I've used it for almost a year in total, spread over several periods of time. Tried 3.0, 3.2, 3.4, and the recent 3.6 release), but I've finally settled for (IMO) the next best thing since Gnome 2.x: XFCE.

There's not one single change in GNOME 3.x to blame that drove me away from GNOME, but rather the sum of all (IMO negative) changes over time. The system tray is unusable to me, stripping of configurable options, theme breakage, stripping features from nautilus, ..

I truly wish GNOME and the GNOME team all the best. I encourage integration, streamlining, and cleaning up the source. Unfortunately I lost the ability to make it work for me down the road. The project has diverged too much from my preferred workflow (which is rather traditional, I must admit) at this point. I'm sure it does work for others though, and we are lucky to have the freedom of choice :)

1023: Make the Cinnamon developers the new Gnome. They understand what user's want.

1024: I can understand why Gnome 3 was made as tablet/phone friendly UI. Thats where the industry is heading. But at the end of the desktop users still need a user interface that doesn't punish them for having a large monitor. If Gnome becomes the UI of touch devices then either fork or support gnome2/mate for everyone else.

1025: The messaging tray at the bottom feels awkward (I strongly dislike auto hide menus), prefer notification in a system tray area.

1026: I was devastated when Gnome 3 came out.

Return to Gnome 2 and continue making routine improvements. Just add more features, make it more easily customisable (it already is very good). Add features and improvements to all the default gnome applications, e.g nautilus.

If you don't have the humility to do that, then disband your team. There is no point in wasting talent on a pile of junk. Gnome 3 offers nothing whatsoever. If anyone likes its GUI, they can duplicate it in Gnome 2 or Xfce or KDE easily using Cairo dock and Compiz. I dare say such a duplicated GUI would be more reliable and functional than the genuine Gnome 3 version.

There is more than just personal preference to the question of whether one desktop environment is better than another. There are some demonstrable facts which cannot be argued with.

1. Some interfaces are physically faster to use than others. For example, Gnome 2 / Xfce / Lxde / KDE with Compiz and lots of shortcuts is much faster to work in than Gnome 3 or OS X. The latter two simply require more clicks and mouse movements for every action, so are automatically more difficult to work with for a user who has already learnt the interface.

2. Gnome 2 / Xfce / Lxde are all lighter on resources (especially CPU), even when running Compiz with effects such as wobbly windows, fire, cube etc, not to mention that there are genuinely useful plugins in Compiz.

3. The other desktop environments are significantly easier to customise (especially KDE and Gnome 2). Anything that is good in Gnome 3 can be duplicated in KDE or Gnome 2.

1027: Stop to ignore your userbase, at least the relicts of what you had a year back.

1028: We really need some 'legacy' features that can be easily toggled; Things like the minimize and maximize button and a task bar. As it stands, everything works very well and is fairly stable. I just feel the need for more options an customization. Also, maybe add a theme extension like KDE where users can apply gnome-approved themes from an easy to use interface. Lastly, we really need better compatibility with the industry proprietary drivers, especially since these drivers are used in conjunction with Steam-on-Linux. Gaming is coming, proprietary driver support is a must.

1029: There is always friction when you change a gui around. I like what was done overall. THANK YOU for developing this and giving it away. I would like to see more online integration. Google calendar / contacts, flikr upload perhaps, things like that. Keep up the good work!

1030: don't fix what isn't broken. no major changes to the gui - in that case, submodule and give the user a choice (that is, the g3 gui). the g2 fork might split the community if not taken seriously

1031: The desktop switching apparatus is much improved over gnome 2.
I wish I didn't need extensions for so so many things that are obviously needed by most people ... Desktop icons is pretty crucial and should be part of the default config.

1032: I think they should focus on improve utilities everybody uses like cairo or gtk, however I must say they are have done a great job with the recent work on pixman, however more of this job is needed.

1033: I rely heavily on keystrokes, as I can't use a mouse.

I wish I could set ALL desktop/workspace/window related shortcuts to combinations with the SUPER (WINDOWS/HOME) key, so all other shortcuts are available for applications (emacs, firefox, etc). Currently I can't set keys like SUPER+ENTER to Terminal Open, or SUPER+n to workspace switch (with n > 4), and so on.

That's the only problem I have with GNOME right now.

1034: Creating one interface for desktop and tablet is misguided

1035: Please either provide a proper fallback for non-accelerated graphics drivers or improve the graphics drivers and the llvm-pipe (currently unbearably slow if you don't have a high-end processor)

1036: Gnome 2.x is becoming a mess because it isn’t being maintained.
Gnome 3.x is becoming a mess BECAUSE it is being maintained.

When 2.x got a level of usability that people were happy with, you should have focused on stability, features, and optimisation. Not just removing shit for no reason.

1037: Every new version surprises me:
one step forward, one step backward ...

1038: The fact that just few developers are interested on people opinions and that GNome project doesn't want to do a Public Survey, is indicative of the total lack of importance that user opinion have to GNome as a project.

In the past Gnome 2 was the strongest Desktop, but when Gnome 3 came in throwing off all users knowledge without asking his users, then a big mass of them escaped looking alternatives, like Cinnamon or MATE or even KDE and XFCE.

Every time I see more distros dropping off GNome from his desktops, or modifying it to the extreme of letting it as GNome 2.

Users like me want Icons, Menus and configuration options to customize to our like. Nobody wants the dropping of options and customization that Gnome are doing version after version.

Hope GNome can back to its origins and lisen to his users.

1039: I do feel Gnome Shell is the step in the right direction. But a lot of work towards polishing and making the shell more extensible is required.

The default theme should definitely be worked on, as it does look cool at all. Animations would make the shell more slick.

The option for global menus would be a good feature that would help with the screen real estate for applications.

1040: Thank you for giving us GNOME2. It was good while it lasted.

1041: Please don't break support for X11, while porting gnome-shell to use XI2. I need xorg-server 1.12 because of legacy fglrx 12.6. I really like gnome 3, please don't break it. Thank you!

1042: gnome3 look&feel is great, but impossible to customize. gnome2 is death, i've to switch to kde to get the customization level I want (like toolbars, decent system monitor and other applets, etc.). My experiences were on Ubuntu.

1043: Gnome needs to be self-contained, small download (package install), highly secure (no possibility of keystroke loggers for example).

Leverage the Linux Foundation to partner with a major design firm to produce a truely compelling design for Gnome. Gnome is solid native code but can benefit from collaboration with a renown designer to take it to the next level.

1044: Gnome3 looks nice, however please consider the following:

Work to improve performance across all video drivers for 2D and 3D applications.
Look to applications like Synapse for example of application/document search done right.
Stop breaking basic functionality like the highly unintuitive pressing of Alt key to Shutdown or Restart computer or getting rid of min/maximize window controls.
Improve network configuration dialogs (it still manages to sometimes deny me from making changes when a network connection is not being established).
Optimize startup time.
Improve application dock in lower right hand corner (hard to select icons when they move around).
Ditch Pulseaudio if it fails to offer stable low latency capable artifact free audio mixing. At least it should play nicely with Jack.

1045: Please make core Applications usable when you release it.
NM is currently barely usable, especially the wlan configuration part.

1046: I think the overall UI direction of the GNOME is good. I wish they also allow third-party apps/services build on top of GNOME (e.g. use Online Accounts).

1047: Please just integrate the most popular extensions. There is probably a good reason the remove accessibility is the most popular extension.

1048: One of the golden rules of discussions is "don't be a dick", the GNOME devs should apply that lesson outside of discussions too.

1049: Stop care about your f***ing "branding" and start the work to make it resemble GNOME 2, the most brilliant release of GNOME I've ever tried. It was perfect. That's why I'm using MATE. Also stop dumbing down your software. Users are smart, realize that.

1050: Listen to your users

1051: Be open in reasons for design decisions. Have evidence to back them up. Listen to user feedback.

I run GNOME on my TV. It has no keyboard, just mouse. I want a shutdown button in the start menu. I don't want to have to waste time and mouse clicks logging out *then* shutting down.

1052: You're not Gods, listen to people.

1053: Keep up the good work!

1054: keep light configs in mind
config wizard offering themes (incl. extensions) to provide different user "experience" (beginner, Unix habits, Mac habits...)

1055: I appreciate wanting to make the desktop user friendly, but taking away features has been loads of pain for me and my fellow local users. I don't mind if they are buried in dconf. The one completely awesome thing that Gnome3 introduced were shell extensions, and these have made the desktop at least on par with gnome2. I find myself still pining for the ancient days of 1.3 or so when it was incredibly flexible - shell extensions get a long way there although you have to make your own knobs to tweak rather than tweaking existing ones. Also colour theming built in would be beyond awesome, there hasn't been colour theming forever. It'd be nice if fallback mode was a bit more functional - like supporting shell extensions and such somehow.

1056: Pay attention to the results of this survey, please.

1057: Cool and clean DE, without any disturbances

1058: Shut down the project for good.

1059: No, but I have a comment for the creators of this survey. It is the most pointless and biased survey I have ever taken. A real survey would ask me about what I do, how powerful are my devices, in what age group I belong. In question 09 you mixed GNOME Shell, GNOME the desktop environment and GNOME the project. I am not surprised that GNOME had no interest in this survey. If you don't like GNOME3, don't use it.

1060: Every aspect of a desktop must be user tweak-able, and easily so. The desktop should fit the user, not the opposite. Don't worry about hype comments, but do listen to users feedback. Be open to roll back changes when it is widely admitted they are bad.

1061: Keep fallback mode.

I am using fallback mode because I dislike GNOME Shell, not because my machine is unable to run GNOME Shell.

1062: multimonitor (>2) is awfully broken. Please please fix it so I can use GNOME3 at work!

1063: Document your dbus interfaces! A bit of internal stability wouldn't hurt.

1064: Gnome 3 is a massive improvement, now that I have a laptop without an NVidia card and don't have to use the crappy fallback mode. I have been lured back from a tiling window manager (stumpwm) and am really impressed. Especially by how good the multi-monitor support is: I plugged the monitor in and it just worked. Brilliant!

1065: Please make the chat application (Empathy) single window and add support for encryption (via OTR or OpenPGP?).

Make a simple App to add calendar events (appointments, birthdays), Evolution is overkill.

1066: Try to reconsider who your target users are.

1067: i looked at cinnamon recently and like the panel customising but the overlay is the best way to use my desktop and far ahead of unity.

1068: You don't know better, and people do react poorly to feature removal (and they are _right_ at reacting poorly).

1069: I don't think it is a representational survey, as it is filled in mostly by advanced users with special needs.

1070: Get rid of the status update bar

1071: Rock Hard!

1072: Do not drop the "classic" interface and gnome-panel, or replace it by something with the same features, instead of replacing it by something that is entirely different and unusable.

1073: Right clic to move add delete icons in menu bar was good. I use gnome classic. On my computer i had to use universal access panel to decrease the size of my screen font. If i didn't find this trick, gnome was "unusable" with my computer Acer Aspire 5720G.

1074: Keep on, you are doing a great job.

1075: 0. Thank you for awesome DE!
1. Improve gnome-icon-theme. Default folder icons are terrible.
2. Improve Evolution and Evince
3. Add ability to extend Gnome Control Center without recompiling (sth like elementary's Switchboard)

1076: I think they're doing a fine job and I thank them for producing what, for my purposes, is the best desktop environment currently available. Gnome 3 with Gnome-shell out-performs KDE, Unity, and Gnome 2 on my hardware and essentially stays out of my way until I need it. I really couldn't ask for anything more.

1077: Save/restore (may be in cloud) all option Gnome and applets and transfer to any desk. Use same user costumize enveronment in any computers at any times.

1078: I'm using XFCE since Gnome 3 suxx for me.

1079: Use strong static type system!

1080: GNOME Shell animation in >3.4 is much slower on Radeon cards than in <3.2

1081: don't remove old features

1082: I've been using gnome 3 on my home computer for over a year now. I get by, but in what way is it an improvement?
I do development and system administration. Finding my windows is important. I need titles for that - thumbnails of termimals and pdf viewers all look the same.
I've become the local champion at Alt-Tab, Alt-` and various other magic key combinations - these are absolutely necessary to be effective in gnome 3. In that respect, it's a lot like emacs!

1083: Remember you're doing useful software, not trying to impose a brand.

1084: Please return back traditional interface (GNOME 2) on desktop.

1085: Make gnome more stable :)

1086: I cannot agree with a lot of complaints about Gnome 3. It has improved significantly since v3.0 and I am able to use it very efficiently with the keyboard shortcuts. I also like the fact that Gnome has entered the new era with the new GUI. Apart from some new icon theme I do not feel the need to customize it a lot.

1087: GTK apps under other DE are ugly and under powered. For example File dialogs are too simplified - compared to KDE file dialogs are like from the stone age. For that reason Gnome / GTK should bite the dust that way all desktop apps will get more pleasant and uniform view.
Look at Opera - looks nice everywhere, how about Firefox - under KDE- ugly, the same for OO/LO, Evolution, Gedit, etc.

1088: The reason I answered "It's definitely worse" about GNOME3 vs GNOME2 is a recent change in Disks, which got rewritten and the support for configuring LVM got dropped:
"For example, the extent to which Disks support LVM (and MD RAID for that matter) is now that we only show the mapped devices (if the VG / array is running) and, except for e.g. showing the user-friendly (!) name /dev/vg_x61/lv_root instead of /dev/dm-2, that's pretty much it. You can still, of course, manipulate the device (such as changing the file system label) and its contents as if it was any other device (see below), but we no longer provide any UI to configure LVM or MD RAID itself - you are expected to use the command-line tools to do so yourself."

quoted from http://davidz25.blogspot.com/2012/03/simpler-faster-better.html

I find this trend of removing useful functionality quite disturbing. I don't know the reason for it, except following in Apple's footsteps. That's deeply misguided.

1089: Keep up the great work, don't listen to the trolls.

1090: Don't drop support for non-3d enabled systems.
My radeon support on powerpc is broken for a long time and it will remain unusable.

1091: I hear a lot of wank from the GNOME developers about their lofty goals and their tiny achievements. On the one hand, there's posts about "GNOME 4" and "GNOME OS," on the other hand, there's posts about adding a close button and gradient to the alt-f2 dialog, as if this is something worth noting. I could do with a lot less of both, and a lot more of GNOME developers evaluating user feedback and describing how it impacts the development of GNOME.

Further, my biggest complaint at this point is dodgy window and workspace management. Keeping an empty workspace at the end of the list is just silly. I don't want to be constantly dragging windows between workspaces, but with the way the stuff is managed now, that's what I end up doing. I need an easy, preferably keyboard-oriented way to tell GNOME "launch this program on this workspace" or "launch this program in a new workspace."

My second biggest complaint is the half-assedness of extensions - extensions.gnome.org seems to break in a different way every time I visit, and half the extensions don't work on 3.4 and demand 3.6, just like when I was running 3.2, they demanded 3.4. Keep the APIs consistent, and stabilize the extension site, if you want people to use it.

My third biggest complaint is extensions themselves - there's minimal documentation, as if the fact that they're CSS + JS is supposed to magically be documentation enough. Clearly that's not the case, since the API breakages between minor releases is enough to render lots of extensions useless. Improve the documentation, and use a stable API (this is one place where the GNOME devs need to take Linus' rants to heart).

1092: just respct your userbase

1093: Reduce dependencies , the necessity for udev made me go with a tiling wm , I'm now liking it , but I realise it's not the best for everyone.
Also , simplicity is key , following the so called "unix philosophy" would be a big plus.

1094: Good work, thanks a lot!

1095: Personal I do not use GNOME3 on tablets. ;)

1096: nope, I can perfectly directly contact them if I want to discuss ( there is irc, mailling list, etc )

1097: widgets, widgets, widgets: some people love them...
what's wrong with files on the desktop?
integration of zeitgeist, tracker and hamster in one application
more configuration options for desktop and system
better integration of thunderbird as default mailclient
lightning as calendar-application
solidify the extensionsplatform so that you have robust api for developers
add 'classic' sessionmanagement to gdm3: I now use kdm as loginmanager for my multiseat.

1098: Keep on rolling and forget the OS + read the surveys

1099: I would like to request improving upon Adwaita theme, since it is too bland and contrasting to the pure-black panel on top. Also perhaps improve extensions compatibility, so that devs don't have to update on every little Gnome Shell update. Also maybe improved keyboard shortcuts. Otherwise, good job!

1100: thanks for your work !

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