Linus Torvalds Switched Back To Gnome

by on January 24, 2009 · 48 comments· LAST UPDATED January 24, 2009

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Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, dislikes the GNOME desktop. There was a big flame war(s) between Linus Torvalds and the GNOME community. At one point he claimed that - "Gnome seems to be developed by interface Nazis and that its developers believe their users are idiots". And guess what? Who made the switch to Gnome?

Now, Linus thinks KDE 4 sucks and it is a disaster. From the computerworld interview:

I used to be a KDE user. I thought KDE 4.0 was such a disaster I switched to GNOME. I hate the fact that my right button doesn't do what I want it to do. But the whole "break everything" model is painful for users and they can choose to use something else.

I realise the reason for the 4.0 release, but I think they did it badly. They did so may changes it was a half-baked release. It may turn out to be the right decision in the end and I will re-try KDE, but I suspect I'm not the only person they lost.

I tried KDE4 for day or two.. and it had some nasty bugs and features. To be frank, KDE 3.5 was much better and superior to GNOME. Personally, I prefer GNOME's easy to follow clean interface without bugs. What do you think?

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Evil Dick January 24, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Does anyone who doesn’t live in their mother’s basement care what he thinks?

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2 some anonymous dude May 2, 2010 at 5:23 am

i don’t hugely care what he thinks, but i do agree, that’s exactly what i thought, except my solution was to compile kde3.

and no, i don’t live in my mother’s basement, i live in my father’s attic.

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3 hybrid-kernel January 24, 2009 at 9:38 pm

who needs a de? standalone wm ftw (openbox user)

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4 Arun January 24, 2009 at 10:12 pm

GNOME is faster and easier to use. I didn’t like KDE 4 initially. It was quite buggy, but they fixed lots of bugs in KDE 4.2 and it’s much more usable. You should give that a try.

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5 Hening January 24, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Like hybrid-kernel says: Small is beautiful. One tool for a task. I personally prefer awesome wm. It doesn’t do much more than managing my windows (plus a toolbars and keyboard shortcuts), but guess what: It does a damn good job in it (in contrast to KDE/Gnome/… it really does manage the windows at all!).

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6 cga January 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm

kde 4 rocks.

i’m surprised that Linus didn’t understand that it’s a young DE and still in progress.

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7 exn January 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Annual аward – ” Linus switcher” ))))

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8 Matt Kukowski January 25, 2009 at 12:03 am

Does no one seem to understand that KDE 4.0 initial release had KNOWN bugs and KNOWN incompatiblities??? It was the distribution channels of Linux (ubuntu, openSuse, Mandriva, Fedora,etc) that decided to replace KDE 3.5 with 4.0. KDE 4.0 was TOLD by all,, that it was a developer release and SHOULD NOT BE USED by non technical End Users. Did the Distros listen? NO!

So, now KDE 4.0 gets a bad rap.

But, have you tried KDE 4.2? It simply ROCKS. Not only looks good, but operates well and the menu systems are all cleaned up and sane. It makes GNOME look like a crayron drawn UI. Im a GNOME USER and have been for years. But, I have been following the KDE drama and following the KDE 4.2 branch for some time.

Also, it is no small deal tht Qt (KDE’s graphics library, owned by Nokia, Formerly Troll Tech) has released Qt under the LGPL, which means you no longer have to worry about pesky commercial licenses, devs can not code to their hearts content.

KDE/Qt is also very corss platform supported.

Just give it alittle time. KDE and GNOME will be head to head if not KDE becoming more poular that GNOME.

Yes, I agree KDE 4.0 got a BAD start, but KDE 4.2 puts that all aside, and rememeber KDE dev team warned us that 4.0 was not ready for primetime anyways!

Why Linus has to make comments and bias towards things, is beyond me. It is like his status as Linux develope lead and creator has really gotten to his head. And what does HE know about GUI and Desktop Envoirments anyways? Linus is a master Kernel level programmmer, not a high level GUI developer. So, his comments are very blunt and uncalled for.

For someone that knows first hand the EMENSE amount of free time and work that goes into FREE software, it blows me away how he slanders his fellow free open source software friends.

Geez!

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9 Mike January 25, 2009 at 5:18 am

I personally believe that Gnome looks much better than KDE4 in terms of widgets. I usually find KDE complicated to use even tough I do a lot of Qt programming. Perhaps KDE is more flexible.

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10 Steve January 25, 2009 at 8:08 am

I was also I big fan of KDE …. 3.5, then when Fedora comes with the buggy KDE 4.0 I was not able to work under KDE. I “switched” to GNOME and … now I think this is the best desktop. Simple and stable and this is what I want.

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11 Jacki January 25, 2009 at 10:39 am

Just yesterday I moved from KDE4 to Gnome. KDE 4 is the worst.

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12 Jacki January 25, 2009 at 10:41 am

I am also surprised what they changed on it is unnecessary and the needy things are not available. Completely bogus !

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13 Peko January 25, 2009 at 11:35 am

Kinda trolling session started there, Vivek ! ;-)
May be a typo in article :
“They did so may changes”
=> many changes ?
BTW, I appreciate Gnome, some useful features:
– Multi-desk
– MenuBars, customizable quickly
– Gnome-commander is fine (could be better such as FreeCommander under MS-Win),
– Standard File manager Nautilus is quite flexible (including using network resources, (ssh, ftp, and so on, even MS-based);
– bunch of system/configuration apps (Gparted, Synaptic, an so on) do their job;
– useful Gnome-applets; /* I like stickynotes */
– Gnome-based connectivity apps are running fine (SIP, chat, etc)
– Browser IceWeasel performs well (not specific to Gnome)

Overall user-friendlyness for the average user is fair,
stability is above average – but sometimes crashes – most of the time related to browser issues, I have to say.

See, the best CD-burner app to me is KDE’s K3B – which runs fine under Gnome ;-) ) – Take the best ! ;-)

Expert users will either customize/code Gnome applets for themselves,
either switch to a simplier and lighter window-manager.

Thanks for your work, Vivek.

Peko, in Paris, France

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14 md January 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

xfce4 hehe

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15 Johan January 25, 2009 at 3:33 pm

What do you get if you cross Gnome with KDE4?
– LXDE! But LXDE inherited a few menu misplacements from who… Anyway, the best from both worlds

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16 Rezaul January 25, 2009 at 4:22 pm

I also found KDE-4.x realy sucks and it is a disaster . I still like KDE-3.5, any top-level linux administrator/manager will say the same. We need clean desktop; not something resemble like win-vista and buggy. Now I use GNOME (on Ubuntu/Fedora). I hope KDE developers will release version with new and clean and classic look of KDE. I will retry then; otherwise I will remain with GNOME.

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17 leamanc January 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Linus is not alone. I was a die-hard KDE supporter for years. But KDE 4 is an absolute disaster, and I did the last thing I would ever thought I would do, and switch to GNOME also.

To those saying that KDE 4 is so new and it was expected to break old functionality and have a few bugs, I say that even if they fixed all the bugs, I just plain don’t like what they’ve done with it. I won’t use it once all the bugs are fixed. I just don’t find it to be a functional or usable desktop environment, period. That they released it as they did–full of bugs–was bad, but I would have forgiven them if they would have brought back some of the 3.5.x functionality.

In my post-KDE Linux use, I’ve looked at some of the other desktop environments, and they all seem to be lacking in features or functionality. I used to bash GNOME, but now I have to eat crow and endorse it. It’s actually come a long way forward, while KDE has slipped behind and all the others have held their ground.

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18 protocol January 25, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I have never liked gnome at all, and I gave up on KDE when it got to 2.0 and went back to e 0.16, and then moved to e 0.17 (enlightenment). KDE just got too bloated and these days I don’t even have QT installed.

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19 bad_sector January 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

enlighten urself!!
e17 simply rox!!
though i use gnome :P

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20 Richard Heck January 25, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Well, I’m with many others. I’m still using KDE 3.5.x under Fedora 8, and I’m loathing the day I have to upgrade—soon, since F8 is EOL. I’ve used KDE 4.1 on my daughter’s machine with F10, and it’s just lame compared to 3.5.x. They went for the eye candy and pretty much neglected the functionality. And the basic desktop is actually sane compared to alot of the other programs, such as Amarok. What a GREAT program that was! But the 2.0 series is almost unusable. So, well, I guess it’s nice I can still compile Amarok 1.4 myself, but it’s hardly sensible to compile KDE 3.5.x myself under F10, is it? Talk about dependency nightmares.

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21 Troy Banther January 26, 2009 at 12:29 am

I am constantly in Red Hat Enterprise Linux so GNOME is very much the world I live in. KDE has never really been my DE of choice but believe it’s a matter of personal computing choice.

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22 Agent Smith January 26, 2009 at 8:14 am

I’ve used KDE 4.0 on my F9 but it has so many bugs.
KDE 4.0 and its versions looks very nice & sharp when you compare with windos vista ,but running it with low RAM (512) made me switch bac to GNOME.
It used hang apps and made me frustrated moreover its memory hungry.
So Gnome is always the best !
Hope the future versions of KDE are bug free………

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23 Dave January 26, 2009 at 11:10 am

Gmome is better than any version of KDE, As Linus said its simple and bug free.

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24 Mathias January 26, 2009 at 11:37 am

I also tried out KDE4.1, but can not use it for productive work. Dolphin crash’s often, Symbols in the task bar are with-backgrounded and so on…
Now I have installed with KDE3.5!

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25 Mathias January 26, 2009 at 11:38 am

…Kubuntu 8.04 (LTS) http://www.kubuntu.org

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26 Taila January 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I’ve always liked to play around both Gnome and KDE even though I was more KDE biased but when KDE 4.0 came out, oh man it was unuseable. The menu is messy and very tricky to navigate. The eye candy is good but if you pick up Ubuntu Ultimate things are so beautiful anyway, now I’m truely a Gnome in my garden. The simplicity and directness of Gnome is just a winner to me, when I tried Mint 5 Elyssa things were just great. You install and start working without wondering where your programs are. I am a serial multibooter and now on all my distros its Gnome.

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27 Zoran Dimovski January 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Well soon will see what GNOME is going to do with the recostruction :) aka GNOME 3
You all GNOME users will just experince what we KDE users are experiencing – CHANGE. Time will tell if GNOME 3 is going to be loved just as you now love GNOME2.

@Rezaul
I have clean KDE4 desktop and I’m an administrator and I like a lot.
Oh and I’m a look’n’feel freak. But my favorite tool/application is Konsole :)

Most people don’t understand that is just a matter of personal choice and yet you still keep talking about things that are just non-sense. In one day KDE 4.2 will be released and at that poing GNOME is going to be far far away behind KDE4 in every point of view. For those who are more adaptive to change should try it and then comment on it.

And BTW the KDE developers DID TOLD that KDE 4.0 is going to be buggy but here you are talking that KDE 4.0 had a lot of bugs :) kind of ironic I’d say.

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28 K. M. Self January 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I’m actually a WindowMaker user, though I tend to like and use KDE apps (I’m browsing through Konqueror at the moment). On Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (8.10), KDE 4.1 remains largely unusable with numerous bugs. Even just running KDE applications there are issues with instability, pop-up warnings, and missing functionality.

Of the mainstream desktops, I dislike GNOME largely for its anti-user attitudes (well, anti-power-user), documented by Googling “Jeff Waugh in his own words, an agony in seven fits”, turning up a linux-elitists discussion of issues, dissembling, and a great deal of abuse from Mr. Waugh and a few others.

KDE 3.5 very nearly met my needs for a desktop. It’s largely configurable with hot-keys for launching applications and window actions possible. Truthfully the appeals of WindowMaker are: it’s fast, light, stable, changes very little (an advantage of a near-moribund project), is asthetically minimally distracting, offers dock apps, pinnable window lists and menus, and allows hotkeys to define my most needed functions: launching rxvt, mutt, root (sudo) sessions, and w3m, and performing window and workspace actions: vertical and maximal maximization, restor, minimization, close, and switching workspaces. No mouse required. Damned convenient.

KDE lacks the pinnable window menus, which, when dealing with several score open apps and windows gets annoying as one must repeatedly open the window list, navigate to the appropriate selection, deal with the window in question (at which point the window list disappears), then re-open the windowlist and re-navigate to a selection. Small gripe but enough to render the environment much less pleasant than WindowMaker.

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29 Mike January 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm

KDE 4 blows. You don’t release an alpha product as a .0 release and blame the distros for using it. Gnome has the best look, but is too heavy, KDE 3.5 was closest to a good quick interface. I understand the desire to out do Gnome in the looks dept. but I personally HATE the direction they went. It’s almost like they went overboard with the eyecandy and forgot about usability. Looks like it’s time for one of the lighter WMs to become a DE and out do both Gnome and KDE.

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30 devati January 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I used to be a KDE fan but after using KDE4, I switched to Gnome.
I am really liking GNOME now.

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31 qq January 27, 2009 at 3:31 am

xfce4, yes.. :-D

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32 George Kharmujai January 27, 2009 at 11:21 am

I’m a GNOME fan, but still there are some KDE apps like Ktorrent, Kasablanca which i used in GNOME and i really feel that KDE consumes more memory as compared to GNOME apps..maybe this is one problem which makes me avoid KDE right from the start.

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33 Miyu January 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I like Linus, but sometimes he makes no sense at all.

If you don’t like something you don’t go to something else that you don’t like. This is Linux and not Windows so there are hundreds of alternatives to Gnome and KDE. I for one will most likely never use Gnome, KDE or XFCE again… and I use Linux desktops with X every day. There are so very many options that are better than any of the three most common alternatives.

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34 Winter January 28, 2009 at 3:13 am

Well, yes the KDE devs said 4.0 would be buggy. Great. How stupid is that? Here is a great new fantastic product that will change computing and the desktop experience. It’s fantastic. It’s the best. Well… mumble… um it’s buggy… You have to remember all the hype they created years earlier. They brought all the whiners and complainers and problems on themselves, and they deserve it. I’ve said this before to them. Would it be better to keep it at 3.9852641 whatever until even a sparse yet bug free 4.0 is ready? Just because they did the same thing with KDE2 to KDE3, and I lived through that one too, does not mean it’s a good idea. Back in those days they didn’t hype it up and worship the works of their hands as much as they did with 4. Or maybe it was some misinformed marketing wannabees. Many more people are using KDE these days. Though, maybe now many more people will understand the KDE dev’s way of handling releases in this awkward fashion and take their glorious claims with 247.29 grams of salt.

Anybody who read the KDE4 websites years before the release will remember.

KDE4.2 is great. The BETAs and RC were great too. I’m sure the official release is great. I’ll have to update my boxes now. Maybe by the time 4.3 comes out I’ll actually use it on my notebook that I use everyday. Right now I don’t trust my data to it. What’s with the mysql databases? Crap, I don’t want to run a mysql server.

XFCE is a great compromise, and Xubuntu is one of the slickest distros.

Oh and, Gnome is really a lot of polish. Some of the underlying stuff is… Well I’ll stop here for now before the gnomes get me.

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35 Winter January 28, 2009 at 3:20 am

@ George Kharmujai

It’s because when you start a KDE app, it loads a bunch of libraries and underlying framework. The app itself is small and fast. If you were to use KDE and then start the KDE app, you’ll see the difference. The reverse is true as well. If I start a Gnome (not just GTK) app, it takes a long time to load and depends on a bunch of libs. So, chose one DE and try to find apps for it. That way you save memory. Mixing DE is IMHO, a bad idea. Many newcomers will flame me for that statement.

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36 Scott Hill January 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I feel the same way, I won’t use gnome however . kde 4 is terrible , but I have no reason to keep upgrading a system that works great , I’ll keep 3.5.9 until something better comes along

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37 Ben2talk January 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I don’t like widgets, I like Conky

What’s good about widgets? With conky, I get time/date, networking, graphed up/download speeds, top cpu/ram lists, listed partitions/percent full graphs – and it’s very very light on resources too.

I didnt see any interesting widgets – after playing with the clock in Vista for ten minutes, it just got covered by windows, and then deleted because it’s not really useful anyway.

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38 Arkasai February 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm

IceWM anyone? I’ve got some friends who insist its the greatest WM of all time. I personally like my KDE 3.5

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39 David February 16, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I’m with Linus – very much so. Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSuse all chose to use the “development” KDE 4.0 which broke everything.

I’m staying with KDE 3.5 on my Kubuntu system and going with WindowMaker on Fedora. Both are much more usable than KDE 4.0 – or 4.1 – which many distributions have pushed out although the KDE team says that 4.2 is only ready for beta testing.

I’m with Linus.

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40 zogoro May 13, 2009 at 8:06 pm

i just switched from my nice kde3.5.10 kde (sid under
2.28.8) to kde4.2, and i must say this was a mistake.
Everything has to be investigated, nothing seems to work,
bugs and freezes, lots of apps simply refuse to work

I’l try again next year. Always happy to test and give backups,
but this is way too loosy, and i hate this vista like general
philosophy…

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41 Ilya August 5, 2009 at 3:43 am

I used KDE3 for years and loved it. Now I have no choice other than to switch to Gnome, although I think KDE3 is better.

I will never use KDE4 even if they fix all their bugs.

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42 Bob August 31, 2009 at 12:28 am

Wouldn’t be a problem if Linux users & programmers weren’t soo sloppy. I have seen many open source programs but Linux is the only open os that I have seen that is extra half-assed….

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43 Suresh September 15, 2009 at 10:10 am

Just switched to kde 4.3.1 and it is perfect for me.

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44 Bruce Blacklaws October 19, 2009 at 4:44 am

I’m a Xfce guy. KDE/Gnome have never done it for me.

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45 Olivier November 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Who cares what Linus thinks or does ? One more time, he just makes a fool of himself.
If he doesn’t like something, why doesn’t he just codes one like he did with git ?

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46 Ilya November 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Yes, he could just fork kde3 and with his name as a brand all distros would include it. He also could declare KDE3 “official” desktop for Linux and so on. Nobody would ignore such step.

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47 Matt Kukowski January 20, 2010 at 9:20 am

I think the reason GNOME is getting so big is because of all the major corporate backers. Canonical, Redhat, etc.

Im going to install Xubuntu now… bye bye.

BTW I use GNOME primarily.

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48 M.S. Babaei September 22, 2010 at 10:38 am

another +1 for xfce4. can’t live without that! it simply RoCKS!

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