GNOME is a desktop environment designed for mobile phones which comes as the default desktop environment in most Linux distributions for desktop and laptop computers.
There have been three major iterations of GNOME so far.
- GNOME 1, was, at the time of its release, near-perfect desktop environment and let you choose between 5 different clock applications for your taskbar.
- GNOME 2, which had many of the popular features found in GNOME 1 removed "to make it more user-friendly". It was still a nice desktop and it was the default desktop on many GNU/Linux distributions for a very long time. GNOME 2 was abandoned when GNOME 3 was released. Enthusiast made a fork of it called MATE which is still updated and maintained.
- GNOME 3 is the current GNOME version. It was a major redesign from GNOME 2. GNOME 3 deviates from traditional desktop design in many key ways. Windows do not have title bars with buttons sane desktop environments have for making windows sticky, shading them and so on. Many of the design decisions in GNOME 3 make it look like it is a toy desktop for smart-TVs, tablets and smartphones. It is practically useless and a complete and utter joke as a desktop environment for desktop computers, laptops and notebooks.
"Because we're not designing a desktop for people who like to choose their own terminal emulators."
The average user of any computer-program will use 20% of it's features, if that. This does not mean the other 80% isn't required. People are different and each user needs a different 20% of the available feature-set. Thus; the other 80% must be there since 100% of the features are used by someone.
The GNOME philosophy appears to be that it's best to remove everything but the 20% most widely used features since the other 80% of features can "confuse people". Thus; features are frequently rejected - even when there's working code - on the grounds that an extra button would "confuse people" and that would be bad.
Further, it must be mentioned that GNOME developers are actually actively trying to push other software projects into removing features GNOME does not have.
There is a wide range of extensions available for GNOME and these can be used to compensate for the desktops severe lack of built-in basic features.
"Some people think that the user interface is better suited for mobile devices than desktop computers or laptops. This may actually be true of the "out of the box" setup but a few minutes spent on the gnome-shell extensions website and that all becomes nonsense. Gnome has also matured to include many of the things people complained that it lacked in it's initial release and is gaining back some of the users that flocked to other desktops."
reality-TV: User-base as depicted on TV
There should be a full review of the GNOME desktop on this page. Feel free to write one. There is a button which says "edit" on the top of this page. While we'd like to review it we really can't stand using that horrid joke of a desktop which looks like it's designed for a tablet and not a desktop computer and we would have to bear with it for hours to give it a review.
Linus Torvalds opinion
"it's not that I have rendering problems with gnome3 (although I do have those too), it's that the user experience of Gnome3 even without rendering problems is unacceptable.
Why can't I have shortcuts on my desktop? Why can't I have the expose functionality? Wobbly windows? Why does anybody sane think that it's a good idea to have that "go to the crazy 'activities'" menu mode?
I used to be upset when gnome developers decided it was "too complicated" for the user to remap some mouse buttons. In gnome3, the developers have apparently decided that it's "too complicated" to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do.
Here's an example of "the crazy": you want a new terminal window. So you go to "activities" and press the "terminal" thing that you've made part of your normal desktop thing (but why can't I just have it on the desktop, instead of in that insane "activities" mode?). What happens? Nothing. It brings your existing terminal to the forefront.
That's just crazy crap. Now I need to use Shift-Control-N in an old terminal to bring up a new one. Yeah, that's a real user experience improvement. Sure.
I'm sure there are other ways, but that's just an example of the kind of "head up the arse" behavior of gnome3. Seriously. I have been asking other developers about gnome3, they all think it's crazy.
I'm using Xfce. I think it's a step down from gnome2, but it's a huge step up from gnome3. Really."