Thoughts on GNOME 3: Pretty, but “meh”

MacBook, coffee mug, and cactus

Last updated on December 10th, 2021

Earlier this evening, I gave GNOME 3, via OpenSUSE, a try, to see what it’s actually like to use.


  • Nice eye candy with the new transitions features.


  • The new way of handling workspaces dynamically seems OK, though not initially obvious on how to use.


  • This user didn’t find GNOME 3 as intuitive as GNOME 2. Too many functions seemed hidden or shifted around.
  • The lack of minimize and maximize buttons, a feature of most GUIs for the past 20+ years. Double-clicking the title bar to maximize/minimize like on Windows does work, as does the Windows 7-like “Aero Snap” feature. On the distro I tried at least, there’s nothing (no FAQ file, no video file showing off features, etc.) indicating to less-savvy users what happened to the maximize/minimize buttons, or that Aero Snap is available as an alternative.
  • GNOME 3’s Dock is, well, a dock.
  • No windowshading feature…
  • As the Ars Technica article noted, a *lot* of customization aspects really have been stripped, from what I can tell.
  • Inconsistent looking icons for the “all applications” view. Some programs featured sharp looking large-sized icons, while others look like they just blew a smaller icon up to a larger, pixilated size.
  • Using GNOME 3 required a lot more mouse movements than in previous versions.

I tried to review Ubuntu 11.04’s beta, but it failed to even load on my laptop, instead dumping me into a recovery terminal. I suppose I can install Unity on my current 10.10 setup and test it out that way. Still, I’d have to say I find GNOME 3 a big disappointment, and not something I want to use or “get used to.” Unless Unity impresses me, it looks like I’ll be moving to XFCE (though not sure which one, Linux Mint XFCE or Xubuntu)…

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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