Which Desktop Environment do you like and why?

Well most distro's are using Gnome, including Zorin, Pop! OS, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse and so many more. If Gnome is that bad, why would all those distro's make use of it ?

Personally it works for me out of the box and i am not missing much compared to windows (oke, the double click on the file to rename and to use the mouse anywhere to save)

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You may notice a lot of people posting in anticipation of Zorin OS Lite. Yet, in spite of the number of Zorin OS Lite users, we see about 8% of posts on the forum resolving Zorin OS Lite (XFCE) issues. The other 90 to 92% are all Gnome.

All those distros make use of many desktops. You can look and see that they offer Gnome, XFCE, Cinnamon... Some offer Budgie instead of Gnome. But while this does appear on the surface as a fallacy of argumentum ad populum, it does raise a really interesting question.

I think that the answer is that Gnome is the biggest group of D.E. developers and that offers

  • high probability of long lasting support
  • better chance of long term development
  • well established popularity. Like MS, Gnome has been there since the beginning. Even though it has changed a great deal over the years, the impression of it has not. Like DeWalt riding on quality products of a by-gone era, people associate it for what it was, not what it has become.
  • Limits on Control. This is bigger... as Devs really do prefer the user to have less control over their system. This limits how many complaints, bug reports or fixes need addressing. This is a constant case of tug and pull between user and developer and Gnome has adopted the more Apple or Microsoft stance. By removing so many features and functions from Gnome, Gnome has removed those problems of users wanting features fixed, patched or enhanced.

Gnome 40 has rattled even the most die-hard of distro dev's, though. There is far greater talk, now, of dropping Gnome, as the direction Gnome is heading in is frightening more and more Devs.

I am not trying to make other people hate Gnome or suggest all must agree with my poreferences but rather, to encourage all users to Support FOSS and defend it from Gnome, even if they do like Gnome Desktop. Help Gnome get back to its roots.
Keep Linux diverse and enjoyable for us all, instead of Gnome Microsofting it and taking over, making it One D.E. to rule them all.


I must ask: is it me not understanding it- or Gnome?
Because Gnomes answer is to "remove" it.



Warning - Language:

Gnome 40 Removes the Toolbar. In addition to a large number of other functions.
Not just from Gnome, mind you, but from the GnuToolKit itself, undercutting all other Desktop Environments, and turning them into Gnome-Clones. It removes that diversity and user choice, to keep their tools in reach and easy to access.
If Gnome doesn't want the steppers and the scrollbar - fine. If Gnome users are fine with it - also fine. But why is that removal of essential WorkStation features being denied to ALL Desktops?


In regards to computing, I think what I said stands. I cannot find much in Gnome and users often post threads here citing the same problem. This is also true on Android- another minimalist interface. How often do users need to search up help just to change out basic design elements or configure it the way they want? Even the most basic settings can elude you.
Where do you look to find them?


In fairness, I am referencing how others say that they "like Gnome due to their Minimalist design". But you are correct, it appears, that I seem to be misunderstanding the meaning of "minimalism" and how it is applied here.

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I've always liked icons on the desktop - so simple and direct.
Minimalistic as far as I am concerned - tools to hand just like in that garage layout above.
Cinnamon gives me this. Plasma and Gnome not (Gnome used to and I liked it then)

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Cinnamon or KDE. I despise Gnome and it just keeps getting worse and worse. It's a patch on top of a patch. And yes I know the old line of you can add extensions ( if they actually still work), but why to do the most basic of customizations.

Pretty much everything else everyone said about the issues with Gnome I faced/face. IMO, Zorin would do well to ditch it along with GDM and go with Cinnamon.


This can be bypassed, put all the shortcuts to /home/desktop/


Good explanation.

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Tom, given how you described it...
It sounds less like Principles and more like Opinion. You have to really know the code to know what to cut, without removing functionality - or at least impacting it.
Let's start with definitions. In modern use, what does the word 'hacker' mean?
By definition, a hacker is a programmer, hacking away at code. (Perhaps guided by minimalism?) In modern use, the word means a Cracker, that cracks code and gains unauthorized entry.
In Modern use, people say "theory" when they mean "hypothesis."
A theory is tested and shown to be an accurate model of reality.
The misuse of words can be frustrating. I appreciate you fixing the record.

Let's go back to the Penske Garage example you used.
How does the hacker determine what is gratuitous?
In the garage image above, every hand tool undoubtedly has a place in a toolbox. This is fine and if that works for people; it should exist as a design.
It does not, however, work for me. In my shop I have a rule: Use a tool, put it back. You do not want tools scattered all over the place and be unsure of where they are. You do not want to waste time searching for a tool. You want it to be in a logical place, always in its place and easy access so you can use it and move on with the job.
To me, I prefer tools hanging on the wall - easy reach, easy to see and easy to access. In a Penske garage where some may be sloppy or may be thieves, perhaps that would not work and they prefer Lockable Toolboxes. In my shop, I use cameras and other means. I have most tools not in locked away toolboxes.
And that is fine - and it should exist as a design. It works well and is conducive to a fast paced work environment.

Where does the designer draw the line? Look at the Penske garage example you gave above: We see clearly, Negative Space being applied in a way that could be changed. An entire spot that could fit a car is instead, holding much smaller toolboxes.
When a designer decides that needs to be fixed, does this disrupt independent garage utilization? In that image, we see Decorations being used.
And this is important. This is VERY important.

If you favor that, that is fine. And currently, what I may favor, which may be different, is not being forced upon you.
I favor Work Productivity by a design that lends excitement to the work. That inspires you, rather than be flat, dull or monochromatic.
When you walk into my shop, you should feel your heart-rate increase, your eyes should widen. You should not only be able to productively work - but feel thrilled to do so.
A couple months ago, a cop stopped by the shop and when he walked in, he just stood there for a moment, then said, "That is the best tool layout I have ever seen."
Which leads us back to the very important part:

We are not discussing "Principles of Minimalism." Or even garages.
We are discussing Linux Desktop and the differences between options. And their death.
One of the D.E.'s is not like the others. Gnome holds the Keys to the Gnu ToolKit toolbox.
And they are changing the toolbox.
These are not just work production machines in a sweatshop. These are personal Computers in peoples homes.
These are Peoples Own Computers.

Everything you described above sounds like Gnome. You say it is not about removing Functionality. But it is. By your own definition in two key places:

Gnome deliberately removes functionality in order to Inhibit personal theming and design and they admit this publicly. Adwaita is Locked in and Locked Down and moreso on gtk4.

It is easily abused as a guide and flawed in its principle of treating personal machines as one unified workstation.
You may favor it. That is fine and I would as eagerly defend you protecting that design and principle.
However, I expect the same from you.
To eagerly defend our personal computers from being forced into what Gnome Favors for the purpose of appeasing Gnomes own wants.
Gnomes Minimalist Approach favors flat UI and Monochrome backgrounds because it favors Protecting the "look and feel" of Gnome, making it recognizable and protecting Gnomes Brand Image. This is not an assumption, this is straight out of the Gnome Devs mouths. And straight out of the "Reductionism" in the GTK (toolkit).

You can Like Gnome. You can prefer ts design. You can use it daily.
All I ask, is that you all be aware of what Gnome is doing that forces Gnomes "Vision" on us all. How would you like it if a desktop I prefer - changed yours? Would that seem right to you?
What if it cut yours down?
Inhibited your ability to set your desktop or workstation up to operate in the manner you need or want it to be?
What if I did not care that the desktop I prefer was doing this?

This is Anti-FOSS. This is opposed to the spirit of the Linux Desktop. This is the proprietary control we left MacOS and Microsoft to avoid, only to have it shoved at us by Gnome. Incrementally. Justified in all the same ways that Mac and MS did it.
You can have Flat. Monochrome. Bland. Dull. Tools hidden away. IF you want that. Just please do not stand by while it is Forced Upon The Rest Of Us. Or lend support to those who are forcing it on everyone. Because we do not force skeuomorphism on you.

If anything, the above shows we do not have an exact definition of absolutes as to what Minimalism means. But I do know what most people mean when they use it. Like Theory instead of Hypothesis. Like Hacker instead of Cracker.


You keep repeating what Minimalism means. By a strict definition in design theory? Fine.

Irrelevant to this threads topic.


How the word has been used in describing Linux Desktop Environments is what is relevant here.
I appreciate that you are educating us all about what Minimalism means as design theory in computing.

We can argue semantics of a metric ton of words misused in daily speech. Like "theory" and like "hacker" and like a large number of other words. It makes no difference to the meaning in the topic.
This topic is about Linux Desktop Environments and What D.E.s we like and why we like them. Others cited Gnome as "Minimalist."
I am addressing that.
If you refer to "Minimal" as a Principle in Design Theory and another users uses "Minimal" to refer to Gnomes reduction of the UI and I address that user in regards to Gnome and I say, "It is not a good thing, when that reductionism is being applied in the Gnu ToolKit, affecting all non-Gnome Users" - this is not me confusing the issues. That is you confusing the issue by throwing in an irrelevant direction and definition.

Perhaps that you stepped in to educate us all in what "minimalism" actually means in Programming Design theory, it may help users to not misuse the word in describing certain elements of Gnome. But the topic here still remains "Desktop Environments" and accusing others of not understanding it is not going to help propel the topic forward.


This discussion is fascinating for me and interested to see the different views.

I'm agnostic about Gnome and admit that, at this stage, I'm just a user. On one hand, the Linux desktop has really seemed to come together over recent years, even if I'm not a fan of the Android style look and behaviour. On the other, I dislike being "forced to do things" and I were developing with Gnome, only to have all my efforts "deprecated" as a result of some new UI ideology, I would be very upset.

As it stands now, I think it would be entirely healthy to have viable Gnome alternatives and I would think nothing of switching in the future if, at some point, I became suitably dissatisfied with Gnome.

@Aravisian, you linked to an article about how Gnome prevents theming which was interesting. Now, there is a post in the comment section which I also found interesting:


I am not a Gnome developer. I was not at GUADEC in 2019 and I knew about the direction Gnome was taking, so Budgie certainly should have known by now (there bread and butter). System 76 was supposedly at the meeting!

In 2019, at GUADEC, there was a discussion between Gnome, Elementary, Ubuntu, System 76 and others about Adwaita, theming, color api, Dark and Contrast api, etc. This discussion in 2019 is what lead to the current development and design of libadwaita. After GUADEC, everyone went their separate ways. Everyone at the meeting who cared about theming were to contribute towards a theme api. At minimum to start the ball rolling, all Ubuntu, Budgie or System 76 needed to to do is produce a list of things they needed that were missing from libadwaita. No one who “needed” theming support did anything, so nothing got done.

Within this time Elementary and Gnome (who were both at the meeting) have worked together on a color api and Dark mode api. So it is rather clear that Gnome was serious about the direction of libadwaita discussed in 2019. What we have here, is a group of payed developers waiting until the 11 hour, and whine that Gnome will not do all the work for them.

I understand that Gnome has a history. But this time, this is not Gnome being a ****, this is Budige dropping the ball and crying about it. This is a group of payed developers being told well in advance what Gnome is going to do, and what Budgie et all need to do to get theming support in libadwaita started and doing nothing. So the theming api got stalled. Now Ubuntu, System 76 and Budgie are scrambling because they could not even be bothered to do the bare minimum two years ago.

We might see theming support, but it is now going to be a lot more work to get it into Gnome 42.

Also, I would take anything Budgie or Solus have to say on this matter. If I remember correctly, they were abandoning GTK for QT a few years ago.

Do you have a take on this? Why is this poster wrong?


You can tell immediately by the name what is going on here. "libadwaita."
Adwaita is the default theme for Gnome. By definition, it is: a library of GNOME-specific UI patterns. Essentially, this locks theming to Libadwaita, deferring all applications to use the Gnome Theme, regardless of the users theme and regardless of the Desktop environment and... regardless of the app developers design. It is Gnome taking control - of non-Gnome users and developers. This is In addition to Gnomes release of gtk4 also removing a large number of Classes for widget (application) functions, like toolbars, steppers, min/max titlebuttons and so forth. It prevents other developers from being able to code in the application specific widgets.

What spifmeister was saying... Is that all developers, all desktop environment developers must seek permission and Sign-Off from Gnome in order to use a cascading stylesheet on their own products. This statement may not seem to be very heavy... But it will gain a lot of weight when you navigate to /usr/share/ and start looking through Program Directories for apps- the vast majority of them contain a cascading stylesheet in order to ensure the application operates the way they want it to do.
Like CSD, this move by gtk.Gnome dumps all Gnomes problems onto all other developers; except this one adds the further injury of demanding all other developers get permission from Gnome to style their app properly. It's utter madness. There is No Reason Solus, System76 or anyone else should pander to such an outrageous demand.

In the words of Admiral Akbar: It's a trap.

  • This very Microsoft style move excludes a large number of developers that lack the resources to approach Gnome like Oliver Twist and beg.
  • Gnome is not small, like Zorin OS, but it is not big enough to manage enough developers to handle the large number of requests for inclusion to libadwaita (Gnome named). simply put, all Gnome needs to do is let the air cool a bit, then claim that they lack the development to handle all the requests so set them as "won't fix." They do this on a large number of bugs in Totem, software store, gtk and numerous Gnome Applications already - and system76 and Solus know this very well. There is no sense in falling for the trap and getting down on bended knee to Gnome begging for inclusion because you won't get it but you will enable their efforts. It makes more sense to organize resistance to Gnomes hostile takeover.
  • With Trap laid out, now all Gnome or supporters of Gnome need to do is the same thing Microsoft, Mac and gnome all have been doing: Dump their problem onto someone else's desk, then claim that the dumpee is at fault for not solving the problem sitting on their desk. Gnome is taking control of everyone else and now only needs to claim that the problem is that the others refused to accept and kowtow to Gnomes Control.
  • This move limits Independent distros. By locking in Adwaita, many distros that did not or could not get the sign-Off cannot create a Distro Specific Theme for their desktop. Much like how Zorin OS themes give Zorin that distinctive look.

It is interesting that you bring up themes.
As a person who makes themes, I use gtk3 .css to make them.
An approach to doing this is to clump all classes that use the same property together - a form of the type of Minimalism that Tomscharbach referred to above. This way, you are not repeating the same property needlessly by having those classes separated out. This act does not remove functionality, break anything or affect the user. It only reduces the number of lines in the .css file.
Some might call this the right way to do it. Some may call it a better way.
It is a good way to do it.

I do not do it that way.
I separate the classes out, even if it means repeating the same property several times.
The reason I do it this way is because I wish to inspire others to use my .css as a template, that they can customize and make their own themes. Starting out and learning .css, this is much easier to do if the classes are separated out and easily identifiable and searchable. Sometimes, you are not sure which class you need. By having it separate, you can change that one class value, and then see the effect, without having 25 other classes all show that effect, too.
This, too, is not the Right way. Or a Better way. But it is applicable to what I aim to achieve.
It is a good way to do it.

Interestingly... though I have not talked to ZorinGroup about this; I have noticed that Zorins format their .css in much the same way that I do.


Thank you for the reply. I am interested because I am going to develop apps for Linux and the choice of framework is going to be important. My focus is desktop and, while mobile is important, to me that is a separate use case and I don't like the enforced convergence.

So, as a developer, the loss of valid and necessary widgets such as toolbars would, indeed, really upset me.

OK, I would need to have more of an insight into that. But, if what you say is the way things are, then I would be with you. No one should need "permission" to develop with open source software.

More, philosophically, every noble endeavour starts out as a good cause, becomes a money making enterprise and ends up a racket -- before it is brought down by all those it has excluded. I like noble endeavours, I can tolerate money making enterprise, but I despise rackets. I accept that this is the way of things, and I'm now looking toward grassroot endeavours where life is worth living.

I'm possibly in a different layer in terms of the stack than you. I'm currently trying out different app frameworks to see which one I am going to use. I'm actually experienced with Qt, but have only ever used it for Windows apps. I have my concerns about the behaviour of the Qt company though, namely how they present Qt as a commercial product that you must register to use. Nevertheless, I'm going to port a little app of mine written with Qt next.

wxWidgets would be another possibility, and I have used it a little.

Do you have any thoughts for C++ GUI frameworks for Linux?

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I like the prominent ad for "Lite" in that photo. Was that reference to ZorinOS Lite? :smiley:

They are already lost in Gnome 40/ GTK4. This affects not just Gnome, but all desktop environments that use GTK.

As an app developer, QT may be the way to go - as QT developed apps can easily be adapted to work on Windows, as well. This does not "solve" the problem, but it does avoid Gnomes restrictions and also avoids pandering to Gnome.

Exactly. This is one of many reasons I say Gnome is anti-FOSS.

Here is Canonical and System76 attempting to get work with Gnome to fix:

As you can plainly read, any claim that System 76 and canonical did nothing is false.

That said, do not sympathize with Canonical too much- They are a major stakeholder for Gnome.

Adrien Plazas:
That being said, we may offer a way for application developers to opt out of Adwaita and use the GTK theme. It's still undecided, we have to consider the pros and cons.

Dangle that Carrot. Talk about being obvious... He admits that they might fix it, if it is shown that they cannot yet effectively get away with what they are doing.

I agree completely. But as with Browsers, we are presented with the illusion of options while the actual options are very limited.

Entirely viable, but you also run into similar problems if your C++ application uses a GUI. Many existing C++ applications like Winamp, Mozilla Firefox and others still rely heavily on their own stylesheets.


Qt it is then.

I'll have a little app (an Asteroids inspired game) to port shortly.


GNOME 40. There's a lot you can do with it and the brothers Zorin have taken that ball and ran all the way to the end zone. Zorin OS 16 Pro is arguably the best, fastest, and most polished distribution on the planet.


Zorin 16 uses Gnome 3.38, not Gnome 40.

Gnome 40 has some improvements in certain areas and even a few added features, but not enough added features to offset the large number of features that have been quietly removed.
The reason Zorin 16 has such a more workable Gnome is indeed because ZorinGroup patched in a lot of extensions to make Gnome 3.38 usable and able to do a lot with it.


How did I mess that up? :thinking: