Debunking GNOME 3.0 Myths

Change is hard. People go through six predictable stages as they adjust to change, which I learned at a former company. From

People react, respond and adjust to change in a sequence of six predictable stages. The Change Cycle model identifies the thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with each stage of change.

  1. Loss
  2. Doubt
  3. Discomfort
  4. Discovery
  5. Understanding
  6. Integration

With GNOME 3.0 coming out later this year, there is certain to be fear, uncertainty and doubt associated with the changes in GNOME’s user interface and applications.

Diego had an awesome idea that we should start a PR campaign and / or meme to start debunking this myths. It’s best to get out ahead of these things, and with that I give you: Debunking GNOME 3.0 Myths.

Please consider this page just a stub at the moment, but if you have heard of any misconceptions around GNOME 3.0 or you’re a developer on a project and have an idea or myth to debunk, please add it! It will take all of us through the year to keep this page up to date and help our users and journalists informed of what the changes in the GNOME experience entail.

Thanks in advance!


  1. What about that the Gnome team couldn’t get their stuff together for GNOME 3 to depend on Gtk+ 3? So when Gtk+ 3 is released it will have problems updating to it.

    That the users that don’t have OpenGL can’t even use the new GNOME shell just because there is no fallback.

  2. I have no doubt that any computer built in the last 5 years will be powerful enough. But will the open source graphics card drivers be good enough?

  3. I’m also concerned with the video card issue. Isn’t the answer to #1 a bit misleading, if gnome-shell won’t work with many drivers (even ones with GLX available)? I’m thinking mga and nouveau especially.

    Also, the no GLX/no Composite and no fallback is a pretty serious issue for people using remote logins. NX in particular doesn’t support Composite, and I have no idea whether its GLX is actually usable or not.

  4. Well unfortunately it seems this laptop was built 6 years ago and it has a radeon mobility 7500 which is definitely not powerful enough to run it (but it can run some 3D games fine like openarena…)

    I hope graphical drivers will improve before GNOME3 is released, but I’m not sure what is the issue, maybe that I only have 768MB RAM (but many netbooks have only 512)

    I would feel like lying by distributing this page while I can’t run it…

  5. As already pointed out, the item about graphics card is at best misleading, at worst an outright lie.

    Given the state of graphics driver in the Linux kernel, with countless critical bugs and regressions, it is definitely not an option *at all* to ship the GNOME shell by default.

  6. The GNOME3 shell is also completely ugly anyways. And rumours of the gnome-panel from 2 is being removed (maybe just deprecated). If it is removed and users can’t use GNOME shell from 3 are screwed.

    What is with the GNOME developers with the lack of innovation and what not. Just a new shell, some deprecation of functions, a few new features and it gets a major version bump?

    Looks as though the GNOME developers wanna lose it’s customers.

  7. Here’s a few (true or not) you may want to address:

    1. Most users only use ONE desktop. Why is Gnome Shell focused on multiple desktops? (do a youtube search on gnome shell and you’ll see what I mean)

    2. Gnome Shell is inefficient compared to the current desktop.

    3. There are more features of Gnome Shell that take away from the current desktop than add.

  8. I’ve been given the impression that it’ll require Mono … FUD or true?

  9. 1. Loss

    “Will there be a replacement for my favorite panel applet?”

  10. I’m not really liking how the whole Gnome 3.0/Gnome Shell thing is shaping up. I’ve been using Gnome since 1.x and I’ve always felt that the direction things were headed were good. I like Nautilus Spatial Mode. I like Compiz/Emerald/Cube Rotation/Multiple-Desktops. The Gnome Shell thing is starting to sound more and more like a solution in search of a problem. I truly hope that Gnome 3.x is not the first Gnome I will not want to use.

  11. I really wouldn’t call that debunking myths. Putting up a web page saying you can stay with Gnome 2.x is hardly dealing with the Gnome 3 myths, which naturally centre around gnome-shell given that is really the only change between 2.x and 3. In fact, your attempt is making me really wonder about Gnome 3 if the solution to everything is simply to revert back to Gnome 2.x!

  12. Funny. I’ve been thinking about writing an article called: “GNOME 3: get ready for the backlash”.
    Can you run gnome-panel applets and GNOME Shell at the same time? If not, there will be a backlash, I can almost guarantee it.

  13. Hi Paul,
    Here in Brazil, the government has a project called “Computador para todos” to reduce taxes for popular computers.
    There are a lot of these computers in Brazil because of the low price and they come with SIS chipset. As we know, SIS drivers for Linux don’t work with 3D effects.
    So, no GNOME 3 for many and many users.

  14. Pascal: Radeon 7500 can run it, because 7000 VE can. Just use ‘radeon’ free 3D driver.

    Np237: Yeah, also there is a reason why desktop effects are disabled by default (yes, it’s irony). Get over it. Some computers will have hard time to use GNOME Shell. So what? Some has hard time to use Vista or W7. That is how desktops envolve.

    Chris: guest what, even now you can replace gnome-panel with awn or gnome-shell. While someone will be interested to support gnome-panel, it WILL be supported. It won’t be dropped. It is actually written in wiki page linked by Paul. No one in his outright mind supports dropping gnome-panel immediately and no one plans to do so. Again, while there will be user/financial initiative to keep panel alive, it will be.

    Anon: Mono requirement is clearly a FUD.

    Gerald: I have my reservations too, that’s why I really like option that Lucid will be LTS with best GNOME 2.x on the board. However, I tested Gnome Shell quite recently and I shall say that there is nothing to fear of. Maybe it looks very self-serving, but in overall, Gnome Shell design starts to make sense using it for some time. It is not some designer’s pipe dream, it is real thing. And as I said, as long someone supports g-p un metacity, there is very little to worry about. Replace gnome-shell with them and go.

  15. Pēteris: I use radeon 3d driver (I don’t think there would be any other one supporting this card) and I guarantee you that it’s not usable at all. It’s not just slow, it’s really impossible to use it

  16. I think the Mono one could use some re-wording, if you don’t want to start a fuss. Saying “Yes, but that’s no news” suggests that Mono is now a dependency for running core-Gnome, which it’s not. As you go on to say, just one, optional, application depends on it.

  17. I’ve been playing with gnome-shell on and of over the weekend some features are really good some not so. The same how ever is true of every other desktop and OS.

    I think a lot of the bit’s that are functioning as you expect currently are beginning to get worked on.

    I think of gnome-shell as I do empathy it is an application that got some traction, the minute that happen it shot forward and upwards with massive improvements in every release. All credit due to the whole gnome team on the work you’ve done.

    P.s. gnome-shell needs some new screencasts to show off it’s new features and improvements.

  18. The graphics issue seems like a big one to me. I actually like gnome-shell so much I’d like it to be my default desktop, but I can’t get it working on my Desktop due to graphics issues. Supposedly everything is supported, but I can’t get the GL extensions loading.

    The point isn’t that you should help me debug my laptop… the point is that 3D graphics is a royal pain on linux. What’s particularly frustrating is that all of the core functionality I like so much does *not* rely on fancy graphics — I’d be happy to use the shell without any animations and without live window updates. It seems like without some kind of fallback 2D mode, the shell has a major problem (and I know that the panel would be a fallback, but that’s not a GNOME3 fallback–it’s an entirely different user experience).

  19. the “debunking” is pretty much bogus, yeah, the panel may remain installable in some distros, but without any improvements, probably no bugfixex either, it will be pretty much dead.

  20. The wiki article sounds like the writer is angry at the user because of his misconceptions. You may want to try to make it sound more positive. Instead of defending yourself against the users lies, understand that the users have legitimate fears. Acknowledge the legitimacy of these fears while pointing out there is no need to be afraid, otherwise the statements come across as disrespectful ranting and the target audience will not believe the claims made.

    Also try to make sure to emphasize the new cool way things work and look, the new things you can do with it, instead of what was lost and what can no longer be done (even if there aren’t even things that can’t be done anymore!).

  21. GNOME 3 is also a non-starter for the many institutions that have large GNOME installations in the form of thin clients, such as Sun Rays, that don’t support 3D graphics.

  22. Here are my fears for gnome 3:

    I don’t want to move my panel to the top of the screen.
    I don’t want to be zoomed out ever.
    I don’t understand how I can organize my documents apart from categories or hierarchies.

  23. I hate ALL modern desktops, every one of them… I don’t want 3D, animated windows, effects, tab bars, folded menus or any other graphical crap. All I want is something fast and efficient. I’m only 38 but I feel so very very old, as a non games player am I the last man standing who thinks the direction of all modern destops seems to suck….

    Why doesnt linux work on a way of configuring all layers of itself via a GUI with some consistency, you know like widnows 95 had rather than waste time trying to fade my window in and out……. SUSE, fedora, redhat etc. I can fail to get my services and LAN properly configured on any of them from the desktop. Probably why I spend so much time in a shell.

    What about the poor state of multi-monitor support in, still takes me many hours and google searches to get not quite working dual head on most cards. Linux is an eternal 3rd rate Beta in some respects, not helped by the shallow under 30s obsessions with coding the unimportant so everything can look like some crap game engine.

  24. In the case of change like the Deskbar Applet, The Change Cycle changes:

    5. Rejection
    6. Obsoleted

    There now are two applets that implement the former state.

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