The future of Gnome 2

Following forum [1], IRC and mailing list reading, I wanted to clarify Gnome team position on what will happen now that Gnome 3.8 has moved to stable.

Gnome 2 is going to be removed.

I think it cannot be more clear and there are multiple reasons for that. Let’s write a bit about those so people do not try to invent conspiracy theories:

  • Gnome 2 is not maintained anymore, nothing will make this fact go away.
  • the team is understaffed, many of our talented contributors are too busy with real life or simply quit the (Gentoo) project.
  • Bug reports are still flowing for Gnome 2 but none of us in the team are running it anymore because we do not have the extent of time needed for that.

So, yes, Gnome 3 does not suit everyone’s tastes, but most of us still love it, yes, it depends on systemd and most of us would rather keep our good ol’ openrc that did the work just fine but Gnome 2 is going away and nothing will change that.

What we recommend to people who loved Gnome 2 is to switch to alternatives like XFCE, MATE or Cinnamon because there is no point in living in the past.


13 thoughts on “The future of Gnome 2”

  1. As someone who thinks GNOME 2 was/is the best desktop environment ever, thank you. GNOME 2 is dead, no matter how hard we wish it wasn’t, and GNOME 3 is the future and the present for the GNOME project.

    Having said that, MATE desktop is great. Are there any plans to bring it to the main Portage tree?

    1. I know of one Gentoo dev working on the mate overlay but he is pretty busy and there is little chance he would like to move it to the portage tree if he is the only one working on it. I think he would be more than happy to get more hands on the ebuilds.

      1. Absolutely I would like to get it in the tree, but definitely need more than just me (and infirit!) working on it. Need more people to try it out, and report any bugs. I’m hopeful that it will go in soon, but for the moment, it needs more testing. is the overlay’s url if anyone is interested in trying it out.

  2. Why are people so into mate?

    Did nobody learn from Trinity?

    A bounch of people can not replace the work of +100 Developers, especially if _none_ of them is expert in what they do.

    All High-Class and leading GNOME-Developer/Experts are working on GNOME3.

    There havent been any improvement to MATE yet, it only gets fixed and fixed and fixed to barely run and it will get more and more impossible to run it.

    Especially as Gentoo seems to be the last and only distribution not using systemd which will change in the future for sure.

    Im looking forward to the day where systemd replaces OpenRC finally in Gentoo, the day i will have no longer crashing samba daemons at boot *yay*

    1. Your reply makes no sense at all. Are you saying that Gnome3 doesn’t get fixed? There are no bugs in it?

      Open source is about scratching an itch, and it’s up to each developer to scratch that itch. MATE developers have been doing more than just fixing and fixing (although considering that these fixes are to GNOME2’s code base, and those developers have now moved on to GNOME3….) and a number of things that the GNOME developers claimed were “impossible” to do, have been done. No one is forcing you to use MATE, and there are some of us who use it because there are things in GNOME3 that simply don’t work. Some of us are even trying to get GNOME3 to work with our systems but due to hardware constraints are unable to do so, and we need something else.

      You can already (and have to if you want to use GNOME3) use systemd in Gentoo, so I’m not even sure what that is all about…. You’re free (and encouraged) to use whatever you want to with Gentoo, unlike other distros, we do not tell you that you can only use this, or that (unless upstream already mandates it) and any change you want done in Gentoo, you better be ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work.

      Do not belittle others because they choose to scratch their itches. It’s their itch to scratch, not yours, and all it does is make people NOT want to work with you.

    2. I understand your concerns about MATE, since I also didn’t believe it would go anywhere. But it did. And we have to respect that effort because it’s definitely not wasted time from the hard working developers. They’ve been clever too, integrating new technologies from the latest GTK+ and GNOME releases into MATE.

      MATE fills a specific niche: the best known DEs are all trying to reinvent the desktop. I say that the desktop doesn’t need to be reinvented, it was almost perfect with GNOME 2. And for that reason I support MATE: it works for me.

      By the way, the DE I use the most currently is GNOME 3, by choice. I don’t have to hate GNOME 3 just because I prefer GNOME 2.

  3. I have used Gnome on OpenSuse since about 2000. Then “Upgraded” to Gnome 3 and used it for 2 years. Dropped Gnome 3 when the developers removed more and more of the usefull goodies.

    I now use Xfce on 4 OpenSuse 13.1 boxes and laptops for day to day work and on my Gentoo box. Xfce is configured to look and feel like Gnome2. Xfce is exellent but requires that I use some Gnome application, such as Gnome System Monitor, Gnome Search, Gedit, Gnome Calculator.

    My Gentoo box is still “Experimental”. I am trying to move away from OpenSuse to Gentoo. Mainly due to their short 18 month livecycle and bloat. Gentoo runs much faster on the same boxes. Gentoo, compared to OpenSuse using YAST, is very difficult to configure.

    My dream distribution would be Gentoo with a YAST installer and YAST configuration and maintanace utilities. Maybe someone who can code in Ruby will port YAST to Gentoo -:)

  4. Tried Sabayon several times over the years and found it not stable enough for office use. Like Gentoo, it’s difficult to configure and like OpenSuse has to much bloat when using the default installation. Has no GUI administration tool GUI’s like the YAST interfaces. It’s slow if not recompiled with “-march=native” and stripped of all unnecessary items. Porthole is much better and easier to use than Rigo.

    It takes me less than 30 seconds with YAST to configure Samba client and server for use on a mixed Linux and Windoze office LAN. I could never figure out how to configure a Samba server with user controlled shared directories and printers on Sabayon.

  5. I have to say, I loved Gnome 2 for a long time. When Gnome 3 came out, I will admit I was rather disappointed with it. From my experiences, the change to Unity really hurt my view on Gnome. From my experience, being forced to use Unity overall slowed my general use significantly (this is with using it for a while, to give time to learn it better). Using systemd; I don’t have too many issues, overall I love the performance. My only complaint I have, is the commands to enable/disable services is more complicated than necessary. Now I will admit, I am not as familiar to it like I am to openrc; but it seems you need to do more coding, just to enable a single service, then later disabling it (like setting it up, so it’s only started up when needed). Overall, I would consider my issue on systemd to be minor in general; as I’d assume it will get polished up better in the future.

    My experiences is running the unstable branch; so when gnome3 first got unmasked I upgraded. The other issues I encountered, I don’t bother mentioning is it’s what I get with running unstable (which I accept that, for using the newest versions; and do forward bugs as necessary). In the end, I’ve had to switch to XFCE, used kde for a little while; but can’t stand the bloated feel and the long compile times (the core librarys generaly took over 4-8+ hrs to compile each). I haven’t given up on my hope on Gnome, and will probably try it out again’ mostly likely when Gnome 4 comes out and test to see how it feels then. I am hoping Unity will get better polished then to not hurt my productivity (I know people say it will increase your productivity, but from my experiences it doesn’t when you don’t remeber program names, I know where they are and their icon to quickly find them). From terminal wise I have my own macros/scripts setup to interface with the programs I need.

  6. Gnome 3 is the biggest nonsense on Planet Earth. Only Windows 8 is beating Gnome3 in it´s stubborn usability. Gnome 3 looks fine, but thats it. Whats better than clicking on Taskbar to get my active Applications in foreground? Gnome 3 is complicated tu use so i go to Xface or Kde.

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