Back in the day, what we now know as MATE was initially the GNOME 2.x desktop environment in all it’s glory.
Nowadays, GNOMEis an entirely different animal, and one worth exploring for those GNU/Linux users who love to do things differently, and like to stray away from the cookie cutter aspect of computer usage.
I personally don’t use this new GNOME; I have, but I don’t really use it anymore. Not to say it’s not a nice interface, it’s just not for me.
The machine I used for this has the following specs:
Using Ubuntu GNOME 16.10
Have you ever used a Mac? You’ll feel right at home if you answered yes. The GNOME interface is quite different from Mac, but it’s quite similar as well. The top panel is application sensitive, in that doesn’t show a big list of windows that is open like other DE’s do, just the one that is currently open.
The Activities menu in the top left corner, opens up a fullscreen window showing currently running programs, and upon clicking the “Show Applications” button on the dock to the left inside the Activities menu, you are presented with an almost clone of the Mac Launcher screen. It’s pretty, it’s graphical, it plays surprisingly nice with touchscreens.
Now, there is a handy feature of GNOME where you can install extensions that drastically alter the appearence and functionality of GNOME. This is a big selling point to some people who love the GNOME interface, but dislike certain aspects like the Activities menu.
You can do away with that, and switch to a more traditional kicker menu. You can add media controls and all sorts of other things to your top panel, you can add a traditional window list etc as well. However, without adding extensions, GNOME functions as described above.
Changing the wallpaper can be done by accessing the “Settings” Application from within the Application Menu, and then “Background,” You can change the desktop wallpaper (Which I find pointless in GNOME as you rarely see the wallpaper...) as well as the lock screen wallpaper.
GNOME to me feels like a tablet/desktop hybrid. Great for touchscreens I must say again, considering my laptop folds in half to become a tablet.
GNOME has it’s own suite of software used for your day to day computer needs, and all of which work well; albeit in my opinion lack some features.
The file manager that ships with GNOME is called Nautilus, and while it’s completely functional and does what most people need it to do, it lacks the powerhouse features and customization options of file managers such as KDEs Dolphin.
All in all, it does the trick for the most part however, Nautilus has been around for a long time and many people enjoy it.
In terms of other software shipped, you’ll find software such as:
Videos – A Video player with the ability to add ‘Channels’
Music – A Music Player, fairly straightforward
Books – Ebook reader
As you can see, the GNOME team got extremely original with their naming convention for the default software. None of the above software is extraordinary, but they all do what they are designed to do. I personally use other software for basically all of the above purposes, rendering the default GNOME applications entirely useless to me; but for the general home user with no truly special needs, I must admit that GNOME ships with everything you could ever need right out of the box it seems, so kudos to them.
GNOME used more resources than I had expected, especially in the RAM department. Running firefox with 40 tabs, and LibreOffice writer open with this document, no other software running like in previous tests, it used 2.8GB of RAM, and my CPU was sitting at around 12% utilizaton.
This was more than KDE when KDE had more going on, much to my surprise.
GNOME has changed considerably over the years, and while some people may love it, I personally am not a huge fan. The interface by default without using extensions to change things, is extremely tedious to navigate, unless there are tips and tricks I am not aware of (which could be!), and to me it feels very inefficient.
However, it has a huge fanbase, and many love it; so you might too!
What about you? What are your thoughts on GNOME? What DE do you use?
More Desktop environment talk coming up in the near future!
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution: