Gnome 40 is less to my liking than 3.38 ...Edited: No, I figured it out

I think I have cracked it, so to speak: The key to enjoy Gnome 40 is to actually realize it is far more optimized for mouse usage than 3.x. Seriously, it clicked (no pun intended today). Yes, I still have to remap SUPER, but apart from using it for a shortcut to get to Activities…when you are there (in activities) everything is very easily accessed by mouse. The Favorites dock now actually mean something, and the new view with the entire desktop accesable on the side means you can easily click on it with minimal hand movements…

I’ve been playing around with Fedora 34 / Gnome 40 on an old laptop for a few days and I… like it even less than the old interface.

First of all it’s funny because one of the main criticisms from non Gnome users towards the DE that has always been rebuked as “wrong” or even “lies” is that “Gnome is designed for touch screens” and then a big selling point for Gnome 40 is gestures and stuff. So… make up your mind, devs?

Second, and this is stupid, I know… The fact that windows change position in overview compared to the actual desktop bugs the hell out of me. Especially in combination with the laggy, stuttering animations on Wayland with Intel drivers.
I guess it was the same in the old Overview, but it is more jarring here to me because the minimal zoom out that happens make me expect just a zoom out of the desktop as such and not a rearranging of the windows.

Third, font rendering on Gnome still sucks, period. Xfce, Cinnamon and Mate all have much better font rendering.

Fourth, the fact that it starts in “Activities” overview almost makes me feel claustrophobic. I don’t know why, but the fact that it starts zoomed out from the desktop makes me feel as if my desktop is really small and cramped. Silly, I know, but it genuinely makes me feel a little stressed.

Fifth, I am left handed and remapping SUPER to a workable position for me requires Tweaks to be installed. Also, and I don’t know if that’s because Swedish keyboards are non-compatible with Gnome somehow, but Right SUPER cannot be activated. I have to go into Tweaks and BOTH activate Right Super AND tell it to remap WIN to MENU.
That makes the MENU button work as SUPER, while Right SUPER doesn’t work, still (but if i don’t also enable Right SUPER in Tweaks MENU won’t work either as SUPER. So…). This has been the same on all versions of Gnome 3 for me. (This is actually a somewhat serious issue; the fact that they have designed the whole Gnome 3 desktop from the ground up with much less usability for left-handed people than right-handed out of the box is… weird. Unless you install Tweaks and figure out how to remap in there you have to use Gnome with your mouse).

Sixth, I definitely agree with those that say the workspace view is WAY too small. It should be as big as in the app grid view (also, the idea that you need three buttons pressed at the same time to switch workspaces via keyboard is weird. Or that the Terminal doesn’t have a quick command at all, as far as I can tell unless you set it yourself).

The sad part is that there is nothing new that stands out with the possible exception of the beautiful wallpaper; what I liked about Gnome 3 is the same in Gnome 4; sleekness; everything works out of the box, all native apps look very coherent and nothing looks out of place, it finds my printer (on Fedora) automatically.

What I dislike is also still the same. Plus more stuff (see above). Adawaita is still an ugly theme, especially the icons. Most of the native apps are either bloated, unnecessary or inferior to other GTK apps (The native browser is still horribad, Gnome Photos is bloated and lacks all sorting options that are meaningful to me, Gnome Movies is a bloated pointless worthless piece of crap. The terminal is functional, and now has transparency again, but is still lacking in functionality compared to say Xfce4-terminal while using more resources). Oh and yeah, you still can’t set a third party app as default terminal because reasons.
I even asked a dev about that and he didn’t know why, but also didn’t believe me when I explained you can do that on all DEs except Gnome.

So, for people who TL;DR:
Bad - Sluggish animations, Activities makes me feel locked in a small room, too small preview windows, native apps still usually worse than other apps with same purpose.
Good - it works.


good “it just works™”
i’m thinking of giving it a try for myself, see if i can stand it. xfce’s gotten a bit glitchy for me after 4.16. definitely less smooth than 4.14.


i think Gnome interface is designed for the newbies die are from the smartphone generation. some distro’s want to match windows10 to have a comfort transformation even whiskermenu integrated some options…atleast xfce on 4.16 using just more ram as before. i think stil developing needed i think. and everyone finds lxqt ugly :lol

better just work what you like to work :slight_smile:


I always want to like LXQT. I go in so optimistic, and it just never quite works.


I’d rather do Mate than Gnome. Just saying. :slightly_smiling_face:


As another datapoint

Fedora 34 is running beautifullly over this way.

Honestly, for me, I see very little difference between GNOME 3.38 and GNOME 40…maybe I’m just a simpleton. I like Adwaita and the only extension I use (apart from trusty Bing Wallpaper) is called ‘Just perfection’ and that takes away things (Remove Dash from overview, remove workspace previews, remove search button, hide panel etc.)

My GNOME experience consists of opening things with super, closing them with super + Q and then changing workspaces with super + number… that’s about all I need from a ‘desktop’ and it seems to do that well. Everything else does too much for me. I would, and have used window managers, but like many things, going dead simple is not always the simplest option. GNOME just works :wink:


I don’t mind Gnome 40 vs 3.38, it has some nice things over it like:

  • Using alt+super + scroll wheel to move workspaces
  • Opening directly to overview is nice since you had do do that anyways to open apps (unless you have a dock, which I don’t)
  • The weather in the notification drop down seems to work all the time now. On 3.38 often times it wouldn’t load or only after so long that you might as well just open a website for it.

My usage is very simple, light terminal use, web browser, email, gaming. i don’t think i have ever even opened the app drawer i always just use the search.

I don’t mind Adwaita but Materia-Dark is way better.


Ah, but this is part of my point; I have to manually re-map all functions like that since I am forced to have MENU set as SUPER, which means I also have to manually map right CTRL instead of ALT (Since ALTgr is further away (one dead key in between) than CTRL).

I am still trying to like it, I mean it looks cool, especially since I am only using four apps, statistically speaking: the web browser, the terminal, spotify, a video player.
Which means I should be able to at least not actively dislike it since I don’t provoke the functionality that much.

But again, I always end up the opposite of what is usually said about Gnome. I don’t feel “Free from distractions and frustrations”, I feel the opposite. Just these few days have genuinely made me feel stressed, because as I said the very way the layout is made with the constant zoom out and more makes me feel (irrationally, I know) claustrophobic and stressed. Ad to that that the basic functionality of the DE actually gets in my way by not doing what I want it to do.

Which again, is the exact opposite of what it is marketed as: The ultimate “Get out of the way interface”.

(Of course I have to wonder about developers: This DE is constantly markeded as “the ultimate Developer DE” because it is “Free from distractions and helps your productivity”. Does developers hate their job so very very much that the slightest piece of visible DE interface on their screen makes them distracted so they just sit and stare at it for hours every day? :wink: Seriously, what is that marketing bit all about?
Even Fedora… the second thing they say on the page regarding Gnome Workstation is “Made for developers”. …No it’s not? Fedora Workstation literally have NO developer tools installed…)

To me it is the ultimate get out of my way interface… but getting out of my way often gets into someone elses way. :slight_smile:

I like Fedora though… I think the developer vibe is that it treads that line between stable and rolling in the sense that the packages for tools and the kernel are usually very up to date compared to something like ubuntu or even pop.



It is already GNOME Shell 40.1 in Arch, Fedora is trailing… :slight_smile:

I’m allergic to Gnome but out of curiosity tried Fedora’s latest on my VM. My conclusion is that I’ll always be allergic to it!

1 Like

It looks so polished and well made but I just can’t make it fit an efficient work flow.

1 Like

I agree … Installing it gave me the hives! :rofl:


I tried to analyze my problems and I think the way Gnome 40 looks makes me assume it behaves in ways it doesn’t.

Like I find myself finding it intuitive that clicking or pressing ESC on empty desktop space should automatically zoom out to activities view. Which it doesn’t, obviously.

Likewise it feels logical to me that if the start view is Activities, then as soon as I close all windows in the active workspace it should automaticaly zoom out to Activities view.

And the big one: It feels weird to me that draging an application to the side of the desktop gives the “tile” interface instead of automatically switching to the next workspace to the right or left; basically it feels weird, with the layout it has, that I can’t drag and drop open applications between workspaces without first having to go to Activities view.

Thanks for the review. I think I agree with everything you said here. The gesture functionality shows they want a desktop to be gesture driven (e.g. for a phone, tablet or touch screen). What disappoints me is their lack of cooperative approach (look at the comments in the tickets). My first impression is there a lack of leadership on their side because people keep on creating extensions to make up for the usability of the desktop. Ofcourse these are the same extensions that keep on breaking. Many before me have said that they should be integrating the popular extension functionality.

IMHO I’m thinking I will try to stay on Gnome 3.38 for the rest of the year then think about switching to Sway. I just want something simple where there is not so much tweaking (e.g. KDE).

Examples of Issues I have filed:


I think I have cracked the code by spending an entire evening with it and realizing the secret. I now like it better than 3.x because it actually now is far more optimized for mouse usage than before.

This is somewhat sneaky, and explains maybe why a lot of hardcore gnome users doesn’t click with Gnome 40.
Anyway, there is still a lot I don’t like about it, but with the dark theme enabled, a better font (Cantarell is just ugly) AND a smaller font (seriously, why do Gnome default 11 pts for UI fonts, but 10 for terminal instead of the other way around?) it is… okay.

1 Like

Ooo - do share “the secret”

My point is that it is much more mouse driven than gnome 3.x so basically forget the keyboard shortcuts except for pressing super to get to Activities. From there everything can be done with a mouse just as quick as with keyboard shortcuts.

And if you use the ‘hot edge’ extension the activities/applications is activated more logically (in my opinion). ‘Panel scroll’ extension is also useful.