GNOME 42 has been a Nightmare!

I’m not trying to start a GNOME vs (insert your favorite DE here). I’m trying to point out the many, many, many problems I have had with GNOME 42 since installing it on my Surface Pro 8.

I installed KDE Plasma 5.25 and GNOME 42 on a fresh install of EndeavourOS on my Surface Pro 8 less than a month ago. I used SDDM to switch between desktops. I tried to set both desktops up for a consistent look and feel. That meant changing some things in Plasma, like adding a full screen menu and installing a dock. I also added the Blur My Shell, Dash-to-Dock Cosmic, and Alphabetical App Grid extensions to GNOME 42 to make it more palatable. I also applied WhiteSur dark themes to each desktop.

Plasma has taken the changes in stride. GNOME 42, not so much! Every other time I log into GNOME, it disables the extensions. I have to manually re-enable them. This problem has been around since GNOME 40 and is still occurring.

The Surface Pro 8 has a touchscreen, which gives me little to no problems in Plasma Wayland or Xorg. The minimize/maximize buttons for applications in GNOME Wayland won’t recognize my touch inputs half the time (mouse input is recognized all of the time though). The GNOME Application Grid is pain in the behind to use with touch, especially in Wayland! Applications keep rearranging themselves in the grid, sometimes right before my eyes, leaving gaps on screen. When I touch scroll between the “pages” in the applications grid, it will sometimes (honestly most of the time) go back to the previous page. All of this was happening with the default Application Grid before I installed the Alphabetical App Grid extension and still happens with the extension installed!

It is hard to grab and move some of the application windows using touch input in GNOME Wayland and GNOME Xorg. Windows literally get stuck sometimes making rearranging windows frustrating. This was also happening with GNOME 40 and still hasn’t been fixed.

Then there are the new things introduced with GNOME 42. Theming is very inconsistent. For example, I applied the WhiteSur Dark GTK theme to GNOME 42. Almost all of the applications work well with the theme, with the exception of the Extensions and Tweaks applications. I don’t know what theme their using (probably Adwaita).

To add insult to injury, today GNOME 42 decided to now taking over 30 seconds to load on login. I tried switching to GDM to see if it would fix the issue and it didn’t, so I switched back to SDDM. I don’t know what happened. I’m not happy right now!

You’ll have to excuse the question, but why?

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Hot take, but I think they just needed to vent and rant about their frustrations, possibly with the hopes of being validated by other users who may/may not be facing similar problems.

But what do I know…

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Gnome 42 has been a pretty solid and straighforward experience on my ASUS Zenbook Flip 14 2-in-1 including tablet mode. I haven’t loaded up a ton of extensions to try to make Gnome into something different (I’ve used Whitesur themes in the past and am a big fan of Vincelui’s work - but they aren’t 100% clean with G42 so I stopped using them).

In true developer style … :person_shrugging: it work’s on my machine

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I also have a low opinion of Gnome, it is not touch screen friendly at all, I set it up on a Teclast X4, it was so hard to use! Plasma worked perfectly.

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No, I would like to get answers as to why these things continue to happen. Despite the issues I’ve been having, GNOME 4x has been a beautiful looking desktop by default. I would just like it’s usability to match it’s beauty. I would definitely like to know why it just suddenly decided to take 30 seconds to load!

For the past several years every time there is a new GNOME iteration, there are new and continuing problems. If you can’t stand the heat…

It shouldn’t be that way. Newer iterations are supposed to make something better, not worse, while also maintaining a sense of familiarness. Can you imagine the chaos if you had to relearn how to use a car or your smartphone with every new iteration, or the frustration or mistrust if newer versions of those items performed worse than or had less features than previous versions? Every other Linux desktop/Window Manager, to include that old punching bag KDE Plasma, has gotten better and become way more consistent with each new iteration. However, despite looking better, each new iteration of GNOME has changed something, causing us to rely more and more on extensions that seem to get more and more buggier. Is the goal to turn off more and more existing users?

@k4ever07

So you making the tea, or am I?

IMHO, there are allot of factors which cause bugs (firmware, drivers, hardware revisions) before you get to the OS and desktop.

Gnome. … well like others said run it with as little extensions as possible. I have used it for years and have seen no evidence they run any regressions testing on popular extensions. On the other hand I get this impression that Gnome applications and desktop fits more tightly together as a whole. Extensions seem to be slowly written out. So I’m really routing for Cosmic and Budgie desktops. Those are likely to be for the everyday user.

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Gnome 42 has been a difficult release compared with the last few. Gnome 40/41 were relatively painless upgrades. And the versions before that in the 3.xx series i.e. 3.36/3.38/etc were more or less painless as well if you don’t count extension issues. But we’ve been dealing/accepting/bug reporting Gnome bugs since April, so if you’re still experiencing deal breaking bugs, it may more than likely be a hardware issue.

And there are still some components of Wayland that lack support or missing functionality entirely, which is why I don’t currently recommend using it. It works fine for some, but it doesn’t work so great for others and it typically comes down to the hardware they are running. At the very least I would have a look over our Gnome 42 Bugs thread that I posted about back in April that attempts to consolidate all the bugs from the initial release. You may find some useful information there to get you started below:

This is your real problem right here. You have two DE’s installed at the same time, and you are using SDDM. A lot of Gnome depends on GDM. So basically you used a non standard install, defaulted to KDE’s display manager and then wonder why Gnome is misbehaving. PEBKAC.

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I was just about to post the same thing.

Gnome without gdm doesn’t work

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I have to call B.S. on this one. The display manager shouldn’t matter. This is not my first rodeo. I’ve been using Linux since 1997. I’ve run multiple desktops and windows managers on the same distribution, first using run level 3, then using GDM, SDDM, and LightDM. I settled on SDDM because it is easier to theme, not because of a particular desktop. I’ve never had problems with it before. I even doubted my experience with this, installed and used GDM for a while only to have the exact same results.

It is funny that you say that because gnome 42 was actually the reason why I moved over to gnome for good. No XFCE anymore. I very much like gnome42. I know that this doesnt help you. Sorry.

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If you definitely want to troubleshoot this, I would suggest to open a new thread with specific of your system etc. and give forum members a chance to helping you out.

You can keep this one going to vent your frustration and grievances about GNOME 42 in general.

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  1. I don’t care how long you have been using Linux. If all of this is true then you know running multiple desktop environments on the same installation is never best practice. Hence my response.

  2. SDDM is in fact a DE agnostic display manager, but GDM is not and has not been for almost a decade. Some features of Gnome simply do not work well without it.

  3. Are you at least using different users?

  4. Not using GDM with Gnome is only the tip of the iceberg with what is likely wrong with this install.

  5. Your issues with an extension are not issues with Gnome. The extension being used may in fact be part of why you are having issues.

  6. Theming with Gnome may be inconsistent at this time, since Gnome is already on GTK4 and some apps are not, or the theme in question has not been updated to work properly with it. When testing something you should always start vanilla and work your way towards what you want, that way you can document what is actually breaking your experience. It is well known that Gnome does not officially support theming, and that the only thing guaranteed to work with it is Adwaita and Adwaita Dark. A lot of things changed in Gnome 42 as regards theming also i.e. light and dark mode.

  7. Literally every problem described is something you might see in a mixed install…hence my PEBKAC comment. So no, not B.S.

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While I tend to agree, the GNOME foundation unfortunately doesn’t. In GNOME there are several things that don’t work without GDM, especially if you’re on wayland.

Not for nothing, but making a comment about how you’re having a bunch of problems. . . then not knowing GDM is kind of a big deal in GNOME. . . and then bragging you’ve been doing this for 25 years isn’t exactly something you may want to advertise. I’d personally be embarrassed to admit that, but to each their own.

I’m sorry you’re having issues with GNOME. I’ve had a very good experience with it since 40. It also converted me. For me, 3.38 and everything before was just terrible. I couldn’t stand it for the life of me. If you post up issues, you’d be surprised how helpful and knowledgable folks are here and can probably help you fix some of them. Or just keep using SDDM and complain about it.

Cheers!

It’s your first one with GNOME 42.

Then GDM may not be at fault, but it may be part of the solution. In either case, it’s a fine place to start.

Absolutely agree. And it’s yucky, too, OP. Clean that mess out then start from square one. One DE, vanilla–I suggest the “GNOME Shell” meta–then go from there. No extensions. Add them one at a time.

This ain’t my first friggen rodeo neither–with Linux or bulls.

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Just to appease you, I switched to GDM, disabled all of my extensions and auto start programs. Guess what? It’s still happening! However, this time I pulled out a my phone and timed it. I restarted my computer at exactly 2:06 pm my time (14:06). I let the system settle, then initiated a GNOME Wayland session log in from GDM at exactly 2:08:15 pm (14:08:15). My computer was blank for almost 30 seconds. At exactly 2:08:43 pm (14:08:43) I had a usable GNOME Wayland session running. A whole 28 seconds later, from GDM with no extensions running! I captured the time range in journalctl and placed it in a text file. If I can just figure out how to load the text file here you can take a look at it yourself.

Sorry if I’m being combative with some of you, but this is just not the way Linux is supposed to work. It is especially not the way Arch is supposed to work. You are supposed to have a choice in what DE or WM you use and what DM you use. In the past, they have worked well with each other. I’ve setup AfterStep, WindowMaker, KDE, GNOME, XFCE, Enlightenment, etc to run side by side in the past on multiple distributions with little to know issues. I was running GNOME, Cinnnamon, and KDE Plasma side by side in Manjaro for almost two years using both GDM and SDDM. This whole “you should only use one desktop/DM” is crap. The same with the whole “you shouldn’t dual boot Windows and Linux” crap that’s been popping up lately.

My major issue with dealing with any GNOME problem is people who think that if you run anything beyond vanilla GNOME, the issues you’re having aren’t bugs, they’re your fault for actually changing something on your system. It has become a knee jerk reaction that doesn’t actually help fix any of the issues.