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Desktop Environments GNOME

GNOME (/ɡəˈnoʊm, ˈnoʊm/),[7][8][9] originally an acronym for GNU Network Object Model Environment, is a free and open-source desktop environment for Linux and other Unix-like[10] operating systems.

Desktop Environments GNOME

GNOME is the default desktop environment of many major Linux distributions, including Debian, Endless OS, Fedora Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Ubuntu, and Tails; it is also the default in Oracle Solaris, a Unix operating system.

GNOME was started on 15 August 1997[14] by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena [es] as a free software project to develop a desktop environment and applications for it.[15] It was founded in part because K Desktop Environment, which was growing in popularity, relied on the Qt widget toolkit which used a proprietary software license until version 2.0 (June 1999).[16][17] In place of Qt, GTK (GNOME Toolkit, at that time called GIMP Toolkit) was chosen as the base of GNOME. GTK uses the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), a free software license that allows software linking to it to use a much wider set of licenses, including proprietary software licenses.[18] GNOME itself is licensed under the LGPL for its libraries, and the GNU General Public License (GPL) for its applications.[19]

During the transition to GNOME 2 and shortly thereafter, there were brief talks about creating a GNOME Office suite.[29][30] On 15 September 2003 GNOME-Office 1.0, consisting of AbiWord 2.0, GNOME-DB 1.0, and Gnumeric 1.2.0, was released.[31][32][33] Although some release planning for GNOME Office 1.2 was happening on gnome-office mailing list,[34][35][36] and Gnumeric 1.4 was announced as a part of it,[37] the 1.2 release of the suite itself never materialized. As of 4 May 2014[update], the GNOME wiki only mentions "GNOME/GTK applications that are useful in an office environment".[38]

GNOME 2 was released in June 2002[39][40] and was very similar to a conventional desktop interface, featuring a simple desktop in which users could interact with virtual objects, such as windows, icons, and files. GNOME 2 started out with Sawfish as its default window manager, but later switched to Metacity in GNOME 2.2.[41][42] The handling of windows, applications, and files in GNOME 2 is similar to that of contemporary desktop operating systems. In the default configuration of GNOME 2, the desktop has a launcher menu for quick access to installed programs and file locations; open windows may be accessed by a taskbar along the bottom of the screen, and the top-right corner features a notification area for programs to display notices while running in the background. However, these features can be moved to almost any position or orientation the user desires, replaced with other functions, or removed altogether.

GNOME 3 was released in 2011.[46] While GNOME 1 and 2 interfaces followed the traditional desktop metaphor, the GNOME Shell adopted a more abstract metaphor with streamlined window management workflow (where switching between different tasks and virtual desktops took place in a separate area called the overview),[45] unified header bar (replacing menu bar, taskbar, and toolbar),[citation needed], and minimize and maximize buttons hidden by default.[47][48]

Among those critical of the early releases of GNOME 3 is Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel. Torvalds abandoned GNOME for a while after the release of GNOME 3.0, saying, "The developers have apparently decided that it's 'too complicated' to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do". He then switched to Xfce.[63]

Over time, critical reception has grown more positive. In 2013, Torvalds resumed using GNOME, noting that "they have extensions now that are still much too hard to find; but with extensions you can make your desktop look almost as good as it used to look two years ago".[64][65] Debian, a Linux distribution that had historically used GNOME 2, switched to Xfce when GNOME 3 was released, but re-adopted GNOME 3 in time for the release of Debian 8 "Jessie".[66] Ubuntu switched from Unity to GNOME 3 with several extensions to resemble Unity, such as a persistent left application panel instead of a hidden dock and re-enabling desktop icons, with Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark in 2017. This release also saw the Ubuntu GNOME edition merged with the mainline release.[67]

GNOME 41 was released on 22 September 2021 and introduced a rewritten and redesigned GNOME Software application manager, a multitasking panel and a mobile network (for WWAN) panel in settings, a new remote desktop app called Connections, updates to GNOME Music app, and improvements to the power mode settings.[72]

GNOME aims to make and keep the desktop environment physically and cognitively ergonomic for people with disabilities. The GNOME HIG tries to take this into account as far as possible but specific issues are solved by special software.

GNOME addresses computer accessibility issues by using the Accessibility Toolkit (ATK) application programming interface, which allows enhancing user experience by using special input methods and speech synthesis and speech recognition software. Particular utilities are registered with ATK using Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI), and become globally used throughout the desktop. Several assistive technology providers, including Orca screen reader and Dasher input method, were developed specifically for use with GNOME.

This session is based on GNOME Shell and Mutter (window manager). It is default and offers a mobile-like paradigm for launching applications and accessing open windows and virtual desktops, but through the use of extensions it is possible for the appearance to be that of a traditional taskbar and provide a basic start menu. This session uses more RAM and CPU due to use of JavaScript for GNOME Shell and all of its extensions, and requiring 3D acceleration.

Beginning with GNOME 3.8, GNOME provides a suite of officially supported GNOME Shell extensions that provide Applications menu (a basic start menu) and "Places menu" on the top bar, and a panel with windows list at the bottom of the screen that lets quickly minimize and restore open windows, a "Show Desktop" button in the bottom left and virtual desktops in the bottom right corner.[115]

GNOME Flashback is an official session for GNOME 3. Based on GNOME Panel and Metacity,[116] it is lightweight,[117][118] has lower hardware requirements, and uses less system resources than GNOME Shell.[119] It provides a traditional and highly customizable taskbar (panel) with many plug-ins bundled in one package (gnome-applets) including a customizable start menu. It provides a similar user experience to the GNOME 2.x series and has customization capacities as built-in.

GNOME developers and users gather at an annual GUADEC meeting to discuss the current state and the future direction of GNOME.[126] GNOME incorporates standards and programs from to better support interoperability with other desktops.

The GNOME desktop environment does not consist solely of the graphical control element library GTK and the core applications that make use of it. There are quite a few additional software packages that make up the GNOME desktop environment, such as the above.

There are a large number of GTK and Clutter-based programs written by various authors. Since the release of GNOME 3.0, GNOME Project concentrates on developing a set of programs that accounts for the GNOME Core Applications.[135] The commonalities of the GNOME Core Applications are the adherence to the current GNOME Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) as well as the tight integration with underlying GNOME layers like e.g. GVfs (GNOME virtual filesystem) and also with one another e.g. GOA (gnome-online-accounts)[136] settings and GNOME Files with Google Drive[137][138] and GNOME Photos with Google Photos. Some programs are simply existing programs with a new name and revamped user interface, while others have been written from scratch.

A desktop environment bundles together a variety of components to provide common graphical user interface elements such as icons, toolbars, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. Additionally, most desktop environments include a set of integrated applications and utilities. Most importantly, desktop environments provide their own window manager, which can however usually be replaced with another compatible one.

The user is free to configure their GUI environment in any number of ways. Desktop environments simply provide a complete and convenient means of accomplishing this task. Note that users are free to mix-and-match applications from multiple desktop environments. For example, a KDE user may install and run GNOME applications such as the Epiphany web browser, should they prefer it over KDE's Konqueror web browser. One drawback of this approach is that many applications provided by desktop environment projects rely heavily upon the libraries underlying the respective desktop environment. As a result, installing applications from a range of desktop environments will require installation of a larger number of dependencies. Users seeking to conserve disk space often avoid such mixed environments, or choose alternatives which do depend on only few external libraries.

Furthermore, applications provided by desktop environments tend to integrate better with their native environments. Superficially, mixing environments with different widget toolkits will result in visual discrepancies (that is, interfaces will use different icons and widget styles). In terms of usability, mixed environments may not behave similarly (e.g. single-clicking versus double-clicking icons; drag-and-drop functionality) potentially causing confusion or unexpected behavior.

Desktop environments represent the simplest means of installing a complete graphical environment. However, users are free to build and customize their graphical environment in any number of ways if none of the popular desktop environments meet their requirements. Generally, building a custom environment involves selection of a suitable window manager or compositor, a taskbar and a number of applications (a minimalist selection usually includes a terminal emulator, file manager, and text editor).


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