You must (occasionally) be wondering which Desktop Environment is the best for Linux. And while most long-time Linux users have found their preferred desktop based on experience and computing purposes, some of us and including newbies are still stuck with the same question. I have switched to various Linux distros many times and frankly, all the Desktop Environments have their own advantages and disadvantages. Sticking to one of them depends entirely on the perspectives of the user and his preferences.
However, if you’ve recently just bought a new computer priced at medium range (say an Intel i5 processor with 8GB RAM and equipped with Solid State Drive) and you’re lurking around the Internet searching for a cool Linux distro, so you can get the best Linux experience on your new awesome hardware. Then I recommend trying Linux with GNOME desktop due to its innovative look and ease of use.
But if you’re in doubt and need more help before making up your mind to use GNOME, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below are the 12 reasons I’ve assembled together on why to use GNOME desktop:
1. Gnome Easy to use
GNOME desktop is easy to use as it features minimal user interface without too much-added functionality. The desktop is designed around user’s productivity in mind, so most GNOME apps do what it’s supposed to do; nothing more and nothing less.
Moreover, like other Operating System, it has a help program where users can get familiar with the Desktop Environment by reading the quick (and short) descriptive manuals and videos.
2. Simply focus
GNOME desktop is designed to let the users get into focus-mode without wasting time tinkering with the Desktop Environment. Right after installing a GNOME Linux distro, you can get to work without worrying about having to learn something new. So you have a clean icon-less desktop and a panel at the top with the Overview to organize your apps or launch a new program.
3. Dynamic workspaces
By default, GNOME apps don’t have a maximize and minimize button on its windows. Instead, GNOME computing innovates around the use of workspaces where all the windows are not cluttered together in one desktop but organized in multiple workspaces. For instance, a firefox session downloading a huge file is run on one workspace while on another workspace you are busy editing an image file using GIMP.
Moreover, workspaces are dynamic ie., if you open a program on the second/another workspace, a new workspace will be created. Closing that program or emptying the workspace will also delete the newly created workspace.
4. Panel for quick shortcuts
GNOME desktop has a hidden panel (revealed by switching to Overview) that is similar to Ubuntu dock. It docks all the user’s favorite apps along with the show-all-apps icon. New apps can be easily added and unused apps removed with the added ability to reorganize them by mouse click and drag.
5. Cool Overview
GNOME overview is where all the open apps are grouped together into a single view so users can switch between them with ease rather than having to use the traditional Alt+Tab key combination which is tedious. Moreover, apps can be organized around workspaces by clicking and dragging the mouse. It’s on Overview where users get behind the hood to either launch a new app or organize apps and workspaces before getting back to focus-mode.
6. Cool search bar
On the Overview is the unified search bar for GNOME desktop where it not only searches for apps but documents, images, and other types of files too. It’s accessible by directly typing the keyword (when on Overview) without selecting the search box itself. Also, its functionality can be extended to search for the web like Google search bar on your Android phone. The results fetched are organized into categories based on whether the keyword is an audio file, an app, or a document, etc.
7. Menu bar-less
Most GNOME apps don’t have menu bars, instead, it features an Android-like option (three horizontal dashes) on the title bar. Long time users of Windows, Cinnamon, XFCE, etc will find it a bit awkward after switching to GNOME. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get used to the new desktop, which brings us to how unique GNOME’s user interface is.
8. Unique interface
By now you must be getting a visual idea about how GNOME desktop really is.
So far, we have a desktop that is not cluttered with icons and the desktop overview that houses shortcut panel, search box, and workspaces. GNOME windows are scaled a bit larger and (most of them) do not feature a menu bar or toolbar. The desktop has all the things required for day to day use without bloating itself with too many functionalities that would make an ordinary user tap his head on the wall when he can’t figure out how to use them in the first place.”
9. Built-in Screenshot and Screencast
Ever get stuck with an error in a program? Sure the maintainers will demand a screenshot to see your output. And GNOME comes pre-loaded with cool Screenshot program where you can either capture the whole screen, a window, or a specific region on the desktop. It also has a default screen recording program called Screencast which is useful if you are demonstrating a step by step tutorial or just showing off your cool desktop 🙂
10. GNOME Shell app integration
This is akin to panel icons or applets on the desktop that you normally see when you launch a program like VLC, Steam, itch, etc GNOME apps that has its shell extension can further simplify user’s productivity by providing a quick and accessible shortcut-like feature. The best program I’ve encountered that integrates well with the Shell is GNOME Pomodoro where users can start/pause the timer or take a break without launching the program at all.
11. Organized settings
Most Linux desktops have a confusing settings manager layout since it’s hard to navigate around so many options where our preferred option may be hidden within another option or sub-option. GNOME desktop has an organized two-pane settings layout; the left listing the keywords and its contents on the right. If you like the Windows 10 settings layout, I’m sure you’ll feel right at home with this similar settings manager on GNOME desktop too.
12. Break it with themes
And last but not the least, GNOME desktop can be customized with cool themes to change its entire look and feel. Unfortunately, most GNOME Linux distros don’t provide an easy way to do that. Here’s an article on how you can set themes on Ubuntu GNOME desktop How to customize Ubuntu 18.04 with themes. The same article demonstration can be applied to other GNOME Linux distros like Fedora and Debian.
In summary, GNOME desktop will surely guarantee you a unique quality computing experience. Go ahead, download and actually take a moment to test drive a GNOME Linux distro. If you need a pointer, then I’m happy to recommend you Ubuntu 18.04. Let’s see how you went about it with your new Linux distro and don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section below.