Why the Fedora 18 Gnome desktop sucks and it is better to use the MATE desktop instead.

The Fedora installation choice screen.
The Fedora installation choice screen.

The new Fedora 18 Gnome Version 3.6.2 distribution is the most dumbed down version of the Gnome desktop yet. They have removed the ability to set up different themes by default. The only thing that you can do in the Appearance menu is set the wallpaper. I have a dual monitor setup with an ATI Radeon card driving both of the screens and the displays dialog window only showed one screen at 1280*1024 instead of my 1680*1024 screens. That is horrible. Ubuntu works better than this. I assume that if you install the Gnome Tweak Tool that you could modify more of the settings, but not being able to change themes by default really sucks in a desktop operating system that supposedly is geared towards the desktop. The desktop effects work, but I had to use the nomodeset parameter at the boot menu when testing the Live ISO image on a desktop machine and the performance is not optimal at all. Desktop Linux in the future might be a dumbed down ugly mess if the Gnome people have their way with it. Of course the Gnome menu has changed, there is now an icon on the bottom of the dock that allows you to access the menu by clicking it. This is OK I guess, there are other desktops available for Fedora, Xfce4 might work better if you are using dual monitors.

Linux Mint 14 would be a better choice though if you need a Linux desktop that is more extensible and customisable with the MATE desktop. This is available for Fedora though, but better to use Ubuntu or Mint. They even took the hard disk health checker off the panel and the Bluecurve theme is gone. Fedora was at it`s peak with the 14 release and they have gone downhill since then, part of the dumbing down of the interface to cater for the lowest common denominator. This is something that the Linux community will have to deal with when they are creating their next Linux distribution. Having an interface that will not offer even the ability to change themes on the fly is not something that will be endearing to any users. Just install MATE instead or better still use Linux Mint 14. Such a simplified down useless interface does not belong on a personal computer. The desktop is usable and you can open applications and perform tasks, but the overall feel of this release is that of a Fisher price toy instead of a Linux desktop that will actually allow customisation. What will Gnome 3.7 look like if this is what the 3.6.2 release has given us. Just use MATE instead. Gnome Shell has a worse interface than Windows 8. In that Windows operating system you have good control over your desktop and you can change themes and wallpapers as well as colours.

The Fedora 18 Gnome desktop.
The Fedora 18 Gnome desktop. Very spartan indeed.

The history of the personal computer is quite a chequered one, the oldest UNIX machines would have used a command-line only interface. Then the GUI interface was created with the Xerox Star computer system and this enabled the user to navigate the computer system with a mouse. But they could not have imagined a stupid interface like Gnome 3.6.2. I am not sure why they would program the Gnome interface to be such a horrendous mess. There are so many bad reviews of this release. Here is an example: http://linsec.ca/blog/2013/02/02/upgrading-and-installing-fedora-18-in-vmware-fusion/. I wonder if the Anaconda interface has a text-mode alternative that can allow you to install the distribution without worrying about the interface getting in the way. The Debian 6.0 installer is better. You can even take screenshots of the installation process and save them to temporary memory and then go to a virtual console and copy them to a partition on your hard drive. There are some screenshots and more information about this on this link: http://go2linux.garron.me/linux/2011/01/debian-squeeze-6-0-installation-screen-shots-and-review-891. This is a far better installer than the Fedora 18 alternative. Read another scathing posting at this website: http://spiralinear.org/forum/discussion/1052/fedora-18s-disaster-release-and-the-future/p1.

Hopefully the MATE desktop will gain in popularity and will take over from Gnome Shell. But the Anaconda installer needs a desperate overhaul. The installer in Debian 3.0 and Redhat 6.2 was far better and easier.

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