3 Reasons to use GNOME 3

Posted on 29 Jun 2015 by Eric Oestrich

I have recently switched over to GNOME 3 from XFCE and figured I give a few reasons why you should too. Before switching over I had only used GNOME 3 when it first launched and didn't like it.

Reason 1: HiDPI support

The main reason I looked at GNOME 3 again was because I got a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro last year and replaced Windows with Arch Linux. This laptop has a HiDPI screen (3200x1800 at 13") and XFCE was virtually unreadable on it.

I stuck with XFCE for a while after I discovered you could scale the resolution in a display setting somewhere. This only sort of worked because it looked horrible. GNOME 3 handles HiDPI so much better, everything looks properly sized and there are no sections that have text being cut off.

Reason 2: Looks really nice

I really dig the new GNOME look that came in version 3.16. Everything looks very sleak to me. I also started liking the thick title bar, fits nicely in with everything else.

Calculator

GNOME 3 calculator

This is a good place to start as every desktop should have a calculator. It also shows off the main GNOME theme Adwaita.

GNOME 3 file viewer

GNOME 3 file viewer

I want to show off the file viewer mainly because it handles HiDPI well. In XFCE you would only be able to see maybe the first 7 characters of a file name before it got cut off due to poor scaling.

Contacts application

GNOME 3 contacts

I don't use this application, I wanted to show this one off mainly because it doesn't have any of my data in it. This is just to point out GNOME having a suite of applications that all sync to online accounts. I primarily use the Calendar application, but they also have email, photos, and maps.

Task switcher

GNOME 3 task switcher

This view is brought up by hitting the meta (windows) key or moving the mouse to the upper left corner. I really like this view as you can see current applications and also search for a new one to launch.

Reason 3: Customizable again

When I first tried GNOME 3 it was very take it or leave it. Now you can customize the desktop very heavily. I have my pretty plain, but the options are still there. I personally only set static workplaces (which didn't use to be a thing either) and the date time to be AM/PM.

Tweak Tool

Tweak Tool

Tweak tool is what you'll be using to alter GNOME 3 more than AM/PM from military time. There are seemingly hundreds of options to tweak, as well as extensions to install.

Bonus reason: Wifi Manager

When I was on XFCE I used wicd as the network stack. Moving to GNOME let me switch to Network Manager which has a really nice integration with the desktop. It sits up the top right corner and lets you easily switch networks.

Conclusion

My biggest take away with GNOME 3 is it feels like a solid, well integrated desktop. XFCE is great, but GNOME 3 is my new favorite desktop.

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Eric Oestrich
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