Linus Torvalds piped up in the comments of a Google+ posting by Linux kernel hacker Dave Jones to air his true feelings about Gnome 3: “it’s not that I have rendering problems with gnome3 (although I do have those too), it’s that the user experience of Gnome3 even without rendering problems is unacceptable.” People care what Linus thinks, and when he ditched KDE for Gnome a couple of years ago, people took note. Now he’s using Xfce.Torvalds covered his beefs with KDE in depth with in a 2009 interview with Computerworld:
“I used to be a KDE user. I thought KDE 4.0 was such a disaster, I switched to GNOME. I hate the fact that my right button doesn’t do what I want it to do. But the whole “break everything” model is painful for users, and they can choose to use something else. I realize the reason for the 4.0 release, but I think they did it badly. They did so may changes, it was a half-baked release. It may turn out to be the right decision in the end, and I will retry KDE, but I suspect I’m not the only person they lost.”
This is of course after, in 2005, saying:
“I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE. This ‘users are idiots, and are confused by functionality’ mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don’t use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn’t do what I need it to do. Please, just tell people to use KDE.”
Is this evidence that Linus Torvalds is hot-headed and hard-to-please, or is it just indicative of the overall dysfunction of Linux desktop environments in general? Or is it an indictment of the open source collaborative development system not being well suited for something as personal and subjective as GUI design?