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Gnome 45 to Break Extensions (gnome.org)
58 points by bobse 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 56 comments

Not a problem with KDE.

When are people going to learn to stop making extensions for Gnome? This is nothing new. If you want a desktop environment you can modify, Gnome isn't it. The designers have made this clear over and over for about 15 years now.

KDE has other problems instead :-)

When I first tried KDE, it was during the Plasma 4 days and ran as slow as molasses (not to mention the constant crashing leaving me with a black screen). Friends convinced me about a decade later to try Plasma 5: it is no longer a slow, buggy experience, they claimed. Well, I set up Debian 10 with Plasma 5 and changing the default KDE cursor to the black Adwaita cursor already didn't work! Depending on which window my cursor was hovering, it would change between my custom cursor and the default KDE cursor. This was after applying settings and restarting KDE. And forget any modifications you make if you use SDDM, it always seems to use defaults.

The comprehensiveness of Adwaita as an icon set and the relative stability of GNOME is what keeps me on GNOME. If I had to ditch GNOME, I would probably choose MATE or Xfce next. I've been fooled too many times by KDE evangelists claiming everything's fine and rosey nowadays and we are totally no longer in the Plasma 4 days.

I don't want this topic to devolve into a Linux distro war, but over the years I've noticed KDE seems to run better on distributions that prefer as-is upstream code. Debian is not one of those, so for the particular use case of running KDE, I would choose a different system.

XFCE is great.

Zero bullshit. Zero bloat. Works great with everything. Nothing breaks. Simple, easy, customisation.

Let's not forget "Zero features."

(Speaking with love as an i3/Sway person.)

What core feature exactly is it missing? Of course, it is a completely different featureset when compared to a tiling window manager, and Ive used those as well - they really do give you superpowers, I just outgrew TWMs if I may say so.

Last time I used KDE, it couldn't find `ksplashqml`, and had to reinstall the OS (didn't know what TTY was at the time). It also frequently crashed three times, and counting. GNOME is minimal and out of my way. The only space GNOME Shell takes up is the top bar. Nothing more, nothing less. Not to mention the off-brand Hot Corner.

I believe you had a bad experience, but i would suggest the blame lays on your package maintainer - in debian (and ubuntu), ksplashqml should be part of the plasma-workspace package, which you can't avoid. What distro were you using?

Ubuntu 23.04. It worked on it's first boot, but suddenly broke that day.

Feel free to stop replying at any point since I can't really help, but I can't see a reason why /usr/bin/ksplashqml itself would have gone missing.

Is it possible that ksplashqml was really present, and actually the "not found" error was because ksplashqml could not find a custom splash theme file? Had you installed and removed any custom themes?

No, I never touched the splash screen files.

Was it an Ubuntu that shipped with KDE pre-installed or did you manually add KDE to the default Gnome based Ubuntu later?

Yes, I manually installed KDE (via `kubuntu-desktop`)

No wonder you had a poor experience. Distros that don't treat KDE as a first-class DE are well-known to have a generally poor KDE experience. Kubuntu is probably the worst KDE-focused distro, and you didn't even start with Kubuntu as a base.

A slightly poorer experience for a distro's non-flagship DE is one thing, a major binary being outright missing is another. This should have still worked - Ubuntu does support adding KDE by installing that package, kubuntu-desktop depends on plasma-workspace which contains /usr/bin/ksplashqml.

> and you didn't even start with Kubuntu as a base.

Sorry, just wanted to test-drive KDE without wiping my entire system. My friend even had this problem on KDE Neon.

KDE is ugly and buggy. None of its famed customization works particularly well. I couldn’t find a way to change the font size on the panel, which is trivial with Dash to Panel on gnome. Latte dock would completely freak out when trying to move it and cause a bunch of visual artifacts. Crashes when installing themes. The “overview” feature inspired by gnome that has completely unnatural animations and doesn’t allow anything to be dragged, even worse then the one on MacOS. And the fact that they still default to server side decorations. If you surveyed non-Linux users after trying both desktop environments I’d bet next to none of them would choose KDE, especially if you allow extensions on gnome.

KDE is too much Windowsy for my taste. Aesthetics are not that great either. In Gnome land, there are no extensions that I cannot live without. Sure, they'll be in a broken state for a while after a new release. And also, I'm totally hooked with Gnome workflow. There is a keyboard shortcut for almost any action.

> KDE is too much Windowsy for my taste.

Agreed. GNOME has a much more original approach, and doesn't have those weird window action buttons. I got confused when I first seen them.


You've been posting tons of unsubstantive and flamebait comments lately. If you keep this up, we'll have to ban you. We've already had to warn you about this many times before. Not cool.

If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting here, we'd appreciate it.

> KDE is too much Windowsy for my taste.

If you not like that, you can change it. I have setup KDE to look like a hybrid of OSX and Unity (menu bar, lateral taskbar, maximised windows have the window buttons integrated on the panel and the maximised window become borderless, etc).

The thing is I don't want to spend hours and hours to customize the thing. And, those customizations often have undesirable side effects (like degraded performance, messed up app themes, issues after updates, etc). In Gnome I use stock Gnome with a couple of extensions and that's about it.

Yes, I have a KDE desktop since years, and there are no breaking changes. It's a stable desktop. KDE4 was a mess, but KDE5 runs really nice. There are still KDEisms, some things don't work as intended, e.g. I don't understand how icon themes work on KDE (can't get rid of some 2-color uglies), but overall I'm really happy with it.

> KDE4 was a mess

Early KDE 4 versions was a mess. Latter KDE 4 versions was more stable that Gnome. I saw it when Gnome 3 was unusable on a Radeon GPU (back, when ATI/AMD gpu drivers was proprietary and a piece of shit), when KDE 4 was just working without issues.

Who even needs a desktop environment.

Sway WM, Waybar, Rofi. Rock solid, and does everything I've ever needed from it and is still a better experience on a multi-monitor setup than any DE I've tried.

I hate whenever people use the argument "Who even needs <product> when you can <hack together 5 different products after you've done a bunch of research>"

People like simplicity, and are often very willing to trade a lot for it. See why "It just works" was such a powerful advertising slogan

As a everyday sway user, Out of the box Gnome experience way more user friendly to most people.

I am an avid fan of the i3 way of managing windows but I unfortunately encountered some serious bugs last time I tried Sway. I have used it in the past and even contributed a few patches but it seems that for many people's use cases it is not mature enough yet.

You can modify Gnome much more than KDE using extensions.

No, you can't: Gnome no longer has any working extensions; that's the whole point of the article.

GNOME 45 hasn't hit stable yet; all extensions should still work on 44.

Right, and as soon as 45 is the official version and 44 is deprecated, you won't have any extensions. That's not what I consider a stable DE, unless you're one of the many people here who apparently simply don't use extensions at all and like the out-of-the-box experience. (And if you're one of those people, that's fine, but the whole issue here is customizability so this discussion doesn't apply to you. It's like joining a discussion about the challenges of being a minority and then saying "well I'm not a minority so I don't have these problems! You should be more like me!")

It would be better to have the original title, not one bashing Gnome, so "Extensions in GNOME 45".

Of course, switching to ESM modules is a thing to do and nobody objects against that.

I don't think the title is editorializing or bashing. Gnome is going to break all extensions, which is literally in the article. And this is rather newsworthy.

> Otherwise please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize.

Edit: The fact that it can break existing extensions is something important, and a great discussion here. Another title could have been "Gnome 45 extensions are ESM modules" which is factual too, but the policy on HN is to keep the original title.

I have no clue what an ESM module is and I can't be the only one. I don't really give a damn, either. The title is fine as it is.

One conveys actual information the other would be basically just a release announcement and leave important details to the motivated reader.

Agree, because "Legacy imports are still supported on extensions.gnome.org"

You mean those extensions can still be downloaded for older-Gnome users?

Kinda pointless, really. Disclaimer: if it means Gnome 45+ users can download both legacy & ported extensions (and use them on Gnome 45+), then I didn't write this.

But if I read correctly, upgrading Gnome to v45+ will break older extensions. So users will have to pick from those that are ported (not all). Or distro's will make an effort to port some that are popular / relied upon (again: not all).

So one way or the other, that means enduser functionality is reduced as a result of 'upgrading' Gnome.

That is stupid. At least support older & new for a while to ease the pain for endusers. Or even through a system-wide setting (use all older, or all newer extensions).

Gnome update and broken extensions are synonyms at this point

My gripe with Gnome is it's almost not usable without extensions

People like to compare Gnome to macOS, but macOS is both more feature-rich and more customizable.

Their designers seem to have the cargo-cult logic of "if we remove enough features, we'll be as intuitive to use as MacOS!" (and whether MacOS even is intuitive is another question. I find its discoverability can be quite poor to those of us unused to it)

The only feature that GNOME misses imho that makes it unusable, are top bar icons. Apps are NOT going to drop them, many cross-platform applications people use on a day to day basis, can't be used properly without them.

It simply isn't viable to tell people for these apps to use alternatives, they don't exist when you're not in control of what your workplace uses. This makes an out the box gnome worse for working from home.

Yes, the API sucks for them and you have to poke some holes through sandboxes, but unless your Apple or Microsoft, you're in no position to get changes to these applications.

I don't really consider the lack of minimizing etc to make the OS unusable. GNOME is tasked and workspace based, and imho has the best workspaces of any mainstream desktop, it was built with workspaces in mind from day one, not tackled on after (e.g. Windows)

That was my thought. I like many DEs that are derived from Gnome, but in its default state Gnome is missing a lot of features, and yet still consumes a lot of RAM despite that.

I picture Gnome as a platform to be built on rather than a standalone DE

You are right about Gnome vs. macOS. It has many features which are not obvious and may be hidden behind an alt modifier key. But this makes it very usable for beginners and experts at the same time without alienating the other.

In the end Gnome seems to strive for a UI which scales from smartphones to big desktop screens with varying success. It's cool to know, that your desktop feed reader could work on your smartphone without changes in the future. But this Gnome future is always distant.

Nothing new, all the extensions are practically broken already in the extension "store"

Waiting for PopOS Cosmic. Hopefully this won't affect me and they'll break away from all this.


as an author of a gnome extension who doesn't use gnome anymore but have users of that gnome extensions it's getting pretty annoying to do all that extra work on every release!

i mean i can understand once in a while to have to update things but not have to do this every 6 months!

Does this mean that GNOME extensions will now have npm dependencies? If not, what's the advantage of "following the industry standard" here? Do GNOME extensions share common code with web apps?

Doubt it. The post says they're switching to ESM imports, and doesn't mention npm.

Swapping to NPM I presume would require supporting nodejs, which uses V8. GNOME uses GJS which is tightly bound to Spidermonkey

There was a project that experimented with having GNOME bindings on V8 instead, but I think it's dead and not updated in years.

I assume npm packages would get pulled in at "build" time.

I don't know the history, and can't see it on the page, but did they even entertain the idea of supporting both systems for a time? Like when firefox migrated to webextensions.

I don't know, but this is terrible news for us users who wasted their time customizing their desktop experience...most extensions will never be ported. I'm blocking gnome usergroup updates for now and when I am less angry I'll do damage control...

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