Linus Torvalds Moves from GNOME to Xfce

Rob Williams

Staff member
It may not matter too much in the grand scheme of things, but as an avid Linux user, how could I not be just a little interested in what the creator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds, uses as his preferred desktop environment? Throughout the years, I've agreed with him on desktop-related issues more often than not, especially with regards to GNOME 2's design back in the day.


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No ROM battery
>> It's still unfortunate that this is sometimes forced given that many developers don't seem to listen to the regular users who have called their desktop environment home.

Totally in agreement! We've discussed this before, but I will never tire of saying it or hearing anyone else saying it and immediately voice my agreement. At least for as long as a substantial part of the Linux development community (of which the Gnome team is perhaps the most notable) continues their stubborn path of not giving a second though to their "customers".

As for xfce, Linus could as well have moved to OpenBox. In fact, I don't know why he didn't. OpenBox is just a WM. As such it is much more configurable than Xfce allowing him to get just the desktop experience he wants. Maybe he's not such a control freak as he sometimes wants to imply he is. Xfce is a DE, not a WM. As such it is great for anyone wanting a more complete experience out of the box.

The thing I don't understand about Linus is that he keeps ranting about DEs -- i.e. KDE (Plasma Desktop, to be sure) and Gnome -- since I can remember him. But to this day he refuses to accept that he can never have a DE that exactly does the things he wants and the way he wants unless he writes it himself (with the cost necessarily being he will probably make one many others won't like). With this, he keeps ranting without ever looking at WMs as being the only type of product that can give him the DE he wants. It confounds me.

(It's in fact these little mysteries of the man (along with a few other noteworthy rants) that say to me Linus is great programming in C, but I'd wish he shutup about everything else. But that's another story for another article.)

Anyways, this is by no means a stab at Xfce. No way! What a great DE it is. Personally I don't use it, since I don't use DEs. I build my own through a WM like OpenBox. Although to be frank I use it very little these days, having moved almost exclusively to a tiling window manager. In any case don't think I'm trying to say anything bad about Xfce. Have nothing good or bad I want to say about it. Just noting that Linus is as inconsistent in many things he chooses to comment on, as he is brilliant in many things he chooses to code on.
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