It's 2020 and Gnome's suite of applications don't know it

When it comes to the digital frontier, applications are what we use to get work done. From mobile to desktop, they are a part of our everyday lives. Because of this factor, the need for good applications is paramount.

Gnome, the desktop environment powering Linux distributions the world over, also has it’s own suite of applications. While it took me a while to appreciate what Gnome does on the desktop, the same can not be said of their applications.

When it comes to most things, I’m a minimalist. Because of my favoritism towards minimalism, I could never use something like KDE’s robust, bloated and exhausting applications and user interface. This is where Gnome, on the other hand, appealed to my needs. A minimal desktop user interface, applications with minimal options, it was a dream come first. The honeymoon stage has warn out its welcome though, and my need to speak out on this cannot be quelled any longer.

Let me first start off and say that Gnome’s applications and design language is….ugly. So ugly in fact, when the terminator said “I’ll be back”, he left running, and never returned. I understand it’s hard to strike a good balance between minimal and aesthetic, but I feel like Gnome made the wrong decision on both fronts.

Gnome’s standard icons look like they were pulled straight from the Windows 95 era. Thankfully if your Linux distribution has any custom icons, it hides that fact from you. It’s 2020 and yet these applications don’t seem to know this!

While my minimalist needs were quenched initially by Gnome’s streamlined approach, I found myself wanting more. For example, while Gnome’s web browser seemed simple and elegant at first, I now can’t help but think it feels half baked. I can’t easily see my bookmarks like most browsers. Adding extensions is non-existent, and the lack of options and performance compared to Chromium and Firefox doesn’t make it a worthy competitor in my eyes.

How about Gnome music? Sure it works, but again it’s ugly, looks dated and doesn’t have many features. For every Gnome application out there, there are better looking, better featured alternatives. In an era where these applications are the basis and the framework so many other applications are based off of, I can’t fathom a world where these would be our only options. When work needs to get done, I find I can’t rely on Gnome, but for someone with minimalist goals who doesn’t want to go to the dark side(...cough, Apple), where can you turn?