GNOME 3 is an easy and elegant way to use your computer. It is designed to put you in control and bring freedom to everybody. GNOME 3 is developed by the GNOME community, a diverse, international group of contributors that is supported by an independent, non-profit foundation.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Clean UI
Every aspect of GNOME 3 has been crafted to fit together as a harmonious whole, so that it offers a consistent and integrated experience.
Pro Powerful search
A powerful search feature lets you access all your work from one place.
Pro Simple and easy to use
GNOME 3 has been designed to make it simple and easy to use. Press a button to view your open windows, launch applications or check if you have new messages.
Pro Does not get in the way
GNOME 3 lets you do the things you want without getting in the way. It won't bother you or badger you with demands, and it has been designed to help you comfortably deal with notifications.
Pro Great for high dpi displays
Adjustable scaling factor makes it great for high-resolution laptops and far away TVs.
Pro Easy theming
Changing the look (and feel) of Gnome Shell is easy, shell theme, icon, windows and graphical elements (gtk) individually for each user.
Mostly it's installing some packages or unpacking some archive to a themes folder and using selecting the new theme in e.g. gnome-tweak-tool.
There are a lot of really good themes on DeviantArt.
Pro Keyboard friendly
It's (mostly) usable without touching a mouse, so you can keep your hands on the keyboard.
Shortcuts can be defined in the gnome setting.
There are even more shortcuts available when using the gesetting or dconf tool, e.g. switch to desktop 5 to 9.
Pro Online account management
GNOME 3 integrates with your online accounts, so that all your data can be accessed from the same place.
Pro Adheres to standards
Allowing for interoperability and shared technology for X Window System desktops.
Pro Very productive
With a clean layout and well-thought keyboard shortcuts, Gnome 3 is simply the best for people looking to be productive with their computer.
Pro Highly customisable
Gnome Extensions offers an easy way to extend the built-in functionality.
Pro Great task manager
The GNOME Task Manager is great, showing all open processes with every needed detail. For each process you can see the amount of memory and processing power that it's using, along with the process priority.
Pro Wayland support
Gnome is the first desktop environment that uses Wayland as default instead of X server. X server is only optional currently.
Pro Integrates with most Google Services
You can use your calendar, drive, contacts and most of Google services with Online Account option. You can show your Google Calendar events on the Gnome's default calendar app, Nautilus (Default file manager of GNOME) almost fully integrated with Google Drive and even you can read your PDF's with Evince (the default built-in PDF reader in GNOME).
Pro Gnome-Tweak-Tool is great
Gnome may seem bland out of the box but, the Gnome-Tweak-Tool is awesome.
The Gnome-Tweak-Tool allows for easy desktop tweaks and other control functionality, and that these features can be activated with just a click.
Pro Highly stable
Gnome isn't obviously devoid of flaws, but it's pretty stable - especially in comparison with the KDE Plasma Desktop, which can literally fall apart after installing upgrades (and show a considerable number of error messages) or for whatever reasons - after turning on the computer you can end up without (Plasma) desktop altogether, which I believe IS quite unproductive. It is also noteworthy that many other major desktop environments are based on Gnome, and among these are: Cinnamon, Pantheon and (now dead) Unity.
Pro Touchscreen friendly
It works well with any touchscreen-enabled system, including newer laptops, even to the point of including a well-designed on-screen keyboard.
Pro It just works
You don't ever "need" tweaks. Unless your device is too outdated, it just works out of the box. Touchscreen, 4k TV, anything just works.
Pro All the major players in the Linux ecosystem have finally collated on Gnome
Red Hat default = Gnome
Fedora default = Gnome
Debian default = Gnome
Ubuntu default = Gnome
Opensuse default = Gnome
This doesn't mean the others go away, it just means there is a colossal community and industry backing behind Gnome.
The point whether or not it being technically the best option is now off table and irrelevant. It is now the de facto standard. Like it or not.
Pro High resultion screens, multi monitor, content creation
If you depend on high resultion screens, multi monitor, or content creation programs you want Gnome.
Pro Beautiful interface
Very very beautiful interface
Pro Graphic apps 'feel smoother' on gnome than on KDE plasma
Graphics apps 'feel smoother' on gnome than on KDE plasma. Example: Gimp and inkscape, probably because they are developed in gtk+.
Pro Hamburger Menus
If you use a Mouse you fell like a second class user.
GNOME 3 desktop environment is kinda slow on some Linux distributions
Con Continuous customization and extension issues
They need to sort out their continuous customization and extension issues, which are why many people still prefer KDE or other Desktop environments.
Con Full screen start menu
This may be fine if your screen is really small, but on modern fullhd desktop it looks ugly and distracting. In addition to very ineffective display of items on screen - much more could be placed on one screen if there were less empty space around and between icons
Con Some settings are not where the user would expect it
E.g. it is not possible to change the keyboard auto-repeat delay or rate from the usual All Setting > Keyboard like, for example, in Unity.
Many settings are considered "tweaks" and require installing a separate utility to adjust.
Further still, some settings are buried in a dconf database.
Con Extensions can break whole Gnome desktop
Gnome extensions have a lot of freedom to customize the desktop, and it means that extensions can break your desktop leaving you unable to use your computer. Also extensions can significantly slow down whole desktop.
Con Poor 'drag and drop into application' capability
Difficult to drag and drop a file into an open application.
Con Native Gnome dock isn't scalable
The native Gnome dock isn't scalable, which means if you want to change its size you have to download a customized theme for the shell and hope it has the appearance you want. Honestly again just like the icon issue it wastes way too much of the screen on high resolution monitors.
Con Longtime support is hard since every few years GNOME changes its own standards
Everytime something is complete GNOME breaks itself:
Icon naming changes almost every 3 years : once gtk icons were named stock_edit then gtk-edit then edit-edit and currently edit-edit-symbolic
- App icons change also every few years currently they get renamed to an android like scheme eg: org.gnome.Photos.svg instead of gnome-photos.svg however this breaks all common standards esp. since filenames on linux are case sensitive.
GNOMEShell extension also break on almost every release.
Currently Gtk3 has been stabilized however they are already working on GTK4 and 5 so in the worst case your desktop will need to run and support 4 GTK-toolkits at the same time.
Con Extension system is weakly integrated into the environment
Backward compatibility is not guaranteed and extensions seems like second class citizens in the GNOME environment.
Con Tightly coupled to its window manager
If you're looking to run an alternative window manager, like XMonad, you're pretty much out of luck.
Con Rather insane method of wallpaper slideshows
Most DEs and WMs allow the user to simply point to a directory, and use pictures from there. Gnome 3 requires the rather asinine idea of building an XML file to accomplish the same thing.
Con Icon scalability and sorting
The icons in the "apps view" area don't have any additional sizes, the current ones are much too large to be effective for the screen space they use. Also, there is no native way to sort them in Gnome, only a very limited extension. Which means you're pretty much always better off using the search bar if you can.
Con Some GUI controls are much larger than on other desktops
This is wasting screen space on non-HiDPI monitors.
Con Default alt-tab behaviour is cute but extremely annoying for fast keyboard users
Con You can't put icons on the desktop
Con Depends on systemd
Some people don't like systemd but it is part of most modern distros anyway.
Con Has several dead userspace features that are supplemented by community supported extensions
Has several dead projects that are supplemented by community supported extensions. Unfortunately, the gnome updates often break these extensions. Example: GSConnect.
Con No support for fractional scaling
Unlike Qt, GTK has no support for it.
Con Not truly tunable
Customization is very limited.
Con Remove more features than add
Con You can't put icons on the desktop
Con Depends too much on extensions to customize basic settings
Con Shell-Style ≠ Widget-Style
The GNOME-shell is unable to use the current GTK style for its interface thus making it hard to get a consistent user interface.
Con Non-intuitive use paradigm
It doesn't feature an always-on dock and fixed amount of usable desktops, doesn't support tray icons for background programs. The main interaction with running programs bases on clicking and dragging (to a desktop) preview thumbnails.
Con Inconsistent desktop
As of GNOME3, some applications have ClientSideDecorations while other use normal Titlebars, this also affects usablity since both Decorations do different things if you left, right, or double click it. Same goes for Menubars. Some Apps follow the GlobalMenu in the GNOMEShell while others don't.