Gnome 3.8 To Drop Fallback Mode: Oops! I Did It Again

As a Gnome user you know that in case you are using a computer that doesn’t support 3D acceleration by default, you will be switched to Gnome’s fallback mode. This mode though using GTK3, looks like the earlier 2.x version of Gnome shell. Users who were not satisfied by changes in Gnome 3 shell used the fallback mode as it looks and worked similar to older version. There is some bad news.Gnome developers are planning to drop the fallback mode in the upcoming major version of Gnome, 3.8. One of the main reasons have been that there were not many users to test the fallback mode and submit bugs. Also maintaining the same quality of code for Gnome shell as well as Gnome fallback is a hard task for team to achieve.

Gnome developer Matthias announced in the Gnome mailing list:

I’m writing to inform you that the release team discussed yesterday. We’ve come to the conclusion that we can’t maintain fallback mode in reasonable quality, and are better off dropping it.

We’re now working on organizing this so that it does not create more fallout than necessary. As part of this, I’m reaching out to our distributors to see what parts they care about. We haven’t worked out a detailed plan for 3.8 tasks yet, but the feature page should give you a good idea about what things will be part of the 3.8 plan:

  • remove the ‘forced fallback’ ui in control-center
  • unify ‘gnome can’t run’ and ‘failwhale’ UX
  • move background rendering entirely into gnome-shell; this is most likely to cause some problems for other environments that reuse g-s-d for background rendering. Splitting off the desktop-rendering functionality from nautilus is a separate issue, and does not necessarily have to happen for 3.8.

Please watch the feature page for more details, as we work them out, and please contact us with your concerns. Lets work together and minimize the pain of this transition.

We hope that this will further streamline Gnome development and make the Gnome shell even better.

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