So, there I was happily using my ThinkPad, when I got an I/O error from yum. Investigating the logs revealed a bad sector on the hard drive. Well, no surprises there, IBM makes us use refurbished hard drives…
Of course, the problem was how to fix it, as it was on the root filesystem. I rebooted into KNOPPIX to do the job, and then had to dick around with LVM for a while because someone thought LVM was a really good thing to make a default part of any Linux install.
An afternoon later, e2fsck had finished fixing things up, and all I lost was a few yum cache files. So, I was back in action. I installed updates to gnome-panel and pango and a few non-graphical packages and rebooted…
…and suddenly GNOME had decided it didn’t want to display any text any more. All the icons were there, but text was zero width and zero height and transparent.
I managed to log in, and discovered that everything non-Gnome worked, including Mozilla. I did some searching on the net to find out if this was a known problem other people had encountered and fixed. There was a suggestion that it might be something to do with pango, so I tried rebuilding the database for that, but it made no difference. The only other people to encounter the problem had eventually given up and fixed it by totally reinstalling GNOME.
So, I switched to KDE and spent the evening ripping out all the GNOME applications. This wasn’t made any easier by the fact that yum wouldn’t remove them and RPM has no dependency resolution. Still, eventually I got everything GNOME-related removed from the system.
It was at more or less this point that I noticed my ThinkPad was noticably faster, and that in particular, screen redraws of Mozilla and Notes were much more rapid, and the KDE terminal was way faster than the GNOME one.
So I think I’m just not going to bother putting the GNOME crap back again.
Which means that, sad to say, my prejudices have been confirmed. It seems GNOME really is a bloated crapulent piece of software which has no reason to exist except for the obstinacy of its developers and the historical details of Qt licensing circa 1999. If there was any sanity in the world, GNOME would be taken out and shot, and the resources being wasted on it would be poured into improving KDE.