site logo

The GNOME 43 Experience

Finally. After what must’ve been a month, GNOME 43 is now in Arch Linux’s official repository. A bit unusual that both Fedora and Ubuntu has newer GNOME than the bleeding-edge Arch, but I’m sure Arch devs have their reasons.

Yea, it has already been a month since GNOME 43 came out, and here I am ranting writing a review on it. Well, better late than never!

Quick Settings

the quick settings panel

Quick settings is probably the most significant changes in GNOME 43. Instead of hiding Wi-Fi/Bluetooth toggles behind a collapsed menu, now we can turn them on and off in one click. Not hard to say that this is my favourite change in GNOME in a while.

Yes, it might look like an Apple ripoff, yes, its (very simple) dropdown menu animation is laggy, and yes, it still contains quite a few bugs. Sometimes the label text for “Wi-Fi” and “Wired” just… disappears?

the bugged quick settings panel

Haven’t figured out the cause for this bug yet. Also, the names for open Wi-Fi and encrypted Wi-Fi are not aligned somehow. Would be better of the icon for “encrypted Wi-Fi” has the same width as that for “open Wi-Fi”.

wifi menu

Now let’s talk about some room for improvements:

  • Fix the laggy animation.
  • Animation while toggling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • Show the current user icon alongside the screenshot button, etc.
  • Adapt the volume bar into one of those toggle buttons.

Despite all those flaws, we can all agree that it is magnitudes better than the old, collapsed menu-style quick settings panel.


Let’s get to the elephant in the room: Theming is irredeemably broken. Since the integration of libadwaita into core GNOME apps, theming has become increasingly more difficult. As a GNOME theming enthusiastic, I am hardly happy about this.

Theming for gnome-shell, while hard to keep track of all GNOME’s new features, is still working. It just requires “user themes” extension to work. Theming for GTK apps, however, is another story. GTK-3 applications (called legacy apps nowadays), still works. The problem arose when we try to theme GTK-4 apps, especially those who use libadwaita.

broken theming

Ok I get it, theming kind of works? libadwaita apps are still customizable, despite being limited on that front. But to me, this discrepancy between GTK-3 and GTK-4 apps completely ruined the possibility of getting a consistent desktop style. Seriously, how is the Settings app so ugly after theming?

Although theming on GNOME is so bad right now, I do believe it is a good change in the long run. libadwaita might be causing UX hiccups between GTK apps currently, but the promise of having consistent UI across all apps is too good to ignore. Not to mention its improvements on convergence. Let’s hope that theming for libadwaita gets more customizable and that more apps move to GTK-4.


GNOME 43 is still another great update. Not too much things got broken, and Quick settings panels makes the GNOME experience better than ever. While we might not have theming right now, at least the default Adwaita theme is looking better than ever! The old GNOME is so ugly that it’s the entire reason I got into theming. Currently, GNOME finally looks modern out of the box.

Wait, what do you mean GNOME 43 added a lot to Web? Nah it’s probably nothing.

Also, this is undeniably the best feature in the entirety of GNOME:

about panel

You can left click to copy an app’s version number from its “About” page! Yes!