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Cover image for Must have GNOME extensions

Must have GNOME extensions

deepu105 profile image Deepu K Sasidharan Originally published at deepu.tech Updated on ・4 min read

Originally published at deepu.tech.

I'm a sucker for nice polished UI and great UX. While there are a lot of Linux Desktop environments out there providing great UX and UI, I found GNOME to be the perfect one for my liking. Yes, I have seen/tried a few others. I also found some which are more polished and providing a better default UX out of the box than GNOME like Deepin and Elementary. But below plugins bridge that gap and hence I choose to stick with GNOME which is the default in Fedora, hence quite stable, unless I had a compelling reason to switch.

So if you like me are a GNOME fan then below are some of the GNOME plugins you must try if you haven't already. I have listed the plugins I use in my earlier post in the series. here I detail the ones that are a must-have.

GNOME Tweaks

This nifty tool lets you tweak/configure a lot of GNOME configuration and should have been included by default in every distro shipping with GNOME. You can customize the appearance, install extensions, configure mouse & keyboard and so on. It can be found in the software center of your distro. Search for "Tweaks".

Gnome extensions

You can install below extensions by visiting the link in the title of the extension below and by clicking on the on switch on the top right corner. On Chrome, you would need the GNOME Shell integration plugin to enable the switch. On Firefox, it will prompt you to install the plugin if it doesn't exist.

Dash to Dock

GNOME without this plugin almost feels annoying. IMO this plugin also should be the default GNOME setting. This one moves your GNOME dash into a highly configurable dock which can be placed on the sides or top/bottom of the screen. I find it perfect on the left side of the screen in GNOME. It can be a floating dock or fixed to look like those on Mint or KDE.

Always Zoom Workspaces

By default, the GNOME launcher does not show the workspaces, you have to hover over the right edge to see it. I find it unnecessary given you have enough real estate on the full-screen launcher and the workspace view takes only a little bit. This plugin keeps it zoomed by default.

Steal My Focus/NoAnnoyance

This is another default in GNOME that is annoying. When something needs focus these plugins brings the window up instead of the default notification. You can use any one of the plugins as both do the same thing.

AlternateTab

This replaces the default Alt+Tab with a more classical window-based switcher which IMO is more user-friendly as the default requires more keyboard navigation using the arrow keys.

Window List

This is a classic plugin that adds the window list to the bottom of the screen and is a must if you use multiple monitors as the windows are grouped and placed in the right monitor screen.

Caffeine

This one adds the ability to temporarily disable screensaver/auto-suspend and automatically activates when you go full-screen. A must-have if you are using your computer for watching videos, presentations, screencast and so on.

Clipboard Indicator

This is one my favorite. It adds a nifty clipboard manager to the top bar and provides shortcuts to cycle through clipboard entries. A real time saver.

Gistnotes

As a developer using GitHub gist a lot, this one is a very useful plugin. It lets you manage your Gists right from the desktop and you can use it like a notes app.

System-monitor

A nice system monitor plugin that sits on the top bar with a detailed view as a popup.

TopIcons Plus

This moves legacy icons form applications to the top bar for consistent UX.

I hope you find this useful. If you have any question or if you think I missed something please add a comment.

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Cover image photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

Discussion

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mustafapc19 profile image
mustafapc19

U are trying to emulate unity with these plugins rather then surrendering to the will of the gnome devs. Just surrender. You will gnome way more enjoyable. Even I use extensions but non-of them impact UX or UI much. Example GSConnect, clipboard indicator,vscode-search.

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Deepu K Sasidharan Author

I tried GNOME way and I didn't like it. I don't see how this is a Unity thing. I have never used Unity as I hated the look and feel of it.

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mustafapc19

Feels kinda unity to me. And like I said. Do not resist. Surrender. That is the gnome way. :)

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Deepu K Sasidharan Author

Sorry, Kinda opinionated when it comes to UX and default GNOME way IMO sucks in some areas :P

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mustafapc19

Even I was in the same place. I used like a gazillion extensions, some for pure aesthetic reasons. It made the shell slow and I themed a lot too. All this made shell very laggy and cluttered. One day I slashed like 10 extensions together. And now I am at 5 extensions I guess which doesn't meddle much with the UI/UX . Out of which I rarely use one(windowNavigator). Like the whole thing is is pretty much optimized for trackpad. If u want to switch just start slashing extensions one by one. And finally you'll understand vanilla gnome's U/X.

p.s for trackpad use Wayland. Many gnome apps have multi-finger gestures.

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Deepu K Sasidharan Author

As I said I'm pretty opinionated on UX and vanilla experience is not something I liked so there is no way I'm going back there again. Also, I don't think any of these extensions are heavy and anyway I have never felt any lag/clutter in my setup. Thanks for the suggestions anyway.

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memeplex

You don't need to use an extension to change the window switcher. Just go to the keyboard settings and change the Alt-Tab shortcut to Switch Windows. Also github.com/ubuntu/gnome-shell-exte... is preferred to TopIcons+, which is unmaintained and AFAIK doesn't support 3.32 (correct me if I'm wrong here, please). Thank you for the list.

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Deepu K Sasidharan Author

Hey, thanks for the Tips. Didn't know TopIcons+ was abandoned. It works for me with the latest Gnome 3.32.2 version though. I'll check the one you suggested.

Which keyboard setting do you mean, are you talking about updating the keyboard shortcut?

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memeplex

Yes, the Keyboard settings screen with the list of shortcuts. There you will find four combinations of switching settings: [Directly] Switch (Applications|Windows). Directly means without showing the switcher, those are the one mapped to Alt-Esc and Alt-F6 by default. The one in your screenshot, with the previews and icons, is Switch Windows. You can even configure if you want to show icons or not and other stuff, but for that you need Dconf Editor.

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Alex Takitani

I've tried the same plugins and similar configuration a few months back. Still not as good as Cinnamon 4.0 to emulate a "classic" desktop ( Win 7 and 10 ).