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Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Ron Yorston has posted a set of GNOME Shell extensions "for grumpy old stick-in-the-muds." Through some JavaScript magic, these tweaks add application launchers to the panel, restore static workspaces, and more. People who are unhappy with the GNOME 3 interface changes might want to give this add-on a try.
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Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 13:47 UTC (Mon) by Hausvib6 (guest, #70606) [Link]

That is so cool. Reimplementing GNOME2 using JavaScript on top of GNOME3.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 14:15 UTC (Mon) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

The beauty of open source :)

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 15:03 UTC (Mon) by Zizzle (guest, #67739) [Link]

You sir are a hero.

One click application launches and being able to use our "spatial" memory to locate our apps across static desktops is a massive productivity win.

Don't let the GNOME mafia shoot you down. Keep up the good work.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 16:37 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"GNOME Mafia"? Really? The capability to build these type of extensions is part of the design of GNOME Shell. So things seem to be working as intended. One could be thankful to the extensions developers *and* GNOME project.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 17:27 UTC (Mon) by GhePeU (subscriber, #56133) [Link]

One _could_ be thankful... if they hadn't arbitrarily gutted the useful functionalities in the first place. Relying on third-party extensions who could be broken anytime just to restore a bit of sanity reminds me to much of other systems.

That said, it's nice that these extensions do exist and I'm thankful to _their_ developer.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 17:46 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

I don't think it is arbitrary. One could disagree with the design but it is obviously a result of a design first approach (the mockups were developed and released much earlier than the code).

I heard similar things when Mozilla Firefox became more popular than Seamonkey but the system of extensions have flourishes and Mozilla has in turn facilitated development, providing hosting and made them easier to develop. Since these are the early days, extensions are hosted at

http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-shell-extensions

Whenever the API of GNOME Shell changes, the extensions can be quickly fixed. (Think Linux kernel here) I have packaged all these and they are available in the Fedora repo. In time, perhaps as the framework matures, one can expect the API to become stable.

If one agrees that extensions are useful and extensions not only allow adding some features from a previous release but also provides opportunity to add more features easily than ever before (compared to applets for instance), then we implicitly are thanking the developers who provided the framework for these extensions automatically when we thank the extension developers. One doesn't go without the other and certainly doesn't warrant calling a free software project "mafia".

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 21:00 UTC (Mon) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

If the Gnome folks didn't intend people to much around and modify the Gnome shell environment in different ways they would not of bothered to include a built-in Gnome-shell javascript debugger.

People who think that somehow Gnome folks are being desktop fascists or something like that really need to open their eyes and relax.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 23:19 UTC (Mon) by dashesy (guest, #74652) [Link]

This as an opt-out feature in Gnome3, vs an opt-in true option.
The problem with this approach is that over time you end up using more and more 3rd party scrips and at one point you do not feel at home.

Stable API myth

Posted May 10, 2011 6:04 UTC (Tue) by nicooo (guest, #69134) [Link]

From the document: "The kernel to userspace interface is the one that application programs use, the syscall interface. That interface is _very_ stable over time, and will not break."

Stable API myth

Posted May 10, 2011 6:35 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

I was referring to the way the other kernel interfaces are treated obviously. If there is a break, all the consumers are fixed in the kernel along with the change.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 12, 2011 3:42 UTC (Thu) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

Mozilla extensions aren't that important. A tiny little handful of uber-nerds uses them. The rest of the human race uses stock Firefox. Which is designed to be usable for them and not require extensions to make up for the "designers" (read as "idiot hobbyist ex-web-developers playing at being real designers who conned what used to be a UX-oriented and technologically competent team into making the biggest pile of bafflingly poorly designed crap since Microsoft Bob").

I'm getting sick of hearing how GNOME 3 was design-first. It's a _bad design_. I don't care how it got there, what went first, who did what, or what the process was. The fact that you all were conned into implementing a crappy design after seeing mockups is not a redeeming element of the GNOME3 story in any way. Especially when all the other neat mockups from back then are still unimplemented. Why bother implementing all those when you can instead sink a couple years into rewriting all your working code from scratch, in JavaScript?

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 12, 2011 4:31 UTC (Thu) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841) [Link]

Mozilla extensions aren't that important. A tiny little handful of uber-nerds uses them.
Uber-nerds or not, that tiny little handful seems to have downloaded more than 300 million copies of the top three extensions alone.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 23:04 UTC (Mon) by vladimir (guest, #14172) [Link]

I think the issue here is what appears to be arbitrary changes to the desktop that are not fixable by run-of-the-mill users, i.e. the vast majority of us who don't write JavaScript and don't know the GNOME shell API. I almost went back to GNOME 2.32.

* Why can't I get the panels to hide?
* Why can't I move them or delete them.
* Why are the elements of my panels different?
* Why doesn't GNOME 3 honor my choice of session applications (i.e. those that used to be specified by gnome-session-save)?
* What happened to the shortcuts in my panels?
* Why are the menus different.

I wasn't consulted on the changes ;-) but had I been, I would have insisted on an installation procedure that optionally moved my entire setup to GNOME 3 seamlessly.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 6:39 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"I think the issue here is what appears to be arbitrary changes to the desktop that are not fixable by run-of-the-mill users, i.e. the vast majority of us who don't write JavaScript and don't know the GNOME shell API"

The vast majority can install and use Firefox extensions just fine even though they don't know how it works usually. As long as they are readily available as easily enabled, users can install them just fine. Extension developers will have to understand it but we have dozens of gnome shell extensions already within the span of a few weeks and are already providing capabilities not available in GNOME 2.x. This is just the beginning.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 16:34 UTC (Tue) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

Installing extensions for Firefox is a bit different and always was pretty simple even from the start. For gnome shell there's no UI for installing or managing extensions and no obvious way to know that any exist.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 17:31 UTC (Tue) by coulamac (guest, #21690) [Link]

Not yet. That's something the Gnome folks are working on and hopefully will be ready for 3.2.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 11, 2011 8:35 UTC (Wed) by mpr22 (guest, #60784) [Link]

I think this is a big enough feature omission that GNOME should apologize and retroactively call 3.0 an alpha.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 20:23 UTC (Mon) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Don't let the GNOME mafia shoot you down. Keep up the good work.

That is easy, as there is no GNOME mafia. Nor do we "shoot down" anyone. You might want to read up on http://live.gnome.org/CodeOfConduct.

There are various people within GNOME. My impression that they're all friendly. Though sometimes people assume that friendly means 'do what I want'.

You said "don't let the GNOME mafia shoot you down". I'd like to understand why you say this. Did you interact with GNOME and got a bad response? If so, can you give a link?

I have no problems giving this person a Git account on GNOME so these extensions can be hosted on git.gnome.org. Further, I doubt you've really interacted with GNOME.

Or in other words: seems you're saying things you seemingly do not have any experience with.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 16:06 UTC (Tue) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

The Gnome Mafia killed off focus-follows-mouse, right?

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 18:47 UTC (Tue) by sramkrishna (guest, #72628) [Link]

It is available via gconf. Nobody got rid of it.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 11, 2011 14:14 UTC (Wed) by sbdep (subscriber, #13282) [Link]

This is the answer I find the most ironic. The philosophy from Gnome 1.4 to Gnome 2 was "simplify; kill off all options; if we keep an options, there must be a very good reason and not just a single person complaining". The options that were removed were removed from gconf as well since, "all options that are available require more ongoing maintenance" Slowly over the life of Gnome 2, some options reappeared as people made better arguments for why they should exist.

Now with Gnome 3, it appears to be: kill off the user configurable options; hide them in gconf where they are virtually undiscoverable to normal users; but we will keep the code maintenance burden around.

Anybody else think there has been a large scale replacement of maintainers between the Gnome 2 transition and the GNome 3 transition?

All I can say is that at some point I switched from Gnome 2 to KDE3. When KDE4 was a disaster that tried to change the desktop metaphor I switched away to XFCE. No idea where I would go if XFCE follows up with a major change in the desktop metaphor.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 18:52 UTC (Tue) by ovitters (subscriber, #27950) [Link]

Hope you're being sarcastic. This as I already indicated it made no sense and furthermore I dislike the use of emotional arguments. So continuing to behave the same would be a bit sad.

For anyone else: focus follows mouse is available.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 16:12 UTC (Mon) by clump (subscriber, #27801) [Link]

Very interested in trying these extensions. I'm a "touch typist" and have grown quite fond of static workspaces. Hoping there will be a way to disable hot corners as well.

I'm very happy that GNOME3 is willing to push the envelope.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 9, 2011 21:07 UTC (Mon) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

Gnome 3 is actually just about the most keyboard friendly desktop there is.

One of the biggest changes is that you can call forth applications by name.

So say your in your browser and have a dozen applications open you can type

<windows-key> gnome-terminal <enter>

And that will bring forth your gnome-terminal. No need to alt-tab through dozens of different windows or whatever.

You can access search this way. Launch new applications, open existing windows, and search the web. Hopefully they will add additional search features to this. There is a lot of potential.

Also they implement not only the ability to alt-tab through applications, but 'alt-tab' through just multiple windows in a particular application. So if you have 10 terminals open you can switch through those without getting other applications mixed in on it.

http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/CheatSheet

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 0:19 UTC (Tue) by clump (subscriber, #27801) [Link]

I do make heavy use of keyboard shortcuts. I have shortcuts for commonly used applications and use a terminal for the rest. I have a workflow where I have a browser in one workspace, email in another, etc. I use keybindings for all window operations. GNOME 3's lack of static work spaces breaks the flow.

I mainly use the mouse when browsing the web. Quite frequently I don't even start Xorg.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 5:59 UTC (Tue) by jzbiciak (subscriber, #5246) [Link]

<windows-key> gnome-terminal <enter>

I'm curious... what happens if you're someone like me with over a dozen gnome-terminal windows open across two monitors and 4 desktops? (Some pinned to appear on all desktops, some not...)

From the sounds of it, my stick may be shoved further in the mud than most. ;-)

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 6:43 UTC (Tue) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

1. Use alt-tab or 'overview' (windows key) to switch to a terminal if you don't already have one active.

2. Use alt-~ (the alt and then "button above tab") to then select which specific gnome-terminal window you want to access.

A alternative is to go into 'alt-tab' and then release tab while holding the alt button (like you do when you continue to cycle through app windows using tab button). Then use the arrow keys to navigate to which window you want.

Beyond that your either going to have to learn some javascript and do some hacking to get the very specific behaver you desire.

Personally I prefer to have only a couple terminals open. I depend on 'tmux' to deal with multiple shells. I have scripts that will create tmux layouts for me and other ones I can use to do stuff like automatically create new windows with ssh sessions to this or that machine. Fun stuff like that.

I used to use screen, but I found tmux's ability to be controlled through shell scripts and the tmux utility superior.

Some of us think spatially

Posted May 11, 2011 15:19 UTC (Wed) by Pc5Y9sbv (guest, #41328) [Link]

I keep feeling like there has been a coup, and our nice spatial desktop has been supplanted by people who only know left from right when it is written on their sleeves!

I use a 3x3 matrix of virtual desktops w/ large dual screens as my development system. I have deeply trained habits for which virtual desktop has what sort of activity, and most are paired for single hot-key movement between related sets. I have multiple browsers, dozens of xterms, 4 or more emacs windows, and other assorted programs that come and go.

E.g. email/IM/browsing is one step away from calendar/general office tools. But it is also one step way from code editor, deployment, and log watching shells, and another browser and set of terminals where I test web services. And that development space is also one step away from sysadmin/virtual machine management screens. About 50% of my virtual desktops are empty in adjacent slots to these work areas, so I can configure other more specialized working sets which are also related to development, sysadmin, or office work.

I have also experienced how GNOME has slowly abandoned my workflow. Session management used to work, but is now a crapshoot. It often fails to restore my many xterms to their proper locations on differnet workspaces. Sometimes in the middle of a yum update, it suddenly slams them all to the same 80x25 size and same location even in the middle of an existing session!

Some of us think spatially

Posted May 11, 2011 22:11 UTC (Wed) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

I said much the same in a comment a couple of months back and was told that my workflow didn't matter. Switch to something else: the GNOME devs won't listen to you.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 10, 2011 18:55 UTC (Tue) by sramkrishna (guest, #72628) [Link]

Please note this line from the article:
"The extensions hook into the very core of the GNOME shell."

Not just GNOME Shell but possibly other pieces of the eco system. You can do some powerful things. It of course also will introduce instability.. if you install an extension all bets are off on stability. So be careful.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 12, 2011 13:44 UTC (Thu) by liljencrantz (guest, #28458) [Link]

So you're saying that extensions and the extension API are currently more of a alpha preview than an actually working feature? Shame, but hopefully things will stabilize in a year or two, and we might actually draw some benefit from the JavaScript rewrite.

Some interesting GNOME Shell extensions

Posted May 12, 2011 20:51 UTC (Thu) by sramkrishna (guest, #72628) [Link]

No, I'm saying that extensions are powerful and what people write can lead to instability. Just like one would have with writing any piece of code. Same thing as extensions in a browser. Some browser extensions may not have had the peer review and testing to make a browser stable.

A good extension would go through the kind of diligence that we would have with any other module in GNOME. Without it, "caveat emptor"


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