Getting global menu back

This is a feature request to get global menu back in Ubuntu Gnome in a future release. The Unity global menu and pixel saving features where even better than on MacOS and dropping that was a great loss.

There are prof-of-concept gnome extensions that add global menu and pixel save (undecorate windows), but both are rough around the edges, they don’t always work, but can be a starting point for official support.

I also opened a launchpad bug issue, but I guess this is a better place to discuss this


I suggest you to reach out GNOME developers as well, since this change will need upstream approval

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I just found this Gnome extension Unite which does the pixel saving job flawlessly. This should be included in Ubuntu by default to keep the Unity experience.

Then there is which adds global menus but is unpolished.

Last there is another pixel saving which is older and the extension Unite supersedes it.

This is an actively maintained fork of pixel saver which brings also some nice additions.
“Can’t live without it.” “Total disaster”<- just trumping a bit
No really, it’s really good if you come from unity =)

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This extension depends on some Xorg utilities

Are we sure it works on wayland?

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But since more and more applications switch to headerbars, it isn’t that big of an issue.

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Thank you!!! I just installed it in Wayland with Ubuntu 18.10 -> looks great!
not usable any more on gnome 3.30 … and especially not supported any more in future gnome versions . :cry:

not usable any more on gnome 3.30… and especially not supported any more in future gnome versions .

Yes true. The Ubuntu developers decided not just discontinued Unity, but also they remove the patches to the core Gnome applications like is Nautilus and that was the way to support the Global Menu in that applications.

In that context a third party developer will have only a few alternatives as solution options:

1- Hack the GNOME core applications by himself and add again the menubar.
2- Continue the develop of an extension without give support to the GNOME core applications.
3- Discontinue the extension.

The option #1: This was frustrated when the Gtk developers also decided no support general-purpose modules

The option #2 This have not sense, as will be implement something that can not be used with the most commons applications.

The option #3 This was the option that was taken as is the more reasonable in this context.

Well yes, is worse than just the discontinuation of an extension, because was discontinued Unity, the intention of the global menu, the support for it and then the last and less important thing, was discontinued that extension.

The discontinuation of the extension finally was as a normal consequence to all that previously things. Swimming against the river flow is of course difficult.

Please, do not include any of these extensions by default. All of them are based on very rough hacks, AFAICR using xwininfo or xprop and resorting to heuristics and trickery to infer X client ids. Also I remember unpleasant visual artifacts when resuming a suspended session. And this won’t change without Gnome support; indeed, Gnome has recently removed support for a Gtk X property that hid titlebar on maximization. Everything in Gnome has been moving to CSD headerbars for a long time now. By chosing Gnome, Ubuntu has bought this, whether you like it or not. Some things can be adapted to keep the old experience but this is not one of them.


Only Gnome apps use headerbars, I use PyCharm daily and having such extension is so much welcome (using Unite) as otherwise Gnomes wastes like 1cm of pixels on the top.

Note how this is similar to the space used on a mac:

Mac uses thin decorations for apps with no headerbars, while in Gnome they’re always fat, so wasting space for the sake of consistency.


Another option would be to use another flavor. Plasma and MATE support global menu (and Ubuntu MATE has HUD support by default, too). And I think Budgie, does support it, too but don’t quote me on that.

Are you talking about some very recent change which will only show up in future Ubuntu releases?

Because I’ve been using Unite for the last few weeks, and it’s been very solid (unlike similar extensions I tried before). It would be too bad if it finally has to be discontinued.

Thanks. This seems about tiled windows in particular, however.

I’m running GNOME 3.32.1, the Unite extension works fine, and it seems to have more features than Maximal.

I’ve already commented about the way those extensions are implemented and about the way upstream support for implementing them right is not going to happen. The above was only an example showing the direction things are taking. Number of features implemented on top of horrible hacks is not related to the point I’m making.

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There are people here that just are speaking without be a developer or know anything really about what happen. You can find useful information of what exactly was removed in what context and for what Gtk version here.

FWIW, it’s not so clear for me from that thread either.

One comment says “please don’t remove [a feature]”, while another says “The motivation for these patches is to support extensions like pixel-saver and maximus on wayland”. Was the actually committed patch the one or the other? Will it help the said extensions?

The version is clear, though (GTK 4).

One comment says “please don’t remove [a feature]”, while another says “The motivation for these patches is to support extensions like pixel-saver and maximus on wayland”

This issue was create to improve the support of that feature in Gtk and it ended up in the remove of it for Gtk4. So, probably that is the reason of your confusion.

Was the actually committed patch the one or the other?

See the list of patches and the one that say committed is the committed one. It was: Remove GtkWindow::hide-titlebar-when-maximized.

Will it help the said extensions?

Not at all.

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Thanks for the explanation. And oh well.

There’s still Qt, I guess.

I also wonder how Mate is going to adapt: the titlebar-less maximized windows are among its official supported features.