Staying on GTK3 and GNOME 3.38 this cycle

I don’t want to be the party pooper here, and I’d love to have proper desktop icons, but isn’t this the elephant in the room:

But it is still an alpha development, so it probably still have a lot of bugs. Use with care.


It is still more stable than the old one from my personal experience. Even if that line wasn’t updated for years (documentation is not the highest priority, I guess). I think that contacting Rastersoft and planning together a feasible outcome is the best thing that can be achieved at the moment. From my experience he is quite an active upstream (the latest release is from two weeks ago, he is quite busy and from my point of view it is better maintained).

Being able to drag files to the desktop from Nautilus is quite a nice feature.


This is true, and it would be great if Canonical could lend him a hand. But since lack of resources for proper extension maintenance was being discussed, it seems unwarranted to move to a more complex extension which the author states is alpha quality. Anyway, I hope it could be done.

Nice, thanks.
I eventually need to resync from master again, as they push many things over one week. Just ping me on messenger xyz when you or your colleagues work on this

Instead of removing the quiet popular dock, you could eventually give it a fixed bottom position :slight_smile:
Removing would bring some performance improvements though, as I’ve seen the dock lag and shutter from time to time - Every gnome-shell extension added reduces the performance of the gnome-shell in the end because it is single threaded, as far as I know.

I actually like how stable and unchanging the existing desktop-icons code is. It only gets bug fixes and isn’t subject to feature development causing new bugs.

Only the performance issue stops me from using it, but that’s on my own backlog to solve.

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Instead of removing the quiet popular dock, you could eventually give it a fixed bottom position

But it’s not so quiet when it has been breaking the overview for months, and it’s not the first time it happens. The overview is central to the GNOME experience and that an extension is cropping window previews at the bottom is no minor issue . It’s not that I’m complaining about maintenance, on the contrary I kinda dislike when I see Daniel, Marco et al putting too much time and effort on extensions that tend to break again with each upstream major release. But I know they are symbolic or emblematic to many people, besides the cold cost-benefit analysis. Fortunately there is Extensions now :wink:

Calling the overview broken is a bit overstating the issue there, it’s a cosmetic issues and checking launchpad it seems not something users actively complain about. Not saying it shouldn’t be fixed but that’s the reason is was prioritized yet.

Ideally the always visible dock option would be provided upstream. Endless did usability testing confirming that the option would be valuable to a class of users and are wanting to work upstream to try to get that option added. If that happens we will help with the work and probably move away from the extension.

The dock and desktop icons do require maintenance but they bring value to our users and we not considering shipping without those.


This would be the absolut best option for everyone (with a gsetting), and I can’t believe that RHEL wouldn’t like this option either, because they ship RHEL with a lot of extensions to make the desktop more “classic”, at least in the time I worked for IBM (until last year).

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Ideally the always visible dock option would be provided upstream.

No doubt this is the best possible outcome from a maintenance perspective. That said, I’ve read some rationale from upstream, I can’t remember if it was targeted specifically against a dock, but it was something along the lines: “then people don’t use the overview that much, so they don’t use multiple workspaces, so they ask you for a minimize option, so… and we’re back in a Windows clone”. I get the point, they want the overview to be a focal point, the locus of awareness about where everything is located, what it is doing, how can it be found. From this perspective, one can also understand the reluctance to add systray icons.

It may be unrelated to this topic, but could the desktop and the dock extensions be decoupled from the ubuntu-desktop package in order for the extensions to be removed without removing ubuntu-desktop? Would a recommends suffice instead of a depends?

Not a direct answer to your question, but both can be easily disabled with a switch toggle in the extension app, which is my personal solution to get better performance


Yes, I disable them too in the extensions app. However, extensions still affect gnome-shell even when they’re disabled.

How is it so? In which way?

I remember having a bug from a shell extension, and the bug didn’t go way by just disabling the extension. I had to completely remove the extension to get rid of the bug.

I don’t want to write what I think about this kind of logic and design decision making as to not violate the code of conduct but you can probably all picture it in your minds.

Ideally the logic should be: bring the dock back, bring the minimize back, bring the tray icons back, bring the global menus back. And the basis for this is that the users want those, ask for those constantly and because it worked great until it was removed.

Leave the overview alone. It will never be more than an app drawer. Never. Why? Because users wanna do their work and not marvel their app overview, they wanna use the apps and switch between them as fast as possible to get their work done. They don’t wanna spend time in the app drawer. To do what? To admire their awesome design that they copied from Apple? Give me a break.

Like what’s the point of even having a desktop in GNOME 40? To admire their cool wallpaper?

My opinion is that GNOME does do very nice and cool designs but they just failed to put it all together in a meaningful way workflow wise. It looks great, and many features are really useful. But handicapping a user just to differentiate itself from the other OSs while still copying Apple design wise is just… I’m not gonna say it, you can imagine what I’m thinking.

I like that they copy Apple, I hate that they are destroying the experience by trying to reinvent and failing to reinvent how users should interact with the OS (apps, menus etc).


Maybe because they simply don’t need them :wink:

What I don’t get is: what’s wrong with a dockbar? You’ll still be able to use workspaces.
You don’t like it? Don’t use it, switch it off…
I mean, I’m fine with one workspace but I will never tell people:“don’t use multiple workspace!!”. I simply don’t use them but I understand that for others it’s a useful feature.

In this case I perfectly understand Ubuntu developers that take care of not breaking the workflow of a huge base of users.

[OT] Gosh I got it only now… does MacOS have quarter window tiling?
If not that’s why in 10 years Gnome has never implemented a native quarter window tiling (can’t find any other reasonable reason).


I have to say that I disagree with the “bad Apple copycat” opinion. I find the Overview to be a more coherent experience than the combination of Mission Control and Spotlight and I get the logic behind it. Personally, I like the vanilla experience, but I don’t feel it’s strongly incompatible with an optionally docked dash and desktop icons (and MacOS has both). Sadly it’s noticeable worse than Mission Control performance wise, I hope this will improve in the next few years, but other than that I believe it’s good, partly original (as everything), design.


I don’t think they are a “bad Apple copycat”. I think they copy Apple in a way that makes the interface more sane than Apple has. If you put a Windows user in front of Apple computer they wouldn’t know how to even open an overview, switch the apps, go to full screen or anything.

Now with Gnome would be so much better but they are doing a terrible mistake by removing a dock, tray icons, global menus, minimize and maximize buttons.
But, with a few extensions like Ubuntu ships, I think Gnome incorporates all the benefits and good things from Apple and ease of use of Ubuntu.

If they only brought back desktop dock, tray icons, desktop icons and global menus it would be a perfect desktop environment.

I really and truly never understood the reasoning behind why they removed all of these things especially the global menus. Those menus will never stop existing, those are present on both Windows and MacOS. And any cross platform app will have those and tray icons, so I’ll never understand why they removed it.


This is going OT, I will digress just a bit more. IMO, there are two different issues: 1. Is GNOME design internally inconsistent or arbitrary or simplistic? 2. Does the attitude of the GNOME team regarding disruption, innovation and integration harm a comparatively small, already fragmented, community/ecosystem? Regarding the first point, I think they have a rather consistent and clean approach to the desktop which promotes focus and productivity. But I also believe this principled, reductionist, approach has sometimes been taken too far too fast (removing systray, “forcing” CSD, etc) as if they had the upper hand and everyone else would follow suit. This is dangerous, because third-parties that barely care about Linux would have to migrate complex stacks and platforms to GTK3, then GTK4, CSD, Wayland, new notification and search paradigms and interfaces, etc. And, OTOH, small community projects may have the interest but not the resources to do that. Or they may be worried about some level of GNOME lock-in. Few apps => fewer apps => no apps, a feedback loop we don’t want. Notice that not all the disruption is GNOME-specific and not all GNOME-specific traits have been listed (for example, I believe that not having desktop icons or a dockable dash are lesser concerns). That said, the GNOME project has sort of a vision and limited resources to pursue it, so it’s legitimate that they consequently limit the scope of their responsibilities. One could argue that they have significant coordination ability in a complex game we as a community are playing and, therefore, their responsibility exceeds the mere technical quality of their product. It might be so, but providing a smooth transition path and at the same time not stagnating is not a minor feat, we might be asking too much.

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I agree with you 100%, just don’t agree at all with only 3 of their design choices. Removing global menus, removing desktop dock, removing min max buttons.

Apple has CSD and global menus and desktop dock. And they probably have a good reason for that, and it is not legacy apps I can tell you that.