Your GNOME Tips, Tricks, and Such: Tell Me Them

GNOME Logo Decided to mix things up a bit and start using GNOME on Fedora 20 as my main desktop, at least until such time I get bored with it, annoyed with it, or something else catches my attention.

Had been using KDE as my desktop, and that was working just fine: I just decided to change things up a bit when I reconfigured my system recently. (Added a second SSD so I’d have room for a CentOS partition.)

First thing I did was install GNOME Tweak Tools, because… no minimize button makes me crazy. Whether it’s “better” to have a minimize button or not, I’ll leave to UX/UI folks to debate. What I know is I’ve been using window managers of some type or another for more than 20 years that have a minimize button, and while this old dog isn’t too old to learn new tricks, I’m choosy about which tricks I’m willing to spend the time learning.

Added Guake because a drop-down terminal is a nice thing to have. Added Pidgin because I prefer that to Empathy.

I will note, I’m using GNOME on my work-issued ThinkPad T530 with a 27″ Cinema Display connected (when I’m home). (Nice of the Lenovo folks to have a Mini DisplayPort connector on these…) If I recall correctly, GNOME got dinged for poor multi-monitor support some releases ago. If that was actually a problem, it seems to be handled by now. Everything is working quite well in that regard.

What GNOME extensions would you recommend? Any tips, tricks, or hidden gems might I find in current GNOME that are worth looking for?

13 thoughts on “Your GNOME Tips, Tricks, and Such: Tell Me Them

  1. Here’s my set of extensions used on Fedora 20 on a Thinkpad W530:

    1. Autohide Battery — Trivial, but this ThinkPad stays plugged in most of the time.

    2. Better Volume Indicator — Gives me easier muting.

    3. Dash to Dock — Great stuff! Transforms the Dash into a traditional, useful, and configurable dock. Sine qua non. Reliably and quickly updated for new Gnome releases.

    4. Desktop Scroller — So I can scroll between workspaces from the screen edges with the mouse wheel. Meh.

    5. Message Tray on bottom right corner — Trigger message tray popup only by pushing cursor into lower right corner. (Still doesn’t work unless I edit some Gnome javascript.)

    6. No Topleft Hot Corner — Hot corners annoy me. Don’t need Gnome’s once I install Dash to Dock.

    7. Quite from Dash — Adds on option to quit an app to its icon in the Dash/Dock.

    8. Topicons — So far,reliably puts icons for older gizmos like Dropbox into the top panel, rather then burying them down in the message tray.

    9. User Themes — Needed to get any themes you might install to work.

    (Also add the Infinality font packages, and use the Ubuntu settings, and install my own favorite fonts.)

  2. This, I finally got Fedora loaded on my USB Flashdrive & working & I need all the help I can get for my Unix/Linux class at St Louis Community College as well as my Cisco classes when I have to use the CLI to setup switches & routers. I need some links to some good lectures on Youtube or something…HELP…

  3. 1. “Connection Manager” by sciancio – Simple GUI app for Gnome 3 that provides a menu for initiating SSH/Telnet/Custom Apps connections

    2. “Drop Down Terminal” by zzrough – Drop down terminal toggled by a keystroke (the key above tab by default) for advanced users

    3. “QuickLaunch” by mm – Launch custom made .desktop files from a directory

    4. “Weather” by Neroth – A simple extension for displaying weather information from several cities in GNOME Shell

    5. “Weeks Start on ╬ťonday …” by luciangabor – … or maybe not, and that’s why the start day is configurable in the preferences.



        I want a terminal that fits in the gnome-shell spirit: elegant, fast, simple, straight to the point.

        It is an extension (easy to install), it provides a nice default shortcut, a fast, but non-disruptive animation, does not consume anything if never used, etc. but it will not get all the features of gnome-terminal, that really is not the point. Use guake or yakuake instead if you want a full-fledged equivalent (albeit looking less integrated).

        … and that’s basically why i use it too. besides, vte3 was already installed by anaconda.

  4. I decided, after exploring the Gnome extensions, to dispense with Gnome 2 as a way to interface to Linux (Fedora 20).
    I found some wonderful tweaks that are worth promoting. Here are the ones I chose.
    a) Appearance — No change
    b) Desktop — On to enable Home, Trash, Mounted Volumes.
    c) Extensions —
    c1) Drop Down Terminal. Wow, what a wonderful extension, I assigned this function to F9 key. When you press F9, a half screen of terminal drops down, and you can setup yum, or whatever and press F9, and it rolls up to run in the background. Want to check on something while you are doing something else, press F9,
    c2) Lock Keys — useful for me as I have a wireless keyboard. I do like to know if the numlock or shiftlock are activated.
    c3) Places status Indicator — It shows the most frequently visited subdirectories. Go there with one click. Saves clicking on “Files” browser, and the use of multiple mouse clicks to descend the directory tree to where you want to end up
    c4) Recent Items (About the same as Frequent, except it is a historical reminder of what I was doing yesterday before I left the system. (Sometimes I get distracted, and it is a great memory aide and shortcut.
    c5) Taskbar — Install this and you will not require Gnome 2 again. I configured Taskbar as follows:
    c51) Tasks on
    c52) Desktop button On
    c53) Workspace Button Off
    c54) Appview Button on
    c55) Favouries on
    c56) Align the selections to your desires
    c57)Settings — No changes
    c58) Tasks — no changes
    c59) Buttons no changes
    c5a) separators — according to your preferences.
    c5b Preview, Misc, Taskbar no change — according to your preferences
    c60 User Themes — No change

    It is best to install places after all the rest. That way it will be located close to Activities icon on the top panel.

    I would like to hear if you have tried my setup. My email is
    lsatenstein at yahoo dot com

  5. I forgot to mention in the previous tweak, that I was informing you about the tweaktool settings. “Frequent” is the Gnome desktop “Frequent”

  6. I recently switched to Gnome from KDE just to try it out. I like the simplicity. What I miss the most in the included applications in KDE. I could not find a default picture viewer for files. I saw Gnome photo, but it does not work for files.

    For extensions, I use caffeine for when I watch movies to prevent the screen from sleeping. It does pretty well auto-detecting when I watch I movies. For things like Google Hangouts, I just click it manually.

    I also added the Advanced Volume Mixer extension to better simulate KMix allowing you to manage volumes by App.

    Also, my ThinkPad has no caps lock indicator. I installed the Lock keys extension to give a good indicator.

    One of the features that I really like is having the message area hidden. I can always use Meta-M to show them.

    I also like the online accounts feature for adding Google Docs and even the calendar for my work (Exchange). Although you can technically do much of it through KDE and its PIM settings, Gnome makes it much easier.

    Overall I like the simple interface. The probably miss the open desktop integration in KDE the most. I often like experimenting with new looks and icons. Gnome makes that overly hard.

  7. I don’t run any extensions.

    You can get the full date in the panel with tweak-tool, I like that.

    Use the keyboard, it’s really much nicer that way. start+(a few characters from the app name)+enter to run an app. alt-tab to switch apps. I don’t actually look at the overview much at all, myself.

    shift+ctrl+alt+r will start/stop a screencast that’ll be saved in ~/Videos – handy, sometimes.

    GNOME Online Accounts is getting pretty awesome – you can configure various types of accounts and they’ll be integrated into GNOME apps/desktop in some neat ways. e.g. set up an OwnCloud or Google account and you can integrate the calendar and contacts into evolution-data-server, so the Shell itself, Evo, and any other apps that use e-d-s will show your appointments, contacts etc. Nautilus will show your cloud storage. Documents can show…documents from Google. Photos can be integrated from Flickr or Facebook.

  8. The one extension I like to have is Caffeine. It inhibits the screensaver when I need it, like during presentations. And it’s super simple. Hit the coffee cup, you’re golden. Love it!

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