Desktop Linux: The GNOME 3 Release Series Extensions: Page 3

The GNOME Shell Extensions may be just what the Linux desktop needs to end its user revolt.


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

Posted September 11, 2012

Bruce Byfield

(Page 3 of 3)

You might also add the Evil Status Icon Forever to add GNOME2-like notifications, and either Alternate Tab or Windows Alt Tab to change how the desktop cycles through the open windows.

With these half dozen or so extensions plus whatever applet-like extensions you prefer, you will have an interface that is considerably closer to GNOME 2. Of course, it won't be as easy to customize, especially if you want to add icons to the desktop or the panel.

Also, you will have to be satisfied by the position in which controls are placed, which may not be your preference. However, by the time you finish, you should have about 90% of the functionality of GNOME 2 in return for your efforts -- somewhat less than Linux Mint's Cinnamon offers with its extensions, but for many people probably enough to satisfy them.

The beginning of the end?

The GNOME Shell Extensions site does not show the number of downloads, although you can list extensions by popularity (for the record, the top five are Alternative Status Menu, Remove Accessibility, Advanced Settings in User Menu, Media Player Indicator, and User Themes).

However, the number of extensions that recreate GNOME 2 appearance and functionality is also suggestive. The effort put into these extensions can hardly be dismissed as the work of anti-GNOME efforts, after all. And GNOME members have has already shown a willingness to pay some attention to what happens on the site.

A few weeks ago, I suggested a number of recovery strategies that GNOME might consider, including shipping with Linux Mint's GNOME 2 extensions. However, after investigating GNOME Shell's extensions, I suspect that I might have missed an obvious possibility.

I might be guilty of wishful thinking, but now I wonder if GNOME plans to continue with GNOME as it is, while promoting the extensions site as a way of appeasing users. That would save everyone's face, and allow the community as a whole to move beyond the overly-prolonged users revolt. It would allow developers in particular to focus on something new rather than re-creating what already exists.

If that is happening, then expect to see GNOME Shell Extensions add the handful of extensions needed to finish the revival of GNOME 2, followed by major distributions shipping versions of the GNOME 3 release series with a dozen or more extensions installed by default. If these things start to happen, then we'll know that we're finally seeing the end of the revolt.

And if they don't happen? Regardless, spend an hour on the GNOME Shell Extensions. You may find the effort lets you make your own separate peace.

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Tags: Gnome, desktop linux

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