GNOME Shell Frippery

The shell in GNOME 3 can be modified by writing extensions in JavaScript. Here are some extensions I've written to provide a user experience more akin to that of GNOME 2.

Move the clock

Move the clock from the centre of the panel towards the right. This isn't a very significant change, but it was the first extension I wrote.

Favourites in panel

Place a launcher for each favourite application in the panel. It isn't possible to manage the list from the panel: instead you can add, remove or move favourite applications in the dash and the panel display will update to match. Right clicking on the icons invokes a menu that lets you perform various operations on the application.

The preferences dialog allows additional (non-favourite) applications to be displayed as a separate set of launchers. The launchers must be specified by adding the names of the corresponding desktop files to a list. The two sets of launchers can be configured independently. The default behaviour is to display only the favourites to the left of the panel.

Also works in classic mode.

Applications menu in panel

Replace the Activities button in the panel with an Applications menu. The menu is implemented using facilities supplied by the shell so it doesn't behave exactly like a normal menu. Right clicking on the Applications menu button invokes a dialog to let you turn off the icon, text and hot corner. If you turn off both the icon and the text the menu is disabled.

In OpenSuse it may be necessary to install libgnome-menu-3-0 and typelib-1_0-GMenu-3_0. In Ubuntu you may need to install gir1.2-gmenu-3.0.

This extension doesn't work in classic mode.

Bottom panel

Add a bottom panel, including a window list and workspace switcher.

Items in the window list have a right-click menu which allows each window to be minimised, maximised, moved to a different workspace or closed. They can be rearranged by dragging them.

Workspaces are arranged in a horizontal row, so the keybindings to change workspace have been altered to ctrl-alt-left/right. Workspaces can also be arranged in multiple rows. In this case ctrl-alt-up/down switch between rows and a row indicator appears to the left of the workspace switcher. Clicking on the row indicator changes row. The mouse scroll wheel can be used in the row indicator or workspace switcher to change workspace.

The bottom panel can be configured by right clicking on the workspace switcher. Settings available are:

This extension doesn't work in classic mode.

The extensions are available for:

They are licensed under the GPL version 2 or later. To see what's changed from previous releases check the change log for GNOME 3.34, GNOME 3.32, GNOME 3.30, GNOME 3.28.

To install them unpack the tar file in your home directory: the extensions will be placed in ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions. The extensions can be made available to all users by placing them in /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions.

Another way to get Frippery is through the GNOME Shell Extensions web site. This lets you install extensions via your web browser. You may need to install a browser plugin: see the web site for instructions.

RPMs are available for Fedora/RHEL/CentOS:

RHEL 7.7/8.0 Fedora 29 Fedora 30 Fedora 31
RPM gnome-shell-frippery-3.28.4-1 gnome-shell-frippery-3.30.2-1 gnome-shell-frippery-3.32.1-1 gnome-shell-frippery-3.34.2-1
Source RPM gnome-shell-frippery-3.28.4-1 gnome-shell-frippery-3.30.2-1 gnome-shell-frippery-3.32.1-1 gnome-shell-frippery-3.34.2-1

All current RPMs are signed with this key; earlier ones may have been signed with this key.

The Frippery extensions are intended to be used together to provide a GNOME 2-like experience. However, if you'd like to control which are enabled the best option is GNOME Tweak Tool (gnome-tweak-tool in the Fedora repositories). Alternatively you can use the brute-force method and just delete any you don't want. After installation you'll need to restart the shell to make the extensions take effect: enter 'r' in the Alt+F2 dialog or log out and in again. You can use GNOME Tweak Tool to enable and disable individual extensions without needing to restart.

The extensions hook into the very core of the GNOME shell. It's almost inevitable that future changes to the shell will break them (though I'll make every effort to unbreak them).

During development and testing I have only the Frippery extensions installed. There will be conflicts between extensions and it's impossible to test all combinations. I do try to resolve conflicts that are brought to my attention but all I can guarantee is that the Frippery extensions are compatible with one another.

Ron Yorston
8th May 2011 (updated 6th December 2019)