It’s no secret that Gnome Shell is unique. Not many desktop environments (if any) on Linux have an entire website filled with little extensions that you can install to tweak your user experience. Perhaps that’s why so many people love Gnome Shell.
On the other hand, Gnome Shell has some serious issues. With each release extensions tend to break. This can be incredibly frustrating for users that have extensions that they depend on for their day-to-day workflow.
If this sort of problem has pestered you in the past, listen up. This article is for you. Ever since Gnome version 3.12, it has been possible to disable extension checking. This is done by messing around deep inside Gnome configuration settings, but it’s a fairly simple process.
Note: this method is considered unstable. Try at your own risk.
How to bypass version-checking for Gnome Shell extensions
To disable extension version checking in Gnome, you’ll first need to open dconf editor. You can open it via the terminal with this command:
Once you have it open, you’ll need to focus your attention on the panel on the left. You’ll notice many different options in this panel: apps, ca, com, desktop, org and system. The only option that matters in this guide is “org.” Click the arrow next to the “org” menu to reveal all the options it holds inside.
In the “org” menu find the “gnome” menu and click on the arrow next to it. Like before, clicking on the gnome menu will reveal a plethora of options. Look through them until you find the “shell” menu and click on it.
With the shell option clicked, some text will show up in the right hand side. These are hidden Gnome Shell options (which you can’t enable unless you use Dconf editor). All these options can be ignored except for one little checkbox called “disable-extension-version-validation.” Check the box and close the window. That’s it! Gnome Shell will now allow you to install any extension regardless of what version the extension calls for.
How to undo version checking
Did you decide you don’t want to have Gnome bypass extension version checks? It’s understandable, as this is a very experimental feature. To disable it, just follow the instructions listed above, except this time uncheck the check box called “disable-extension-version-validation.”
After that just restart Gnome Shell by pressing “Alt + F2” on your keyboard, type in the letter “r” and press the Enter key. This will reload the Gnome Shell. It’s like rebooting, but instead of rebooting your machine, you just restart your desktop environment.
Disable extension checks via the command line
Don’t want to disable extension checking with Dconf editor? Not to worry, you can easily accomplish the same thing by entering this terminal command:
gsettings set org.gnome.shell disable-extension-version-validation "true"
Decided you don’t want extension checks bypassed? Just enter this command here, and your changes will be reverted.
gsettings set org.gnome.shell disable-extension-version-validation "false"
After re-enabling the extension checks, your changes should be instant. If not, just press “Alt + F2” on your keyboard, type in “r” and press the Enter key. This will restart the Gnome Shell and reload all of its settings.
Gnome Shell has a lot going for it. For starters, the desktop environment is very modern and overall has a lot going for it. Very few desktops on Linux look quite as polished or are as responsive.
Still, with all the polish comes a fatal flaw: extension features. As awesome as it is to be able to load your desktop with extensions, it can come at a price. Rely on them too heavily, and you risk getting burned if the developer decides to take its time updating to the new version of Gnome.
That’s why I’m glad an option exists to disable version checking (albeit buried away). This kind of thing can be extremely handy if you just have to have an extension.
How do you feel about disabling extension version checking for Gnome? Tell us in the comments below!