9 Useful Gnome Shell Extensions for Linux

Gnome Shell allows you to modify it any way you want by installing extensions. There are many, many extensions out there to choose from. Since there are just so many, we’ve created a list containing some of the best.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-dash-to-dock

Do you like Gnome Shell’s dock but hate that you can only access it in the Activities mode? Dash to Dock to the rescue! It turns Gnome’s dash dock into a full-fledged dock for you to use.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-places-status-indicator

Remember back in the old days when Gnome had the places menu? Well, it’s possible to bring that back! With the Places Status extension you’ll have easy access to all of your filesystem bookmarks (home, documents, music, videos, etc.).

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-removable-drive-menu

With this extension any removable device (external hard drive, USB, DVD, etc.) can be managed directly from the top panel. You’ll be able to quickly unmount devices. It saves a few clicks and looks great too.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-caffeiene

Don’t you hate it when you’re reading something and your screensaver turns on? It’s something that we’ve all dealt with at one point or another. Enter Caffeine. This extension will not let Gnome Shell enable its lock screen as long as it’s enabled. If you’ve been looking for a way to temporarily disable the screensaver, Caffeine is a must.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-topicons

One of the biggest failings of Gnome 3 is the horrible support for legacy icons. Sure, if you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen, the hidden tray will show itself, but that’s not what most people want. Most people want all notifications to appear on the top panel.

Not to worry, TopIcons exists. With this extension, all system tray icons will show up on the Gnome Shell panel. It does a great job blending in too. You probably won’t even notice the difference between legacy system tray icons and newer system tray icons.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-skype-intergration

Are you an avid Skype user? Wish Gnome Shell had some integration? Don’t worry! Thanks to the Skype Integration extension, you’ll be able to add Skype as a search provider to search contacts inside the Gnome dash, make Skype use native Gnome Shell notifications, display your online status and so much more!

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-web-search-dialog

The Gnome Shell dash search is very useful. With it you can find basically anything. However, there is one thing that the dash can’t search for: Web pages. With this extension, you’ll be able to search the Web directly from your Gnome activities center.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-drop-down-terminal

The terminal is an essential part of using Linux. Like it or not, eventually you will have to use it. So, if you’re going to have a terminal, why not have a stylish one? With the Drop Down Terminal extension, you’ll have quick access to a great looking terminal right in Gnome. It’s persistent. Just press a button on your keyboard and a terminal will appear.

10-great-gnome-shell-extensions-system-monitor

Want to be able to easily check on your system at a glance? With the SystemMonitor extension, you’ll be able to check the Gnome Shell tray to check your system. The monitor shows CPU and memory usage.

Extensions are one of the reasons I love Gnome Shell, mostly because it allows you to add little modifications easily. Still, some might say that extensions are a huge failing for Gnome and that it’s silly that it’s so necessary to have to tweak Gnome. I’m not so sure I agree with this point fully.

While it can be a bit annoying to have to tack in features (by way of extensions) to add functionality that should have been there in the first place, it’s not the end of the world. This just means that you get a bit more control. You get to choose if you really want a feature there. I think that’s great.

Is your favorite Gnome Shell extension not on this list? Tell us in the comments below!

8 comments

  1. “some might say that extensions are a huge failing for Gnome and that it’s silly that it’s so necessary to have to tweak Gnome.”
    “to add functionality that should have been there in the first place”
    It depends on your point of view. Some people want everything incorporated into GNOME, including the kitchen sink. They will see GNOME extensions as a shortcoming. They are the ones that install Ubuntu Ultimate Edition or PCLinuxOS Full Monty.

    Other people want their desktop environment to be as light as possible and want to add only the features that they absolutely want/need. They see GNOME extensions as a great plus.

  2. GNOME extensions certainly cater to user preferences. Since most of my time is spent in either Emacs or Firefox, I have both of them launch as my startup applications (via tweak tool). Here, Auto Move Windows comes in handy, where Firefox will always open in workspace 1, and Emacs in workspace 2. I also have GIMP set to open in workspace 3 and Rhythmbox for workspace 4 (when I manually launch them). Great extension to use if you take advantage of your workspaces and also value keyboard shortcuts over the mouse. Because of this, Alternatetab is another extension that’s useful for me, as I can cycle between only the apps in the current workspace . The Weather extension is another must have as well.

  3. While the extensions are a clumsy but none the less powerful way to tweak gnome-shell. Gnome-shell in general and the extension implementation in particular is so buggy that they are in reality unusable.

    I am running the gnome flavor of Ubuntu 14.04 and extensions rarely loads.
    The most common reason I need to login and out again (every week or so) is that the gnome-shell end up in an inconsistent state from which it cannot recover by a simple restart of it.

    I am reluctant to admit it, but Unity in 14.04 is far more stable, and I will eventually switch back to it, for that reason alone.

    • Maybe it is the Ubuntu that is at fault, not GNOME. After all, Unity is the Ubuntu default DE and Canonical may be trying to force users into Unity by causing problems with other DEs. It has been known to happen before.

      • I have experienced this, as if you try to update gnome about 3.10 on Ubuntu 14.04, it ended up ruining my settings app, causing 80% of the settings to disappear, and then say unity-settings-daemon was not in the repos, and then cinnamon just breaking every other week.

  4. I love the fact that after I install Debian or Fedora Linux I can go through it and remove the parts of Gnome I don’t need, then I can go back and install just what I DO need. I don’t care for having everything including the kitchen sink. I just want what I need to keep my system running smoothly. No filler so to speak. As long as the “Gnome People” keep on cranking out such an awesome DE…I will keep using it!

  5. Well, I like my coffee maker in the kitchen, with the sink, so my Fed20 runs great with Gnome. Stable as a rock! :-D
    So enjoy your distros, and DE and don’t worry, leave that to Windows and MacOS users….

  6. Every person has a different need, and a different way for use computer, the extensions are not a failing of gnome, its a way to personalize it.

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