Archives For Gnome

For PC / notebook has a small display, it’s possible to hide the top panel in GNOME desktop to get more spaces and/or focus on your work.

There’s a ‘Hide Top Bar‘ extension that enables ability to auto-hide the top bar, just like the left dock does. However, in this tutorial I’m going to introduce another extension.

It’s a very light extension that the developer promoted it has no options and no bugs! It will ALWAYS hide the top-bar, except only in overview screen. Just like GNOME shows the dock only in overview without Ubuntu Dock (Dash-to-dock) extension.

The extension will also disable the top-left hot-corner, which is used to trigger the ‘Activities‘ overview. It’s designed for those who are accustomed to start overview screen using the Windows (or Super) key, or three-finger touchpad gestures in GNOME 40 (defaults in Ubuntu 21.10).

As the picture shows though the top-bar is hidden, users can still click on top-right corner to get the system tray & indicator menu, or click on top-center to view the clock menu when there’s NO maximized app window.

Install Hide Panel Extension:

The extension so far works on Gnome 3.36 ~ 41, which means Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 21.10, and other Linux, e.g., Debian 11 and Fedora 34 are supported.

1.) To install it, firstly open terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. And run command to install the required chrome-gnome-shell package if you don’t have it.

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell

2.) Next, open the gnome extension web page in browser, and turn on the slider icon to install it.

If you don’t see the slider icon, install browser addon/extension by clicking ‘click here to install browser extension‘ link and then refresh the page.

After installation, it starts working in a few seconds in my case. If not, you may restart Gnome Shell or log out and back in.

Uninstall Hide Panel extension:

To toggle on/off or remove extensions, it’s recommended to use the ‘Gnome Extensions’ app, which can be installed either directly from Ubuntu Software, or by running command in terminal:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-prefs

Launch the tool once you installed it, and click on the little triangle icon after the extension, there you’ll see the button to remove it.

For users switching from macOS, there’s a GNOME Extension to replace the top-left corner ‘Activities‘ with system logo menu.

So the top-left corner will display your selected logo icon instead of the ‘Activities’ button. When you click on it, a drop-down menu opens with options to quick access:

  • About system page.
  • System Settings.
  • Software Center.
  • Activities.
  • Force Quit App – it runs xkill so mouse pointer turns to a fork icon. Click any app window will kill it! Or right-click to cancel.
  • Terminal.
  • Gnome Extensions App.

This will make one more click to access the ‘Activities’ overview screen. You can however press Win/Super key instead, or enable “Activities Overview Hot Corner” (hit top-left corner via cursor) in Gnome Tweaks under ‘Top Bar’ settings.

Install the Logo Menu Extension:

The extension works on all recent Gnome releases shipped in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 21.10, Debian 11, Fedora 34, CentOS 8, Arch Linux, and more.

For Ubuntu, firstly open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run command to install the browser integration package for installing Gnome Shell extensions via your web browser. As well, install the Gnome Extensions App to manage them.

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell gnome-shell-extension-prefs

Next go to the extension page via the link button below, turn on the slider icon to install it:

If you don’t see the toggle icon, install the browser extension via ‘click here to install browser extension’ link and refresh the web page.

Restart Gnome Shell if the ‘Activities‘ button does not change. To do so, either press Alt+F2, type r, and hit Enter, or log out and back in.

And finally press Win/Super key on keyboard, search for and open ‘Gnome Extensions App‘. Then click on the gear button to configure the extension:

  • choose desired icon, since it defaults to Fedora logo.
  • adjust the icon size.
  • specify executable for terminal and software center (For Ubuntu, it’s snap-store by default).

Missing the old Ubuntu Unity style login screen? It’s easy to get it back in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04 and higher.

LightDM, stands for Light Display Manager, is a free open-source project by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. Ubuntu up to version 16.04 LTS uses it as the default display manager. And it’s present in Linux Mint 20 and some Ubuntu flavors.

For those prefer the LightDM style login screen, it’s available in Ubuntu universe repositories:

How to Install LightDM in Ubuntu 20.04 & Higher:

Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open a terminal window. When it opens, paste the command below and hit enter:

sudo apt install lightdm unity-greeter

While the installing process, it will prompt to configure the display manager. Just hit Enter on the screen.

At the next screen, use up/down arrow key to choose “lightdm” and hit Enter to apply.

Once installed, restart your computer and you’ll see the new login screen!

Configure LightDM login screen:

Uses are mostly want to remove the white dots and change the login background wallpaper.

To do so, open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run command to install dconf-editor if you don’t have it:

sudo apt install dconf-editor

Next, run command to grant lightdm user privilege to access control list:

xhost +SI:localuser:lightdm

Finally launch dconf editor via lightdm:

sudo -u lightdm dconf-editor

When it opens, navigate to “com/canonical/unity-greeter“. Then turn off ‘draw-grid’, and change background image as you want.

For more settings, see the Ubuntu Wiki.

How to Restore Gnome Login Screen:

To revert back the original GDM display manager. Firstly, open terminal and run command to disable LightDM:

sudo systemctl disable lightdm.service

Then launch the configure screen by running the command below:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

This time choose ‘gdm3’ to handle the login screen and hit Enter.

Finally, remove lightdm as well as its dependency packages via command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove lightdm unity-greeter

That’s all. Enjoy!

Ubuntu 21.10 daily build got an update for its gnome-control-center package(System Settings) recently. The ‘Standard’ mode is finally removed from the Appearance settings.

The Yaru theme developer team submitted the request to remove the ‘Standard’ theme when in June, since both GTK3 and GTK4 do NOT support having different background / text colors for headerbar than in the rest of the window.

The development build of Ubuntu 21.10 finally apply the change in the recent update. The ‘Window colors’ options under Appearance settings are now only fully dark and fully light. There’s no longer dark header bar with light window color called ‘Standard’.

Along with the new thumbnail preview, the context menus for the desktop, file manager, and other Gnome apps also inherit the dark and light appearance setting.

They are still some apps, e.g, Gnome Terminal and Ubuntu Software, that are not implemented for the changes.

As before, the settings do not change the color of top-bar menus, notification, and left dock menu, etc. However, a patched version of gnome-control-center is available to easily toggle the WHOLE system to Dark or Light.

Want to enable Guest account in Ubuntu? Without switching to another display manager, you can add Guest in Gnome login screen for people to use your computer while NOT being able to install/remove app, change system wide settings, and access files outside its own directory.

Guest is available by default in Ubuntu 16.04 Unity desktop. After Ubuntu switched to Gnome Desktop, the feature is removed. For those need Guest account, it’s easy to add it back via following steps.

1. Create Guest Account.

Firstly, open system settings either from top-right system menu, or by searching from Activities overview screen.

Next, navigate to Users in left pane and click “Unlock” button and type your user password to unlock the settings page.

Finally, click on “Add User…” to create a new user:

  • select Standard, so it has no sudo permission, can’t install/remove app, and no access file outside its user home.
  • set username to Guest.
  • And set password for it. REQUIRED though it’s useless. Next step I’ll tell how to enable no password login.

2. Enable No Password Login for Guest

Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal, then copy and paste the command below and hit Enter.

sudo gedit /etc/pam.d/gdm-password

This command will open the configuration file. Simply add the following line at the beginning (so it will be the first line) and save it:

auth sufficient pam_succeed_if.so user ingroup guest

OK, in next boot you’ll see the Guest account in GNOME login screen. Simple click to login without typing password, and enjoy!

3.(Optional) Add more Restrictions:

The Guest account can’t install/remove apps, manage PPAs, access files out of its home directory. Any action needs authentication will ask for typing password for Admin Account.

It however has permissions to customize its own desktop appearance, access CD Rom, mount/un-mount USB and other removable devices, use audio/video devices (e.g., webcam, microphone), full and direct access to serial ports.

These permissions are handled via groups. You can check which groups that include Guest account via command:

cat /etc/group |grep guest

And the Debian Wiki tells what do the groups do. By removing Guest from a group will disable the permission. For example, remove it from plugdev group run command:

sudo gpasswd --delete guest plugdev

For even more restrictions, e.g., disable save file, lock down appearance settings, disable printing, etc., go to the Gnome Wiki.