Archives For Gnome

Trying out different Gnome Extensions frequently? The new “Extension Manager” app is really a good choice to make life easier!

We usually install extensions by browsing through the Gnome Extension website and using the on page on/off switch. Then, manage the settings via a separate ‘Extensions’ app. However, Ubuntu’s pre-installed Firefox does not support the process since it’s a Snap package.

Without installing anther browser package and opening the site time by time, a new project “Extension Manager” has been created as an “App Center” for Gnome Extensions.

Manage installed extensions

The app integrates an “Installed” tab to enable, disable, remove extensions and manage their settings, just like “Extensions” app does.

In the “Browse” tab, it allows to search extensions with “Popularity”, “Downloads”, “Recent” and “Name” filters. And, it provides button to install extensions directly from search results that are compatible with your Gnome edition.

Search and install extensions

Like Ubuntu Software (or Gnome Software), user may view the details about an extension in a separate page with screenshot, description, supported Gnome versions, and reviews.

Extension Detail page

Install the Extension Manager in Ubuntu & Other Linux

For Ubuntu 22.04, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, paste the command below and hit run to install the package:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-manager

Run sudo apt update to refresh package cache on a brand new system in case the command does not work.

After that, you may click the top-left “Activities”, then search for and open the application:

For old Ubuntu releases and other Linux, the application is available to install as universal Flatpak package. Do the setup first, and then install the package from Flathub page (Run the bottom command).

How to Remove Extension manager

For any reason, you may remove the extension manager by opening terminal and run command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove gnome-shell-extension-manager

If you installed it via the Flatpak package, use this command instead to remove it:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data com.mattjakeman.ExtensionManager

And remove useless libraries via flatpak uninstall --unused.

Want to set a certain size of your desktop icons and/or change the spacing between them? Here’s how to do the job in Ubuntu 22.04.

Ubuntu 22.04 defaults to GNOME desktop 42 and uses an extension called “Desktop Icons NG” (DING in short) to handle shortcut icons on desktop.

It provides 4 icon sizes (“Tiny”, “Small”, “Normal”, and “Large”) in ‘Appearance‘ settings for choose from.

Change icon size via Appearance settings page

If somehow the default icon sizes do not meet you need, then you may edit the source file and customize the 4 sizes manually.

1. Edit the config file

Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run command to edit the file which is located in ‘/usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/[email protected]/’ directory:

sudo gedit /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions/[email protected]/enums.js

sudo is required as it’s a system wide extension and you need to type user password to authenticate when running the command.

When file opens, you’ll see the first line (except the comments) defines the icon sizes in pixels:

var ICON_SIZE = { ‘tiny’: 36, ‘small’: 48, ‘standard’: 64, ‘large’: 96 };

Just change the number 36, 48, 64 and 96 will replace the corresponding ‘tiny’, ‘small’, ‘normal’, and ‘large’ icon sizes.

And, change the numbers in lines of “ICON_WIDTH” and “ICON_HEIGHT” will adjust how large the square area that each icon takes. It’s the orange area when you drag and drop an icon, which can be useful if you want to change the icon spacing.

NOTE: The change will take place for all system users. For single user only, you may copy the extension folder to local directory ‘.local/share/gnome-extensions’. However, the option in “Appearance” won’t work for the local copy.

2. Apply change

After editing and saving the config file, search for and open “Gnome Extensions” app.

App to Manage your extensions

Install the tool via sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-prefs command if you don’t have it.

When the app opens, turn off “Desktop Icons NG” extension and turn it on again will apply the changes you made in previous step.

Want to change the background wallpaper or just set another color for Ubuntu Gnome login screen? Here’s how to do the trick in Ubuntu 22.04!

As you may know, the GDM background is not easy to modify since GNOME hard-coded the CSS into a .gresource file. Some scripts has been created in github to deal with it, but so far there’s no universal one that works on all Linux (or even all Ubuntu) editions.

I was waiting for the graphical GTK4 tool Login Manager, however, it never works and even breaks the login screen when I tried it in Fedora Workstation.

Change Login Screen Background in Ubuntu 22.04

For those still waiting for the maintainers to update their scripts, this one has been tested and works good in Ubuntu 22.04.

1. Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run command to install the required library:

sudo apt install libglib2.0-dev-bin

2. Now, paste the command below and hit run to download the script via wget:

wget -qO - | tar zx --strip-components=1 ubuntu-gdm-set-background-main/ubuntu-gdm-set-background

3. OK, now use command to change login screen background image:

sudo ./ubuntu-gdm-set-background --image /PATH/TO/YOUR/IMAGE

Tip: instead of typing file path manually, you may just drag & drop image file into terminal to insert its path

Or set another background color via command (replace #aAbBcC to your desired value):

sudo ./ubuntu-gdm-set-background --color \#aAbBcC

or set gradient color background via (replace horizontal to vertical as you want):

sudo ./ubuntu-gdm-set-background --gradient horizontal \#aAbBcC \#dDeEfF

As the terminal output indicates, press Ctrl+Alt+F1 (switch back via Ctrl+Alt+F2) to verify the changes or just restart your computer after saving your work.

Move the script to your PATH:

If you would like to use the script regularly, run the command below to move to “/usr/local/bin”:

sudo mv ~/ubuntu-gdm-set-background /usr/local/bin

Then, you may use the command at any time at any working directory via (change --image to --color or --gradient accordingly):

sudo ubuntu-gdm-set-background --image /PATH/TO/IMAGE

Known issue

As far as I know, it will NOT work if you do not type (or drop’n’drop) the FULL path to image. The last sudo command in previous picture didn’t work, as I navigated to image folder and type file name directly without path.

And if you use a remote image without pasting to local disk first, it may break your login screen so you’ll see the error screen as the bottom image shows.

How to Restore:

The script has a --reset option to restore the original blank background. To use it, just run:

sudo ./ubuntu-gdm-set-background --reset

Or use this command if you’ve move it into your PATH:

sudo ubuntu-gdm-set-background --reset

If the login screen is broken with error “Oh, no! Something has gone wrong …”, press Ctrl+Alt+F3 (~ F6) (right Ctrl+F3 ~ F6 for Virtualbox VM) to get into tty console. Then type username and password one by one to login, and run the previous reset command to restore.

Ubuntu 22.04 has a new in-shell screenshot UI for taking screenshots and recording desktop. The old default screenshot app (GNOME Screenshot) is no longer available out-of-the-box.

For those somehow sticking to the old screenshot tool, here’s how to install it back and configure keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu 22.04.

old default Gnome Screenshot app

Install Gnome Screenshot:

Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run the command below will install the app back from Ubuntu universe repository:

sudo apt install gnome-screenshot

Type user password (no visual feedback) for sudo authentication and hit Enter

Install Gnome Screenshot

After installation, you may search for and open the app from ‘Activities’ overview screen.

Or use the steps below to set up keyboard shortcuts for this tool.

Set shortcut keys for GNOME Screenshot:

By default, you may press Shift+Print to immediately capture the full-screen, and use Alt+Print to capture focused app window. And, Print key is used to bring up the in-shell screenshot UI. For choice, you may replace the shortcuts keys via Gnome Control Center.

1. Firstly, open system settings (aka, gnome-control-center) from system tray menu:

2. When it opens, navigate to ‘Keyboard‘ in the left. Then click ‘View and Customize Shortcuts‘ in bottom right.

3. If you want to re-bind Print, Alt+Print, Shift+Print shortcut keys via other screenshot actions, disable them (press Backspace in set shortcut dialog) in under ‘Screenshots’ shortcuts page.

4. Next, go back ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ page, scroll down and select “Custom Shortcuts“. Then you may click ‘Add Shortcut’ (or ‘+’ icon) button to add new custom shortcuts.

  • Name: type name of the shortcut as you prefer.
  • Command:

    • gnome-screenshot --window – grab the current active window immediately.
    • gnome-screenshot --area – start area selection.
    • gnome-screenshot – capture the full-screen immediately.
  • Shortcut: click ‘Set Shortcut…’ and press the key combination to bind the keyboard shortcut.

For more command line options of Gnome Screenshot, run man gnome-screenshot in terminal.

That’s all. Enjoy!

GNOME 42 is out! The upcoming Ubuntu 22.04 LTS will take use it as the default desktop environment.

If you’ve tried out the latest update of Ubuntu 22.04 development build, you should already see the brand new appearance of the GNOME desktop.

It introduced the new ‘Appearance‘ settings page, with options to switch between Dark and Light mode. As well, each wallpaper has both dark and light editions that changes automatically.

GNOME 42 Appearance Settings

Ubuntu has ‘Appearance’ settings page for a few years. In Ubuntu 22.04, the page has been modified. While wallpaper selection is available in ‘Background’ tab, it provides light/dark switch along with new accent color, desktop icons, and dock settings.

Ubuntu 22.04 Appearance Settings Page

The Gnome Screenshot app has been replaced with the desktop’s built-in screenshot UI. Just press ‘Print Screen‘ on keyboard to bring up the UI. Then, you may take a screenshot of selection area, app window, or full-screen. It as well has ability to record your desktop or selection area.

The UI supports keyboard shortcuts. However, it won’t work once you changed the trigger from ‘Print Screen’ to another.

  • V – switch between screen capture and recorder mode.
  • s – selection area.
  • c – full-screen.
  • w – app window.
  • Enter / Space / Ctrl+C – capture

Gnome New Screenshot UI

Many apps has been ported to GTK4 + libadwaita, but Ubuntu 22.04 is said to avoid GTK4 due to theme issue. You’ll see some apps has 4 corners rounded (e.g., Files and Image Viewer) which are GTK4. While, others are GTK3 apps that have sharp bottom corners.

GNOME 42 introduced 2 new defaults apps: Gnome Text Editor and Gnome Console. The latter is really my favorite. However, Ubuntu 22.04 still uses Gedit and Gnome Terminal at the moment!

2 New Default Apps in GNOME 42

And, GNOME finally uses Microsoft’s RDP protocal to provide remote desktop service, which is more secure that the VNC connection. User may get the settings in ‘Sharing’ tab in Gnome Control Center.

Other changes in GNOME 42 include:

  • Videos player (Totem) and Gnome web have hardware accelerated support.
  • Improved file indexing and full-screen app handling to reduce energy consumption.
  • significantly enhanced input handling.

Get GNOME 42:

If you’re an Ubuntu user, I would recommend to try out Ubuntu 22.04 daily build ISO or just wait for the final release. Or, you may try the GNOME OS Nightly.