Gnome shell extensions: questions and experiences

I installed Gnome for the first time in many years. I have to say that it is not as bad as I thought, in fact it looks quite good, even after using Cinnamon. It’s true that it’s less customizable than either KDE or XFCE, but shell extensions make it comfortable to use. Gnome tweaks still exist, that’s nice. At first I thought the dash at the bottom couldn’t be moved to the left where it was before, but then I found the dash to dock great shell extension.
I also have a few questions. Can these extensions be removed and installed only with the help of the extension manager application, or with the help of, for example, yay? If I still don’t like Gnome and want to remove it completely, will the installed extensions also be removed during this process, or do they have to be deleted before the complete removal?

There are a few ways to install and manage your extensions.

  1. The default Extension app (aka gnome-extensions-app) is part of gnome-shell and thus installed when you install GNOME. You couldn’t use this app to install extensions but to manage them (their settings, removal, automatic updates).

  2. The “traditional” way of installing extensions via the website:

In order to install extensions from this site you would need to install:

and Gnome Shell Integration addon if you use Firefox (or similar for Chromium-based)

  1. The “modern” way of installing extensions with Extension Manager (flatpak) or the AUR package

You could both install, remove and manage your extensions with this app

  1. The manual way:

Any extensions installed via Web page, using Extension Manager or manually will get installed locally under your home directory: ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions

Any extensions installed from the repositorie using pacman/yay will be installed system-wide in:
These have gnome-shell as dependencies, so removing GNOME thus removing gnome-shell should consequently remove these as well.

Most probably I have missed some detail but I think this covers almost the “long and short” of it.

This is unlikely to happen :wink: :rofl:


Yes, I noticed these ways too. The most convenient way is to install extensions through the browser.

Yes, I installed that too. I think this is also automatically deleted during the uninstallation of the Gnome desktop.

Thanks. That’s what I was most curious about.

We’ll see, never say never. :slight_smile: By the way, I think the same applies to KDE extensions as to Gnome extensions regarding removal.

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Good luck and happy Gnomeing!




In any case, I already like the management of virtual desktops, i.e. workspaces, better in Gnome than in KDE. However, the less configurability still bothers me a bit. For example, how can you change the start command for an application launcher icon, or, if applicable, parameterize it in a different way than the default? This can be changed for desktop icons in KDE, but is even simpler in Xfce.

You could create a custom .desktop file (please refer to ArchWiki for how-to) or for a GUI solution install alacarte (aka Main Menu)

sudo pacman -Syu alacarte

pacman -Si alacarte 
Repository      : extra
Name            : alacarte
Version         : 1:3.44.2-1
Description     : Menu editor for gnome
Architecture    : any
URL             :

On a different note, if you would like to stick with GNOME for a certain period of time to see if you like it or not, most probably the best approach would be to not to compare it with or expect it to act like other DE:s familiar to you. It is like to get acquainted with another paradigm for DE:s. Otherwise you will end up being frustrated and join the Chorus of “GNOME Bashers” of whom there are plenty here and elsewhere :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:

With that said, in the end, you might not like it anyways and that’s perfectly fine.
Not everything is for everyone and the beauty of the “ecosystem” we are living in is that there is always something for someone.


You’re right, it’s not worth comparing with another DE and expecting it to work the same way. I really haven’t used pure Gnome for years, only Cinnamon and mostly Xfce. During this time, which I missed, Gnome developed a lot. Since I was brave enough to install it next to Xfce (therefore the two are related), for example the Plank dock created on Xfce also works on Gnome workspaces, so I don’t even need to configure the Gnome application launcher icons. I still like the virtual window management, the simplicity of the clean interface, and you can also set a lot of things with Gnome Tweak (fine tuning).


You should be aware that some of your X11 apps might not work if you start a GNOME-Wayland session. Plank is one of them:

$ plank 
[CRITICAL 09:49:56.986574] [AbstractMain:255] Only X11 environments are supported.

Others might need:

$ pacman -Si xorg-xwayland 
Repository      : extra
Name            : xorg-xwayland
Version         : 22.1.4-3
Description     : run X clients under wayland
Architecture    : x86_64
URL             :


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Thanks, that was a helpful comment too. I’m conservative, I don’t use Wayland. I’ll stick with the proven X11. Although, as I recall, I also tried it with Wayland after installation, and the Plank dock worked.

That’s interesting!

I just installed it before I made my previous post for the sake of testing and it didn’t work on my Wayland session. I’ll look into it later to see if there is something on my side but the “error” message clearly states that only X11 is supported so I am a bit confounded.

When I install something new, I usually try all combinations so that possible problems can be detected well in advance. After starting the Wayland session, the Plank dock was at the bottom and I could launch applications from it.

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I recently discovered dash to panel. It’s a great extension with granular settings to get a panel I like!

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Two thing that I needed to understand is to really make use of those workspace and learn how to switch between them rapidly. That means max 2 windows on one workspace (instead of 5 floating windows on top of each other, makes senses…) and either learn touchpad gestures or keyboard shortcuts to move around. It’s all it takes to have a good time with gnome. I also use the pop shell extension to get tiling windows. Another way is to snap the windows on right or left border so they fill half screen.

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It was also one of the first Gnome Shell extensions I installed. Especially since I was able to move the dash back to the left edge of the screen. And I use a Plank dock within each workspace.

I also don’t open more than two windows within a workspace, because it’s more clear that way. And it’s much easier to switch between workspaces and open windows with keyboard commands.

I honestly admit that I was wrong, I only tried it superficially. Although there is no visible error message, the Plank dock does not start on Wayland.

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Thanks for posting and confirming the issue!

In a Wayland session, try launching Plank in a terminal: plank
You will see some error message similar to what I posted before.

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Anyway, how is Wayland better than X11? From what I’m reading, it’s not spreading enough and it’s not stable enough.

That is probably a “hot” subject for another thread.

You are likely to get highly nuanced and sophisticated answers like “Wayland sucks!” form “true” GNU/Linux users (read: systemd-wayland-gnome haters :wink: :rofl:) to more informative ones detailing the technical subtleties of the one or the other display server.

Admittedly, much of these technicalities is beyond my current level of understanding, being much in the process of educating myself in things GNU/Linux.

Personally, my use of Wayland coincided with my switching to GNOME when the 40 was released.
To my dismay, I realized that some of the applications I used to use didn’t work under Wayland (Plank being one of them).

However the smooth implementation of the touchpad gestures making possible switching and swiping to and through view modes and workspaces was too appealing to me to abandon it. I simply learned to adjust myself and do things differently. I haven’t looked back ever since.

I haven’t really dug into finding statistics on the extent of the adoption and the spread of Wayland.
GNOME is one of the more widely used desktop environments and major players in the GNU/Linux world like Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian use it as the default. That could be some indication as to its spread and stability.

Also, ArchWiki’s own security advisory seems to single it out as the preferred display server:


If you are interested in “stats”, you could have a look at the number of reported vulnerabilities of Xorg/X11 and Wayland. I leave it to you how to interpret the figures. See here.

More, I find this video from DJ Ware quite informative:

Speaking for myself, during my short period of having used GNU/Linux operating systems, I have learned quite a few important lessons, among others this one: to gather information from different sources, try to make sense of them and make up my mind on the course of the action to be taken. Also to avoid falling prey to FUD and Cyber Bullshiters/Bullies :wink: :rofl:


The answer from @pebcak is very nuanced and worth spending time on, but a shorter answer from me is that Wayland is more secure, but not all applications and desktop environments work well with it yet. So my approach is to try using Wayland, and if I’m having too many problems then switch back to X11. My own current experience on Plasma 5.26 with my selection of applications is that everything works OK, so I stick with Wayland.