"Manual" vs "Built-In" Extension installation

I’m noticing that, if you install extensions “manually” (such as via the website), Gnome’s extension manager handles the updates on it’s own. I can also install extensions through the Arch repository and they show as “Built-In”. Are there any particular advantages/disadvantages of one vs the other?

Coming from the Cinnamon desktop, it manages extensions (called “Spices”) through the desktop itself, which is more akin to Gnome’s manual install. So, just because it’s familiar, I’m inclined to just let Gnome manage it’s own extensions but I figured I’d ask first.

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The official way is via the Gnome Extensions website, aka the manual way. Another way is with the Extension Manager app which bundles everything the website can do into one single app, which is the preferred way these days by many Gnome users for its simplicity and ease of use. This is the option I would encourage. Using either of these two methods will allow you to update the extensions directly from the extensions maintainer.

When you use the “built-in” method as you say, aka downloading an extension from the Arch repos or the AUR, you aren’t getting it directly from the extension developer, you’re now dealing with a middle man situation. Generally speaking, you should avoid this method. The only time you should use this method is when using a -git version of an extension that is currently unsupported, but you need the latest merge requests for whatever reason(s).

If you want the least amount of issues and headaches, just use Extension Manager for all your extension needs.


Thanks, I think I like the idea of using the extension manager rather than the Firefox plug in. I’ll install that.

Also another difference between the two install methods is that the ones installed via Arch (or AUR) will be installed system-wide in /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions but the ones installed from the web site will be in ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions.

This means that, in a multi-user system, all the users could use the extensions installed system-wide.
But those locally installed are only accessible to your user.


Good to know. I’m the only user but it’s still better to let individual users customize the desktop to their liking I think.

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Well, I only had “Appindicator and KStatusNotifierItem Support” installed as “Built-In” and, when I removed and reinstalled it as “Manual”, the one finicky tray icon “Protonmail-Bridge” started working perfectly.

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Spoke too soon, protonmail-bridge tray icon is being finicky again.

Firefox may become my daily driver, after years of watching Vivaldi get bloated more with each update. Have you encountered any downsides using Firefox on Gnome?

I will create a post on my foray into Firefox on Sunday, and welcome your further thoughts. Not planning to use the Gnome browser extension in Firefox, as I also like Scotty let the Gnome Extension Manager deal with that.

These days, I run Firefox as my main browser with Vivaldi as my backup (should I ever need to chromecast from my PC). Both browsers are good for what they do. Firefox seems just fine on Gnome/Wayland, though there are some occasional annoyances on Facebook. I haven’t checked to see if that’s because of Firefox or just Facebook issues.
I was running Vivaldi as my main because one of my social media sites I’m part of was doing better with it. That’s not the case anymore and Firefox is more familiar to me so, I prefer it.

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