Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, April 5, 2019 at 20:27

(GNOME 3.32 with traditional desktop settings on GNU/Linux)

Following latest customization tutorial, and inspired by Alex's post on /r/GNOME/, here's GNOME desktop with traditional layout tweak. Traditional means it looks like KDE, Windows, or Mint with bottom-oriented taskbar and start menu. You will have no top panel nor left panel anymore, with panel on bottom along with its system tray. The star of this tutorial is the extension named Dash to Panel (not to be confused with Dash to Dock), an amazing tool to flexibly tweak and control everything of our beloved panel. Okay, here we go!

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Read more about GNOME 3.32: Tray Icons | Useful Extensions | WTDAI | 3.32 on Dingo Beta| Ubuntu's Yaru | Distros Availability | Mojave Custom | Extensions Install and Remove


Here's what you will have after practicing the instructions:

1) Left start menu goes back to traditional cascading bottom-up menu:

(Start menu, clickable on bottom-left of screen many have accustomed to)

2) System tray goes back to bottom-right:

(System tray, now on bottom-right of screen)

3) Tooltip of every running app:

(Window preview on Nautilus with close button on its top-right corner)

4) And if you wish, you can also put GNOME's 3x3 dots button right beside start menu. Your whole start menu will look like below:

(Only bottom panel and notice there is no left dock anymore)

1. Controls

Enable trio buttons in Tweak Tool > Window Title bar > enable Maximize > enable Minimize.

(Close-Maximize-Minimize controls completely shown on each title bar)

2. Dash to Panel

Not to be confused with Dash to Dock, the Extension used here is Dash to Panel. It gives you so many choices, but, we will only use few here:
  • - Panel screen position: Bottom
  • - Taskbar position: Left, with floating center plugin icon
  • - Display panel on all monitor: Yes
  • - Panel size: 32
  • - Override panel background opacity: Yes
  • - Override panel theme gradiend: Yes
  • - Show favorite applications: No
  • - Show applications icon: No (mentioned above, if you wish you can turn it Yes)
  • - Isolate workspace: Yes
  • - Click action: Toggle Window

(Taskbar panel after enabling Dash to Panel)

3. Everything tray icon

Like previous tutorial, add TopIcons Plus and Ubuntu AppIndicator so you have running Telegram Desktop and such apps show their tray icons. Precisely, it's located before the native tray and clock.

(Transmission BitTorrent, Wire Messenger, Pidgin Messenger, Telegram Desktop, and StarDict Dictionary staying on the panel as tray icons)

4. Auto-hide taskbar? That's easy!

Go to Tweak Tool > Extensions > Dash to panel > Intellihide: On > now your taskbar will hide every time a window being maximized. And yes, this is also helpful to play Swell Foop game in full screen on 1366x768 resolution. 

(Intellihide enabled in the Tweak Tool)

(Playing large board of Swell Foop game)

Additional Things

Do you need disk drive access on the tray? If so, use Removable Drive Menu.  Once a USB storage attached on a USB port, it will detect it for you.

AlternateTab extension is not here anymore in 3.32 and later. Did you miss it? Default Alt+Tab switcher on GNOME is grouped and not separated, unlike what Alt+Tab we expect to work. Fortunately, this behavior is actually configurable internally in 3.32 (thanks to Florian Mueller's post). Go to System Settings > Devices > Keyboard > search switch windows > give it Alt+Tab shortcut > accept any confirmation > OK. Now your Alt+Tab switcher should be normal (ungrouped) once again. 

Do you like workspace switcher? If so, use Workspace Indicator. You will need to right-click a window title bar > Move to Workspace Down to create new workspace to be shown at the Indicator. 

Final Result

Just like picture in the beginning, the desktop goes traditional once again. To be honest, personally this setup looks closer to Cinnamon (from Linux Mint) than KDE (from Kubuntu). Either way, I wish this setup helps you to boost up your productivity on GNOME. Finally, enjoy your desktop and happy working!

Applications: working with LibreOffice is now desktop-oriented once again with this traditional layout. You got your space, you got your apps lined up on bottom, you can minimize and maximize every of it by one click on taskbar.

(Writer, Calc, Impress 6.2 running on GNOME 3.32 with a menu bar opened)

Dark theme: applications like Photos and Calendar look very good, matched with the start menu color with this traditional layout thanks to Dash to Panel.

(Opening the start menu while Photos opens a screenshot of GNOME itself)

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.