Brand New User - My Thoughts, GNOME Search

Hello, all. This is my first time running desktop Linux. I have some experience with debian, ubuntu, and arch through chrome os containers, wsl, and a home server, but I have never used a DE. I have some thoughts. While the experience is generally good for my day-to-day life, there are still jarring issues. My Fedora 38 install on the framework laptop crashed a few times when I first installed it, but that seems to be resolved.

As for GNOME, I really like the aesthetic and ethos, and the functionality is mostly there, but there are some puzzling omissions (and bugs). I am sorry if these are not new complaints, but even finding support is difficult when you don’t yet know what to look for, what is actually an issue, how to phrase it, etc. I’ve actually been using Bing’s AI as a bit of an assistant troubleshooter.

The most obvious “friction” is with search. Coming from Windows, I was expecting an improvement, and the speed and reliability is great, but I have trouble with some basic tasks that I feel could put off some beginners.
There doesn’t seem to be support for entering plain file/folder paths or URLs, yet those should be fairly easy to parse. I can’t tell if there is a prefix system like with PowerToys Run either.

For one thing, the firefox search widget is hidden when firefox is closed. This isn’t a bug from what I can tell online. I might not understand the intricacies of development, but I think it is possible to run queries if the browser is not yet open. I can even do it from the terminal with ‘firefox -search query’, and other apps like Wike (Wikipedia clients) can even pull live suggestions into their search widget while closed, though Web/Epiphany behaves like Firefox.

On top of that, I am experiencing a bug when firefox is running that the Firefox GNOME search widget’s “search the web for” option opens a blank new window. I have troubleshot, and I am not mentioning it here to complain or report it (I will send it to Firefox), but it renders web search completely broken, and it makes me ask why the GNOME shell relies on the browser to integrate in the first place.

Why isn’t there a built-in web search to send queries to the default browser? Web searches are about the most basic thing to use it for. I get implementing a browser-agnostic web search might lack live suggestions/autocomplete, would require a search engine selector, and would have no control over windowing/tab behavior, but it would still be a good backup in absence of decent integration by the user’s browser. Even on the extensions page, there is almost nothing compatible with my GNOME (44) for web search.

Sorry about the rant. I just always find myself entering searches automatically, and I want to at least know if this bothers anyone else or if this is intentional and there is a better way to search. Other than that, and some issues with wayland fractional scaling (woof) making me wish there was an easier way to access application shortcuts and modify the launch arguments. While the reduced window controls are an adjustment, and some more hinting for beginners would be nice, I appreciate the vision and am adapting. More touchpad gestures (on Windows, I use four finger swipes for volume, skip/forward, and a tap for pause/play) would be appreciated, but I am learning the extension system.

Just to clarify, you want the gnome app search to also scan the web, like it does by default in Windows? I dare say that won’t be a popular feature request in Linux land. (Maybe you can get paid to add it; want the paycheck from some search engine for adding that? I’m sure MS did.)

Of course not! I don’t want to do any passive searching. I am thinking there should be an internet search widget. It doesn’t scan anything. If you select it, it launches your default browser to search the term in your search engine of choice.


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