Dock Improvement

While shopping, I was reminded of Samsung DeX, in which the desktop had unique things that are not on the phone or tablet, it seems to be convergence, too.
I thought, that dock on desktop is a strong association with macOS, which can cause negative reactions and criticism :sweat:

So, if not a dock that what? What can give similar functionality as dock, yet be unique and associated only with GNOME?
Of course, this is the legacy, old versions of GNOME.

Why not modernize the idea of two panels for the desktop? It looks logical, new is well forgotten old.

Here’s a quick draft.
On top - System management (calendar and quick settings)
On bottom - App management (app menu, activities and pinned/runned apps)

I guess I’m missing “what’s missing from what’s currently available to users”?

I’ll admit that I’m a Ubuntu user so this isn’t a default out of the box Gnome configuration. Here’s a screenshot of my current desktop with the Dash to Dock shown on the left instead of at the bottom. Usually this is hidden and I only access it for Firefox (Ubuntu’s Snap version doesn’t play well with Cairo Dock) or when the Cairo Dock itself crashes at startup after certain Ubuntu updates (requiring either one reboot or a launch from Dash).

I’d love to eliminate Cairo Dock but it has a few functions that I don’t see in any of the other dock solutions like allowing you to launch a bash script that you added to the dock simply by adding the directory the script was in to the dock. You can even do the drag a file to an icon on the dock and drop it on it or pause for a moment as it brings that app to the foreground like you were showing in some of your first mockups.

So, I agree with you that a feature rich dock solution helps the user base be more productive (at least certain population of users). Yet, I think there are solutions available for those who enjoy the dock experience. It would be nice to be able to enhance the Dash to Dock with a few more features so that it could be “the dock of choice”. I’m not sure if that is something where Extensions would come in or not.

I still don’t get why this would be needed or even slightly better. But I’m also navigating by keyboard mostly.

I still don’t get why this would be needed or even slightly better. But I’m also navigating by keyboard mostly.

Happy New Year, navigating by keyboard makes GNOME much easier to use, by pressing the “Win” button twice to open an app grid, it saves time, although I don’t always get it to do this :cry:
Don’t rely on the keyboard, a lot of people don’t know about shortcuts, do not remember them, or they are not comfortable using the keyboard and mouse at the same time, especially when using a computer from afar with a wireless mouse.
So we also need to somehow solve the problem that using only the mouse time is more time-consuming.

Even if, making all previous behavior worse with cluttering an unneeded dock above them is hardly an improvements.

Dock, that’s not the only solution, we can think of something else, like rethinking of two panels like in old GNOME versions or something else.
I like the idea of the two panels, because it doesn’t look like stealing of ideas, but improving your own.

The only disadvantage of dock/panel is that it takes up more screen space.

Hi all,

(These lines are MY opinion.)

Well, 3 observations:

  • when I use GS 42 with a touchpad, it’s quite usable with the 3 fingers gesture;
  • when I use GS 42 with a trackpoint or a mouse, design is obviously flawed since you have to carry your mouse cursor to the top left then do something in dash at the bottom;
  • when I use an external monitor such as a projector, any app switching/opening needs overview that disturbs the projector’s view even if it’s not suitable.

So, I do/did make 3 options:

The last option is the one I’m currently using. I don’t know if (and I don’t care) this is GNOME’s philosophy but clearly that does improve my productivity, especially when many apps are open.

Why don’t you just press the super key? :thinking:


Because we talk about mouse controls.

I use a dock on desktop but I don’t use it on laptop.
Laptop’s monitor is smaller than desktop’s.
It have to be able to choose between Dock and Dash. I like both of those.
GNOME Shell is not user-friendly now. I don’t think users who use GNOME Shell for the first time may be able to use it. It should make Dock default. And it also should be able to change to Dash.

Are you sure about that? A friend of mine (who’s not particularly experienced with computers, and had only used Windows) wanted to use my computer to go on the internet. I was on the desktop with no window opened, and it took her less than 5 seconds to find the Activities button and click the Firefox icon. Of course, that may be anecdotal evidence, so you’d have to run proper user studies to back your claim.


Continuing mockups with two panels. Perhaps the idea of replacing the dock as on macOS with the panel like in old versions of GNOME is strange, the panel at the bottom looks distracting, and it probably depends on the styling, with blur and transparency there is will not such a strong sense of compression or claustrophobia.

Here’s an example of a light and dark style.

The location of the app menu and activities buttons on the sides can be awkward, but it feels more balanced, plus, in GNOME 2 workspaces were placed on the right, so it logic thing.

This is the tablet mode, where the bottom panel is larger.

In this blog about gnome-info-collect research was a extentions popularity section.
Dash to dock and Dash to panel are in the top five most popular extensions, which is a very significant thing.

It’s less than a quarter of users!

It’s less than a quarter of users!

There were not counted pre-installed extensions by default in the distributions.

this is a tool users had to get to know about and download themselves, its data is not representative of most of the userbase

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@DartDeaDia I love your suggestions and I totally agree. Would like to see them become standard in GNOME as well.

The Dash, in its current form, seems rather awkward and borderline useless to me.

Yes, most of your proposed changes CAN be achieved right now using extensions, but it seems unnecessarily complicated to do so.

Indeed, and that’s exactly why GNOME should do a better job at allowing people to customize their setup to work the way THEY want, instead of forcing them to do things the way the developers prefer.

Being able to to convert the dash into a permanent, standalone dock, for instance, seems like such an obvious feature to have that there SHOULD just be an option in the Settings app to achieve that.

Offering extensions to accomplish this is great, but it feels rather hacky, and the Extensions app doesn’t even come preinstalled on most systems. Also, the entire process of installing them is rather confusing.

First of all, there are not one, but TWO different apps that can be used for that purpose (Extensions and Extension Manager), with the only noticeable difference being that the latter can directly download and install extensions from the web, while the former requires the use of a browser (AND a browser extension) in order to visit and install them from there.

Second, none of this is particularly discoverable. GNOME never tells you about the fact that extensions exist or how to obtain them, and the only way to figure this out appears to be complaining online about this is or that “missing” feature somewhere, and have someone tell you which extension you need to install for that, or stumbling across some article like 17 Things to do After Installing Fedora 37 and learning about it there.

It would be nice if, instead of being relegated to some murky, semi-official backwater channels, extensions were at least treated as first class citizens within GNOME, for instance, instead of being a separate, optional app, the Extension Manager could be integrated into the Settings app.


The Extensions app was added to GNOME 3.36 3 years ago and is a core app. It has made its way into every distro and it comes preinstalled on all. For example Fedora 32+, OpenSUSE Leap 15.3+, Ubuntu 20.04+, Arch Linux and Debian 11+ all have it in their gnome-shell package. Before that extensions were managed through Software.

I think you mean Extensions app instead of Extensions Manager app? The former is for configuring & updating while the latter is also a software browser and installer. I don’t think a software browser and installer has a place in the settings app. As noted the Extensions app is not optional.

It does if you open the Extensions app; that links to the website and the website informs what is needed to install them. But yeah, they aren’t covered in the Tour app or in the Help and that would might them more discoverable. But would you have found out about extensions if there had been a slide in the Tour app, or an entry in the Help?

Nope, you’re definitely wrong as far as Ubuntu goes, which merely suggests that package, but does not require it: Ubuntu – Details of package gnome-shell in jammy

Since Ubuntu is the base for a LOT of other distributions, that means they all don’t come with Extensions by default, unless the maintainers specifically change that.

No, I mean the Extension Manager. First of all, the Extensions app is written in JavaScript, while the Settings app is written in C, which would likely make the integration rather difficult if not impossible.

Second, the Extensions app by itself is fairly useless without a simple way to install extensions. And like I said, doing that via the browser is fairly awkward, unless you also install a browser extension. Which is only available for Firefox and not for Epiphany, so that basically all but requires Firefox to be installed to even be useful.

Compared to that, having a software browser in the Settings app seems far less awkward, especially because this “browser” is quite limited and focused, and not particularly complex:

Also, the Extensions Manager is written in C, so it would likely be much easier to integrate into Settings.

No. I skipped the tour and I don’t read help files, because it’s usually faster to find solutions online. I WOULD have found it if it was integrated into the Settings app, though.

Wow. Okay, it installs a /usr/share/applications/org.gnome.Extensions.desktop file that isn’t actually the Extensions app and you need to install another package to override that file and actually install the app. Confusing as on my Arch Linux the gnome-shell package includes the actual app with that file.

We’re getting off topic here and should move discoverability of extensions to another thread.