Idea for GNOME's overview on desktop

I’ve been using GNOME and love it. I come from Windows too, and it was easy as hell to adapt to it. It’s far better actually. This doesn’t involve the apps it ships with though, at least on Fedora. I use Gwenview (for pictures), VLC and SMplayer for videos and the Thunar file manager, and have removed the GNOME ones because I need these more productive ones. I love the DE itself though.

Now, in my case, I have a mouse with a bunch of side buttons and onboard memory, and I have mapped the Super key to one of those buttons. That way, I can call upon the overview just by pressing that side button on my mouse. That way it’s great. Without that though, the experience is not that great on desktop IMO (without something like Dash to Dock or Dash to Panel). The way I have it actually allows me to use GNOME almost stock and for it to be superior to a dock or a taskbar.

On laptops there is the 3-finger gesture to activate show overview, so how about on desktops you press the left and right key of the mouse simultaneously, and that opens the overview? That way even people with ordinary mice can enjoy the GNOME experience the way it is supposed to be on a desktop, since obviously, navigating to the top left corner just to show the overview is very inefficient. Also, obivously this left right click “gesture” would need to be automatically disabled (or an option for that functionality) when in full screen apps, such as a game, as well as an option to disable the functionality itself (in case some game can only be launched in windowed mode).

Idk where the option will be. Maybe in the mouse settings. Also, the gesture activates whenever the left and right click are pressed together, doesn’t have to be exactly simultaneously. For instance you could press right click, hold it, and a second later press left click. It would still activate it.

The only issue I see with this is how many apps open the context menu when button is pressed, not when it’s released. Idk if that behaviour can be altered by GNOME.

Also in case some people say “oh just use the super key on the keyboard”. Us Windows folk don’t like to use the keyboard much unless we do actual work or type, so there is that. In my case, everything is perfect since I can do what i described with my mouse, but like i said a lot of people have ordinary mice with just left and right click and no programmable or even side buttons at all.

If your mouse has 1 or 2 side buttons, and even if it’s not re-programmable, you could still go to GNOME settings > keyboard and assign the “Show Overview” command to one of that mouse’s side keys (I think it’s originally mapped to Super + S).

In my case, I’m not directly asking for this, I’m just brainstorming. If it would be too much of a hassle f it.

1 Like

how about on desktops you press the left and right key of the mouse simultaneously, and that opens the overview?

Traditionally the left+right button combination has been used to emulate the middle button. I doubt anyone has produced a mouse without scroll wheel/middle button this century, but these kind of features tend to stick around.

Also, the gesture activates whenever the left and right click are pressed together, doesn’t have to be exactly simultaneously. For instance you could press right click, hold it, and a second later press left click. It would still activate it.

That means the applications sees the right button-down event, and the right button-up event if the left button is released first. There is nothing that tells the app that those two events are part of a “shell overview gesture” rather than a simple left click.

The only issue I see with this is how many apps open the context menu when button is pressed, not when it’s released. Idk if that behaviour can be altered by GNOME.

That’s one issue (and no, GNOME cannot do anything about it). I would be surprised if it would be the only one, as weird stuff is bound to happen if the compositor interprets a series of events in one way, while allowing applications to process some of those events as well.

Hey, I’m not sure about the left-and-right-click thing, you already metioned some problems - but I like the idea in general, that there should be some improvement for desktop mouse users.

Keyboard&touchpad people (me) have very nice streamlined ways to interact with the overview, but when I am just using a mouse I feel less connected with the desktop, especially since the dock moved down (which i love visually!).

Maybe this would be a good idea for some extensions experimenting with different methods of how to bring up the overview when just using a mouse.

What I would like to try:

  • left&right-click ‘gesture’
  • hot-bottom-edge
  • click something at the bottom edge
  • bottom-left hot-corner

Is there any other ideas?

Is there someone from gnome-design team here? I think they did already brainstorm about moving away from the hot-corner. Not sure what the state of the discussion there was

Is there any other ideas?

Those are the most prominent ones. Another one was making the entire overview background reactive to clicks, to bring up the app grid.

See this design issue (long read)

1 Like