I have a tried a variety of Linux desktop environments, but I always find myself coming back to GNOME 3. GNOME 3 was a [controversial] change when it was first released, but the ability to use extensions has somewhat alleviated the situation for a lot of GNOME folks.
That said, I have become quite familiar with the workflow of GNOME shell, even to the point where I don’ve feel need to install extensions such as Dash to Dock, Dash to Panel, or the Applications Menu. GNOME’s global search is excellent and once you get your workspaces setup, it’s quite easy to switch between them. To add to this, I recently have been running GNOME 3.38 on Fedora 33 using Wayland and have been pleasantly suprised how polished the UX has been. With all that said, I still use a number of GNOME extensions that I will recommend in this blog post. Let’s go!
AppIndicator and KStatusNotiferItem Support
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/615/appindicator-support/
Back in Gnome 3.26, Legacy AppIndicator icons were removed from the default shell. Unfortunately, some applications (only Dropbox for now) I use still support this. This simple extension just puts them back on your top bar. Nothing else to say here!
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1082/cpufreq/
A simple extension that shows your current CPU frequency. It also do things such as change CPU power profiles (e.g. balanced, performance, power saver), disable/enable frequency boost, set minimum/maximum CPU frequency and number of activate CPU cores. Requires root to work.
Dark Mode Switcher
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/2314/dark-mode-switcher/
A simple extension that allows you to quickly toggle between the light and dark versions of GNOME’s default themes, Adwaita. Depending on the time of day and lighting conditions, I like the ability to easily switch between light and dark modes. Unfortunately, this extension doesn’t work with other themes, but thankfully I am a big fan of Adwaita.
Extended Gestures (requires Wayland)
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1253/extended-gestures/
By default, GNOME 3.38 gives you a 4-finger swipe up/down to switch between workspaces, at least on Wayland. This extension allows you customize the 3-finger gesture options. Currently, I have my 3-finger swipe left/right to be back/forward (like on Firefox), and 3-finger swipe up/down to be my “Activities Overview.”
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/841/freon/
Provides a app indicator for viewing various hardware temperatures. It shows options for NVIDIA/AMD gpu options, but I can’ve currently test that unfortunately.
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/1319/gsconnect/
An implementation of KDE Connect for the GNOME shell, a program that allows you to access features on your Android phone. Provides an app indicator natively within the shell. My favorite features include clipboard sharing, media control and notifications from my phone such as AirMessage. My only issue is that sometimes my notification replies on AirMessage don’ve send, but overall I find it be a very useful extension.
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/750/openweather/
Provides a weather app indicator on the top bar of GNOME shell. Uses OpenWeather map since DarkSky is no longer available. I just like the ability to quickly glance and gauge the current weather.
Sound Input & Output Device Chooser
Link to extension: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/906/sound-output-device-chooser/
Normally, to change your output/input sound device, it requires either opening the activies overview and typing “Sound” and selecting the sound settings, or uing the top-right dropdown and selecting “Settings” to get to the sound settings. This extension just lets you switch detected sound devices directly from the top-right bar menu.
Although I don’ve use too many extensions, these are my favorite by far. I will be curious on what will happen to the GNOME 3 extension ecosystem once GNOME 40 releases, which I am very excited to try in Fedora 34! If you have any other useful suggestions for extensions, let me know by contacting me!