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Shell 3.8 Features | Keybindings in Overview!

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Notifications in Overview

In GNOME 3.8 Notification Tray is hidden by default when we hit Super. So how we can see if we have some new messages, without opening the Message Tray? There you go..


A new Overview-Control has been added to alert us for any new messages. The new messages indicator will be visible when there are non-resident notifications in the tray. The fix came from Cosimo Cecchi #687787. Of course we can still open the MessageTray and chat from there.


Kinda weird, MessageTray Menu and ChatBanner at the same time!

Keybindings in Overview

This is half-fixed. The hardware keys are now working in Overview, but the OSD stays invisible (#613543). For example, we can increase/decrease the sound, but the OSD volume banner will not pop up. In that particular case the volume icon on top-bar will update.

osd-sThe new backgroundMenu in Shell 3.8, is really useful you can see ;)

Note that not all keybindings work everywhere (ie e.g. it doesn’t make sense to launch the calculator on the lock screen) but print-screen should work almost everywhere with some exceptions  like alt-tab and popup menus.

The fixes came from Florian Mullner in Gnome Shell, Mutter and Gnome Settings Daemon.

  • Expose Mutter’s external grab API on the bus, so gnome-settings-daemon can refer keygrabbing to the shell (#643111)
  • During compositor grabs, all global keybindings that don’t go through mutter’s keybinding system are blocked. To allow other processes to make use of it, gnome-shell will expose a simple grab API on DBus; for this, add API to grab key combos directly instead of parsing accelerators stored in GSettings. (#643111)
  • Not every keybinding is useful at any moment, for instance it does not make sense to launch the calculator from the lock screen. The shell API allows to enable keybindings selectively, make use of that by passing appropriate mode flags for each keybinding. (#693016)
  • As events are not delivered to the root window when the shell itself has grabbed the keyboard, shortcuts currently won’t work in “special” modes like the overview. While the shell does offer a mechanism to selectively allow keybindings in these modes, it is only available for shortcuts grabbed by the shell itself. In order to allow other processes to use this feature as well, the shell now exposes a simple grab API on DBus; start using this API to fix shortcuts during compositor grabs. (#693016)


GNOME 3.8 beta Live Image

If you want to try the latest GNOME without pain (installation!), Matthias Clasen is his post “Recent GNOME 3.7 sightings“, describes some of the new features in GNOME 3.8 and he also gives a link to get a Live Image of GNOME 3.8,  based in Fedora (I guess).

You will find the link somewhere to the end of his post!


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  • Nick

    Notification Tray is hidden by default, but can I change settings to display it always in overview? In gnome settings or dconf?
    And are there any news about Gnome Photos and Video?

    • alex285

      Well, you can use photos but there isn’t a search yet. Totem became Video. There wasn’t an application from scratch, and you won’t see any major differences between the previous Totem.

      About MessageTray, you should either hack into Shell UI Javascript or waiting for some extension.

  • Brian Robles

    I thought they were crazy with removing the message tray in overview, but this new patch makes sense, even looks pretty.

  • Jiří Eischmann

    Removing the notification tray from the overview is IMHO a misstep. It was a killer feature for me to have all info about my desktop under the Super key. In GNOME 3.6, it’s even faster to get to the notification tray through the overview. Moreover the notification didn’t really take place for something else in the overview.
    It’s not the first, and I guess the last misstep of GNOME designers and hopefully there will be an extension for it. So no biggy.