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The new GNOME Shell Interface Arrived!

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I wish I could do a screencasting, but mouse cursor is frozen in Shell Recording and FFMPEG makes blue screens. So I just took some screenshots.


Categories have now been removed (I personally had this extension that also removes them in 3.6) and instead there are grouped applications that you can customize(3.10). That doesn’t affect people that only were using search.


Opening a group acting the same way as the normal Shell Mode. You can launch applications, drag them to favorites etc. All Right Click Context Menus, are now also accessible with Left Long Press, for touch devices. There is also an Arrow Icon  in the graphics here that Print Screen seems to hide it :)


The Frequent view shows the most frequently used applications. Shell remembers your last choice view, so if you last time you chose ALL, next time Shell will open to this view.


Notifications are also hidden in overview and that makes sense after the new “Pressure Sensitivity” behavior. However you can open Notification Tray if you want to.


Dock has been removed from Search Overview. Actually is getting hidden with a nice sliding animation.

Besides these changes, there are many new animations in many parts like Login Screen, and also smooth scrolling is here in many Shell Components (not working to every hardware. I am not sure if this is going to be the very final Look of GNOME Shell but I hope not. Not because I don’t like the changes, I do, but because some new things are almost done to come, like the pin locker.


Giovanni Campagna has made the patches that are awaiting for review before they push them into master (hopefully). After Accounts Service bits land, he will ask for a second freeze to get the config and Shell parts.

But there are much more things like the revisited Activities Overview Drag and Drop.

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  • User

    Wow, very nice. Personally I have never used categories in GNOME 3 and I’m glad they finally got rid of them. Jakub has been working on the new design some time already (at least 8 months) –

    GNOME 3.8 feature list seems to be huge :). GNOME developers has done great work.

  • dylan-m

    Any news on notifications? There’s a lovely video mockup that shows off much lighter feeling animations for notification bubbles, at Also, the mockup at has some obvious differences. I’d be really excited to see those changes in 3.8 :)

    • JJ

      The banner notifications would have been awesome. This is first time me seeing the changes in the design, the legacy icons are separated and tray doesn’t persist in overview etc are really welcome. 3.10 will rock for sure!

  • Rodrigo Teixeira

    The notifications are hidden? Because I loved it!

    • alex285

      Yes, I attached a new screenshot. You can open message tray with the new way

      • JJ

        How easy do you find the new way to open tray? Also is the application groups come by default?

        • alex285

          Sometimes it doesn’t respond as expected (bug?), but the normal behavior is really okay for me.

  • JJ

    That was just stupid of them to remove the application categories. Was it so difficult for them to keep it?
    Otherwise gnome never stops to impress me. With each new cycle, they dwarf the changes up until the last cycle; Hats off.

    • JJ

      After going through the design, I think the grouped applications come by default (with an option to customise that is not landed yet).

      That is a very welcome change. This will reduce a lot of the clutter in the application overview. (There are so many unnecessary applications that come installed with all the linux distros that are never used by average users etc.)

    • sramkrishna

      It’s actually very simple. Categories are too subjective. Haven’t you ever had in GNOME 2 where some app was installed and then you have to hunt around looking to find out which category it got installed on? I had that happen all the time. It’s an arbitrary subjective system. For instance, for terminal, sometimes I see it in other, sometimes it might be in development. Both could be valid. So it’s not great. It’s better to create your own grouping and then put the apps where you think they fit. That’s a lot more user friendly than trying to stick things into arbitrary buckets especially if the bucket it is in is not quite fit.

      • JJ

        Your argument can also be said against the new app folders. An application could be in any of the app folders. The worst case with categories is an app could be in one of two categories (say terminal in accessories/system but of course not in games/internet etc.).

        But If I have say 10 custom app folders and if I don’t remember where I put an app, that will be a usability nightmare (far more worse than the categories). Terminal could be in utilities/tools/system/accessories/……and may be even in internet/games (accidentally or lack of knowledge).

        • martial

          completely agree !

        • hells_dark

          Do not forget the awesome search feature. I think search + keywords on apps are way better than categories.
          For the rest, I like being able to make my groups myself, not with categories, but that’s just me.

        • sramkrishna

          There is a search feature if you can’t remember. I use this feature a lot in android and I never had an instance where I forgot which bundle I put it in. I did have trouble finding apps that wasn’t in a bundle however. I don’t think you’re coming up with a good argument against custom app folders. At worst, it doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s definitely better than subjective categories. It puts you in the drivers seat on how you want to manage your apps or not at all.

      • martial

        Yes but it was a king of a “norm” : once you found your app, you know where you can find it no matter the computer you are using / reinstall.

      • Sicofante

        If instead of a single category you allow apps to belong to more than one (something like Gmail labels) and of course allow the user to change that manually, your concerns vanish in a second. There are only a handful of apps badly categorized by “subjective” distro makers. Most of them make sense where Gnome 2 would put them. By allowing a user to easily change that and having an app using multiple categories the problem just goes away.

        You just have replaced one problem with another (were did I put that app?).

        Also, if you keep putting and removing features so lightly, how do you expect to gain respect? This looks like a constant beta that will never be stable. It’s not like you released Gnome 3 two months ago… I don’t use Gnome Shell. This definitely doesn’t invite me.

  • Vincent O’Neil

    Looks average to me. I keep hearing mention of certain elements of the interface being removed because it’s not touch-friendly. Exactly how many touchscreen devices currently run Gnome-Shell? Of those, how many are shipped with Gnome-Shell?
    Also, grouped applications in virtual “folders”? Apple lawsuit in 3…2…1…

    • sramkrishna

      I don’t think we have ever talked about touch all that much. The multi-touch stuff is still not there yet. So I’m puzzled where this touch stuff is coming from. We’re still focused on desktops, and the only touch we would be concerned with what would be the one on laptops. There are no plans to make a touch interface for a tablet which is a completely different design.

      • Rocker

        Gnome Shell is definitely not a mouse friendly interface. Gigantic, confusing icons and windows that involve an extreme amount of mouse travel and athletics to and from the silly hot corner with obese icons in the app chooser that gives you a headache just looking at it. Maybe the Shell is a good keyboard interface, but it doesn’t do it for a mouse lover like me.

  • Bruno Melo

    GOOD, Gnome 3.8 will have 100% Mac Lion’s look and feel. but I like Mac global menu and Gnome doesn’t have, why do you not make it? and change the Activities text to Gnome’s icon or distros icons

    • Philip Witte

      If you want 100% Mac feel on Linux, use Ubuntu + Gnome Cupertino Theme + Elementary Icons.

      Unity has the global menu, and I really don’t like that concept. I really hope GMenu in general is someday removed.

      • Bruno Melo

        man, Unity sucks! Unity not seems like Mac look and feel, it’s so ugly, I prefer Gnome!

    • sramkrishna

      I intensely hate the global menu. We have a limited global menu with the app icon. But otherwise, it should stay as it is.

  • Marcos V.F.

    Gnome should focus on AppMenu (GMenu) for all applications. I think this is the biggest reason for people not using Gnome Shell.

  • Helder Pereira

    Seems pretty stupid to me to remove the application categories. The new way of grouping applications seem much more confusing. I’ve been using GNOME 3 since 3.2, but this sort of usability shenanigans just keep piling up. Gnome Shell is a vast improvement to to traditional GNOME 2 paradigm, but these little quirks are change just for the sake of changing and I’m tired of a constantly moving target for my production desktop. By the time you get used to a new feature, it happens to be removed in the next version or utterly redesigned.

    • Philip Witte

      App-groups work very well on iOS and Android. I like the idea a whole lot, if it’s user-customization in a simple way.

    • sramkrishna

      Have some patience, it is a moving target, but it’ll taper off as we get the rest of the core apps turned into gnome 3 apps, and continue to refine the user experience. There are still a lot of holes that we have to plug. The application categories were hated even before we released 3.0. We’ve been trying to figure out for a while how to deal with the categories.

  • Philip Witte

    Looking good! Loving the notifications, and I never used categories, so i won’t miss them.

    Are app-groups customization? One thing I wish the apps had (and might me actually use it with the mouse) is a “more favorites” section. That is, where you could prioritize all your apps, and hide the ones you don’t need to see (like Orca, flashplayer, etc).

    Another thing I wish is, for performance reasons with many apps open, that Activities List in Overview wouldn’t render each window in every workspace. Instead, you would just see a Window box (at the size/pos of each window) with the app icon or something inside it.

    • Bastian Hougaard

      Making custom app groups would definitely be awesome, I applaud this idea! Also, is application groups drag n’ drop-able similar so you can start several applications by dragging one application group? That could decrease the time between booting your computer and getting started working decently.

      • Philip Witte

        Great Idea! The Gnome Team should definitely discuss adding that in!

        What about having the ability to have App-Groups on the Dash? If you click the Group it pops open a window where you can select applications (like shown above). BUT you could drag the whole thing onto the desktop to launch everything! Now that would be awesome, especially with the Dash-to-Dock extension. I only keep my most common apps on the Dash, and search for the others, but I would love some custom “Accessories”, “Art”, and “Code” groups on the Dash.

        • Michael

          look at all the great ideas a few users on a single site already came up with to make gnome shell amazing, yet gnome developers seem to completely disregard any design/usability suggestions made by users thus far…shame really…..

        • Bastian Hougaard

          Definitely an awesome idea. Maybe I will put together a design suggestion revolving around all this at the GNOME Design Playground. That way we can make a proper proposal that will reach the UX design team. If you want, we could create it together! :-)

    • Florian Müllner

      App groups are intended to be customizable, but there is currently no UI to do so (the mockups[0] spot a link in the bottom right corner to launch a management app (software/alacarte), but it makes only sense to add the button once those applications gain support for managing app groups).
      So for now customizing groups is a bit awkward and involves messing around with gsettings …


  • hells_dark

    That fits my tastes.

  • Edson Santos

    I want to test these new changes, is getting really good.
    Congratulations to Gnome team.

  • Badreddine Moon

    This is why I hate almost all the changes :

    1-Categories have now been removed: why removing them instead of putting a arrow next to ‘Categories’ to hide/show them

    2-The Frequent view : if it’s by default when you click on the apps button it will make my life harder (go to the top left of the screen to open activities and than go to the bottom left of screen and than click on ‘All’ button and search for the app i want with no category )

    3- I hate that the apps button is on the bottom (even it come in 3.6 because when I have 3 opened apps it will be on the 4 th position and when i have 20 opened apps it will be on the 21 th position but if it was on the top it always be on the top even I have 40 opened apps )

    4-Notifications are also hidden in overview : when I open the activities overview I want to see all the opened apps, favorite panel (I wish it had a minimum size of apps because when you open a lot of apps they become so tiny) and of course the notification because its name is ‘Activities’ === every thing; i don’t need to open activities and than when i want to see notification i have to go to the bottom coming from the top of screen.

    5-Dock has been removed from Search Overview : why just removing dock and not using its space for other thing in the search overview, and sometimes when you search for an app you need to go back to the dock if you canceled search so Do i have to go back to the Activities corner to hide/show it and than go to the dock?

    6-Why not using grouped applications in the dock instead of the apps overview witch is so vast, the dock is limited so i think it’s the one that need grouped apps, the apps overview have a scrolling so it needs categories instead of grouped apps.

    • Bilbo

      You just said everything that i wanted to…thank you for all your points. 100% agree

    • Michael Heyns

      All valid points and I agree with what you said. I can’t wait to take 3.8 for a spin, not sure if I’m going to like it as much as was previously anticipated.

    • Philip Witte

      The App-Group’s on the Dash is a golden idea.

    • gutigen

      Completly agree with every single point!

    • Marek

      I totally agree! I think the removal of Categories is wrong move (same thing with no Notifications in overview).

      I just don’t understand one thing – why remove instead of making an option for it? Or switch?

      I see the new wave of extensions approaching…

  • Adonis K.

    Ohh boy…

  • Badreddine Moon

    “alex diavatis” few hours before the 3.8 beta release : please when will it be released and when we could have a live image to test it ?

    • alex285

      It just did ;) For live images you have to wait for someone to make them. Maybe in a few days with a Fedora daily build. Or OpenSUSE, but I dont know how Suse works with live images.

      • Badreddine Moon

        Thank you it will be good to test it

      • sramkrishna

        I’m working on getting someone in GNOME to release an image so that people can try it out and give feedback. Besides, we want a way for extension writers to have enough time to port their extensions over.

  • Bilbo

    Just update my GS to see the changes myself…really nice and smooth animations, but something indeed is missing. Messages are missing in overview?? Not good. Another do i group the applications? How do i find all the games let’s say? Just write in the search box “games”…well the result it’s only “Chess” and i know i have couple more games. Do you really want me to waste my time and look for the games myself in the endless list of my apps? I think it’s a mistake. Hopefully they will create an extension to bring back the categories. Plus, the rendering on the bottom of the list of apps it’s messed up a little. But, In general, very good job.

    • gipawu

      Can you please tell me how I can update to this Gnome version? Thank you

      • Bilbo

        If you using Ubuntu 12.10 Gnome Remix as i do you to have the latest gnome-shell you have to add to your ppa list the ricotz testing

        thats the link with the instructions (just in case). Enjoy

    • sramkrishna

      You could file a bug?

  • Serge Wagner

    Same opinion as Badreddine Moon – thanks

    And the icons are much too big
    Did the designer think that we are all blind?
    Did the designer think everyone uses a touchpad?

    I love gnome-shell, and since 3.4 everything seemed (to me) going in the right direction – and i enjoyed every new build (always ppa/ricotz on raring – but today … i’ll have toget a drink- or some more)

    Most annoying thing: the user theme extension does not exist for the moment
    I am working now for some hours to adopt my theme (darkair) to 3.7.90

    In the last ppa/ricotz with 3.7.5. (date 2-19.2013)-it worked (after some hours of modifications) (although the categories already disappeared
    Now that i have upgraded to 3.7.90 the user theme extension does not work any more ….

    Ok ik can replace the default theme ..
    But maybe the builds in the next days will fix it again – i hope so

    There are also some minor problems sometimes with gnome-terminal
    … probably because the ubuntu build is still .6 serie

  • dave

    My mum uses gnome shell on her computer, and she likes playing the games I’ve installed on it. However she can’t remember the names of the games she likes, and hasn’t tried half the games I’ve put on there – so she finds the list of games by selecting the “Games” category. How can she do this without categories? Is there a better way?

    • alex285

      When GNOME 3.8 is out you can make her an AppFolder for Games, (if she doesnt want to scroll) or add an extension that brings categories back (I guess there will be one), or add an application menu or even let her login in Gnome Classic Mode in case she has her own account

      • GamingOnLinux

        Both require more manual work, what if someone installs a new game – they then need to find it in the list, put it into the folder themselves, seriously how counter productive do you want Gnome Shell to be?

    • foobaro

      She should be able to get the list by typing “game” into the search.

      • Sicofante

        Really? Will every game on a system show up when typing “game” into the search? What if you type “juego” or “jeux” on a Spanish or French installation? So every game has been previously categorized by someone? Where does reside that metadata for the search?

        • sramkrishna

          It’s in the desktop file.

          • Sicofante

            And I suppose the desktop file is created by the developer. In other words, categories might be created by simply grouping apps by reading its desktop files?

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  • Naman Distro

    hey i m having a gnome as these but it does not have pin log in so any help on that

    • alex285

      Pin unlocker isn’t yet in master. And it isn’t certain if it will come in 3.8.

  • Billy

    Gnome is broken by design. Gnome is the most retarded desktop ever. Gnome was infiltrated by Microsoft years ago. A small group of Gnome developers have ruined Gnome intentionally. Linux has better desktops like LXDE, KDE, and XFCE.

    • sramkrishna

      Yet.. here you are, commenting away. You must still have some love.

  • hells_dark

    I have a bad feeling with centering these days. I’m trying the new interface and looks great, but everything feels uncentered…

    Anyone else ? (windows, buttons, application area list… etc…

    Maybe they should not count the favorites section for calculating it… dunno…

    • hells_dark

      For instance : the search area is centered, but the frequent/all buttons aren’t (according to the screen width).
      It feels weird to me.

    • hells_dark

      Yeah ! this has been corrected ! Thanks gnome devs =)

  • GamingOnLinux

    I hate to troll and don’t wish to sound like one but removing categories? Oh my days, it’s made it even harder just to simply filter out apps. Now you have to find the groups in the whole view to find a single type of application by the looks of it – fricken aweful just another reason for me to personally stay away.

    • alex285

      Basically you create the groups. The full mechanism will come in 3.10. However you can do that with a bit more work in 3.8. You can check this post if you want to

      • GamingOnLinux

        What if i want to just simply view only games? Or only media apps? I now will have to look for a folder that looks like it might have them in it requiring more of my time. The groups don’t even have labels so you have to now properly learn all the icons to find a group with ones that look familiar, it’s extremely poor design.

        • alex285

          I am not saying that the current design is perfect and is incomplete. However I believe that the best and only way to categorize your Apps, is to do it your self. Besides, that is why there are Extensions, to limit the (personal) weakness of Shell :)

          • GamingOnLinux

            Then you should make the original categories more customizable, just allow people to drag and drop the icons around, re-name categories etc. That way if people want to spend the time sorting it they can otherwise normal users still get a nice easy to use category system.

  • Beno Hamid

    Wow …New GNOME Shell extensions

  • Sean

    Yet more featured removed, no surprise there then so it’s busiiness as usual for GNOME, nothing to see here, move along.

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