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Welcome to GNOME 3.8, Flintstones Mode ;)

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This isn’t a wannabe GNOME 2

First of, don’t make the mistake to compare GNOME 3 Classic Mode with GNOME 2. That is not the case, and nobody tried to restore GNOME 2 experience back. What Gnomers did, was just to bring some “typical” desktop features in 3, like the display of a window list at the bottom of the screen.

Second, this has nothing to do with Fallback Mode. Fallback was there for systems that were lacking 3d hardware support. Since GNOME 3.6, Shell can use software rendering to emulate 3d, therefore Fallback got obsoleted and basically un-maintained.


Classic Mode came to close the (well-known) complains of many people, but more importantly is an opening of GNOME to its community requests. Actually, Classic doesn’t offer anything new, that you couldn’t already do with the extensions. It just packages some of them in a separate Session.

A paradox

The paradox is that most of the people that were complaining they were already knowing how to use extensions, but instead to help others by explaining them how to use Shell Plugins, they choose to just go with the complains. To be fair, this was also a mistake of GNOME Release Notes.

The Result

Maybe not lot of us (in this blog) will use Classic Mode, because we already know how to transform GNOME 3 to Classic already -and make it even better. However surprisingly Classic looks quite good and I used it for a few hours today.

The Flintstones Mode

This is how Classic looks at the moment (from Git), with the exception of Lock Screen that is broken on my installation and I can’t see it. However this is the same as the normal GNOME.


First thing to note is the Grey theme that distinguishes Classic from Normal(?) and that Nautilus handles the Desktop by default. We can have desktop Icons and the nautilus Context Menu.


You might want to discard Nautilus from Desktop, so you can use the upcoming BackgroundMenu Extensions. Easiest way is to use the Gnome-Tweak-Tool (GTT), but I am doing it with Dconf-Editor, because I can’t run GTT.

All Windows Controls are visible (Max-Min-Close) by default, and there is also the Windows List on the edge of the screen to switch tasks. The list shows the current workspace windows only, but we can choose if we want to group Windows or not (default).


Note the notifications icons on the bottom right edge. If we click on them Message Tray is opening. Message Tray also opens with the Pressure Sensitivity similar to Normal.


Alt Tab is the classic Alt-Tab without grouping Applications and without the strange behavior with workspaces in GNOME3. As an option we can set it to show us only the Windows of the current workspace.

Speaking for workspaces, in Classic there aren’t dynamic Workspaces. There are just 4 static ones, that we can increase/decrease within GTT or Dconf.


Classic uses 7 Extensions (+1 User Themes I have installed). These Extensions are off in Normal Mode. But If we wish we can enable them there aswell.


If you don’t like the Menu, you can use another menu extension to replace it. It is true, there are some better choices there ;) Note that you can enter Overview both with the “Activities Overview” Menu Item or with the top-left Hotspot that also works in Classic.


Being in Overview (either Windows Overview or Apps Overview) everything is normal as the regular GNOME, with the exception of this Gray Bottom Bar for notifications.. which is a bug.

By the way, if you hit an item in AppsDock that will launch always a new instance (if possible), and won’t focus to the currently running (if any) .


The only thing you will miss from Regular GNOME is dynamic Workspaces, the backgroundMenu, 20pixels from the bottom edge of the screen and ..that is pretty much all of it.  On the other hand this is nothing more than a GNOME “preset” to help new-comers.

You can run the Flintstones or the..


..Jetsons Mode -if you don’t like classic things. With GNOME 3, you can build your very own custom desktop with a few clicks, that’s the magic :)

Some Info

To change mode from inside the session without exiting to GDM.

$ gnome-shell --mode=classic -r

Change back

$ gnome-shell -r

List all modes

$ gnome-shell --list-modes

Everything ;)

$ gnome-shell -h

Classic is described at

    "parentMode": "user",
    "stylesheetName": "gnome-classic.css",
    "enabledExtensions": ["","","","","","",""],
    "panel": { "left": ["activities", "appMenu"],
               "center": [],
               "right": ["a11y", "keyboard", "volume", "bluetooth",
                         "network", "battery", "dateMenu", "userMenu"]

Grey Theme

If you want to get the grey theme of classic, you will find it at


Do the appropiete changes and get the classic-* images.

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  • Ertan ERBEK

    Mr. Linux Torvalts must love this name, ahahah

    • alex285

      Plus he will get two things to yelling at ;)

  • Jonathan Fischer Friberg

    Hmm, I might be using this, but I think not. I personally like the way 3 works over 2 right now.

    The theme looks nifty though, any way of using it right now/when this is released? :D

    • alex285

      Sure, I attach in the end of the post how. You just need to copy files.

  • JJ

    Why does the bottom panel is below the message tray? Message tray should have been below everything and you cannot anyways change apps while notifications are open.

    • alex285

      Good point, you can file a bug a guess

  • JohnGoodman

    Ready to pay some royalties? The Flintstones is a trademark plus being a really bad cartoon :)

    • alex285

      That would be embarrassing. If I am going to be sued, I want someone like Apple, for the glory.. But end up in jail from Flintstones.. It is just embarrassing..

    • Nekhelesh Ramananthan

      But isnt it like Debian using Sid which is Toy Story trademark?

  • Alex

    “First of, don’t make the mistake to compare GNOME 3 Classic Mode with
    GNOME 2. That is not the case, and nobody tried to restore GNOME 2
    experience back.”

    Then why is the UI exactly like in GNOME 2? Why wasn’t shell search integrated into the menu? Why a window list instead of a dock? This GNOME Legacy doesn’t even compare to Cinnamon.

    • alex285

      They are not trying to compete Cinnamon. Cinnamon is there for anyone who likes it. It is free, it is a community project and it is really good actually ;)