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Aggregate System Menu arrives for Shell 3.10!

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Currently the latest version towards to 3.10 GNOME Series is the unstable 3.9.4 and so far 3.9.4 while fixes around 100 bugs, it didn’t include any major new UI features. That was quite unexpected for Shell that has used us to constant changes in every unstable iteration.

Version 3.9.5 will change all these as it will include some really really cool things that GNOME Devs did. We are talking about the re-designed Aggregate System Menu that will debut in 3.10.

User Menu is gone and is renamed to System Menu and System Menu has been transformed to an aggregate menu that combines lots of stuffs (like Power, BlueTooth etc). System Menu will also display items in a dynamic way. For example Airplane Icon will be only visible when is enabled and will also have a -options- submenu when is ON directly from Shell.

Together with those we have some major changes in the way that Shell manipulates popup menus and submenus and therefore Shell Extensions Authors need to make some refactoring to have their extensions working in GNOME 3.10.

Why System Status Menu?

The current system status area consists of a series of menus for different aspects of system status, such as networking, sound and power. This feature proposes to combine these into a single menu. Doing so will resolve a number of UX bugs and will also give us some additional features and flexibility not possible with the current approach.


Whats System Status?

In GNOME 3, the System Status Area is a place where System Status Indicators represent the status of the system to the user. This is not an area that is variously called the Notification Area or System Tray and should not be used by applications (foreground or background) to indicate their status. This distinction is necessary to ensure the entire top of the screen is designed properly, system owned and coherent, able to be modified or extended, scale well to smaller form-factors, and not become a dumping ground or high-profile branding opportunity.


The icons can be clicked with any mouse button but should always perform the same action no matter what button is used.

Early Preview

This is very early work almost meaningless to show, and when ready, Allan Day will make a detailed post with the goals and whys. Anyway, if you install Shell from Master you will see something like this.


Sliders can calculate the value wherever you click


System Menu in early state with open submenus

The above figures are far from completed and things should be look similar kinda like..


An example of more submenus


There is a also the new Notification Menu


Which will be transformed to


The status of your chat (online-offline-busy-away?) will be displayed here. These patches hasn’t been yet merged to Master.

Latest Development System Status MockUps are at GitHub.


I didn’t add bug reports on these, since the 20 latest patches concern those changes.


Apps Switcher Changes

This hasn’t to do anything with the above, it is a quite significant change but currently there isn’t a UI hook to trigger it.  What it does is to add an option to Limit Alt-Tab to the Current Workspace, similar to what some Extensions do.


Add an option to limit the appSwitcher to the current workspace. For users that use workspaces for task separation this more convenient then current behaviour. While having to add an option is unfortunate there is no way to make both groups happy as workspaces usage differes between different users / types of users.


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  • bimsebasse

    Hehe, screen rotation lock. One of things I have missed in desktop distros.

    • alex285

      ;) I can guess that will be only visible in tablets.

      • David

        If only we could buy a Gnome 3 tablet :)

        • alex285

          Well, you can buy a tablet and install Gnome, but the question is why to do this? ;) I mean whats the use of Gnome in a tablet at current state? Other that it will look cool!

          • Luya Tshimbalanga

            Gnome Shell is fine with tablet using a stylus.

          • JaSauders

            I’d love to have a Gnome Shell powered tablet. I haven’t looked into it, but I wonder if I can get it on my Nexus 7 with minimal fuss…

          • alex285

            There is a Fedora 19 Installer (not official fedora project) for Nexus 4. I don’t know if it works, I don’t know if supports Nexus 7, but here it is


            Ofcourse you can google for more how tos. It just happened to know about this.

        • sramkrishna

          Not really useful until touch becomes more mature, and secondly we have definitive designs for tablets which is a different mind space than desktops. But as a strategem we do need to start thinking about touch and embedded devices if we want continue to make GNOME relevant in this new world.

          • Craig

            Cool exec babble bro.

        • IsacDaavid

          Well, you can. I’ve seen tablets with Gnome 3 being sold in Venezuela:


  • Michael Heyns

    As part of the changes, will the user name also be hidden by default? I’ve grown rather fond of my name in the top right :)

    • alex285

      haha, according to designs and the work so far, yes name is missing. You can make a user-name-extension ;)

      • Michael Heyns

        To be honest, the first time I saw a mock up of the the unified system menu on a blog post by Allan Day, I was really put off. This article makes it look rather appealing.

        • alex285

          It’s probably cause of my awesome linguist English skills ;)

      • IsacDaavid

        They just added that option under privacy settings for the 3.8 release. I don’t think they are dropping it yet. Perhaps the user name will only be hidden by default and that’s it.

        I also let my anger get carried away the first time I saw this unified system menu, but then read all the rationale regarding problems categorizing some system info and untouchable tiny icons and now I find it quite appealing. Those mock-ups are really good, overllal organisation is better within the shell specially because settings are not given the same hierarchy as system stuff.

        The only downside is that many, too many extensions will break.

  • sramkrishna

    You guys can use ostree and run this in a VM to check it out. File bugs too!

    • IsacDaavid

      I would love to, but cannot. Long story:
      Gnome OS tree is only built for x86_64 (of course that’s the best choice if you don’t want to build several images for older and less used instruction sets), so this gave a reason to finally migrate my whole Arch installation and I moved, just to find out that my clumsy proprietary BIOS does not support 64-bit hardware virtualisation, in spite my processor does; what a waste! Next time I buy hardware I might consider going for a chipset which I can install Coreboot to.

      Right now I’m messing with JHBuild, I really wanna test all these new Gnome-shell features.