When it was first released few months ago Gnome Shell was heavily criticized by the users. Although this is certainly not something new to Gnome since something very similar happened when they switched from the version 1.0 to the Gnome classic desktop 2.0 few years ago.
But from a positive “angle”, this time at least they’ve designed the desktop in a way so that changing (customizing) features of the desktop is a bit easier thanks to the Gnome Shell API. We’ve already seen the power of these Shell extensions… one in particular called “MGSE” has even been able to changed the “course” of Linux Mint, somewhat, me thinks ;-).
In simple terms, as easy as installing a web browser plug-in, Gnome Shell extensions are plugins that run on top of the desktop and add various features that are otherwise “missing” in the original desktop.
And yesterday Gnome hackers announced the availability of the official Gnome Shell Extensions page!. Remember the “project” is still at its alpha stage so be ready for few hectic bumps here and there too.
The best thing is, as said above, the installation is seamless (you just click on the “On” button of the preferred extension inside your web browser window and off you go!).
When first you enter the web page it’ll ask for your conformation to install a browser plugin called “Gnome Shell Integration” which adds this feature and then the rest is pretty intuitive. Remember this only works on Gnome Shell version 3.2 or newer. So if you have an older version … then make sure to upgrade otherwise you’ll have to install them the old way without using the web browser.
When thinking about the “effect” that you can have after having installed a lots plug-ins in your web browser (as you all know it “helps” to somewhat slow down the browser) I don’t know whether it’s a good thing to have installed a lot of Shell extensions too. But that being said I do appreciate this approach from the Gnome team to solve some of those criticisms anyway.
Finally a place where your wildest “Gnome dreams” come true. Ahh some peace at last ;-).