Why I love Gnome Shell

I have been using Ubuntu full time since January 2012 and I love it, in general. What I don’t like is Unity. I used Unity for the starting few weeks before making the jump to Gnome Shell. It’s been over a year since I made the switch and even after trying out other shells like Cinnamon, I keep coming back to Gnome.


####1. Just the topbar is enough

This is the screenshot of my workspace. Google Chrome takes majority of the space. All the other open apps are hidden. They do not appear in any kind of taskbar. The topbar, the only part of Gnome that is visible, has the basic indicators that I ever need to look at, like

  • Date and Time
  • Sound
  • WiFi/Ethernet status
  • Battery

Everything else is out my sight, out of my way. I use alt+tab to switch apps. I don’t need to use touchpad to select an app from some taskbar! But for those times when I have many apps open and alt+tab just doesn’t cut it, I have the brilliant ‘Activities’ view in Gnome.

####2. Activities View

Through this view (which is accessible via the windows key) I can launch my common apps, search for other installed apps, get the graphic view of all open apps and other workspaces too.

So in Gnome, all the visual clutter is hidden, letting you focus on the currently open app. And everything else is just a key away.

One problem that I had with Gnome is the size of everything! While the icons and size of topbar look small in my screenshots, they definitely weren’t so by default. The icons in Activities view were huge! The topbar took just too much space! And even the font size was too big. Thankfully, these can be fixed. I reduced the app icon size. I also reduced the text-scaling-factor using Gnome Tweak Tool to 0.7. I have set the default zoom in Chrome at 90%. All of this was needed because my screen resolution is 720p but for some reason it seems worse in Gnome when compared to other shells. I should probably switch to 1080p screen but this switch seems improbable in the near future. I’ll make do with this hack till then!

Which shell are you using?

About Shashank Mehta:

Heading product for RazorpayX, building the future of business banking. Early bird (#7) at @Razorpay. Forever hoarse throat thanks to ManUtd.

Follow me on twitter. I don't tweet a lot though. Bummer, right?