How to Install and Use GNOME Shell Extensions in Linux 2

How to Install and Use GNOME Shell Extensions in Linux

Introduction

GNOME is a very famous desktop environment in Linux because it makes your workstation look and feels more like windows or mac. But if you are already comfortable with Linux or want to customize your desktop without going full GNOME, this tutorial might be useful for you.

GNOME shell is a graphical shell that can be installed separately and can offer various levels of Graphical user interface (GUI) related settings. Going one step further GNOME shell has various extensions that offer additional functionalities and customizations.

In this tutorial, you will learn various ways to install and use these extensions.

Note: Kindly note that the term ‘GNOME shell extension’ and ‘GNOME extension’ will be used alternatively in this tutorial but they both refer to the GNOME shell extensions.

Prerequisites

  • Linux-based system
  • Terminal access

A user account with sudo privileges.

Note: The commands in this tutorial are executed on the Ubuntu 20.04 system. All the methods in the tutorial are valid for any Linux-based system.

Install GNOME Tweaks

We recommend that you install the Tweaks tool before installing the GNOME shell so you can see and manage your GNOME extensions in one place.

You can install Tweaks from the software center or by typing the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

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Install and Use GNOME Extensions from the Linux Package

Linux comes with a basic installation package with several built-in compatible extensions. If you are looking for minimal installation, you can simply use the built-in extensions to improve your desktop performance.

You can install the GNOME Extension Package with the following command.

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Now, reboot your system. Once you have rebooted your system, you can see the available extensions in the Tweaks tool under the Extensions tab.

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You can enable any extension from here to use them in your system. Once you have enabled them, you can see the gear icon next to them. You can use this icon for further customization (if any is available).

Install and Use GNOME Extensions From GNOME Project Website

The GNOME Project website offers more than enough of the GNOME extensions for further customization. How to Install and Use GNOME Shell Extensions in Linux 6

There are two methods to install and use extensions from this website. One is to manually download the extension package and the other is to use a browser addon and native connector to automatically enable the selected extension.

Manual Installation of GNOME Extension From the GNOME Project Website

Go to your selected extension on the GNOME Project website, and adjust the extension version you want to download.

Note: Check the compatible version of your Linux and adjust your extension version according to it.

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On setting the extension version, you will be prompted to download your extension package.

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Now, go and extract your downloaded package zip file. Copy this folder and paste it to ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions directory. You can transverse to this directory by going through the hidden folders in your home directory.

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Now, go to the metadata.json inside the extension package files and copy the UUID value. Next, go ahead and rename your extension package to this UUID value.

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Now restart your system, you can see your extension in the Tweaks.

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Automatic Installation of GNOME Extension From the GNOME Project Website

To automatically install and use the GNOME extensions, you first need the browser add-on and native connector.

To install the browser addon (GNOME Shell Integration Package) for GNOME, you can use the following links according to your browser.

Firefox: Mozilla Addon

Google Chrome and Chromium: Chrome web store.

Opera: Opera Addons

Go to the website and download and install the browser addon

You will be prompted to add this addon to your browser.

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You will be prompted to add this addon to your browser.

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Once the browser addon is added successfully to your browser, You can now download the native connector by running the following command in the terminal.

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell

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Now, you can use the extension you like just by going on the website and enabling them from slider butter next to them.

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Your extension will take action immediately (caffeine extension has the symbol of a coffee cup on the system tab in the top right corner). On page refresh, you will see the gear and cross icons next to the slider button, you can use them for extension settings and deleting the extension.

 

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You can also see your installed extensions in the Tweaks.

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Conclusion

GNOME shell extensions are useful in desktop environment customization, but their useability is dependent on its user.

Using this tutorial, you can use the basic/limited functionalities provided by the built-in extensions or use the additional extensions provided by the GNOME official site to amp up your desktop game. Or you can set your extension manually by their downloaded packages. It all depends on your preferences.

Karim Buzdar

Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications including CCNA RS, SCP, and ACE. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various websites.

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