Adding a Taskbar or Dock to GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell

GNOME Shell in GNOME 3 does not have a taskbar, task list, or dock in the way that many of us have grown accustomed to. This has been the source of lot of criticism from new users migrating to GNOME 3. I too was put off by the lack of a taskbar initially (I have since adapted to a workflow without a taskbar).

Here are some taskbar options for those users out there want a taskbar or dock to ease their migration to GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell.

  1. Adding a Dock to GNOME 3
  2. Adding a Taskbar to GNOME 3
  3. Adjusting Your Workflow for GNOME 3

Adding a Dock to GNOME 3

There is a GNOME Shell Extension which provides a dock on the right side of the screen. This dock is very similar to the Dash in that it shows your "favorites" as well as running applications (running applications have a slight highlight).

For Fedora 15 users the dock is available in the repositories as 'gnome-shell-extensions-dock'.

GNOME Shell Dock

Adding a Taskbar to GNOME 3

I also stumbled accross a post on Greg Cordts' Blog which pointed out that a taskbar called tint2 works great with GNOME 3. This panel will run independently on each screen and/or workspace which some users may find convenient.

Fedora users can find tint2 in the repositories as 'tint2'.

tint2 Panel in GNOME Shell

Update 2011-12-18 There are now some GNOME Shell extensions for taskbars you can use as alternatives to tint2. See my newer blog post: 3 Taskbars for GNOME 3.2

Adjusting Your Workflow for GNOME 3

Now the jury is still out, as they say, for GNOME 3. I have been testing GNOME 3 for less than a week. I was frustrated initially by the lack of taskbar. But in just a couple of days I found I wasn't using tint2 nor the dock. I kept an open mind and tried to adjust my workflow around the new tools provided by GNOME Shell. It's working for me.

Everybody has different needs and different work habits. Changing your routine is not easy--especially when you have deadlines. My primary use for my Desktop is as a web developer. As such, I typically have many, many applications running at the same time and switch back and forth frequently. I'm sure many of the readers of this blog are in the same boat. Should you choose to give up the taskbar and dock, as I have, here are some tips.

Make use of workspaces. I was already using workspaces quite efficiently with GNOME 2, however, they are all the more important without a taskbar. Organize your applications into workspaces in the GNOME Overview, which can be dynamically added as needed. Switch between workspaces using CTRL+Up/Down (instead of CTRL+Left/Right in GNOME 2).

Learn some keyboard shortcuts. I am personally more of a mouse clicker than a keyboard navigator, however, things can be done very quickly using keyboard shortcuts. Take a look at the GNOME 3 Cheat Sheet. The "Windows" key, ALT+Tab, ALT+F2, and CTRL+Up/Down are especially usefull.

I'll give you an example. If I want to launch Gedit in GNOME 3, I can do so with 4 keystrokes. The "Windows" key opens the Overview, then I type 'ge' (wich finds gedit) and then I hit the enter key. Pretty quick.

Did you enjoy Adding a Taskbar or Dock to GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell? If you would like to help support my work, A donation of a buck or two would be very much appreciated.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Linux Servers on the Cloud IN MINUTES