Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tweaking Fedora 15 and GNOME 3

Fedora 15 is out now and features GNOME 3.0. All in all I would say I’m very happy with F15, but to get the GNOME Shell working the way I wanted to it required a little tweaking.


Most of these changes will require sudo access, and the use of the GnomeTweakTool program or the gconf-editor utility. To enable sudo access you must either add your user to the ‘wheel’ group, or manually edit the sudoers file with the visudocommand. I won’t cover this in more detail here as there are already plenty of tutorials for this task out there.

To install the gconf-editor tool simply use the following command:

$ sudo yum install gconf-editor

Gnome Tweak Tool

The GNOME 3.0 release saw a lot of customization features disappear from the desktop. This is understandable, as it’s hard to present users (in this case themers or normal desktop users) with stable customization options when you are still working on the system’s design. To help restore some of this functionality the GnomeTweaksTool has been created. It will allow you to change system fonts, set GTK and GNOME Shell themes, change icon sets, and even re-enable the minimize button! 

The tool is easy to install:

$ sudo yum install gnome-tweak-tool

The Minimize Button

So far this has been one of the biggest complains I’ve heard about the GNOME Shell, and yet it is easily fixed. If you have the GNOME Tweak Tool installed simply change the option ‘Arrangement of buttons on the titlebar’ under the ‘Shell’ options.

 If you are using gconf-editor navigate to desktop->gnome->shell->windows and change the value of button_layout to ‘:minimize,close‘. One can also add the maximize button this way by simply setting the value to’:maximize,minimize,close‘.

Power Off and Alternative Alt-Tab

To have GNOME show a power off option in the status menu you can install the alternative-status-menu extension.

$ sudo yum install gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-status-menu

Currently, GNOME Shell has application_based alt-tab behavior. To change this to the more traditional windows-based install the alternate-tab extension.$ sudo yum install gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-tab

Dual Monitor Workspaces

By default GNOME Shell only considers the main monitor a ‘workspace’. Any windows on additional monitors stay the same when switching from one workspace to another. 

To change this behavior use gconf-editor to set the desktop->gnome->shell->windows->workspace_only_on_primary to false.