I use Gnome as my desktop environment for my private laptop. As a Linux user, at the moment I was distro-hopping, I also tried different desktop environments:

  • started with KDE: as everything is customizable, this gives a lot of options and possibilities. But also a lot of possibilities to screw-up (or at least, make everything inconsistent). For my use-case I found it a bit too customizable.
  • then Gnome: maybe a bit too minimalistic. As far as I know, they have really thought about the workflow. But as someone who uses multiple operating systems, I found the default gnome workflow too different from what I expect.
  • Mate: didn’t like the Gnome 2 look, can imagine when you’re really used to that, you like it, but as I don’t have an intimate history with Gnome 2, I don’t care about that feel.
  • Cinnamon: liked the defaults. But in the end didn’t go for it, but to be honest, don’t really know anymore why

In the end, I gave Gnome a second chance, and opted to go for as little customization as possible. The first time I installed it (and updated it), a lot of extensions broke, were not compatible with each other, and were basically just giving headaches. So, for the last two years, I’m using Gnome.

But, I still think the out-of-the-box experience of Gnome is sub-par. Why do I need to install an extension to be able to use Hibernate? Why can I only choose between 100% and 200% scaling by default? And why do all these extensions break all the time?

So, my minimal set of extensions, and config changes:

  • Bluetooth Quick Connect: pressing an icon to ‘just’ connect makes sense in a desktop environment, right?
  • Dash to Panel: After trying out Dash to dock quite some time, Dash to Panel gave me a more consistent experience with maximizing, pieces of widows that were not reachable etc. But anyway, I just really want to have a quick overview of the applications that I have open, and the possibility to just start them clicking an icon. I know, not the most efficient, but I still tend to use it most of the time.
  • Hibernate Status Button: adds the hibernate option when shutting down your laptop
  • Removable Drive Menu: adds a quick way to unmount an USB drive

And, I enabled fractional scaling (gsettings set org.gnome.mutter experimental-features "['scale-monitor-framebuffer']"), so, I can run my desktop at 125%.

With this, I have a clean, consistent desktop, that works for me.