How to Install and Use GNOME Shell Extensions in Ubuntu and Other Linux

3 min


Here’s how you can install and use GNOME Extensions in Ubuntu and other Linux distros.

GNOME Shell Extensions are the code written by third-party developers for extending the GNOME desktop user experience. The extensions are similar to Firefox, and Chrome’s “Add-on”, which you may already be aware of.

A huge library of shell extensions is available on the GNOME extension website. Installing those allows you to extend your desktop experience to any level using the GNOME extensions in Ubuntu and other GNOME-based desktops such as Fedora workstations.

Now, there are two ways you can install the GNOME Extensions. An easy and modern way. And the old and difficult way.

GNOME Extensions in Ubuntu – Installation and Usage

1. Using Extension Manager (Easy & recommended)

Installation

In this method, I will use the Flatpak app, Extension manager, to install and manage GNOME Extensions in Ubuntu. This applies to Ubuntu as well as all Linux distributions.

Open a terminal, run the following commands to install Flatpak, set up Flathub and followed by the installation of Extension manager. A detailed guide is here if you want to learn more about Flatpak installation, but for now, follow the below.

sudo apt install flatpak
sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
flatpak install flathub com.mattjakeman.ExtensionManager

The above commands may take around 2 to 3 minutes to complete. Once completed, restart your system. After restarting, open Extension manager from the application menu.

Usage

In the Extension manager window, click on Browse.

Here, you can search for any extension you want and click on the blue Install button to install. For additional information about the extension, click on the small arrow beside the install button.

After you click on install, follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

Install GNOME Extensions using extension manager
Install GNOME Extensions using extension manager

Now, go back to the installed window, and you should see the extension is available as installed.

Here, you can change your extension’s settings, disable it or uninstall it, as shown in the image below.

List - disable - uninstall the installed extensions
List – disable – uninstall the installed extensions

That’s it. Now you can enjoy hundreds of GNOME extensions.

2. Using the old method (not recommended)

This is an old method, but it still works. But not recommended due to several reasons. But you can still try it.

Step 1: You have to install an add-on based on your preferred browser. Install them using the below links:

Step 2: After installing and enabling the above add-ons, open the terminal and run the below commands in Ubuntu:

sudo apt install chrome-gnome-shell

For Fedora, you can use the below command:

sudo dnf install chrome-gnome-shell

Step 3: Go to extensions.gnome.org via your choice of browser (in step 1) and search for any extension. On the extension page’s top right section, click the “OFF” button to turn it on.

GNOME Extensions in Ubuntu - Page
GNOME Extensions in Ubuntu – Page

In the confirmation pop-up, click Install

Installation Confirmation
Installation Confirmation

Wait for the installation to finish, and you are ready to go. You can see the extension is running and working as per its functionality.

OpenWeather GNOME Extension Running in Ubuntu 18.04
OpenWeather GNOME Extension Running in Ubuntu 18.04

Step 4: For further customization options, open the GNOME Tweak Tool, and you can configure the options of all installed extensions.

OpenWeather Configuration - GNOME Tweak
OpenWeather Configuration – GNOME Tweak

If you do not have GNOME Tweak installed, you can install using this guide.

Bonus Tip: Manual Installation of Extensions for Ubuntu 21.10 and above

From Ubuntu 21.10 release, Firefox comes as a Snap package. And this prevents the chrome-gnome-shell from connecting to the desktop. Hence, the above method will not work.

You can follow the manual installation of GNOME Extensions here.

Wrapping Up

I hope this guide helps you understand how to install and use GNOME extensions in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

If you have suggestions for improvement of this article, do let me know in the comment box.


Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send us an email.
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