My company upgraded their Ubuntu to 11.10 so I was faced with the choice between UNITY or Gnome 3. As I was using Gnome 2 before (and still will be for a while at home), I thought to try the gnome-shell.

The biggest change is away from the Task bar to the Exposé-like overview of all windows, combined with a per-application chooser on the left (called “dash” in Gnome new-speak). The Alt+Tab window switcher got Application centric too. The application-behaviour means: switch between windows of the same application with Alt+(key over tab). After getting used to it, it’s not that bad, even faster for some tasks.

However, there was one big problem. I’m still using the XTerm and just can’t leave it for something like gnome-terminal. I usually open a lot of xterms on my desktop. I have them display something sensible in their title bar. Now with Gnome 3, every XTerm is recognized as its own little application, that means I have to switch between XTerm-windows using Alt+Tab.

While this itself maybe wouldn’t be that big a deal, it also results in all the XTerm-windows only showing their class in both the Alt+Tab switcher and the dash (remember, the switcher and the dash are supposed to show the Application, not the apps window title). That means it gets really really difficult to find an XTerm window, as the title bar content is no longer visible anywhere.

So I had to resort to patching the gnome-shell to treat all the windows with a class of UXterm as one single application. Now I can switch to an xterm using Alt+Tab, and between xterms with Alt+(key over tab). A first step of making Gnome 3 usable to me!


Download extension. it cannot be accepted on the official extensions website because it works for local apps with the correct desktop files, but still useful for remote apps grouping and if you don’t want to bother about desktop files. you can install the extension with gnome-tweak-tool