Gnome 3 is a completely different desktop design, which makes the desktop look like a Tablet PC. Some people may like it, but if you don't, “Mate” is available as an alternative, to give you the experience of good old Gnome 2, or “Cinnamon”, for a more desktop-like version of the new Gnome. Also, there is a “new” Gnome Classic session (was called “Gnome fallback” in the previous releases).
The main philosophy behind Gnome 3 is that the desktop has two distinct modes: application mode (showing the running application(s)), and action mode, which allows actions like starting an application, moving to another virtual desktop, etc). To switch between them, click the “action” menu in the top panel, or just put the mouse pointer in the top left corner of the screen, or use the “windows” key on the keyboard, or the Alt-F1 key combination.
Starting with Fedora 21, it is possible to get the best of both worlds, since the application menu can be added back to the normal (application) screen, as well as a panel containing small icons of the running applications. With this setup, switching between the two modes is no longer necessary for the most common actions, making work a lot faster, smoother and more intuitive.
If you want to use Gnome 3, but you do want some of the behavior you were used to in other desktops, here are some tweaks that can be set from
gnome-tweaks (previously called
Extensions has become a separate application, no longer part of
There are many more settings, but this selection will probably be useful for many people.
A rather annoying change: where you could always use Alt + mouse to move and resize windows, this functionality is now under the “Super” key, which is actually the windows logo key. A lot of other keyboard shortcuts have changed as well, many from “Alt” to “Super” (eg Super + L is now the shortcut to lock the screen).
Luckily, starting with Fedora 21, this can be configured using
gnome-tweak-tool, and Alt-Tab and Super-Tab both work to switch between running applications.
As a rule of thumb (and to illustrate where this is coming from): if it is on the “Cmd” key on a Mac, it is now probably on “Super” in Gnome. als if it is on the “Alt” (also called “Option”) key on the Mac, it is on “Alt” in Gnome.
Gnome doesn't display notification area aka system tray icons any more by default. The fix is, to enable the
appindicator extension: open
gnome-tweaks, and go to
extensions to do that. After that, the icons such as status icons of dropbox, skype etc, will be in your top panel.
In the top right corner of the desktop, is a menu combining various settings: volume control, network, logout/switch user, power and preferences. At first, it may look strange, because the top bar displays separate icons for volume, power etc, but what you click in this area doesn't matter, in all cases you get a pull-down menuy containing these settings:
Gnome 3 is too heavy for a VNC session in the current version. See the section about VNC desktop issues.
On some systems (or for some users) the mouse cursor becomes invisible, either after login, or at other times during the session. This bug seems to be caused by the cursor plugin of gnome-settings-daemon. To deactivate that plugin, execute this command (should only be needed once since it will be saved in your settings):
gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.cursor active false
To execute this, if you don't have any terminals open after logging in, press Alt-F2 to get the run dialog.
You may want to tweak what applications are started each time you log in. See modify desktop session.
Up to Fedora 20, you could do this in a program called
gnome-session-properties; in Fedora 21, it has been moved to
At some point, the screensaver disappeared from the Gnome desktop (after the ability to run animated screensavers had disappeared earlier, leaving only a blank screen option).
gnome-screensaver command has been added back as a separate utility, and for some users, it continues to work, whereas for others, it's gone from the session.
xscreensaver, which includes all the animated screensavers) to your session, run
gnome-tweak-tool, and add an entry. When adding
xscreensaver, you may want to make your own alias or shortcut to activate it; for
Super-L keyboard shortcut should work as in previous versions of Gnome 3.
Logging out of Gnome 3 is done from a non-intuitive entry in the interface. At the top right corner of the screen, click on the box that contains the volume symbol, power button symbol, and a downward pointing triangle. It doesn't matter which of these icons you click, they all open a menu which indeed offers a volume control, power control (shutdown, reboot), settings and the user's full name. Click on your name to open up additional menu entries for
switch user and