Linux Tactic

Mastering GNOME: Customising Your Linux Desktop Like a Pro

Changing the GNOME Desktop

If you’re a Linux user, you’ll know the importance of customisation. One of the most popular desktop environments is GNOME, which comes with a range of tools to change, improve and personalise your experience.

Using the dconf editor to change GNOME settings

The dconf editor is a powerful tool that allows you to modify GNOME settings. It offers an easy-to-use interface, which includes a tree view and search feature.

By using the dconf editor, you can modify behaviour settings, such as the dock auto-hide function, and tweak other features to make the desktop work the way you want it to.

Using the gsettings command line tool to change GNOME settings

While the dconf editor is an intuitive tool, the command line tool called “gsettings” is another option for those who prefer the terminal. It has a wide range of settings that can be accessed and changed using the command line.

The gsettings tool is excellent for those who want to automate tasks using scripts or to use external applications that work with GNOME.

Changing GDM configuration

If you’re not happy with the default GNOME login screen, you can change it by modifying the GDM configuration. This can be done by editing files located in /etc/gdm3 and /etc/dbus-1/system.d/gdm.conf.

Changes can include backgrounds, icons, and other elements, as well as overriding the default GDM settings.

Changing desktop theme and looks

Customising a desktop theme is an easy way to give your desktop a unique look and feel. You can change the overall appearance by using the Appearances settings, which is easy to find in the GNOME menus.

You can also download new themes and install them in the themes directory, which can be found in the file system.

Controlling application startup

One of the less-known features of GNOME is the ability to control applications that start on login. You can modify startup applications by accessing the autostart directory found in the file system.

This directory contains files with settings that allow you to remove or add applications to the startup process.

Adding extensions to GNOME

One of the most significant developments in GNOME is the extension framework, which allows developers to add extra functionality to the desktop environment. Extensions can be downloaded and installed from various sources and can make significant changes to the environment, such as allowing you to have multiple workspaces, add extra icons to the top bar or integrate with external applications.

You can store extensions at a global directory or a user directory, depending on whether you want it to be available to all users or to just one user.

Understanding Theme Files

Theme files are an essential component when it comes to customising your desktop. They control the appearance of the desktop, including colours, fonts, icons, and window decorations.

GNOME uses a CSS-like format to define themes, and they can be modified using text editors. Using “Appearances” to make small changes to desktop look

The easiest way to modify a local theme is to use the Appearances tool built into GNOME.

The tool allows you to change the font settings, icon theme, and window decoration. While the options are not as granular, it’s a quick and effective way to modify the way the desktop looks.

Creating a personal “.gtkrc-2.0.mine” file to override default settings

If you want to modify appearance settings, such as font sizes and colours, in more detail, you can create a personal “.gtkrc-2.0.mine” file. This file will override the default settings in the global settings files and allow you to add customisations.

This file is particularly useful if you have visual impairments or just want to have a more personal desktop experience.


In summary, GNOME provides a range of customisation options that can help personalise your desktop environment. Whether you prefer using a graphical interface or modifying settings using the command line, changing settings, or installing extensions, there’s a solution for everyone.

By understanding how theme files work, you can further customise GNOME and make it truly yours.

Adding Extensions

GNOME is one of the most popular Linux desktop environments for a good reason. It offers a clean and intuitive interface with a range of customisation options.

One of the essential elements of GNOME is the extension framework, which allows developers to build and modify the desktop environment with ease.

How extensions work in GNOME

Extensions in GNOME are written in JavaScript and built upon the GNOME Shell. They allow developers to add functionality to the desktop environment without modifying the underlying codebase.

Extensions work by injecting JavaScript code into the Shell’s process, and the code hooks into events such as keypresses, mouse clicks, or application launches. Extensions can modify the user interface or integrate with external applications.

They can also add system tray icons, modify the top panel, or change the way windows are managed. There are numerous extensions available; some focus on quality of life improvements, while others add new features.

Finding extensions in the global and user directories

Extensions can be found either in the global directory or user directory. The global directory is located at /usr/share/gnome-shell/extensions and contains extensions that are available to all users on the system.

The user directory is located at ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions and contains extensions that are specific to the user account. To install an extension, download the extension file from the GNOME Shell extensions website, and extract it into the appropriate directory.

Once installed, the extension will be available in the GNOME Tweak Tool, which can be accessed from the Applications menu. From here, you can enable, disable, and configure extensions to your liking.

Importance of knowing file locations for tweaking GNOME

Knowing where the settings files and directories are located is essential for customising GNOME to your liking. Whether you’re looking to modify settings using the dconf editor or add extensions to the desktop environment, understanding where these files are located can save time and frustration.

With the ability to access these files, you can tweak and customise GNOME to your heart’s content.

The fun of personalising a GNOME desktop with tweaks and settings

Personalising a GNOME desktop with tweaks and settings can be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a power user or just looking to make small modifications, GNOME can be customised to fit your needs.

There is a vast library of extensions available, which can significantly improve your productivity or introduce new features to the desktop. In addition to extensions, GNOME offers a range of settings and customisation options that allow you to modify the desktop environment to your liking.

You can change the theme and wallpaper, modify the keyboard shortcuts, and configure the appearance of GTK applications. In conclusion, GNOME provides a range of customisation options that can help personalise your desktop environment.

Extensions are a crucial component of the desktop environment, which allows you to modify the system to your liking without modifying the underlying code. By understanding where the settings files and extensions are located, you can customise GNOME to your exact specifications and make it truly yours.

In summary, customising the GNOME desktop environment can be a fun and rewarding experience. The article discussed how GNOME offers various tools and options for customisation, including modifying settings using dconf editor, changing themes, controlling application startup, and adding extensions.

Extensions, which are written in JavaScript, are a crucial element of the desktop environment, allowing developers to add functionality to the desktop without modifying the underlying code. Knowing where the files and directories are located is essential for customising GNOME to the user’s preference.

The article emphasized the importance of personalisation and understanding the various customisation options available in GNOME to make it truly yours.

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