OpenSUSE Gnome extremely bare - only Activities works

I installed Tumbleweed via USB stick (offline mode) and updated after installing.

To my suprise, Gnome UI that Tumbleweed uses is extremely bare. I cannot even trigger the dock: it is permanently hidden. The only way to show it, is to mouse-click on “Activities” top left.
There is also no way of minimizing applications, or even listing what apps are open (imagine you have 20 apps open… which is a hassle to do, since you have to click Activities 20 times).

Where is a basic menu? Where is a basic interface with your most frequent apps?

I know there are a few keyboard shortcuts, but I didn’t learn computing in the 80s…

Coming from Manjaro, I do not understand how people use Tumbleweed? I tried to see if I could find some extensions to improve, Installed the Extension Manager via Gnome Software, which is great, but then you are still a bit lost, since I have no clue which extensions allow me to - for example, show the dock and just make it auto-hide?

Am I crazy or is OpenSUSE meant to be a very bare system that requires a lot of configuration by end-users to become practical and useable?

Well, that’s just the standard gnome experience. I use gnome on laptop and I love the simplicity of swiping up with three fingers to show the activities view, but I would never consider using gnome on a desktop PC (IMO, KDE is the best for desktop).

I think you would want this extension:

@zilexa The ‘super’ key will show the activities overview and dock. I use alt+tab for open applications and tab to cycle through.

You could always look at GNOME Classic?

Just curious, is there a particular reason you need to use GNOME as a desktop environment? If not, your preferences might be better suited for a more traditional setup, like KDE Plasma, Xfce, Lxqt…frankly almost anything other than vanilla GNOME is more easily approachable to me (I’ve tried to get used to the GNOME workflow several times, almost got there but in the end it just never felt more natural or efficient).

Tried them all 2-3 yrs ago. KDE Plasma was too complex. I want the same OS for me and family, elderly. The others looked too classic or had other things. Gnome looked clean, and switching away from Ubuntu Budgie to Manjaro Gnome gave me the option to select from Layouts my personal flavour, barely any tweaking necessary.
I didn’t realize Layouts was a Manjaro thing, I thought it was a Gnome default option, for the out-of-the-box experience.

I thought that didn’t work on openSUSE, but now I realize I always used 4-fingers, using Gesture Improvements, so that 3-finger swipe becomes available for in-app gestures such as switching tabs in browser etc.
3 fingers indeed works out of the box, thanks!

My conclusion: I guess it is not a bad thing to start with vanilla Gnome (clearly I never experienced that before) and only add the extensions I really need…


I actually prefer a single vertical Panel, (no other panels), with Dash-to-Panel and a menu button that allows type-to-search, quick access to personal folders and things like Settings, Terminal, Shutdown. I now realize Manjaro did that using Arc Menu

So I installed Extension Manager. Because that way the extensions can be managed within the GUI and will be updated automatically.
Then I looked for:

But it only finds ArcMenu… probably this is not an OpenSUSE issue so I will report this on Extension Manager github page.

One step closer moving to OpenSUSE!

@zilexa openSUSE GNOME follows upstream, aside from branding…

Not sure why you installed a flatpak, the extension manager is already integrated in GNOME gnome-extensions-app?

@johnkizer I use the keyboard to move around most of the time… too many years of running GNOME and the iterations from way back in 2005…

Plus I run three screens which helps… :wink:

You can activate that somewhere in the Gnome Tweaks. There you should find options to activate the minimize, maximize and close buttons on the window frame.

I also have never been a friend of Gnome. But now that I am used to it it feels much more productive than Xfce or KDE to me. Also it looks clean and I like the looks of it.

I use the super key to go to activities and Alt+Tab to switch applications. I added my favourite applications to the bottom bar in the activities menu via drag and drop. Once it’s there you can just start the application by pressing Super + number key. The numbers are equal to the position in this bar in the bottom. E.g. I have firefox as first icon in this bar (on the left). When I press Super+1 it launches.

As mentioned. Now that I got used to this workflow I am very happily using my keyboard quite a bit. Also the tiling functions via keyboard are quite useful in my opinion.

I don’t find openSUSE particularly bare compared to some other distros. I guess the look of the DE is just a matter of taste.

I use the “Dash to Dock” - the dash (which is what you have by default) is only in the overview screen. This extensions makes it a proper dock.

Right-click the top bar in the application for a context menu that includes minimizing apps. There’s also a tweak to turn on the minimize control if you want it:

Alt-Tab switches between apps, Alt+Shift+Tab switches between app windows (e.g., if you have multiple Chrome windows open).

The super key gives you the overview (same as the activities window). Pressing it twice will give you a list of all installed apps. You can add extensions that add the Applications and Places menus to the top bar.

GNOME is very customizable, and as others noted, it uses GNOME’s defaults from upstream.

Because that thing is useless. Check out the link I shared. With Extension Manager (not a default part of Gnome unfortunately, it’s a clear gap), you have an “App Store” for extensions. In addition you can also manage extensions, so you only need Extension Manager and nothing else.

I still install the extensions I really need system-wide. That’s not possible through Extension Manager.