A new GNOME extension aims to bring Unity Dash-like features to the GNOME Shell desktop.

“I love GNOME Shell but miss the application categories from Gnome 2, dislike the visual interruption when searching for an application and don’t use the overview to manage any of my windows,” the developer of the extension, Zac Barton, told us.

‘So I set about creating Unity’s Dash as a GNOME Shell extension (with a personal twist) while also adding in the things I miss from Gnome 2 and hopefully improving upon the things I dislike in Unity’s Dash. I just want to use GNOME Shell, a dock and have a decent unobtrusive launcher.’

The result of his work is ‘Launchy’.

gnome shell dash

Launchy – So Far

Launchy is in active development and not yet available for download. However, Zac let us have a play around with the work so far. Thoughts? It’s pretty good.

The “Dash” offers on-the-fly filters for recent activity, applications, documents and system settings – just like the old skool GNOME 2 menus.

Launchy, like Unity’s Dash, matches the average colour of the wallpaper, and uses a ‘dash blur’ to better contrast between itself and windows/items underneath.

Launchy - GNOME Shell Dash Extension

Keyboard fans will like to know that there is full keyboard navigation and instant loading of results as you type.

Amongst the future features Zac may introduce are options to disable the blur, set your own tint/colour, disable sections, and force column/row numbers.

Window Management

One caveat to using Launchy is surrendering access to the GNOME-Shell overlay. Which makes sense – you don’t need two application launchers. This does mean that window management features are also ‘cut off’ from use but add a dock or bottom panel extension to your desktop and you’re all set.


The extension is very much in development right now, but, once finished, will be available from GNOME Extensions site for GNOME 3.4 users to install.

Thanks to Zac

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