A translucent top bar and new window maximizing effects will be on show in GNOME Shell 3.26 when it’s released later this year.
Detailing the (admittedly minor) tweaks in a blog post today, GNOME’s Matthias Clasen also explains why GNOME Shell has a solid black topper by default.
“The top bar was conceived to visually merge with the bezel of the monitor, which is why it has always been mostly black. As many people have pointed out, one downside of this is that it makes the monitor appear smaller, when vertical space is already a scarce commodity,” he writes.
For GNOME Shell in GNOME 3.26 the top bar will be translucent by default, giving a more roomy, spacious feeling to the desktop. The top bar will return to a solid colour when a window is maximized against it.
You don’t have to wait for GNOME 3.26 to get a transparent GNOME panel though. There are various extensions available that do a similar job (but nothing beats the convenience of having this support built in, of course).
Alongside the new top bar stylings are improved window animations when moving to and from ‘maximized and half-tiled states’.
You can see both changes in this video. Although your attention is drawn to the transition animations pay attention to the top bar, which changes from translucent to solid black when a window touches it:
These changes (and hopefully plenty more) will be available in GNOME 3.26, due for release later this year.