It’s looking like one of my two biggest pet peeves with the GNOME Shell might soon be solved!
Alex, aka BabyWogue, aka that anime guy with an unhinged hatred towards Ubuntu, Canonical, and anything coloured orange, has spotted a “very useful change” in GNOME Shell’s development code, i.e. the work towards GNOME 3.34.
A code change that may signal years of unnecessary application name truncation is at an end.
Open the Applications Overview (that’s the official name for the app launcher grid) on the Ubuntu (or other Linux) desktop and you are instantly greeted by an alphabetised gallery of application launchers.
But look closer and you’ll spot something spurious.
Despite there being ample room to show them, you’ll notice that many app labels are not complete; they trail off into ellipses at the end.
In the Ubuntu 19.04 screenshot (1400×900) above you should be able to spot eight early-ended app labels, including “LibreOffice Dr…” (‘draw’), “Document Vie…” (‘viewer’) and “Firefox Web B…” (‘browser’).
I’m not going to pretend that these are indecipherable (most of us know what apps are called, or know which icon relates to it) but I’ve always thunk that the ellipses give the app grid an unfinished sheen. I think: “Well dang, devs clearly didn’t have time to properly space and size app labels, maybe next time!”
Yet next-time never comes.
The dotty label situation is more pronounced on displays with lower-width resolutions, like the 1366×768 resolution on my (admittedly ancient) Acer Chromebook R11:
And for the absolute worse experience? Install Ubuntu in a virtual machine. The initial 800×900 resolution truncates almost every single app title (not that people stick at this res).
Thankfully the terse termination of app titles might be over.
In the following video you’ll see some GNOME Shell development code demoed that makes use of multi-line labels for apps which appear in the Applications Overview.
The video shows both before and after. You’ll spot the multi-line label change around the 0:30 second mark.
And it doesn’t look too bad, does it? Certainly makes me wonder why it’s taken so long for devs to do something about it!
Tardiness aside, this is not committed or merged code. The nature of development means there’s no guarantee that the work demoed in the video will make it any further than a branch abandoned in someone’s Gitlab account.
But its existence gives us hope, at least.
As for my other pet peeve in GNOME Shell? Well, that one doesn’t have a resolution in sight. I’m not going to say what it is (yet) but there’s a cookie emoji on offer to anyone who can guess it…