Ubuntu with Gnome extensions for productivity

Time ago I’ve written about KDE configuration. I’ve been using KDE for a while in my personal laptop, but never really got into using KDE in my workstation. Simply I find Gnome much more productive environment in the long-term. (Disclaimer: likely I’m very biased here since I’ve been using Gnome-like desktops for over 10 years now and those seem natural to me. Still I think KDE is fantastic.)

Gnome3 came with extensions. Those are really cool, but be aware that some extensions may brake from release-to-release. Also some may have certain incompatibilities. Below I’m describing briefly which extensions I’m using currently and why (those should be working fine with both, Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04):

  • Workspace Matrix will arrange your virtual desktops into 2D grid and you can switch easily between rows/columns with Ctrl+Alt+any arrow.
  • Unite (No Title Bar – Forked and PixelSaver have problems with Ubuntu 22.04) will get rid of window titlebar. That’s very useful for small laptop screens, but I’m also using it with dual monitor at work as titlebar is just waste of space…
  • system-monitor will show details about system usage (CPU, RAM, I/O) right in your system tray.
  • Bing Wallpaper Changer gets really good wallpapers daily. You can read a bit more about each picture here – it’s really great resource if you’re looking for some want-to-go places in your vicinity!

On top of that, definitely try:

  • guake is a drop-down terminal. It’s super useful if you need to get quick access to the terminal across multiple desktops. Funny enough I’ve felt in love with yakuake in KDE first and learnt Gnome version is closer to my ideals 😛
  • glances (I’ve discussed GPU support earlier) or htop for process viewing
  • screen (or even better tmux) for terminal multiplexing. This comes handy especially if you work remotely a lot.
  • workrave will remind you to have a break once in a while. Try it, it’s really healthy!

If you find installation/updates of packages slow, definitely check apt-fast

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable 
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get -y install apt-fast

Finally I’d recommend to isolate windows from individual workspaces, both for the dock and app-switcher (this will show only windows from current desktop in the dock and when Alt+TAB / ` are pressed):

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.extensions.dash-to-dock isolate-workspaces true
gsettings set org.gnome.shell.app-switcher current-workspace-only true

Above we’ll result in desktop similar to this

Do you have any recommendations or Gnome-related tricks?


In order to get rid of terminal title-bar, follow this.

To get extension to work with newer versions of Gnome, edit config file as explained here.

Conflicting config for htop on machines sharing same /home directory

My friend spotted a problem with htop configuration. Simply when htop was executed on two different Ubuntu distros (10.04 and 14.04) the config was reset.
After some interrogation, we have spotted that 10.04 stores htop config to ~/.htoprc, while 14.04 to ~/.config/htop/htoprc. It was enough to remove one of them and link another one as below:

rm .htoprc
ln -s .config/htop/htoprc .htoprc

Connecting to MySQL without passwd prompt

If you are (like me) annoyed by providing password at every mysql login, you can skip it. Also it makes easier programmatic access to any MySQL db, as not passwd prompting is necessary 🙂
Create `~/.my.cnf` file:


And login without `-p` parameter:

mysql -h host -u username dbname

If you want to use `~/.my.cnf` file in MySQLdb, just connect using this:

import MySQLdb
cnx = MySQLdb.connect(host=host, port=port, read_default_file="~/.my.cnf")