Before Thanksgiving I’ve caused some uproar and made people doubt our incurable stubbornness by first announcing the release team decision to drop fallback mode (*), and then that we’re going to be looking at supported extensions as a replacement (*). Some have been calling this ‘classic’ mode – I’m using the term ‘legacy’ here, since ‘classic’ may raise some false expectations.
Two weeks have passed since that initial announcement, so I thought it would be a good idea to give an update on what we  have achieved so far.
We’ve decided to use the gnome-shell-extensions repository as the place where we collect the extensions that will be part of this effort. If you configure with –enable-extensions=classic-mode, we will install a small set of extensions.
Since 3.6, GNOME shell has some infrastructure to operate in different ‘modes’. To see the list of supported modes, run:
and to run GNOME shell in a particular mode, you start it like this:
Not anymore! In bug 689304, Florian has added support for external modes. And in bug 689285, Debarshi has added the necessary glue to install a desktop file that runs GNOME shell in classic mode and a session definition that includes this modified shell. The upshot is that we now have a ‘GNOME Legacy’ session appear in the session chooser in the login screen:
With all the infrastructure in place, we are now starting to fill out the legacy session. There is not too so much to see yet, but we do have a small extension to add the minimize and maximize buttons back. And in bug 688913, Florian has added a new key binding for a more traditional Alt-Tab switcher:
Next up, we are looking at taskbar and main menu extensions.
Does all this attention on legacy mean that we no longer believe in GNOME 3 ? Of course not ! There’s plenty of great new stuff coming to GNOME 3.8. Here are some examples that have either landed already, or are in the process of landing:
A new settings panel to control privacy settings:
Configurable shell search:
A new power panel:
A new Photos app:
Among the many things that don’t screenshot so well, a noteworthy improvement that will land very soon: working key bindings in the overview (and elsewhere). Super+M now toggles the message tray off as well as on.
 Florian, Debarshi and Giovanni have been doing all the work, I’m just egging them on…