Continuing my 3.12 recap, this post is about gnome-software. I’ve done much less work on it this cycle than the previous one. All the heavy lifting has been done by Richard. The one feature that I did add to gnome-software this cycle is app folder configuration.
GNOME has been moving away from hierarchical menus for applications. It is problematic for many reasons. One problem is the need for a global, hierarchical classification (‘categories’) – the world is just not that simple, and applications don’t always fit into these predefined categories. Another problem is that menus don’t really scale beyond a single level of submenus or beyond more than 10-15 items per menu. Not to mention that menus are hard to use on touch devices.
The transition from menus and categories to a scrollable grid for applications was pretty much complete in 3.10. But there is still some need for grouping of related applications, and this is where app folders come in. In 3.10, we provided predefined folders for ‘Utilities’ and ‘Sundry’.
In 3.12, we are adding an easy way for users to create their own folders. We chose to add this feature in the application that always shows you a list of all installed applications anyway, gnome -software.
The alternative would be do implement this directly in the shell overview, but that would be pretty complicated, requiring either a selection mode or complex drag-and-drop, so we decided not to do this (at least for now).
Once you’ve selected the apps you want to group, you can select an existing folder in the ‘Add to Folder’ dialog:
If you are not using gnome-software, the app folder configuration is also available via gsettings. It is using relocatable schemas, so the required gsettings command-line looks a little different from the usual, and may be worth showing. First,
$ gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.app-folders folder-children ['Utilities', 'Sundry', 'Feet']
will show you the list of defined app folders. Then,
$ gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.app-folders.folder:/org/gnome/desktop/app-folders/folders/Feet/ apps ['dconf-editor.desktop', 'd-feet.desktop', 'devhelp.desktop']
will list the apps that are in the folder named ‘Feet’. The folder schema has a few more settings that you can explore or change with similar commands.