Not before time, the GNOME project has set up a central website for GNOME Shell extensions. It seems to be in the hands of extension developers to make GNOME 3 more palatable to those who find it not to their taste in its default configuration. If you are using Firefox, installation is as easy as clicking the ON/OFF icon for a particular plugin on its web page and then selecting install on the dialog box that pops up. Of all the browsers that you can use on GNOME, it seems to be Firefox that is only one that has this ability for the moment. The website may have the alpha legend on there at the moment but it works well enough so far and I have had no hesitation in using it for those extensions that are of interest to me. This is an interesting development that deserves to stay, especially when it detects that a plugin is incompatible with your version of GNOME. Currently, I use GNOME 3.2 and it pops up a useful menu for deactivating extensions when the desktop fails to load. That’s a welcome development because I have had extensions crashing GNOME 3.0 on me and running the GNOME Tweak Tool on the fallback desktop often was the only alternative. GNOME 3 seems to be growing up nicely.
One keystroke that I use a lot when typing on a computer is Control+Shift+[an arrow key] but I found myself in the awkward position of it not working in Firefox anymore. The nuisance level was enough to set me investigating in the name of resolving the problem. Using the following command to start Firefox saw the keystroke being returned to me so I need to find which plug-in, extension or add-on was the cause of the matter.
Then, it was a matter of disabling one extension at a time and restarting Firefox each time to see when the keystroke functionality was returned to me. The culprit turned out to be Firebug 1.6 and there’s a discussion on their bug forum about the issue. Even the good folk in the Firebug project noted how many folk were experiencing the inconvenience based on a quick Google search. However, that didn’t turn up the answer for me so I had to do some digging of my own and I hope that it has saved you some time. Of course, Firebug comes without cost so we cannot grumble too much but I’ll be keeping it disabled as much as possible until a new version makes its appearance.
Update 2011-01-15: This now seems to be fixed in Firebug 1.6.1
Curiosity recently got the better of me and I decided to have a look at the first alpha release of Ubuntu 11.04, both in a VirtualBox virtual machine and on a spare PC that I have. They always warn you about alpha releases of software and the first sight of Ubuntu was in keeping with this. The move to using Unity as a desktop environment is in train and it didn’t work perfectly on either of the systems on which I tried it, not a huge surprise really. There wasn’t any sign of a top panel or one at the side and no application had its top bar, either. It looks as if others may have got on better but it may have been to my doing an in situ upgrade rather than a fresh installation. Doing the latter might be an idea but I may wait for the next alpha release first. Still, it looks as if we’ll be getting Firefox 4 so the change of desktop isn’t going to be the only alteration. All in all, it looks as if Natty Narwhal will be an interesting Ubuntu release with more change than is usually the case. In the meantime, I’ll keep tabs on how development goes so as to be informed before the time to think about upgrading comes around. So far, it’s early days and there a few months to go yet.