Steve January 11, 2021

My biggest gripe in GNOME Shell appears to be fixed.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: “Joey, you’ve been here before.” But this time it’s different. Code has been committed and merged. It is actually happening.

Wondering what I’m amped up about?

Open the Applications grid on the Ubuntu desktop — or any Linux distro using GNOME Shell — and you’re greeted by an alphabetised gallery of application launchers:

GNOME Shell Applications Grid
Applications Grid in Ubuntu 20.10

So far, so-so.

But pay closer attention to the grid. You’ll notice that many app labels are not complete. Some trail off into ellipses. In fact, quite a few do.

And this truncation isn’t resolution based; this happens on different screen sizes, from VirtualBox demo res through to HiDPI displays on 4K monitors.

However, a change is on the way.

GNOME 40 (due for release this spring) now supports multi-line icon labels on hover, as this short clip from Georges Basile Stavracas Neto ably demos:

Merge !1477

Does this tiny tweak mean the days of dotty delineated app descriptors are behind us? Since this has been committed and merged upstream it’s looking possible!

Not that this is (soon to be was) a massive deal.

Like said last time I wrote about this: this is a superficial ‘paper cut’. It makes the app grid look untidy, unfinished poorly optimised. It’s a grid for showing apps, but it hasn’t been designed to show all of an app name… It’s a quirk.

But have truncated app names left anyone unable to find or identify an app?

Probably not.

Most folks know that “LibreOffice Im…” opens LibreOffice Impress; and if anyone has been left perplexed by the appearance of the GIMP after hitting the shortcut sub-headed “GNU Manipul…” I’m yet to hear about it.

Fact is most of us tend to recognise application by icon rather than name, hence why app docks and panel launchers are popular (and don’t show labels by default), and why this issue hasn’t been top of the pile for nixing.

But those docks and launchers do show full app name on hover, which is something this code commit brings to GNOME Shell’s Applications screen.

Now if only GNOME devs could do something about my other pet peeve

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