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A modern desktop interface for Linux. Improve your user experience and get rid of the anarchy of traditional desktop workflows. Designed to simplify navigation and reduce the need to manipulate windows in order to improve productivity. It's meant to be 100% predictable and bring the benefits of tools coveted by professionals to everyone.

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Material Shell


A modern desktop interface for Linux extending GNOME Shell.

Providing a unique, simple, productivity-oriented, innovative and automated mouse and keyboard workflow which aims to be faster and easier to use and creates a great user experience.

Powered by its unique spatial model, its modern material design interface, its tiling engine and its persistability.

Get notified about updates and join us at ‎‎ chat on Discord

WorkflowHotkeysInstallationUninstallationHistory


Demo GIF


Workflow

Created to simplify navigation and reduce the need to manipulate windows in order to improve productivity. It's meant to be 100% predictable and bring the benefits of tools coveted by professionals to everyone.

Spatial Model

This is the core of the workflow and what everything is built around and in our case it's one of the simplest: a Grid

 Spatialisation illustrated

A Workspace is an applications container that can be visualized as a row and applications as cells.

Every new application is automatically positioned inside this grid at the end of its workspace row and every new workspaces are appended at the bottom which is very predictable and always sorted automatically.

This allows us to provide intuitive navigation by moving the screen around a larger context. Navigating up and down will change the current workspace and navigating left and right changes the current window(s) on screen.

You can organize your applications by use cases as activities or by applications type as categories.

Interface

Designed to represent the state of the workflow and provide navigation capabilities for both a mouse and a touchscreen.

Layout

The interface is divided in two parts:

In the left panel everything pertains to the system: workspaces state, current system status, notifications, etc.

On the right of the left panel everything pertains to the active workspace: the windows on the workspace's row, the layout switcher, and the windows themselves.

 Interface layout illustrated

The two most important components are the system panel (on the left) and the workspace panel (on the top).

System panel

The system panel is the main component of the left side of the interface. It consists of:

  • Workspace list and switcher: This component lists all the workspaces available and the currently selected one. It allows us to navigate to a specific workspace by clicking on its icon.
  • System tray: This component lists all the information about the system, e.g. network status, bluetooth connectivity, volume, battery, and notification icons.

Workspace panel

The workspace panel is the main component of the right side of the interface. It consists of:

  • App switcher: This component lists all the application windows opened in the current workspace's row and the currently focused one. It allows us to navigate to a specific window within the row by selecting its item.
  • Layout switcher: This component displays the current layout of the workspace and can be clicked to switch to the next available layout.

Design

Made by following the Material Design guidelines - a solid baseline that allows us to provide an aesthetically pleasing and highly accessible interface.

Themes

You can choose between 3 different themes:

  • Dark
  • Light
  • Primary (Colorful one)

And there is also a blurry version available for the more fancy ones !

Tiling engine

It's the tool that automatically organize the application's window for you in a predictable and mutually non-overlapping disposition.

 Tiling engine illustrated

Choose at any time which tiling layout suit the most for your need:

  • Maximize: Single window at a time
  • Split: 2 windows side by side
  • Simple: All windows evenly split and stacked along horizontal or vertical axis (useful for ultra wide monitor)
  • Half: One master window on the left then others windows stacked to the right
  • Grid: All windows displayed as a grid

Persistence

The best way to configure the desktop layout is to not have to do it.

Material Shell keeps track of every decision relative to the desktop layout: where are windows, in which workspaces, and in which order.

This allows configuration of the layouts on the go while using it.

When opening a new session Material Shell will restore every window previously present with a "window placeholder which allows you to reopen any of the previous windows easily at the same spot you like to have them.

Hotkeys

Some hotkeys might already be used by GNOME Shell - please check your keybindings first.

Desktop navigation

  • Super+W Navigate to the upper workspace/category.
  • Super+S Navigate to the lower workspace/category.
  • Super+A Focus the window at the left of the current window.
  • Super+D Focus the window at the right of the current window.
  • Super+1, Super+2 ... Super+0 Navigate to specific workspace

Window manipulation

  • Super+Q Kill the current window focused.
  • Super+[MouseDrag] Move window around.
  • Super+Shift+A Move the current window to the left.
  • Super+Shift+D Move the current window to the right.
  • Super+Shift+W Move the current window to the upper workspace.
  • Super+Shift+S Move the current window to the lower workspace.

Extra Hotkeys

  • Super+Space Cycle the tiling layout of the current workspace.
  • Super+Escape Toggle the UI of Material-shell, like a Zen mode.

Installation

Get it in two clicks

Get the most up to date version with Git

  1. Check your GNOME Shell version as we only support gnome-shell >= 3.34.0

  2. Download the extension. Depending on your distribution, there are several ways to acquire it:

Distribution Install via Command
Manjaro PACMAN pacman -S gnome-shell-extension-material-shell
Arch Linux AUR From latest master: yay -S gnome-shell-extension-material-shell-git
Arch Linux AUR From latest release: yay -S gnome-shell-extension-material-shell
Fedora DNF sudo dnf install gnome-shell-extension-material-shell
NixOS nix nix-env -i gnome-shell-extension-material-shell
Others source git clone https://github.com/material-shell/material-shell.git && cd material-shell && make install

(We appreciate package maintainers! If you would like to make a package available for your distro please submit a PR so it can be added here!)

  1. Reload GNOME Shell:
  • On X.org: Hit Alt+F2 and type the command r
  • On Wayland: Log out and back in
  1. Open gnome-tweaks and activate the Material Shell extension OR enable it using
gnome-extensions enable material-shell@papyelgringo

Recommended Additional Configuration

Reset Material Shell

Reset the Material Shell persistent state

If you have some weird behavior or a degradation over time, it can be a good idea to try to reset the Material Shell state.

  1. Open Looking Glass tool by pressing Alt + F2 and type lg
  2. Copy and paste the command global.set_persistent_state('material-shell-state',new GLib.Variant('s', '{}'));
  3. Reload the shell

Reset the Material Shell settings

If you want to discard all the changes of Material Shell settings and reset to default (Including keybindings)

  1. Open a terminal and copy/paste dconf reset -f /org/gnome/shell/extensions/materialshell/

Uninstallation 😢

We're sad to see you go. Before you uninstall, leave us some feedback by opening an issue - it will be very helpful in improving Material Shell.

  1. Open gnome-tweaks and disable the Material Shell extension OR disable it using
gnome-extensions disable material-shell@papyelgringo
  1. Delete the extension directory.
rm -rf ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/material-shell@papyelgringo

if you miss the minimize and maximize button on windows titlebar you can restore them with

/usr/bin/gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences button-layout :minimize,maximize,close

History

The project is based on my earlier work on Material Awesome.

About

A modern desktop interface for Linux. Improve your user experience and get rid of the anarchy of traditional desktop workflows. Designed to simplify navigation and reduce the need to manipulate windows in order to improve productivity. It's meant to be 100% predictable and bring the benefits of tools coveted by professionals to everyone.

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