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Sunday, June 20, 2021

How to Install Pop Shell Window Tiling Extension on Ubuntu 20.04

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Using your mouse to interact with more than two windows at a time or copy-paste code from your browser to editor can get tedious. This usually takes some time because you always need to minimize the first window in order to access another one. This is where a tiling window manager comes in.

Pop!_OS shell is an auto-tiling window manager that was developed by the Pop!_OS dev team. It is a GNOME extension running on top of the GNOME shell. You can use it to position your windows and control the layouts in which you want your windows to be placed. This will definitely improve your workflow and save time.

In this tutorial, we will go through the installation of the Pop!_OS shell on Ubuntu 20.04 and use it to organize our windows.

Step 1. Install Dependencies

Before installing GNOME Shell extension, be sure to have the following requirements.

  • GNOME Shell 3.36
  • TypeScript 3.8
  • GNU Make

If you are running Ubuntu 20.04 with GNOME, you have GNOME Shell 3.36 installed.

To install TypeScript and Make, run the following command:

$ sudo apt install node-typescript make

Step 2. Clone Pop!_OS Shell Repository

To clone the official Pop GitHub repository, run the following command:

$ git clone https://github.com/pop-os/shell
clone pop!_OS shell Git repository
clone pop!_OS shell Git repository

Step 3. Install Pop Shell Extension

After the clone has completed, navigate to the cloned pop shell directory as follows.

$ cd shell

Now run the following command to install pop shell on your machine:

$ make local-install
Install POP!_OS Shell Ubuntu
Install POP!_OS Shell Ubuntu

After running the above command, it will ask if the pop shell extension should override your default keyboard shortcuts, type ‘y’ or else ‘n.’

After  successfully installing the Pop shell extension, you will see a new icon at the top bar. Click on it and toggle tile windows option to ON to enable auto-tiling.

PoP! Shell tiling windows

Once toggled on, you will notice the windows have been tilled now in a ‘grid-like’ structure as shown below:

Pop Shell comes with its own launcher that can be activated using  (Super + /) key combination. The super key is usually the button with the Windows Logo, next to the ALT key. 

It can be used to launch applications, switch between windows, and also execute commands directly on a terminal.

If you no longer want to use this tiling window extension, you’ll need to reset all GNOME keyboard shortcuts. Head over to Settings -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> Reset All to revert back to default shortcuts.

Install Pop Shell Keyboard Shortcuts

Pop! Shell provides keyboard shortcuts that makes it easier to use. Pop shell shortcuts is a simple dialog that contains a list of available keyboard shortcuts and is optional.

To install Pop shell Keyboard Shortcuts, you need to install some dependencies. Run the following commands to install dependencies.

$ sudo apt install cargo rustc libgtk-3-dev

Then clone the git repository.

$ git clone https://github.com/pop-os/shell-shortcuts

Then compile the source code using the commands shown.

$ cd shell-shortcuts
$ make
 $ sudo make install

To open the Pop! shell keyboard shortcuts window, run the command below]

$ pop-shell-shortcuts
Pop! shell keyboard shortcuts
Pop! shell keyboard shortcuts

To uninstall the Pop Shell Shortcuts, run the following command:

$ sudo rm /usr/local/bin/pop-shell-shortcuts

How To Uninstall Pop Shell Extension

To uninstall Pop Shell tiling window extension, navigate to the cloned shell directory and run the command below:

$ make uninstall

Alternatively, you can delete the GNOME extension directory as follows.

$ rm -r ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extension

Conclusion

A tiling window manager  can significantly help in arranging your workspaces and manage workflow on your desktop.  I would definitely recommend trying out the POP! Shell windows tiling feature on your Ubuntu desktop system.

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