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Is there any setting/plugin/hack/workaround that will allow me to run Ubuntu with the Gnome 3.x/Gnome Shell desktop while retaining a 2x2 or n x m workspace grid instead of the default Gnome one-dimensional line-up of workspaces?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

There is now the plugin Workspace Grid, which seems to do the job.

It works for 3.8, but I not immediately for 3.10, 3.12.

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Workspace grid does not work for 3.6.2. –  fakedrake Mar 27 '13 at 12:42
It's since been updated, and works fine on 3.6.3 here. –  supervacuo May 9 '13 at 10:23
Says it's outdated for 3.8, but if installed it still works. –  Rasmus Jun 26 '13 at 11:37
It's since been updated, and works fine on 3.8 here. –  Kein Sep 17 '13 at 8:21

I was actually looking at this today, and the short answer is no. A hacky workaround is to have a gnome-panel running, with the workspace-switcher applet on it. This applet provides a setting for number of rows of workspaces, so you can create a grid layout.

I used to have a hack that was a daemon running in the background, which would handle this for me, so I wouldn't need the workspace switcher applet. It doesn't work any more though. However, I'll be rewriting it soon, so that it works again with GNOME 3.x, and using dconf/gsettings. It will only be configurable from editing the settings directly using the gsettings command line tool, or dconf-editor, though.

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With a combination of two extensions, it is possible. The downside is that you will have a bottom bar.

My blog post explains various ways on how to do this. Here is the cleanest way of doing so:

Open, and edit ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/Bottom_Panel@rmy.pobox.com/stylesheet.css on line 6, change the height to 0px.

Credit goes to Brian McSweeney.

Hope that helps!

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Nice! You can hide the bottom panel by editing ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/Bottom_Panel@rmy.pobox.com/extension.js. There, replace lines 787 and 788 with this.actor.set_position(primary.x,-h); and this.actor.set_size(primary.width,h);, respectively. –  Rasmus Jul 2 '12 at 18:33
Sweet! I tried looking at the code myself at first, but was overwhelmed, but this is incredible! Thanks for sharing. –  whirlwin Jul 2 '12 at 21:13
Could you add the basics of the answer in the answer, instead of just the link? –  Nanne Oct 30 '12 at 10:10
@Nanne I've added the how-to. –  whirlwin Oct 30 '12 at 10:20

You can get a 1X1 workspace grid using the new WorkspaceBar extension I wrote. I will look into adding a 2X2 option if people want it. It would be small little buttons to fit on the panel.

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