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I found a thread on the Ubuntu forums, but it requires me to change the source of gnome-panel and recompile. Is that really the only option if I want to see more than 5 bookmarks in the "Places" menu? I have a huge monitor -- it seems funny to only show two bookmarks and push the others into a separate "Bookmarks" sub-menu.

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Is that really the only option if I want to see more than 5 bookmarks in the "Places" menu?

Yes. I'm suffering the same issue. I've posted bugs on Launchpad (marked a dupe of this one) and Gnome's Trac. I there are multiple BrainStorm threads too.

There are two elegant solutions:

  1. Look at the resolution when gnome-panel loads, work out some render geometry based on the current theme and set a soft limit

  2. Just use a gconf key-value to have a user-alterable number.

But both solutions require somebody to code them, somebody to accept one patch and then somebody to repackage the new version for Ubuntu... In short, it's a change that isn't going to happen soon (unless somebody steps up and gets something pushed in as a Papercut for Maverick - might be too late even for that)

Manually patching the code to have a higher fixed limit is a pain in the bottom but it does fix the problem and (in fairness) doesn't take all day to do. Just make sure you lock the version of your gnome-panel package so updates don't wipe your changes.

I'll go and poke people upstream and see if anything can be done about this.

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Option 2 looks best. Will see if I can contrib a patch.. – Abhinav Aug 23 '10 at 13:43
A patch exists upstream on the Gnome bug... It's just not getting applied by Gnome or Ubuntu. Get it sponsored into Ubuntu and the problem is fixed. – Oli Aug 23 '10 at 13:47
Since I can't comment (yet), I'll have to post an answer. Just to further Oli's comment, here is an ubuntuforums thread on how to patch gnome-menu to support more bookmarks. – aperson Feb 4 '11 at 12:31
I think this is the forum post I referenced. – Benjamin Oakes Feb 4 '11 at 12:31

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