Mind the Gap: GNOME 43 Fixes Quick Settings Quirk

Despite being in the throes of development, it’s been awesome to see the reaction GNOME 43 is getting ahead of its stable release in mid September.

But there’s one design “complaint” I’ve seen quite a people point out, and now it seems GNOME developers agree.

A late change added to the GNOME 43 Release Candidate build, issued this weekend, aims to provide “…a solution to the issue that the top row currently looks very empty and unbalanced on systems without a battery (i.e. desktops)”.

To illustrate what’s changed — not everyone is intimately familiar with the new Quick Settings menu yet — here’s a screenshot to show how the menu looks in the GNOME 43 Beta, and how it differs between desktop and laptop:

gnome quick settings beta
Notice the “gap” in the upper left of the desktop menu

On systems where battery information is not provided (i.e. on desktops) the beta version of the GNOME quick settings menu shows an empty space, but on devices providing battery information (i.e. laptops) a battery status pod appears.

It seems GNOME’s designers weren’t happy with the “gap”, so did something about it.

In release candidate builds of GNOME 43 the new quick settings menu gains a new screenshot icon, while an icon to open system settings moves over to the left from the right. On laptops all icons shuffle to the right to allow the battery status pod to appear:

Image: Florian Müllner

Small though this change is in the grand scheme of things, the tweak definitely makes the quick settings module feel more symmetrical and balanced on desktops, without ruining the stylish approach laptop users see.

It also makes it easier to take desktop screenshots, too.

Expect to see this change (and others in the GNOME 43 RC) trickle downed to distros tracking the GNOME 43 development (like Fedora Rawhide, and the Ubuntu 22.10 daily builds) in the coming week or so.

And do let me know if you’re satisfied with the “solution” shown here, down in the comments!