Linux-Unix

Common Fedora Workstation Crashes Traced Back to GNOME JavaScript Extensions

Improving the situation may be difficult for GNOME engineers.

A recent spate of Fedora Workstation crashes and other issues with the GNOME Shell has been traced back to GNOME Shell extensions written in JavaScript, as discovered by GNOME developer and Red Hat engineering manager Jiri Eischmann.

Being able to write GNOME Shell extensions in JavaScript has been regarded as an interesting concept with a low barrier to entry, but it appears that it is in fact causing problems for users within the GNOME desktop environment. Even worse yet is that the current GNOME Shell environment defaults to Wayland with the Mutter compositor, so it takes some pretty hard crashes, compared to GNOME X.Org sessions that have the occasional blank screen or similar issue.

Fortunately, Jiri Eischmann has a few ideas to improve this situation, which can be summed up as:

  1. Extensions used to be disabled when the Shell crashed hard (couldn’t be restarted). Since on Wayland it’s the result of every crash, we should do that after every GS crash. And when the user goes back to GNOME Tweak Tool to enable the extensions again, she/he should be told that it was mostly likely one of the 3rd party extensions that made the desktop crash, and she/he should be careful when enabling them.
  2. Decoupling GNOME Shell and Mutter or/and other steps that would bring back the same behaviour like on Xorg: GS crash would not take everything down. This would require major changes in the architecture and a lot of work and GNOME Shell and Mutter developer community has already a lot on their plates.
  3. Discontinuing the unlimited extensions, introducing a limited API they can use instead of hot patching the GS code itself. This would be a very unpopular step because it’d mean that many of the existing extensions would be impossible to implement again. But it may become inevitable in the future.

Farhan Ali


Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.

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