Fly-Pie navigates through the system with pie menus

No matter whether you use Gnome or KDE, Windows or macOS, menus always pop up from a bar. Fly-Pie organizes a freely configurable menu in the form of a pie chart instead.

The way we control a desktop environment has not changed significantly since the early days of Gnome, KDE, and Xfce, even if Gnome in particular tends to take a swipe at the paradigms every now and then. Even early interface role models like GEM or the Xerox Alto operating system, the forefather of all graphical user interfaces, used graphical elements such as windows, scrollbars, or menus. Every now and then, however, it is useful to step off the familiar path and try something new. The Fly-Pie [1] extension for the Gnome desktop is a candidate for an off-the-beaten-path excursion.

In contrast to more heavily keyboard-oriented approaches such as the Gnome Shell’s activity overview or launchers like Kupfer [2], Fly-Pie is aimed at users who prefer to keep their hands on the mouse instead of reaching for the keyboard. The dynamic pie menu lets you launch applications or move them to the foreground, simulate hotkey presses, and much more. The menu can be customized in a granular way thanks to the comprehensive configuration manager.

Control by Gesture

Fly-Pie is not a standalone program but an extension for the Gnome desktop version 3.34 or newer. To install it, you simply open the Gnome Shell Extensions web page [3], move the black slider from Off to On, and select Install (see the “Gnome Extensions” box). After that, the extension appears in the Gnome extension manager as manually installed. From there, you can also access the settings via the gear icon. I tested the extension on Arch Linux with the current Gnome 41.


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