Pre-release version of GNOME 3.8 includes Shell extensions
The core applications in GNOME version 3.7.3, which has now been released, now include gnome-shell-extensions. These have long been under development under the GNOME project umbrella and enable GNOME 3's control centre to be modified so that it behaves more like a traditional desktop environment. 'Alternate Tab', for example, makes the alt+tab key combination switch between windows, rather than between applications, , whilst 'Apps Menu' adds a menu reminiscent of the old Gnome 2 menu. Extensions such as these mean that GNOME 3.8 will also have an built-in mode, selectable when logging in, to replace fallback mode. The fallback mode currently offers a "classic" interface, but will be dropped in version 3.8.
The third pre-release version of GNOME 3.8 also adds new options to the control centre for configuring GNOME Shell's privacy settings, notifications and search program behaviour. As part of the Every Detail Matters initiative, the development team has also undertaken lots of minor enhancements, work which has been described by GNOME developer Allan Day in a blog posting.
The scheduled release date for GNOME 3.8 is 27 March, with the next pre-release version announced for 16 January.