GNOME Might Need To Crack Down On Their JavaScript Extensions

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 31 July 2018 at 12:21 PM EDT. 122 Comments
Longtime GNOME developer and Red Hat engineering manager Jiri Eischmann has looked at recent Fedora Workstation crashes and other problems happening with the GNOME Shell and the most common denominator is problems caused by the GNOME Shell extensions written in JavaScript.

While being able to write GNOME Shell extensions in JavaScript was fascinating at first and a low barrier to entry, they seem to be responsible for recent problems users are encountering with the GNOME desktop. Making matters worse is that with the current GNOME Shell environment defaulting to Wayland with the Mutter compositor, when it crashes, it crashes hard. That's compared to when the GNOME X.Org session running into problems running into just a screen blank and being able to restore the clients.

A short-term solution being considered is to -- like in the past -- disable GNOME Shell extensions when the shell crashes. That way users need to re-enable their desired extensions and hopefully investigate the problem further prior to more crashes occurring.

More difficult changes would be decoupling GNOME Shell and Mutter to more gracefully handle crashes and to be able to restore clients. Alternatively, GNOME developers may need to consider limiting the API exposed to these JavaScript extensions to avoid problematic behavior.

Jiri Eischmann shared his personal thoughts on this GNOME JavaScript extension situation on his blog.
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