Firefox has been criticized by users for not fitting well in Fedora Workstation. Although it improved with the new interface called Australis, it still doesn’t feel as native as GNOME Web (Epiphany). It’s not likely it will close the gap any time soon for two reasons:
- Mozilla wants to keep the same (or at least as similar as possible) interface on all desktop platforms.
- Firefox is not just for GNOME users in Fedora, and needs to keep at least some level of neutrality towards desktop environments. Fortunately, there is a powerful system of add-ons and themes, so you can make it look native with a few tweaks.
This is our starting point — the Firefox default appearance in Fedora Workstation:
Get rid of the title bar
As I mentioned earlier, integration of Firefox improved a lot with Australis. Switching to GTK3 in Fedora 22 helped, too. But some users still criticize the title bar, which feels redundant in today’s GNOME, especially when maximized. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this: install HTitle addon. The browser window will still have the title bar when unmaximized, but it disappears when maximized, as in this picture:
Make it look like a GNOME app
The HTitle addon gets rid of the title bar, but as you can see, it still doesn’t feel native. For example, the minimize, maximize, and close buttons are not particularly beautiful. Now comes the time for the GNOME 3 theme, which tries to imitate the Adwaita theme for GTK. It looks much more like a GNOME app with this theme:
But we’re not done. As you can see, the buttons don’t look the same as in other GNOME apps. Now, you might want to install the GNOME Theme Tweak addon and customize the theme a bit. This add-on doesn’t require restarting, unlike the others. Once it’s installed, go to the Firefox menu, click ‘Customize’ at the bottom of the menu, and then click ‘GNOME Tweaks’ link in the lower left corner. You’ll see the following panel of settings:
The “Relief buttons on the navigation toolbar” option makes the Firefox buttons look just like in other GNOME apps. The “Different style for unfocused windows’ setting uses an alternative “lighter” theme when switching to another window, to emphasize that the window no longer has the focus. This behavior is more like other GNOME apps.
Other GNOME apps such as Web have bold tab labels, which you can enable in Firefox, too. I’m not personally very fond of this, so I keep it disabled, but it’s really up to your taste. GNOME apps also stretch tabs to the full width, no matter how many you’ve opened. Firefox doesn’t do that by default, but you can enable it here.
Get native notifications
The last part of our tweaking are notifications. Firefox is using its own system of notifications. But if you install the GNotifier addon, it will use libnotify and system notifications, adding another level of integration.
Firefox should now look and behave much more like a GNOME app. Just compare GNOME Web (Epiphany) and the tweaked Firefox on the pictures below. While Firefox still has a more complex interface, keep in mind Firefox is a far more powerful browser than just Web. It’s possible to use even more flexible customization to remove most of the complexity, if you don’t want to be exposed to it all the time.
What extensions do you use to make Firefox more integrated with your desktop?