Asking this question I'm having Gnome 4 on Fedora 35 on my mind and it would be nice to have a solution for Gnome but I'm not emotionally attached to it - but first things first, here is the question:

I like to work on large/wide monitors with 2-3 applications which I use together in a given context visible simultaneously. Unfortunately there is LOTS of space wasted this way by screen elements which I don't need all the time (and which are also distracting):

  • Gnome top bar
  • application title bar
  • application menu bar
  • in browsers: tab-bar, address bar, bookmark bar
  • very often: status bar

And if you're not in the mood to precisely arrange your windows you might also loose space between the windows.

A typical desktop looks like this then:

multiple applications wasting space

There are lots of approaches - plugins for browsers, configuring your window manager, using plugins like gTile, configuring your applications, etc.

Nevertheless most applications can be set in fullscreen mode resulting in two things: the application uses the full screen (as the name suggests) and it enters some "zen mode"ish setup: the window manager doesn't show title and menu bars any more and the application might show less stuff like status bars, tool bars, etc.

Fullscreen mode for the browser turns into something like this then: one application in fullscreen mode

The problem of this mode is of course that while using most of your screen you can only show one application.

Having two monitors you can have two applications without wasting space on your screen but you have two monitors wasting space on your desk now which you can't use as one monitor if you need it.

And now I'm wondering: isn't it possible for any given window manager to display multiple applications side by side in this fullscreenish mode described above? I.E. I don't want to reconfigure my window manager and all apps I use for this special mode but I want to tell all visible applications to run in fullscreen mode while only using a part of the physical screen.

Like this:

enter image description here

Is this possible? With Gnome4? i3? KDE? Xmonad?

Note: while there might be tiling window managers addressing this need, I'm not asking for just a tiling window manager here: those (at least usually) don't tell applications to run in a special mode using the available space for the important content area only.

I've asked a similar question a while ago, which resulted in gTile (which I use, but it only configures the window dimensions) next to similar Gnome extensions and fakexrandr, which honestly I haven't tried yet but I guess it permanently partitions your screen without the possibility to seamlessly toggle between split- and single-screen mode.

Here is a similar question, with someone recommending i3 but without going into detail.

How do you do it?

1 Answer 1


I heared tiling wms are made for this :) something like i3wm, herbstluftwm, etc. But if you are looking for it on Gnome, i can recommend a few things too, because i use the same (fedora 35, coming from arch+plasma+i3). Back then i went with i3wm on top of kde plasma, to still have a full DE below my window manager. Something similar is still possible with i3 on Gnome. Just search for it.

There is also an extension made by the pop os devs, i dont know the name tho.

My lst tip: use workspaces if u are not doing so already. Gnome tweaks supports more than the default of 4.

  • 1
    I know tiling window managers but typically those don't tell the applications to run in fullscreen mode as they would when running in real fullscreen mode. Try it in your browser: switch to fullscreen mode and much more happens than just some window decorators being removed (and of course the entire screen being used). So applications must know that they are put into fullscreen mode and handle it accordingly.
    – frans
    Mar 15, 2022 at 8:17
  • Workspaces don't address the need to see multiple applications simulaneously.
    – frans
    Mar 15, 2022 at 8:19

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