I recently did the upgrade from Gnome 3.8 to Gnome 3.12, in Debian Testing (Jessie), and I can't figure this one out.

When I try to open certain dialogue boxes in some applications (for example, the file properties dialogue in Nautilus), the dialogue either does not display at all, or else displays semi-transparently. In either case, the entire screen becomes non-functional. The mouse pointer keeps on working, but clicking works in no part of the screen, neither does the keyboard work.

The only exception is that, if I guess where the dialogue's close button is, I can click there to close out the dialogue, and then the screen becomes usable again. (Alternatively, I can type ESC to close the dialogue, with the same effect.)

Likewise, if I open, say, two copies of the image viewer (eog), opening the second copy has a similar effect, as does opening the Gimp (except that sometimes there I have no way of closing the offending window except by switching to another virtual terminal and doing killall gimp.

In order to get this situation to arise, typically a lot of windows need to be open: specifically, in my case:

  • The Cairo Dock toolbar
  • The TaskBar (TaskBar@zpydr) Gnome extension.
  • VirtualBox, running Windows 7.

When I was using Gnome 3.8, running these together never posed an issue, but now I have to close at least one of them (usually the TaskBar extension) in order to avoid the issue.

Other details of my system:

  • Processor: amd64 (using 64-bit version of Debian)
  • Display adaptor: Radeon HD 4200 (using the open-source driver, xserver-xorg-video-ati).
  • Kernel: 3.14 (package linux-image-3.14-2-amd64)
  • VirtualBox version: 4.3.14 (direct from Oracle)
  • Cairo Dock version: 3.3.2-1 (using Debian's version)

Other details:

  • Switching to Metacity (metacity --replace) eliminates the problem (but, of course, that eliminates all the benefits of gnome-shell).
  • The TaskBar extension is usually sufficent to generate the problem. Sometimes if only the TaskBar is enabled (but neither Cairo Dock nor VirtualBox), the offending dialogue box comes "alive" again after a few minutes.
  • However, I also sometimes have the problem with Cairo Dock and VirtualBox are open together (with the TaskBar disabled).

Any ideas what might be wrong? Something strange in my system, or a bug?

EDIT: I was able to confirm that a fresh install of Debian Testing (Jessie) produced the same results within a VirtualBox virtual machine. I tested it on VirtualBox 4.3.14 (both with and without version 4.3.15 of the guest additions -- version 4.3.14 of the guest additions doesn't install correctly on Debian) with both the TaskBar and Cairo Dock installed. Same behavior.

EDIT: The same thing occurs on Fedora, also in a VirtualBox virtual machine.

1 Answer 1


In the end, upgrading to Gnome 3.14 resolved the issue. My feeling is that there was some kind of bug in Gtk+-3.12.

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