Recently, I mentioned I installed Crunchbang on my laptop and I'm loving it. But my desktop machine is still running Ubuntu and today I did a bunch of upgrades. Well, little did I know, this batch of upgrades included updating the desktop to GNOME 3. That was unexpected! I knew about GNOME 3, but I figured it would be in the upcoming Ubuntu 12.04.
The first thing I noticed was that the focus was not follwing the mouse. I don't like having to click to focus, so I fired up the Compiz settings manager and--- sure enough--- "click to focus" was checked. So I unchecked it and that seemed to work.
The next thing I noticed was that the mouse wheel no longer changed workspaces. Everybody else in the world--- Xfce, KDE, LXDE, Openbox--- can change workspaces with the mouse wheel by themselves, but for some reason the mighty GNOME needs help from Compiz. So, back to the settings manager and, again, the settings for "workspace next" and "workspace prev" were back to "disabled". I set them to "Button 4" and "Button 5", respectively.
And...nothing. No effect. Then I noticed that the GNOME 3 workspace configuration was unrelated to the settings in the settings manager.
So, even though the "click to focus" check box worked, the workspace settings are being quietly ignored. The way to change workspaces in GNOME 3 is with C-M-up_arrow an C-M-down_arrow (there is no left and right...the workspaces grow downwards as needed).
Thankfully, I discovered GNOME Shell extensions1. These are not an official part of GNOME Shell, I guess, but it seems we can't live without them. For Ubuntu, they live in a different repository.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/gnome3 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-extensions-common
You could log out and back in again, but I just reloaded the GNOME shell with
GNOME Shell extensions are a way for folks to submit their own customizations. In particular, someone named markos created Desktop Scroller. I installed that and now I can change workspaces with the mouse wheel if I move the pointer over to the right edge of the screen. Good enough. I usually have enough stuff in each workspace that I have to move the pointer near an edge to find an exposed chunk of root window anyway. And the comments suggest improvements are coming, so soon it might do exactly what I want. Thanks, markos!
 This only works in Firefox, apparently. My usual browser is Google Chrome, but when I visit extensions.gnome.org with that it says, "You do not appear to have an up to date version of GNOME3. You won't be able to install extensions from here. See the about page for more information".