gnome-shell animations are noticeably stuttery when the Ubuntu extensions are enabled

Bug #1872796 reported by Nicolás Abel Carbone on 2020-04-14
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-shell (Ubuntu)
Daniel van Vugt
gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons (Ubuntu)
Daniel van Vugt
gnome-shell-extension-ubuntu-dock (Ubuntu)
Daniel van Vugt

Bug Description

I have a Dell XPS 9360 with a FHD screen and a Intel HD620 iGPU, running Ubuntu 20.04. On this system animations should be smooth and at 60fps, but this is not always the case.
The applications animation (the icons coming from the bottom left) is specially stuttery most of the time. Sometimes it is buttery smooth, but most of the times it is not. It is difficult to pinpoint when.

Some exploration that may help to find the issue:
* I also have a desktop with 20.04 and a Nvidia 750ti and it seems to be much smoother. This seems to indicate that the problem is somehow related to the Intel iGPU.
* Animations seem smoother under Wayland. But, because of other limitations, I am staying on Xorg for now.
* The application animation is super stuttery the first time it is opened in a session. It gets slowly better with subsequent uses, although never totally smooth.
" The animation is noticeably more stuttery if it opens the “All” applications tab instead of “Frequent” apps. Maybe the number of apps (icons) is a factor?
* Vanilla gnome-session seems to be smoother. Maybe the problem is related to Dash-to-dock or another Ubuntu extension? (In my ubuntu session only default extensions are enabled).

These datapoints are mainly subjective as I have no means of properly measure animations performance.

Don't get my wrong, 20.04 is a clear improvement over 18.04. But it seems there is some room for improvement at least in this hardware.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 20.04
Package: gnome-shell 3.36.1-4ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 5.4.0-21.25-generic 5.4.27
Uname: Linux 5.4.0-21-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.11-0ubuntu26
Architecture: amd64
CasperMD5CheckResult: skip
CurrentDesktop: ubuntu:GNOME
Date: Tue Apr 14 15:23:40 2020
DisplayManager: gdm3
InstallationDate: Installed on 2018-02-23 (780 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" - Alpha amd64 (20180222)
RelatedPackageVersions: mutter-common 3.36.1-3ubuntu1
SourcePackage: gnome-shell
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

> Vanilla gnome-session seems to be smoother. Maybe the problem is related to Dash-to-dock or another Ubuntu extension? (In my ubuntu session only default extensions are enabled).

Yes I have been suspecting the same.

summary: - gnome-shell animations are stuttery
+ gnome-shell animations are noticeably stuttery when the Ubuntu
+ extensions are enabled
Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt)
Changed in gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt)
Changed in gnome-shell-extension-ubuntu-dock (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt)
Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Probably related to bug 1832812.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in gnome-shell-extension-ubuntu-dock (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Changed in gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Changed in gnome-shell-extension-ubuntu-dock (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
tags: added: performance
Francois Thirioux (fthx) wrote :

[ThinkPad T480s, iGPU 620 too]

From my pov, Ubuntu extensions do impact the smoothness. Anyway, I do use gnome-session since a long time (I used Ubuntu GNOME, some time ago) and the animations have never been really smooth in gnome. It's somewhat odd that an older Thinkpad (T440s) we own do better (Ubuntu session 18.04).

I do see these (slightly) stuttery animations in overview, especially showing the virtual workspaces dock. It does not (or much less) happen if no window is open. Still here if no extension at all is active.

Another thing I noticed. I installed Ubuntu 20.04 on another laptop, also with Intel iGPU, but lower resolution screen (1366x768) and the animations _seem_ smoother. Also this is a laptop with less software installed, so overall there are less icons to animate too.

Do you have many indicators running?

If yes, could you try just disabling the indicators extension?

I have 2 indicators running: insync and indicator-cpufreq.

I disabled the indicator extension and it still not completely smooth, there are definitely dropped frames. It _may_ be a little better thou, it is difficult to say (is there a way to profile the framerate of the animation?).

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

I will set up a test environment with actual performance measurements for this bug, but not right now. I don't think there's any additional info we need before then.

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :


Since it sounds like your issues are not related to extensions, and are not this bug, please click "Hide" on any comments above that may be irrelevant to other readers here.


I don't know if this is going to help, but I was experience a similar problem in Popos 20.04. In my case, the misbehaving app turned out to be Mega from which I use for cloud sync.

Their ubuntu 20.04 deb package causes noticeable stuttering. After disabling the app the desktop becomes smooth again. After enabling it again the computer becomes fast and smooth.

This problem did not exist in 19.10 using mega's deb for 19.10.

The stuttering happens across the board, in every activity randomly.


Alex Burdu (alex.burdu) wrote :

Having the same issue on 20.04 running on AMD Ryzen 9 3900x with 32GB RAM and Radeon RX 580, SSD drive

information type: Public → Public Security
information type: Public Security → Public
Alex Burdu (alex.burdu) wrote :

The cause for my stuttering was actually this:

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