GNOME 3.36 Desktop Environment Enters Public Beta Testing

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With only one month left until its final release, the upcoming GNOME 3.36 desktop environment is now available for public beta testing.

Kicked off in October 2019, the development cycle of the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment is nearing its end as the development team released today the first beta version for public testing, which is available for everyone willing to try it under the GNOME 3.35.90 umbrella.

Today’s GNOME 3.36 beta release also marks the API/ABI Freeze, Feature Freeze, and UI Freeze, which means no functionality or UI changes will be made without the approval of the GNOME release team.

You can test this beta version by downloading the corresponding Flatpak runtimes from Flathub, official BuildStream project snapshot, the source packages, or the experimental VM image.

The second beta release (GNOME 3.35.91) is coming later this month around February 15th, followed by the Release Candidate (RC) milestone (GNOME 3.35.92) on February 29th.

GNOME 3.36 Features

GNOME 3.36 is a major release that promises lots of new features and improvements, including a USB protection daemon, refreshed GNOME Initial Setup dialog, redesigned Power off dialog with more visible suspend and log out options, and a much more polished Shell experience.

The Do Not Disturb functionality is now deeply integrated in the UI with a new switch in the notifications popover, while an icon is now displayed in the system tray area whenever the function is enabled.

Another interesting change is called “password peeking,” which lets users view password text in system dialogs, most of which were redesigned to look nicer and be more consistent.

However, it looks like the star of this release is the GNOME Control Center, which was greatly improved with the ability to show installed Snap packages, new “Run in Background” and “Set Desktop Background” switches for apps, new sidebar panel grouping and order, as well as SAE (System Architecture Evolution) support.

Moreover, the Privacy settings was expended to allow user to better control application access to microphone, camera, etc., and the About panel has been slightly redesigned to show information about what display server you’re using (X11 or Wayland).

The final release of the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment is expected on March 11th, 2020. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) will be one of the first GNU/Linux distributions to ship with GNOME 3.36 on April 23rd.

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