The GNOME 3.36 desktop environment has been officially released today and it’s a major series that brings new features and apps, visual enhancements, as well as many improvements.
Dubbed “Gresik” after the GNOME Asia Summit 2019 conference that took place in Gresik, Indonesia, GNOME 3.36 is a major release that promises many great additions to the open-source desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions.
Highlights of the GNOME 3.36 release include updated login and unlock screens with a much-improved and modern design for a smoother and faster logging in and unlocking experience, and a more polished GNOME Shell that makes it easier to create app folders using drag and drop in the app grid, and offers a smoother workspace switch experience.
Talking about GNOME Shell, a new standalone app called Extensions is now available and installed by default to allow users to enable, disable, update, and remove extensions, as well as to change extension preferences.
The calendar popover has been revamped and now integrates a Do Not Disturb switch that when turned on will mute all notifications with the exception of low battery warnings. An icon will also be displayed next to the clock when the Do Not Disturb functionality is active.
Another visible change in the top panel is the reorganized Power off / Log out options in the system tray area to make it easier to log out of the current session, as well as to suspend or power off your computer.
GNOME Control Center received a lot of attention in GNOME 3.36. First of all, the Details and Devices panels have been removed and the sections in the sidebar pane were re-ordered. Thunderbolt settings were moved into the Privacy panel, which has been expanded with more privacy settings to let users better control application access to microphone, camera, etc.
Also expanded is the About panel which now displays more information about the server you’re using (X11 or Wayland) and other system details. The User Accounts panel was redesigned to look better, and the Region & Language panel has a redesigned Formats dialog.
show installed Snap packages, new “Run in Background” and “Set Desktop Background” switches for apps, , as well as SAE (System Architecture Evolution) support.
Another interesting change is password peeking, which lets users view the password text in all system dialogs that require authentication via a new button in the password field. Most of these authentication dialogs have been redesigned to look nicer and be more consistent.
Among other changes, there’s a new USB protection daemon, refreshed GNOME Initial Setup dialog with parental controls, new download manager, new VM creation assistant, UEFI support and support for setting the number of CPUs in GNOME Boxes, as well as metered data support in GNOME Software.
The GNOME Clocks app was completely redesign, GNOME Music now features on-demand album covers and Last.fm scrobbler support, and Files (Nautilus) now supports move and copy operations within Google Drive, as well as support for Nextcloud and ownCloud shares with self-signed certificates.
Last but not least, the Epiphany web browser now supports viewing of PDF files using PDF.js and has a better and more responsive design for smaller screens, such as the Librem 5 and PinePhone Linux phones. Also, five of the core GNOME apps have updated icons.
How to install GNOME 3.36
While GNOME 3.36 has been officially released today, it would take a while for GNU/Linux distributions to make the packages available in their software repositories, which is the recommended way to install the desktop environment.
It will also be possible to install various GNOME 3.36 apps and components from Flathub, but I highly recommend that you upgrade from your distro’s stable repos. Arch Linux is one of the first to already ship GNOME 3.36 in its repositories, and many other distributions will follow in the coming weeks.
In the coming months, new major releases of popular GNU/Linux distributions will ship with the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment preinstalled if you can’t upgrade from GNOME 3.34. These include Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and Fedora 32.
Last updated 12 months ago