GNOME 3.38 Desktop Environment Enters Beta, Final Release Expected on September 16

GNOME 3.38 beta


After a one week delay, the GNOME Project announced today the general availability of the first beta version of the upcoming GNOME 3.38 desktop environment series.

The GNOME 3.38 beta marks an important milestone in the development cycle of the GNOME 3.38 desktop environment. which is expected to hit the streets exactly in a month from the moment of writing this article, on September 16th, 2020.

The beta milestone also marks the start of the UI Freeze, Feature Freeze and API Freeze development stages, which means that no major new features will be added to the upcoming GNOME 3.38 desktop environment until its final release.

Moreover, during the beta phase, application developers are being urged to start testing their apps and extensions against the beta release if they want to target the GNOME 3.38 stack.

“This is the first beta release towards 3.38. It also marks the start of the UI, feature and API freezes (collectively known as The Freeze),” said Abderrahim Kitouni on behalf of the GNOME Release Team. “If you’d like to target the GNOME 3.38 platform, this is the best time to start testing your apps or extensions.”

There are lots of updated core packages and apps in this first beta release and there’s also numerous interesting changes. Highlights include much-improved Flatpak support, a revamped welcome screen, revamped systemd service structure, the ability to rearrange items in the app picker, and improved screencasting.

New “Boot Options” support was added to the “Restart” dialog, which has been moved into a separate menu item, and GNOME now defaults to no longer install updates when the device is on low battery.

There’s also USB protection enabled by default, the calendar events are no longer part of the notifications list, the app folder dialogs and app picker pagination were refined, and the switch-user button is now automatically hidden on the lock screen.

GNOME 3.38 will also add support for pre-authenticated logins in VMware environments, offer better support for sandboxed apps with multiple .desktop files, and improve the size of the on-screen keyboard in portrait orientation for mobile devices, such as the PinePhone running postmarketOS.

The Epiphany (GNOME Web) web browser now supports self-hosted sync servers, GNOME Maps now features improved keyboard navigation for routing entries and an adaptive UI for the routing sidebar, and the Nautilus file manager now automatically escapes file names on NTFS and exFAT mounts.

Those who want to test drive the GNOME 3.38 beta release have several methods, the most popular one being a virtual machine that they can download here and run on the GNOME Boxes app.

If you want to compile the GNOME 3.38 beta, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot or the source packages. However, please keep in mind that this is a pre-release version and it’s not suitable for use in a production environment.

Before its final release in mid-September, the upcoming GNOME 3.38 desktop environment will receive a second beta milestone sometime at the end of this month, as well as a Release Candidate in the first week of September. Happy hacking!

Last updated 1 month ago

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