GNOME 40 Desktop Environment Officially Released, This Is What’s New


The GNOME Project officially released today the GNOME 40 desktop environment as the latest and greatest release of this popular graphical environment for GNU/Linux distributions.

Six months in the work, GNOME 40 ends the GNOME 3.x series of the open-source Linux desktop environment as a massive milestone adding numerous new features and improvements. The biggest change, however, you already know about from my previous articles, the redesign of the Activities Overview.

In GNOME 40, the Activities Overview will be the first thing you see after login. It comes with better overview spatial organization with horizontal navigation and dock, improved touchpad navigation using gestures, more engaging app browsing and launching, and also contributes to a better boot performance of your Linux distro.

The workspaces in the revamped Activities Overview are now arranged horizontally and will appear in a continuous sequence from left to right, allowing users to pan and scroll them. In addition, the new design introduces app icons for windows and window title on hover to make their identification easier.

Other major changes in GNOME 40 include a revamped GNOME Web (Epiphany) web browser that now features a new, completely revamped tab bar with touchscreen support, automatic positioning for new tabs, indicator icons, fully working drag and drop, new keyboard shortcuts, and much more.

The GNOME Software app received a new design too with better Flatpak and Flathub integration, the ability to display the recent changes for each application in the new version history dialog, and a much-improved update mechanism to reduce the frequency of reminders.

But that’s not all as GNOME 40 also brings new features to the GNOME Calculator app, such as metric cups conversion unit, various improvements for thumbnails, improved login screen accessibility, improved handling of OpenStreetMap URLs in the GNOME Maps app, as well as improved Do-Not-Disturb support.

Moreover, the GNOME System Monitor app has a revamped and improved UI with random colors for cores, two decimals precision for CPU usage, and a new CPU affinity feature. The GNOME Weather app features a major redesign with new charts and an adaptive UI for mobile and desktop.

The Nautilus file manager now supports file creation date/time, browsing of shared Google Drives, and has a new preferences window. In addition, it now shows you a preview when setting the wallpaper, offers more accurate time estimates for ongoing file operations, and lets you run executable text files directly from the app.

GNOME 40 Desktop Environment

Last but not least, the Mutter window manager received a lot of improvements to better work on Wayland, allow remote desktop clients to specify the scroll source, support scroll button locking, and support tablet-mode-switch. Also, GNOME 40 makes it possible to access SFTP shares guarded by two-factor authentication and makes it easier to configure keyboard shortcuts and Wi-Fi.

Most users will be able to upgrade/install and use the GNOME 40 desktop environment sometime in the next few weeks when the packages will land in the stable software repositories of some of the most popular rolling-released distributions, including Arch Linux and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

The first major Linux OS release to ship with GNOME 40 by default this year will be Fedora Linux 34, due out in late April 2021. The Fedora Linux 34 Beta released the other day already includes the final GNOME 40 desktop if you want to take it for a test drive right now. More details on how to get GNOME are available on the official website and watch the promo video below.

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