GNOME 45 Beta Released, Here’s What’s New

GNOME Calculator, System Monitor, Console, Maps, Software, and Connections apps also received improvements.
GNOME 45 Beta

The GNOME Project announced today the release and general availability for public testing of the beta version of the upcoming GNOME 45 desktop environment series, due in late September 2023.

GNOME 45 beta is here about five weeks after the alpha release and further improves the GNOME Control Center (Settings) app, which appears to be the star of the upcoming major release. Various memory leak and accessibility label fixes are present in the beta version of GNOME Control Center, along with ports of multiple settings rows to the new AdwSwitchRow widget.

The Settings app in GNOME 45 beta has a reorganized Privacy panel that contains all the sub-panels under a single category, makes the new About panel more compact, adds a description to the Date & Time panel to explain the new “Clock & Calendar” options, and adds a banner to indicate when the system is offline in the Online Accounts panel so you won’t create any new accounts until it’s reconnected to the Internet.

New Privacy panel in GNOME 45

The Users panel was updated as well to display the “Other Users” section only when there are users to show, make the entire panel insensitive when the user has no permission to change the various options in there, and address focus issues reported by users when selecting an avatar image from a file.

Also updated is the Printers panel, which now uses the “card” style for printer entries.

GNOME’s file manager Nautilus (Files) now uses a new navigation view and flat headerbar for the Properties window, no longer switches to the View mode when searching for files, no longer adds search to the history stack, and optimizes the view performance when selecting or removing lots of files.

GNOME Shell 45 beta received the ability to load extensions as modules, a new camera indicator, a new toggle in Quick Settings for keyboard backlight, the ability to run “perf” tests as external scripts, support for the Tecla library for previewing keyboard layouts, and a better Light style variant.

The new Loupe image viewing app that will be introduced as part of the GNOME 45 release has been renamed to Image Viewer and received JPEG-XL support, a revamped print dialog, sandboxing for SVG rendering, a new custom style for drop targets, improved browsing of images on SMB shares, improved touchscreen gestures when zoomed in, as well as overshoot for swipe gestures.

Furthermore, GNOME 45 beta improves the GNOME Software app with better error notifications for failed GPG checks, support for disabling animations in the UI according to the user’s accessibility settings, improved update mechanism for packages that require the removal of other packages to satisfy dependencies.

The new GNOME Software version also brings better support for Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu distributions by forcing them to always use GNOME Software’s built-in dialog rather than the software repositories dialog provided by the respective GNU/Linux distribution.

GNOME System Monitor has been updated to use the “Terminate” term for killing processes instead of “End”. GNOME Calculator now offers better left/right cursor key handling, has an improved toolbar that uses the Adwaita library, and brings various improvements for the Flatpak version.

GNOME 45 beta also updates the GNOME Console terminal emulator with a new preferences window for setting a custom font and altering bell behavior, the ability to zoom with Ctrl+Scroll, better keyboard support for managing tabs, telnet as a ‘remote’ type, labels for tabs in switchers, and various fixes for notifications, drag and drop, detaching and closing tabs, and the UI.

GNOME Console’s new Preferences dialog for changing fonts and terminal bell.

Last but not least, the GNOME Connections app now lets users close the onboarding dialog by pressing the Esc key, improves desktop resizing, and adds clipboard channel support.

Also, the GNOME Maps app now always shows phone numbers as links in the Flatpak version, brings better adaptiveness for various screens and touch gestures for opening the sidebar, and once again shows animations when going to new places and showing routes.

GNOME 45 beta also updates the xdg-desktop-portal-gnome component with new features like Input Capture portal support, Clipboard portal support, the ability to restore remote desktop sessions, and the ability to communicate via an EIS socket for remote desktop sessions.

GNOME Initial Setup received a couple of changes as well, including the ability to always display the Accessibility menu, support for disabling some irrelevant GNOME Shell functionality, and support for the Tecla library as a new runtime dependency for displaying keyboard layout previews.

Other than that, the GNOME Logs app received accelerator and UI improvements, the GNOME Text Editor app now allows you to set “Plain Text” in the language selection dialog and no longer shows keyboard shortcuts in tooltips, and Mutter gets support for YUV formats, KMS threads, and support for the Wayland-friendly libei input capture and emulated input library.

GNOME 45 beta is available for public testing as part of various development distributions like Ubuntu 23.10 (Mantic Minotaur) or Fedora 39 Rawhide. You can even install it on Arch Linux by following this tutorial. However, please keep in mind that this is a pre-release version, not suitable for production use!

Last updated 8 months ago

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