GNOME 45 “Riga” Desktop Environment Officially Released, This Is What’s New

It brings redesigned Settings and Nautilus file manager, new Quick Setting for changing keyboard backlight, and a new image viewer app.

The GNOME Project released today the GNOME 45 desktop environment as a major update that introduces revamped apps, new features, as well as numerous other changes.

Dubbed “Riga” after the host city of the GUADEC 2023 conference in Riga, Latvia, the GNOME 45 desktop environment is here to introduce a completely revamped Settings (GNOME Control Center) app that not only uses a more modern design based on the latest LibAdwaita library, but it also streamlines various settings.

Key features to mention here are fractional scaling factors in Display settings, allowing you to choose from 100%, 125%, 150%, or 175% scaling factors, extended Date & Time settings with options for clock and calendar, a completely redesigned Privacy panel to more quickly access the various settings there, as well as a more compact About panel.

The Nautilus file manager, which is probably the most used app after Settings, has been updated in GNOME 45 with a new design featuring a modern, full-height sidebar and reorganized titlebar buttons, a more performant search functionality, as well as an improved Grid View.

On top of that, Nautilus gets a better archiving experience, an improved sandboxing experience, faster generation of multiple thumbnails, and an improved List View with more consistent date and time formats and that lets you choose which columns are displayed.

Nautilus file manager in GNOME 45

As you can see from the image above, there’s a change in the top left corner of the screen, namely the Activities button has been replaced with an icon that acts as a workspace indicator, which lets you quickly switch workspaces by scrolling over it. There’s also a new camera indicator in the top bar for privacy, but it only works for apps that use PipeWire.

Another interesting change you’ll find on the other side of the screen, in the Quick Settings panel, in the form of a quick setting for changing the keyboard backlight on laptops. In addition, Quick Settings now shows immediate feedback when the Bluetooth quick setting is toggled.

Keyboard backlight Quick Setting

Of course, there are numerous other minor but important changes like improved Wayland support providing a software implementation of KVM-switch-like functionality to allow multiple computers to be controlled from a single keyboard and mouse.

There’s also the ability to dismiss notifications with the Backspace key, support for OWE (Opportunistic Wireless Encryption) networks in the status menu, more efficient video playback and recording, a new keyboard shortcut (Super+S) to access the Quick Settings panel, as well as improved three-finger swipe gestures for touchscreens.

GNOME 45 introduces a new image-viewing app called Image Viewer (previously Loupe) that features fast GPU-accelerated image rendering, tiled rendering for vector graphics, extendable and sandboxed raster image decoding, and accessible presentation of the most important image metadata.

Image Viewer (Loupe)

And there’s also a new camera app (Snapshot) that works great on both mobile and desktop. The camera app comes with features like the ability to take still images and videos, a built-in viewing function to quickly look at images and videos, and a button to switch between different cameras.

GNOME 45 also improves the GNOME Software app with a better mechanism for updating packages that require the removal of other packages to satisfy dependencies, along with better support for Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu distributions, and the ability to also remove app data for Flatpak apps when uninstalling them.

GNOME Calendar gets a redesign Month View to allow users to scroll infinitely to the future and past, as well as new keyboard shortcuts for synchronizing calendars (F5), managing calendars (Ctrl+Alt+M), and opening the calendars menu (F8).

GNOME Console terminal emulator has a new preferences window for setting custom fonts and disabling the system bell, GNOME Maps now features a button that indicates direction and allows orientating the map to the north, and GNOME Connections now allows copying text, images, and files to and from remote computers.

Smaller, yet useful improvements like an updated header bar style were also introduced to many of the default GNOME Apps, including GNOME Console, GNOME Calendar, GNOME Maps, GNOME Calculator, GNOME Text Editor, GNOME Disk Usage Analyzer, GNOME Fonts, GNOME Welcome Tour, and Epiphany (GNOME Web).

Check out the release notes for extra reading and the official release video below.

While GNOME 45 is now available for download as sources from the official GitLab website, it will probably take up to two or three weeks to arrive in the stable software repositories of various popular GNU/Linux distributions. Major distro releases that will come with GNOME 45 by default this year include Fedora Linux 39 and Ubuntu 23.10.

Last updated 7 months ago

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