GNOME 46 Alpha Desktop Released for Public Testing, Here’s What’s New

GNOME 46 introduces headless remote logins via GDM, new Prompt terminal emulator app, and built-in support for WebP images.
GNOME 46 Alpha

The GNOME Project released today the alpha version of the upcoming GNOME 46 “Kathmandu” desktop environment series for early adopters, application developers, and Linux enthusiasts who want to get an early taste of the new features and improvements.

Highlights of the GNOME 46 alpha release include headless remote logins via GDM (GNOME Display Manager), a new terminal emulator app called Prompt, a new offline documentation app called Biblioteca, GTK4 ports for Swell Foop and Settings, headless GNOME Classic session support, built-in support for WebP images, as well as JPEG XL (JXL) as default image format for backgrounds.

The Nautilus (Files) file manager in GNOME 46 will confirm passwords when creating protected ZIP archives, improve discoverability of custom folder icons, allow users to change owner/group and any permissions under admin:///, support detection of copy/move operations of files over the 4GB limit on FAT filesystems, add a detailed date and time format option, and allow Alt+Down to revert more than one Alt+Up.

GNOME 46 also streamlines the GNOME Control Center (Settings) app with a new System panel that groups the Region & Language, Date & Time, About, and Users panels, a new Apps panel that groups the Removable Media and Default Apps panels, an “About Settings” dialog, a new settings in Mouse & Touchpad that lets users disable touchpad while typing and choose between multiple touchpad click methods, and improved background chooser performance in the Appearance panel. Unfortunately, the Settings app is kept at version 45.2 in this alpha release.

GNOME 46 Alpha includes an updated GNOME Shell component with an optimized application search, high contrast improvements, fixes for scroll handling on sliders, on-screen keyboard, calendar pop-up, and arrow navigation in search results, improved monitor OSD labels, improved recording indicator when using the Light style, as well as the ability to handle desktop windows during workspace animations.

The Mutter window and composite manager was been updated as well in GNOME 46 alpha with the ability to discard monitor configuration with fractional scale when unusable, the ability to inhibit real-time scheduling when mode-setting, headless setup support for Xwayland with the NVIDIA graphics driver, improved sloppy and mouse focus modes, the ability to force EGLStream with the NVIDIA graphics driver, as well as improved Wayland and tablet support.

The Epiphany (GNOME Web) 46 web browser is also included with changes like improved Firefox Sync support when gnome-keyring isn’t installed, removed Google Safe Browsing support, reduced adblock filter update interval on metered connections, hidden developer context menu actions by default, and the ability to hide various context menu items when selecting text.

GNOME Maps 46 ships with redesigned zoom buttons inspired by the Loupe image viewer, support for public transit routing with OpenTripPlanner v2 GraphQL (currently enabled for Norway’s national Entur API provider), redesigned OSM account dialog using Adwaita widgets, modernized setup UI for OpenStreetMap POI editing, as well as simplified flexible storage format for the place store cache.

GNOME Calculator 46 received the ability to allow substring the search in the unit selection drop-downs, support for Argentine Peso currency, troy ounce (ozt) as a newly supported unit, and the ability to reload conversion rates whenever the search-provider conversion fails.

Among other noteworthy changes, GNOME 46 alpha brings an updated GNOME System Monitor app that’s finally been ported to the GTK4 toolkit and its UI now matches the Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), as well as support for user installation of local flatpak files and the ability to recognize verified apps by Flathub in the GNOME Software 46 app.

Moreover, GNOME Software 46 will recognize links in package update descriptions, load category pages faster, offer better search matches with multiple words, expose package names discreetly in the UI, provide improved application safety checks, and prompt users with correct messages when installing firmware updates.

GNOME Text Editor 46 alpha brings improved margin for RTL (Right-to-Left) languages, the ability to cancel document loading when closing a tab or a window to fix high CPU usage when doing Pango line breaking on extremely large files, as well as more GNOME HIG and XDG compatibility.

Other than that, Online Accounts has been removed from GNOME Initial Setup and it now uses the default web browser for authentication, which is a more secure method to log into your favorite accounts. Support for CardDav and CalDav providers has been introduced as well in Online Accounts and the and Media Server providers were removed.

GNOME 46 alpha will be available for public testing as part of the development snapshots of the upcoming Fedora Linux 40 Workstation (or Fedora Rawhide), openSUSE Tumbleweed, and other GNU/Linux distributions that offer pre-release images with the GNOME desktop environment preinstalled. More details on how to test this alpha version are available in the release announcement.

Last updated 2 months ago

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