GNOME 46 Desktop Environment Is Now Available for Public Beta Testing

Includes new features and improvements for Nautilus, GNOME Software, GNOME Bluetooth, and other components.
GNOME 46 Beta

The GNOME Project released today the beta version of the upcoming GNOME 46 desktop environment series for public testing ahead of the final release on March 20th, 2024, adding more new features and improvements to various of its core components and apps.

Highlights of GNOME 46 beta include many GNOME Shell and Mutter improvements, a dedicated Global Search mode for the Nautilus (Files) file manager, a new upgrade plugin for the openSUSE Leap distribution in GNOME Software, support for PKCS #11 smart card authentication and closing behavior for pinned tabs in Epiphany (GNOME Web), and a GTK4 port of GNOME Tweaks.

GNOME 46 beta also adds a modernized properties dialog for GNOME Bluetooth, the ability to save difficulty levels in GNOME Sudoku, a Preferences dialog for GNOME Music, drop shadow support for file property dialog icons in Nautilus, a Microsoft 365 provider and GTK4 port for GNOME Online Accounts, and an improved default background that now uses less lens distortion.

GNOME Control Center (Settings) received improvements to the Wi-Fi page to also show the password when sharing the network via QR Code, the Wacom page to highlight the currently active stylus, prefer the stylus over the eraser, and pair only built-in pads with tablets, and the Mouse page with a modernized mouse test dialog.

Moreover, the Privacy page now hides the non-functional microphone panel, the Search page received a command-line parameter for opening the Search Locations dialog directly, and the Network panel now features missing VPN entries.

During the alpha phase, the GNOME Settings app was streamlined with better-reorganized settings by relevance, a new System panel that groups the Region & Language, Date & Time, Users, Remote Desktop, and About panels, as well as new Secure Shell settings, a new Apps panel that also houses the Default Apps settings, and a new Privacy & Security panel that’s a bit different than the previous Privacy panel.

Since GNOME Settings 46 wasn’t available during the GNOME 46 alpha release, I took the liberty of making some screenshots of the reorganized settings and new panels for your viewing pleasure.

The Loupe image viewer received a new keyboard shortcut for permanently deleting an image (Shift+Delete), a button to copy location coordinates in image properties, support for opening images in new windows to occupy more screen space (40% vs 30%), and the ability to display the city if the image’s location is less than 15km away instead of 100km.

Loupe also received a new build option that allows system integrators to compile the app with optional X11 dependency, support for using “stacked cards” animation when changing images via buttons, as well as a change that lets users disable animations when changing images via keyboard shortcuts.

The GNOME Maps app received quite a few enhancements in this beta, such as a highway shield renderer using definitions from OSM-Americana to render localized shields in some areas when using the experimental map view, which now uses the new GNOME map style, the ability to show system’s clock format (12h/24h) when sandboxed, as well as refreshed icons in the POI browser UI and refreshed UI for favorites with an empty view.

The GNOME Chess game has been finally updated from v43 to v46 and received highlighting of relevant pieces when the king is checked, a new keyboard shortcut for viewing previous/next moves, HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) support for tooltips, improved style of message dialogs, main menu improvements, and improved shortcut names in the help overlay.

The GNOME Connections app received certificate verification for RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), support for domains, improved onboarding text, improved appdata for AppStream 1.0, and the ability to change the icon when the certificate changes.

GNOME Tweaks received support for searching for shell themes in the default gnome-shell theme directory, support for selecting an accelerated profile for touchpads, and a dark style background option in appearance. The audio overamplification and “Disable Touchpad While Typing” options have been removed.

Last but not least, GNOME Initial Setup received improvements to avatar generation and the Welcome page, GNOME Text Editor now checks for files on disk before restoring drafts to avoid displaying deleted files, and xdg-desktop-portal-gnome got a redesigned screencast screen picker.

For more details, check out the release announcement page, from where you can also download the GNOME OS 46 beta ISO image if you want to take the GNOME 46 beta desktop environment for a test drive.

Last updated 2 months ago

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