GNOME 46 “Kathmandu” Desktop Environment Released, Here’s What’s New

Includes headless remote desktop support, variable refresh rate support, improved notifications, revamped settings, and much more.

The GNOME Project released today GNOME 46 as a major new series of their beloved desktop environment for GNU/Linux systems that introduces new features, improvements, updated apps, and more.

Dubbed “Kathmandu” after the host city of the GNOME.Asia 2023 conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, the GNOME 46 desktop environment is here to introduce major new features like headless remote desktop support that lets you connect to your GNOME system remotely without there being an existing session.

When connecting remotely to your GNOME desktop, you will be able to adjust the display from the remote client and use the system as a fully-fledged remote resource. However, when using a remote desktop session, there shouldn’t be an existing local session running.

While experimental (needs manual enabling), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support is another major new feature in GNOME 46, which will allow you to change the variable refresh rate of your monitor from the GNOME Settings app in the Displays section. Of course, this will only work with monitors that support variable refresh rates.

Talking about GNOME Settings, the GNOME 46 release brings a new System panel that incorporates the Region & Language, Date & Time, Users, Remote Desktop, and About panels, as well as new Secure Shell settings.

The GNOME Settings app also comes with a new Apps panel that incorporates the Removable Media and Default Apps settings, a new Privacy & Security panel that replaces the previous Privacy panel, a new option to disable the touchpad while typing, a new “Secondary Click” option for touchpads, as well as integrated search functionality.

There’s also a revamped Wi-Fi page to show the password when sharing the network via QR Code, a revamped Wacom page to highlight the currently active stylus, offer more fine-grained control over stylus pressure, and pair only built-in pads with tablets, and an improved Network page that now shows the details page when creating new VPN or wired connections.

Online Accounts, which is integrated into GNOME Settings, now offers CardDav and CalDav providers, OneDrive support, and web browser-based authentication, which is more secure. Also, Online Accounts is no longer included as part of the initial setup.

GNOME 46 also updates the Nautilus (Files) file manager with major changes like a new global search feature, file operations indicator at the bottom of the sidebar, smoother transition when switching between grid and list views without reloading, improved discoverability of custom folder icons, and support for star emblems in the grid view.

Moreover, Nautilus now allows searching for preferences, offers a detailed date and time format option, includes the contents of markdown files in full-text search results, adds a password confirmation field in the compress dialog, and warns you before copying/moving a file that’s over the 4GB limit on FAT systems.

Nautilus now also uses toasts to provide feedback for some quick file operations, has a new menu item to switch the address bar to the location entry, which is now opened when the current path is clicked, and has an improved narrow mode where the sidebar is now closed when a location is selected from it.

The GNOME Software app store/package manager has been updated as well in GNOME 46 with support for verified Flatpak apps, redesigned update preferences, a refreshed UI design with modern widgets and prettier “Loading app details” status pages, a new keyboard shortcuts window, and support for user installation of local .flatpak files.

GNOME Software will also now let you adjust how apps with read/write Pipewire access are presented and updates the safety window to show if Flatpak apps are using the device=input permission, which is primarily used for game controllers.

The GNOME Maps app now supports public transit routing with OpenTripPlanner v2 via GraphQL, which is currently enabled only for Norway’s national Entur API provider, and offers a modernized setup UI for OpenStreetMap POI editing.

Epiphany (GNOME Web) web browser now supports PKCS #11 smart card authentication and closing behavior for pinned tabs, improves Firefox Sync support when GNOME Keyring isn’t installed, removes Google Safe Browsing support, and reduces adblock filter update interval on metered connections.

The Loupe image viewer app now uses Glycin 1.0 for enhanced protection against security exploits in image loaders, a new pinch gesture on touchpads (Ctrl + two-finger up/down), and a better experience on large screens by reducing the use of animations.

GNOME Calculator 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.

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 settings. Also, the audio overamplification and “Disable Touchpad While Typing” options have been removed.

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 it’s shown by default on the Dash, and GNOME Connections received certificate verification for RDP, support for domains, and improved onboarding text.

The GNOME Chess game 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.

On top of all that, GNOME 46 also brings performance improvements to GNOME Shell, screen recording, file system handling (especially when deleting a folder with a lot of files), memory usage in Tracker, the High Contrast mode, as well as the Mutter window and composite manager., which now has reduced dependencies.

More apps have been ported to GTK4, including the GNOME System Monitor, Swell Foop, and GNOME Tweaks. Also, there’s a new terminal emulator app called Prompt and a new offline documentation app called Biblioteca, as part of the GNOME Circle ecosystem.

Other noteworthy changes in GNOME 46 include improved notifications, which can now be expanded from the notification list to access their actions, an improved on-screen keyboard, new shortcuts for launching apps, built-in support for WebP images, nicer transition when exiting search results, a redesigned Extensions app, quick timers in the Clocks app, a prettier multi-monitor keyboard shortcut pop-up, support for monitoring disk usage, and JPEG-XL as the default format for backgrounds.

Check out the release notes for extra reading and the official release video below. GNOME 46 will make its way into the stable software repositories of various popular GNU/Linux distributions in the coming weeks. Major Linux distribution releases that will come with GNOME 46 by default include Fedora Linux 40 and Ubuntu 24.04 LTS in late April 2024.

Last updated 3 weeks ago

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