Desktops & Desktop Interfaces

GNOME 3.4: Will the new features make you a fan?

GNOME 3.4 was released today. Like any software update, it comes with a lot of new features and expected bug fixes.

I have never being a big advocate of the GNOME desktop environment, most especially the standard (default) GNOME 3 desktop. That is why I am looking for distributions that ship with a modified GNOME 3 desktop. Three that I have so far identified are: KahelOS, Deepin Linux, and Comice OS 4.

So, what exactly are the new features of GNOME 3? Will they reveal that the developers listened to critics or are still forging ahead in the direction that started this whole mess? I am not in a position to answer those questions because no distribution has been released with GNOME 3.4 yet (it was just released today).

Update: A live demo CD has been released. You may view screen shots at GNOME 3.4 screen shots.

The best I can do is to provide a summary of highlights of this release. So, without further ado, here they are:

  • Epiphany, the Web browser, has been renamed to Web. There has to be a good reason for that, but do not ask me because I do not know.
  • Improved contact application with inline linking suggestions and avatar selector.
  • GNOME Disk Utility, used to manage disks on the system, has been renamed to Disks. I hope the desktop itself will be as easy to use as the names of the applications are short.
  • Local and remote (online) document search capability from the Activities view.
  • Documents, another smartly-named application, makes it easy to use your documents.
  • Eye of GNOME, the image viewer, has been renamed to Image Viewer.
  • It is now possible to connect to Kolab Groupware servers from Evolution
  • Open applications will have a menu on the top bar.
  • Improved color chooser palette.
  • Updated window scrollbars said to take up less than the old version
  • Audio and video calling interface for Empathy, the IM application.
  • Empathy also has support for Windows Live Messaging and Facebook chat
  • Empathy integration with the Contacts application
  • Undo function for Nautilus, the file manager.
  • WebM replaced Theora as the default video format on Cheese, the webcam application.
  • The default wallpaper, also known as the curtain, has been animated, “becoming brighter and more radiant during the day, and dark and shadowy in the evening.” This one requires a screen shot, taken from the Release Notes. Screen shot for other features listed here are also viewable on that page.
    GNOME 3.4 animated wallpaper
    GNOME 3.4 Animated Wallpaper

Those are the main new features and enhancements. Some of them I like, others, will be a hard sell. But until I can experience the new desktop firsthand, I will keep any opinions I have formed to my self. Which distribution will be the first to ship with GNOME 3.4?

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  1. Archlinux already have gone 3.4 in their repositories (extra)

  2. Gnome had always been my favorite GUI for linux….so every update is very welcome!

  3. Pingback: Links 29/3/2012: Red Hat’s Results, GNOME 3.4 Released | Techrights

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