4.16 was a special cycle in many respects (not only pandemic-wise, but also). One of the corner-stones of the non-code changes concerns our migration to GitLab, which is a change in development workflow and a huge step forward in terms of becoming more contributor-friendly and welcoming. In parts, the humungous changelog of Xfce 4.16 can be attributed to new contributors proposing merge requests (288 merge requests were merged or closed against our core components alone!). We also created a reference Docker container (xfce/xfce-build) and added CI pipelines to all components to ensure we don´t break the build.
This is one hell of a big release, and contains everything from an entirely new icon theme to the end of Gtk2 support. The visual tour gives a good overview of that’s new.