Gnome Archive

GNOME OS is taking shape but its to serve for testing the desktop

GNOME OS has traditionally been a virtual machine image for testing, but with the work done by Codethink and other GNOME developers it’s becoming possible to run GNOME OS on bare metal hardware. Additionally, thanks to the likes of Flatpak and OSTree, it’s becoming more like a working Linux distribution in terms of package availability. GNOME OS is part of the project’s continual testing investment and can be booted on real systems with UEFI via systemd-boot, systemd is leveraged throughout, Flatpak is available for a broad application base, Wayland and XWayland are utilized, the latest Mesa drivers are present, and OSTree provides atomic updates. GNOME OS seems similar to KDE Neon, and I think it’s a great idea. It allows GNOME developers and users to easily test the latest and great versions of their software, without being dependent on distributions.

GNOME Shell UX plans

The lock screen work that we landed in 3.36 was the outcome of a long-running programme of UX work, which we first put together at the GNOME UX hackfest in London, back in 2017. There are still some outstanding pieces of the login/unlock experience that need to be filled in, and this is something that we hope to work on over the coming development cycle. However, we are also turning our attention to other aspects of the shell, which we have wanted to update for some time. In the rest of this post, I’ll describe some of the areas that we’re hoping to improve, before going on to talk about how we’re going to do it. An overview of what to expect from upcoming GNOME releases.

GNOME’s Mutter working on variable refresh rate support

A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isn’t advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR. I can’t wait for Mutter and Kwin to adopt and integrate support for variable refresh rates, so seeing these first patches is good news.

GNOME 3.36 released

We are pleased to announce the official release of GNOME 3.36: “Gresik”. Version 3.36 contains six months of work by the GNOME community and includes many improvements, performance enhancements, and new features. Highlights from this release include visual refreshes for a number of applications and interfaces, particularly noteworthy being the login and unlock interfaces. The release notes provide a more detailed overview of the changes.

GNOME 3.34 released

The latest version of GNOME 3 has been released today. Version 3.34 contains six months of work by the GNOME community and includes many improvements, performance improvements and new features. Highlights from this release include visual refreshes for a number of applications, including the desktop itself. The background selection settings also received a redesign, making it easier to select custom backgrounds. They have a video highlighting the changes too.

“Please don’t theme our apps”

We are developers and designers making apps for the GNOME platform. We take pride in our craft and work hard to make sure our applications are a great experience for people. Unfortunately, all our efforts designing, developing, and testing our apps are made futile by theming in many cases. This is insanity – even if they claim it only applies to distribution makers. Their argument basically comes down to certain themes making certain applications look bad, and that theming removes branding from applications. First, theming making applications look bad is either an issue with the theme that needs to be fixed or an issue with Gtk+/GNOME being bad at theming, and second, your branding is irrelevant on my computer, or on my distribution. I use KDE, and one of the main reasons I do so is to ensure I can make my desktop and its applications look exactly the way I want them to look.

GNOME 3.32 is awesome, but still needs improvements in key areas

GNOME 3.32 is the latest release of the most popular Linux Desktop Environment (Interface+Apps) that is used by Ubuntu, Fedora and many other Linux distributions as their default experience (with or without changes). GNOME 3.32 packs itself with new niceties such as a refreshed theme and icon set, many much-needed performance fixes, updated apps, etc. However, GNOME continues to have key areas that stick out like a sore thumb in terms of intuitiveness or convenience. I have laid them down below with links to bug reports, please treat my feedback as constructive criticism of a project that I respect, but find confusing. As a former heavy user of GNOME 2.x, I find GNOME 3 wholly unpleasant – unlike its predecessor, it seems to want to force a certain way of working on me that I just can’t wrap my head around. Add to that the numerous problems – many of which are highlighted in this article – and I just don’t see myself ever returning to the world of GNOME any time soon. KDE all the way for me.

Lobotomizing GNOME

But I'll be honest: GNOME is huge and kind of bloated, and it's hard to disable various unwanted components. GNOME Shell is amazing, but a lot of the other components of GNOME are simply unwanted. This is what turns a lot of power users away from GNOME, which I think is a shame given all of the other amazing things about GNOME. While you won't find these instructions in the GNOME manuals, if you know what you're doing modern GNOME releases make it very easy to lobotomize a lot of the unneeded and unwanted features.

Remote desktop finally coming to GNOME on Wayland

Daniel Aleksandersen writes:

Jonas Ã…dahl from Red Hat has been busy adding new D-Bus APIs to libmutter. Mutter is the GNOME window manager and Wayland compositor. The two new APIs, org.gnome.Mutter.RemoteDesktop and org.gnome.Mutter.ScreenCast, expose a PipeWire stream containing the contents of the system's screens. The new APIs can create full-screen streams, or streams for individual windows. Only the former has been implemented.

These new APIs finally allows for services such as RDP and VNC servers and screen recording under Wayland. Once again, Mr. Ã…hdahl delivers! He has also created GNOME Remote Desktop, a new user-level systemd service daemon that is built on the new RemoteDesktop API in libmutter, plus VNC support from libvncserver. The new service can be used to connect up a remote VNC client to your local screen’s session. GNOME Remote Desktop appears to be a drop-in replacement for Vino server.

GNOME has been without its own Remote Desktop option since the switch to Wayland, and this work fills that gap.

GNOME 3.16, Builder released

GNOME 3.16 brings a brand new notification system and updated calendar design, which helps you to easily keep track of what’s happened, and includes useful information like world times and event reminders. Other features include overlaid scrollbars, updated visuals, improved content views in Files, and a redesigned image viewer.

Major additions have also been made to the GNOME developer experience: GTK+ support for OpenGL now allows GTK+ apps to support 3D natively, a new GLib reference counting feature will help with debugging, and GTK+ Inspector has also had a major update.

Also released: GNOME Builder, an IDE for GNOME.

GNOME defending trademark against Groupon

Recently Groupon announced a product with the same product name as GNOME. Groupon's product is a tablet based point of sale "operating system for merchants to run their entire operation." The GNOME community was shocked that Groupon would use our mark for a product so closely related to the GNOME desktop and technology. It was almost inconceivable to us that Groupon, with over $2.5 billion in annual revenue, a full legal team and a huge engineering staff would not have heard of the GNOME project, found our trademark registration using a casual search, or even found our website, but we nevertheless got in touch with them and asked them to pick another name. Not only did Groupon refuse, but it has now filed even more trademark applications (the full list of applications they filed can be found here, here and here). To use the GNOME name for a proprietary software product that is antithetical to the fundamental ideas of the GNOME community, the free software community and the GNU project is outrageous. Please help us fight this huge company as they try to trade on our goodwill and hard earned reputation.

Groupon acting scummy. Say it ain't so.

Update: Groupon has decided to abandon the trademark applications. Situation resolved!

My Trip to GNOME: a 3.10 Review

Remember back when GNOME and KDE dominated Linux desktops? Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? Yet it was only three years ago, in April 2011, that GNOME 3 was released. Its radically redesigned interface shook up everyone. Some eagerly adopted it. Others left GNOME.

In this brief review I take a fresh look at GNOME today, as it's currently distributed in several popular Linux distributions.

GNOME 3.12 released

Major new features for this release include a significant update to the experience for finding and installing applications, as well as major facelifts for the Videos and gedit applications. Those who have high resolution displays will benefit from greater support, and users will experience better start up times as well as more efficient resource usage. They will also be able to quickly organize their applications with the new application folders feature.

I remember a time when GNOME and KDE releases were big deals here. Feels like eons ago, a distant memory from an irrelevant past.

MATE Desktop 1.6 released

"The team is proud to announce the release of MATE Desktop 1.6. This release is a giant step forward from the 1.4 release. In this release, we have replaced many deprecated packages and libraries with new technologies available in GLib. We have also added a lot of new features to MATE." Look at those screenshots. This is what GNOME is supposed to be: elegant, understated, to-the-point. I should try this.

GNOME to get sandboxing for applications

"Some GNOME developers are planning to implement an app format that allows developers to provide their Linux programs in distribution-independent files that can be installed as easily as smartphone apps. A sandbox model is supposed to isolate the apps from each other, and from the rest of the system, in a way that goes further than the isolation in current Linux distributions. Various developers worked to conceptualise such "Linux apps" at the GNOME Developer Experience Hackfest, which was held in the run-up to FOSDEM 2013 in Brussels. At the hackfest, the GNOME developers also declared JavaScript as the de-facto standard for GNOME programming." Right, because they haven't alienated enough of their users.

JavaScript becoming default language for GNOME applications

"At the GNOME Developer Experience Hackfest in Brussels, the GNOME developer community has tackled the problem of specifying a canonical development language for writing applications for the GNOME desktop. According to a blog post by Collabora engineer and GNOME developer Travis Reitter, members of the GNOME team are often asked what tools should be used when writing an application for the desktop environment and, up until now, there has been no definitive answer. The team has now apparently decided to standardise on JavaScript for user-facing applications while still recommending C as the language to write system libraries in." Discuss.

GNOME to officially support set of ‘classic’ extensions

Not even GNOME itself could ignore the GNOME 3 criticism for much longer. "As part of the planning for the DropOrFixFallbackMode feature, we've decided that we will compile a list of supported gnome-shell extensions. This will be a small list, focused on just bringing back some central 'classic' UX elements: classic alt tab, task bar, min/max buttons, main menu. To ensure that these extensions keep working, we will release them as a tarball, just like any other module."

Gnome to drop fallback mode

"I'm writing to inform you that the release team discussed Drop or Fix Fallback Mode yesterday. We've come to the conclusion that we can't maintain fallback mode in reasonable quality, and are better off dropping it." Gnome-fallback has been my refuge, as I find both Unity and Gnome 3's shell unusable. Yes, we have been warned this would happen. I thought the cost of maintaining gnome-panel would be so low that it might never need to happen. But as it appears, it is deemed necessary. As for me, I'm bound for something Qt, as I am very angry at Gnome for abandoning its 'classic' users.