GNOME Continues Growing Up; 3.2 Released and Ready

If you’re a casual Linux user, you’re likely to be sporting either KDE or Gnome when it comes to the desktop environment. Gnome has become the popular DE to wrap into a distribution, especially since Ubuntu has decided to forge ahead with Unity (based on Gnome Shell) in future releases.

The GNOME project has packaged and prepared their latest version, 3.2 — which is based on a 6 month release cycle. Good or bad, every 6 months there will be a version freeze and a new release of code will be shipped. Today is that day. GNOME 3.2 brings along a plethora of bug-fixes, feature additions and overall user experience enhancements.

The release highlights include;

  • It is now easier to resize a window as the area for this has been increased.
  • System Settings now includes links to related settings found in other locations. For instance, the Keyboard section now has a link to the keyboard layout.
  • Titlebars, buttons, and other controls are less tall, making it easier to use GNOME on small screens.
  • Notifications in the lower-right corner now include a counter. This makes it easier to see how many emails are waiting for you without having to open your email program, or to determine how many messages you have missed in a particular chat.
  • The highlight effect that indicates that an application is already running has been made more obvious.
  • In the user menu, notifications can be configured independently from the chat status.
  • The workspace switcher in the overview remains expanded by keeping its full width displayed when you are using more than one workspace.
  • Instead of assuming Evolution, the application for the calendar drop-down can now be customized.
  • The battery power status is now shown using a bar.
  • Focus-follows-mouse handling has improved, though more work is needed.

New applications are also bundled in the packages. The Accounts application includes support for the cloud and can sync your Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Chat and Documents.

Speaking of Documents, there is also a completely new application that provides quick and easy access to all locally and remote documents. Finding, editing and saving remote documents will be a cinch with Google Docs support built right in.

As usual, the GNOME team is looking at the future of computing, they’ve enhanced and reduced user interactions to complete tasks, they’ve integrated social features and have even added a brand new on-screen keyboard in the event that this whole Post-PC drivel comes to fruition.

As usual, the Release Notes are in the GNOME Library and provide a comprehensive look at the subtle changes that have been incorporated. Look for your favourite distribution to polish, package and push GNOME 3.2 once the repository maintainers vet the source and make their branding modifications.

  • Gnome Shell is never going to replace the full experience. I cannot customise this can I? But great for beginners!