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March 21, 2024

Introducing GNOME 46 “Kathmandu”: Check Out the Latest Features and Updates

The GNOME Project has unveiled GNOME 46, a significant new iteration of their well-liked desktop environment for GNU/Linux systems. This version comes packed with fresh features, enhancements, software updates, and more.

Entitled “Kathmandu,” after the hosting destination of the GNOME.Asia 2023 summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, the GNOME 46 desktop environment brings forth crucial new features such as headless remote desktop functionality facilitating connections to your GNOME system remotely without a pre-existing session.

When accessing your GNOME desktop from a remote location, you can modify the display from the remote client and employ the system as an entirely operational remote resource. Nevertheless, a local session should not be active during a remote desktop session.

Albeit labeled as experimental (requiring manual activation), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support constitutes another significant addition in GNOME 46. This feature will enable you to alter your monitor’s variable refresh rate via the GNOME Settings application in the Display section. Nonetheless, this will only be compatible with monitors that endorse 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.

New global search mode in Nautilus

Nautilus file manager now shows file operations at the bottom of the sidebar

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.

GNOME Software showing verified Flatpak apps and local installation of .flatpak files

GNOME Software showing verified Flatpak apps and local installation of .flatpak files

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 was updated with features that enable substring search in the unit selection drop-down menus, addition of Argentine Peso as a supported currency, introduction of troy ounce (ozt) as a new measurement unit, and a feature that reloads conversion rates in case of search-provider conversion failure.

GNOME Tweaks was upgraded to support search of shell themes in the default gnome-shell theme directory, accelerated profile selection for touchpads, and a dark style background in Appearance settings. However, the audio overamplification and “Disable Touchpad While Typing” options are no longer available.

GNOME Initial Setup saw enhancements in avatar generation and in the Welcome page. GNOME Text Editor now scans for files on the disk before reloading drafts to prevent showing deleted files. The editor is now displayed by default on the Dash. GNOME Connections was updated to verify certificates for RDP, offer support for domains, and include a better onboarding text.

GNOME Chess, the game, has been made more user-friendly with feature updates – highlighting pieces of concern when the king is in check, a new keyboard shortcut for reviewing previous/next moves, HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) compatible tooltips, a better style for message dialogues, updates to the main menu, and enhanced 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.

Notifications in GNOME 46

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 8 hours ago

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