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February 18, 2024

Public Beta Testing Launches for GNOME 46 Desktop Environment

The beta version of the forthcoming GNOME 46 desktop environment series has been released by The GNOME Project for public testing. This release, which is set to be officially launched on 20th March 2024, showcases a number of new additions and upgrades across its key elements and applications.

Particular highlights of the GNOME 46 beta include a variety of enhancements to the GNOME Shell and Mutter, many of which are discussed in detail here. Also added is a dedicated Global Search mode for the Nautilus (Files) file manager, which can be explored further here. Furthermore, an upgrade plugin for the openSUSE Leap distribution in GNOME Software has been incorporated, along with PKCS #11 smart card authentication support, specific closing behaviour for pinned tabs in Epiphany (GNOME Web), and a GTK4 port of GNOME Tweaks.

GNOME 46 beta also reveals a modernized properties dialogue for GNOME Bluetooth, the feature to record difficulty levels in GNOME Sudoku, a Preferences dialogue for GNOME Music, drop shadow support for unique file property dialogue icons in Nautilus. There is also a Microsoft 365 provider and GTK4 port for GNOME Online Accounts, as well as a refined default background that utilises minimum lens distortion.

The GNOME Control Center (Settings) also gains upgrades, especially to the Wi-Fi page which now reveals the password when a network is shared via QR Code. Enhancements to the Wacom page now spotlight the currently operative stylus, prioritize the stylus over the eraser, and pair only fixed pads with tablets. Another improvement includes a modernized mouse test dialogue on the Mouse page.

Moreover, the Privacy page now hides the non-functional microphone panel, the Search page received a command-line parameter for opening the Search Locations dialog directly, and the Network panel now features missing VPN entries.

GNOME Settings in GNOME 46 Beta with integrated search and ported to GTK4.

During the alpha phase, the GNOME Settings app was streamlined with better-reorganized settings by relevance, a new System panel that groups the Region & Language, Date & Time, Users, Remote Desktop, and About panels, as well as new Secure Shell settings, a new Apps panel that also houses the Default Apps settings, and a new Privacy & Security panel that’s a bit different than the previous Privacy panel.

GNOME Settings 46 was not available during the GNOME 46 alpha release, therefore, I have provided some screenshots of the reorganized settings and new panels for your perusal.

The Loupe image viewer has a new keyboard shortcut for permanently deleting an image (Shift+Delete), a button for copying location coordinates in image properties, support for opening images in new windows for wider screen occupancy (40% vs 30%), and the functionality to display the city name if the image’s location is less than 15km instead of 100km away.

Additionally, Loupe has a new build option that allows system integrators to compile the app with an optional X11 dependency. It also supports the use of “stacked cards” animation when changing images through buttons, as well as the option for users to disable animations when changing images using keyboard shortcuts.

The GNOME Maps app received quite a few enhancements in this beta, such as a highway shield renderer using definitions from OSM-Americana to render localized shields in some areas when using the experimental map view, which now uses the new GNOME map style, the ability to show system’s clock format (12h/24h) when sandboxed, as well as refreshed icons in the POI browser UI and refreshed UI for favorites with an empty view.

The GNOME Chess game has been finally updated from v43 to v46 and received highlighting of relevant pieces when the king is checked, a new keyboard shortcut for viewing previous/next moves, HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) support for tooltips, improved style of message dialogs, main menu improvements, and improved shortcut names in the help overlay.

The GNOME Connections app received certificate verification for RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), support for domains, improved onboarding text, improved appdata for AppStream 1.0, and the ability to change the icon when the certificate changes.

GNOME Tweaks received support for searching for shell themes in the default gnome-shell theme directory, support for selecting an accelerated profile for touchpads, and a dark style background option in appearance. The audio overamplification and “Disable Touchpad While Typing” options have been removed.

Last but not least, GNOME Initial Setup received improvements to avatar generation and the Welcome page, GNOME Text Editor now checks for files on disk before restoring drafts to avoid displaying deleted files, and xdg-desktop-portal-gnome got a redesigned screencast screen picker.

For more details, check out the release announcement page

release announcement page,

from where you can also download the GNOME OS 46 beta ISO image if you want to take the GNOME 46 beta desktop environment for a test drive.

Last updated 2 hours ago

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