Enjoy Some Desktop Improvements With Gnome 3.4 [Linux]

gnome logo   Enjoy Some Desktop Improvements With Gnome 3.4 [Linux]As it is now April, what I like to call the “Linux spring release season” has finally begun! This is the time frame, usually during April and May, where most of the popular distributions have their new releases. These dates are ideally picked so that other projects complete their own cycle and the distribution developers have enough time to implement it into their distribution before issuing a release as well.

Quite recently, Gnome 3.4 was released, just a few weeks before distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora roll out their latest releases.

At the end of the day, Gnome is still the most popular desktop environment currently among Linux users. No matter if you’re using Cinnamon, Gnome Shell, or Unity as your desktop shell (although I personally prefer Gnome Shell), the backbone is still provided by Gnome, and this new release updates everything that has to do with Gnome. So, what exactly is new in this release and should you upgrade?

Default Wallpaper

gnome34 wallpaper   Enjoy Some Desktop Improvements With Gnome 3.4 [Linux]

What? The wallpaper is actually a feature? Well, kind of, but it’s still pretty cool and worth a mention. The Gnome developers have changed the default “drapey” wallpaper to be more dynamic and change along with the time of the day. If your time is currently noon, the wallpaper is bright. If it’s midnight, it’s quite a bit darker. As it’s one of the very first things a user sees, it may make or break first impressions.

Web Browser

gnome34 web   Enjoy Some Desktop Improvements With Gnome 3.4 [Linux]

Now, on to the good stuff! If you look around for a while, especially through the applications, you’ll see that Epiphany, the default Gnome browser, no longer exists. Instead, it’s replaced with a program simply called “Web”. This program has a ridiculously simplified user interface, so using it should be a complete piece of cake.

It also uses the WebKit rendering engine, the same one used in Google Chrome, so the browser will be modern enough to run all of the latest features on your favorite sites.

Menus

gnome34 menu   Enjoy Some Desktop Improvements With Gnome 3.4 [Linux]

In case you wish to find an application’s menus but can’t, don’t worry! Click on the application’s name at the very top of the screen (while using Gnome Shell), and a consolidated menu similar to Chrome’s appears.

While most applications currently do not offer support for this feature, you can test it out with some of the redesigned Gnome applications, such as Web.

Gnome Suite Applications

gnome34 disks   Enjoy Some Desktop Improvements With Gnome 3.4 [Linux]

Speaking of which, Contacts and Documents are new applications in the Gnome suite, while Disks got a redesign to fit in with the rest of the Gnome suite. All of these make use of the new hidden menus (which is also the way to close the applications, in case you were wondering).

Additionally, Gnome 3.4 now includes an application named Boxes, which is an interface created to make connecting to remote or virtual machines a lot easier. I wasn’t able to try it out and see just how well it works, but it seems like a promising idea.

Try It Out Now

You don’t have to wait for a distribution to release with this new version of Gnome. Instead, you can get it right now. Simply head over to this page and download the available ISO image (in 32-bit flavor only). You can then burn it to a CD or USB stick, or open it in a virtual machine. The ISO is based on Fedora, so it should work very well with most configurations.

The ISO may be slightly unstable because of other components and not Gnome, as the ISO is based off the next development release of Fedora.

Conclusion

So should you upgrade to Gnome 3.4? Most definitely! Not only are all the changes I mentioned included, but there has been a massive amount of bug fixes and greater hardware support added to this release as well. Additionally, this is now the third overall release of Gnome 3, which means that it will be even more stable than the initial release. So, there’s little reason not to upgrade to Gnome 3.4.

How are you liking Gnome 3′s progression? What features would you remove or like to see added? Let us know in the comments!

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14 Comments -

0 votes

ArtemZ

It’s only getting dumber and uglier on my point. I don’t like all these huge and not proportional elements…maybe they are OK on touch screens, but on my laptop they are not very useful.
I also don’t like gnome 3 for vertical-only workspace switcher.
I’m stick with Ubuntu&Unity.

0 votes

themainliner

I don’t like Gnome Shell, but if anything Unity is even worse. It’s complete lack of customizability (and Shuttleworth’s closing of the door on many options) makesit even morefrustrating than Gnome 3 Shell.

I’m sticking with Linux Mint 11 Katya for the forseeable if pushed I’ll be force to use an Xfce distro.

0 votes

Danny Stieben

KDE isn’t for you? ;)

0 votes

themainliner

I’ve always had a respect for KDE that hasn’t translated into wanting to use it full time. I always found the interface reassuringly Windows Start Panel\Taskbar-like, but simply preferred Gnome. I haven’t really been won back since I tried Ubuntu 6:04 and migrate to Linux wholesale.

That’s not to say openSUSE 12:1 isn’t great. Just not as…intuitive. It somehow feels more clunky too and things don’t always stay stay on the panel where I left them the previous session. Grrrr! ;D

0 votes

Danny Stieben

If Unity works best for you, use it. No one tells you that you can’t.

0 votes

Jouni “Rautamiekka” Järvinen

Looks nice. “But is it ?” is another story. Ever since I used GNOME I didn’t like it, so I’m rather using XFCE or LXDE than GNOME. But KDE has/have always been nice.

Mainly, GNOME is rather heavy. Or just stiff. Anyway, any other desktop is better.

0 votes

themainliner

If you’ve never been a fan of Gnome then why comment? There are alternatives, but this article doesn’t touch on them it simply talks about the improvements in version 3.4

I’m not a fan of Gnome 3, though I loved Gnome 2.x Panels. I’m hoping that Gnome 3 or maybe 4 will develop into something as usable as Gnome 2 but it’s nowhere near that yet.

0 votes

Danny Stieben

Who knows what’ll happen next? Considering Microsoft’s move to Metro, I doubt we’re eventually going back to some sort of panel.

0 votes

themainliner

Hmmm…Metro. Lovely. This move to a converged interface will play well with smartphone users. However, at the end of the day does everyone want to use their Desktop PC as a glorified ‘phone? Does the PC have no application that cannot be addressed by ‘phones or phone friendly, touch screen (fat finger) interfaces.

The forking of Gnome 2 to Mate and Gnome 3 to Cinnamon both utilise a panel and start button metaphor. The introduction of Gnome Extensions (currently in beta) has delivered the functionality the Gnome 3 team have omitted from the design breif suggesting their brave new design isn’t actually delivering on the desktop and users want something else.

Finally, since when have and should we be led by Microsoft? Are Metro, Gnome3, Unity the future or will Windows users do as Ubuntu users have when they had a smartphone interface forced on them….and move to Mint? Or will many angry home users be learning how to hack their registry to ‘restore’ a faux 7 interface? I see this fix all over the Internet already and Windows 8 isn’t out of beta yet.

0 votes

Danny Stieben

GNOME is actually pretty lightweight when compared to KDE. And it’s not exactly stiff either, since there are a lot of customizations you can do with it. Anyways, that’s my opinion, don’t take it as me trying to argue with “facts”.

0 votes

James Bruce

Does every website look as arse-ugly as that, or I have I done something special to make MUO look so disgusting in Gnome?

0 votes

Danny Stieben

You mean the font? That’s actually Fedora’s fault…they’re quite picky about their fonts too, and which are “free” and which aren’t. It fixes itself once the MS Core fonts are installed.

0 votes

discount windows 7

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0 votes

Stefan Schmitt

Gnome 3? Well, I like it!

I changed from Windows to Linux a few years ago in order to get rid of some very annoying things like reboots, virusses, trojan horses, M$’ update philosophy and so many more. You certainly know by yourself.

After testing several distros ranging from CentOS, to SUSE, Debian, ubuntu and finally Linux Mint I now use the latter every single day. And I don’t miss anything.

And yes: I like Gnome 3! I first saw it at LinuxTag Berlin and talked to one of the developers. He managed to implement some of my suggestions only a few days later!

I’ll keep using it! And I look forward for Gnome 3.4 coming to Mint. I you don’t like it – don’t use it! That’s one of the freedoms of Linux! :-)