The GNOME Foundation has announced version 42 of the popular Linux desktop that shares its name. GNOME 42 includes a number of enhancements, including to the desktop theme, bundled applications, and improvements to performance that will likely appeal to the desktop’s large user base.
GNOME 42 Introduces New Features and Upgraded Apps
GNOME 42 includes some major changes that are visible to users as well as ones that only more technical users will notice. The biggest user-facing changes to the interface are a new global dark theme and a tool to simplify creating screenshots. With the global dark UI, users who toggle dark mode will have their apps change to the dark theme as well.
Users are presented with the option of capturing a region, a window, or the entire screen when they press the Print Screen key.
GNOME 42 has also spruced up the stable of included apps. Many default apps have been upgraded to GTK 4, the “toolkit” that defines the look and feel of GNOME programs. These include Disk Usage Analyzer, Fonts, To Do, Tour, Calendar, Clocks, Software, Characters, Contacts, Weather, and calculator.
Apart from GNOME’s existing apps getting a new coat of paint, two completely new programs make their debut with GNOME 42… Text Editor and Console.
Text Editor, is surprisingly enough, a text editor, replacing the venerable Gedit. One major feature is that it will save a user’s work automatically to prevent data loss.
Console, a terminal emulator for accessing the Linux command line, will indicate when a user is in “root” or administrative mode by changing color in the header bar. Because editing plain text files and using the command line remain important parts of Linux, these will likely be welcome additions to GNOME 42.
Under the hood, GNOME has made a number of performance improvements, including smoother video playback in the Videos video player, reduced power usage in full-screen programs, improved file searching speed in the Tracker file indexer, and accelerated web browsing in the default web browser, imaginatively named Web.
When Will Users Get GNOME 42?
Now that GNOME 42 has been released, the downstream developers of Linux distributions will have to integrate it into their systems. Given the popularity of GNOME as a desktop, major distributions like Ubuntu will likely feature the new version at some point. Users of rolling-release distros like Arch will likely see GNOME 42 sooner.
For those eager to try it out, the GNOME Foundation offers a GNOME OS nightly image for download, though they warn that it shouldn’t be used in production or “bad things will happen.”
What’s Next for GNOME?
The GNOME feature set will likely keep loyal users singing the Linux desktop’s praises. Its versatility and attractive design have kept GNOME a favorite among Linux users for years, and it looks like that trend will continue with GNOME 42.
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