Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

GNOME 3.2 was officially released yesterday with all those cool features which I'm sure you've all been waiting for. Let's take a look at what's new:

What's new in GNOME 3.2

Online Accounts: you can manage online sources like Google Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Chat and even Documents from within the GNOME 3.2 UI, with the help of applications such as GNOME Documents, Contacts, Empathy, Evolution:

GNOME 3.2 Online Accounts

- GNOME Documents:

GNOME 3.2 documents

"Documents" is a new application which allows you to manage both online (Google Docs) as well as local documents.

- GNOME Contacts, which includes your contacts from applications such as Evolution or Empathy, in one place:

GNOME Contacts

You can even search for contacts in the GNOME Shell Activities Overview:

GNOME Shell search contacts

or reply to chat from the GNOME3.2 popup notifications (and notification counter):

GNOME 3.2 chat notification

A new Empathy log viewer:

Empathy log viewer gnome 3.2

Web Application mode: you can save websites as "web apps" through Epiphany. The newly created web apps will show up in the GNOME Shell menu, you can add pin them to Dash, etc.:

GNOME 3.2 web apps

GNOME Shell extension one click install

Once click installation support for GNOME Shell extensions: GNOME Shell got a browser plugin which will allow you to install extensions with a click, however, extensions.gnome.org isn't working just yet. Also, according to a message on the GNOME Shell mailing list, even though this feature is not "advertised" for GNOME 3.2, it should work later on:

I think what makes sense is to have the site as a bit of a stealth-beta for this release ... something we're still working on, something we don't advertise as a release feature, but something that you can already use.

(thanks to an anonymous WebUpd8 reader for this tip!)

GNOME 3.2 broadway HTML5 backend

Experimental Wayland and "Broadway" HTML 5 backend for GTK+ 3.2 (which allows you to run applications in a web browser). We've already talked about this a few days ago - see: GTK+ 3.2 Released With HTML5 And Wayland Backends Support.

The user menu which allows you to enable/disable notifications:

GNOME Shell 3.2 user menu

Quick Nautilus previews for pictures, music and other files (like Gloobus Preview), through an application called Sushi. To preview a file, select it and press SPACE:

GNOME 3.2 nautilus previews

New GDM login screen:

GNOME 3.2 GDM login screen

New on-screen keyboard:

GNOME 3.2 on-screen keyboard

Integrated hotplugging:

GNOME 3.2 hotplugging

And a lot more:
  • recent directories in file saving dialog
  • color management in System Settings
  • On tablets and similar touchscreen devices, rotating the device will automatically rotate the screen
  • a counter for the tray notifications
  • window corners are now smoothly anti-aliased

You can read the official GNOME 3.2 release announcement HERE.

GNOME 3.2 video

Here is a video I've recorded with some of the above features (running in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot):

You may be wondering why I didn't record some of the new GNOME 3.2 features like Broadway backend, etc. and why I've used some of the official GNOME 3.2 screenshots instead of my own. Here's why:
  • GTK+ 3.2 is not built with Broadway backend support in Ubuntu 11.10 (with "--enable-x11-backend" and "--enable-broadway-backend") and building it myself doesn't work either due to a bug in libcanberra it seems (I get a segfault). If you get it to work, please let me know how :)
  • the Nautilus preview feature is missing in Oneiric (Sushi has not been packaged)
  • GNOME Documents is not available in Oneiric yet (as far as I know)
  • GDM 3.2 is not yet available in Oneiric
  • Epiphany in Ubuntu 11.10 doesn't support web apps yet, but I've compiled the latest version for this post (unfortunately, this is the only missing feature that I could "fix" in Oneiric)

Info and some screenshots via library.gnome.org