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GNOME 3.8 has been released today, the new version bringing many new features and enhancements, including a new application view and overhauled window layout for GNOME Shell, new setting panels for privacy, search and notifications and of course, many updates to the core GNOME apps like Web (Epiphany), Boxes, Documents and more.

Let's take a look at what's new!

GNOME 3.8 video

Below you can watch a video with some of the changes / new features in GNOME 3.8 (with GNOME Shell):

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)

GNOME Shell / GNOME Settings 3.8 changes

With GNOME 3.8, the Activities Overview has got many changes:
  • a new applications view with frequently used and all apps and a new feature called AppFolders that has replaced the old categories
  • an overhauled window layout with bigger thumbnails; window thumbnails are also scaled to reflect the size of the actual windows;
  • the Message Tray now lets you clear all notifications by right clicking on the tray and choosing "Clear Notifications"
  • the search view has been overhauled and it can include results from any application and is configurable via GNOME Settings. For instance Files, Contacts, Boxes and Documents can provide their own search results;
  • new input methods OSD switcher.

GNOME Shell 3.8 applications view
New applications view

GNOME Shell 3.8 AppFolders

Clear all notifications from the Message Tray
Clear all notifications from the Message Tray

gnome shell 3.8 new search
New search view with results from applications

New window layout with bigger thumbnails

GNOME Shell language switcher OSD
New input methods OSD switcher and Region & Language settings panel

GNOME 3.8 ships with a brand new Privacy GNOME Settings (previously "System Settings) panel that lets you purge recent history and control various privacy settings:

GNOME 3.8 privacy settings

A new Search GNOME Settings panel which lets you control which search results are displayed in the Activities Overview. Here, you can enable/disable various applications from showing up as well as individual search settings for each application:

GNOME 3.8 search settings

GNOME 3.8 search settings

There's also a new Notifications GNOME Settings panel that, just like the new search settings, lets you control what notifications are displayed and you can enable/disable per application notifications or set which app notifications should be displayed for each application:

GNOME 3.8 notification settings

GNOME 3.8 notification settings

These are just the most important GNOME Shell 3.8 / GNOME Settings 3.8 changes, there are many more tweaks and enhancements, like:
  • the Network, Power, Region & Language and Printer settings panels have received various updates
  • access the background settings by right clicking on the desktop, a feature that was missing in the previous GNOME 3.* releases;
  • smooth scrolling in the overview and menus;
  • easier access to the Message Tray;
  • ownCloud has been integrated into Online Accounts;
  • much more!

And of course, like we were telling you a while back, there are also updated GNOME Icon Theme folder icons:

GNOME 3.8 new folder icons

GNOME Classic

Like we were telling you a while back, the old GNOME fallback mode has been removed and in its place, there's a new classic mode that tries to provide a GNOME2-like layout. The new Classic mode uses some GNOME Shell extensions to achieve this so even though on a first look the layout is similar to GNOME 2, you're still using GNOME Shell and you can access the Activities Overview and other GNOME Shell features.

Here are a few GNOME Classic mode screenshots:

GNOME 3.8 classic mode

GNOME 3.8 classic mode

GNOME 3.8 classic mode

GNOME 3.8 classic mode

More about the new GNOME classic mode in our previous post: A Quick Look At The New GNOME Classic Session

GNOME applications

The core GNOME applications have received many enhancements and there's also a new application: GNOME Clocks.

GNOME 3.8 clocks

GNOME 3.8 clocks

GNOME 3.8 is the first GNOME release to include Clocks by default. This is an application that lets you see the time in various places around the world (that you add), set up alarms, stopwatch and a timer.

GNOME 3.8 Documents

GNOME 3.8 Documents

GNOME Documents has received some new features, including an embedded edit mode for Google Docs so you can edit documents directly from the application, a presentation mode and more:
  • new preview scrub bar and page controls;
  • better document preview reading width and dual page mode;
  • bookmarks and Table of Content dialogs;
  • support PDF files from Google Drive;
  • sharing dialog for Google Docs.
GNOME Documents screenshots via mclasen because I couldn't get the app to work.

Nautilus (Files) has got its treeview back and also, it is now integrated with the Recent Files feature in Privacy Settings.

GNOME 3.8 web epiphany

GNOME 3.8 web epiphany

Epiphany (Web) has switched to WebKit2 with the 3.8 release and it now includes an incognito mode, a new search UI and it now supports GTK+2 plugins, including Adobe Flash plugin. Other Web changes:
  • pages can now crash without bringing down the entire browser;
  • revamped UI for HTML5 media content;
  • undo closed tab;
  • new tab button in the toolbar;
  • async session save and restore;
  • delayed tab restore on startup.


There have also been many changes to GNOME Boxes, Contacts, Gedit has got an appmenu like the other core GNOME applications and more.

And finally, GTK+ 3.8 includes support for Wayland 1.0 and there have been various improvements to text handle theming, various GTKWidget improvements and more.

For more info about GNOME 3.8, check out the official release notes.

What's next?

The GNOME 3.8 release notes mention two new applications that are available as preview in GNOME 3.8 and which will be integrated by default with GNOME 3.10: Weather and Bijiben:

GNOME Bijiben note-taking app
Bijiben note-taking app

GNOME Weather app
GNOME Weather

 The next stable GNOME release - 3.10 -, is also supposed to bring automatic extension updates, Git integration in the developer experience, a new Maps application, Colour Tinting in GNOME Shell, Videos application implementation and Focus-caret tracking in GNOME Shell. The feature list for GNOME 3.10 is still being discussed so this is not a final list of improvements we'll see in the next stable GNOME release.

Getting GNOME 3.8

Ubuntu 13.04 will ship with GNOME 3.6 for the most part but you'll be able to install GNOME 3.8 by using the GNOME 3 PPA. You can already install most GNOME 3.8 development builds in Ubuntu 13.04 - see: GNOME 3.8 Beta Available In PPA For Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

GNOME 3.8 will be available in distros that ship with GNOME, such as Fedora (19), etc. and there should also be some ISO files available for testing on the GNOME.org website (they aren't available yet).

Note: the screenshots / video were made using GNOME 3.8 RC2 so there might be some slight differences between what you see here and what's in the final GNOME 3.8 release. But only minor changes (if any)!