GNOME 2.10 Release Notes

1. Introduction

The GNOME 2.10 Desktop is the latest release of the ever popular, multi-platform free desktop environment.

The GNOME desktop releases continue to arrive on schedule. GNOME 2.10 includes a number of interesting new features and hundreds of bug fixes. This time GNOME also includes a video player and a CD-ripping utility. You can learn more in the following sections.

GNOME provides a user-friendly environment that "just works" for everyday users, without excess complexity or obscure features. At the same time we provide the rich flexibility experienced developers demand.

GNOME runs on a variety of platforms, including GNU/Linux (commonly called Linux), Solaris, HP-UX, BSD and Apple's Darwin. GNOME includes powerful features such as world-class smooth text rendering, a first-class accessibility infrastructure, and a complete internationalization infrastructure that includes support for bi-directional text.

Of course GNOME 2.10 includes all of the improvements made in GNOME 2.8, which you can learn about in the GNOME 2.8 release notes.

The Desktop release contains all the applications needed to provide basic user functionality. Major applications such as Gnumeric and are also available, but are developed in parallel on their own release cycle rather than being included in the core GNOME release.

GNOME is part of the GNU Project, and is free software.

Please continue directly to the What's New section, or use the links at the right to learn more about this release and the GNOME Desktop in general.

2. What's New In GNOME 2.10

2.1. Desktop

2.1.1. The File Manager

The file manager, also known as Nautilus, is even faster and more stable in GNOME 2.10, thanks to changes to its internal architecture. This should allow software developers to maintain and extend the file manager more easily in future.

Drag and drop with other applications, such as Mozilla and Firefox, now also works more smoothly.

In addition, there are many small changes that demonstrate GNOME's attention to detail. For instance,

  • The path button is now more obviously a button.
  • When creating new files, renaming starts automatically.
  • When using keyboard navigation to open the parent folder (Alt-Up), the current folder will be selected.

Figure 1clean-cut and powerful, the Nautilus file manager

GNOME 2.10 provides a new selection of pre-installed background images and patterns, so your desktop can become your own.

Figure 2a selection of simple yet artistic backgrounds

2.1.2. Window Behaviour

GNOME 2.10 has a new ability that you might not notice at first, implementing another cross-desktop standard.

In the past, while typing something into one application when suddenly your instant messenger offered a chat request from your friend, your words would be typed into the chat window. Imagine if you were typing your password at the time. This should no longer happen in GNOME 2.10.

In addition, if an application takes a long time to start, your work will not be interrupted when it finally opens its window.

2.2. Applications

2.2.1. Video Player

GNOME 2.10 now includes the popular Totem video player, using GNOME's GStreamer multimedia framework. Totem provides the intuitive user interface that GNOME users expect, with automatic hardware detection instead of complex configuration.

Figure 3The video player

2.2.2. Audio Extraction

The much-loved Sound Juicer "CD ripper" easily extracts audio from CDs for later playback on your PC or portable music player. Thanks to automatic downloading of song titles, you won't need to click more than a couple of buttons.

Figure 4The audio extractor

2.2.3. Web Browser

GNOME's "Epiphany" web browser is based on Mozilla yet integrates fully with the GNOME desktop environment. Improvements in 2.10 include

  • An improved fullscreen mode.
  • The location bar now indicates whether the site is secure, and shows its favicon.
  • Bookmarks can be exported.
  • An extension manager for extra features.

Figure 5The web browser

2.2.4. Evolution

GNOME's integrated Email and Groupware client, Evolution supports traditional mail setups, as well as Novell Groupwise and Microsoft Exchange. With Evolution you can read, write, and manage your emails, contacts, and calendar events.

In GNOME 2.10 it's now easier to work offline with your email, calendar, and contacts if you use IMAP, LDAP, WebCal, Groupwise, or Exchange. Your changes will resynchronize when you go back online.

This new version offers some other calendar improvements:

  • Files can be attached to events.
  • Exceptions can be made in recurring events.
  • The calendar includes weather information (US only).

Figure 6daily weather forecasts

And yet more new features:

  • Groupwise shared folders and send options are now supported.
  • Exchange folder sizes and password expiry warnings are supported.
  • The email user interface will be properly mirrored for right-to-left languages.

Figure 7The email client

2.2.5. GnomeMeeting

GnomeMeeting allows users to see and speak to each other via internet telephony (VoIP) and video conferencing. In GNOME 2.10 the address book is now shared with our Evolution email client, so you don't need to enter contact information in more than one place.

Now you can even browse for other GnomeMeeting users on your local network without discovering their contact details first. And you can view your own video output side by side with the video from your conversation partner, so you see what they see.

Figure 8The internet telephony and video conferencing client

2.3. Control Center

2.3.1. Keyboard Layouts

Selecting a keyboard layout is now simpler with the Keyboard control panel. Just click Add to choose from a list of international keyboard layouts. Before making your choice you can see the effect of key presses in the layout preview. The Layout Options section has also been reorganized as a simpler list of choices.

Figure 9Keyboard Preferences - Layouts

2.4. Panel Items

GNOME 2.10 includes major improvements to its panel items (also known as applets), providing new features and better integration with the rest of the desktop.

The most visible change is the removal of the Actions panel menu and the addition of Places and Desktop menus. These provide fast access to the items you use most often, without navigating through sub-menus. For instance, the Places menu lists your home folder, your computer, networked servers, and the search feature. In the Desktop menu, you'll find your Preferences and Administration control panels, Log Out, and Help.

All of the panel menus are now defined by the cross-platform menu specification, so 3rd-party software may add itself to the Applications menu without even knowing about GNOME.

Also, most applets can now be partly transparent, when the panel itself is transparent.

Figure 15Sticky Notes

2.4.1. Integrated Modem Control

GNOME 2.10 introduces a new applet for controlling your Modem, integrated with GNOME System Tools.

Figure 10The new modem control applet

2.4.2. Panel Trashcan

GNOME 2.10 features an optional trashcan for your Panel. Just like the trashcan on your desktop, you can now drag and drop files and other items into the trash without minimizing your open windows.

Figure 11a Trashcan on your Panel

2.4.3. Control Mounted Volumes

GNOME 2.8 allowed you to easily mount your digital media, such as CDs, DVDs, and USB memory sticks. Now the volume mounter applet helps you to use these volumes without the difficulty of finding their icons on the desktop, behind your open windows. The applet shows the currently mounted (or unmountable) volumes, allowing you to mount them, eject them, or open them in the file manager.

Figure 12Drive Mount

2.4.4. Get even more weather

The weather monitor can now show even more locations than before, and the location names have been translated into non-English languages where appropriate. In addition, the forecast now includes sunrise and sunset calculations for most locations.

Figure 13Weather Report

2.4.5. Sound control

A new mixer for your panel (combined with a new-look mixer on the desktop) gets the most from your sound hardware. Using the GStreamer multimedia framework, the mixer is now simpler and more convenient than before. The same multimedia framework powers Totem, Sound Juicer, the GNOME CD player and a variety of third-party applications, so changing the GNOME volume via the panel will change the volume of all these applications.

Figure 14all new mixer for your panel

2.4.6. Taking note

The popular Sticky Notes applet now makes it even easier to add PostIt-style notes on your desktop, thanks to a simpler user interface and many bug fixes. For instance, sticky notes will now stay on the correct workspace, or even a different monitor.

And sticky notes now stay on top other windows, so you can't lose them. To hide the notes, simply use the applet's right-click menu.

2.4.7. Specially for laptops

GNOME now includes an applet to monitor your laptop's processor speed. The CPU Frequency Monitor watches variable-speed processors (such as those with Intel Speedstep or AMD PowerNow) to show their current status. You may even choose a different speed if you don't have automatic frequency scaling enabled.

Figure 16Monitor CPU Frequency Scaling

2.4.8. Removed Applets

Three applets were removed in GNOME 2.10, replaced by better alternatives in most cases.

The CD Player panel applet has been removed, so you will not see a CD player on your panel when you don't even have a CD in your drive. Instead, inserting a CD will now start the GNOME CD Player, which can then be controlled from a notification icon that it places in your Panel.

The dedicated Wireless applet has been removed because the Network Monitor applet, introduced in GNOME 2.8, also includes wireless support.

The Mailbox Monitor has been removed because it was unmaintained and insecure. We hope to have a solution integrated with our Evolution mail client in the future. If you don't use Evolution for your mail, you can use a third party application such as mailnotify.

2.5. Utilities

The GNOME utilities have some improvements, such as:

2.5.1. Text Editor

The GNOME text editor can now highlight the current line and when editing program source code, it highlights matching braces. Spell checking is improved too. It now only highlights misspelled words when you have actually finished typing the word, and many extra languages are supported and automatically identified.

Many people will be glad to see that it no longer suggests saving changes when all changes have actually been undone. And in addition it even starts faster than previous versions.

Figure 17Text Editor

2.5.2. Archive Manager

The GNOME archive manager can now open more types of archive, including AR, Debian, and 7-zip archives, and password-protected RAR archives. And if you use the single-click preference in the file manager, then the archive manager will now use single clicks too.

Figure 18Archive Manager

2.5.3. Dictionary

The GNOME Dictionary now suggests words when you aren't sure how to spell something. The definitions also contain links to external dictionary web sites, and the definitions can be printed.

Figure 19Dictionary

2.5.4. Floppy Formatter

The GNOME Floppy Formatter utility now supports removable drives, such as USB drives, using the standard HAL system from

Figure 20Floppy Formatter

2.6. System Administration

GNOME 2.10 provides some new features for system administration.

2.6.1. System Tools

The system tools allow you to configure your system clock and your network connection, as well as manage the users and groups on your system. At present, these system tools are most appropriate for single computers rather than large networks of computers.

GNOME 2.10 delivers some improvements, including

  • Networking: Improved wireless support (WEP and ESSID detection), and ISDN connections.
  • Users and Groups: Easier editing of group members.
  • Changes are applied instantly where appropriate.

Figure 21The Clock, Network, and Users/Groups tools

2.6.2. Log Viewer

The GNOME log viewer has added a handy find feature, and an improved monitor mode. In addition, it can now

  • Open multiple logs in the separate windows.
  • Open archived logs and logs on networked drives.
  • Copy logs to the clipboard.

Figure 22The Log Viewer

2.7. Games

GNOME helps you achieve your goals, but sometimes your goal is to be distracted. That's when the GNOME games bring the fun.

2.7.1. Same GNOME

The Same GNOME game has a major new version, with better graphics, extra board sizes, and an undo feature in case you change your mind.

Figure 23Same GNOME

2.7.2. Nibbles

Our "Just Works" philosophy is even visible in the Nibbles game. Now you can browse your local network for other people to play against, via the same zero-configuration technique used by GnomeMeeting.

Figure 24join a network game

2.8. Platform Improvements

The GNOME 2.10 Development Platform provides a stable base for third-party software developers, and for the GNOME Desktop itself. GNOME 2.10 adds some API improvements, while maintaining backwards compatibilty and API-stability. In particular this time we have:

  • GTK+ 2.6 has new cell renderers, new buttons, an IconView, and a new about box.
  • glib 2.6 has an easier command-line parsing API.
  • The Platform Bindings now include full Python APIs for the GNOME Development Platform, via gnome-python. This in addition to the current C++, Java, Perl, and Python bindings, via the gtkmm, java-gnome, gtk2-perl, and pygtk projects.

3. Sysadmin, User, and Accessibility Guides

Thanks to the efforts of the GNOME Documentation Project, GNOME 2.10 comes with comprehensive and professional documentation. Careful attention has been taken to detail using free software's most complete documentation style guide. As in GNOME 2.8, each application shipped with GNOME 2.10 includes full user documentation.

Learn to how to use GNOME with the Desktop User Guide. The User Guide and other documentation, including guides to system administration and GNOME's accessibility features, can be found on the GNOME Learn page.

4. Internationalization

Thanks to members of the worldwide GNOME Translation Project, under the leadership of Christian Rose and Kjartan Maraas, GNOME 2.10 offers support for 33 languages (at least 80 percent of strings translated).

Supported languages:

  • Albanian (5 million speakers)
  • Brazilian Portuguese (175 million)
  • Bulgarian (9 million)
  • Catalan (7 million)
  • Chinese Simplified (over 1 billion)
  • Chinese Traditional (40 million)
  • Czech (11 million)
  • Danish (5.3 million)
  • Dutch (over 21 million)
  • English (341 million)
  • Finnish (over 5 million)
  • French (over 75 million)
  • German (100 million)
  • Greek (15 million)
  • Gujarati (46 million)
  • Hindi (370 million)
  • Hungarian (14.5 million)
  • Italian (60 million)
  • Japanese (over 125 million)
  • Korean (75 million)
  • Lithuanian (4 million)
  • Norwegian Bookmal (5 million)
  • Panjabi (60 million)
  • Polish (44 million)
  • Portuguese (43 million)
  • Russian (170 million)
  • Romanian (26 million)
  • Serbian (10 million)
  • Spanish (over 350 million)
  • Swedish (9 million)
  • Tamil (61 million)
  • Turkish (150 million)
  • Ukrainian (50 million)
  • Welsh (575,000)

5. Standards Compliance

GNOME works closely with groups such as Standards support is a big plus for GNOME users. Interoperability support improves the user experience by allowing GNOME, KDE, and other applications to work together more easily, and following open specifications helps ensure that user data is not trapped in proprietary formats.

GNOME developers are working hard with other members of the free software community through on the development of standards to allow interoperability. Those standards include: shared MIME database, icon themes, recent files, menus, desktop entries, thumbnail management, and the system tray specifications. In addition, GNOME supports CORBA, XML, Xdnd, EWMH, XEMBED, XSETTINGS, and XSMP.

6. Installation of GNOME 2.10

For GNOME 2.10 we have a LiveCD, available from The LiveCD allows you to try a full GNOME desktop on Linux without installing anything on your hard drive. This is the best way to see for yourself what's new.

For actual use, we recommend that you install official packages, such as those for your Linux distribution. Vendors are likely to package GNOME 2.10 relatively quickly, and to release new versions soon that include GNOME 2.10.

However, if you would like to build GNOME from source code, to test the very latest versions, to provide feedback and improvements, we recommend a build tool; such as the GARNOME utility, for building from released tarballs, and jhbuild, for building from CVS.

7. Known Issues

All software, when it is released, contains bugs the developers know about but have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to fix before releasing. Free software is no different in this regard from proprietary software, except that with free software, we tell users about these problems.

We also encourage our users to report bugs so that they can be fixed. The best way to report bugs found in GNOME is to use the Simple Bug Guide. This will take you through the necessary steps to file a quality bug report, and make sure that it is tagged appropriately. If you're too advanced for anything with the word 'simple' in it, there is also the traditional bug form. More details on bugs already reported can be found at our Bugzilla. Among the most prominent GNOME 2.10 bugs:

7.1. List of known issues

  • Mozilla/Firefox new window focus: When you launch Mozilla or Firefox and already have another Mozilla or Firefox window open, the new window may appear without focus and behind the window that does have focus. GNOME's mozilla-based Epiphany browser does not have this problem, and Mozilla hackers are working to quickly fix this in future versions of Mozilla and Firefox.
  • Session startup temporary hang: Applications with broken session management can cause login to hang for a few minutes at the splashscreen. The default session does not contain any such apps so this will only become a problem if you save your session on logout. If you run into this problem, just wait for the login to proceed and then remove any such applications before saving your session again.

8. Looking to GNOME 2.12 and Beyond

GNOME operates on a time-based release philosophy, an attempt to continuously provide the best of our developers' efforts to users as quickly as we can. Six months after GNOME 2.10, we anticipate that GNOME 2.12 will feature more integrated multimedia and communication functionality and further advances in accessibility, usability and internationalization. See also the GNOME roadmap.

9. Getting Involved

The core of GNOME's success is its many volunteers, both users and developers.

As a user, your contribution can be as simple as filing good bug reports. You can file bugs in our Bugzilla using the simple bug assistant. If you want to contribute more, you can join our active bug-squad.

For developers, there is much exciting progress to be made in any of our active developer groups - Accessibility, Documentation, Usability, Translation, Web, Testing, Graphics, and Desktop & Platform Development. Here is a guide to help you get started.

Helping on GNOME can be an incredibly satisfying experience, allowing you to meet a wide range of motivated, skilled, and helpful people all working towards a unified goal. Join us today and see what a difference you can make.

A. Credits

These release notes were assembled by Murray Cumming, Davyd Madeley, and the GNOME community.