Introducing GNOME 3.18: Gothenburg

GNOME 3.18 is the latest version of GNOME 3, and is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community. It contains major new features, as well as many smaller improvements and bug fixes. In total, the release incorporates 25112 changes, made by approximately 772 contributors.

3.18 has been named “Gothenburg” in recognition of this year's GUADEC organising team. GUADEC is GNOME’s main annual conference, and is only possible due to the hard work of local volunteers. In 2015, it was held in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Google Drive Integration

With GNOME 3.18, it is now possible to access Google Drive directly from the Files application, as well as from file chooser dialogs. To use the feature, simply add your Google account through the Online Accounts settings, and Google Drive will automatically appear in the files places sidebar.

Once set up, Google Drive behaves very similarly to the rest of your files and folders: files can be opened using your normal applications, and folders can be created just like regular folders. It is also really easy to upload files to Google Drive — all you have to do is move or copy them across.

Files Improvements

The files places sidebar, which is shown in Files and in open and save dialogs, has been reworked for 3.18. A new location, called Other Locations, has been added, which provides a useful overview of local and network locations. Many of these locations are no longer automatically shown in the places sidebar, which helps to avoid clutter.

Long-running operations (such as copying or moving large numbers of files) have also been improved: a button shows progress information in the header bar, which shows more detailed information when pressed. This allows you to easily see progress at a glance, and avoids progress windows getting in the way.

There have also been a huge number of smaller improvements to the files experience during the 3.18 cycle. Here are some of them:

  • Folder creation has been improved, as has file and folder renaming. These operations now use dialogs and popovers to provide feedback and a clearer workflow. (This change was introduced following user testing results.)

  • A new search feature has been added to open and save dialogs. This is automatically activated by typing, and is consistent with other GNOME applications.

  • Context menus can now be accessed using a touch screen — to activate, just press and hold.

  • When dragging a file or folder, the places sidebar now shows a prominent drop target, in order to make it obvious how to create bookmarks through drag and drop. (This change is another response to user testing results.)

  • Placeholders are now displayed when folders are empty, or when no search results are found.

  • Recursive search is now automatically disabled when searching remote locations, in order to prevent performance problems.

  • Recent files lists have been improved, and now show the full location of each file.

Firmware Updates

In the past, it has been difficult to update device software (such as your computer’s BIOS) under GNOME. Now this has changed, thanks to a new initiative called the Linux Vendor Firmware Service. This aims to make it possible for hardware manufacturers to distribute firmware updates for GNU/Linux.

The Linux Vendor Firmware Service is fully integrated with GNOME 3.18, and works automatically. If an update becomes available for your device’s hardware, Software will automatically make it available to install the same way as other software updates.

This feature can also be used to update the device software on removable devices, such as monitors, USB hubs and color colorimeters.

New Calendar Application

Calendar is a new application for GNOME, which was initially introduced as a preview in 3.16. Designed to be consistent with other GNOME 3 applications, and to be fully integrated with GNOME 3, Calendar makes a great addition to the GNOME application suite. It is attractive, simple to use, and is fully integrated with GNOME Online Accounts.

The initial feature list is simple and straightforward, including month and year views, search, the ability to add calendars from files and remote calendars from URLs, online accounts integration, and event viewing and editing.

Automatic Screen Brightness

If your computer has an integrated light sensor, GNOME 3 is now able to use it to automatically control screen brightness. Not only does this ensure that the screen is always easy to see, but it also helps to reduce battery consumption. An option is provided to disable automatic screen brightness in the Power settings, should you want to turn it off.

New Characters Application

Characters is another new application that is being introduced in GNOME 3.18. It provides an easy way to find and use a variety of characters in your documents and communications, such as punctuation marks, bullets, currency and mathematical symbols.

Characters makes it easy to find interesting characters through different categories of characters. It also remembers which characters you have used in the past, in order to make it quick and easy to use them again. Other features include search, which can be accessed from the Activities Overview, filtering by font, and a section which shows locale-specific characters that are relevant to your input method settings.

Getting GNOME 3.18

GNOME’s software is Free Software: all our code is available for download and can be freely modified and redistributed. To install it, we recommend that you wait for the official packages provided by your vendor or distribution. Popular distributions will make GNOME 3.18 available very soon, and some already have development versions that include the new GNOME release.


The GNOME Project is an international community supported by a non-profit Foundation. We focus on user experience excellence and first-class internationalization and accessibility. GNOME is a free and open project: if you want to join us, you can.