What’s New for Developers and System Administrators

GNOME 3.34 includes many new features and improvements for those working with GNOME technologies. Read on for more details!


Flatpak is a cross-distribution, cross-desktop technology for application building and distribution. While it is separate from the GNOME project, Flatpak is central to GNOME’s developer experience plans.

During this release cycle, the Flatpak team released a new stable series: 1.4.x. This introduced an improved system-wide installation mechanism, resulting in better I/O performance and a more secure installation process.

Additionally, preconfigured remotes now use regular .flatpakrepo files instead of custom .conf files. This streamlines the process for preconfigured remotes; they are now identical to manually added remotes.

Flathub, a Flatpak application distribution service, is growing steadily. It now hosts over 600 applications.


Builder, a GNOME IDE, continues to add new features. This release, it gained a number of useful features.

The development environment now features an integrated D-Bus inspector. This inspector can be opened via the Switch Surface button (in the top left corner of the project window).

Builder can run a program in a container via podman as long as podman supports the --preserve-fds exec flag. The program can be debugged if the container includes gdb.

Git integration has been moved to an out-of-process gnome-builder-git daemon. The daemon can be communicated with via D-Bus and will soon support operations like pushing, staging and committing.


Sysprof, the GNOME instrumenting and system profiling utility, saw significant development this release. In order to streamline and simplify the performance profiling process for developers, Sysprof has been integrated with a number of core platform libraries, including GJS, GTK, and Mutter.

More data sources have been added too, including an energy usage monitor. Finally, the UI was redesigned to improve the profiling workflow.

Icon Library

Two new applications to help developers with icons have been released.

Icon Library can be used to browse and search for symbolic icons. Icon Preview assists designers and developers in creating and testing new application icons under different visual styles. Both applications can be installed as Flatpaks and are hosted on Flathub.


The Pango font rendering library introduced a few new features that make rendering text easier.

Developers now have more advanced control over their text rendering options. Automatic hyphenation, line-spacing and subpixel positioning can be enabled or disabled as desired. Rendering spaces and other “invisible” characters can be enabled as well. And finally, direct access to the underlying hb_font_t is available by calling pango_font_get_hb_font.

Other Improvements

Other improvements in GNOME 3.34 include:

  • GLib deprecated the use of the gtester utility and its test reporting format. TAP output is now default.

  • GArray and GPtrArray introduced some new functions: g_array_copy, g_array_binary_search, g_ptr_array_copy, g_ptr_array_extend, and g_ptr_array_extend_and_steal.

  • The GtkInfoBar visual style has been refreshed.

  • Scroll bars can be permanently enabled by setting org.gnome.desktop.interface.overlay-scrolling to false.