Introducing GNOME 3.34: “Thessaloniki”

GNOME 3.34 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 23929 changes, made by approximately 777 contributors.

3.34 has been named “Thessaloniki” in recognition of this year’s GUADEC organizing team. GUADEC is GNOME’s primary annual conference and is only possible due to the amazing work of local volunteers. This year’s event was held in Thessaloniki, Greece, and was a big success. Thank you, Team Thessaloniki!

Custom Icon Folders

In GNOME 3.34, icons in the application overview can be grouped together into folders. Drag an icon on top of another to create a group. Removing all icons from a group will automatically remove the group too. This makes organizing applications much easier and keeps the application overview clutter-free.

The overview visual style was refined as well, including the search entry field, the login password field and the overview window highlight border. All these changes give the GNOME desktop an improved overall experience.

A Better Browsing Experience

In Web, the GNOME web browser, web processes are now sandboxed. This restriction limits web process access to only locations necessary to run a web browser.

This release also introduces tab pinning. Favorite tabs can be “pinned”, saving them in the tab list and persisting them across sessions.

The ad blocking feature has been updated to use WebKit content filters. This results in a large performance improvement over the previous ad block implementation.

An Improved Box Workflow

Boxes, the GNOME virtual and remote machine manager, received a number of improvements this release as well.

The New Box Assistant workflow has been improved to be more intuitive. Separate dialogs are used when adding a remote connection or external broker. When creating a new local virtual machine, the source selection is split into three sections: Detected Sources, Featured Downloads, and Select a Source.

The Windows Express Install now uses a CD-ROM ISO image instead of a 1.44″ floppy disk image. This drops legacy dependencies and sets up Express Install support for versions.

Existing virtual machines can now explicitly be booted from an attached CD/DVD image. This enables users to rescue a broken system or simulate dual-booting environments.

On machines that support it, 3D acceleration is now an optional setting in the machine properties. This enables users to opt out of 3D acceleration whenever they want, or enable it only when necessary.

Save Game States

Games, the GNOME retro gaming application, now supports multiple save states per game. You can now save as many game state snapshots as you want. Save states can be exported as well, allowing you to share them or move them between devices.

Background Previews

A redesigned Background panel landed in Settings. The new panel shows a preview of the selected background in use under the desktop panel and lock screen. Custom backgrounds can now be added via the Add Picture… button.

Music Updates

Music now watches tracked sources (such as the Music folder in your Home directory) for new or changed files and will update automatically.

A major rewrite of the core components landed this release cycle, resulting in, among other things, gapless playback. Many albums are intended to be listened to as a whole and splitting it up into tracks breaks that playback. Gapless playback now enables those albums to be listened to as they were meant to be heard.

And finally, the album, artist and playlist views have been updated with a more refined layout.

And That’s Not All…

As usual, there are also many other smaller improvements in this GNOME release. Here are some of them!

  • Several applications have received new icons, including Photos, Videos, and To Do.

  • Terminal now supports right-to-left and bi-directional languages.

  • Some animations in the overview have been refactored, resulting in faster icon loading and caching.

  • Files now warns users when attempting to paste a file into a write-protected directory.

  • The accessibility feature Pointer Location has been updated to work under Wayland sessions now. When the feature is enabled, pressing Ctrl will highlight the pointer location on the screen.

  • The Activities hot-corner can now be disabled by setting org.gnome.desktop.interface.enable-hot-corners to false.

  • Settings has a refined Wi-Fi list that is easier to read. Search sections can now be reordered by dragging them in the list. The Night Light section has been moved to the Display panel.

  • Software has a larger assortment of featured applications.

  • Polari now displays a banner notifying the user when the app is offline.

Getting GNOME 3.34

GNOME’s software is Free Software: all our code is available for download and can be freely modified and redistributed according to the respective licenses. To install it, we recommend that you wait for the official packages provided by your vendor or distribution. Popular distributions will make GNOME 3.34 available very soon, and some already have development versions that include the new GNOME release.


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