Updates to GNOME Applications

GNOME's applications have had a lot of improvements for 3.8. We are also releasing previews of two new applications.


Web has been upgraded to use the WebKit2 engine. This makes the browser faster, more responsive, more stable and more secure. It also means that problems in pages will not affect the rest of the application. This achievement, which has been in development for over than two years, gives GNOME a state of the art web browser.

In addition to this major achievement, Web has a host of other improvements for GNOME 3.8:

  • WebKit2 includes a new plugins system, which means that Flash is now supported. Plugins are also isolated, improving stability.

  • Web has a new private browsing mode. This allow you to browse without records being kept about your activity.

  • The page search interface has been improved, and is now more consistent with other GNOME 3 applications.

  • Media controls for HTML5 content have been revamped, so that they look better and are easier to use.

  • An undo close tab action has been added: this is a convenient way to get tabs back that you have accidentally closed.

  • The toolbar has gained a new tab button.


Boxes is the GNOME application for using virtual machines and connecting to remote computers. In addition to stability and performance enhancements, it has received a lot of small improvements for 3.8:

  • Automatic USB redirection is now included in all new virtual machines, and can be added to existing ones. This makes it possible to use USB devices (cameras, flash drive, etc) from inside a virtual machine.

  • Boxes now supports smartcards.

  • Windows XP and Windows 7 express installations have been substantially improved. Copy and paste between the host system and the virtual machine now works out of the box, as does automatic adjustment of the virtual machine's screen resolution. Disk usage has also been made more efficient.

  • It is now possible to connect to virtual machines running on oVirt. This means that you can access all the virtual machines running on an oVirt broker from Boxes by simply providing its URL.

  • There have been many user interface improvements and additions, including the ability to pause multiple virtual machines at the same time, improved multi-selection of virtual machines, additional options in the remote connection assistant, and support for changing the CD-ROM device/ISO from the properties view.


The Documents reading experience has received a number of enhancements for GNOME 3.8, including:

  • Nicer looking documents.

  • Improved page size and new dual page mode.

  • A new navigation slider with integrated thumbnails makes browsing documents easier.

  • New dialogs for bookmarks and tables of contents.

Documents has a number of other new features, also:

  • Google Documents can now be edited directly from the Documents interface.

  • A new sharing dialog has been added for Google Documents.

  • PDF files from Google Drive can now be viewed.

  • A Getting Started guide has been added.


Contacts has a number of user interface improvements for GNOME 3.8:

  • The layout of contact details has been redesigned to make them look better and to make reading easier.

  • Editing has been vastly improved through a new edit mode. This provides a single place to access the various ways to edit a contact.

  • A new selection mode provides a convenient way to remove or link multiple contacts.

  • All your contacts from different online sources are now displayed in the contacts list.

New application previews

Several new applications are being previewed for the first time in GNOME 3.8. These initial releases are intended for testing and feedback.

Weather is a new application for viewing current weather conditions as well as forecasts for different locations.

A new notes application is being developed under the name of Bijiben. It has a simple yet effective design which allows you to group your notes using different colors.

Other Improvements

  • For 3.8, Disks has gained support for creating and modifying RAID arrays. It can also power off disks, and has a new selection mode for performing actions on multiple disks. There have also been a number of smaller usability improvements.

  • Files has received a number of improvements, including a new option to view files and folders as a tree, a new Connect to Server item in the sidebar and incremental loading of search results.

  • The GNOME Document Viewer has a new toolbar, which is more consistent with other GNOME 3 applications. It also features faster search and an index sidebar that is easier to read.