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Gnome upcoming features

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Gnome 3.10 is just about a week away and the upcoming features list of version 3.12 is already forming. What are the new features that will empower and extend Gnome’s usability on the “good ten” that’s coming, and what kind of new features are seeing complete fruition on the next version?

App overview pagination

In 3.8, the application’s overview screen no longer lists items on separate categories and offers a scrollable grid for navigation leaving things somewhat bulk. With the release of 3.10 a pagination system will be implemented to make things easier to navigate and more touch-friendly.


Gnome Photos online services

Gnome Photos is Gnome’s default system application to view and manage your photos so making it work with popular internet media services is vital. Thanks to the fact that Flickr accounts was added to GNOME Online Accounts, developers could leverage this to Photos 3.10 and allow users to seamlessly access the photos they have uploaded to the popular photo sharing service.

In the same way, photographs from Facebook will also be easily accessible and managed through Photos 3.12 as the development of this feature is already in progress.


Focus-caret tracking

It took longer than expected (initially planed for 3.4) but finally the Gnome Shell magnifier has its own caret and focus tracking mechanism full with an UI preferences menu integration in Gnome control center making the lives of people who use magnification for accessibility reasons much easier.

Hi-DPI display support

Work on supporting HD displays such the one used on Chromebook Pixel has begun since GTK+ 3.9.4 with the ambition to make Gnome Shell look and work great with such hardware. The only thing that will actually look better in 3.10 is the cursor which now is scaled. The addition of hd-dpi support on clutter, implementation of scaling for GS and the ability to draw hd-dpi icons is going to happen in 3.12 (hopefully).


Maps, Music and Notes

The three apps that will form a vital part of Gnome’s usability toolkit in the future are already available to test and use for basic needs, but not anywhere near being complete in 3.10. Maps will make its debut in 3.10 with the development and coding still ruled by the design phase, Music is under heavy development with lots of basic functions already implemented but many widely used and important features still missing, and Notes that first appeared in 3.8 as a preview going a step closer to the initial design plans in 3.10 but still not yet ready.


System status menu

The upper right area of Gnome Shell’s top panel contained four separate items with their corresponding menus used for configuring sound, internet connections, power and user settings. This was bloated, fragmented and space consuming especially in the case of using extensions that need space on the right.

A new status menu that unifies all the above individual settings in one was imperative and we got it on 3.10!


Tweak Tool design refresh

Gnome’s tweak tool has been one of the users’ favorite destinations since Gnome 3.0 and as much as the developers appeared to be focusing on other things and keeping it somewhat “frozen” and out of scope, it started receiving love since 3.8 with long awaited features like the extension management options.

In 3.10 the tweak tool receives a facelift that includes the following new features:

  • GNOME3 style sidebar and search
  • Better categorization of tweaks
  • Specialized ui for certain tweaks
  • XSettings overrides
  • Startup apps
  • Allow updating extensions from inside tweak tool
  • Wacom support

Port Gnome to Wayland

Porting Gnome to Wayland will finally free users and developers from the problematic X server and take Gnome a step further technologically, but the task is neither simple nor small. What needs to be done is completing the GTK+ Wayland backend, turn GNOME shell into a Wayland compositor, replace X dependencies in the rest of the desktop with Wayland equivalents and port applications to run as Wayland clients instead of X clients.

The focus of the developers for 3.10 was the first two and the status of the progress cannot leave us disappointed at all! Gnome Shell can now operate as a Wayland compositor, the display panel is using mutter D-Bus interfaces to configure displays under both X and Wayland, and many GNOME applications have started to use client-side decorations and header bars on 3.10, opening the road for more in 3.12 cycle of development that will focus on the last two goals cited above.

Gnome Software

Gnome’s own exciting software center will be available as a preview in 3.10 but expect little to nothing in terms of real-life use. Application developers are on their way matching the technical demands of Software to be included and ready to install, remove and update.

The aim is to enrich Software through 3.12, by adding support for more metadata such as screenshots, ratings and popularity, support interactive features such as reviews and get metadata from online sources.


Git integration in the developer experience

Git is Linus Torvalds approach in distributed version control and source code management system that almost every part of the free software world uses extensively. Gnome is no exception so the need for a specialized application that will manage the repositories from our desktop is great.

Gitg is the name of the app that is currently under heavy development and it appears that it won’t be completely ready for 3.10. You will be able though to get, install and use it in 3.10 to report any bugs and make sure it will be working properly in 3.12.


Systemd for the user session

I am sure you have already repeatedly read how Systemd works better/faster than other init systems and how it provides more configurability, but did you know that Gnome developers can benefit from its existence in a system and use it to also manage parts of the user session? This will allow the placing of each application in its own kernel cgroup making it possible for gnome-shell to do application matching more reliably and allow users to control maximum resources usage for each application separately.

This awesomeness is in progress and it will hopefully be ready in 3.12!

Colour Tinting

Colour tinting in Gnome Shell has been possible since 3.6 but a graphical user interface to allow users to easily manipulate settings and choose the tint they want is still missing. There is currently a demo app that uses three spinners each for brightness and contrast, but the actual implementation of something tangible is hoped to be completed in 3.12.


Gnome Videos

Gnome Videos will be a Gnome core application that will work in the same context and logic with Photos and Music, allowing users to search, find and view videos from local sources and online services.

Currently the app in coding status with small improvements to the user interface being made. It won’t be available in 3.10, but it probably be available as a preview in 3.12!


Integrate Zimbra in Gnome

Zimbra is an enterprise-class email, calendar and collaboration solution, built for the cloud, both public and private. It has a free software edition among others and it offers email, calendar and address book via IMAP/POP3/SMTP, CalDAV and CardDAV, apart from offering a web UI that can be accessed using a Web browser.

The plan is to integrate Zimbra on relevant Gnome applications like the Evolution, Evolution Data Server, Calendar and Contacts in 3.12.


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  • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

    Hi! Nice overview of new features =)
    btw, where do you get the app picker screeshot? Seems a strange screenshot for me =S
    Here a real one video ;)

    • billtoulas

      Hello! The pagination screen is not an actual screenshot but a mockup…

      • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

        aaah ok, then hope you enjoy more the real one =)

        • billtoulas

          Indeed! I just chose the mockup because it shows more boldly the use of pagination. Maybe this was a mistake since it may mislead people…

          • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

            I sadly think so.. =( probably people will ask about the “windows, application” tabs, etc. But nevermind, just saying this in the comments, people will see it =)

          • Eduard Gotwig

            change it :/ now please

          • billtoulas

            I did :)

          • hellsdark

            I still see a weird screeshot.

      • sramkrishna

        you should get one of the ostree snapshots. that will probably help in getting screenshots.

  • medeoTL

    no news about Gnome-Classic improvements?

  • spike Crush

    What’s the use case for “Colour Tinting”?

    • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

      eye disabled people, not sure the illness that cause that

    • TopoRuggente

      Will be useful to night astronomy use !!!

    • Dorian Stretton

      Colour Tinting a text can greatly help to alleviate certain types of dyslexia.

  • Simon Claessens

    can I expect to see Gnome Software in any other distribution of Fedora, RedHat … ?
    It looks like a great software

    • billtoulas

      It really depends on whether a distribution will choose to include the package in their default repositories or not, but I see no reason why they would not

      • Magneira

        I guess even if redhat does not include in fedora, we can download it separatly and use it anyway

        • Rene Bon Ciric

          I just wanted to make it clear that RedHat is but a sponsor and contributor to Fedora. We have our own foundation.

          Fedora is Fedora; not RedHat. Actually, RedHat is a son of Fedora, if you may!

          • Magneira

            Cool, I tought Fedora was like the free branch of RedHat os, hence the Fedora name.


    • Luya Tshimbalanga

      Gnome Software is already available in Fedora 20 repository and onward.

    • Matthias

      Hi! I contribute to GS/PackageKit/AppStream, and I am planning to bring GS to Debian.
      However, we still have lots of work to do to make this happen. GNOME-Software is primarily targetted at Fedora right now, but thanks to the AppStream project, it will soon work on other distributions too.
      So, yes, we will have GS on other distros, but this will take at least one more GNOME cycle to happen (and requires that distributors finally implement our AppStream spec and ship libappstream)

  • Emmanuele

    hi-dpi support in Clutter should land today, or hopefully tomorrow, when I finish updating the Chrome Pixel donated to the GNOME Foundation that I use for testing. ;-)

    • billtoulas

      That is so great! Thanks for sharing

  • Dave Allen

    The new system status menu is looking great.

  • Gabriel C

    I think they need to change the theme and icons, like ios 7 style.

  • Eduard Gotwig

    What I am missing is the option to setup my startup applications trough the Control Center. Why does this essential feature have to be part of Gnome Tweaks Tool?

    • Guest

      It will be part of gnome-software if iirc

    • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

      iirc it will be part of gnome-software (also the option to manage app folders of the overview)

    • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

      I was wrong, the option is in gnome-tweak-tool, and it will be in 3.10

      • Eduard Gotwig

        Alright, so where do you think this option should go?

        Obviously, this should be a system component thing, in the control center ! (IMHO), or in Gnome Software.

        • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

          I think like now, in the gnome-tweak-tool is the best.

  • Jamin Fernandez

    Gnome Touch … Ups! sorry Gnome Shell xD ajajaj

  • Mark Harfouche

    How many Gnome users actually use Zimbra? Is this stopping anyone from adopting Gnome? Did a major client ask for Zimbra integration?

    • Remjg

      A famous french internet provider uses zimbra for example. This is a useful feature for me.

      • Mark Harfouche

        That is fair, it just seems weird that it is getting support from the Free and Open Source community when it is a paid product.

        • Remjg

          The internet provider is called “free” and I think they have deployed the open source edition without giving back a single euro to the company behind Zimbra…

          • Mark Harfouche

            Alright, that starts to sound better.

          • Remjg

            You’re right anyway, Zimbra support in GNOME should come from Zimbra and not from the community.

  • Badreddine Moon

    I don’t like the new System status menu

    • hellsdark

      Me too. Before seeing the last development and the thing in action.
      Makes sense to me now.

  • hellsdark

    I’m really looking forward to try it on my Ubuntu. Soon I guess.

  • 2eurocents

    “… and more touch-friendly”

    It breaks my heart that they’re so deluded. Who runs Gnome on anything “touch”? Seriously?

    • billtoulas

      Work needs to be done in order for Gnome to be ready for use in certain touch devices in the future. Here is an example:
      No one is deluded or thinks that every tablet out there uses Gnome. Work has to be done so that Gnome may be ran in anything “touch” and this work will take a while to complete and to show actual results (usage increase)

    • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

      It is expected to run gnome also on tablets and touch screen laptops, is part of the vision and future of Gnome3.

      • doc

        it is true that future holds in touch devices but abandoning their loyal desktop users can be dangerous for gnome people.i recently switched to kde after so many years of gnome usage.there are many people whom i know have made the shift.

        • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

          All of gnome developers use desktop as a working device, so I’m sure they are not abandoning desktop in any way =) just trying to be able to run gnome on all devices.

  • giubani

    is gnome music the new rhythmbox or will they be developed as two different projects?

    • Mike Manilone

      They are two different projects.

  • doc

    we will be able to format pen drive by right click in nautilus?