The GNOME team announced the release of GNOME 42, a product of 6 months’ work by the team. As expected, the latest version comes with various new features, enhancements, and long-awaited global dark UI. GNOME 42 source code is currently available to download, however, most Linux users will prefer waiting for their favorite distro’s next release to be able to experience the new desktop environment.
GNOME 42 comes with a global dark UI style preference. Users can find it in the new Appearance panel in the Settings app. Most GNOME apps are compatible with dark style preference. GNOME’s wallpapers also support the new features. Switching to a dark style also switched to a darker wallpaper. The new feature allows apps to provide their own style settings, independent of the preference. Users will be able to select individual apps to use dark or light style.
GNOME 42 also comes with an improved screenshot feature. By pressing “Print Screen” users can access an interactive overlay that allows users to create an image or a recording of an area. The new feature enables users to take screenshots of different screen areas and individual windows. The improved screenshot feature comes with new keyboard shortcuts:
“s” – Select area
“w” – Capture window
“v” – Screenshot/Screen recording
“c” – Capture screen
“p” – Show/Hide pointer
“Enter”/”Space”/”Ctrl” + “C” – Capture
GTK 4 and libadwaita provide various new capabilities for GNOME applications. GNOME apps using these components have better performance, a new modern UI style, and new user interface elements. Core GNOME apps that have been ported to GTK 4 and libadwaita include:
- Disk Usage Analyzer
- To Do
The upgraded versions can be installed via Flatpack. The most significant app upgraded to be GTK 4 and libadwaita is Settings.
New default apps
GNOME 42 is coming with two new apps in the default app set: Text Editor and Console. Text Editor, which was available as a preview release, is now recommended as the default GNOME text editor. The new app can automatically save users’ work. Console, a new terminal app, comes with various UI changes, including, overlaid scroll bars, an overlaid size indicator, and a header bar that changes color while running as root.
GNOME 42 includes a set of performance improvements:
- Videos is now using modern OpenGL widgets with hardware accelerated decoding, resulting in much smoother video playback.
- File indexing in Tracker has been dramatically improved, with faster startup times and reduced memory usage.
- Input handling has been significantly enhanced, resulting in lower input latency and improved responsiveness when the system is under load. This will be particularly beneficial for games and graphics applications.
- Web, the GNOME browser, now enables hardware accelerated rendering on all websites, resulting in more fluid scrolling.
- Improvements in how fullscreen apps are rendered will result in reduced energy consumption for video playback and increased frame rates for games.