What Is Linux Gnome – If you’ve joined the Linux world recently, you may have heard the term GNOME thrown around a lot. But what exactly? In this article, we will take a look at this popular desktop environment and what it offers.
GNOME stands for GNU Object Model Environment. Correctly pronounced “guh-name,” it is one of the most popular free and open source desktop environments used in some of the major Linux operating systems such as Ubuntu, Pop! _OS, Fedora, etc.
What Is Linux Gnome
In simple terms, the Linux desktop environment is everything you see on your screen. From lock screen to home screen, as well as individual elements like app launchers and app icons, when connected together, they create a desktop environment.
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For example, the standard desktop edition of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu uses GNOME. However, Ubuntu developers have customized the GNOME user interface to suit their purposes, so it doesn’t look exactly like what you see on the GNOME website and in other Linux distributions. They can do this because GNOME is open source software.
However, GNOME is not the only desktop environment out there. Just in the world of Ubuntu, there are variations with different desktops, each appealing to a specific type of audience.
GNOME was created in 1997 as free software and a direct competitor to the K desktop environment, which was gaining a lot of traction at the time. The first version of GNOME was a huge success because the project soon overtook the K desktop environment in terms of popularity.
Later in 2002, the second iteration of GNOME, GNOME 2, was released, the release brought a huge set of customizations, features and quality of life improvements to the desktop environment.
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It took the GNOME team six years to bring GNOME 3.0, which streamlined things like header bars, maximize and minimize buttons, etc. However, it faces heavy criticism from the public for some design changes. Ultimately, GNOME 3.0 played a key role in shaping what the desktop environment looks like today by introducing a more consistent user experience.
Released in 2021 and later, GNOME versions 40, 41 and 42 streamlined the look and feel of the UI and added many useful features. The creators continue to patch and improve the experience, and distros like Ubuntu and Fedora continue to make their flagships.
The availability and freedom to use whatever desktop environment you want is what makes Linux different from Windows and macOS. “Linux OS” is a combination of the Linux kernel, a desktop environment and many other tools, but operating systems like Windows and MacOS are built from the ground up as a unified structure. In other words, the Windows desktop is an integral part of Windows that cannot be replaced.
The desktop experience on GNOME is slightly different from the Windows desktop, mainly in how shortcuts work and launch applications. If you’re used to Windows, GNOME has a slight learning curve, but it won’t overwhelm you with changes and options like some other DEs. That’s why most people starting with a Linux desktop start with Ubuntu or any other GNOME-based distro.
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Besides GNOME, there are other popular alternative desktop environments like KDE, Xfce, MATE, Cinnamon, Budgie, and more. The flagship version of Fedora, for example, ships with the GNOME desktop environment; However, thanks to the open source nature of all desktop environments, other “spins” have been created by the Fedora developer team. These are versions of Fedora that ship with the aforementioned desktop environments instead of GNOME.
KDE is known for its extensive customization options but GNOME is less customizable. Xfce and MATE are great for computers with poor system resources. GNOME is a heavier OS compared to higher hardware demands. Desktop environments like Cinnamon and Budgie serve as a middle ground. They provide a great user experience and consume only a moderate amount of system resources.
Then there are desktop environments that are forks of GNOME, like COSMIC. It was created by System76, a company that manufactures Linux laptops and develops the Pop!_OS distribution popular with Linux gamers. Although COSMIC is based on GNOME, it brings additional features like window tiling, shortcuts and an overall different look.
When compared to all your options, GNOME is one of the best-looking modern desktops, making it a good alternative to the Windows desktop. It is polished, which means it has a very integrated scheme and there are very few ways you can accidentally break it. However, if you want to try a DE that closely resembles classic Windows interfaces, Xfce or MATE are better options.
Gnome Desktop Environment And Its Features
Yes, GNOME is as easy to use as Windows and macOS interfaces. Like Windows 11 and macOS, it comes with a dock where you can pin your favorite applications. However, you will have to get used to some differences, such as desktop shortcuts available by default, and the lack of a Windows-like start menu.
The top bar contains the “Activities” button, which shows all your open applications, workspaces and you can search through installed applications. If you click on the date in the middle you open the calendar. Finally, you’ll find a menu on the right side with a shortcut to the Settings app, volume controls, etc.
Unlike other DEs, GNOME tries to keep things simple and maintain good functionality and features. Its clean and polished UI, combined with a host of productivity features, make it one of the best Linux DES and a great starting point for users switching from Windows.
To fully experience what GNOME has to offer, you can try Linux from your Windows PC using VirtualBox. Just be sure to choose a distribution that comes with GNOME. You can also boot Linux live, or try booting Linux alongside Windows, without harming your existing operating system.
Gnome 43: Top New Features And Release Wiki
How-To Geek is where you turn when you need experts to explain technology. Since we launched in 2006, our articles have been read more than 1 billion times. Want more information? GNOME 3.36 was released after its regular 6 month development cycle. Read on to find out what new features and improvements are included in this release.
The login and lock screen have also received a design update, with the lock screen now using the user’s desktop wallpaper and applying some blurring on top of it. You can see the redesigned lock and login screens below:
The main reason for this redesign was to reduce “friction”, to reduce the number of separate visual steps involved in unlocking the screen, so the gray login screen is now gone. Instead of removing the shield to show the password field, this is now displayed to the right of the lock screen itself. To see the new GNOME 3.36 lock screen in action, check out this video on YouTube.
There is also new functionality. There are minor new features, such as renaming app folders in the application overview (and app folders are now displayed as folders instead of popups in the grid), but there are also some more important ones, such as a Do Not Disturb button popover . Ads. When enabled, this mode includes do not enter ads until you toggle it off.
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There is also some good news for users of proprietary Nvidia drivers – it is now possible to launch applications using the discrete GPU from GNOME Shell, using the “Launch on discrete GPU” menu item.
With GNOME 3.36, the Settings app has received several improvements, including rearranged sections to make them easier and faster to navigate, and an updated design for the users and about sections. Here are the new ways and users sections in GNOME 3.36:
There are also now privacy sections that list apps that have been allowed to access location, camera and microphone; From here you can revoke access on a per request basis:
GNOME Initial Setup (the wizard that pops up the first time you log into a newly installed system) now includes some parental controls. Using this you can allow or deny access to applications for this user. Although Fedora 32 has GNOME Initial Setup 3.36 (currently in development), the parental control page is missing, so I don’t have a screenshot of it.
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An important improvement was also made to the Google GVFS code, which now supports move and copy operations (this enables users to install Google Drive in GNOME through online accounts).
It is also worth noting that GNOME has changed from recommending some applications, such as Shotwell (image viewer and manager), Evolution (email client) and Rhythmbox (music player), to Photos, Geary and GNOME Calendar, and Music.
The GNOME 3.36 desktop is already available in Arch Linux (still repository), and is likely to be added to other rolling release Linux distributions soon. It will also be available with the next releases of Ubuntu and Fedora (Ubuntu 20.04 / Fedora 32), and other Linux distributions shipping with the GNOME desktop. Also check out the Getting GNOME page.
For the screenshots in this article I used Fedora 32 (currently under development). I’m using GNOME 3.36 (although not the latest release) on real hardware on my Ubuntu 20.04 desktop, but I wanted to take screenshots for a closer look at the default, so I’m using Fedora 32. Today we’ll look at GNOME Shell Extensions and what It means for the Gnome Desktop