GNOME 3.14 Gives a Well-Known Interface a New Lease on Life

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 06, 2014

Recently, the GNOME Project announced the release of GNOME 3.14. Since it's arrival it has drawn some attention for its enhanced application development platform and some compelling new features. Some people in the open source community view GNOME as a project that lost its way, but the new version is actually being heralded as a big comeback for a project that has made the Linux desktop friendlier to use for many users.

The new version is even being welcomed back as the default desktop in some popular versions of Linux. For example, it will be the default desktop on Debian, replacing Xfce. And GNOME 3’s classic desktop is the default on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

The notes on the release of version 3.14 illustrate how much work is going on surrounding GNOME.  According to the announcement:

"Major new features include automatic handling for captive portals, network-aware sharing, Google photos support, and touchscreen gestures. Developers can look forward to a new live inspector for GTK+ applications, enhanced CSS capabilties, major progress on Wayland adoption, and a significant update for GNOME’s Human Interface Guidelines."

Product managers have weighed in on the new release. Scott Reeves, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop Manager, said, in a statement: “The GNOME 3 desktop provides a stable, feature rich experience for individual end users and for professional environments as well. GNOME 3 has reached a point of integration and polish to the extent that we will ship GNOME 3 as the desktop for our enterprise customers. We are invested in and contributing to the GNOME project and look forward to the additional functionality and improvements in GNOME 3.14 and beyond. We intend to continue including GNOME 3 in subsequent releases of our SUSE Linux Enterprise product.”

Jordi Mallach, on the Debian team, said, in a statement: "The Debian GNOME packagers are very happy to see another GNOME release which brings even more polish and new features to the already very reliable 3.x foundation. We’ve done our best to make sure Debian ‘jessie’ will ship with GNOME 3.14, as the improvements over previous releases will really make a difference for our next stable release."

We covered some of the controversy surrounding the original release of version 3. PC World has noted that some some influential folks were disappointed with that release:

"In 2011, Linus Torvalds himself said of GNOME 3, 'The developers have apparently decided that it's 'too complicated’ to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do."

That hurt.

Still, with some very influential Linux distros welcoming GNOME as the default interface, the project appears to have a new lease on life. That's good to see.

For more on GNOME 3.14, see Susan's post