Dwarf 43, codenamed Guadalajara, was recently released as stable to continue the evolution and trajectory of this free desktop environment. On this occasion we find some design changes, an aesthetic finish more similar to macOS and a greater number of applications migrated from GTK 3 to GTK 4.
At the user level, the highlight is the system status menu redesign, which now allows you to quickly switch between a variety of commonly used settings. In addition to basic network, Bluetooth, and power settings, GNOME 43 added switching between light and dark themes, a button to access the screenshot function, quick switching between different sounds, and a another button to quickly connect to a VPN.
The second strong point of GNOME 43 is the upgrade more apps to GTK 4, including Files/Files (formerly Nautilus File Explorer), Maps/Maps, Logs, IDE Builder, Console, initial setup and parental controls. Using GTK 4 and libadwaita should improve interface consistency.
files 43 included some nice updates, including more modern file and folder properties and a button that lets you open the container directory, a responsive design able to fit narrow devices and with a collapsible sidebarreorganized, easier-to-use menus, and a new “Open With” dialog that makes it easier to control which applications to use to open different file types.
Continuing with more GNOME apps, although not necessarily covering GTK 4 related stuff, the Calendar app has had its interface updated with a new sidebar, the Contacts app has support for importing and export from vCard files, and the call request it integrated support for encrypted VoIP calls, the ability to send SMS from call history, and had its performance improved.
Another strong point of GNOME 43 is the possibility of install websites on the desktop as if they were applications. This is a new and improved version of the web applications functionality that was already there. In Web, formerly the Epiphany web browser, there is an option in the menu called “Install page as a web application”. The user will also be able to find web applications in the software and in both cases, these must be added to the launcher available from the Activities view.
the section of Device Security is another important detail of GNOME 43, although it may not be to everyone’s taste. As we have already said, it is a utility responsible for examining the security status of the computer by checking features such as Secure Boot Secure Boot, Trusted Platform Module (TPM), Intel BootGuard and the IOMMU protection state.
In addition to everything mentioned so far, there are suggestions when typing with the on-screen keyboard, an optimized Activities view which should work more smoothly, a dark UI which has been tweaked in GTK 4, new alert sounds and the ability to receive audio when using the remote desktop application.
As for the more technical aspects, we have the incorporation in Mutter 43 of support for direct scanning in multi-monitor configurations and graphics without support for buffer modifiers, which should reach models such as those of the AMD Polaris generation (RX 400 and RX500) . Color management is now handled by Mutter instead of the GNOME config daemon and some regressions were corrected by doing screenshot with Pipe thread.
GNOME 43 should arrive in distributions shortly rolling version like Arch Linux, while it is postulated as the desktop that Fedora 37 and Ubuntu 21.10 will use. Those who want to know all the details can consult the release notes.