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GNOME

GNOME 3.31.3 released

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GNOME

GNOME 3.31.3 is now available.

This will be our last snapshop before the year is over. Try it out,
test it, improve it.

If you want to compile GNOME 3.31.3, you can use the official
BuildStream project snapshot.

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Also: GNOME 3.31.3 Released As Another Step Towards GNOME 3.32

GNOME Devs Experiment with a Refreshed GTK & Icon Theme

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GNOME

Now, if you’re a regular reader of this site then may recall our post on a new GNOME icon theme back in July. At the time only a handful of core GNOME apps had been given newly redesigned icons.

Fast forward a season or so and not only is the give-core-apps-new-icons initiative well underway, but the redesign effort has extended to other parts of the desktop experience, including the default theme.

Modernising the look and feel of GNOME apps and the shell is a) a bit overdue and Cool happening as part of a wider update to GNOME design guidelines. The idea is to give the desktop a distinct yet consistent appearance.

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GNOME and GStreamer

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GNOME
  • Week 1 of GNOME usability testing

    The Outreachy internship started this week! For this cycle, we are joined by Clarissa, who will help us with usability testing in GNOME.

    I wanted to share our progress in the internship. I hope to provide regular status updates on our work.

  • Web overlay in GStreamer with WPEWebKit

    After a year or two of hiatus I attended the GStreamer conference which happened in beautiful Edinburgh. It was great to meet the friends from the community again and learn about what’s going on in the multimedia world. The quality of the talks was great, the videos are published online as usual in Ubicast. I delivered a talk about the Multimedia support in WPEWebKit, you can watch it there and the slides are also available.

    One of the many interesting presentations was about GStreamer for cloud-based live video. Usually anything with the word cloud would tend to draw my attention away but for some reason I attended this presentation, and didn’t regret it! The last demo presented by the BBC folks was about overlaying Web content on native video streams. It’s an interesting use-case for live TV broadcasting for instance. A web page provides dynamic notifications popping up and down, the web page is rendered with a transparent background and blended over the live video stream. The BBC folks implemented a GStreamer source element relying on CEF for their Brave project.

  • GStreamer’s playbin3 overview for application developers

    Multimedia applications based on GStreamer usually handle playback with the playbin element. I recently added support for playbin3 in WebKit. This post aims to document the changes needed on application side to support this new generation flavour of playbin.

    So, first of, why is it named playbin3 anyway? The GStreamer 0.10.x series had a playbin element but a first rewrite (playbin2) made it obsolete in the GStreamer 1.x series. So playbin2 was renamed to playbin. That’s why a second rewrite is nicknamed playbin3, I suppose Smile

GNOME: Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo", Daniel García Moreno and Amber

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GNOME
  • GNOME Shell In Ubuntu 19.04 Should Be Faster, Ubuntu Devs Still Working On New Installer

    Being more than a month past the Ubuntu 18.10 release, development on Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" is progressing at full-speed.

    Ubuntu 19.04 is starting to take shape with more changes queuing for this next six-month installment to Ubuntu Linux. Over the past week in particular have been several development changes/additions worth pointing out from their development summary.

  • I tried and I failed.

    This summer, during the GUADEC 2018, the GNOME foundation announces some job positions. One of that job was for a Gtk+ core developer. I tried to get that job and after a long period I was rejected.

    The final developer selected for this possition is Emmanuel Bassi, a very active developer in the core of GNOME and the one that's behind the great The History of GNOME Podcast.

    To be honest, I really wanted that job. It's a dream job for me, working fulltime in a free software project, by a foundation, with the great GNOME technology and community.

    But I've to say that just when I saw the foundation announcement about this position I thought about ebassi, because as far as I know, he's the best one to do that job. In any case, I wanted to give a try and go for that job, I didn't know about other people going for it, so maybe I can do it.

  • Amber Is A Cool Ambiance-Inspired Gtk / Gnome Shell Theme

    Amber is a Gtk+ 3, Gtk+ 2 and Gnome Shell theme inspired by Ubuntu's Ambiance theme.

    Amber uses slightly different colors than Ambiance, and no gradients for the applications toolbar, while still reminding of the ex-default Ubuntu theme (Ambiance was default until Ubuntu 18.10, when the default theme was changed to Yaru).

    Designed by Mattias (lassekongo83), known for his work on the beautiful Zuki themes, Amber "is almost finished", with some polishing being on the todo list, or so it says on its repository page. The theme looks great on my Ubuntu 18.10 desktop (with Gtk 3.24 and Gnome Shell 3.30), and I've been using it for about a week with no issues.

Flatpaks in Fedora – now live

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Red Hat
GNOME

I’m pleased to announce that we now have full initial support for Flatpak creation in Fedora infrastructure: Flatpaks can be built as containers, pushed to testing and stable via Bodhi, and installed by users from registry.fedoraproject.org through the command line, GNOME Software, or KDE Discover.

The goal of this work has been to enable creating Flatpaks from Fedora packages on Fedora infrastructure – this will expand the set of Flatpaks that are available to all Flatpak users, provide a runtime that gets updates as bugs and security fixes appear in Fedora, and provide Fedora users, especially on Fedora Silverblue, with an out-of-the-box set of Flatpak applications enabled by default.

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KDE and GNOME Leftovers

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KDE
GNOME
  • Necuno To Launch Linux-Based Smartphone With KDE Plasma Mobile

    The world of smartphones is largely divided by two OS: Android and iOS. But now, open source enthusiasts who are unhappy with those two choices will soon get a third option with the upcoming GNU/Linux-based phone.

    Necuno has unveiled its plans of releasing an open-source alternative to iOS and Android phones. The company has teamed up with KDE, maker of the Plasma desktop for Linux and Plasma Mobile interface, to make the Linux based smartphone.

  • KDE Plasma Now Allows Configuring IP Tunnel Settings Plus A Ton Of Other Improvements

    The KDE developers haven't slowed down at all due to the winter holidays approaching but rather there is a ton of great improvements and new features with their next round of software releases.

  • Better Room History in Fractal

    Over past month I’ve been sponsored by Purism to work on improving the message view in Fractal. This post will highlight the biggest and most interesting changes.

    The first thing I improved was how older messages are added to the message view when scrolling back. Before, there was a jarring cut when new messages were loaded, but now you can just scroll upward and older messages are loaded continuously. This makes it much easier to search for a message in the history, because there are no sudden jumps when messages are added to the list. In the video you can see the how the smooth history loading works.

Frogr 1.5 released

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Software
GNOME

Not many changes this time, but some of them hopefully still useful for some people, such as the empty initial state that is now shown when you don’t have any pictures, as requested a while ago already by Nick Richards (thanks Nick!), or the removal of the applications menu from the shell’s top panel (now integrated in the hamburger menu), in line with the “App Menu Retirement” initiative.

Then there were some fixes here and there as usual, and quite so many updates to the translations this time, including a brand new translation to Icelandic! (thanks Sveinn).

So this is it this time, I’m afraid. Sorry there’s not much to report and sorry as well for the long time that took me to do this release, but this past year has been pretty busy between hectic work at Endless the first time of the year, a whole international relocation with my family to move back to Spain during the summer and me getting back to work at Igalia as part of the Chromium team, where I’m currently pretty busy working on the Chromium Servicification project (which is material for a completely different blog post of course).

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What about Gnome apps then?

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GNOME

Strangely, if we look at the Gnome desktop applications, it comes short, but not that much more than KDE, albeit for very different reasons. Gnome does a few areas really well, like accessibility, image editing, instant messaging, mail, and screenshots. But all these happen to be applications designed before Gnome 3, which makes for a curious pitch. In other areas, the desktop environment is severely lacking, like the office suite, browser and education. Much like Plasma, it also struggles with media and package management.

Again, you may think I’m being negative. Nope. My overall usage arsenal is a mix between Gnome and Plasma, which shows that neither of these desktop environments fully satisfies my needs, and I’m sure the same is true for the needs of many other users. The Gnome desktop environment has lost a big part of its popularity and edge recently, whereby visual minimalism also impacts functionality. This would be fine if there was a range of excellent, complete programs to compensate for the desktop shell changes, but this is not the case. In turn, this makes Gnome 3 feel fragmented, bland and with sub-par software that does not really excite. Except the hardy veterans that still march on, years and years later, a testament of smart, elegant design and wicked functionality.

Much like KDE – in fact more so – Gnome comes with a lot of small, single-purpose programs that are just inadequate, so you’re most likely to just ignore them. All in all, the Gnome application stack is need of some serious revamp. Most of the new programs aren’t that exciting or useful, the old ones are pretty robust and just need some visual realignment, but the rest of the stuff is unnecessary. Also, Gnome needs to work hard in creating content in some of the categories, as it does not exist today, making the whole desktop experience rather disjointed.

The solution would be to unite all the different desktops and projects, eliminate all the overhead of developing the same thing nine times over, and create an ultimate punch that has everything, alas this is not likely to happen any time soon. Which means that most people will end up using curious recipes, with something like 30% Plasma, 15% Gnome, and 55% third-party stuff. That’s fine, but that’s also 55% missed opportunity to create a unique and lasting identity with the users. One can dream, though.

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GNOME On Wayland Will Now Work Correctly For Non-60Hz Refresh Rates

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GNOME

It's been a busy week in GNOME's Mutter space as in addition to the GPU hot-plugging and DisplayLink improvements, Mutter when running as a Wayland compositor will now behave correctly when setup for non-60Hz display refresh rates.

Up to now when GNOME was running on Wayland it has basically been stuck to a 60Hz fake vsync refresh rate, but now it's able to query hardware presentation times and support swap throttling for working better in the growing world outside of 60Hz refresh rate displays. Of course, GNOME on the X.Org Server hasn't had such issues.

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Desktop Icons Gnome Shell Extension 1.0 Release Candidate Available

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GNOME

Nautilus lots its desktop icons feature with version 3.28. This functionality was brought back in Gnome via a new Desktop Icons extension, which had a first beta release back in August.

The Desktop Icons extension is getting closer to its 1.0 stable version, with a release candidate being published on the Gnome Shell Extensions website yesterday.

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More in Tux Machines

Games: Metropolisim, Monster Prom, Kingdom Two Crowns and Lots More

  • Metropolisim aims to be the deepest city-building simulation experience ever, will have Linux support
    Metropolisim from developer Halfway Decent Games is releasing next year, with a pretty bold aim to be the deepest city-building simulation experience ever.
  • Monster Prom, the dating sim that won me over is now available on GOG
    Visual novels and dating sims aren't something I'm usually into, however Monster Prom is actually funny and worth playing and it's now available on GOG. I know we have a number of GOG fans here, so hopefully this will be interesting for you. As always, we try to treat all stores equally with release info.
  • Kingdom Two Crowns will be coming to Linux after all with the Quality of Life update
    Kingdom Two Crowns, the third in the Kingdom series released recently for Windows and Mac. It looked like we weren't getting it, but it's now confirmed to be coming. In their new roadmap post on Reddit and Steam, under the "QoL #01 Update" (Quality of Life Update) they noted that they will add "Add SteamOS (Linux) Support". This update is due out sometime early next year. This is really nice news, it's good to know they didn't give up on supporting Linux after all.
  • Steam Link for the Raspberry Pi is now officially available
    After a rather short beta period, the Steam Link application for the Raspberry Pi is now officially out.
  • Valve in it for the 'long haul' with Artifact, first update out and a progression system due soon
    Artifact, the big new card game from Valve isn't doing so well but Valve won't be giving up any time soon. The first major update is out, with a progression system due soon. At release, it had around sixty thousand people playing and that very quickly dropped down hard. Harder than I expected, a lot worse than Valve probably thought it would too.
  • Bearded Giant Games open their own store with a 'Linux First Initiative'
    Bearded Giant Games, developer of Ebony Spire Heresy have announced their new online store along with a 'Linux First Initiative'. I know what you're thinking already "not another store", but fear not. For now, it's mainly going to be a place for them to sell their games directly. Speaking about it in a blog post, they mentioned how they hate having to check over multiple forums, channels, emails and so on to stay up to date and they wish "to spend more time giving love to my projects instead of updating 4 different distribution channels, translating pages, writing different press releases and making separate builds"—can't argue against that.
  • The Forgotten Sanctum, the final DLC for Pillars of Eternity II is out along with a patch
    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire expansions come to a close with the release of The Forgotten Sanctum along with a major update now out.
  • Pre-order Meeple Station for instant beta access, what the developers say is like Rimworld in space
    Meeple Station, the space station building sim that the developers say is like Rimworld in space can now be pre-ordered with instant beta access. While we don't like the idea of pre-orders, getting access to the beta right away is a decent way to do it. Sadly, their Kickstarter campaign actually failed which I didn't notice. Making sure that wasn't the end of it, the developer Vox Games decided to go the Early Access route. They weren't left out in the cold of space though, as they also recently announced that Indie DB will be publishing their game. Under the label of Modularity, this will be the first title published by Indie DB.
  • Heroes of Newerth drops support for Linux and Mac
    Heroes of Newerth, the MOBA originally from S2 Games which is now handled by Frostburn Studios has dropped Linux and Mac support. [...] I'll be honest here, I couldn't care less about it personally. The last time i tried it, it was the single most toxic experience I've ever had in an online game. I've played a lot of online games and even so it was still at a level I had not seen before. I tried to go back to it a few times, never with a happy ending. Still, sad for any remaining Linux (and Mac) fans of the game. Looking over some statistics, it's not popular with viewers either. Around 180 on Twitch compared with nearly 100K for League of Legends and over 50K for Dota 2.
  • Unity 2018.3 With HDR Render Pipeline Preview, Updated PhysX & More
    Unity Tech is ending out the year with their Unity 2018.3 game engine update that brings a number of new features and improvements to its many supported platforms.

Wine 4.0 Release Candidate 2

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 4.0-rc2 is now available. What's new in this release (see below for details): - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
  • Just when you think you can stop drinking, Wine 4.0 has another release candidate available
    Just before the weekend hits you in the face like a bad hangover when you realise it's Monday already, there's another bottle of Wine ready for you. Of course, we're not talking about the tasty liquid! Put down the glass, it's the other kind of Wine. The one used to run your fancy Windows programs and games on Linux. Doing their usual thing, developer Alexandre Julliard announced that the Wine 4.0 Release Candidate 2 is officially out the door today. While this release is nothing spectacular it is an important one, the more bugs they're able to tick off the list the better the 4.0 release will be for more people to use it.

Android Leftovers

A Look At The Clear Linux Performance Over The Course Of 2018

With the end of the year quickly approaching, it's time for our annual look at how the Linux performance has evolved over the past year from graphics drivers to distributions. This year was a particularly volatile year for Linux performance due to Spectre and Meltdown mitigations, some of which have at least partially recovered thanks to continued optimizations landing in subsequent kernel releases. But on the plus side, new releases of Python, PHP, GCC 8, and other new software releases have helped out the performance. For kicking off our year-end benchmark comparisons, first up is a look at how Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution evolved this year. For getting a look at the performance, on four different systems (two Xeon boxes, a Core i5, and Core i7 systems), the performance was compared from Clear Linux at the end of 2017 to the current rolling-release state as of this week. Read more