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Linux Desktop Evolves with GNOME 2.30

Social Networking Integration, GNOME Shell

  • April 1, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner

The open source desktop world got a boost this week with the release of GNOME 2.30 -- the latest incarnation of one of the leading open source desktop GUIs that's a part of nearly every major Linux distribution.

With GNOME 2.30, the open source effort is adding new features that aim to make it easier to connect to online services, such as social networking giant Facebook. The new release also includes preview technology in the form of the GNOME Shell, which will become a standard component in GNOME 3, the next major release due in six months.

With this week's release, however, the 2.x line of GNOME will come to an end in favor of GNOME 3, which is set for its own release in six months. GNOME Executive Director Stormy Peters noted that end users will continue to get support for GNOME 2.x through their Linux distributions, most of which will support releases for longer than six months.

In the meantime, however, all eyes are on the improvements delivered in the current GNOME 2.30 release. Peters told InternetNews.com that what excites her about the release is all of the work done to enable GNOME users to interact with the broader Web.

That work includes improvements to the Empathy instant messaging application to enable users to more easily connect with contacts. The Empathy update also includes support for Facebook chat as well as new IRC support for commonly used commands.

GNOME 2.30 also includes updates for the Tomboy notebook application with support for synchronization over multiple systems.

Not all Linux distributions that use GNOME choose to include the application, however. Fedora Linux, for example, has moved to the gNote application as a substitute for Tomboy. Tomboy relies on the Novell-led Mono effort, which provides .NET functionality on Linux, but which has raised eyebrows of some in the Linux community due to its connection to Microsoft technology and intellectual property.

"The Tomboy and gNote projects are different teams," Peters said. "Tomboy is also working on Tomboy Online, which will be a Web service capable of hosting your notes so you can access them from multiple locations."

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