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GNOME 3.8 Debuts New Open Source Linux Desktop

  • April 1, 2013
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

In April of 2011, the GNOME Foundation released GNOME 3, ushering in the new era for the Linux desktop with the GNOME Shell.

The GNOME Shell represented a new user experience that some people really like and others really loathe. Dislike of GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell led in part to the MATE project, which is a fork of GNOME, providing a more traditional GNOME desktop. The Cinnamon desktop effort is another such effort aiming to provide a classic GNOME alternative (albeit with a GNOME 3.x base).

Now after two years of deployment by Linux desktop users around the world, GNOME 3.8 is finally giving users the choice to have a 'classic' desktop in an official GNOME release.

"Classic mode is a new feature for those people who prefer a more traditional desktop experience," the GNOME 3.8 release notes state. "Built entirely from GNOME 3 technologies, it adds a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen."

The GNOME Foundation sees the inclusion of a Classic mode after two years of Shell-only, as being a matter of choice for users.

"GNOME 3 is elegant by default and extremely configurable by design," said Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation in a statement. "The release of GNOME Classic is evidence of the ability to customize GNOME through extensions and demonstrates how our developers have listened and responded to feedback from the community."

While the Classic mode is a feature that many users have been asking for, so too are the new privacy and security features that GNOME 3.8 enables. Privacy settings now include the ability to limit access to content on a device.

Every Detail Matters

The GNOME 3.8 also benefits from the Every Detail Matters initiative from the GNOME Foundation. Back in 2011, GNOME developer Allan Day launched the Every Detail Matters effort with GNOME 3.4 to improve the overall quality of the GNOME desktop.

With the GNOME 3.8 release, 60 'Every Detail Matters' bugs were fixed.

Overall, the GNOME 3.8 release was a massive effort that benefited from the contributions of 960 people that made nearly 36,000 contributions.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network,  the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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