Whether you’re an avid GNOME sidekick or just a casual admirer, there’s a lot to enjoy in the latest version of the GNOME desktop environment.
GNOME 43 arrives six months after GNOME 42’s (rather) substantial release. other important ones, but all intended to make using GNOME easier.
I go over the major user-facing changes in this article, share some screenshots, and give some of my thoughts on some of the odds based on first-hand experience of using it. If you read my overview of new features in GNOME 43 – a gold star for those who have – many of the changes I mention below will be familiar to you.
New Features in GNOME 43
For me, the “title” function of GNOME 43 is the most striking New Quick settings menu.
Quick settings give you general access to network, Wi-Fi, performance mode, night light, airplane mode, and even dark mode. It makes many tasks a “one-click” affair, while other tasks, such as changing Wi-Fi networks, can now be done entirely from the status area.
It is also possible to change the audio output (and input) in GNOME 43 directly from the volume slider. This is a MASSIVE time saver over the way GNOME 42 handled things (you had to open Settingsgo to Sound panel, and change things from there). In GNOME 43, it’s a simple click or two.
Unexpectedly, part of the new Quick settings the menu I use the most is the new “screenshot” button (in the gif above it’s in the top row, far left, but on laptops this area relays the battery status to screenshot icon moves to the right) as some of my keyboards are missing a
print screen key. This helpful point remedies that.
New File Manager Features
GNOME 43 comes with a improved file manager in the form of Files (a.k.a Nautilus). Updated with GTK 4 and libadwaita, Files gains a responsive design that allows you to use all file manager features when resizing windows to a narrower width. I find the sliding sidebar in narrow mode very well implemented.
Other changes resulting from the transition to GTK4 include revamped file and folder properties windows, reorganized menus, and a significantly improved list view that adds rubber bands and file favorites.
You will also find additional integration with the Discs utility, like the ability to access a “format” option when right-clicking an external drive in Files’ lateral bar ; and there is a new Open with dialog box so you can choose which application is used to open different file types.
You can read more about the changes to Nautilus in my feature on Nautilus in GNOME 43.
Main application updates
Next to Filesother core GNOME applications also feature welcome changes.
Fan of the Calendar app will want to check out the new app sidebar. This always-visible panel gives a monthly overview and lists upcoming events. Resizing Calendar at a narrow width hides the “main” canvas to show only the sidebar. An updated color palette helps ensure that the app is as perfectly scannable at a glance as possible.
The Maps The app looks a lot nicer now that it’s using GTK4 and libadwaita, with things like pop overs finally getting UI shadows. The pinch-to-zoom gesture is more robust, a benefit derived from the app moving to a new map rendering library.
Developers release the latest version of Builder notice a major UI overhaul, including tabs, a new status bar, support for rearranging panels to create custom layouts, revamped and refined preferences, and a new command editor .
A new Device Security The page is available in the settings. This aims to “provide information on the security of your physical hardware, its configuration and its firmware”. Although well-meaning, this sign looks intimidating. Many of the “security issues” it flags (in bright red, no less) are those over which the user has no control.
Ubuntu developers are also not convinced and will disable this page in Ubuntu 22.10. I expect to see a lot more work in this area during the GNOME 44 development cycle.
- Animations in Activities the screen is now smoother
- Web applications can be installed from Software
- contacts apps allow vCard import/export
- On-screen keyboard works better when using a terminal
- Web/Epiphany gains web page screenshot shortcut
- Characters supports more emoji including skin tones and genders
- Audio support when connecting to a GNOME desktop via RDP
- New appearance of “About” windows in many applications
And finally, GNOME 43 has a new default alert sound!
Yes, the “drip” sound (pretty annoying, imo) is familiar to anyone who’s tried to
tab their way to nowhere in a terminal is now a nicer ‘click’ – but keep in mind that many Linux distros change the defaults, so what you hear may vary!
Download GNOME 43
Want to try the latest and greatest version of GNOME for yourself? Well, here things get a little complicated. GNOME 43 will be rolling out to users of rolling-release distributions (like Arch), but those of fixed-version distributions (like Ubuntu) will (in most cases) have to wait until their next major release.
Most of GNOME 43 will be integrated into Ubuntu 22.10, due next month, and is the star attraction of Fedora 37, which will be released very soon.
Don’t want to wait? You can use the GNOME operating system image in the Boxes virtual machine application.