The GNOME Foundation has announced GNOME 45, codenamed “Rīga.” In this update, the team has put a significant focus on improving daily interactions, enhancing overall performance, and delivering a smoother and more efficient user experience. From subtle design adjustments to functional upgrades, GNOME 45 aims to refine the core desktop environment experience.

GNOME 45 featured image

What’s new in GNOME 45 Rīga?

Activities Indicator

One of the most noticeable changes in GNOME 45 is the introduction of the new activities button, located in the top bar’s corner. Previously labeled as “Activities,” it now sports a dynamic workspace indicator. This design change is based on valuable user testing feedback, making its purpose clearer, especially to newcomers. As part of this transformation, the old app menu displaying the focused app’s name has been retired, creating space for this fresh design.

Performance improvements in search functionality are a standout feature in GNOME 45. These enhancements have been implemented across various apps such as Software, Characters, Clocks, Files, and the Calculator. The result is faster search capabilities and reduced resource consumption, noticeable both in individual apps and system-wide searches.

Camera Usage Indicator

Enhancing privacy, GNOME 45 introduces a new camera usage indicator in the system’s top bar. This indicator notifies the user when the camera is active, complementing the existing microphone indicator, which has received a visual update in this release. It’s an important privacy feature, alongside indicators for screen sharing, recording, app permissions, and device security settings, ensuring your privacy remains protected.

New Image Viewer

GNOME 45 introduces a brand-new default image viewer with a sleek and efficient interface, making it the ideal tool for quickly viewing images. Transitioning between images, zooming, and rotation is seamless and visually appealing. The image viewer is fully adaptive, supporting touchscreen and touchpad gestures for intuitive navigation.

New Camera App

In addition to the image viewer, GNOME 45 also includes a fresh camera app with a modern UI. All controls are overlaid on the viewing area, ensuring a clean and user-friendly experience, whether on mobile or desktop. The camera app offers essential features like capturing photos and videos, switching between cameras, and immediate image and video previews.

New Style Apps

Many core GNOME apps receive style upgrades in GNOME 45, featuring new interface components that enhance both aesthetics and performance. Notable changes include full-height sidebars in Calendar, Characters, Clocks, Contacts, Files, and Settings. Additionally, apps like Console, Text Editor, Disk Usage Analyzer, Fonts, Tour, and Web now sport subtle shadowing in their header bars.

Files Improvements

The Files app in GNOME 45 brings significant improvements to search speed, returning results in milliseconds even when searching through vast numbers of files. You’ll also find a new window for customizing column visibility in list view, consistent date and time formats, starred file indicators, and faster thumbnail generation.

Improved Settings

Settings in GNOME 45 is enhanced with options for configuring date and time formats in the top bar. Descriptions have been added to Privacy and Sharing subpages for better understanding, and information bubbles aid in configuring autologin and administrator user settings. Accessibility is improved with enhanced keyboard navigation, and various settings panels receive a polished design, including a new System Details window and a keyboard layout viewer accessible from Keyboard settings.

Enhanced Apps

Several core GNOME apps receive feature updates in version 45:

  • Software: Removing Flatpaks now offers the option to delete app data, and the app browsing UI adjusts based on app availability. Updates are now avoided while games are running.

  • Calendar: The month view now supports smooth, one-line scrolling, new keyboard shortcuts, and improved search capabilities.

  • Maps: Additional features include a map orientation button, exploring nearby points of interest, and overlaid zoom buttons.

Other updates

GNOME 45 also brings several new system features and improvements, including:

  • Keyboard Backlight Quick Setting: User can now conveniently control keyboard backlight settings directly from the quick settings menu.

  • Efficient Video Playback: GNOME now leverages hardware resources for video playback whenever possible, resulting in faster performance and reduced power consumption.

  • New Quick Settings Keyboard Shortcut: Access the quick settings menu with ease using the Super+S key combination.

  • Updated Pointer Visuals: GNOME’s pointers (cursors) receive a fresh visual update for a more appealing look.

  • Light System Style: A new light interface style option is available in GNOME 45, offering an alternative to the default dark theme. Users can enable it using an extension or via the command line.

  • New Wallpapers: Two stunning wallpapers have been added to GNOME’s collection.

  • Wayland Support for Input Leap: This feature provides a software implementation of KVM-switch-like functionality, enabling control of multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse, now compatible with modern Wayland sessions.

  • Smoother Pointer Movement: Performance enhancements ensure smooth pointer movement even during system-intensive tasks.

For further reading, see the official GNOME 45 release announcement on the project’s website.

GNOME 45 Trailer

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