GNOME 2.28 is the latest version of the GNOME Desktop: a popular, multi-platform desktop environment for your computer. GNOME’s focus is ease of use, stability, and first-class internationalization and accessibility support. GNOME is Free and Open Source Software and provides all of the common tools computer users expect of a modern computing environment, such as email, groupware, web browsing, file management, multimedia, and games. Furthermore, GNOME provides a flexible and powerful platform for software developers, both on the desktop and in mobile applications.
The GNOME Desktop is released every six months and contains many new features, improvements, bug fixes, and translations. GNOME 2.28 continues this tradition.
GNOME 2.28 includes all of the improvements made in GNOME 2.26 and earlier.
What’s New For Users
1. GNOME 2.28 includes the first release of the GNOME Bluetooth module to help users manage their Bluetooth devices. GNOME Bluetooth supports hundreds of Bluetooth devices, including mice, keyboards and headsets. GNOME Bluetooth includes PulseAudio integration for Bluetooth headsets and headphones.
GNOME Bluetooth also includes support for Internet access through your mobile phone. After pairing your mobile phone with GNOME Bluetooth, Network Manager will include an entry to use your mobile phone for Internet access.
2. The Time Tracker applet, which helps you track your time and tasks, includes a number of new improvements.
An all-new Overview screen is now included, which merges the category and period graphs to present a cleaner overview to the user. Colors are also used for the first time, making it easy to view the proportion of time used to complete tasks.
Other feature updates include improved autocomplete support allowing you to update the start time on the fly, improved support for late-night workers, and the ability to add earlier tasks that have been completed. Lastly, the export functionality has a number of improvements, including the ability to filter activities by category and date prior to export, and new simple export types: iCal to import into Evolution, Google Calendar and other clients, XML, and TSV (tab separated values), which works well with spreadsheets.
3. GNOME’s instant messaging and communication application, Empathy, built on the Telepathy communications framework, has gained a number of new and important features to help users communicate.
The contact list has been improved in a number of ways. You can set your status directly by entering it as text, or set it from a previously set status. Reorganizing your contacts has been made easier as dragging and dropping a contact will move it, instead of copying it. A View menu is now included, giving you quick access to sorting contacts, viewing offline contacts, and changing your contact list size preferences.
The conversaton dialog now supports a number of new themes, including Adium message styles. “Users” in the user list now have a tooltip; the user list in chat rooms can be hidden; the Contact menu has been removed from the Conversation menu; and if your name is mentioned in a chat room or conversation, that tab’s text will become red.
Audio and video chats can now be made fullscreen, and if a contact does not have video, their avatar will be displayed. A redial feature has also been added, making it easier to reconnect.
Users are now able to share their desktop with Empathy contacts using the GNOME Remote Desktop Viewer, Vino.
Geolocation support using Geoclue has been added for XMPP contacts, such as Jabber and Google Talk. You can view a contact’s location by hovering your mouse over their contact name in the contact list, in the information dialog or in the Map View. Empathy also supports a reduced accuracy mode for users who wish additional privacy. Google Talk users can view a contact’s location, but cannot publish their location as Google does not use PEP.
Empathy also includes all-new documentation focused on helping users to learn how to perform specifics tasks within Empathy.
4. The GNOME Web Browser, Epiphany, has switched to Webkit from Gecko for its rendering engine. With the exception of some performance enhancements, this change should be invisible. Long-term, the switch to WebKit will have significant benefits to Epiphany users. Switching to WebKit also fixes a number of long standing bugs in Epiphany due to the old Gecko-based backend. You are encouraged to test this new version to confirm if your older problems have been solved.
One bug users may experience in Epiphany due to the change to Webkit, is not being able to save logins and passwords in forms. This bug will be fixed during the 2.30 development cycle.
5. DVD playback in GNOME’s Media Player has been improved with the ability to navigate DVD menus and resume playback from the last position. The YouTube plugin has also seen some speed improvements.
6. Cheese, a webcam photo and video application, features numerous improvements. Cheese has an updated user interface, and has added a “Burst” mode for taking multiple pictures at a time. You can choose the number of pictures Cheese should take and the time delay between pictures. Cheese also supports the ability to manually take a picture using a webcam’s “Capture” button.
Cheese‘s user interface has also been optimized for smaller screens, such as netbooks, by moving the image thumbnail bar to the right. The below screenshot shows Cheese in its new wide mode optimized for Netbooks using Burst mode.
7. The Evince document viewer has added the ability to edit and save text annotations that have a popup window associated. Evince now also recovers documents that were being viewed after a crash.
Evince has also been ported to and is available for Microsoft Windows® platforms.
8. GNOME Volume Control has added the ability for you to control a subwoofer and channel fading. Also new is when changing settings, changes are now instantly applied.
9. Some small additions and tweaks that happen in every GNOME release.
- GNOME menus and buttons have been standardized across all applications to not display icons by default. Menu items with dynamic objects, including applications, files or bookmarks, and devices are the exception and can display an icon. This change will standardize the look and feel of menus and present a cleaner interface to users.
- Tomboy Notes has moved the location of stored notes and configuration files to conform to Freedesktop.org specifications.
- GNOME Power Manager now has support for laptops with multiple batteries and has added disk spindown support for DeviceKit disks.
- The GTK+ file and lpr print backends support printing multiple pages per sheet.
- Gedit has been ported to Mac OS® X.
- Text rendering has been improved in Pango using a new OpenType engine, which uses less memory and has improved support for broken fonts.
- Due to improvements in VTE, GNOME Terminal users will notice much less memory is used.
- Brasero, the GNOME CD/DVD Burner, now supports the ability to burn data across multiple discs and has added a graphical display to show space used on discs before burning.
For more info and to see what’s new In Accessibility, For Developers see http://library.gnome.org/misc/release-notes/2.28/index.html.en