10 Best New Features of GNOME 3.28

GNOME is the most popular desktop environment in Linux.

GNOME 3.28 got officially released today after 6 months of development. By looking at the new features we can clearly say that this is a fantastic update from the GNOME team. All credits go to the hardworking GNOME developers and to be precise, there are as many as 838 contributors! According to GNOME, this update ships with a staggering 25832 changes.

GNOME 3.28 Desktop in OpenSUSE Tumbleweed
GNOME 3.28 Desktop in OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

10 Best New Features of GNOME 3.28

With that many changes, we don’t want you to fall asleep looking at the changelog. We will make life easier for you. Here is a concise and precise changelog which you really care about – the 10 best features!

1. New Boxes Features

If you are a GNOME user, you don’t need to install VMware or VirtualBox to try other Linux distros. Boxes, the built-in GNOME application can run remote and locally installed virtual machines.

GNOME 3.28 Boxes
GNOME 3.28 Boxes

In GNOME 3.28, Boxes got much better. It can now automatically download operating systems, straight from the new box assistant, meaning all you have to do is pick the Linux distro you want to use, and Boxes will do the rest.

Apart of that, the new version now supports transferring files between your system and the virtual machines. Drag and drop is supported too.

2. All-New On-Screen Keyboard

New Touch Screen Keyboard
New On-screen Keyboard

The brand new On-screen keyboard has been re-coded entirely in GNOME 3.28. The new keyboard is more user-friendly, and automatically pops-up when a text is selected. Of course the view gets pushed away to ensure you can see what you are typing.

3. Multimedia Apps – Photos, Video, Music, and Games

GNOME 3.28 Photos App
GNOME 3.28 Photos App

Photos App has a new import feature that allows you to easily add photos to your library from SD cards and USB drives. The app can now auto-detect storage devices that has new images, and then gives you an option to organize the images into albums during import itself. Other multimedia enhancements include ability to now play MJPEG video files through video player, and be able to reorder playlists by drag & drop in the music app.

Games app has an interesting feature. It now has a cool new CRT video filter that makes game visuals look like they are being played on an age old CRT TV.

4. Favorites in Files

Add FIles and Folders to Favorites list
Add FIles and Folders to Favorites list

In FIles, you can now select files and folders and add it to favorites list, so that you can easily view them in a “Starred” list as shown above. Additionally, Favorites capability have also been added to the Contacts application. You can pin your favorite contacts with whom you interact more.

5. Calendar Improvements

GNOME 3.28 Calendar
GNOME 3.28 Calendar

The enhanced month view in Calendar in GNOME 3.28 shows the Events in a easily readable manner. You can also expand cells that have several events overlapped. Also notice the weather info in the above picture besides the events – neat isn’t’ it? Apart from these, the To Do list has been revamped to be able to reorder tasks by drag & drop.

6. New App “Usage”

New Usage App in GNOME 3.28
New Usage App in GNOME 3.28

GNOME 3.28 ships with a new technology preview app called Usage. Using this new App, you can see CPU and RAM consumption along with highlighted problem areas. This is great feature which helps you in troubleshooting issues quicker than before. More features are planned in future updates to the App.

7. Clocks App

Clocks get UTC option
Clocks get UTC option

In Clocks, it’s now possible to add the UTC timezone to your world times.

8. Better Device Support

GNOME 3.28 comes with integrated Thunderbolt 3 connection support. Security checks that are added to prevent data theft through unauthorized Thunderbolt 3 connections. Top bar shows the Thunderbolt 3 connection status when active.

Touchpad Gestures
Touchpad Gestures

Touchpad now uses a gesture for secondary click, which is nothing but right click action n a mouse. To use the gesture, keep one finger in contact with the touchpad and tap with another finger.

9. Terminal

Terminal Preferences in GNOME 3.28
Terminal Preferences in GNOME 3.28

Terminal gets some enhancements as well. Notice the redesigned preferences window in the above screenshot. There is no longer separate Preferences and Profile Preferences. Both the options are clubbed into one window. You will also see blinking text.

10. Flatpak

Flatpak GTK+ theme handling
Flatpak GTK+ theme handling 

Flatpak seems like one of the best things that has ever happened to Linux. It lets Developers to distribute an app on every Linux distribution ease. The new GNOME include GTK+ theme handling, as well as language configuration support.

11. GNOME Beautification

Last, but not the least, GNOME 3.28 looks more sleek and beautiful with the enhanced default interface font called Cantarell. Character forms and spacing have been improved to make the text more attractive.

Other beautiful things include bunch of beautiful looking background wallpapers that have been added.

Other tons of minor improvements

Apart from the major changes discussed here, there are hundreds of minor changes, among which some are noteworthy, and other do their work in the background (code optimizations and bug fixes).

  • In Software App, the application categories can now be sorted by rating or by name.
  • In Contacts App, you can now sort the names list by surname or first name.
  • Settings App now remembers the last opened settings and you will be directed to that panel when launched next time.

Overall, we think this is one of the best releases of GNOME we have seen so far. Cheers to the GNOME team!

Where to experience GNOME 3.28 NOW?

With so many exciting features, no wonder you would like to test drive it right away! You can experience GNOME 3.28 in updates released on Manjaro, Solus, Fedora, and OpenSUSE Tumbleweed in couple of weeks time. Ubuntu users need to wait for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which is planned to be released on April 26th for use on production machines. But, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS daily builds are available if you want to test drive it, but remember you won’t get full GNOME experience as Ubuntu uses Nautilus File Manager. Here is download link of Fedora nightlies.

Download Fedora 28 Nightlies with GNOME 3.28

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!


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