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01 August 2011, 11:32

GNOME shell now handles removable storage media

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Slightly behind schedule, the developers of the GNOME project released version 3.1.4 of GNOME late on 31 July. This is a development release of GNOME 3.2, which is due to be released on 28 September; before that final release, the developers plan to issue another development release, two betas and a release candidate.

In version 3.2, the developers intend to improve a number of characteristics that were criticised by users when GNOME 3.0 was released in April. An overview of the planned changes, some of which have already been implemented, is available in various documents in the GNOME wiki, and in a blog entry posted by Allan Day two weeks ago. For example, when in overview mode, GNOME 3.2 will permanently display the workspace switcher on the right-hand side of the GNOME shell's overview window. When a removable storage device is connected, the GNOME shell now issues a status bar notification and offers various options – such as starting the file or image manager. Counters are now available for messages in the status bar, for example to display the number of emails in the user's inbox; the "Fix Annoying Things" list also suggests that it will become easier to change the window size.

The clock in the GNOME shell's top bar can now also display other time zones and GNOME can now sync the calendar with Google Calendar. Further new features include an on-screen keyboard, which is relevant for GNOME 3 on tablets; it has also been reported that Owen Taylor has improved the performance of the Mutter compositing window manager. Allan Day also mentions a blog post by Ray Strode which links to a video about a substantially revised log-in manager that is still in development and is said to be a better match to the design of GNOME 3.

A detailed list of all the changes made for version 3.1.4 over the past few weeks is available in the GNOME core and apps news files. The developers will probably further firm up their plans for GNOME 3.2 at the Desktop Summit, an event organised by GNOME and KDE developers that is due to start in Berlin on 6 August.


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