GNOME 42 Released! Here Are All The New Features & Improvements

The next big GNOME release is here!


The latest version of GNOME, GNOME 42, is finally here, and it adds a significant amount of features and improvements over GNOME 40/41. In this article, let’s look at everything new in the latest release of what’s regarded as one of the most widely used Desktop Environments in the Linux community.

GNOME 42 features: What’s new?

Here are all the changes and new features in GNOME 42. If you want a TL;DR, watch this video.

New Screenshot tool

The new screenshot tool appears as an overlay rather than a separate app. At first glance, all the options in the overlay made me think of the options in the screenshot overlay of Chrome OS.

All you need to do to bring up the overlay on GNOME 42 is press the print screen button, after which you can either take a screenshot or screen recording of an area, an app window, or the entire screen.

However, one feature that many people will miss is the ability to delay screenshots. If you don’t like the new overlay, you can go to the software center and download the older GNOME screenshot tool.

A more refined GNOME experience

GNOME 42 brings some minor but awesome visual changes that make the overall desktop experience look more refined, polished, and modern.

The release gets rid of triangular call-outs and rounded window corners. The UI and UX feel more tightly tied together, and I like it. Brightness and volume bubbles have been revamped, and they now take on less screen estate.

Dark Mode Everywhere

The new appearance panel in the settings replaces the background panel, which houses the dark mode setting. Speaking of which, switching between light and dark mode now has a smooth transition.

While most Libadwaita/GTK4 apps support dark mode, there are still apps that use older GTK versions and might fail to adapt to the dark more, and the desktop theming might look inconsistent.

Like dark mode on Windows, the preloaded GNOME wallpapers are dynamic, meaning they can change their shades to adapt to the theming of the desktop.

Gedit and GNOME Terminal Replacements

GNOME 42 replaces the GNOME Terminal with Console and Gedit with Text Editor. Both are great apps and are simple to use, but the GNOME Terminal and Gedit were already pretty good, too, so we don’t understand why they replaced them. It is important to note that this doesn’t mean that GNOME Terminal and Gedit have reached EOL.

Remote Desktop

The sharing section in the settings now has a redesigned ‘Remote Desktop’ option that uses RDP to connect to a remote PC.

Get Better Performance with GNOME 42

A number of elements of GNOME 42 have been tweaked for better performance on low specced devices like the Raspberry Pi. One of them is the triple frame buffer support which boosts the GPU rendering performance.

Improved files app

The Files app is still GTK3 based, but there’s a Libadwaita Nautilus port that some distros may include. The newly-added features are available on both GTK3 and GTK4 versions.

Starting with the new features, there’s a new path bar that shows you the entire path, a significantly larger ‘rename’ function layout, a new path bar menu, and last but not least, a feature to search files based on their creation date.

Improved GNOME Apps, Thanks to Libawaita

The updated GNOME app, apart from looking visually better, also improves the performance of the DE. Here are all the GNOME apps ported to Libadwaita/GTK4. Support for more apps will be coming soon.

  • Weather
  • To Do
  • Calendar
  • Software
  • Characters
  • Contacts
  • Disk Usage Analyzer
  • Tour
  • Clocks
  • Fonts

That’s it folks

While the GNOME 42 release isn’t precisely a game-changer in the Linux Desktop environment space, and the features might not look huge, the developers did a great job polishing the DE and making it feel more modern. Given the rise in popularity of Linux desktops, it’s a step in the right direction.

That said, I’m excited to try out GNOME 42 on Fedora Workstation 36, which will probably come out next month, so make sure to stick around for a report on that.

Do you like the improvements in GNOME 42? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a Linux and Tech Writer. Hailing from a Computer Science background, the start of his love for Tech dates back to 2011, when he was gifted a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Tech, you'll find him binge-watching anime and Tech content on YouTube or hunting heads in competitive FPS games. You can also find his work on Android Police and How-To Geek.
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