GNOME 3.10 showing the Overview mode
|Developer(s)||The GNOME Project|
|Initial release||3 March 1999|
|Stable release||3.12 (March 26, 2014[±])|
|Preview release||3.11.3 (February 19, 2014[±])|
|Operating system||Unix-like with X11 or Wayland|
|Available in||more than 50 languages|
|License||GNU LGPL, GNU GPL|
GNOME (pronounced // or //) is a desktop environment which is composed entirely of free and open-source software and targets to be cross-platform, i.e. run on multiple operating systems, its main focus being those based on the Linux kernel.
GNOME is developed by The GNOME Project, which comprises both volunteers and paid contributors, the largest corporate contributor being Red Hat. It is an international project that aims to develop software frameworks for the development of software, to program end-user applications based on these frameworks and coordinates the efforts for internationalization and localization as well as for accessibility of that software.
- 1 Design
- 2 Software architecture and components
- 3 Applications
- 4 GNOME Development Tools
- 5 Development
- 6 History
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2014)|
- Freedom - to create a desktop environment with readily available source code for re-use under a free software license.
- Accessibility - to ensure the desktop can be used by anyone, regardless of technical skill or physical circumstances.
- Internationalization and localization - to make the desktop available in many languages. At the moment, GNOME is being translated to 175 languages.
- Developer-friendliness - to ensure ease of writing software that integrates smoothly with the desktop, and allow developers a free choice of programming language.
- Organization - to adhere to a regular release cycle and maintain a disciplined community structure.
- Support - to ensure backing from other institutions beyond the GNOME community.
As with most free software projects, the GNOME project is loosely managed. Discussion chiefly occurs on a number of public mailing lists. Developers and users of GNOME gather at an annual meeting known as GUADEC to discuss the current state of the project and its future direction.
GNOME Accessibility aims to make and keep the GNOME desktop environment physically and cognitively ergonomic for people with all sorts of disabilities, e.g. mobility, visual or hearing impairment. The aim is to keep or make the desktop environment accessible for them. As far as possible the GNOME HIGs tries to take that into account, but the issues at hand are solved by special software.
- Accessibility — to ensure the desktop can be used by anyone, regardless of technical skill or physical circumstances.
- Accessibility Toolkit (ATK) – an API,
- Dasher, an input method
- Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI)
- Dogtail and Linux Desktop Testing Project test automation tools for GUIs
- the support of Refreshable braille displays, Screen reader
- Linphone depends on the GNOME ATK
- Speech recognition software for Linux
GNOME Human Interface Guidelines
All GNOME programs including GNOME Shell, which is the UI/UX/graphical shell, share a common graphical user interface (GUI), which is not limited to the employment of the same GUI widgets. Rather, the design of the GNOME GUI is guided by concepts described by the GNOME Human interface guidelines (HIG) (stable), itself relying on insights from the scientific field of cognitive ergonomics.
|“||Good designs arise only from evolutionary, exploratory interaction between one (or at most a small handful of) exceptionally able designer(s) and an active user population.||”|
The development of the overall and detailed design of the GNOME GUI has been an iterative process based on trial-and-error. It takes into account the experiences of its own developers, as well as feedback given by program developers and end users. Since the introduction of the GNOME HIG, accessibility has played an essential role in the overall design, and because anybody can contribute, problems are being addressed and solved.
|“||A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away||”|
Since GNOME 2.0, a key focus of the project has been usability. To this end, the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines were created. Following the guide, developers can create high-quality, consistent, and usable GUI programs, as it addresses everything from GUI design to recommended pixel-based layout of widgets.
During the 2.0 rewrite, many settings were deemed by the development team of little or no value to the majority of users and were removed. For instance, the preferences section of the Panel was reduced from a dialog of six tabs to one with two tabs. Havoc Pennington summarized the usability work in his 2002 essay "Free Software UI", emphasizing the idea that all preferences have a cost, and it is better to "unbreak the software" than to add a UI preference to do that:
|“||A traditional free software application is configurable so that it has the union of all features anyone's ever seen in any equivalent application on any other historical platform. Or even configurable to be the union of all applications that anyone's ever seen on any historical platform (Emacs *cough*).
Does this hurt anything? Yes it does. It turns out that preferences have a cost. Of course, some preferences also have important benefits – and can be crucial interface features. But each one has a price, and you have to carefully consider its value. Many users and developers don't understand this, and end up with a lot of cost and little value for their preferences dollar.
Until the release of GNOME 3.0, GNOME used the traditional computing desktop metaphor. Users can change the appearance of their desktop through the use of themes, which usually consist of an icon set, a window manager border and GTK+ theme engine and parameters. In GNOME 3.0, Adwaita replaced Clearlooks as the default GNOME theme.
GNOME has evolved from a traditional desktop metaphor to a user interface where switching between different tasks and virtual workspaces takes place in a new area called the overview. The redesigned GNOME features several main changes: released as the new interface for GNOME, GNOME Shell replaces the original GNOME Panel; Mutter replaces Metacity as the default window manager; and the minimize and maximize buttons no longer appear on the titlebar by default. Many of the default GNOME applications have also gone through redesigns to provide a more consistent and unified user experience.
In the default configuration of GNOME, the desktop has a top panel holding (from left to right) an activities button, clock, system status area and user menu. Clicking on the activities button or moving one's mouse to the top-left hot corner brings one to the overview.
- The system status area holds various system indicators, such as those for volume, Bluetooth, network, battery, and accessibility.
- The user menu holds a chat-availability indicator, shortcuts to system settings, and session actions such as logging out, switching users, locking the screen, or suspending the computer.
- The overview (accessed by clicking on the activities button in the top panel, or touching the top-left hot corner) shows the window picker, the workspace changer on the right, the dash on the left, a windows button, an applications button, and a search bar. While in the overview, users can click on the windows and application buttons just under the top panel to switch between the window picker and the application picker.
- The window picker gives users a quick overview of current activities, and provides a way to switch to other open windows or close multiple windows easily.
- The application picker provides an easy way to launch applications.
- The dash houses shortcuts to favorite applications and open windows.
The default interface also features a new system for notifications. In GNOME 3, notifications pop up from the bottom of the screen, instead of showing in the top right of the screen as in GNOME 2.x.
Software architecture and components
The GNOME desktop environment is based on software and other efforts which are coordinated by a large number of different projects:
Portability and Compatibility
GNOME runs on the X Window System and as of GNOME 3.10 also on Wayland. Current versions of GNOME are available in most Linux distributions either as the default desktop environment or as an installable option. GNOME is also available on Solaris since the Solaris Express 10/04 release and on some BSDs. Currently only GNU/Linux officially supports GNOME from version 3.0 onwards however other operating systems are providing unofficial builds and are working on achieving full GNOME 3 compatibility.
In May 2011 Lennart Poettering proposed systemd as a GNOME dependency. As systemd is available only on Linux, the proposal led to a discussion of possibly dropping support for other platforms in future GNOME releases. Since GNOME 3.2 multiseat support has been only available on systems using systemd. In November 2012 the GNOME release team concluded that systemd can be relied upon for non-basic functionality.
- Jhbuild, build automation tool
- freedesktop.org – a couple of projects hosted by freedesktop.org are shared with the KDE Software Compilation
- GLib – a bundle of five low-level libraries (GObject, GObject Introspection, Glib, GModule, GThread, GIO)
- GTK+ – contains GUI widgets for constructing graphical applications. The use of GTK+ as the base widget toolkit allows GNOME to benefit from certain features such as theming (the ability to change the look of an application) and smooth anti-aliased graphics. Sub-projects of GTK+ provide object-oriented programming support (GObject), extensive support of international character sets and text layout (Pango) and accessibility (ATK). GTK+ reduces the amount of work required to port GNOME applications to other platforms such as Windows and Mac OS X.
- Clutter – its scene graph will be eventually merged into GTK+
- Intelligent Input Bus (IBus) – an input method (IM) framework for multilingual input
- GSettings – a configuration storage system
- gnome-settings-daemon – both the GNOME Shell menu and the GNOME Control Center will simply talk to it
- GVFS – a virtual file system.
- GNOME Keyring – backend for storing encryption keys and security information. Seahorse is a common frontend.
- LibXML – an XML library.
- libgd – a library on top of GTK+ used by various GNOME 3-styled applications; unstable API/ABI;
- GNU Data Access (GDA) – is an attempt to provide uniform access to different kinds of data sources, see libgda gnome-db.org or libgda intro
- GNOME Docking Library (GDL) – gdl adds dockable widgets to GTK+. The user can rearrange those widgets by drag and drop and layouts can be saved and loaded. Currently it is used by anjuta, inkscape, Nemiver, Gtranslator and others.
- libGData – a GLib-based library for accessing online service APIs using the GData protocol, Wikipage
-  – Library with common API for various GNOME modules
GNOME Development Tools
- Anjuta – integrated development environment
- Glade Interface Designer – UI designer
- Devhelp – API browser
- Accerciser – accessibility explorer, uses AT-SPI to inspect and control widgets
- Nemiver – graphical debugger
- Parasite – described as Firebug for GTK+ applications
- Alleyoop – graphical front-end to Valgrind
GNOME Core Applications
There are countless GTK+- and Clutter-based programs written by various authors. Since the release of GNOME 3.0, The GNOME Project concentrates on developing a set of programs that accounts for the GNOME Core Applications. All programs that form the GNOME Core Applications have a certain design and the tight integration with one another in common. Some programs are simply renamed existing programs with a revamped user interface, while other were written from scratch.
GNOME Games have the look and feel of the GNOME Core Applications and are released simultaneously with GNOME. All have been rewritten conforming to the current GNOME Human Interface Guidelines.
GNOME Office, in contrast to the Calligra Suite or LibreOffice, was never designed from scratch by any one team. Instead, it consist of applications, which were authored by independent individuals and have been developed by an increasing number of volunteers and GNOME developers. https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/GnomeOffice
- Standard: AbiWord, Evince, Evolution, Gnumeric, Inkscape and Ease
- Other: GnuCash, gLabels, GLOM and Dia
- Related: HomeBank or Grisbi for the home office
GNOME Chemistry Utils
GNOME Chemistry Utils comprises some programs and a library containing Gtk+ widgets and some C++ classes related to chemistry. Their homepage is here: wiki.gnome.org/Apps/ChemistryUtils
- GChemPaint, a 2D chemical editor
- GChemCalc, a chemical calculator
- GChem3D, a molecular structure viewer
- GCrystal, a crystal structure viewer and editor
- GSpectrum, a simple spectrum viewer
- GChemTable, a periodic table of the elements
- EasyChem, a program to draw high-quality molecules and 2D chemical formulas site
- Ghemical, a computational chemistry software package
GNOME Chemistry Utils further comprises GUI Widgets: a periodic table of the elements (/GtkPeriodic and /GtkComboPeriodic), a crystal structure viewer (/GtkCrystalViewer) and a molecular structure viewer (/GtkChem3DViewer).
Other GTK+ applications
There are numerous programs based on the GTK+ toolkit.
The GNOME desktop environment is developed by The GNOME Project. The GNOME Project provides two things:
- the GNOME desktop environment, a graphical user interface and core applications like Web, a simple web browser; and
- the GNOME development platform, an extensive framework for building applications that integrate into the rest of the desktop and mobile user interface.
Each of the component software products in the GNOME project has its own version number and release schedule. However, individual module maintainers coordinate their efforts to create a full GNOME stable release on an approximately six-month schedule. Some experimental projects are excluded from these releases.
GNOME releases are made to the main FTP server in the form of source code with configure scripts, which are compiled by operating system vendors and integrated with the rest of their systems before distribution. Most vendors use only stable and tested versions of GNOME, and provide it in the form of easily installed, pre-compiled packages. The source code of every stable and development version of GNOME is stored in the GNOME Git source code repository.
GNOME was started in August 1997 by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena as a free software project to develop a desktop environment and applications for it. It was founded in part because K Desktop Environment, an already existing free software desktop environment, relied on the Qt widget toolkit which used a proprietary software license until version 2.0 (June 1999). In place of Qt, the GTK+ toolkit was chosen as the base of GNOME. GTK+ uses the GNU Lesser Public License (LGPL), a free software license that allows software linking to it to use a much wider set of licenses, including proprietary software licenses. GNOME itself is licensed under the LGPL for its libraries, and the GNU General Public License (GPL) for its applications.
The name "GNOME" was initially an acronym of GNU Network Object Model Environment, referring to the original intention of creating a distributed object framework similar to Microsoft's OLE; but it was dropped, because it no longer reflected the core vision of the GNOME project.
The California startup Eazel developed the Nautilus file manager from 1999 to 2001. De Icaza and Nat Friedman founded Helix Code (later Ximian) in 1999 in Massachusetts. The company developed GNOME's infrastructure and applications, and in 2003 was purchased by Novell.
GNOME 2 was very similar to a conventional desktop interface, featuring a simple desktop in which users could interact with virtual objects, such as windows, icons, and files. GNOME 2 used Metacity as its default window manager. The handling of windows, applications, and files in GNOME 2 is similar to that of contemporary desktop operating systems. In the default configuration of GNOME 2, the desktop has a launcher menu for quick access to installed programs and file locations; open windows may be accessed by a taskbar along the bottom of the screen, and the top-right corner features a notification area for programs to display notices while running in the background. However, these features can be moved to almost any position or orientation the user desires, replaced with other functions or removed altogether.
GNOME 3 abandoned the traditional desktop metaphor in favor of GNOME Shell. This move received mixed reaction from the user community, though the outcome is not yet clear. The MATE desktop environment, software forked from GNOME 2, aims to retain the traditional GNOME 2 interface while keeping it compatible with GNOME 3. The Linux Mint team addressed the issue in another way by developing the "Mint GNOME Shell Extensions". This led to the Cinnamon user interface, which attempts to provide a more traditional user environment based on the desktop metaphor, like GNOME 2.
In March 2013, GNOME 3.8 was released, which includes a new "Classic mode" that restores a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen, as extensions to the Shell.
|August 1997||GNOME development announced|
|1.0||March 1999||First major GNOME release|
|2.0||June 2002||Major upgrade based on GTK+2. Introduction of the Human Interface Guidelines.|
|2.2||February 2003||Multimedia and file manager improvements.|
|2.4||September 2003||"Temujin": Epiphany, accessibility support.|
|2.6||March 2004||Nautilus changes to a spatial file manager, and a new GTK+ file dialog is introduced. A short-lived fork of GNOME, GoneME, is created as a response to the changes in this version.|
|2.8||September 2004||Improved removable device support, adds Evolution.|
|2.10||March 2005||Lower memory requirements and performance improvements. Adds: new panel applets (modem control, drive mounter and trashcan); and the Totem and Sound Juicer applications.|
|2.12||September 2005||Nautilus improvements; improvements in cut/paste between applications and freedesktop.org integration. Adds: Evince PDF viewer; New default theme: Clearlooks; menu editor; keyring manager and admin tools. Based on GTK+ 2.8 with cairo support.|
|2.14||March 2006||Performance improvements (over 100% in some cases); usability improvements in user preferences; GStreamer 0.10 multimedia framework. Adds: Ekiga video conferencing application; Deskbar search tool; Pessulus lockdown editor; Fast user switching; Sabayon system administration tool.|
|2.16||September 2006||Performance improvements. Adds: Tomboy notetaking application; Baobab disk usage analyser; Orca screen reader; GNOME Power Manager (improving laptop battery life); improvements to Totem, Nautilus; compositing support for Metacity; new icon theme. Based on GTK+ 2.10 with new print dialog.|
|2.18||March 2007||Performance improvements. Adds: Seahorse GPG security application, allowing encryption of emails and local files; Baobab disk usage analyser improved to support ring chart view; Orca screen reader; improvements to Evince, Epiphany and GNOME Power Manager, Volume control; two new games, GNOME Sudoku and glChess. MP3 and AAC audio encoding.|
|2.20||September 2007||Tenth anniversary release. Evolution backup functionality; improvements in Epiphany, EOG, GNOME Power Manager; password keyring management in Seahorse. Adds: PDF forms editing in Evince; integrated search in the file manager dialogs; automatic multimedia codec installer.|
|2.22||March 2008||Addition of Cheese, a tool for taking photos from webcams and Remote Desktop Viewer; basic window compositing support in Metacity; introduction of GVFS; improved playback support for DVDs and YouTube, MythTV support in Totem; internationalised clock applet; Google Calendar support and message tagging in Evolution; improvements in Evince, Tomboy, Sound Juicer and Calculator.|
|2.24||September 2008||Addition of the Empathy instant messenger client, Ekiga 3.0, tabbed browsing in Nautilus, better multiple screens support and improved digital TV support.|
|2.26||March 2009||New optical disc recording application Brasero, simpler file sharing, media player improvements, support for multiple monitors and fingerprint reader support.|
|2.28||September 2009||Addition of GNOME Bluetooth module. Improvements to Epiphany web browser, Empathy instant messenger client, Time Tracker, and accessibility. Upgrade to GTK+ version 2.18.|
|2.30||March 2010||Improvements to Nautilus file manager, Empathy instant messenger client, Tomboy, Evince, Time Tracker, Epiphany, and Vinagre. iPod and iPod Touch devices are now partially supported via GVFS through libimobiledevice. Uses GTK+ 2.20.|
|2.32||September 2010||Addition of Rygel and GNOME Color Manager. Improvements to Empathy instant messenger client, Evince, Nautilus file manager and others. 3.0 was intended to be released in September 2010, so a large part of the development effort since 2.30 went towards 3.0.|
|3.0||April 2011||Introduction of GNOME Shell. A redesigned settings framework with fewer, more focused options. Topic-oriented help based on the Mallard markup language. Side-by-side window tiling. A new visual theme and default font. Adoption of GTK+ 3.0 with its improved language bindings, themes, touch, and multiplatform support. Removal of long-deprecated development APIs.|
|3.2||September 2011||Online accounts support; Web applications support; contacts manager; documents and files manager; quick preview of files in the File Manager; greater integration; better documentation; enhanced looks and various performance improvements.|
|3.4||March 2012||New Look for GNOME 3 Applications: Documents, Epiphany (now called Web), and GNOME Contacts. Search for documents from the Activities overview. Application menus support. Refreshed interface components: New color picker, redesigned scrollbars, easier to use spin buttons, and hideable title bars. Smooth scrolling support. New animated backgrounds. Improved system settings with new Wacom panel. Easier extensions management. Better hardware support. Topic-oriented documentation. Video calling and Live Messenger support in Empathy. Better accessibility: Improved Orca integration, better high contrast mode, and new zoom settings. Plus many other application enhancements and smaller details.|
|3.6||September 2012||Refreshed Core components: New applications button and improved layout in the Activities Overview. A new login and lock screen. Redesigned Message Tray. Notifications are now smarter, more noticeable, easier to dismiss. Improved interface and settings for System Settings. The user menu now shows Power Off by default. Integrated Input Methods. Accessibility is always on. New applications: Boxes, that was introduced as a preview version in GNOME 3.4, and Clocks, an application to handle world times. Updated looks for Disk Usage Analyzer, Empathy and Font Viewer. Improved braille support in Orca. In Web, the previously blank start page was replaced by a grid that holds your most visited pages, plus better full screen mode and a beta of WebKit2. Evolution renders email using WebKit. Major improvements to Disks. Revamped Files application (also known as Nautilus), with new features like Recent files and search.|
|3.8||March 2013||Refreshed Core components: A new applications view with frequently used and all apps. An overhauled window layout. New input methods OSD switcher. The Notifications & Messaging tray now react to the force with which the pointer is pressed against the screen edge. Added Classic mode for those who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. The GNOME Settings application features an updated toolbar design. New Initial Setup assistant. GNOME Online Accounts integrates with more services. Web has been upgraded to use the WebKit2 engine. Web has a new private browsing mode. Documents has gained a new dual page mode & Google Documents integration. Improved user interface of Contacts. GNOME Files, GNOME Boxes and GNOME Disks have received a number of improvements. Integration of ownCloud. New GNOME Core Applications: GNOME Clocks and GNOME Weather.|
|3.10||September 2013||A reworked system status area, which gives a more focused overview of the system. A collection of new applications, including GNOME Maps, GNOME Notes, GNOME Music and GNOME Photos. New geolocation features, such as automatic time zones and world clocks. HiDPI support and smart card support.|
|3.12||March 2014||Compiled Shell for performance improvements. Improved keyboard navigation and window selection in Overview Mode. Revamped first set-up utility based on usability tests. Wired networking re-added to the system status area. Customizable application folders in the Applications view. Introduction of new GTK+ widgets such as popovers in many applications. New tab style in GTK+. GNOME Videos GNOME Terminal and gedit were given a fresh look, more consistent with the HIG. A search provider for the terminal emulator is included in GNOME Shell. Improvements to GNOME Software and high-density display support. A new sound recorder application. New desktop notifications API. Progress in the Wayland port has reached a usable state that can be optionally previewed.|
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|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Using GNOME|
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