Roughly a year after the launch of Gnome 3, the project's developers have unveiled Gnome 3.4, the second major update to the controversial desktop environment.
Newly added features in Gnome 3.4 include video calling, a new documents search facility, a new virtual machine and remote access application, smooth scrolling, new application menus, Windows Live online account integration, and a new animated background that adjusts its brightness over the course of the day.
Numerous applications in Gnome have received key updates in this new release as well. Perhaps most notably, Epiphany -- the Gnome Web browser -- is now called Web and has been given a brand-new interface. Significant performance improvements have also been made to the browser, the project team says, including faster browsing history.
Documents and Contacts, meanwhile -- both of which integrate with online accounts -- have received updated interfaces and new features as well.
Myriad smaller changes and refinements to the software include updated interface components, what the developers call a "much more polished" visual theme, better hardware support, a raft of bug fixes, and many other minor improvements.
Nearly 1,300 people contributed about 41,000 changes to Gnome since the release of version 3.2. A full explanation of all the many new tweaks can be found in the software's release notes.
Gnome is released every six months, so the next release -- version 3.6 -- is scheduled to arrive in September.
Like Ubuntu's Unity, Gnome 3 has been controversial, at least in part because of its use of mobile-inspired design elements. That, of course, is a big part of what inspired the Linux Mint project to launch its hybrid Cinnamon option. If you want to give Gnome 3.4 a try, you can download it for free from the project site.
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