The GNOME community announced a new release today after six months of development. GNOME is a desktop environment primarily used on Linux and other open-source platforms. GNOME 2.20 includes numerous improvements and new features that benefit users, administrators, and developers.
GNOME’s image viewer features a significantly improved image collection interface and a new Open With menu. The Nautilus file manager can now display a disk usage pie chart in the filesystem properties dialog. Desktop search integration, which first appeared in Nautilus in GNOME 2.14 and can optionally leverage the Beagle and Tracker indexing systems, has now been added to the GNOME file dialog.
GNOME 2.20 also includes significant improvements to power management. The GNOME Power Manager tracks your power consumption over time in order to provide more accurate estimates of remaining power. Encryption support also gets a boost in GNOME 2.20, with new file encryption utilities that integrate with the GNOME keyring.
Evince, the GNOME document viewer, received several performance improvements and finally includes support for interactive PDF form editing. An improved codec management system in Totem, GNOME’s video player, allows individual Linux distributions to add custom mechanisms for automatic codec installation. The Tomboy note-taking application now has support for network note synchronization using WebDav and SSH. The GEdit text-editing program includes support for syntax highlighting color schemes and newly added syntax highlighting support several additional scripting languages.
The GNOME developers have started the process of streamlining the GNOME configuration utilities. In this release, various configuration applets that are used to adjust the fonts and visual appearance of the GNOME environment have been merged into a single utility. Additional configuration utility streamlining will occur in future versions of GNOME.
This release coincides with the tenth anniversary of GNOME’s existence. The project has evolved considerably since its earliest incarnation and has become a global phenomenon. Used as the default environment in popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora, GNOME is widely used by Linux desktop users and is supported by a growing community of companies and independent developers. GNOME 2.20 will be included in the next major releases of many mainstream Linux distributions, including Ubuntu 7.10, which is scheduled for release next month. Users who wish to try it now can use the latest Ubuntu 7.10 live CD images.