The GNOME 2.22 free software desktop, which is included in the upcoming Ubuntu 8.04, has been released. Similar to Ubuntu, GNOME follows a six month release cycle. This means that every new version of Ubuntu includes the latest version of GNOME.

GNOME 2.22 banner

The GNOME Project’s focus on users and usability continues in GNOME 2.22 with its hundreds of bug fixes and user-requested improvements. The sheer number of enhancements makes it impossible to list every change and improvement made, but we hope to highlight some of the more exciting user-oriented features in this release of GNOME.

See the release notes for a complete look at what’s new and screenshots.

Here’s what I’m excited about:

  • Cheese:
    I wrote about Cheese a few months ago, and even suggested that it should be included in GNOME. Now it is! GNOME users can now take pictures and video with their webcams without installing any additional software.
  • Compositing:
    The GNOME Metacity window manager has support for compositing for a while, but now it’s compiled in by default. The effects are basic and not easily enabled at this point, they’ll need more testing first.
  • GVFS virtual filesystems:
    GVFS has replaced GNOME-VFS as the virtual filesystem layer. It’s what lets you transparently access network shares (SSH, FTP, etc.). I use it all the time with SSH and I hope it fixes the frequent crashes I’ve been having. GVFS adheres to the trashcan spec, maybe this means GNOME will stop putting a trash folder on my camera’s CF card and filling it up with pictures I deleted.
  • Totem Movie Player:
    Totem isn’t very useful for playing DVDs, improvements in GNOME 2.22 should change that. Also interesting is the YouTube plugin, GNOME users can watch YouTube without installing the proprietary Flash player.
  • Clearlooks: The new Clearlooks theme introduced in the previous GNOME version has been tweaked. The dotted focus indicator is now a stylish blue box.

It looks like the packages are already included in Ubuntu 8.04, so an up-to-date installation should include final GNOME 2.22. What are your favorite features and changes?

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