New GNOME in the Open Source Garden

It's that time again — yes, indeed the development cycle is up, and the good people behind the GNOME Desktop have just released a fresh version into the wild.

As one has come to expect, this release — Version 2.24 — brings with it a collection of improvements and new features. Among the noticeable changes for users are the inclusion of Version 3.0 of the Ekiga SIP client, a new panel application aimed at making time tracking easier for business users, new plugins for the Deskbar applet, including a calculator, Google search, Twitter & identi.ca updates, and more. Enhancements to Nautilus are also on the menu, allowing for compact list viewing and browser-mode tabs, improvements to auto-completion, and an interesting bit of coding that detects when files are being copied to a FAT filesystem, and automatically replaces any spaces with underscores, eliminating cop process errors.

The release also boasts it's own instant messenger client — Empathy — based on the Telepathy framework. Like many other popular IM clients, Empathy is compatible with Google Talk, MSN, Jabber/XMPP, and even Bonjour/Rendezvous from Apple. Version 2.24 also includes improvements to the screen resolution tools, utilizing XrandR 1.2 to make multi-head configurations easier to set up and modify — all without the previously-required GNOME restart. There is also support for sound themes — much like the existing icon themes — new shiny bits and bobs for the desktop, and even an enhancement or two to Digital TV.

Full details of the release, including accessibility enhancements, mobile features, and changes important to users of the GNOME developer platform are available in the full release notes. Instructions for downloading and installing GNOME 2.24, including instructions for the GNOME LiveCD, are available on the GNOME website.

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.