Gnome 3.8 Complete Desktop Review

Gnome 3.8 seems like the version that everyone was waiting for. All the essential missing features are finally available, and I expect users will be at least moderately impressed. After a few days testing Gnome 3.8, I am happy to present all the latest and greatest features for your amusement.

Gnome Shell 3.8 Screenshot

Gnome 3.8 Activities Overview


The activities overview is a popular highlight of the Gnome Shell, and it has just been improved. Look for some minor interface changes that should make the activities overview more efficient for users.

Frequently Used Applications Tab

When using the Gnome Shell activities overview, users will notice an additional tab which will display frequently used applications. The main tab will display all of your available software.

Search Results Get New Look

The Gnome Shell activities overview now has a new look for search results. Search specifically for individual contacts, files, documents, or applications. They say that users can even choose which items are displayed in search results. There should be options available in the system settings window, but I couldn't find them myself. Another conspiracy to add to the list.

Gnome Shell 3.8 Screenshot

Gnome 3.8 Re-Introduces Classic Mode


Classic mode is back in Gnome 3.8, this time built properly using Gnome 3 technologies. This should satisfy everyone that still wants an old Gnome 2 look and feel.

Gnome Shell 3.8 Screenshot

Classic Mode Details

Gnome Classic users will encounter the old panel up, panel down layout seen in Gnome 2. This time there are two main menus contained within the top panel. One menu hides all of your applications and system settings in helpful sub-menus. The other menu contains places, and bookmarked folders. It sure feels like home to me.

Gnome 3.8 Gets Privacy Options


Privacy is a growing concern, and Gnome 3.8 has provided for its users. New privacy options are available to help keep your system secure.

The New Settings

Gnome 3.8 users are able to toggle the screen lock feature on or off. You can also hide your name and online visibility. Tracking of history, trash, and temp files can all be toggled as well.

Gnome 3.8 Other Changes


There are some other minor user-interface changes, and of course, several bug fixes. Most importantly are the changes made to desktop notifications. Many important features are now available for users, and personally I feel that this could be the greatest release in the Gnome 3 series yet.

More Control Over Notifications

Users have more control over how notifications get displayed in Gnome 3.8. Sound alerts can be toggled on or off, as well as pop-up banners. You can even toggle the display of details inside the pop-ups. The new notifications settings window also lets users control the lock screen.

Clear Notifications

The message tray inside the activities overview now provides an option which will clear waiting messages.

Folder Icons Changed

It looks like the Nautilus folder icons are updated for this release as well. This change should give the Nautilus window a little more color. Personally I think I liked them better before.

System Settings Modifications

Many of the available system settings modules were upgraded as well. The networking settings window has received an improved list for available wireless networks. The power management window has also undergone some changes, though nothing very significant.

Gnome 3.8 Application Updates


Again we have some fun new applications to play with. Many applications were tweaked, but let's stick to the exciting points.

Weather Application Included

A new application called Weather is included with Gnome 3.8. This tool will let you monitor the daily weather forecasts both locally and around the world.

What the Heck is a Bijjiben?

Users wishing to track their daily notes now have a new tool to help them. Bijjiben is a simple note taking application that will require very little time for new users to learn. The interface is very clear and easy to understand. An excellent tool for managing your tasks and notes efficiently when using the Gnome desktop.

Clocks Is Now Stable

This fun application was introduced in one of the last few Gnome releases. Though the first tests were simply a preview, this tool is now stable and ready for action. Use Clocks to monitor different times from around the world. Or you can use the built-in alarm and stopwatch timer.

Gnome Documents Introduced

Here is an application that I was previously unfamiliar with, this one is called Documents. This is a convenient desktop document management tool, which is now able to import and export files directly from Google Drive. The documents application is even able to open PDF files.

Better Web Browsing

Plenty of updates this time around for Web, the Gnome web browser. A button was added to the toolbar which will let users create new tabs. The ability to undo closed tabs has also been included. Web now offers a private browsing mode, which is becoming extremely popular today. Lastly, Adobe Flash is finally supported for this release.

Related Gnome News


If you are a Gnome fan, there is more good news. If you prefer the Gnome Shell over Unity, there are now even more ways to solve your problem.

Ubuntu Gnome Gains Official Ubuntu Status

Ubuntu Gnome is now an official Ubuntu flavor. The 13.04 release will feature the Gnome Shell along with many popular Gnome applications.

Ubuntu Gnome Obtains Official Status Recognition

Installation Instruction for Ubuntu 13.04

Unfortunately Ubuntu 13.04 and Ubuntu Gnome will be using Gnome 3.6, but users can still upgrade with the helpful installation instructions we have provided.

Install Gnome 3.8 on Ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04

Helpful Links

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