I’ve been a fan of the work of the GNOME team for quite some time. They put together one heck of an excellent Linux desktop environment.
But of late, I’ve found myself gravitating towards some of the more lightweight environments. MATE (which is a forked version of GNOME 2) and xmonad. I like my systems to be light on resource usage and highly responsive—those are two absolutely critical things for the way I use my computers.
With this week’s release of GNOME 3.24, I decided to jump back into the world of modern GNOME desktops and kick the tires again. In order to give it the best possible shot, I did a clean install of openSUSE Tumbleweed (the rolling release version of openSUSE) and then installed GNOME 3.24 on top of it. (Side note: 3.24 was not yet available in the default repositories when I wrote this article, but it should be shortly.)
And because I really wanted to see what the performance of the latest version of GNOME was like, I did all this on a not-overly-peppy Thinkpad laptop with an Intel Atom processor. If it runs well on this little laptop, it oughta run downright amazing on a nice i7.
The results absolutely thrilled me.
Everything was fast and responsive. Hitting the Super Key (denoted on this Thinkpad keyboard with some sort of strange, archaic symbol that appears to resemble some sort of flag or window) brings up the dock and virtual desktop view without even the slightest stutter or hesitation.
I simply don’t remember GNOME 3.x (and the GNOME Shell) being this fast.
And one of the new features, known as Night Light, made me smile. From the GNOME team’s description of the feature:
“Night Light is one of the new features being introduced in this release. This subtly changes the screen color according to the time of day, which can help to reduce sleeplessness if you use your computer at night.”
A simple thing, really. But I love it. As a guy who tends to use his computer far later into the night than I should, I can use all the help I can get when it comes to helping me fall asleep after a marathon writing session.
We’ll see how effective and enjoyable Night Light is to use over the next week or so.
There are also new updates to Flatpak (the GNOME team’s future application distribution system), Builder (their absolutely fantastic development environment), and a new Recipe application. Because food is good.
I think I need to keep using GNOME 3.24 as my primary desktop environment for a bit. It’s simply so polished and peppy that I can’t think of a reason to stop using it just yet.
Very well done, GNOME team. Keep up the stellar work.