GNOME 2.26 big on device, messaging integration

Import Microsoft Outlook data to GNOME's Evolution

Video calling in GNOME 2.26 with Empathy

Video calling in GNOME 2.26 with Empathy

Like gum to a shoe, the GNOME Project has stuck to its six monthly release schedule again, issuing version 2.26 of its open source desktop environment.

The user and usability, GNOME claims is at the heart of the latest iteration, with user-requested improvements and hundreds of bug fixes included over previous version, 2.24.

GNOME 2.24’s CD and DVD burning capabilities have been enhanced with a dedicated disk creation application, Brasero. Users now have greater control over audio CD burning, full multi-session support, integrity checks, support for multiple burning backends, and, a cover art editor.

Media Player now allows users to share stored content via the UPnP or DLNA protocols and play content using a new Coherence DLNA/UPnP client. Subtitles for movies can be automatically found using a new subtitle downloader plug-in.

Users wanting to share their movies, as well as other files, can now do so over WebDAV, HTTP and Bluetooth via a new plug-in.

PulseAudio, the audio input/output routing and mixing framework, has been integrated into the new Sound Preferences tool giving users control over sound devices, application volumes, alert volume and alert themes.

A Display Settings tool seeks to simplify the use of multiple monitors or projectors and now provides a confirmation dialogue after making changes to monitor settings. Settings will be restored to a known-good configuration if a machine crashes while changing the monitor settings

The Empathy instant messaging application has been given file transfer, chat room invite support, sound themes and notifications, and an improved VoIP experience.

GNOME's Epiphany Web browser has an improved location bar, and accessibility has been improved via 160 bug fixes to its Orca screenreader.

Biometric security has been increased with integration with the fprintd fingerprint service allowing users to enroll fingerprints for use in authentication.


With an eye to encouraging migration from Windows, 2.26 adds two new features to Evolution, GNOME’s e-mail and groupware suite, Users can now import Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (PST files) directly into Evolution, and, support for Microsoft Exchange's MAPI protocol - the protocol that Microsoft Outlook uses to communicate with Exchange – has been added.

For developers, GTK+ 2.16 now includes widget improvements, such as a progress bar, and extensive bug fixing and housecleaning for the upcoming GTK+ 3.0.

Libbrasero-media provides an API for accessing the disc burning infrastructure in GNOME, and a new library, libevview, has been created to provide the EvView widget used in Evince. This will allow other applications to embed Evince's document viewing component.

The Anjuta integrated development environment now features a rewritten symbol management engine and new bookmark system allowing for faster code navigation. Auto-detection of any libraries using pkg-config for code completion and call tips is now possible.

Integration of version control systems and the Glade interface designer have been upgraded. The file tree now shows status icons for all files in projects using the Subversion or Git version control systems. It is possible to automatically generate callbacks from Glade, and GtkBuilder files are now supported.

For better support of the GNOME Mobile platform, remote debugging using gdbserver and support for Scratchbox (version 2) have also been added.

GNOME 2.26 now offers support for 48 languages with at least 80 percent of strings translated.

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Tim Lohman

Techworld Australia
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