I usually do a review of what is coming in the run up to a release. However, there have been so many blog posts about 3.12 already that I don’t feel I need to go over individual features. If you haven’t read Planet GNOME in a while, now is a good time to check it out: there’s lots of great content on there right now.
It is worth looking at what the individual features in 3.12 add up to though. A release is more than the sum of its parts, and this is especially true of 3.12.
One important thing you will see in 3.12 is that, more and more, GNOME’s core applications are coming together. Videos will look and behave like a GNOME 3 app: it will let you browse your content, and it offers a modern, streamlined viewing experience. gedit has also had the GNOME 3 treatment. It has retained all its existing functionality, but in a more compact interface . Many of the other apps have also matured of course, Software and Web in particular.
The other big news for 3.12 is that a number of significant gaps have been filled in. For a long time people have wanted to be able to manually organise their apps: now they can with the new apps folder feature. We’ve also added functionality to make installing sofware updates easier and more convenient, as well as the addition of wired networking controls to the system status area.
There are also major developments in the developer space, with the new notifications API, new GTK+ widgets, new capabilities for launching processes, and improved documentation. I think that 3.12 is probably our strongest for developers in a long time.
Finally, and for me perhaps most significantly, 3.12 looks set to be the best quality release so far. Signs of ongoing improvements are everywhere. There are performance gains for startup and (hopefully) memory usage, the theme and animations in the shell has been refined in quite a few subtle ways, high-resolution display support has been extended, and a great many bugs have been fixed. As each release comes and goes, GNOME 3 gets better and better, and 3.12 is no exception.
There’s plenty more that I could mention about this release, of course, and the release notes will provide full details, but what is important is the progress that GNOME is making. 3.12 feels like another significant upgrade, and is another release where it feels like things are coming together more and more.
 The other day I did a quick comparison, and found that the chrome in the new version is around 60 pixels shorter than before. That’s an impressive space saving, and makes the app much more focused on what you are editing.
“high-resolution display support has been extended” – does this still apply mainly to very-high-resolution displays where an integer scaling factor such as 200% is appropriate? Does this support apply to the Web now?
I am asking because I have a 13.3″ laptop with a 1920×1080 screen, and think that a 150% scaling factor is appropriate here. It is indeed possible to set this font scaling factor via gnome-tweak-tool, but my opinion is that any need to use gnome-tweak-tool is a bug. And, last time I checked, this scaling factor did not apply to the Web (bug 680659, with a partial patch that I need help finishing).
It mostly means that GNOME Shell now has hi-res support, like GTK+ – this works on the same x2 method. I have to confess that I’m not all that familiar with how font scaling is used with regards to hi-res displays, but I agree that we should try to make this work out of the box.
great release! looking forward to 3.14 😉
Hopefully the release version of Totem will do better at loading thumbnails in background. Last time I tried it, the actual video ran at maybe 3 fps because of the “recent videos” indexing… That said, I really like how minimal the “currently playing” UI has become, even if I do miss the playlist somewhat. With one of those silly 1366×768 laptops with no vertical space to waste, headerbars are just perfect.
> high-resolution display support has been extended
That’s awesome cause I ordered a Lenovo yoga 2 pro which has 3200 x 1800 in a 13″ touch screen. Hopefully, it will work just fine 🙂
Alex, is the plan to still release an alpha for Gnome OS this year, or has that been tabled for now? Haven’t heard anything about those efforts for a while.