Gnome Desktop Version 2.24 Released

Sep 26, 2008

Gnome has a new update: Version 2.24 of the free desktop comes with improvements for the user, new communications systems and for the first time, will also serve as a basis for Gnome Mobile, a desktop variation for mobile devices.

Gnome already runs on many handheld platforms, including Maemo, Ubuntu Mobile and the reference platform LiMo. Gnome 2.24 has a new instant messenger on board, called Empathy. This will complement the VoIP software Ekiga that Gnome brings in version 3.0, and is based on the Telepathy framework. Complement because, unlike Ekiga, Telepathy supports various popular protocols, including Google Talk and MSN Messenger. And thanks to the Telepathy framework, the instant messaging function can be integrated in other Gnome applications.

Over the SIP protocol, Empathy will also transfer video data, giving users the ability to communicate with other mobile devices like for example, Nokia’s N800/N810.

For users who need to know exactly how long they spend working on different projects, Gnome has added a panel application that will make it easier to track time spent on each project. New is also that the improved file manager Nautilus now supports tabs for fast switching between directories. The software’s auto-complete function for file names has been improved and there is an added ‘compact’ list view. Many of the changes in Gnome have been made to simplify access for impaired users. Navigation per keyboard is better, mouse gestures are now visible on the screen and the text-2-speech function is compatible with Java programs such as OpenOffice.

Gnome 2.24 will automatically detect characters that FAT 32 filesystems cannot recognize, and convert them into a “_” , cutting down on problems with data transfer. The developers have also added several new plugins to the Gnome Deskbar including a calculator, Google and Wikipedia search. It will also inform users of updates in Twitter.

Anyone who wants to risk a look at the new Gnome version can find a summary of the changes here. Via a BitTorrent site, a live version of the new desktop can be downloaded. Whoever wants to know what Gnome has in store for the future, they can read the roadmap for Gnome 2.26 on the project’s website.

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