They recently commented in a Telegram group about Linux that it happened to many of us that we started testing distributions and desktops until we found what we like the most. I was forced to do this when Canonical decided to move to Unity. I tried Linux Mint, elementary OS, the Ubuntu netbook version ... many operating systems and many desktops until I was left with Ubuntu MATE, which was nothing more than the Ubuntu of before. Later I switched to KDE (Manjaro and Kubuntu), and now I am seriously considering having something with GNOME 40.
GNOME 40 was released a little over two months ago. I was going to say that, incomprehensibly after having tried it, it is not being talked about as much as it deserves. But it is understandable: one of the most popular operating systems that GNOME uses is Ubuntu, and Canonical decided not to take the leap because GTK4 was also just released and it was taking a risk. Fedora did dare, but, for example, Manjaro put it on hold. Yesterday, the famous Arch Linux-based distro He launched an image for developers, I decided to test it on a Live USB and loved it.
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GNOME 40, fluency that is noticeable even in gestures
GNOME 40 came with many changes, but a couple of them stand out: the dock has moved to the bottom and includes gestures that make ... can you say that everything is more fun? By default, it is still not possible to have icons (or files) on the desktop and the dock is hidden, but we can remove it sliding three fingers up, at which point we will also see virtual desktops or activities. If we slide a little more, the application drawer will appear. By sliding two fingers we will go between the pages of installed applications, and with three fingers we will go from one desktop or activity to another. This last gesture is also available when we are at a desk.
The best thing is how the animations feel. They are many who compare the good transitions with those of Apple's macOS, and I still have an old iMac I have to say that it is true. We can move our fingers as slowly as we want, the animation will accompany us. And, at least on my laptop with Intel i7 and 8GB of RAM, it works perfect. So much so that I even think of abandoning KDE. It's something that I don't think I'm doing, I'm too used to it, but I'm telling you that at least one USB with persistent storage yes I'm going to create myself.
If you already like GNOME, you will love it
I've read users mention that they don't want to hear about GNOME 40, which I understand is short-term. The changes are so many that not everything is consistent, but things get better over time. One of the fears is that not all extensions work, so it is easy to think that the dock will only be visible if we slide three fingers up / press the Super (META) key or we will not be able to activate the desktop icons, but that already works, at least in Manjaro. In fact, right now I write from Manjaro GNOME with Shell 3.38 and DING does not allow me to access its settings from the desktop, something that I have been able to do in Shell 40.
As for other aspects, an important one must also be taken into account: most distributions that use GNOME have switched to using Wayland, so there is software that will not work unless an Xorg session is opened. For example, if we want to record the screen with sound we will have to use applications such as kooha, as SimpleScreenRecorder and others have not added support yet. Nor will we be able to use capture applications if they are not updated, and among them we have the Spectacle that I like so much in KDE and that includes its own annotations editor.
Available on Fedora 34 and GNOME OS
As for the distributions in which we can test it, at the moment it is only in Fedora 34 and in a few with Rolling Release development model like Arch Linux, and also in the project's own proposal which is not a full operating system. Ubuntu will make the leap in October, and what is available on Manjaro is a preliminary version. Of course, I recommend trying it ... unless you don't want to leave your current desktop.