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7 New Features & Improvements Coming to the Budgie Desktop

The little desktop that could, becomes the big desktop that can

Budgie desktop runs like a champ on Ubuntu

Budgie desktop runs like a champ on Ubuntu

The Budgie desktop is emerging as a real cult favourite among Linux enthusiasts, who appreicate its modern UI, lightweight feel and frequent development updates.

Ahead of Budgie 11, which will see the desktop shell rewritten in Qt from feather to tail, there’s going to be a major new update to the current GTK+ version, tentatively tagged as Budgie 10.4.

And boy, what a release it is shaping up to be.

Budgie’s chief developer (but by not means its sole developer) is Ikey Doherty. He’s the hands behind the from-scratch Solus Linux distribution, and co-host on the popular Late Night Linux podcast.

If there’s one thing Ikey is known for it is getting things done — as the features listed below, contributed over just a few weeks worth of development, clearly shows…

7 Great New Budgie Features & Improvements

1. Budgie Panel Dock Mode

Upstream Budgie ships with one panel by default. It’s positioned at the top and has an icon task list applet added so that you can manage your open apps.

While this is a perfectly useful set-up it isn’t to everyone’s tastes or workflows. Ubuntu Budgie ships the popular Plank dock app by default in its image.

But while Plank is a great app it won’t be needed for much longer.

The next update to Budgie adds a dock mode option that transforms any panel on the desktop into a traditional-style dock.

2. Vertical Panels

If you’re reading this from Budgie you’ll likely know that you can already add an extra horizontal panel to the desktop — but not vertical ones.

Not so in the next release. You’ll be able to add and move panels to any side of the screen. Heck, you can even add a panel to every side of the screen if you wish!

And, just in case you’re curious, the answer is yes: the Raven sidebar will automatically anchor to a left panel (though will automatically default to a right panel should you have one on screen).

3. Panel Transparency

Another panel-related feature Budgie fanciers will like: panel transparency.

You can choose if a panel is transparent, and when, by choosing one of three options: never (i.e no transparency); dynamic (when a window is maximized or tiled) to it; and always-on transparency.


4. Intellihide

Budgie panels (including the spiffy new dock mode) pick up some additional hiding behaviours.

Among them the popular intellihide feature, which causes the panel to intelligently hide when a window overlaps it and pop-back up once its moved.

5. Night Light Applet

budgie desktop night light

It seems that every desktop worth its dues is adding a blue-light filter to help prevent eye strain and improve better sleep. GNOME 3.24 has one (and it rocks), as does KDE Plasma, Windows 10 and (now) ChromeOS.

Keen to improve the eyesight and sleep habits of its own users, Budgie is getting in on the fun too. The next major release will see the desktop include a new night light applet of its own, replete with on/off toggle, schedule options, and the ability to adjust the color temperature.

6. New Budgie Settings App

budgie desktop settings app

As part of an effort to simplify the Budgie experience and allow for greater customization, Budgie is moving its desktop settings out of the Raven sidebar and in to its own dedicated settings app.

You’ll still be able to access familiar features like appearance, fonts, and panel applets, but without proving around in a  sidebar better suited to showing you notifications and displaying useful widgets.

If you’re particularly eagle-eyed you’ll notice even more new features listed in the screenshot above, including a section to add and manage autostart applications, and an option to customise the Budgie menu icon.

7. A Better Budgie Menu

budgie desktop main menu applet

The main Budgie menu provides a quick and easy to way to find and launch applications, with type-as-you-search and category based filtering available.

And, in the next release you can expect the menu to be even quicker, a bit smarter at finding apps based on file type (e.g., type MP3 and see music players). Whats more, the menu has also been re-implemented as a BudgiePopover instead of a GtkPopover. It’s a technical sounding switch but will, the team say, fix some infamous issues with transporting applet and the like.

Thanks Ikey