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Color Emoji Support Is Coming to GNOME Desktop

gnome emoji chooser

The GNOME Emoji Picker

If you’re a regular readers you’ll know how I’ve longed to see full color emoji support on Linux — and it seems, at long last, I’m very close to getting it!

This year’s GUADEC saw GNOME devs hanker down and bash out new patches for color emoji support in cairo, pango and fontconfig.

Now the next major piece is sliding into place: GTK emoji input.

See & Type Emoji

Over the past few years we’ve shown you umpteen ways to see and/or use emoji on Ubuntu and other Linux distros, ranging from ways to type emoji on Linux using iBus, to a straight-forward emoji GNOME Extension picker.

All of these wonderful extracurricular efforts might soon be moot if GNOME’s work on native color emoji support bears fruit.

GNOME’s Mathias Clasen talks about work he’s currently doing on an Emoji picker popover that you can open either by clicking a button in a supported text field, or by using a keyboard shortcut.

Turning GNOME”s emoji input mockup into real, working code, Clasen’s emoji selector will also support skin tones and gender roles, and let you search for emoji by name.

He’s also considering whether to support emoji completion when typing emoji names in text fields, a method he demoes in this video:

Classen says: “I am reasonably happy with it, and it will be available both in GTK+ 3.92 and in GTK+ 3.22.19. We are bending the api stability rules a little bit here, to allow the new property for enabling the icon.”

Best Bit: This May Ship in GNOME 3.26

Eager to learn when you can try out this excellent effort to enable emoji input on Linux? Well, you won’t need to wait long as Clasen suggests this work will debut in GOME 3.26, which is due for release next month!

If, however, you feel an extreme entitlement to examine this emoji endeavour right now, you can if you install the latest GNOME 3.25 beta, add an emoji font like Noto Color Emoji or EmojiOne to your system, and then download and build the following libraries:

  • cairo from git master
  • fontconfig from git master
  • pango 1.40.9 or .10
  • GTK+ from the gtk-3-22 branch

Don’t Like Emoji? Don’t Use ‘Em!

To save the anti-emoji brigade a few calories (aren’t I nice) I want to say that I know you despise emoji; I know these these colorful yellow blobs make your sky turn grey; and I know you consider emoji to be meritless fluff and/or a blight on modern communication, etc.

And yet i’m writing about this anyway ;)