Major GNOME Shell design changes are coming in GNOME 40, and devs are keen to show off the progress they’ve made to implement them.

Every part of the core GNOME Shell user experience, from app launching to workspace switching, is being rejigged, revamped, or repurposed to work better.

At least, better for some.

See, not all feedback on GNOME’s bold plans has been enthusiastic. Some users are concerned that the ‘new’ workflows proposed run counter to the one they’re used to, or that corner-cases (like vertical monitors) won’t be catered for.

GNOME 40 Animated Gif
Real working code

Allan Day, GNOME’s head of design, seeks to allay those fears. In a new blog post he writes that the GNOME team “…understand these concerns and an effort has been made to limit the scale and disruptiveness of the updated design”.

There will, he says, be ‘very little impact on multi-monitor’ use cases; window drag and drop between workspaces will continue to work as it does now; and anyone using a vertical monitor can be assured that the new design will also work for them too.

Verticality (image: Allan Day)

Additionally, the ‘hot corner’ is staying, meaning the activities overview will always be a wrist flick away, and search will continue to work here as it does now (i.e. you can his super and start typing to instantly search).

Allan also recommends that those worried by the proposals should “…wait to try the design, and see how it behaves in practice” before deciding they dislike then.

With GNOME Shell development branches lighting up with code commits and merge requests anyone looking to get some hands-on experience of the new UI ahead of the spring can do so with some technical know-how.

Alex (Aka BabyWogue) is my go-to guy for everything GNOME. He’s been demoing the development almost as fast as its happening. If you’re interested in seeing GNOME 40 come together I recommend subscribing to Alex’s YouTube channel — unless you’re not allergic to anime, of course! 😉

Devs will continue to polish and tweak the new design from now until UI freeze, which Day says will happen ‘in about a month’s time’. After this date no major design changes will be introduced before the release of GNOME 40 in March.

Finally, GNOME say it plans to make it ‘easier’ for users to test the development version ahead of its final release. Details on how will be shared soon.

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