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GNOME 3 Desktop Arrives Complete With New Shell

A new version of the GNU Object Model Environment desktop, known to its friends as GNOME, has arrived.

The OSX-aping Unix graphic environment has reached version 3.0 after five years in development and it's a radical departure, according to thinq_ (opens in new tab), thanks largely to the creation of the GNOME shell.

"We've taken a pretty different approach in the GNOME 3 design that focuses on the desired experience and lets the interface design follow from that," designer Jon McCann explained during the launch. "With any luck you will feel more focused, aware, effective, capable, respected, delighted, and at ease."

Although much work has been done below the surface, it's the front end which will be seen as most as the software's biggest bonus. It's not unlike Canonical's community-designed Unity GUI, having dropped the traditional window list and dock layout in order to offer a more streamlined interface with fewer distractions.

The main purpose for the changes to the desktop become clear when you hear the team's plans for the Shell: a single interface that is compatible with the majority of computing devices around. Its layout makes it suitable for smaller-screen devices like netbooks - where every pixel counts, and taskbars can steal critical screen space from the currently running application - while the icon-based launcher and pop-up window picker feels natural on a touch-sensitive device such as a tablet.

GNOME 3 is available for download from the official website (opens in new tab) - but inexperienced users are advised to wait until a package is available from their chosen distribution's official repositories.