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Update GNOME 3 to the latest upstream release


Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 16
  • Last updated: 2011-09-28
  • Percentage of completion: 100%

The new gnome-contacts application has been packaged and is available in F16, including the gnome-online-accounts infrastructure. GNOME components have been updated to final 3.2.0 release. All of the planned GNOME 3.2 features are included in this release.

Detailed Description

After the major update in Fedora 15, the GNOME desktop returns to its usual model of evolutionary refinements:

  • System Settings will gain an "Online Accounts" panel, which provides a central point for managing online accounts like Google, Facebook etc. Setting up e.g. a Google account in this panel will make gmail, contacts and calendar in evolution work out of the box, the gnome-shell calendar will be populated as well, and empathy will have gtalk set up automatically. Here is an early screenshot.
  • Contacts is a new contact management application integrating with Empathy, Evolution and the new "Online Accounts" settings panel. Alex has written about it here.
  • Documents is a new document management application, which provides a simpler alternative to traditional file management for both local and "in-cloud" documents
  • Quick File Previews provide a way to quickly view different kind of files in nautilus. Cosimo has a screenshot.
  • More components will be updated to integrate better with GNOME Shell:
    • The Login Screen will receive a visual overhaul to match the overall desktop theme
    • NetworkManager will use GNOME Shell's system dialogs for authentification
    • Much better integration of empathy / telepathy for chat
    • Contacts can be searched in the shell overview search
  • Color management will for monitors, printers, scanners and similar devices will gain its own, dedicated control-center panel
  • Wacom graphics tablets can be configured in the control-center
  • GNOME Shell gains an integrated On-screen keyboard, both for accessibility and keyboard-less devices (tablets)

Benefit to Fedora

Fedora stays in sync with upstream.

Some of the 3.2 work is targeted at closing 'gaps' that the initial 3.0 release had, compared to the mature GNOME 2.x desktop.


  • Keep existing GNOME packages updated
  • Package new dependencies of existing GNOME packages
    • itstool [#702989] used by many packages for doc builds
    • yelp-tools [#713443] used by yelp-xsl
    • gnome-online-accounts [#712949] used by control-center, evolution, gnome-contacts, gnome-documents, etc
    • cogl [#713584] used by clutter
    • p11-kit [#725905] used by gnome-keyring
    • libcryptui [#713584] used by seahorse
  • Package sushi (the file previewer) [#718415]
  • Package gnome-contacts [#712923]
  • Package gnome-documents, needs tracker 0.11 [#735315]
  • Package the (now standalone) aisleriot [#736537]

How To Test

Things that need particular testing attention:

Fallback on the login screen

  1. Boot a system on hardware that can run GNOME shell
  2. Verify that the login screen appears in 'shell' style
  3. Test that expected login screen functionality works:
    • There should be a top panel showing information such as the current date, battery, network, volume
    • Existing users should be presented in a list with their photo and name
    • Login via password / fingerprint / smartcard should work
    • A session choose should be available if multiple desktops are installed
  1. Now boot a system on hardware that can not run GNOME shell
  2. Verify that the login screen appears in 'traditional' style
  3. Test that expected login screen functionality works the same way it did in F15

It is also possible to 'force' fallback mode on a system that is capable of running gnome-shell, by replacing the IsRunnableHelper line in /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/gdm-shell.session with


On-screen keyboard functionality in gnome-shell

  1. Log in to a system
  2. Enable the on-screen keyboard (FIXME: how does one do that ?)
  3. Disconnect the physical keyboard, or just refrain from using it
  4. Test that the following things work, with the on-screen keyboard:
    • Entering the shell overview, and searching for an application
    • Typing a passphrase into a NetworkManager or VPN dialog
    • Typing a password into a PolicyKit dialog
    • Answering in a message bubble
  1. Verify that notification appear above the on-screen keyboard, when it is visible
  2. Test that it is possible to enter 'normal' characters, numbers, 'special' characters such as @ { } % and accented characters using the on-screen keyboard. Accented characters are entered using 'long presses' which bring up a secondary popup.
  3. Test that shift and modifiers work in the on-screen keyboard
  4. While interacting with the on-screen keyboard, pay attention to how it interacts with other gnome-shell features, such as the message tray.

Online accounts functionality

  1. Log into a fresh account
  2. Go to the online accounts panel in the control-center
  3. Set up your Google account, set the switches to use it for various things
  4. Verify that evolution has your Google mail, contacts and calendar information
  5. Verify that the GNOME shell calendar is populated from your Google calendar.
  6. Verify that your Google contacts show up in gnome-contacts
  7. Verify that empathy has Gtalk set up and ready to use
  8. Verify that the credentials for using these Google services are shared across the various programs: after you logged in once, you should not be asked again for your credentials, unless you explicitly logged out
  9. Verify that turning off e.g. mail in the online accounts panel, evolution will no longer show your Google mail

User Experience

The integration of Online Accounts/Documents should bring the user experience of the desktop closer to the web. Ongoing integration with GNOME Shell increases the general polish of the desktop. The GDM login screen will appear in the GNOME 3 style.


Depends on upstream GNOME see the GNOME 3.2 schedule

Contingency Plan

If GNOME 3.2 does not happen in time for Fedora 16, ship a release candidate like 3.1.92.


See the GNOME 3.2 feature page, or the release notes once the upstream release has happened.

Release Notes

Fedora 16 includes the latest version of the GNOME 3 desktop, 3.2. For more information about what is new in GNOME, see the Gnome 3.2 release notes.

Comments and Discussion