Tag Archives: desktop environment

GNOME 3.24 Released, See What`s New

GNOME 3.24 desktop

After being in development for six months, GNOME 3.24 was released today, bringing improvements such as Night Light, weather information in the date / time indicator, along with updates to its applications, and more.

Changes in GNOME 3.24

GNOME 3.24 desktop

One of the most interesting changes in the latest GNOME 3.24 is the addition of Night Light, a feature that is aimed at preventing eye strain.
With the Night Light option enabled, the color of the display changes based on the time of day, making the screen color warmer in the evening. It is is set to automatically follow the sunset and sunrise times for your location, but there’s also an option to customize it.
The option to enable Night Light can be found in Settings > Displays:

GNOME 3.24 night light settings

With GNOME 3.24, the GNOME Shell notifications area (date time indicator) was improved, featuring a cleaner layout. Furthermore, Weather information for the current day is now displayed in the notifications area:

GNOME 3.24 weather information

Note that the weather information gets its location from the Weather app. The location can be set to automatically follow your location, or you can specify it manually.
Another fairly important change in the latest GNOME 3.24 is the revamped user interface for Online Accounts, Printers and Users settings. More Settings improvements are planned for the future.
Here are the new Printers (image via GNOME 3.24 release notes because I don’t currently have a printer to try it) and Settings:

GNOME 3.24 printers

GNOME 3.24 user accounts

Other changes include:

  • on machines with two graphics cards, you can now select the GPU to use when launching an application (via right clicking the app / game in the Activities). Under the hood, this uses vga_switcheroo with the switcheroo-control package and it only works with open source drivers. Note that switcheroo-control is not available in Ubuntu 17.04, at least for now, but is available in the GNOME 3 Staging PPA;
  • icon theme (Adwaita) updates: improved various device, file type and application icons, including document and folder icons. The high resolution icons are now 512x512px (up from 256x256px);
  • Wacom settings are now compatible with Wayland. Furthermore, Stylus configuration was improved, allowing styli to be configured independently;
  • Flatpak now supports downloading URIs as a part of application installation. This allows applications like Spotify and Skype to be supported;
  • toggle between power-off / suspend button on long-press;
  • the mouse cursor size can now be changed (this should be available in Settings > Universal Access according to the changelog, however, it’s not there in Ubuntu 17.04 for some reason, which does have gnome-control-center 3.24.0, but it’s still available via Dconf: org > gnome > desktop > interface > cursor-size).

Here are a few of the updated Adwaita icons (the blue icon is the new Nautilus / Files icon and it’s shipped with Nautilus, and not the icon theme):

GNOME 3.24 applications

Recipes is a new application added with GNOME 3.24:

GNOME Recipes

GNOME Recipes

The application includes recipes contributed by the GNOME community members and it allows adding and editing recipes, exporting and printing shopping lists, configurable quantities based on the number of servings, notes, as well as a hands-free cooking instructions mode.

GNOME Games, a game manager app that was available as a preview for a while, is now considered stable, and it gained support for Libretro games.
While not available in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (currently under development) yet, GNOME Games is available in the GNOME Staging PPA. However, it doesn’t work properly on my system (no games are displayed, not even the default GNOME games), so here’s a screenshot from the GNOME 3.24 release notes:

GNOME 3.24 games

The application includes extensions for Game Boy, Nintendo 64 and DS, and even Steam:

For more about GNOME Games, check out THIS page.

GNOME 3.24 nautilus

Files (Nautilus):

  • can now automatically ask for a password if additional permissions are required to open a file or folder (e.g. a system folder where only root has access). There’s no context menu to open files or folders as root – for that, see THIS article;
  • F2 can now toggle between selection modes, full file name or only file name without extension;
  • recent files are now always files that only the user accessed, rather than any program/daemon like Dropbox updating the access time.
GNOME 3.24 photos

Photos:

  • improved overview with bigger thumbnails that automatically resize to fill the available space;
  • includes new exposure and blacks editing tools;
  • can now display GPS information.
GNOME 3.24 web epiphany

GNOME 3.24 web epiphany

Web (default GNOME web browser):

  • new address bar which is now visible at all time, except in web app mode;
  • redesigned user interface for bookmarks management. Smart bookmarks support was removed;
  • new popover that displays a list of open tabs;
  • a more visible warning is displayed when accessing insecure password forms;
  • Web now includesEasyList filters;
  • added a new personal data dialog that allows viewing and clearing tracking data;
  • added a new search engine dialog along with support for search engine bangs;
  • experimental HTTPS Everywhere support. This is disabled by default and needs to be enabled at build time;
  • experimental support for bookmarks sync between Web (Epiphany) browsers via Firefox Sync (it cannot sync with Firefox). This is disabled by default and needs to be enabled at build time.
GNOME 3.24 software

Software:

  • it can now handle apt and snap URLs;
  • new icons that indicate when applications are installed;
  • updated presentation for user ratings;
  • it now displays the disk space an application is using in the installed view;
  • added a setting for downloading updates on metered connections (available via Dconf under org > gnome > software > refresh-when-metered).
GNOME 3.24 polari

Polari:

  • a new popover is displayed when clicking on a username, allowing you to start a conversation if the user is online, or request a notification when an offline user comes online;
  • spell checking;
  • can now run in the background.

Other GNOME applications changes include:

  • Builder includes ehanced support for various build systems, including Flatpak, Cmake, Meson and Rust. The app can now install and update SDKs and toolchains for Flatpak or Rust;
  • Calendar now includes a week view.

Getting GNOME 3.24

Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 (currently in beta, to be released in April; it will ship with most of GNOME 3.24 with a few exceptions, such as Files / Nautilus and GNOME Software) and Fedora 26 (alpha release expected at the end of March) are among the Linux distributions that will ship with GNOME 3.24.
openSUSE Tumbleweed and Arch Linux should get the GNOME 3.24 update soon.
In Debian, GNOME 3.24 is 53% ready in unstable and 51% in testing. See THIS page for more information.

For more information about GNOME 3.24, check out the official release notes.

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Ubuntu Budgie Becomes An Official Ubuntu Flavor

Quick update: Ubuntu Budgie is now officially an Ubuntu flavor. The team behind Ubuntu Budgie aims at making 17.04 (expected in April, 2017) its first release.

Budgie Remix 16.10
Budgie Remix 16.10

Initially called Budgie Remix, the Budgie-desktop powered Ubuntu flavor has its first unofficial release back in April (16.04).
Budgie Desktop is essentially a shell for GNOME, and it features a libmutter-based window manager (although this will change – thanks Назар for the info), a customizable panel which includes an applet, notification and customization center, as well as a menu that offers both compact and category views.
Like Budgie Remix, Ubuntu Budgie should use GNOME applications by default, such as Files (Nautilus), Gedit, and so on, with extras like Plank dock, and various customizations.
Check out the official announcement HERE.

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How To Get A Unity-Like HUD (Searchable Menu) In Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Linux Mint, More

You’re probably familiar with the Unity HUD, or Head-Up Display, which lets you search through and application’s menu. Thanks to Rafael Bocquet’s i3-hud-menu (and J.A. McNaughton’s fork), you can use this menu search feature in pretty much any desktop environment (and in any Linux distribution in which you can install unity-gtk-module).

i3-hud-menu allows searching and navigating through an application’s menu using the keyboard, with the use of dmenu (dmenu doesn’t have mouse support by default). Here’s how it looks like in Xubuntu 16.04:

i3-menu-hud Xubuntu

And in Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon:

i3-menu-hud Linux Mint Cinnamon



i3-hud-menu works with GTK2, GTK3 (but not client-side decorated apps) and Qt4 applications.

The tool is buggy with Qt5 applications as well as LibreOffice – see the limitations / issues section below for more information.

Important: issues and limitations

i3-hud-menu has quite a few issues / limitations but I decided to post an article about it anyway since some of you might still find it useful.

Also, I’m hoping someone reading this article might be able to fix or at least come up with some workarounds for some of the issues below. If you do, please let us know in the comments!

i3-hud-menu limitations / issues:

  • it doesn’t work with client-side decorated applications;
  • it doesn’t work with Firefox or Thunderbird;
  • it doesn’t work with Qt5 apps (make sure appmenu-qt5 and libdbusmenu-qt5 are not installed or else you won’t have a menu for Qt5 apps, such as VLC in Ubuntu 16.04 – if you do install those packages, you can use the menu via i3-hud-menu, but the actual menu won’t be visible in the application);
  • using it, LibreOffice no longer has a menu if the “libreoffice-gtk” package is installed – this package is used for GTK+ integration (though using i3-hud-menu, you can search the menu, but actually using the menu items doesn’t work for some reason);
  • to get i3-hud-menu to work with Java swing applications, you’ll need JAyatana;
  • probably more.

It appears that the LibreOffice and the Qt5 applications issue occur because “APPMENU_DISPLAY_BOTH=1” is not respected. Furthermore, using “UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=” (for example, using “UBUNTU_MENUPROXY= libreoffice –writer”) or blacklisting it via Dconf Editor (com > canonical > unity-gtk-module > blacklist) doesn’t get the LibreOffice menu to show up.

On Arch Linux (possibly in other Linux distributions as well), which requires the unity-gtk-module-standalone-bzr package, you need to run the following command (or change this via Dconf Editor: com > canonical > unity-gtk-module, set gtk2-shell-shows-menubar to “false”) and reboot to ensure that menus are displayed in GTK applications:

gsettings set com.canonical.unity-gtk-module gtk2-shell-shows-menubar false

Install and configure i3-hud-menu

Important note: I included exact instructions for Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and Linux Mint Cinnamon edition, but this should work with any Ubuntu or Linux Mint flavor (14.04 and newer only). It may also work in other Linux distributions, as long as you can install unity-gtk-module and appmenu-qt.

1. Install the required dependencies: python3, python-dbus, dmenu, appmenu-qt and unity-gtk-module.
In Ubuntu (14.04 and newer), use the following command (will also install “wget”, required under step 2):
sudo apt install python3 python-dbus dmenu appmenu-qt unity-gtk2-module unity-gtk3-module wget

2. Download and install i3-hud-menu

To download and install J.A. McNaughton’s i3-hud-menu fork from the command line, use the following commands:

cd /tmp
wget https://github.com/jamcnaughton/i3-hud-menu/archive/master.tar.gz
tar -xvf master.tar.gz
sudo mkdir -p /opt/i3-hud-menu
sudo cp -r i3-hud-menu-master/* /opt/i3-hud-menu/

If you want to install it yourself, grab the code from GitHub (but note that the instructions below assume that you’ve installed i3-hud-menu in /opt/i3-hud-menu/)

3. Load the Unity gtk module

Open ~/.profile with a text editor (“.profile” is a hidden file in your home folder so use Ctrl + H to see hidden files in your gile manager), paste the following at the end of the file:
export APPMENU_DISPLAY_BOTH=1
if [ -n "$GTK_MODULES" ]
then
GTK_MODULES="$GTK_MODULES:unity-gtk-module"
else
GTK_MODULES="unity-gtk-module"
fi

if [ -z "$UBUNTU_MENUPROXY" ]
then
UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=1
fi

export GTK_MODULES
export UBUNTU_MENUPROXY

… and save the file.

If after completing all the steps below, i3-hud-menu doesn’t work, you can try to paste the lines above in ~/.bashrc instead of ~/.profile.

4. Add i3-appmenu-service.py to startup

The next step is to add i3-appmenu-service.py to the system startup. If you’ve installed i3-hud-menu using the commands above, this file should be located in /opt/i3-hud-menu/

Xubuntu: To add i3-appmenu-service.py to startup, launch Session and Startup from the menu / System Settings, and on the “Application Autostart” tab click “Add”, enter “i3 menu service” under “Name”, and “/opt/i3-hud-menu/i3-appmenu-service.py” (without the quotes) under “Command”:

Ubuntu MATE: launch Control Center and open Startup Applications, click “Add”, use “i3 menu service” under “Name”, and “/opt/i3-hud-menu/i3-appmenu-service.py” (without the quotes) under “Command”, and click “Add”:

Linux Mint (Cinnamon): launch Startup Applications from the menu, click Add > Custom Command, use “i3 menu service” under “Name”, and “/opt/i3-hud-menu/i3-appmenu-service.py” (without the quotes) under “Command”, and click “Add”:

5. Assign a keyboard shortcut to i3-hud-menu.py

The keyboard shortcut you assign to i3-hud-menu.py will be used to open i3-hud-menu and search through an application’s menu. Here’s how to configure it in some Ubuntu flavors and Linux Mint (Cinnamon).

Xubuntu: open “Keyboard” from the menu / System Settings, and on the “Application Shortcuts” tab, click “Add”. Use “/opt/i3-hud-menu/i3-hud-menu.py” (without the quotes; if you’ve installed i3-hud-menu to a different location, make sure you use the correct path) for the command, click “OK:

… and assign it a keyboard shortcut:

You can even use “Alt”, like in Ubuntu (with Unity), but I don’t recommend it as you won’t be able to use other shortcuts that use Alt. You can use something like Alt + 1 or any other keyboard shortcut that’s not already in use.

Ubuntu MATE: from Control Center open Keyboard Shortcuts, click “Add”, under “Name” enter “i3-hud-menu” (without the quotes), and use “/opt/i3-hud-menu/i3-hud-menu.py” (without the quotes; if you’ve installed i3-hud-menu to a different location, make sure you use the correct path) for “Command”:

… and assign it a keyboard shortcut. Note that unlike Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE doesn’t allow assigning Alt as a shortcut. You can use something like Alt + 1 or whatever other keyboard shortcut you want, but make sure it’s not already in use.

Linux Mint (Cinnamon): launch Keyboard from the menu, click “Add custom shortcut”, enter “i3-hud-menu” (without the quotes) under “Name”, “/opt/i3-hud-menu/i3-hud-menu.py” (without the quotes; if you’ve installed i3-hud-menu to a different location, make sure you use the correct path) under “Command” and click “Add”:

… and assign it a keyboard shortcut.

6. And finally, restart the session (logout/login), focus an application and use the keyboard shortcut you set in step 5 to open i3-hud-menu.

via / further reference:

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elementaryOS 0.4 Loki Beta Available For Testing

elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” beta was released today, and it includes over 800 closed issues and 20 implemented blueprints.

elementary OS loki

elementary OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution (with Loki being based on Ubuntu 16.04), which ships with its own desktop environment, called Pantheon, a Mutter-based window manager, called Gala, Pantheon Dock (built on the foundation of Plank dock), and its own custom applications for the most part, which integrate tightly with the desktop.

The official elementary OS 0.4 Loki release notes do not provide a complete list of changes and new features for users. For now, the release announcement lists major changes for developers. Among these are:
  • the Ayatana AppIndicator API is no longer supported by Wingpanel. The announcement notes that the proper way to have quick application actions is to use the FreeDesktop Actions spec, and have the quick actions appear in the dock, when right clicking apps in the applications menu, and in the applications menu search. That means AppIndicators like Dropbox, Psensor, Calendar Indicator, Weather Indicator and so on, are no longer displayed on Wingpanel;
  • there’s no default app for handling .deb packages in Loki, and the “add-apt-repository” command is not available by default, though they are available to install from the repositories. The reason behind this decision is to promote “secure software installation methods”;
  • more.

Read more about these changes, HERE.

I tested the latest elementary OS 0.4 Loki beta in a virtual machine and here’s a list of changes I noticed on a first look:

  • a new software store, called “AppCenter”, is available by default. The application provides categories, search, application descriptions, and screenshots. It also allows updating packages. Right now, AppCenter doesn’t support user ratings or reviews;
  • a new notifications indicator was added to Wingpanel, which displays a list of important notifications, and allows enabling the “Do Not Disturb” mode, clear all notifications, and access notification settings;
  • Epiphany has replaced Midori as the default web browser;
  • redesigned Mouse & Touchpad and Power Switchboard (system settings) plugs;
  • new Switchboard plugs: Online Accounts, Printers (replacing the old plug), Sharing, and Parental Control (which allows limiting computer use, accessed websites and or access to certain applications).

Note that since there are no official release notes for users, some new features and changes, including possibly important ones, may not be listed above. We’ll see all the goodies that come with the latest elementary OS 0.4 Loki once the final release is out.
Here are a few screenshots with some of these changes:

elementary OS loki
AppCenter

elementary OS loki
AppCenter

elementary OS loki
AppCenter

elementary OS loki
Notifications Indicator

elementary OS loki
Updated Mouse & Touchpad Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Updated Power Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Online Accounts Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Parental Control Switchboard plug

elementary OS loki
Sharing Switchboard plug

elementary OS 0.4 “Loki” beta is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and it ships with GTTK 3.18, Vala 0.32, Xorg server 1.18.3, Mesa 11.2.0, and Linux 4.4, along with other updated libraries and applications.

Test elementary OS 0.4 Loki Beta

elementary OS 0.4 Loki is currently in beta, so it may contains incomplete features and various bugs. Use it for testing purposes only!

Download elementary OS 0.4 Loki beta (64bit only) | please read the release announcement (and more importantly, the known issues part)

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Install MATE 1.14 In Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) Via PPA

MATE Desktop 1.14 is now available for Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (Xenial Xerus). According to the release announcement, it took about 2 months to release MATE Desktop 1.14 in a PPA because everything has been well tested, so you shouldn’t encounter any issues.

MATE 1.14 Ubuntu MATE 16.04

The PPA currently provides MATE 1.14.1 (Ubuntu MATE 16.04 ships with MATE 1.12.x by default), which includes changes such as:
  • client-side decoration apps now render correctly in all themes;
  • touchpad configuration now supports edge and two-finger scrolling independently;
  • python extensions in Caja can now be managed separately;
  • all three window focus modes are selectable;
  • MATE Panel now has the ability to change icon sizes for menubar and menu items;
  • volume and Brightness OSD can now be enabled/disabled;
  • many other improvements and bug fixes.
MATE 1.14 also includes improved support for GTK+3 across the entire desktop, as well as various other GTK+3 tweaks however, the PPA packages are built with GTK+2 “to ensure compatibility with Ubuntu MATE 16.04 and all the 3rd party MATE applets, plugins and extensions“, mentions the Ubuntu MATE blog.

A complete MATE 1.14 changelog can be found HERE.

Upgrade to MATE Desktop 1.14.x in Ubuntu MATE 16.04

To upgrade to the latest MATE Desktop 1.14.x in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 using the official Xenial MATE PPA, open a terminal and use the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/xenial-mate
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
Note: mate-netspeed applet will be removed when upgrading. That’s because the applet is now part of the mate-applets package, so it’s still available.
Once the upgrade finishes, restart your system. That’s it!

How to revert the changes

If you’re not satisfied with MATE 1.14, you encountered some bugs, etc., and you want to go back to the MATE version available in the official repositories, you can purge the PPA and downgrade the packages. 

To do this, use the following commands:

sudo apt install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/xenial-mate

After all the MATE packages are downgraded, restart the system.

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A Quick Look At Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS was released today and it includes some interesting changes, like a complete overhaul of the MATE Welcome user interface, a new panel layout option in Ubuntu MATE Tweak, which mimics Unity with a dock-like panel and global menu setup, and more.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS video

Below you can watch a quick video which shows some of the new features / changes in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS:


(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to the WebUpd8 YouTube channel)

Changes in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

Ubuntu MATE, the Ubuntu flavor that became official with its 15.04 release, uses MATE, a GNOME 2 fork that lets you use the old GNOME 2 desktop interface, with support for both old (like the old Gedit 2 which was forked as Pluma, or Nautilus 2, which was forked as Caja) and new (header bar) applications.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 ships with MATE 1.12, which includes changes such as:

  • fixes and improvements for GTK3 support across the entire MATE Desktop including GTK 3.18 support;
  • significantly improved touchpad support, which now supports natural scrolling, 2 finger and 3 finger clicks;
  • improved multi monitor support;
  • the power applet now displays model and vendor information;
  • improved session management which now includes screensaver inhibition while playing media;
  • extended systemd support.

Those are just the changes in MATE desktop. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 ships with quite a few other improvements. For instance, Synapse, a popular quick application launcher, is now installed by default but it’s not active (it can be enabled using MATE Tweak, under Interface > Enable launcher):
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots


Another new default package is MATE Dock Applet, a configurable MATE Panel applet that can display open windows as icons:
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots


TopMenu Applet, the applet that can be used to add a global menu on the MATE panel, is now installed by default. It’s not used by default though so if you want to use it, right click the panel, select “Add to panel” and add “TopMenu” or use the new Mutiny panel layout from MATE Tweak:
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

This global menu implementation supports GTK2 and GTK3 applications only (it doesn’t work with Qt applications, among others).

Probably the most important applications user experience-wise in this Ubuntu flavor, MATE Welcome and Ubuntu MATE Tweak have received significant improvements.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

MATE Welcome:

  • complete overhaul of the user interface, with applications separated in a “Software Boutique” section. It includes a expandable/collapsible “More Details” section for each application, which provides screenshots, source (repository), website, platform and license information;
  • added System Specifications page;
  • added detection of graphics card (including VirtualBox) including one-click enablement of the graphics-drivers PPA if Nvidia is detected;
  • added one-click enablement of the LibreOffice Fresh PPA to continually track stable LibreOffice releases;
  • added multiple new applications, including Kodi, Nuvola Player, Pinta, Vivaldi, SparkleShare, GNOME Software, OBS Studio and many others.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE Tweak:

  • added keyboard led indicator option;
  • added launcher (Synapse) option;
  • added capability to enable/disable animations;
  • added support for Compton hardware compositing for Marco and Metacity;
  • added Mutiny panel layout which includes Mate Dock Applet and TopMenu Applet.

Other changes in Ubuntu MATE 16.04:

  • improved client-side decoration app theming, with resize area and shadows, minimal style for CSD windows running without a compositor, etc.
  • Plank dock was updated to version 0.11 which adds docklets, option (available via Dconf Editor / gsettings) to use multiple docks, and there’s also a new Plank theme for Ubuntu MATE;
  • MATE Desktop CPU resource requirements have been reduced across the board;
  • Google Chrome and Chromium windows are now considered Compiz windows in fullscreen to avoid tearing;
  • much more.

Under the hood, Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS ships with Mesa 11.2.0, Xorg server 1.18.3 and the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 4.4.0-18.34, based on the upstream 4.4.6 Linux Kernel.

Also see: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Available For Download, See What`s New

Download Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

Also see the official release announcement.

You can now use Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. For more information and download links, see THIS page.

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How To Install Cinnamon 3.0 In Ubuntu 16.04 Or 15.10 Via PPA

Cinnamon 3.0 was released yesterday and it includes improved GTK+ 3.20 support, new accessibility and sound settings and more.
Cinnamon 3.0 Ubuntu

Cinnamon is a GTK3 desktop environment, initially started as a fork of GNOME Shell, which is used by default in Linux Mint Cinnamon edition. Among its features are:
  • panel with a menu, launchers, window list, system tray;
  • support for panel applets and desktop widgets (Desklets);
  • supports desktop animations and transition effects;
  • highly configurable: users can customize the panel (besides applets, the panel supports autohide and the panel layout can be changed: you can use one panel or two panels like the old GNOME 2 layout), easily change themes, customize desktop animations, hot corners, etc.;
  • much more.

Changes in Cinnamon 3.0 include:

  • window management improvements on tiling, mapping and unmapping windows, compositor’s window groups and tracking of full screen windows
  • improved out of the box touchpad support (edge-scrolling and two-finger-scrolling can now be configured independently and are both enabled by default)
  • new accessibility and sound settings (both rewritten as native cinnamon-settings modules)
  • battery powered devices can be renamed
  • different favorite applications can now be set for plain-text, documents and source code files
  • panel launchers now include application actions
  • animation effects are now enabled by default on dialogs and menus
  • favorites and system options can now be disabled in the menu applet
  • the photo-frame desklet now also scans subdirectories
  • improved support for GTK 3.20, Spotify 0.27, Viber

Here are the new Cinnamon accessibility and sound settings:

Cinnamon 3.0 Ubuntu

Cinnamon 3.0 Ubuntu

And the Preferred Applications dialog which now allows settings different applications for opening documents, plain text, and source code files:
Cinnamon 3.0 Ubuntu

Cinnamon 3.0 will be included with Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon edition. It’s not yet clear if it will be available for Linux Mint 17.3, but I assume that’s pretty difficult to achieve, considering that Linux Mint 17.3 is based on Ubuntu 14.04 which uses a pretty old GTK+ version (3.10).

Update: Clem mentioned in a comment that “versions 3.0, 3.2, 3.4 and 3.6 are targeting Mint 18.x.”, so Linux Mint 17.x users won’t be getting Cinnamon 3.x.

Note that in the screenshots above, I’m using the new Linux Mint Mint Y GTK and icon themes as well as the Linux Mint Cinnamon theme. You’ll find download links for these below, under “Cinnamon 3.0 tweaks for Ubuntu”.

Install Cinnamon 3.0 in Ubuntu 16.04 or 15.10 via PPA

Important: if you want to install Cinnamon in Ubuntu and you’re using the WebUpd8 Nemo PPA, purge that PPA before proceeding. Also, don’t add this PPA if you use Linux Mint.

The PPAs that uses to provide Cinnamon stable weren’t updated with the latest Cinnamon 3.0. I did find 2 PPAs with Cinnamon 3.0:

There’s also the Cinnamon Nightly Builds PPA, but it’s not recommended for regular users because it contains untested / unstable code from Git!
For the instructions below I’m using embrosyn’s Cinnamon stable PPA.
To add the PPA and install Cinnamon 3.0 in Ubuntu 16.04 or 15.10, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon
sudo apt update
sudo apt install cinnamon blueberry

Once installed, log out and select Cinnamon from the login screen:

Tweaks

1. Themes

In Ubuntu 16.04, Ambiance and Radiance themes have some issues in Cinnamon, like missing shadows for CSD apps. 

However, there are quite a few themes out there that should work properly in Cinnamon, like Numix GTK Theme (available in the official repositories). To install Numix GTK Theme, use the following command:
sudo apt install numix-gtk-theme

You can also download the official Linux Mint themes, including the new Mint Y Theme from Linux Mint 18, by using the links below:

Note: to be able to install “libreoffice-style-mint”, you’ll need to remove the “libreoffice-style-human” package, which is installed by default in Ubuntu 15.10.

To install them, download the deb files using the links above and place them in a folder – let’s call it “deb” -, in your home directory (~/deb). Then use dpkg to install all the packages at once, using the following command:

sudo dpkg -i ~/deb/*.deb

2. Shutdown fix

In my test in Ubuntu 15.10, selecting “Quit” from the Cinnamon menu (which allows you to shutdown the computer) doesn’t work properly – the dialog doesn’t display any buttons other than “Cancel”.

If you have this issue, fix it by using the following commands:

gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.session settings-daemon-uses-logind true
gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.session session-manager-uses-logind true
gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.session screensaver-uses-logind false

… and restart the session (logout or restart the system).

I should also mention that I didn’t encounter this issue in Ubuntu 16.04.

Thanks to Kevin @ AskUbuntu for the fix!

How to revert the changes

There are two ways you can revert the changes made by using the PPA above to install Cinnamon: either completely remove Cinnamon 3.0 or you can downgrade the packages installed from the PPA and use the Cinnamon version available in the official Ubuntu repositories.

A) Completely remove Cinnamon 3.0

Firstly remove the PPA:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/embrosyn-cinnamon*.list

Then, to completely remove Cinnamon, you can use the following command:

sudo apt purge cinnamon* libcinnamon* nemo* libnemo-extension1 cjs libcjs0e blueberry gir1.2-cinnamondesktop-3.0 gir1.2-meta-muffin-0.0 libmuffin0 muffin-common

You may then use “autoremove” to remove all the depedencies that were installed and are no longer required:
sudo apt autoremove

B) Purge the PPA

By purging the PPA, you can downgrade Cinnamon to the version available in the official Ubuntu repositories. You can do this with PPA Purge:
sudo apt install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon

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How To Install GNOME 3.20 In Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 (Xenial Xerus)

Now that Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) is out, you may want to install the latest GNOME 3.20. I won’t get into details about what’s new in GNOME 3.20 since I’ve already covered that.
GNOME 3.20 Ubuntu 16.04

Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 uses GNOME 3.18 for the most part: GTK 3.18, along with GNOME Shell 3.18, GDM 3.18 and the 3.18.x release for most GNOME applications. Exceptions are Nautilus (3.14), GNOME Software and GNOME Calendar (both updated to version 3.20.x).
To upgrade to GNOME 3.20 in Ubuntu GNOME 16.04, you’ll have to use the GNOME 3 Staging PPA.
The PPA doesn’t have the complete GNOME 3.20 though. On a first look, I can tell you that the following packages weren’t updated to version 3.20 in the PPA: Bijiben, Cheese, Epiphany, Evince, Boxes, Disks and probably others.

GNOME 3.20 Ubuntu 16.04

Nautilus (Files), Gedit, Maps, Documents, System Monitor, Terminal and so on, along with GTK+, Settings (Control Center / Settings Daemon), GNOME Shell, and GDM were all updated to version 3.20.
To see all the packages available for Ubuntu (GNOME) 16.04 in the GNOME 3 Staging PPA, click HERE.

GNOME 3.20 Ubuntu 16.04

I’ve been using GNOME 3.20 in Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 for a few hours and I didn’t encounter any major issues however, there might be things I didn’t notice. Furthermore, bugs can be introduced with future updates, especially since the PPA packages are not as widely tested as the packages available in the official Ubuntu repositories.

So use the PPA with care and only if you know what you’re doing!

Update: pierremichaud points out in a comment below that the GNOME Calendar and Evolution calendar synchronization with Google doesn’t work for now.

If something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to or you simply don’t want to use GNOME 3.20 any more, you can purge the PPA and go back to the default GNOME version (3.18) available in Ubuntu GNOME 16.04. You’ll find instructions for how to do this at the end of the article.

How to upgrade to GNOME 3.20 in Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 (Xenial Xerus)

Before proceeding, it’s important to mention that you should only use this PPA in Ubuntu GNOME. In Unity for instance, updating GTK and other libraries, along with applications without Unity patches can result in quite a bad desktop experience, crashes, etc.
Also, I recommend switching to the default GNOME theme (Adwaita), to avoid any issues that may occur with a newer GTK+ version and the theme you’re using.
To add th GNOME 3 Staging PPA and upgrade to GNOME 3.20 in Ubuntu GNOME 16.04, use the following commands (read the important notice below before running the “dist-ugrade” command):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
Important! Read the output of “apt dist-upgrade” before entering ‘Y’ to make sure important packages won’t be removed! This is up to you to figure out.
For instance, in my test, the “dist-upgrade” command displayed a message saying that “grilo-plugins-0.2-base” was about to be removed. I knew that’s ok because “grilo-plugins-0.3-base” was mentioned below, in the section that lets you know about new packages that will be installed:
$ sudo apt dist-upgrade
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Calculating upgrade... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
grilo-plugins-0.2-base grilo-plugins-0.2-extra libmutter0g
The following NEW packages will be installed:
gir1.2-geoclue-2.0 gir1.2-grilo-0.3 gir1.2-lokdocview-0.1 grilo-plugins-0.3
grilo-plugins-0.3-base grilo-plugins-0.3-extra libcamel-1.2-57 libgexiv2-2
libgrilo-0.3-0 libgspell-1-1 libjpeg62 libmutter0h libreoffice-gtk3
The following packages will be upgraded:
...................

The same goes for “grilo-plugins-0.2-extra” and “libmutter0g”. This is just an example though!

Once the upgrade is completed, it’s best to restart your system to avoid running into issues.

How to revert the changes and go back to GNOME 3.18 in Ubuntu GNOME 16.04

If you want to revert the changes and go back to GNOME 3.18 in Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), you can purge the PPA. To purge the PPA, use the following commands:
sudo apt install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Available For Download, See What`s New [Video, Screenshots]

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is available to download! Let’s take a look at the most important new features and changes in this long term release.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Video

As usual, here’s a video showing some of the most important desktop changes in Ubuntu 16.04 (with Unity):


(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to the WebUpd8 YouTube channel)

Unity / Compiz changes in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) whips with a major new feature for Unity: the ability to move the Unity Launcher and Dash to the bottom of the screen:

Ubuntu 16.04 screenshots

Ubuntu 16.04 screenshots

Ubuntu 16.04 screenshots

Ubuntu 16.04 doesn’t ship with an option in System Settings to control the Launcher position and for this, you’ll have to use Dconf Editor (com > canonical > unity > launcher > launcher-position) or a third-party tool such as Unity Tweak Tool.

With Ubuntu 16.04, online searches in Dash are disabled by default. Users can still enable this feature from System Settings > Security & Privacy:
Another new Unity feature available with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is file manager integration for the Unity Launcher:
Every device icon on the Launcher now manages its relative window, while the files (Nautilus) icon matches the other views. For instance, if you click on the Trash (or USB devices, etc.) icon, the Nautilus window that opens is managed from the Trash icon, and not from the Nautilus icon from the Launcher.
Also, with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, applications that use header bars look better under Unity (they have shadows, the windows are resizable, etc.). However, there are still issues with the window corners for some applications. For instance, here’s GNOME Calendar and GNOME Clocks:

Other Unity / desktop changes in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:

  • Dash now uses GTK-like overlay scrollbars instead of the old, Unity overlay scrollbars design;
  • better Dash theming support;
  • session actions (shutdown, reboot, etc.) are now available from Unity Dash
  • the option to change menu visibility (displayed on mouse hovering or always visible) is now available in System Settings (Appearance > Behavior tab) so you no longer need to use dconf Editor or other third-party tools to change this;
  • GNOME Software (which is provided to the users as “Ubuntu Software”) now integrates with Unity Launcher, in the same way Ubuntu Software Center did (it places newly installed app icons on the Launcher, with a progress bar as the application is being installed);
  • support for scaling cursors in HiDPI environments;
  • the Unity workspace switcher now uses quicklists that allows switching to a certain workspace;
  • the option to format USB devices via Unity quicklists has returned;
  • the Unity application window spread (so for an application that has multiple open windows) can now be triggered using a keyboard shortcut: Super+Ctrl+W;
  • Controls are now hidden by default in the Ubuntu Sound Menu. They are only displayed when you start using a player that supports the Sound Menu;
  • the “Proposed” repository option was moved in Software & Updates from the “Other Software” tab to a new “Developer Options” tab, to make it clear that regular users shouldn’t be using it.

Here are screenshots with some of these changes:

Defaults in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Ubuntu Software Center was replaced with GNOME Software (which is advertised as “Ubuntu Software” – details here) as the default tool to install and discover new applications.
Ubuntu 16.04 screenshots

While GNOME Software (aka Ubuntu Software) supports updates, Ubuntu continues to use its own Software Updater tool for this.

Ubuntu 16.04 screenshots

Ubuntu 16.04 screenshots

And speaking of updates, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will allow installing snap packages, while continuing to support the .deb format.
Snap packages will allow updating without having to worry about the impact on other applications or the system. That’s because a snap package contains all of its dependencies. Also, snap packages are strictly confined and sandboxed, and support transitional updates.
More about snap updates in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, HERE.
Ubuntu Software Center wasn’t the only app that was removed from the default installation with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS though. Empathy and Brasero were also removed, and no applications were added as replacements. As a result, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ships without an instant messaging app and CD/DVD burning tool.
The Catalyst / fglrx video driver was also removed because it didn’t support XServer 1.18, which is used in Ubuntu 16.04. More information about this, HERE. Both Ubuntu and AMD developers now recommend its open source alternatives (radeon and amdgpu), which include backported kernel code from Linux 4.5 to provide a better experience.
GNOME Calendar is new addition to the default Ubuntu application list. The application integrates with Online Accounts, supporting Google Calendar sync, along with other features, like adding calendars from files or remote URLs.
Despite being included by default with Ubuntu 16.04 (with Unity), GNOME Calendar wasn’t patched to use a traditional titlebar and menu, like Totem, Nautilus, Gedit and so on, and instead, it uses header bars (also known as client-side decorations).

Ubuntu 16.04 apps

GNOME applications available by default in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS include:

  • Files (Nautilus) 3.14.3
  • (GNOME) Software 3.20.1
  • Calendar 3.20.1
  • Gedit 3.18.3
  • Totem 3.18.1
  • Terminal 3.18.3
  • Eye of GNOME (Image Viewer) 3.18.2
  • Evince 3.18.2
  • System Monitor 3.18.2
  • Disks 3.18.3

As you can see, Ubuntu 16.04 ships with GNOME 3.18 for the most part, with a few exceptions like Nautilus, which is still at version 3.14.3, but also with a few newer apps, like GNOME Software and Calendar (3.20.1).
Other default applications available in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS include Firefox 45.0.2, Thunderbird 38.6, LibreOffice 5.1.2, Transmission 2.84, Shotwell 0.22.0+git and Deja Dup 34.2, on top of Unity 7.4.0 (daily build as of April 15th) and GTK+ 3.18.9.
Under the hood, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ships with Mesa 11.2.0, Xorg server 1.18.3 and the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 4.4.0-18.34, based on the upstream 4.4.6 Linux Kernel.

Download Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

If you installed Ubuntu 16.04 beta or a daily build and installed all the updates using the Update Manager, you’re already running the final Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release, so there’s no need to reinstall.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will be supported for 5 years. Some flavors may have a different support period – see the release notes for the flavor you want to use for more information.

Download Ubuntu 16.04 LTS | release notes (includes instructions for upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04)

Ubuntu 16.04 flavors download links / release notes:

You may also be interested in: Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

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GNOME 3.20 Released With Various Refinements And Application Updates

After the usual 6-month development cycle, GNOME 3.20 was released today and it includes changes such as updated Software app, which can now handle operating system upgrades, image editing capabilities for the Photos app, a new shortcuts window which displays the available keyboard shortcuts in most GNOME apps, and much more.

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

Changes in GNOME 3.20

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

For the GNOME 3.20 release, the developers have focused more on the GNOME apps, while GNOME Shell has only received minor changes for the most part.
There is one change that stands out though: media controls are now displayed in the notification / clock area, so users have quick access to music and video apps (which support MPRIS) that are currently in use:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

With GNOME 3.20, users have more control over the location services. Until now it was possible to either enable or completely disable the location services however, with this release, access to location services can be decided on a per-application basis:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

That’s not the only Settings module that was improved for this release. Mouse & Touchpad preferences was overhauled to make it easier and quicker to locate the relevant settings. The touchpad settings are only displayed if you have a touchpad for instance, and more explanations are provided:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots
Another interesting change is the addition of a shortcuts window to quite a few GNOME applications, like Files (Nautilus), Gedit, Maps, Videos, Photos and others. The shortcut window displays the keyboard shortcuts as well as available multitouch gestures, and can be accessed from the application menu or by using Ctrl + ? or Ctrl + F1 shortcuts. Here’s the Files shortcuts window as an example:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

Other changes include:

  • Wayland improvements that should provide a usable day to day experience, including: kinetic scrolling, drag-and-drop, application startup notification, middle-click paste and more;
  • Cantarell, the default GNOME font, has received lots of improvements for this release and overall, the text has a far better appearance, with more harmonious and consistent letters at all sizes, as well as new supported character sets, like Vietnamese, Cyrillic and Devanagari;
  • there’s a new option that allows displaying the battery charge percentage in the GNOME Shell Top Bar. This can be found in dconf Editor: org > gnome > desktop > interface > show-battery-percentage;
  • GTK+ CSS theming has had a major overhaul, which should result in easier theme writing and more dynamic interfaces;
  • gspell, a new spell-checking library for GTK applications, has been introduced with GNOME 3.20 and is already used by Gedit;
  • xdg-app, the cross-distro framework for building and distributing desktop apps on Linux, has matured for the 3.20 release and it includes xdg-app-builder, a tool that makes it easy to build apps, along with other important changes such as support for creating single-file application bundles and more. More info available in the GNOME 3.20 release notes for developers.

GNOME applications

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

With GNOME 3.20, the Software application now supports upgrading to new major versions of the operating system, along with other changes, such as support for user reviews, support for xdg-app and Limba bundles and more:

Note that for the screenshot above, I’ve used the Ubuntu-patched GNOME Software because it’s the only way to see the user reviews in action at this point, at least as far as I’m aware of.

The Files (Nautilus) 3.20 application ships with revamped search filters as well as a faster and more responsive search:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

Other changes in Files 3.20 include:

  • a new, more compact preferences dialog;
  • new settings to show action to create symbolic links and to permanently delete files and folders, as well as recursive search settings (to search in subfolders: local only, all locations or never);
  • extra zoom level in the list and grid views;
  • display available / remaining space for drives listed in Other Places.

The latest 3.20 version of the Photos application brings image editing support. The application now includes functions such as crop, rotate, color adjustment and picture enhancement, as well as some Instagram-like filters:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

The changes made using Photos are non-destructive: the original photo is preserved and the changes can be undone. There’s also a new feature that allows exporting images from Photos, which includes an option to export the image at a reduced size.
The latest version of the GNOME IRC application, Polari, ships with a built-in server list, so all you have to do to add a server is to select it from the app, instead of manually adding it.

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

Other changes in Polari 3.20 include:

  • the application now supports pasting images directly into chats;
  • server properties are now accessed from the sidebar;
  • added support for traditional IRC features, such as tab completion for IRC commands, the ability to open IRC links, support for the /msg command and more;
  • Polari can now handle server passwords;
  • improved look and feel, with a restyled input bar and new text animations;
  • more.

Web (Epiphany) is another application that has received a lot of attention for this release, and it includes changes like an improved session restore feature. Besides restoring tabs, like in previous releases, the new session restore feature also restores each tab browsing history, scroll position and more.
Another improvement in the latest Web is a new popover that displays the downloads, which can be accessed from the header bar:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

Other changes in the Web application include:

  • support for advanced we-based graphics and audio, with WebGL and Web Audio;
  • feedback when visiting non-HTTPS sites has been improved;
  • new tabs now inherit browsing history when opened from a link (this restores behavior that was lost in a previous version);
  • the cookies dialog has a built-in search now.

With GNOME 3.20, Maps includes improvements such as:

  • the application now allows adding and editing place information from OpenStreetMap;
  • place popovers now include more information, like phone numbers or website address;
  • the application now supports adding custom layers using common mapping file formats like GeoJSON, KML and GPX;
  • added support for printing route directions;
  • the application now supports exporting maps as PNGs;
  • a new scale ruler was added;
  • the app can now open links prefixed by “geo:”.

Here’s the latest GNOME Maps 3.20:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots
For the GNOME 3.20 release, dconf Editor was updated to give a better overview. The application now uses a header bar, with a standard search design which can be found throughout most GNOME applications:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

Other dconf Editor changes include a new bookmark feature, useful to quickly access some often-used settings, a redesigned entry editor (I’m not sure exactly how this is called), which integrates a “use default value” switch that allows you to easily revert the changes to default, along with other useful improvements, like options to copy current path and reset visible keys.
image via chergert

GNOME Builder, the relatively recently introduced IDE for GNOME, includes quite a few new features and improvements, such as:

  • the app now supports building xdg-app bundles and within a JDBuild environment;
  • a new multi-process plugin framework, which adds a wide rage of functionality to Builder, including auto indenters, autocompletion providers, tools, services, search providers, version control systems and more;
  • overhauled application preferences;
  • autocompletition is now faster and supports fuzzy matching;
  • a new To Do plugin was added to track to do items;
  • improved VIM emulation;

Other changes in the GNOME 3.20 apps include:

  • Nibbles comes with updated artwork as well as a new retro arcade style, along with a new game screen and better high scores integration;
  • the quick add popovers used in GNOME Calendar now allow selecting the calendar to which you want to add the event to;
  • tasks in the scheduled view are now grouped under date headings in the To Do application. To Do also includes a new plugin system which will allow the app to integrate with various online task managers (but no plugins are available for now);
  • Documents app now allows listing the documents by name, date or author
  • Boxes application was updated to automatically create a snapshot after creating a virtual machine;
  • GNOME Games now supports MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) and Neo-Geo Pocket.

Here are the changes mentioned above, for Nibbles, Calendar and To Do:

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

GNOME 3.20 screenshots

GNOME 3.20 video

Below you can watch a GNOME 3.20 overview video (via GNOME Desktop YouTube channel):


(direct video link)

Getting GNOME 3.20

GNOME 3.20 will be available by default in Fedora 24 (alpha release scheduled for March 29).

In OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, GNOME 3.20 should be available by the end of this month or in early April.

Arch Linux users can install GNOME 3.20 from the GNOME Unstable Arch repository.
In Debian, GNOME 3.20 is 32% ready in Unstable and 30% in Testing, according to THIS page.
Ubuntu GNOME (and Ubuntu with Unity) 16.04, which will be released next month, won’t include GNOME 3.20, but GNOME 3.18 for the most part. A few packages are updated to the latest 3.20 version (or, to be more specific, 3.20 release candidate) though, like Software and Calendar.
However, GNOME 3.20 should be available with Ubuntu 16.10. Also, the GNOME 3 Staging PPA is in the process of being updated to GNOME 3.20 for Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus.

You may also want to check out the official GNOME 3.20 release notes.

information via

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