GNOME Shell & Mutter Prepare For GNOME 42 Alpha With Exciting Improvements

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 12 January 2022 at 01:00 AM EST. 22 Comments
The GNOME Shell and Mutter have checked in their new development releases for the imminent GNOME 42 Alpha milestone.

There is a lot of work as usual with these new alpha releases, especially on the Mutter side a number of notable updates for when acting as a Wayland compositor. Below is a look at some of the changes that caught my attention.

Mutter 42 Alpha has:

- Allowing input events to happen at full-rate rather than being limited to the monitor refresh rate.

- Support for AGBR and XBGR formats with DMA-BUF.

- Support for the Wayland DMA-BUF buffer feedback extension for improved multi-GPU support around direct scanout handling.

- Mutter also now considers Wayland sub-surfaces for direct scanout abilities, which notably helps Firefox among other software.

- Preferring GBM over EGLStreams where possible such as on the latest NVIDIA proprietary driver.

- Support for EGL_KHR_partial_update for more efficient screen updates. Separately, Mutter also has improved damage handling.

- Hold gestures have been added.

- Improved on-screen keyboard handling under X11.

- Mutter on Wayland now allows clients to maximize windows regardless of constraints.

- Crash fixes and memory leak fixes.

See the full list of changes for the Mutter 42 Alpha.

GNOME 42 Alpha changes include items such as:

- Improved window tracking.

- Support for extensions to opt-in to running on lock/login-screen action.

- The screen magnifier will try better to avoid offscreen rendering.

The full list of GNOME Shell changes can be viewed here.

Following the alpha, the GNOME 42 Beta is expected for mid-February while the official GNOME 42 desktop update is penciled in for 23 March.
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