GNOME 2.24 ups usability, unified communications

Separate components come together in a unified way

The GNOME 2.24 desktop environment

The GNOME 2.24 desktop environment

In keeping with its six monthly release schedule, the GNOME open source desktop environment has announced version 2.24 which has big improvements in usability and unified communications integration.

New accessibility features in GNOME 2.24 include better keyboard navigation, improved mouse accessibility and better “screenreading”.

In addition to the file manager’s icon and list views, the new release offers a “compact list view”, and the size of the icons in the compact view can be changed using the zoom options in the “view” menu.

Browser mode of the file manager now supports tabs for faster switching between directories within a single browser window.

The GNOME 2.24 Deskbar adds new plug-ins, including a calculator, Google search, Yahoo! and Wikipedia suggestions, and for updating of Twitter and identi.ca. New plug-ins can downloaded from the online repository.

Upgraded screen resolution controls also make it easier to connect to a second monitor in a number of configurations.

For a more unique look and feel, GNOME 2.24 introduces new sound theme support with libcanberra and more desktop backgrounds have been added from a recent community competition.

Integrated UC

Open source unified communications comes to the GNOME 2.24 desktop with the inclusion of the Empathy instant messaging client which leverages the Telepathy communications framework.

Empathy supports XMPP/SIP audio and video conferencing and is viewed by the project as a companion to Ekiga, GNOME's audio and video SIP client.

Ekiga 3.0 has been released with GNOME 2.24 and sports a new interface centred around the phone book and presence of contacts. Ekiga 3.0 features SIP presence support, PBX line monitoring, better video codecs support (H.264, H.263+, MPEG-4 and Theora), accelerated video, optional full screen, and many SIP-related improvements for better conferencing.

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