This Month in Mutter & GNOME Shell | April 2020

A bit later than usual, but nonetheless here the changes that happened during April on GNOME Shell and Mutter.

GNOME Shell

The command-line extensions tool received a round of improvements, and now reports extension errors better. Switching the scale of a monitor now should update all interface elements properly on GNOME Shell. Another quality of life improvement that landed was the inclusion of ASCII alternatives in the search index, which for example allows “eteindre” match “├ęteindre” (French for “power off”).

GNOME Shell now integrates with the parental controls technology being developed across the GNOME stack. If there are user restrictions in place, GNOME Shell now filters the applications that are not supposed to be used by the particular user.

One important improvement that landed during April is the rewrite of GNOME Shell’s calendar daemon. This updated version should prevent a lot of heavy background processing of events. Given the extents of the improvements, this is being considered for backporting to GNOME 3.36, but the size of the changes are also considerable. Testing and validation would be appreciated.

April then ended with the release of both GNOME Shell 3.36.2 as well as 3.37.1.

Mutter

On Mutter side, we say improvements to various parts of Clutter, such as ClutterOffscreenEffect, paint nodes, ClutterActorMeta, and various gestures. All these improvements are tiny steps to a cleaner, more maintanable codebase, and thus are much welcomed.

The most prominent addition to Mutter during April was the introduction of Wayland fullscreen unredirect. This code has been under review for many months, and required coordination between different parts of the stack, to work properly. Unfortunately, because it requires a very recent version of Xwayland (1.20.8) containing the fixes necessary for it to work properly, it is not suitable for backporting.

Improvements to the screencasting code landed in preparation for further improvements to GNOME Shell’s built-in screen recorder. We hope to be able to have a single code path for capturing the screen contents, regardless of whether the consumer is the Desktop portal, or the built-in recorder.

Also an issue many users had ran into where the Super key did not work as it should when using multiple keyboard layouts in the X11 session was fixed!. A handful of other bug fixes and improvements was made for the GNOME 3.36 stable branch was also included in the 3.36.2 release in the end of the month.

Like GNOME Shell, April ended with Mutter’s 3.37.1 release as well.