GNOME Shell 3.32 is set for release on March 13, 2019. This new release brings some real performance improvements, making this heavy Linux desktop environment more lightweight. GNOME Shell is used by default on Ubuntu and many other Linux distributions.
The GNOME Shell desktop environment has long been rather heavy compared to other Linux desktop environments. As Ubuntu news site OMG! Ubuntu! points out:
See, the GNOME Shell desktop is often criticised as being a bit on the ‘heavy’ side. Folks blast it for having comparatively high memory usage on start-up, for being taxing on the CPU, and for having a UI that often stutters or drops frames during usage.
But it’s getting better. These latest improvements are thanks to both the “upstream” GNOME Project and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. Georges Stavracas, a developer who did a lot of the work, lays out a lot of technical details on his blog. A number of improvements result in improved frame rates, smoother startup animations, and faster icon load times. There’s also some work being done on reducing GPU usage.
Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt has also been doing a lot of work on GNOME Shell’s performance. These patches aren’t just for Ubuntu—they’re being contributed to the GNOME Project and every Linux distribution will benefit. Linux news site Phoronix lays out many of the issues he’s working on, but much of it boils down to lower CPU and GPU usage. GNOME Shell is getting leaner and faster.
These improvements will be available as part of GNOME 3.32.0, which should ship on March 13, 2019. But you won’t get it then. You’ll have to wait for your Linux distribution to ship the new GNOME—often as part of a new release. For example, GNOME 3.32.0 will be included as part of Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo,” which is scheduled for release on April 18, 2019.