You’re probably wondering by now how GTK4 apps will look like in the upcoming GNOME 42 desktop environment, so in this article I want to show you a few examples that already landed during the alpha version.

For this first look, I want to focus on three important apps, namely the Nautilus (Files) file manager, GNOME Text Editor (a.k.a. the Gedit replacement), and the GNOME Software graphical package manager.


Nautilus 42, which is probably the most important app in the GNOME desktop environment, is shaping up to be one of the best file managers on the Linux desktop. The ​GTK4​ look and feel is very modern, and, if you’re coming from GTK3, you’ll immediately notice the differences.

Not only it was ported to GTK4, but it features revamped file renaming and file conflict UIs, the ability to search files by creation time, the ability to show compressed archives in the Recent files view, improved design of the path bar, and the ability to sort files by subtype within type.

  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_sed
  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_desktop_02
  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_desktop_03

Nautilus (Files) 42 alpha

On the other hand, the GNOME Software 42 package manager not only looks cool in its GTK4 port, but it also comes with an updated user interface, support for more markup in the description of apps, improved System Update progress, as well as PackageKit improvements.

  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_linux_04
  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_desktop_05
  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_sed_06

GNOME Software 42 alpha

Last but not least, GNOME Text Editor 42 promises a new document properties dialog that show various information about a document, such as the number of words, characters, and lines, improved regex search from the search bar, spellchecking improvements, Vim emulation improvements, a new keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+T) for restoring closed tabs, improved support for Python files, and improved recoloring for some style schemes.

  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_linux_07
  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_sed_08

GNOME Text Editor 42 alpha

The Disk Usage Analyzer (a.k.a. Baobab), GNOME Characters, GNOME Contacts, GNOME Clocks, and GNOME Calculator apps also come with a port to GTK4 and libadwaita during the alpha version of the upcoming GNOME 42 desktop environment series, due for release on March 23rd, 2022.

  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_sed_09​Disk Usage Analyzer (Baobab) 42
  • First Look at Some of the GTK4 Apps in GNOME 42_desktop_10​GNOME Calculator 42
  • ​GNOME Contacts 42

Most of the GNOME apps now support dark style preference via libadwaita, but some of them are still in the process of being ported to GTK4, which will probably happen with the GNOME 42 beta release in mid-February.

I really like the flat and modern style of GTK4 apps and I can’t wait for them to arrive in my Fedora Linux 36 install this Spring. If you’re waiting for Fedora Linux 36 too, you should know that it will be released in late April 2022, if not, you can always try the openSUSE Tumbleweed Krypton builds.