The GNOME Release Team have issued GNOME 2.31.6, the first development snapshot of what will eventually become version 2.32 of the GNOME desktop environment for Linux and Unix. According to the GNOME Project developers, the development preview is "looking great". It is of course aimed at early adopters and developers.
The GNOME 2.31.6 release continues to use GTK+ 2 instead of GTK+ 3, which is still in development. The developers note that, to make the release GTK+ 3 free, they had to use 2.30 versions of a few modules as a temporary solution and that "everything will go back to normal for 2.31.90". Other changes include a rewritten user interface for the Cheese web cam application using the Vala programming language and the Clutter library, Empathy messaging client bug fixes and translation updates, initial support for adding new annotations in the Evince simple document viewer and version 0.5 of DConf, which adds support for layering and multiple writers in a single service.
Following recent discussions at this year's GUADEC conference, the GNOME 3.0 release team has postponed the final release until March 2011. The final version of GNOME 3.0 was originally expected to arrive in September. However, the developers say that they still plan to release a stable version of GNOME then, GNOME 2.32, and they hope to have a GNOME 3.0 Beta available at the same time to "clearly send a signal" that they want users to start testing and working with GNOME 3.
As with all development releases, use of GNOME 2.31.6 in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they encounter.
More details about the release, including links to download the GNOME 2.31.6 sources, can be found in the official release announcement and in the desktop news file. The latest stable release of GNOME 2.30.2 from the 23rd of June, the most recent maintenance update to the GNOME 2.30.x branch.
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