Gnome 2.22 was just released (a few days ago). This is not the big-bang major overhaul type of release we have just seen with KDE, but it is worth nothing.
Information on Gnome can be found here.
A few highlights:
GNOME 2.22 introduces a new application, Cheese. Cheese lets you take photos and make videos using your computer’s webcam. You can apply a range of different effects like mauve, noir/blanc, shagadelic, and warp. You can share these photos and videos with your friends, load them into F-Spot, or set them as your account photo.
GNOME 2.22 introduces GVFS: a new network-transparent virtual filesystem layer for GTK+. GVFS is designed to overcome the shortcomings of the older GNOME-VFS system. Improvements over GNOME-VFS include remembering login credentials for the entire session and being more resilient to failures. Many GNOME applications are already using GVFS, including all of the core applications.
This is probably good. Mostly, as it says, this is already there, but there are probably some areas where this will work better for some users than earlier Gnome.
…improved support for DVD playback as well as support for digital television (DVB). Also appearing in 2.22 is a selection of new plugins, including support for MythTV, Youtube, and Tracker-based searching. This release also features playlist sharing and the ability to select subtitles for files.
Good. The following is really important for me, if it works, as I’m often in a state of regular communication with various people in different time zones:
No need to do any more mental arithmetic to work out what time your teleconference starts in Sydney. GNOME 2.22 now has internationalisation built into its clock. You can add multiple locations from around the world to see the local time and weather.
Of course, I had command line tools covering me on that, but I do love the Gnome drop down clock and calendar, so this added feature (shown on in the picture) will be cool.
Evolution, the PIM/Email thingie (which I use and like) will integrate with Google Calendar. That might make Google Calendar useful.
And much, much, much more.
For Ubuntu users, this new version of Gnome will be part of Ubuntu Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04). I’m sure it will be possible to install it in Feisty, but read carefully about that before you try …. just in case.
Of course, we all should be concerned that as more and more cool stuff is added to Gnome, Gnome becomes bloated. This should not stop anyone from using any one of the many available sleeker alternatives. However, Gnome does a very good job under the hood … it is not buggy, and manages a lot of basic system functionality very nicely. I would like to see the Gnome development community come up with a Gnome-Lite fork … or perhaps it should be called Gnome-Lightning … a version of Gnome with less stuff (perhaps user pickable) but the with the stability and good design of the larger product.