Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Like clockwork, the GNOME project released GNOME 2.18 six months after the release of GNOME 2.16. The new version carries a number of improvements over the 2.16 release, but doesn't bring many "must have" features that would compel users to upgrade right away.
The GNOME release philosophy is to put out releases on a predictable cycle, every six months. A release doesn't need to include major new features or updates, just whatever improvements and features are ready to ship. If a spiffy feature isn't ready by release time, it gets left on the table for the next release or the release after that.
To get into full GNOME 2.18 mode, I installed the Ubuntu Feisty beta, which includes GNOME 2.18, and also test-drove the Foresight Linux release that includes 2.18. I found that the bump from 2.16 to 2.18 is pretty gentle. You're not going to find many differences in this release that really stand out -- it takes some looking.