GNOME 2.30: Waiting for the Big Release
GNOME 2.30 was originally intended to coincide with GNOME 3.0 -- a massive cleanup and rethinking of the popular desktop. However, GNOME 3.0 is delayed for at least another release, which leaves GNOME 2.30 as most likely the last version in a series stretching back almost a decade.
You will find signs of what is coming, including 3.0 previews, but, for the most part, like its predecessors, GNOME 2.30 is a collection of generally unrelated improvements. Unlike recent KDE releases, a specific direction is hard to see, unless it is an emphasis on improved usability and, to a lesser extent, application inter-connectivity as part of the cleanup for the big release.
GNOME 2.30 should be available in the package repositories of most major releases over the next few weeks. Packages are already available for the upcoming Lucid Lynx release of Ubuntu. Although, as I write, GNOME Shell, the core of the 3.0 desktop is uninstallable because the libgjs0 library is missing. Distrowatch also reports that the first beta of the Mandriva Linux 2010.1 release includes GNOME 2.30. In addition, a GNOME Live Media edition with 2.30 should be shortly available.