The latest version of the GNOME desktop environment has been released – and what a release it is.

GNOME 3, aside from looking visually different to GNOME 2 thanks to its new ‘Shell’ – has had a refit, rethink and re-code of pretty much everything else underneath it! With changes so big and dramatic as these it’s hard to know where to start in mentioning them.

Despite the changes GNOME 2 applications will continue to work without flaw in GNOME 3.

Matt Zimmerman, Canonical CTO, is enthusiastic about the release: “In the face of constant change, both in software technology itself and in people’s attitudes toward it, long-term software projects need to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant. I’m encouraged to see the GNOME community taking up this challenge, responding to the evolving needs of users and questioning the status quo.”

…long-term software projects need to reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant.

Having spent the last few months elbow-deep in Unity i’ve not had the pleasure, or pain as may be the case, of using GNOME 3 for an extended and deserving length of time. So for more information, along with videos of new features and changes and an all important test images to download and try, head over to @

Release notes can be found @

GNOME 3 in Ubuntu 11.04

So., onto the “big question” or rather answer. Although Ubuntu 11.04 ships with Unity as its default desktop and is built upon GNOME 2 you won’t have to miss out on GNOME 3 in Ubuntu if you don’t want to.

The good news is that Ubuntu maintain a GNOME 3 PPA for Ubuntu 11.04.

The bad news is that, for Ubuntu 11.04 at least, you won’t be able to run Unity and GNOME-Shell side-by-side as the GNOME 3 PPA breaks Unity.

Also note that from now until April 28th the GNOME 3 PPA is to be considered highly unstable and will break your system. With warning issued, the PPA can be found @

GNOME gnome-shell gnome3 natty