The eagerly awaited GNOME 3.0 has now been delayed and will not be launched sooner than March 2011. The major revamp of the desktop environment was initially scheduled for release in September, but quality concerns have forced the team to push back the release date to ensure that it lives up to the GNOME standards.
“A few release team members talked with various people during the first few days at GUADEC to get a better feeling of where we stand on our road to GNOME 3.0. We held a meeting later and decided that GNOME 3.0 should be postponed to March 2011 to make sure this release will have the high quality we all expect,” GNOME’s Frederic Peters said in an email.
“Our community wants to be proud of what we will release as 3.0, and moreover, we don't want to disappoint our users who are excited about our goals for GNOME 3.0,” he explained.
The decision was taken during the GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) and the announcement was made there as well. This comes as surprise for anyone not following GNOME development very closely. Being that many Linux distributions follow the GNOME release schedule, the move could be quite a blow for many popular ones, including Ubuntu 10.10, Fedora 14 and others.
The GNOME team will still release a stable version in September, but it will be labeled GNOME 2.32 and will not include most of the touted features slated for GNOME 3.0. This should ensure that Linux distribution maintainers have a new and stable version of the popular desktop environment to include with their releases.
However, a GNOME 3.0 beta will also be released in September to give users a chance to check out the upcoming version in advance. The beta is hoped to keep people interested and to smooth the path ahead for the final release. The new deadline should mean that developers should have more time to complete and polish the new features. The GNOME maintainers warn developers to not get carried away, though, and aim too far even with the extended period.