All the GNOME source code is centralized in the GNOME Git repository. Keep up with the latest changes, add features you want, or test your applications with the newest code.
While you can easily install GNOME inside a distribution, in some cases you will prefer to enjoy the wild terminal screen and build GNOME from source. If you are a developer, programmer, scientist or interested somehow, you are in the right place.
GNOME’s versioning scheme uses three numbers: major, minor, and bug fixes. For a version number of 2.28.1, 2 is the major version number, 28 is the minor version number, and 1 is the bug fix number. As a rule, stable versions have even minor numbers and development versions have odd minor numbers.
GNOME releases a new stable version every six months, usually in March and September. If you want thoroughly tested software and a stable developer platform, the stable version is what you want. The current stable version is GNOME 3.0, released in April 2011.
To get more information about GNOME 3.0, check out the GNOME 3.0 Release Notes.
Between stable releases, the GNOME developers hack on the development or ‘unstable’ branch of GNOME, where lots of fun happens, but also occasionally experimental and unstable things happen. If you are interested in testing the newest features, or want to develop GNOME software, this is the release for you. The current development branch is GNOME 3.1, due for release in the last quarter of 2011.
JHBuild is a tool developed and used to build the whole GNOME desktop from the Git source. It can also be used to build other projects creating a moduleset for it. Unlike some build scripts, JHBuild lets you specify what modules you want and it will build those modules including dependencies. We recommend using JHBuild to build GNOME from source.
Git is a powerful method of allowing many developers to work on the same source code. It is used extensively within the GNOME project and often proves to be the first hurdle for new developers that are attracted to the GNOME project.