Gnome 3.38 will be followed by version 40 in March 2021. The new type of versioning also dispenses with two-step steps between stable releases.
The Gnome Foundation wants change the version scheme of the Gnome desktop environment: the recently released version 3.38 is to be followed by the new main version 40 in March 2021.
Logical continuation instead of a complete break
In the announcement of the change on the Gnome project page, developer Emmanuele Bassi points out that the next (minor) release would have been version 3.40 – a “nice round number” that now starts a new series of versions instead. By using 40 as a base, you avoid too big a break with the old version scheme.
The move to version 40 is not made because major changes are planned to be made to the foundation of the desktop environment as part of a major release. Rather, Bassi justifies the step with the fact that the minor version numbers have gradually become cumbersome after almost ten years of the 3-series version. In addition, by doing without a “Gnome 4.0” also prevent confusion, it is based on the graphics library GTK 4.0, the publication of which is still pending.
News also for the minor versions
The procedure for minor versioning is set to change with Gnome 40 (or 40.0): The developers are moving away from the traditional scheme of using odd version numbers for development versions and even numbers for stable versions.
In the future, versioning will be sequential (40, 41, 42, …), whereby the respective version will first be marked as Alpha, then as Beta and finally as Release Candidate (40.alpha –> 40.beta –> 40.rc –> 40.0). For example, a development version 40.alpha would ultimately become the stable version 40.0. Intermediate releases with error corrections within a stable release have the version numbers 40.1, 40.2, … The versioning of SDK and runtimes should follow the same scheme.
Further information on the new version scheme along with detailed FAQs can be found in the announcement on the project page .