Gnome 2.12 is out and in production. A number of features that I’ve previously mentioned are included. It hasn’t been officially included in any stable distro I know of yet, but you can be sure that the next Ubuntu release as well as Gentoo will soon support this new feature set.
If you’ve never used Gnome or Linux before, the developers have included a LiveCD version of the newest Gnome. You can download it in multiple languages at the Gnome torrent site. The LiveCD won’t install anything or touch any existing data, but it will give you a fully functional demo of the Gnome desktop and all of the new features that come with it.
Also upcoming is the release of the next-gen Linux desktop environment, Enlightenment. I’ll be trying it out over its beta period and will provide a shakedown of Gnome vs. Enlightenment over the coming months.