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Gnome Shell is the new core user interface for Gnome 3 which provides switching windows and applications but you've probably already heard of it by now so I'll skip the introduction. However, I would like to mention that this is still a VERY EARLY version of GNOME Shell and should not be taken of indicative of the final user interface or performance.

What's new in Gnome Shell 2.29.0 (w/ screenshots)

Gnome Shell 2.29.0 introduces a new message tray showing notifications sliding into the bottom of the screen. It includes a status area for past notifications, and also pulls in "urgent window" handled in GNOME 2 by flashing the taskbar. Basically this feels a lot like the notification system in Ubuntu:

gnome shell 2.29.0 notification system
(at the bottom of the screenshot you can spot the new notification system in Gnome Shell 2.29.0 - for the status area for past notification, look at the 3rd and 4th screenshots in this post @ bottom right corner)

The latest version of Gnome Shell also adds the ability to set your presence to the user status menu, yet another feature which will remind you of Ubuntu (I still don't understand what's going on here, why are so many Ubuntu features replicated in Gnome Shell? But I guess they found it very useful...):

gnome shell status menu

Another new feature is switching the overview between a grid and linear view of workspaces:

gnome shell grid workspace view
(Gnome Shell Grid workspace view)

Gnome Shell 2.29.0 Grid workspace view
(Gnome Shell Grid workspace view)

App switcher (Alt-Tab) improvements:

gnome shell alt tab

The volume notification is not new in Gnome Shell 2.29.0 but I never saw it so in case you didn't either, here's a screenshot:

gnome shell volume notification

But the above new features are just a few of the many improvements in Gnome Shell 2.29.0. Other changes (since version 2.28.0) in Gnome Shell include:
  • Redo the application browser to use a grid of icons
  • Initial version of the extension system
  • Initial support for RTL layout in ST and the shell
  • Add undo capability to overview, e.g., when removing favorites
  • New workspace switcher popup
  • Work on visual appearance to match mockups
  • Port most of existing code to CSS
  • Show a scaled-up excerpt from the application item in the panel
  • Minimize windows to 'Activities' button
  • Use a fixed ordering for well-known icons in the system tray
  • Nicer animation of hidden windows when transitioning to/from the overview
  • Draw a ripple when the hot corner is hit
  • Completion to the Alt-F2 run dialog
  • And many more

A complete list of changes can be found HERE.

How to install Gnome Shell 2.29.0 in Ubuntu

Ricotz has been providing a PPA for the latest Gnome Shell builds for a very long time and his testing PPA has been updated just a couple of hours ago with the latest Gnome Shell 2.29.0 for Ubuntu Karmic and Lucid users.

To add this PPA, simply paste this in a terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/testing

And then, to install Gnome Shell 2.29.0:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Then, to use Gnome Shell, press Alt + F2 and enter:
gnome-shell --replace

To exit Gnome-Shell, press Alt + F2 and type (thanks to Paul):

Important note: due to problems encountered in testing GNOME Shell against Clutter 1.1, gnome-shell-2.29.0 still requires Clutter 1.0. Ricotz Testing PPA provides Clutter 1.0, so you just have to make sure you don't install a newer Clutter version from another PPA.

Update: you may also want to take a look at the first ever Gnome Shell themes.

The source code for Gnome Shell 2.29.0 can be downloaded from HERE.