How do I check my current version of Gnome and how do I upgrade?
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RedShirt: I think asking Mandriva (i.e. their website) rather than asking the program (which will surely know better, no?) about the version information, and I'd really like to understand why you think your approach is better (and, potentially, when and why you're right).
I didn't say my way was better, but you are asking a specific part of gnome, a single program which version it is, not gnome itself.
For instance, KDE has a control manager which lists current KDE version, which is right. If you can do the same in gnome, great, I am sure that would work fine. But if I were to open, say kwrite on this machine, though I have 3.5.1 as my KDE version, I have 3.4.2 as my kwrite version. I learned only the software's version, not my desktops by asking a program.
I would still say this is skirting the issue. The "proper" way would be checking in the gnome menu, which should have a version of its own showing the version of gnome you are running. However, apart from this, since you have never updated, checking the original install information would give the version as well.
My only real reason int he beginning for posting was wondering why the OP would want to upgrade if they don't know currently which version they have. Are they missing a feature which may be in a later one, or for the sake of having a newer one?
.. and that is a very valid question. A general response is that (at least free ) software improves over time. On the other hand, a general reason to not upgrade is that you might upgrade into a bug. apt-listbugs (lists all serious bug reports before you upgrade, prompt "do you want to continue?") helps with that, but it's rather debian-specific.