Since Gnome is usually a pretty big part of my desktop (I usually don't use Gnome per se but the apps are all GTK2/Gnome apps) I prefer putting off upgrading until the distribution of my choice has a full set of packages. Because, quite frankly, there are not many things that are more frustrating than a desktop that works only in a half-assed kind of way.
So what I recommend is trying Garnome
. Garnome is a source distribution of Gnome that makes it very easy to install. You install it in your home directory or somewhere else where it doesn't interfere with other software (like your distribution's Gnome installation) so if you want to get rid of it - just delete it!
I usually install it to /usr/local/garnome. I create a group called garnome (groupadd garnome
), then create the /usr/local/garnome directory, chmod g+rwx /usr/local/garnome
and then add the users that should have write access to this directory to the new garnome group. Log out and log in again to let the group changes take effect, edit the Makefile to set the Garnome directory to /usr/local/garnome...then simply follow the instructions.
I add the $PATH and $LD_LIBRARY_PATH to all my X session scripts so the Garnome apps and libraries are available to all users and so you can build software against the fresh Garnome libs.
Garnome is cutting edge Gnome. The current version provides Gnome 2.5.92 (a developer's release) but it should work OK, at least the Garnome versions that supply stable releases of Gnome.