After yesterday's semi annual update 3.38, the Gnome team announced that the next release, due in March 2021, would jump directly to Gnome 40.In the 6 month development cycle, Gnome 40 will go through three important milestones, namely alpha, beta and RC (release candidate).
The next version after Gnome 40 will be Gnome 41, and so on. After the stable version is released, the maintenance version update will be promoted in the way of 40.1, 40.2, 40.3, 41.1, 41.2, 41.3.
Perhaps, you and I have many doubts about this name change. First of all, why should we adopt the new naming rules?
Developers Emmanuele Bassi explain that GNOME 3.x series has been around for nearly 10 years and it is time to make some adjustments. So why 40 instead of 4.0?
Using 40 as the base is an acknowledgement of the previous release, and we will not introduce a large discontinuity in the digital version change, which is the focus of this change to some extent. If you call the next version of Gnome 4.0, it will have an unfortunate / unexpected impact on the platform, especially from a participation and marketing perspective.
Moreover, the number 40 appears to be related to GNOME 3.38 being the 40th version of this Linux desktop environment. Emmanuele Bassi means that if you start with 0(0) to calculate the version of the GNOME, the next version is the 40th version.
As for the development cycle, it makes sense that only alpha, beta, and RC milestones are available for public testing, as it can ease the lives of developers involved in making one of the best Linux desktop environments. Fewer development milestones, more time to do what really matters.