Gedit has always been another target of abuse by those who do not hold GNOME in the highest esteem. It is accused of being a little complex for a simple text editor, but not as good for programming. Personally I think some users are too used to emacs, the do everything and nearly-an-operating-system editor.
Gedit is helped out in this case by gtksourceview, a widget for syntax highlighting in GNOME. This widget is used also by monodevelop, so expect it to do highlighting very well. It also has syntax highlighting for a number of configuration files. This is one to watch.
But there is not much to say about Gedit though, its one of those very essential but very simple apps in GNOME.
File-roller is the GNOME 2 archive tool. It creates, extracts and modifies a number of archive types. It is ported to GTK 2.4, as are all the apps in the release. New in this one is support for extracting the contents of rpm files. This is really nice, I often want to extract something from an rpm file like a spec file from an srpm. This will do the job pretty nicely now. No more using arcane tools like rpm2cpio, and then having to extract again. This pretty much does the job well.
File-roller is really simple, like many of the core GNOME apps. But you will be hard pressed to find an essential feature you need it doesn't have.
Epiphany became the default web browser for GNOME in the last release. Before that, people generally gravitated towards Galeon, as it was the only worthwhile GNOME browser for a while. However, recently, when the time came for people to actually choose a browser that should be part of the GNOME Desktop and Developer Platform, Epiphany was chosen because of its commitment to the HIG. Here is a lesson to be learnt, it you want your app to be part of GNOME, learn to love the HIG. It is one of the points of pride for the project.
Galeon was not booted out, contrary to popular opinion. It was only ever the de facto standard when there was no real competition. Epiphany was conceived for and made to be a part of GNOME in contrast. You could say, Epiphany was made to not work without GNOME. This means using as much of GNOME as possible, and avoiding reimplementing as much as possible. Galeon has also somewhat taken this direction, but it is still a very independent project whose authors feel they would like to do things their way.
What is new in Epiphany this time around. Well, not too much on the surface. The download manager is revamped. You now have the option of specifying a default download directory, and it will download there without asking you again and again. This is similar to the recent release of Mozilla Firefox.
Toolbar editing is also improved in this release, and is more similar in implementation to that in Firefox rather than other apps. So you have a window with all your buttons, and you drag to/from toolbars to add/remove buttons from toolbars.
The full-screen mode is revamped, and very good choices have been made to maximise screen real estate available for page viewing whilst having as many essential features as necessary - two obviously conflicting requirements. Full screen presents you with the address bar, the tab bar, and a button on the bottom left for exiting the full-screen mode.
A few things did not make it into Epiphany in this release, like the certificate viewer, but for the most part, Epiphany is a top browser, which is capable of all but the most demanding tasks. For web development, I wouldn't recommend it. Mozilla (Seamonkey) is probably a better suite, being less narrowly targeted and better equipped. But then again, that was never its target audience.
Metacity, the GNOME window manager has been tweaked a little for this release too. Right clicking on the window border of an app will now bring up an improved context menu. The menu now has 2 levels, one for commonly used actions, and another with more specific items. The list of workspaces has been moved one level deep, and in its place, you now have the option to move a window to the next left or right workspace. This is a good decision, because for someone with many workspaces, this list becomes unbecomingly long, and for the most part, you only move to the next workspace anyway.
Metacity has a new 'reduced resources' mode, which encompasses previous options like disabling the animations. But in the interests of providing visual feedback as much as possible, when you drag a window for example, in reduced resources mode, you get a frame instead of the whole window and its contents being dragged along. Unfortunately, I could not get a screenshot of this. It refuses to come out on the shot.