Gnome isn't the only software that experiences this sort of problem.
It's a chronic problem for the kernel and device drivers also. (but it's not isolated to just Linux and Gnome either)
Say you have open source drivers for video cards.. this will often require updated Mesa libs, some X work, updated kernel DRM, in addition to the actual DRI drivers. The driver developers can hack on new features, improve performance, fix bugs, and do all sorts of stuff to improve the drivers but almost nobody can benefit from their work immediately. It will take six months to a year before the improvements filter down to end users through the distribution channels.
Meanwhile proprietary device drivers that provide a out-of-band method of installation can get their improvements new device support out to the users immediately. Also beta programs that are not any harder to participate in then just installing the regular drivers. They are a pain in the ass to install sometimes, but are also going to be much easier then if you are going to try to use the latest open source drivers.
The same problems exists with Wifi drivers and anything else kernel related. It's a big enough problem that companies like Dell had to create their own solution for back porting drivers to existing distributions so that they can get proper hardware support and fixes to their customers.
How many of those applications described in that article are available at their latest release on your current distribution?
If you are using Gentoo or Fedora 17 you will have the ability to easily install the latest version of LMMS. However if you are a Ubuntu user you can't do that through apt-get. Maybe Ubuntu studio will have the latest version, but you don't get that with the regular Ubuntu release. You don't get it if you are using Fedora 16 either.
What if there a bug that makes a user's laptop not suspend any more and people need this functionality? This means that they can't run new versions of any of their software until the distribution fixes it. Which means that even if the Linux kernel devs fixed it last month there could be another 2 or 4 months before the fix makes it to that user. And during that time they can't install any newer versions of the software they use.
And if you are actually able to use the latest version of a distro without hardware conflicts you still have to upgrade _everything_. You can't just use arbitrary versions of whatever software you want to use. You can't mix a older version of Gnome with a newer version of _anything_, regardless of out dependencies are setup.
This isn't the sort of thing that people tolerate on any other OS.
(Poor Ardour has a begging page for donations if you install the software from their website, but if you do it via apt-get or yum you have no clue that the developers are asking for donations and there is no simple or easy way to perform such donations. This makes developing commercial open source software extremely difficult and a very unlikely profitable.)
Therefore any piece of Linux software.. whether it's drivers, games, or applications, absolutely must provide their own out-of-band solution for providing binaries if they expect Linux users to use it any time in the next six-eight months. Any distribution supported scheme is going to be distribution and release-specific.
Unfortunately none of the solutions application developers come up with are really that good. Either they require massive amounts of work, like providing application-specific repositories for each Linux distribution and distribution release that people are likely to use. Or provide tarball downloads of software built on Ubuntu and just hope that it works and that users will not just give up when it doesn't. Or use special installers that are full of hacks and weird functionality that may or may not work due to bugs in the installer and the fact that you have to install the installer to get the installer to work.. at any point you may run into random dependency issues that are completely and utterly outside of your control.