I’ve been reading a lot about GNOME’s future lately. In fact, according to Havoc Pennington, the lead developer of GNOME, as most users are rather satisfied with GNOME 2.x (which is a great environment to work in IMHO), most developers are busy correcting bugs in this version of GNOME instead of working towards a radically different GNOME 3.0.
As put by Havoc, “the GNOME 2 desktop, as shipped by most everyone, is the GNOME environment plus Firefox plus OpenOffice.org plus Evolution or Thunderbird”. Any radical change in the GNOME UI will require that those additional software also change their UI in the name of consistency. And I personally don’t see that happenning yet (especially OpenOffice.org which has a dreadful UI compared to the others).
Havoc concludes by saying that “GNOME 3 should be a fork [of GNOME 2]” because “the forces of existing userbase, the easiest-to-reach future userbase, cross-platform applications, and funded development efforts are strongly pulling GNOME 2 toward conservatism.”
“And I think this [inclination to maintain the existing or traditional order] makes a temporary (but probably multi-year) fork almost mandatory. Trying to do GNOME 3 “in place” will destabilize GNOME 2 while preventing the structural changes that would have value.”
Personally, I really feel we need a breakthrough in UI design. The whole Desktop metaphor has been used to the full. What will the next metaphor be ?