Regarding Gnome 3.0

Currently, there are three main camps regarding the future of Gnome 3.0:
– Continue evolutionary small releases
– Break compatibility and try to make it a modern desktop
– Go to a completely different direction than the PC desktop

On a previous blog post of mine I noted that I preferred either seismic additions (e.g. artificial intelligence), or just evolutionary releases that don’t break ABI and API compatibility with apps. Here’s another way that Gnome should go in my opinion:

Remove GTK+ and X11 requirement. Write both a brand new API using the Java language (by using Classpath, not J2SE), and a brand new, modern, windowing system that doesn’t have an ’80s architecture. In other words, pull a Google Android trick (and Apple Mac OS X too, in a way). You can still run older applications via a rootless or windowed X server, the way Mac OS X does it. And you only support modern ATi, nVidia and Intel (and maybe VIA) graphics cards after having few of your devs signing NDAs to get the 3D specs. Maybe you even rewrite the sound part too (adding support initially for only the 3 most common sound chipsets). In other words, you take over the “user visible” part of the operating system and you integrate with the rest of the system properly rather than legacy layers upon layers.

To truly liberate your platform and enable new powerful and modern applications to be written, that’s what it has to be done. Not beating the old dog. And yes, this is a 5+ year plan. Not something that gets done in a blink of an eye.

Red Hat has the most developers working on X.org, GTK+, Classpath, and Gnome, so they have to be the ones to be either convinced or initiate such a thing. Problem is, Red Hat doesn’t care about the home desktop anymore, they only care about getting corporate. Novell trying to go with Mono, would fail because it wouldn’t get enough tract from the community.

So this will never happen. It was a good 10 minutes of dreaming while writing about it.

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