Gnome has been doing some worrying things recently, firstly we have the whole new notifications debacle, it shows the rifts that can be caused by one little thing in gnome, I hold the opinion that its “only notifications” and am worried how easily the little things get turned into big issues.
Secondly we have Gnome 3.0. The developers again seem to split over which direction to take the desktop environment. Some want a total KDE style overhaul, which I think is sorely needed but see little advantage in doing so currently; they need a new toolkit or major improvements to be made to GTK to achieve anything they are thinking of doing, we are looking at 2 years plus of pure 3.0 work, so obviously it will take longer if they keep pushing out bi-yearly updates. Another group exists however that just wants to push out Gnome 2.3 as Gnome 3.0, doing this so will obviously have grave consequences for the project, it will be branded by all as boring and doing nothing new…..not that its boring and does nothing new at the moment…. Right?
Finally we have the “less options will make it simpler for users” attitude, this is illogical, its not the number of options the user is presented with but how they presented, which options are presented and how they are described etc that makes an interface complicated or not, for instance, you’re browsing though files in nautilus and you see a script you want to run, so you want to open a console in the current directory.. In Dolphin / PCManFM (my file manager of choice) etc, you have a simple menu option for this (or press F4). In gnome (they removed this from nautilus as part of a simplification of the interface) you have to open a terminal and cd into the directory… hardly simpler! How about changing the font colour of the taskbars in gnome? You have to hack a gtkrc file! In KDE3 you had a menu/kcontrol option to set font colours manually, in KDE4 it is handled by a plasma theme.
Gnome and I have always had a relationship however it has a special place in my heart as it was my first ever Linux desktop environment, included with RedHat 7.3. The next distro I tried was KDE based which I loved and have been a KDE user until about 9 months ago when I got fed up of the bloat and I switched to Fluxbox.