Reboot: Strategic goals for GNOME


 vision for GNOME 2.x did.Back in February, I posted the following - it
kind of got lost in the ensuing thread; but I think it's worth breaking
out into a new discussion (marketing list CCed). Like I say, I'm not
happy with the "vision" part of this (GNOME everywhere, and invisible)
because it doesn't offer a destination - it doesn't help anyone make
decisions about what's important - in the way that the "simple, usable,
beautiful" But perhaps it's the beginning of a vision that we can work on?

Juanjo Marin wrote:
> > Anyway, the original message of this thread
> > is that GNOME doesn't have long term goals.

Proposed short-to-mid-term goal: Make the GNOME platform exciting to
alpha-dog application developers & thought leaders.

Proposed community mantra: Beautiful computing freedom

Proposed project vision: Hidden in plain sight: Everyone using GNOME,
no-one noticing

The thing about a vision is that it easily makes it easier for you to
choose the right path at the fork in the road.

Think of the vision of the Palm Pilot as a great example - easy to
remember, and informs every decision: "Fits in a shirt pocket, syncs
seamlessly with PC, fast and easy to use, no more than $299".

What functionality is crucial? Seamless sync. Do we need to include a
certain component? What's its effect on the BOM? Can we still retail at
$299? Effect on size? Will it still fit in a shirt pocket? If not, no.

The hidden in plain sight vision has an element of that, but then it
doesn't provide any "use" vision, which is the biggest part of the
problem we have on the user interface.

Are we a middleware & platform project? Or do we still produce
compelling user interfaces? If so, for whom, in what circumstances?

We probably could have had moblin be "GNOME Netbook". We probably could
have had Maemo be "GNOME Smartphone". Or Sugar be "GNOME Education".

We probably could have had MeeGo be "GNOME Mobile", but our project
wasn't the obvious place to go, because we don't seem to know what we're
providing any more. And so we're losing stewardship (and control) of
these great GNOME-related projects to the Linux Foundation, or to Intel
& Nokia, or to distributions.

If we give GNOME a clear vision, and projects like Sugar, MeeGo, Maemo
and moblin recognise their goals in that vision, then the GNOME project
becomes a natural place to concentrate efforts again.


Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation member
dneary gnome org

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