Flashback to 2007: “GNOME will be a platform or a big tent”October 28, 2010 3:54 pm gnome
I was more than a little amused when (in a vanity exercise) I re-read Joe Brockmeier’s 2007 profile of me while I was OpenWengo community manager. Among the topics we talked about was where I saw GNOME going, and I said this:
Neary says he thinks GNOME will either grow into different projects — such as a One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) GNOME, a Home and Small Office GNOME, and Enterprise GNOME — or the project will shrink to the GNOME development platform, “which will then be re-used by third parties to build the interfaces they’re interested in on top of it.
“We have already started to see this trend. Distributors cherry-pick the applications they are interested in for their own desktop projects, which are then themed and targeted for their core audience. The variety of platforms and human interfaces being built upon the GNOME platform is dazzling. These go from small-form-factor interfaces like the Nokia N800 and the Maemo application framework and OpenMoko and GPE through to innovative interfaces like Sugar from OLPC, which is totally unfamiliar to someone used to the GNOME desktop, but which is undeniably GNOME-based.”
It isn’t just the embedded or odd form-factor devices that are customizing GNOME, says Neary. “Even the major distributions have modified the GNOME interface to suit their needs. The openSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise, and Ubuntu desktops all behave in different ways, and have different target audiences.”
From memory, I don’t recall mentioning Home & Small Office or Enterprise GNOME, but I certainly remember saying that I thought we should adopt Sugar as “GNOME Education”, maybe Maemo as “GNOME Mobile”, moblin as “GNOME Netbook”, etc.
So it looks like the latter scenario has started to come to pass. The GNOME project is concentrating on defining the core platform and distributors are building usecase-specific or brand-differentiating user interfaces on top. Is it too late for GNOME to embrace this trend, or have we become technology suppliers only?