A lot of very talented hackers have been working for the last couple of releases making GNOME work with smaller memory devices and using memory more efficiently.
Maybe we should focus on the other direction: SPEED. My laptop is a dual core 1.6GHz and has 1.5 gig of memory, and although that's quite a high spec now, in a few months that will be standard. Maybe we should be using more memory for on-disk caches and that sort of thing.
For instance, I startup the laptop, click Applications, click Programming and then the menu appears after about 200ms, and then the icons on the menu after another few hundred milliseconds. This isn't so great when other operating systems appear to have the menu appear instantly on start. Maybe we should cache as much as possible in memory at load?
I click the epiphany icon on the panel launcher. I wait over a second for the window to appear. Why? Internet explorer can appear in a tiny fraction of this on the same machine on Windows XP. I guess it's preloaded into memory, which isn't a problem with over 78% of my memory unused.
I click the terminal icon, the window appears quickly, and the prompt takes a few hundred ms to appear. Am I being impatient, or do we really have to wait nearly a second to launch essential applications?