Just read Havoc’s article on Java, C# and where to go.
First of all I don’t really buy the ‘we gotta move on this now or M$ will forever hold the desktop attitude’. Could be that my work as an Oracle consultant gives me a to narrow worldview and that the customers I talk to don’t represent the ‘whole picture’, but I am not convinced Havoc’s position as a developer relativly far removed from buying customers give him an excelent view into the realities of the marketplace either.
Personally I question how many ports we ‘need’ and of those we could be said to need how many will be dependent on GNOME using C# or Java as our main development languages. The amount of software for the GNU/Linux/FreeBSD desktop is increasing every day both with and more and more commercial developers are making their applications available for us and the ever growing presence of high quality free software. The commercial developers are making their applications available for Linux desktops because they see an emerging market, which is why Oracle is currently certifying all our desktop products (like the ERP/CRM E-Business suite that I work with) for Linux desktops.
True enough in our case the fact that all our desktop applications are Java/Swing based made the ‘ports’ very easy, which is partly why the ports proably are seen as viable already. But I do question wether the lack of something like java-gnome and/or is centrality in regards to the GNOME plattform would be the deciding factor if ever Oracle decided to make a linux native client of their software.
Personally I think the real issue we need to decide on is how we will deal with people wanting to use other programming languages other than C in their contributions to GNOME. Will we allow applications or utilities or core additions written in C#, Java, Python or whatever to become part of the official core GNOME desktop or not? If yes is it a yes to all, or a yes to one or two specificed languages? That is the only real issue I see, and while it do have some implications for what kind of technologies we probably will utilize in the future development of the desktop, it is not the all or nothing decision I feel Havoc is portraying. People are using Mono to make GNOME applications today and I am sure they will continue doing so even if Java is chosen as the official second language of GNOME or something. And the same goes the other way around.
So yes we should discuss what to do in regards to Java and C# and GNOME, but not in the context of ‘we have to decide now or doom awaits’