The effort to create a more beautiful effort is moving us quickly into a situation where the future desktop depends on hardware acceleration provided from the graphics card. The problem is that while 2D drivers are available as free software for the most part, the major graphics cards makers keep their 3D drivers closed. If you wanted good 3D acceleration under Linux the non-free NVidia and ATI drivers has been the way to go for a long time now.
So adding a ‘hard’ dependency on 3d hardware acceleration will implicitly mean we are basing our free desktop on non-free drivers feels like a step backwards. On the other side I don’t feel not going down the route of making our solution more visually appealing and hopefully also more usable is a viable option either, so I am not suggesting that these efforts gets rejected or stopped.
Hopefully the increased use of 3D will also lead to increased interest among free software developers to actually make free 3D drivers (and thus finding enough resources to overcome the difficulty of reverse engineering current cards) or that the increased use of 3d will increase the pressure from distribution makers and consumers to get ATI and NVidia to open their drivers. Anyway I hope I am wrong to be a bit worried about how this ends up and instead this leads to a big increase in contributions to things like MesaGL