GNOME’s Future: Open Source Desktop Interface In Doubt?

GNOME, the project responsible for what has been one of the open-source world’s most popular desktop interfaces for well over a decade, is teetering on the edge of crisis mode. At least, that’s what one developer suggests in a recent personal blog post ominously titled “starting into the abyss.” Does GNOME, despite its rich and influential past, really face such a dismal future? Here are some thoughts.
Personally, I’d be pretty sad to see the GNOME project die. I haven’t used the desktop environment on a daily basis since development on GNOME 2.x ended in favor of GNOME Shell, but I grew up as a Linux user with GNOME. The open-source ecosystem just wouldn’t feel the same if I knew I no longer had the option of running GNOME software.
Yet as GNOME developer Benjamin Otte pointed out Friday on his blog, there’s reason to doubt the future of the project. Some key contributors have moved on, leaving the team understaffed, in Otte’s estimation. GNOME is also highly dependent on Red Hat, making it less flexible than Otte would apparently like. And perhaps worst of all, the project “has no goals” in that it lacks a clear set of objectives for shaping

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