This is not meant to be a supernatural feature list, but is based on the current Gnome development progress and the work outside of Gnome like openGL Foundation and Freedesktop. However what we describe here it might take longer or it might never happen.
We baptized the coming Gnome, GnomeX as we don’t know the version, I guess it will be Gnome4 and will come after Gnome 3.6 or Gnome 3.8 followed by GTK4. Our GnomeX alpha manifesto has to be fully complied with the following goals.
For users GnomeX:
- should be easily install-able and upgraded with silent updates
- should ensuring the safety of user’s data even if user lose his Gnome device/box by encryption and Cloud syncing.
- should be available in a wide range of devices, all devices should communicate seamlessly with each other and offer a consistence experience.
- should be personalized and extended in a user friendly way, keeping configurations online (ie Chrome) and keeping compatibility with different configurations on different boxes.
- should be able to run applications that it might be 3 years old (backward compatibility).
- should be able to communicate with different systems (iOS, Android, Windows)
- should respect the regional preferences of the user, language, keyboard layouts etc
For developers GnomeX:
- should be able to use the 100% of the hardware capabilities
- should supply a set of standard libraries for Sound, Graphics, Plug and Play Devices (ie gamepads) etc
- should supply a modern IDE for GTK+ Applications
- should offer to developers a place (Application Market) to upload their work and get payed for it if they wish. Payment system should work similar to Humble Bundle or with a “Donation please” model
For manufacturers GnomeX:
- should use only open source drivers that manufactures can modify and perfectly customize to their device specifications.
- should run smoothly into a variety of devices with different screen resolutions, with different CPU/RAM resources, with different interface interaction means (mouses,touch screens, kinect etc) offering the same experience.
- should only have one “face”. Building different Gnome-Shells for different devices would be wrong. GnomeX should only be modified with Themes & Plugins.
- should be able to connect to non-open APIs out of box, like Netflix, Twitter, Yahoo, Windows Live etc (this applies for developers also).
While biggest problem in Linux is hardware drivers that is not the case in Tablets as the OEMs can build a device with fully Linux supported hardware.
According to the above manifesto we tried to decompose Gnome’s 10 big goals for 2013/14.
10. Rolling releases / Silent Updates / Backward Compatibility
I placed this at number 10 not because I consider it the most insignificant goal of Gnome, but because I consider it as the most completed one. Porting applications in XDG Folders Specifications and into Gsettings alongside with Safe Updates seems to be almost close to target.
Also Extensions Auto Updates will solve the annoying problem of having broken extensions after updating your Gnome, but I am not sure what is going on with the themes.
9. Games / Commercial Software
While this isn’t a direct Gnome goal, the success of every system comes always through its applications.
Let’s be realistic. Serious Open Source gaming will never come, or more correctly will not come any time soon. So there isn’t other solution than getting commercial games in Gnome. The beginning has been made by Valve’s Steam and more recently with Unity engine. I just hope that commercial games won’t force the open source to abandonment.
Other commercial software like Autodesk isn’t a threat to Gnome’s open source alternatives because this kind of programs cost thousands dollars and they are only for business use. Gimp will never be as good as Photoshop but you can still have your job done.
8. Cloud Accounts / Online services
Last year Cloud support has received huge development. There is already support in GOA (Gnome Online Accounts) for Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, Windows Live. Also Gnome 3.6 will get a skyDrive support. And there are more features in this area but we’ll fully cover them in another post.
But there is always space for more. While you can use Dropbox or Ubuntu One to sync your data across devices what is missing is a way to sync your Gnome Preferences similar as Chrome/Chromium does.
This is a huge weakness of Gnome and I don’t know if Gnome Team is working to that direction. But I am sure that they are aware of.
7. Gnome API for Developers
This is the biggest problem of Gnome since the very beginning. Do you want to develop an App for Gnome? You just don’t know where to start from and what library to use.
Even if you choose the toolkit that you will use then you will fall on a poor documentation. And even if you manage to develop your application you might see that this library to get deprecated.
The last two years it clearly seems that Gnome Team works on it. Firstly by improving the Gnome Live and secondly by releasing a high level language. Vala might become the official Gnome Development Tool and also seems to getting a nice documentation.
6. Software Center
A modern software center with integrated software updates and software removal is on the way for Gnome and that will give another dynamic to the project.
Issue here is that it won’t include a payment system for commercial software -a donate option might be available- but this is as good as bad. Promoting commercial software isn’t the target of Gnome :)
5. Every detail matters
One of my favorite modules! It tries to solve every little annoying detail in Gnome. It’s all about polish polish polish. Great project and with fast progress! Just check on it!
Also I will add here all these little things that they have to change in Gnome in order to be totally usable in touch devices.
4. 3d / openGL / Open Drivers
Whoever thinks that Closed Drivers can do the job is simply wrong. It is meaningless to analyze the cons of closed drivers (just watch Linus to get mad!). What is more meaningful is to watch the progress of openGL which still lacks in every aspect to Miscrosoft’s Direct 3D.
The biggest goal here for Gnome is to get Open Source drivers with similar performance as closed. Well, It won’t happen. nVidia and ATi won’t release open any time soon.
However Intel with the new awesome Ivy Bridge chips is here! They can’t compete nVidia but they are OK for everyday use (Browsing, HTML5 Games etc) and perfect for tablets.
3. Porting Gnome to Wayland
Wayland is the next generation display manager of Linux that will replace the 20 years old X Server. It promises slick graphics, fast interaction responses, better touch screen support, smooth scrolling and is pretty much the biggest thing that will happen in Linux Desktop world in the last decade.
GTK and Clutter are almost ready to run in Wayland but other toolkits like the one Libre Office uses aren’t and won’t ever ported in Wayland. For that reason Wayland and X Server will run at the same time (X Server will run on the top of the Wayland as plugin) keeping a backward compatibility.
2. Gnome OS
Gnome OS looks like NSA, Not Such Agency. Everyone talks about it, everyone denies it and everyone is trying to build it. Even the so -out of Gnome- Canonical thinks to release an unofficial Gnome spin with the upstream packages.
Gnome Foundation denies its existence but what that https://live.gnome.org/GnomeOS/ is? Gnome Team has already made plans for a Gnome Installer and while is to early to discuss it my best guess is that it isn’t going to install Windows :)
Gnome OS is underway, sooner or later..
1. A picture is worth a thousand words
That is the obvious big goal of Gnome, get into tablets :)
This was a quick and dirty brainstorming. Can you propose more?