Otte's reasonings for the depressing statement around GNOME is that core developers are leaving GNOME development, they are significantly understaffed, GNOME is just a Red Hat project, GNOME has no goals, and that GNOME is losing market and mind-share.
The negativity towards the GNOME project isn't surprising since the botched GNOME 3.0 release. The succeeding GNOME3 releases have made some significant improvements, but still even with the forthcoming GNOME 3.6, many still have more fond memories of the GNOME 2.x desktop.
The Cinnamon project is doing well to bring back some of these GNOME2 memories while the Mate Desktop fork of GNOME2 isn't doing too much original work.
Prior to reading Otte's GNOME abyss blog post last night, I myself was thinking of what desktop environment to use next. For nearly two years my main production desktop has been Ubuntu 10.10 with GNOME 2.32 virtualized within Mac OS X on an Apple MacBook Pro. With my new retina MacBook Pro, it's time to move past Ubuntu 10.10 and the most pressing problem has been missing GNOME2.
At the moment for my next desktop I'm deciding between Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with GNOME 3.4, may give Unity a serious shot, or a switch to the Xfce desktop while replacing some of their mundane components with the GNOME3 alternatives. I've also been thinking about just moving back to upstream Debian or Scientific Linux with at the same time of going through desktop problems also still not being entirely enthusiastic about the direction of Ubuntu.
Whatever I end up choosing for my next Linux distribution and desktop on the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display, it's likely still going to be virtualized within Mac OS X due to Linux hardware support still coming up short. I'll save those 2012 MacBook Pro Linux details for another article.