GUADEC, the annual GNOME European Conference, is happening from 26 July to 1 August in Madrid. On Friday there was a session about the "A bright future for GNOME" where a ton of information was laid out.
This presentation by Xan Lopez and Juan Jose Sanchez began by going over how GNOME is doing... They summarize it with good things, a level playing field, 15 years of experience delivering software, there's a strong community, and there's a "modern UX for everybody" with their alledging that the user experience is simple, usable, accessible, and internationalized. They also characterize the GNOME platform as powerful and mature core technologies and "GNOME 3 is awesome!"
The "bad things" for GNOME they pointed out was their focus on the traditional desktop, lack of direction and vision, stop energy, lack of corporate involvement, fragmentation / freeloaders, limited resources, a bad developer story, and brain drain / losing users.
The opportunities that these two developers see is that not everyone is happy with Apple iOS or Android, and other open alternatives like Maemo / Moblin / Limo / MeeGo are failing.
As a plan, they want more GNOME 3, more focus on mobile, and GNOME as an operating system / Linux distribution. Going from GNOME 3.8 to GNOME 3.12 they want to have quite an ambitious road-map where GNOME 3.12 will be released as GNOME 4.0 in March of 2014 and with that will come GNOME OS, their desired operating system built around GNOME technologies.
GNOME 4.0 isn't to be radically different from GNOME 3 but rather the GNOME Shell and Core apps will be mature and polished, there will be a touch-enabled mobile user-experience with GNOME on tablets, and they want to have proper Q&A/Buildbots by then. The most ambitious part is having their own GNOME operating system along with a GNOME Installer & Updater.
For GNOME 4.0 there will also be a GNOME SDK to ease development. GNOME 4.x will focus on both native applications as well as Web (hosted and packaged) applications.
These developers also are looking for hardware to be available with GNOME 4.x pre-installed. They want GNOME to expore hardware-related business models, cloud services, an App Store, and support / consultancy services in order to commercialize GNOME.
Perhaps showing how alienated these GNOME developers are from reality, they also announced a 20x20 plan. Remember the GNOME 10x10 goal to have 10% of the global market-share by 2010? They failed sharply but now they think that GNOME's new plans could allow it to reach a 20% market-share by 2020. This will be rather interesting with Ubuntu Linux continuing to march forward and their plans to be shipping on 5% of PCs next year, Valve Software now hitting hard on Linux with a possible Steam Linux distribution and console of their own, Intel and Samsung continuing to back Tizen, and many other Linux desktop/mobile advancements coming too.
On Monday, 30 July, they will have their first GNOME OS BoF / hack-fest at GUADEC to lay out more of these plans in greater detail. Below are the slides where these bright hopes were announced.