That offering fallback mode, a stripped down version of GNOME 2 for those who lack hard acceleration, GNOME 3 makes some users second-class citizens?
While fallback users don't benefit from all the development work that goes into GNOME 3, they still get updates to our applications, system settings, and other components. Furthermore, improvements to the state of free and open source graphics drivers mean that fewer people will be dependent on fallback mode, and will be able to use the full GNOME 3 experience.
Are there any other criticisms of GNOME that you think are in need of correcting?
One of the biggest misconceptions about GNOME right now is that we don't listen to feedback from our users. In fact, those of us in the GNOME community spend a lot of time reading people’s opinions about GNOME 3 and responding to bug reports. There's been a lot of effort to respond to issues when they have been brought up, as you can see if you read our release notes. GNOME 3 has also changed a lot during its development, and those modifications have been largely thanks to the feedback we have received.
What do you think will happen to GNOME in the next five years?
We are working hard to refine the experience that we introduced with GNOME 3.0 to create a new suite of core applications, and to create a better framework for third party application developers.
We are optimistic that GNOME 3 will become an increasingly compelling product in the next couple of years, and are hopeful that we will attract more users, contributors, and partners. We're also excited about a new generation of contributors who have been joining our community. Our outreach efforts have been more successful, and we are exceptionally lucky to have some incredibly talented new contributors working with us. In five years, we hope that it will be them who are running GNOME.
These are exciting times for our project, and we are looking forward to what the future holds. Our community is full of energy, and there are quite a few new applications being developed right now, including a Calendar, Music application, a Clocks application, and a new Photo manager. We also have big plans for the future, and are embarking into new territory.
We can't wait to see how these new developments will work out, and what we will achieve next.
Thinking over these responses, I can't help comparing these answers to those given by KDE members in response to the hostile initial reception of KDE 4.0 four years ago. The KDE members' comments echoed those given by GNOME members above, but they also included a recognition that a disconnect had occurred between developers and users, and discussed how to prevent a recurrence.
By comparison, these answers indicate that the GNOME leadership sees no major problems with GNOME 3, and expect that it to gradually gain acceptance as people get used to it and as features are added. Nor do leaders see any major problems with the project -- in fact, they suggest that GNOME is thriving, and problems are minimal.
KDE's and GNOME's situations are probably not strictly comparable. Yet I wonder:
Despite its user revolt, KDE was able to keep many of its users. Four years later, much of the criticism against it has died down. But will GNOME manage a similar evolution in response, as its leaders apparently expect? Perhaps in these responses, the first outline of an answer is revealed.