Last week I attended the Guadec 2008 in Turkey. It was my second Guadec. The first one was in Sevilla in 2002, when I was backpacking Europe. The big difference between my previous and this last guadec is that now I have a better understanding of the state of the art, so I could appreciate more the talks and proposals done, which I will try to summarize in this post.
The Gnome community faces new and not so new challenges. The framework is trying to push its limits to new frontiers besides renovate its own core.
First there is the discussion about the strategy for Gtk+. Imendio is pushing for a ABI breakage in order to polish the API, sealing the private data in the components, among other things. Nevertheless, Miguel, being the voice of several ISV, is disagree with proposed path.
In the Gtk+ road map, a great discussion has been raised about the new canvas. Seems that the favorite contender is Clutter, pushed by OpenedHand.
In other front, Mark Shuttleworth came up with the idea to integrate QT in Gnome, replacing Gtk+ in the long term.
Alp Toker presented the advances in WebKit development, and in my perception, a lot of gnomies are webkit enthusiast, because have a tighter integration with the Gtk+ widgets and better performance than Firefox currently (which is always temporal). So I expect more applications using webkit rather than embedded Mozilla.
Following the web area, there's a big effort, basically from the RedHat guys for the online desktop, integrating the desktop with different and heterogeneous web feeds. I think this is a must for the next desktop environment. More and more applications are web integrated, and give a framework to do this and mix all that information smartly is a huge need.
All the multimedia stack is healthy managed by the guys at Collabora and Fluendo. There's an important effort in data communication (Telepathy and Farsight) using the GStreamer framework. Meanwhile another project, Ekiga, which doesn't use GStreamer is steady and currently the better application for VoIP in Gnome.
Finally, Miguel is pushing for a HTTP desktop applications model, using Moonlight as front end machinery, and a custom HTTP server as gluing proxy for the back end systems applications. A bold idea with not too many supporters.
As colophon we must say in the mobile area are great efforts (Nokia as main bidder) to keep sync with the mainstream development and improve the performance in both fronts.
The ideas are in the table, the discussion is on going, and the code being committed. Where do you want to work in?