There are many different kinds of desktop environments Linux users have to choose from, but there is no doubting that currently the two most popular of all of these are the KDE and Gnome desktops. Just over three years ago (wow, where has the time gone?) KDE released the fourth major revision of their desktop. The team behind Gnome is on the verge of releasing their third major revision.
Personally I think the release of Gnome 3.0 will be very similar to the release of KDE 4.0 Both of these versions bring with them drastic changes to their respective desktops. Are the changes they bring necessary? I am not one to make that decision - one thing that is clear however is that they changes they bring (brought) with them (will) upset a good deal of people.
Next, enter one of the many beauties of FOSS - the ability for fork a project. The previous stable versions of both KDE and Gnome will live on in two new projects.
The Trinity Desktop is a project dedicated to keeping the sleek, fast, power of the KDE 3.5.x desktop alive. From their about page:
"This project aims to keep the KDE3.5 computing style alive, as well as polish off any rough edges that were present as of KDE 3.5.10. Along the way, new useful features will be added to keep the environment up-to-date."
Their current stable release is 3.5.12 and as you can see it looks very much like the classic KDE 3.5.x desktop:
Personally I am glad to see someone is keeping the old KDE 3.5.x desktop alive. It was the last time I seriously ran KDE as my main desktop. KDE 4.x just feels to bloated and clunky for my liking.
Not currently an "official" project at this point as Gnome 3.0 has not made it's stable debut as of yet. The EXDE project will aim to do essentially the same thing for Gnome 2.x that Trinity has done for KDE 3.5.x While there still has yet to be anything of substance in terms of code from the newly announced EXDE project they do have a nicely laid out road map, a clearly stated project vision, and a very informative FAQ.
As with most things only time will tell what will come of the EXDE (pronounced "X-D" by the way) desktop, but hopefully it will keep the Gnome 2.x desktop alive for those that plan to continue using it.
Do you use the Gnome or KDE desktops? If you use the KDE desktop, was it rough to change over when version 4.0 released? Do you still find yourself wanting 3.5.x back and might give Trinity a try? If you use Gnome, do you plan to start using Gnome shell when it releases or will you seek out something else?