I’ve been tracking the Fedora Core 3 development updates on a daily basis. There’s some exciting desktop stuff going in. Gnome 2.8 is looking mighty fine. Improved fit and finish is evident everywhere. gnome-vfs has had some nice improvements, especially with regard to the keyring manager and remote filesystems. I can now create a folder on my desktop that connects via sftp to my web server. If I click on a file on the server, it opens up in my editor. I can drag-and-drop to and from the server and otherwise treat it as if it was just another local directory. Also, the new mime system fixes a former sore point in GNOME. MIME associations are now much easier to create and manage.
Especially cool is the Utopia stack. hotplug, udev, D-BUS, HAL, and the GNOME Volume Manager combine to finally offer proper removable media support on Linux. The switch to udev in the rawhide tree was much too exciting, but I now have everything going nicely. The user plugs in device, hotplug generates an event, udev creates the device node, hal adds the device to its list and updates the fstab, and gnome volume manager initiates any user requested actions such as automatically importing photos if a camera is plugged in or automatically playing a DVD. This stack provides a clean separation between kernel and user space and puts policy in the hands of the user.
FC3 also includes X.Org X11R6.8 which includes such long awaited capabilities and translucent windows and improved window decoration and animation.
GNOME on Linux is my preferred desktop environment and is getting steadily better. The GNOME and freedesktop.org guys are doing great work toward advancing the open source desktop. And, yes, KDE too. Although I prefer GNOME, the KDE developers have also made great contributions. Cheers to all.