As a current GNOME user and former KDE user, I'd like to know when we can expect some new innovations from either of these desktop environments? I know KDE came out with KDE 4.x just over two years ago but it seems that its popularity has fallen away in favor of GNOME. GNOME only releases new version twice a year and so far they've all generated more yawns than a Ben Affleck movie for me. I like GNOME and have used it exclusively on every Linux distribution that I work with for a few years. The fact that it's installed by default on Debian and Ubuntu have nothing to do with it. I just like it better. Still, I wonder when I'll see something really cool out of it or KDE.
I used KDE for years because it had a slicker, snappier feel to it than contemporary versions of GNOME. It also felt more stable. Since KDE 3.3 or 3.4, I haven't wanted to use it. I switched to GNOME. I tried KDE 4.x, thinking that I might like it better than those later KDE 3.x versions but I didn't.
It's also worth noting that when I used KDE, I always had to install GNOME (or pieces of it) too so that I could use certain applications that I wanted or needed. However, I've never needed to install any part of KDE, since I've made the switch.
But, GNOME has looked the same and behaved the same since I made the switch. The GNOME of 2006 looks exactly like the GNOME of 2010. I'm beginning to realize why I spend so much time at the command line and less and less in the GUI. I've gone so far as to set two of my Linux computers to runlevel 3. I only go into GNOME when I really need to, which frankly, is seldom.
For what it's worth, I thought KDE 4.x was headed in the right direction but I couldn't deal with its instability and weird installation. C'est la Vie. GNOME has never let me down. It's stable. It's pleasant to look at and work with--although it is a bit Spartan.
I'd like to see some front-end innovations for our desktop environments and not just bug fixes. Give me something cool and I'll type 'startx' again otherwise I'll stick with my white characters on a black screen forever.
What do you think of the current state of KDE and GNOME? What kinds of innovations do you think should be added?