August 13, 2012, 8:42 AM — There's been plenty of excitement surrounding Firefox OS ever since Mozilla announced its first hardware partners earlier this year, but now it looks like there's yet another open source operating system entering the scene.
Now on the way from none other than the GNOME project--creators of the widely used desktop environment for Linux by the same name--is a brand-new operating system called GNOME OS, which is scheduled to arrive in 2014.
Rather than serve as a brand-new Linux distribution, however, the upcoming GNOME OS "is primarily intended as a platform for testing and development," wrote GNOME user experience (UX) designer Allan Day in a blog post following the recent GNOME developers conference.
'A Better Experience for Developers'
"The idea of GNOME OS has been around for a couple of years, and there has been a fair amount of confusion about what it means," Day explained. "Some people seem to have assumed that GNOME OS is an effort to replace distributions, so let me be clear: that is not the case."
Instead, by "providing a better experience for application developers, automated testing, sandboxed applications, and broad hardware compatibility," among other goals, the project hopes to improve the GNOME desktop that ultimately is made available for other distributions' use, he added.
Accordingly, over the coming months the project will focus on a new framework for applications, a software development kit (SDK), better testing, a well-defined core UX, and enhanced hardware compatibility, Day said.
March 2014 is when the OS is expected to arrive, according to a slide presentation from the developer conference.
'A Touch-Compatible GNOME 3'
Hardware compatibility, in fact, was a key topic that arose at the recent conference, where developers Xan López and Juan José Sánchez recounted some of the key challenges facing GNOME in their presentation.