My immediate reaction to Brendan article is mixed. Braindump follows.
- Mozilla foundation seem to be considering Linux like a primary target ("Let those enterprises migrate to Linux if it makes sense, or defer the hefty Longhorn upgrade tax by sticking with downrev Windows for as many years as makes sense."). This is a fundamental prerequisite if we want to build the future linux platform together.
- It seem to anticipate a different approach to multiplatform where native, available technologies are reused (while filling gaps on some platforms)
- Migration to the future platform need to be gradual. For reasons that I dont fully understand mozilla.org is advocating the substitution of current linux desktop applications with XUL based counterparts. The merge need to happen on paritary basis, gnome libraries or mozilla libraries are an equally good way to write apps until Gnomzilla platform is available. I can see new Evolution features being written using the Gnomzilla platform (Mono + XUL for example) and mozilla rendering engine integrated in the old code using gtk wrapper (gtkmozembed). I cant imagine adopting Thunderbird though. The prioritary goal is to have a mail client well integrated with linux Desktop. My feeling is that what you can really share cross platform are just the engines, the UI needs to be special cased to be really integrated. But, even ignoring this, it doesnt make sense to throw away all users benefits of current solutions to adopt immediately and completely the new platform. A gradual migration path is necessary ...
- I fear the complexity of the merge is heavily understimated. Given the current status of mozilla SDK I'd be positively surprised if by "2nd half of this year" we would have something that can easily work outside mozilla tree, based on stable API etc. Let alone how much time really merging it with GNOME technologies will take. Because of this reason gradual migration is even more important.
Anyway I think it's crucial that the two communities start to communicate and cooperate. (Got my first epiphany patch by a mozilla hacker, yay !)
I feel like we are at an important time for the linux desktop future. I really hope the result will be reduction of the fragmentation rather than increasing.
BTW the gtkmozembed GRE work is progressing thanks to the feedback, the help and more importantly the patience of people like bsmedberg, blizzard, darin, biesi. But yeah yeah this isnt really exciting anymore, everyone wants Gnomzilla now, I'll see what I can do :P