Ryan Paul at Ars has a good write up of a hack fest specifically aimed at implementing and supporting some long trajectory usability work. Ryan presents an intriguing picture of the sort of free wheeling thought driving much of the work, bolstered by some impressive mockups and design work.
I don’t use Gnome but am impressed by the farther reaching thought this demonstrates. KDE is moving towards more of a social focus, Gnome has the idea of supporting tasks in its cross hairs. I think this divergence is going to drive a lot of interesting discussion.
The Linux desktop draws a lot of criticism for replicating what has come before, this effort demonstrates that such is not always the case. I may just have to give Gnome a run again as Gnome 3 starts to trickle into the bleeding edge repositories.