The bottom line is that this development method (and KDE is just as guilty as gnome) leads to long periods where the software is much worse than it should be. So by "learn from gnome2" I meant "learn to avoid these long periods of regression". I now realize that "it's a feature" and that even if gnome3 ever becomes as usable for me as gnome2 was before the "rewrite", it would only be temporary because by the time it works for me, all developers will have moved to gnome4, which will break the features I use.
I especially don't see how it needs to be that way. You can implement a gnome-shell like feature on top of gnome2 and make it optional (or even by default, I don't care). You can make the wm evolve without breaking everything. And more importantly, you don't have to make all these changes at once and you don't have to ditch the old behaviour. This means 1) people have time to get used to the changes when they like it 2) there's a chance to react when you're going in the wrong direction, and 3) you avoid bad regressions.
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