GNOME is a user-friendly desktop environment that enables users to easily use and configure their computers. GNOME includes a panel (for starting applications and displaying status), a desktop (where data and applications can be placed), a set of standard desktop tools and applications, and a set of conventions that make it easy for applications to cooperate and be consistent with each other. Users of other operating systems or environments should feel right at home using the powerful graphics-driven environment GNOME provides.
GNOME is completely open source (free software), with freely available source code developed by hundreds of programmers around the world. If you would like to learn more about the GNOME project please visit the GNOME web site at http://www.gnome.org.
GNOME has a number of advantages for users. GNOME makes it easy to use and configure applications without using text-only interfaces.
GNOME is highly configurable, enabling you to set your desktop the way you want it to look and feel. GNOME's session manager remembers previous settings, so once you've set things the way you like they'll stay that way. GNOME supports many human languages, and you can add more without changing the software. GNOME even supports several Drag and Drop protocols for maximum interoperability with applications that aren't GNOME-compliant.
GNOME also has a number of advantages for developers which indirectly also help users. Developers don't need to purchase an expensive software license to make their commercial application GNOME compliant. In fact, GNOME is vendor neutral - no component of the interface is controlled solely by one company or restricted from modification and redistribution. GNOME applications can be developed in a variety of computer languages, so you're not stuck with a single language. GNOME uses the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) to allow software components to interoperate seamlessly, regardless of the computer language in which they are implemented, or even what machine they are running on. Finally, GNOME runs on a number of Unix-like operating systems, including Linux.
GNOME is an acronym for the GNU Network Object Model Environment, so GNOME is a part of the larger GNU project. The GNU Project started in 1984 to develop a completely free Unix-like operating system. If you'd like to learn more about the GNU project you can read about it at http://www.gnu.org.