I just wanted to clarify a few points I think I might of been misunderstood.
But... The RaspPi is not capable of running a full bells-and-whistles GUI and it is supposed to be a learning environment. In my view we would do no favours to anyone if we provided a Windows-identical GUI that was horribly slow to use and promoted a point and click mentality. Of course it should not be imposing, but I think we can aim to build an efficient and educational development platform, rather than an inefficient Internet and games platform with a couple of development icons provided. I'm not seriously suggesting that we should give them a blank screen and an xterm, I was merely responding to the bug report that icons and task-bar had disappeared with a reminiscence to the effect that we shouldn't be scared of cutting out bling. That applies especially to bling that hides stuff that they need to know and that they can learn painlessly if we give them the right tools.
"Kids these days..." was meant to evoke the Four Yorkshiremen. Apologies if it was misunderstood.
No apologies needed, I completely understood the reference. 'Appen he's rate.'
I do however have some thoughts regarding the so called 'point and click mentality.' If you think about applications like Scratch visual information and interaction is crucial. A small child of the age of 5 or 6 sitting in front of a computer is more able to understand basic logic constructs by interacting with them in a graphical manner. The WIMP metaphor is certainly hear to stay and not going anywhere soon. If anything the next area I would like to see taught to children is the touch metaphor so prevalent on mobile devices.
Also I think an environment like LXDE provides enough familiarity not just to the child, but also teacher that learning will be accelerated. It is a relaity that 99% of computer users either run MS Windows or Apple OSX on their desktops. As the Pi is primarily a 'desktop' computer to provide an interface that is so different will hinder the child once he / she 'grows' out of the Pi. I am not saying that one should blindly copy, but familiarity will speed the uptake of the Pi. A good many children are 'taught' ICT in schools by over worked and not tech literate teachers. The Pi is not just about creating the next generation of wonder programmers but also introducing children how to use a computer in a productive manner and inform them of some of the mechanics behind the interface.
I also believe (though I have to say my Pi has not arrived yet) that the hardware is capable of running a modern desktop environment. I realise KDE, GNOME, Unity etc are out of the question, but I was running an Amiga 4000 in my youth that had much less technical capabilities than the Pi and it was fast and I learned a lot. Likewise I had a Pentium 100 laptop running Windows 98 SE with only 32MB RAM and despite the lack of some pretty graphics the interface there is not a whole lot different from Windows 7. I ran Delphi, MS Office 97, Visual Basic and did not feel constrained. Yes times of moved on, of course, but if the interface is chosen well a lot can be accomplished, considerably more than only having icons on a desktop to open applications. I mentioned Mephis Antix before, perhaps this or LMDE could prove a good template to follow if targeted towards an specific release strategy. I am aware the Mike Thompson would like to see something like Mint ported if possible.
Also, I think providing an efficient Internet Browser (in as much as possible) is also key, so many online courses are available for children to partake in. My own children are big fans of a web site called Mathletics, I know this is flash based, but you get the idea. The Foundation could also deliver education material through this medium for children to follow in clash.