Debian’s Wheezy release will not have GNOME as its default interface, plucking for Xfce instead.
GNOME has been losing users since the 3.x series with some Linux users feeling that it is as user friendly and bloated as a great white shark which has found its way onto an Aussie surf beach. But Debian is more worried that GNOME has got too big to fit entirely on the first Debian CD.
Xfce is much lighter and it is possible to get Debian users up and running in a basic environment rather than needing multiple CDs to get going.
This is an odd excuse, as it would be hard to find anyone who sees a CD as a valid unit of measurement these days, particularly with few people even having a CD player on their machines. It would be hard to fit any desktop Linux distribution onto one CD. Ubuntu and other Linux distributions have switched to DVD ISOs by default.
Others are using tricks to fit as much as possible onto a single CD.
It all seems a bit pointless given that if you want all of the Debian Wheezy install archive it will take 73 CDs, 11 DVDs, or the right sized thumb drive.
According to Phoronix, the Debian spokesperson who announced the change said that “there may be other reasons to prefer xfce as the default as well” but did not say what they were.