I heard that Gnome was being or has been discontinued? What does this mean, in a distro? Do I have to switch to another environment? Is it recommended that I do? What exactly happens here? Can I stay?
Well, first off, the rumor is false. GNOME is not being discontinued.
A charity known as the GNOME Foundation is out of liquidity (cash). They're requesting donations, of course. They appear to believe they have sufficient accounts receivable such that this will be a temporary situation. But GNOME development is done largely, if not entirely, outside the GNOME Foundation. So GNOME development would continue even if the GNOME Foundation ceased operating. They do various things to aid that development, so it'd be an inconvenience, but it'd likely not stop the desktop environment.
That said, hypothetically, if the GNOME developers all decided to quit working on GNOME desktop tomorrow:
- There wouldn't be any immediate effect. Your computer wouldn't care.
- At least short-term, there would be no one fixing bugs. But short-term, it's not growing bugs either, so not a big deal, except for security issues. Someone would probably figure out patches for those, and your distro would probably pick them up.
- Slightly longer term, there would be no one adding/removing features.
- Also slightly longer term, it's free software—the source code is available, everyone is permitted to change it and redistribute. Its popular enough that presumably people would start releasing new versions of it, probably under new names.
- Longer term, the libraries it depends on are not static, and eventually it'd "bit-rot"—i.e., the newer versions of everything else would slowly break it.
- Also longer term, your distro would either drop it all together (because of the ever-growing bit-rot) or switch to one of the forks from other teams.
So, even if it were true, it'd probably not be a huge deal. You'd eventually wind up running some other team's version of GNOME, under a different name.