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Is GNOME “Staring into the abyss?”


Benjamin Otte, a leading GNOME developer thinks GNOME, once a popular Linux/Unix desktop but now more often used as a foundation for other desktop interfaces, is “staring into the abyss.

I can’t argue with him. I think GNOME lost its way when it decided to move from its excellent 2.x release series to a barely usable GNOME 3.x line in 2009. Like many Linux users, I loved GNOME 2.x and hated GNOME 3.x. I’m far from the only one who disliked GNOME 3.x that strongly. Linus Torvalds, Linux’s father, would like to see GNOME forked and the current GNOME 3.x buried.

It’s not like this was hard to predict. When GNOME first announced that it was going to take a very different direction with GNOME 3, many GNOME supporters doubted this path’s wisdom. By October 2010, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, Ubuntu‘s  parent company decided to create another Linux desktop, Unity, instead of using the GNOME 3.x shell. While Ubuntu Unity has it critics, GNOME 3.x has lost many, indeed probably most, of its users.

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